Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 1 April 2017

Bosco Peters Liturgy Pope Francis to make Martin Luther a Saint on October 31

ABC Religion and Ethics published this piece by Michael Collett God and the problem of sincere disbelief followed by this reply from Michael Jensen Sincerity is not enough: the problem with the problem of sincere disbelief.

Archbishop Cranmer Women bishops: the desperate and disingenuous distinction in the Five Guiding Principles

Rhian Taylor pcn britain It’s a Man’s Church

Sam Charles Norton Elizaphanian Let my people go

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Oxford, Sheffield, Llandaff etc

Mark Hart Church Times The C of E’s unsung success story

David Ison ViaMedia.News The Power of Feeling over Thinking

James Jones The Yorkshire Post House of God opens a door to the divine

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love How do we come into the presence of God?
and Prayer and the body

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
24 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Susannah Clark
4 years ago

Although Colin is perhaps a little tough on the priest who starts their service by encouraging people to ‘come into the presence of God’, it is nonetheless an interesting article. For a start, I’m reminded of Augustine’s point: that God always resides in the innermost place of our souls, but too often, we don’t. God is within, but very often, we are without. Secondly, I believe that God draws people into awareness and Presence in a multiplicity of ways. These may vary, depending on temperament and tradition (and, of course, the will of God). But very often, the initiative is… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
4 years ago

Whilst I have some sympathy with Sam Charles Norton’s suggestion that ‘unity’ has become a shibboleth that is preventing us from addressing questions that are arguably more pressing (and perhaps rather less tedious) than that of ecclesial order, I am somewhat apprehensive about his suggestion that, if FiF and conservative evangelical parishes are allowed (indeed encouraged) to secede, they should be granted title to the property they currently occupy, almost as if this were a routine matrimonial matter. In many instances that property was created/endowed by the community of the past for use by the future community as a whole,… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
4 years ago

Sam Charles Norton’s suggestion that FIF and conservative evangelical parishes might be allowed to go and take their property with them is superficially very attractive. For many of us it would mean that we could put the divisions behind us and get on with building the kingdom here without the hindrance of those whose vision is more exclusive and excluding than ours. The problem is that it would also mean abandoning a great many people who do not want to go. Allowing a PCC resolution or some other process to effect the process fixes at a moment in time what… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
4 years ago

It’s worth pointing out that the possession of a large number of churches, many of them listed, is killing the CofE. So if the price of getting rid of some conservative outliers who make the church look mad is that they also take on the responsibility for buildings the CofE cannot afford to maintain, one could say “what’s not to like?”

rjb
rjb
4 years ago

A very, very interesting piece from Michael Collett, and – I fear – a rather inadequate response from Michael Jensen, who starts off by getting Nietzsche wrong (a particular bugbear of mine!) and goes steadily downhill from there. I think Collett’s points – which are in essence similar to what philosophers of religion know as the argument from reasonable non-belief – strike me as very serious and worthy of serious consideration. They need a more thoughtful theological (and perhaps philosophical, and certainly pastoral) answer than I think Michael Jensen is willing to give.

rjb
rjb
4 years ago

I had not intended to respond to Rhian Taylor’s piece, but Michael Jensen’s throwaway remark about Nietzsche has got me thinking. Pace Jensen, Nietzsche is not completely hostile to the emotional state of sympathy or compassion. As Michael Frazer has observed, Nietzsche’s attitude to compassion is much more complex than is often believed – Nietzsche thinks it is essential for imaginative creativity, but rejects its elevation in Christianity to a sole and supreme virtue that must be celebrated above all other human faculties. I thought of this again while reading Rhian Taylor’s empathetic tennis match with the partisans of Bishop… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
4 years ago

‘Denial works well, no?’

Pigeonholing appears to work well too. I’m grateful to RJB for not indulging in it.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
4 years ago

rjb writes:
“Nor are accusations of sexism very helpful, because the supporters of Bishop Philip do not see themselves as sexist”.

