Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 1 December 2021

Peter Crumpler Christian Today Three words for Justin Welby about TV vicars

Savitri Hensman ViaMedia.News Advent Reflections: Seeking Justice; Showing Mercy

Zachary Guiliano The Living Church The Poverty of the Holy Family: against Ian Paul

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Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
1 month ago

I find it difficult to believe that anyone could object to the depiction of an Anglican priest in “The Vicar of Dibley”. Dawn French’s character is portrayed as friendly and human, as loved and respected by her parishioners, as both fallible and usually right in the end. So she’s not a scholar or academic…most vicars are not.

As an Anglican in the United States, would that our Episcopal priests had a similar role model portrayed in our media.

Susannah Clark
1 month ago

On the views of Zachary and Ian Paul… I tend to think that Jesus grew up in a pretty ordinary down-to-earth working family. The modern equivalent I envisage would be a dad (Joseph) working as a joiner in Falkirk (Scotland) or something like that. To contextualise, in the circumstances most ordinary people in Galilee, I would make my modern ‘joiner’ on the lower middle class, economically ‘money quite tight’ end of the spectrum, to factor in the uncertainties of harvest that affected almost all of the community except for the rich, and the uncertainties of work. In my imaginary Falkirk… Read more »

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

“we’re descended from Stuart Kings (and going back further, Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, and the kings and queens of France and Spain) and cousins of William and Harry, via a shared ancestor 7 generations back” There was a genetic study a few years ago that determined that everyone “vaguely of European extraction” is a descendant of Charlemagne. “In 2013, geneticists Peter Ralph and Graham Coop showed that all Europeans are descended from exactly the same people. Basically, everyone alive in the ninth century who left descendants is the ancestor of every living European today, including Charlemagne, Drogo, Pippin and Hugh.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  dr.primrose
1 month ago

Yes, this was my point – that Jesus’s relationship to esteemed ancestors was very unlikely to be an indicator of his own parents’ wealth or social standing. Far more likely, the early Christian community who variously compiled, edited and determined the gospel narratives saw the geanologies as one more way of authenticating Jesus as fulfilment of prophecy and God’s purposes – along with all the quotes from OT texts, parallels with OT imagery and symbolism etc… to build an overarching metanarrative of the Messiah. I really like that I can track every single generation of my ancestors back to Alfred,… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
1 month ago

I agree with Savi that ‘freedom of conscience’ should work both ways. And ‘allowing local discretion’.

I think that is the best realpolitik outcome we can hope for in the coming 5 years.

If the bishops and Synod don’t take the lead in accomplishing this, then grassroot church communities may need to take the lead themselves, because the harm done is frankly an affront to local conscience, and the pastoral situation with the status quo is no longer sustainable.

Jo B
Jo B
1 month ago

I thought the sacrifice of two young pigeons rather than a lamb when the Holy Family took Jesus to the Temple would rather settle the debate for anyone who considers the text of the Bible to be decisive, but it seems that whenever inconvenient conclusions result conservatives are willing to “interpret” as willingly as liberals.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jo B
Alison Menage
Alison Menage
1 month ago

Well said Peter Crumpler!! No sense of humour Welby!! Totally ignoring the good, brave and knowledgeable real life vicars who do a tremendous job on TV and radio. Great pity Welby didn’t think his flock worth the trouble in the care during Covid! Too much silence Archbishop! And the wrong time for a sabbatical for sure!!

Peter Adams
Peter Adams
Reply to  Alison Menage
1 month ago

To be honest I’m not sure many people have read ++Justin’s words. I attach them below. I know Peter Crumpler has and I’ve had this conversation with him on Twitter. Context is everything. I read the speech in tribute to my old dad, a loyal National Farmers Union member! He certainly doesn’t condemn TV Vicars, just suggests you love them or hate them, just as he’s sure that is the response of the farmers he’s speaking to Clarkson’s Farm, which I know for certain my dad would have hated! In fact he then says how much the prog has helped… Read more »

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Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Peter Adams
1 month ago

This from the Guardian: ‘Departing from the text of his speech, Welby said he had “got into” watching Clarkson’s Farm on television during the pandemic. He told the audience: “Maybe for you watching Jeremy Clarkson feels a bit like for me watching anything with a vicar in it. Either you can’t stand it or you get completely addicted. I generally find depictions of vicars on TV to be depressing – they are portrayed as rogues or idiots … the reality is very different – it is actually of hard-working normal people, caring deeply about what they do and working all the… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

If you watch British TV detective shows, vicars can usually be found in their churches, wearing cassocks (apparently they have nothing to do other than polish the silver), and they are either bumbling idiots or guilty as sin of the crime in question. I totally agree with Justin.

I have to say, though, that I don’t feel so negative about Father Francis Mulcahey. He’s one of the good guys.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I don’t watch detective programmes, but the Vicar of Dibley and Rev were well loved; neither rogues nor idiots, but very human people doing their best.

However, the point I was making in pasting the Guardian quote above, was simply that Justin did indeed condemn TV vicars. He departed from the script of his speech that Peter Adams quoted.

Tim, I’m intrigued that you get British detective dramas in Canada! Are there any I should be watching? Which one is Mulcahey in?

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

I love Father Ted (especially Mrs Doyle) but have never got into The Vicar of Dibley and have never seen Rev.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Janet, we watch all our TV on Netflix and Crave.

I found Rev totally depressing. The vicar seemed to have absolutely no gospel to celebrate. But I do understand many people disagree with me on that.

Father Mulcahey was the chaplain on my all-time favourite TV show, M.A.S.H.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I loved Dibley and have the box set. It was a significant programme because the first series started before the vote to ordain women as priests, It helped to normalise the idea that a woman could be in charge of a church – and that was part of Richard Curtis’ agenda.

I agree with you about Rev – I found it painful to watch so I stopped bothering. It was very popular, though, and a lot of people say that’s the kind of vicar they’d want to have.

I don’t think MASH is on the TV over here.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

All series of M*A*S*H* were syndicated in the UK in the 1980s, and ‘Suicide is Painless’ was a well-known theme then. It may still be on some of the more obscure satellite channels.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Life without MASH. Wow.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I remember seeing it a few times, but that may have been before we moved back to England in 1974. I didn’t have a TV in England in the 80s. I liked the show but don’t remember it very well.

Peter Adams
Peter Adams
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Thanks for the correction, Janet. I’d read that early on but forgotten it on going to the text. I’m saddened he departed from the script. In my reckoning most of his gaffs for which he apologises happen at that point.

Peter Adams
Peter Adams
Reply to  Alison Menage
1 month ago

Sorry Alison. My comment to was meant to be general response, not to you. So wasn’t meaning to suggest you hadn’t read it.

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