Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 11 April 2018

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Are We in Love with Sin?

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Self-examination and self-knowledge – missing essentials from the IICSA hearings

Andrew Brown The Guardian The NHS’s new humanist chaplain is a welcome sign of our shifting spirituality
“Formal religious belief may be falling off, but the need for ritual to mark major life events is still strong”

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Mark BennetJanet FifeDavid KeenRod GillisPeter Leach Recent comment authors
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Kate
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Kate

Colin Coward wants priests to be better trained in psychotherapy to reduce the likelihood of them becoming priest-abusers. Colin supports Linda Woodhead’s calls for a change of theology as well as significant procedural and structural change, but I think he is too deeply embedded in the system to have an helicopter view. Like so many others, I think he confuses incremental additions with true change which is both additive and subtractive. I think most ministers would love time and space to improve their self-knowledge and self-examination and to teach their congregations do the same. Give them time and it will… Read more »

Peter Leach
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Peter Leach

Reading Rosie Harper’s piece I’m sadly reminded of Machen’s book “Christianity and Liberalism” (which is free online, and short, and highly recommended to anyone who wants to engage with an evangelical view). As the title suggests, the thesis is that Christianity and Liberalism are simply two different religions: different final authority, different diagnosis of the human condition, different prescription, different prognosis. And, Machen would add, different origin. Harper wants to end by talking about peace. Some people may even need “to apologise deeply” if peace is to be an option. But to speak of sin – even in order to… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

The Andrew Brown column is interesting. If I were a hospital in-patient I think it might be helpful to be open to all the spiritual care options i.e. a presbyter to bring me the sacraments and a chat with a humanist chaplain. The latter might be very helpful in dealing with the non-religious folks in my circle. Brown’s concluding paragraph is fairly solid. However it is preceded by contestable statements. There have long been Jewish and Christian humanists who believe in God. I suspect there are folks nurtured in the Islamic tradition in that kind of place as well. Brown… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

I was brought up in the tradition of convincing people of their sin before leading them to Christ, and I used to preach accordingly. Then it came to me, like a revelation, that it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convince people of their sin. My job is to tell those who feel burdened by guilt where to find forgiveness and comfort. If the Spirit isn’t showing them their sin, nothing I can say will do that. On the other hand, the vulnerable, damaged, and neurotic are all too easily made to feel guilty when we keep harping on sin. So… Read more »

David Keen
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David Keen

Jesus begins his earthly ministry with ‘repent and believe the good news’ and ends it with ‘repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in (my) name to all nations, beginning at Jerusaelm.’ We should talk about sin as much, and as little, as Jesus does. The forgiveness of sins is part and parcel of the good news, and we don’t drop it just because some Christians in our experience have communicated it in heavy handed or misguided ways.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

David Keen, yes, agreed. But Jesus preached sin most strongly to religious leaders, according to the gospel accounts. With ‘obvious’ sinners (like prostitutes and tax gatherers) and the sick he often just said ‘your sins are forgiven’.

We, on the other hand, tend to let religious people off the hook and loudly condemn people whose sexual behaviour we think is sinful. Or those who just don’t go to church.

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

David Keen – very pleased to see your comment, since I have appreciated your contributions many times. Sin is clearly a key idea. Various influences, too many to mention, got me reading Stephen Pattison’s “Shame” over Easter. Shame has a different dynamic from Sin (at least in one important aspect – Pattison notes the ambiguity of the term and the limited theological reflection on shame). Shame and sin can be associated, but if sin is all we know, we can misdiagnose. Shame has an aspect of wanting to hide, and the language of sin and repentance implies exposure. Rosie Harper… Read more »