Well, of course they aren’t helpful. No one wants to be accused of being sexist. But the accusation may be true. I think it is. And I’m not full of lachrymose pity for the women – I just want them to be treated equally. I’m angry that we still make excuses for sexism, and seem happy to perpetuate injustice and inequality.

Fr Frank Nichols
Fr Frank Nichols
4 years ago

I find Interested Observer’s uncharitable comment very distressing. I was told by General Synod that my Catholic view of priestly orders is acceptable in our broad church – and by the way like most Catholics I accept the decisions of General Synod. Now I am told that I am “a conservative outlier who makes the Church look mad”. Well thanks for this – is it time to pack my bags? I did think I was welcome in the C of E – now I am not so sure.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
4 years ago

‘is it time to pack my bags? I did think I was welcome in the C of E – now I am not so sure.’ Fr. Frank Nichols, I’m not sure which of the several ‘Catholic views on priestly orders’ you hold. But I’m guessing that Interested Observer is not actually a member of the CofE, so don’t let him/her make you feel unwanted. The views of outsiders are valuable, because they help us see ourselves as other outsiders do. We are a national rather than a gathered church so that is essential to our mission. The prophets were outsiders… Read more »

Susannah Clark
4 years ago

Please stop squabbling. We are a Church with diverse views. There is nothing wrong with desiring mutual flourishing. It upsets and disappoints me when a fellow Christian is called ‘sexist’ because they conscientiously believe in male priesthood. That is an accepted and welcomed position in the Church of England. Personally I believe in female priesthood as much as male priesthood. But that doesn’t absolve me from loving my kindred in Christ and respecting their path and their faith. We are all ‘outsiders’ except for the grace of God but, in union with Christ, we belong to the household and family… Read more »

Susannah Clark
4 years ago

Rod, I wasn’t trying to specifically critique you or any other individual here. We’re all capable of sinking to polemic and attritional discourse, and I can be as guilty of that as anyone else. There are posts I’ve submitted to Thinking Anglicans over the years that I regret in retrospect because they drifted towards impersonal politics rather than trying to see a rival-in-argument as a human being trying to explore faith in a different way to my own. I’m fearful that confrontational faction in the Church, amplified by the culture of the internet, risks driving the Church of England towards… Read more »

Kate
Kate
4 years ago

«@ Susannah Clark, “Please stop squabbling.There is nothing wrong with desiring mutual flourishing. It upsets and disappoints me when a fellow Christian is called ‘sexist’ because they conscientiously believe in male priesthood.” «On these points I could not disagree with you more. Activism and social change it seeks are inherently upsetting; but it is always so when vested interests are challenged. » – Rod Gillis I am in full agreement with Rod. I disagree with the Society on many points, but I respect them for fighting for what they believe in. The Church isn’t for any of us: it is… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
4 years ago

Rod, I entirely agree with you that truth telling is important. I’m just not confident that my grasp of the truth is always correct.

Cynthia
Cynthia
4 years ago

I can’t think of a justice or inclusion movement that didn’t upset the status quo. Rhian Taylor gets it right, as does Rod Gillis. CoE may be trying to do the impossible with the “mutual flourishing” bit. As it is, the principles that the all-male bishops engineered over weighted the flourishing of the traditionalists and under weighted the flourishing of women and girls. Girls, in particular, actually need to be protected from the traditionalists. They are vulnerable and not yet equipped to make the kinds of choices that Susannah proposes, and those that rbj champions. There may be ways to… Read more »

John Holding
John Holding
4 years ago

Susannah — Your focus on the CofE is understandable, especially on this board which is basically for English Anglicans. But many of us Anglicans post from other countries, where some of your issues and concerns are no longer even discussed. Your response to Rod, for example, doesn’t take account of the fact that he is in Canada, where — for good or ill — your issues were settled decades ago. (not now to Susannah) It’s rather like all the posters on this and other threads who happily treat “the Anglican Communion” as if Canada, New Zealand, the US Episcopal Church,… Read more »

