Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 11 March 2022

Andy Stranack Theos Embracing a valuable talent pool: the barriers and gifts of living with a disability

Alexandra Logan Love letter to the Church of England …

Martyn Percy Modern Church Embrace the “Tutufication” of the Church of England Finale

Sheila Matthews Saltwater & Honey The Mothering Sunday Conundrum

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Welcome beware, God of our whole being, essence of creation

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Kate
Kate
2 months ago

I think the piece by Sheila Matthews is truly great in how she approaches Mothering Sunday and the need value women as women (not just mothers) all year round. I disagree strongly, however, with the suggestion that we should use feminine pronouns for YHWH. I *hate* it if someone misgenders me. Talk to most people with a trans history and they will say the same. Jesus knew the Lord: He was/is the Lord’s son. He referred to the Lord as Father ie male and taught us to do the same. Using female pronouns for the Lord therefore directly contradicts the… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

A minor step sideways first: Regarding the tetragrammaton, the sacred Hebrew name for God that for roughly 2,000 years, Jews have considered forbidden to pronounce, so Jews substitute a Hebrew alternative word “Adonai”, translated as “Lord” in English: There is no “w” sound in Hebrew, as English-speakers pronounce it. “YHWH” is a German-origin transliteration of the Hebrew tetragrammaton, because in German, “w” is pronounced the way English-speakers pronounce a “v”. So, I think for English speakers, “YHVH” is a more accurate transliteration. ##### Thank you for your use of “YHVH” for the Hebrew name of God. Since Jews consider it… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
2 months ago

I meant to paraphrase “male and female, God created them
and my reference to Genesis 1:29 should be Genesis 1:27.

Last edited 2 months ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Kate
Kate
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
2 months ago

There are relatively few recorded explicit commands from Jesus. While much of the rest of Scripture may arguably be subject to debate, those few commands aren’t. Matthew 6:9 is transparently clear “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…””.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

I’m afraid that NT scholars are not all in accord about the authenticity of the Lord’s Prayer, and some consider it, on textual and other evidence, to be a creation of the Early Church, based on the teaching of Jesus.

Ian
Ian
Reply to  Toby Forward
2 months ago

But if it is constructed from the teaching of Jesus, as you say, it remains authentic.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Ian
2 months ago

It depends on who is doing the constructing, and why. I find that I disagree with rather a lot of things which people claim to have ‘constructed from the teaching of Jesus’.

Ian
Ian
Reply to  Toby Forward
2 months ago

Well,perhaps. You,however suggest it is a creation of the early church based on the teaching of Jesus. That seems pretty authentic to me. Not exactly random people making up their own construction of the teaching of Jesus which we might or might not agree with.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Ian
2 months ago

I suppose that it’s as authentic as the gospels, which are themselves the work of creative theologians. It’s all to do with selection, omission context, and translation. After all, Jesus did not speak Greek.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

But Jesus did not command his followers to refer to God only in the masculine. In the Lord’s Prayer he was giving an example of how to approach a loving and personal God in an intimate way – not laying down a dictum for all time which overturned the understanding of God’s nature to be gleaned from Genesis and God’s appearance to Moses in Exodus.He was building on, not destroying, Pentateuch teaching.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

I believe Matthew 6.5-8 provides the context in which Matthew 6.9 should be read: not as indicating that the words of the Lord’s Prayer are the only ones ever acceptable but rather that we should try to focus on dialogue with God rather than a show of piety and some of what we might helpfully pray for and how. This does not seem to me to rule out addressing God in other ways (e.g. praying the Psalms, singing ‘Rock of ages’ etc) or other prayers, e.g. of thanksgiving or intercession for people in war-torn areas or who are sick.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

My views here: http://www.godde.com on the female in the person of the Holy One.

And my summary of some of Elizabeth Johnson’s views in her seminal book ‘She Who Is’.

Ymmv.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Susannah Clark
2 months ago

Thank you for your link to your godde.com web page.
I found myself saying “Yes!!!” to a lot of what you wrote.
Regarding, “Eve sinned first”, so God is walking in the Garden of Eden enjoying the cool of the evening (way too anthropomorphic for me, but there it is), and sees Adam and Eve with the latest in fig-leaf fashionwear and challenges them. And what does Adam do? Blames the woman.
Is has been thus, ever since.