Tobias Haller
4 years ago

The Elizabethan Settlement on issues such as the nature of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, comprehending mutually contradictory positions, was possible because no windows into personal belief were needed, and the language of the liturgy was adequately ambiguous so as to cover diversity of opinion and belief. The problem with Order is that it is external and visible. Societies and factions are formed. Comprehension can no longer be sustained because the diversity of opinion has taken on flesh, and one has to be more or less public in response to the question of whether Jane Doe is a priest or… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
4 years ago

Thank you, John Holding, for lifting up those of us from other provinces who settled this issue decades ago.

My favorite is when traditionalists argue that WO and WB is an innovation because Rome and the Orthodox don’t do it, as if the many women supporting Anglican provinces don’t exist. Also as if Protestantism is irrelevant to Anglicanism. And the ABC acting as if we don’t exist… except when we cause him problems.

Puzzled
Puzzled
4 years ago

> The members of organizations like “The Society” hold what is an increasingly marginal minority view in the Church.

Surely not. There are around 2.4 billion Christians in the world, of whom 1.6 billion are either RC, Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox. Therefore only a third of the world’s Christians, at most, accept women as priests and bishops. Life would be easier for liberal Anglicans like me if it were otherwise, but those are the facts.

Puzzled
Puzzled
4 years ago

> My point stands. It depends on what “the Church” means to you. To me, it means the entire body of Christians throughout the world, and in that context it’s the liberal provinces of the Anglican Communion, together with other liberal Protestant churches, which look eccentric and bizarre! I wish it were not so. It would be wonderful if Rome and Orthodoxy were to embrace equal ministry. But Orthodoxy won’t, and Rome can’t. When my own province of the Anglican Communion chose to ordain women as priests and bishops I was therefore faced with the choice of remaining as a… Read more »

Susannah Clark
4 years ago

I find it really quite difficult to accept the terms ‘bizarre’ and ‘eccentric’ to describe sincere and faithful fellow Christians, serving God, and giving their lives in service to Christ and their communities. I don’t regard the belief in male priesthood as ‘bizarre’. As Puzzled has said, it’s actually pretty normal in much of Christendom. I’d simply call it traditional. Like Puzzled, I regard myself as catholic in many ways in my personal spirituality. But also like Puzzled, I long for reform within the Catholic Church, and specifically for full recognition of women’s priesthood and ministry. However, I also value… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
4 years ago

I spend a lot of time in the folk music community in the city of Edmonton. I’m thankful for this for many reasons, one of which is that I have a very realistic view of how the Christian church is seen amongst the non-Christian population. Please note, (a) my particular branch of that church is led by a bishop whose name is Jane, and in which (b) the predominant feeling is gay-friendly. also (c) Bishop Jane has a high profile on social justice causes in our city and co-chairs the mayor’s council for ending poverty. However, despite these supposedly mitigating… Read more »

Puzzled
Puzzled
4 years ago

> As far as I can see views like those advanced by The Society appear marginal within the mainstream of Anglicanism in Canada, England, and so forth. Agreed. But the mainstream of Anglicanism in Canada, England and so forth appears marginal within the mainstream of world Christianity! This isn’t to say it’s wrong – it’s just a simple statement of fact. > What an interesting telegraphing of sympathies(: One can’t choose one’s sympathies. They are usually instinctive. One can, however, choose one’s actions, and I’ve chosen to align myself with “the mainstream of Anglicanism in Canada, England and so forth”.… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
4 years ago

I can assure “Puzzled” that those of us women who grew up in the Greek Orthodox Church are thoroughly disgusted with the patriarchy. The patriarchy is primitive, chauvinistic, and often ignorant, and Greek women do not line up in support of it. Going to funerals and whatnot, watch the women as we look at each other and roll our eyes together.

As a convert to Anglicanism, I find it bizarre that some Anglicans would rather be in communion with oppressors than half the members of their own church.

24
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x