Last edited 2 months ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Susannah Clark
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
2 months ago

Thanks for checking it out, Peter. Yes, the whole concept of ‘Eve sinning first’ is pretty appalling in the way that has been used to ‘position’ women. Besides, from a scientific point of view, it is absolutely obvious and demonstrable that there was no first Eve, made from Adam’s rib bone. These are mythical characters, positioned in the foundation myths of religious communities. To argue, as Paul does, for female subordination in some cases, based on the supposed actions of a mythical ‘pretend’ character, may have had dodgy credibility in the days before evolution and human ancestry were understood, but… Read more »

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
2 months ago

While I have much sympathy for Alexandra’s sentiments in her ‘love letter’, I’m feeling tired of the talk of the ‘evangelical takeover’. Another reading of the phenomenon, surely, is a failure of imagination and action by the catholic wing of the C of E (which is where I would place myself – at least until I crossed the Atlantic). HTB attracts people – I’m not sure that is a ‘take over’. The Catholic wing of the C of E is still bitterly divided, and some of its iterations are distinctly inward-looking. There’s nothing wrong with evangelizing or with attempting to… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
2 months ago

Alexandra Logan’s piece is so helpful in many levels. With reference to the West London Bow Wave, there has always been a place for distinctive movements within the C of E. But I suggest that until recently such movements have retained and respected something of the C of E’s prevailing culture, and tried to be an Anglican expression of their specialism, alongside the broad range of ministries offered by the C of E, For this reason they have not seemed so at odds with mainstream ministry. Perhaps the HTB planting model raises such concerns because senior leadership teams have embraced… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
2 months ago

I share Alexandra’s regret that a former ‘broad’ church has been taken over by a strange, exclusive religion emanating from HTB and which is now synonymous with the CofE. As someone who has been “shielding’ from Covid for two years, I must admit I’ve hardly missed attending a denomination I no longer recognise. Like Alexandra, I could write a ‘love letter’. But it would be to a Church which has been abolished, and changed into a strange sect promoting a simplistic, grinning message unlikely to appeal beyond a tiny minority who like that sort of thing.

Last edited 2 months ago by FrDavid H
Michael H
Michael H
Reply to  FrDavid H
2 months ago

If an exclusive religion emanating from HTB is now synonymous with the CofE, what is the point of LLF. If HTB is synonymous with the CofE, equal marriage is off the table. Alexandra writes that clergy continued to bury the dead during lockdown. In reality at the beginning there were very few burials. Five minutes at the crem, only two permitted to attend. For a friend who was widowed in April 2020, she was told that amounted to the vicar and one funeral director. Alexandra also writes that online worship was very quickly up and running. 30 minutes on Zoom… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Michael H
2 months ago

The point of LLF is to delay making any decision likely to upset the Evangelical Politburo.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Michael H
2 months ago

Some churches did indeed have online worship up and running very quickly. The Team Parish of St Luke’s in the City, Liverpool sent out Facebook invitations to interactive services at the beginning of the first lockdown. They were and are open to anyone who wants to watch and take part. The interaction takes part via typing in comments, so discussion of the Bible readings and contributing to the intercessions really does make us feel part of a worshipping community. Since they moved to in-person worship on Sundays the church services aren’t interactive, but the weekday daily office still is. Those… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Janet Fife
2 months ago

Indeed, and many parishes mobilised very quickly and effectively in this regard. One point I would make is that there are those of us who consider Facebook/Meta to have been a pretty malign organisation for much of the last decade or more. I, for one, am apprehensive about using FB, and not just on political grounds or because I view its founder and founding principles as having exerted a baleful impact upon public life in a number of countries. In fact an offer of online worship or other information from any parish via FB is (for me) a positive inducement… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Froghole
2 months ago

I agree re the ethics (not) of Facebook. I remain a member because it’s really my only way of keeping in contact with a family spread over 3 continents. And it does offer interactive worship, which YouTube and other forums don’t. Having not been able to attend church for some years now, that means a huge amount to me. I feel truly a part of a church fellowship for the first time since I can’t remember when. I’ve learned a lot too, and grown spiritually. Ethical decisions are not simple in our complicated world. I do refuse to use Amazon… Read more »

Susannah Clark
2 months ago

As always, I pay close attention to anything Martyn Percy writes, and I am particularly engaged in his latest piece with his reference to ‘homecoming’. I think there are lessons on homecoming that can be drawn from the spirituality of people like Francisco de Osuna and Teresa de Avila, and the contemplative practice of ‘recollection’ and the proper re-finding of oneself in Jesus Christ. I also greatly admire the superb book “The Seven Basic Plots” by Christopher Booker, with its analysis of recurring themes in art and literature, which I think point to something profound about human nature and its… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susannah Clark
2 months ago

That model of departure, transformation and return is a powerful one. There is a book by the mythologist Joseph Campbell. “the Hero with a Thousand Faces” telling exactly the same story. I wonder if Van Genep’s Rites of Passage could also be following the same path – separation, transition, and incorporation.

In all three texts it is noted that whilst the the transformation stage is important, it is the re-integration back into society afterwards that is often the tricky bit, but equally necessary.

Martyn Percy
Martyn Percy
2 months ago

I’m very grateful for the insightful comments from Susannah Clark. I have always cherished the work of Northrop Frye and others in the school of narrative, genre and plot analysis. According to one writer, there are only two stories. One : a man/woman goes on a journey. Two : a stranger comes to town

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