Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 13 March 2024

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Life in all its fullness

Zac Koons The Living Church A Bronze Serpent Processional Cross

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Peter
Peter
1 month ago

Colin’s piece is poignant and sad.

It is impossible not to be moved by a sense of compassion for him personally. We are all frail and have all failed in so many ways. We all see the lengthening shadow as our day draws to a close.

Yet, his piece also confirms what was always clear. His message offers nothing that anybody wants or needs to hear.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

So now you presume to speak for everybody?

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Your arrogance, Peter, even oe’r tops mine. I see the lengthening shadows of Christianity, abusive, prejudiced, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, racist, lost in managerialism, lacking a Gospel vision. Sad and poignant indeed.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 month ago

You mention your ‘arrogance’ in your piece. I do not see you as arrogant in the slightest. You provided a good deal of useful reportage and are trying – with great sincerity and patience – to articulate a vision of the faith which is, as you and many others see it, relevant and necessary to the world in which we live. I cannot claim – and would not presume – to know if this prospectus is the right one (I lack the theological knowledge, equipment or competence to make any sensible determination). However, you have – if you will forgive… Read more »

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter: speak by and for yourself.

Colin’s pieces strengthen my faith in a way church’s blabla doesn’t.

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

I think, Peter, you can’t understand Colin, since you are into a bubble, church’s bubble.

For me and many others who left the bubble, the institutional church, but kept the faith, what Colin says is plainly obvious: the church narrative on God is unreliable – it contradicts experience, science, reason and morals. And such contradictions are perceived by more and more people as time goes by.

But, in the bubble, you can’t see it. For someone in the bubble it’s just immature faith, tainted by present day culture, errors verging on heresy.

How sad!

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter please don’t assume you speak for ‘everybody’. I enjoyed reading Colin’s piece, and I do not share your view of it .

John N Wall
John N Wall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Sorry to disagree, and in the strongest possible terms. I always find Colin’s essays thoughtful, truthful, profound, and precisely what I want and need to hear.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

I think an apology is called for. Your patronising description of Colin is offensive and profoundly unChristian.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

I have said not one thing about Colin. I have commented on his article. I have commented on our common humanity. I have commented on his message.

Not one word about him as a person.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

You are splitting hairs. You have said he’s not worth listening to. A terrible condemnation of a fellow Christian.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

That is not what I said.

I said his message is not one people want or need to hear. That happens to be true.

Are you saying no message from anybody should be ignored.

Seriously ??

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Comments from other people on this site prove you wrong.

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

I wanted to read what Colin wrote. I needed to hear it too, to remind me of the daily struggle felt by so many people, to recognise the imago Dei in themselves.

I need to read of Colin’s authentic humanity, and that of so many others. It helps me to remain rooted in peoples’ real lived experiences. That is an essential part of what informs my ministry.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

“It is impossible not to be moved by a sense of compassion for him personally.”

Just as you can’t know what others think, I can’t know what you think.
But your now-formulaic opening comment when you write about Colin Coward’s columns smacks of “Love the sinner, hate the sin”, that spectacularly condescending and paternalistic phrase primarily designed to make the speaker of it feel good about themselves.

Last edited 1 month ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
William
William
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 month ago

‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ is Christianity isn’t it? In what way is it condescending? Jesus had great compassion towards the woman caught in adultery but then said to her ‘go and sin no more’.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 month ago

You speak of what you do not know.

I experience personally many of the sentiments that Colin describes in his article.

Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter… you do not speak for me.

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter: Christianity, as in churches, is fading out; probably, in a century will be just a memory (including where now it looks like growing). Colin’s texts point to WHY this is so, and give a hint to a metamorphose for survival.

Of course, you shouldn’t recognize as Christianity what will come anew. It will be very different from what inhabits your mind.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  José Ribeiro
1 month ago

The Gospel of salvation from the coming Judgement, through repentance and faith in the substitutionary death of Christ, is and always will be at work – until He returns.

John N Wall
John N Wall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Yes, well, this evocation of the substitutionary theory of the atonement explains a great deal of the place Peter is coming from. The long shadow of Anselm obscures so much about the Christian faith.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  John N Wall
1 month ago

Since when is Anselm simply some boogie man? Obscures it for whom? Anselm is reading Romans 3 closely and a host of other good biblical warrants. The cross for Jesus Barabbas became the cross of Jesus the Christ. “Ah holy Jesus” — is a hymn of Anselm’s theology. The shadow of Pelagius is even be longer in his native Britain. Gustav Aulen may have preferred Christus Victor to Anselm or Abelard, but he understood the compelling character of Anselm’s model. As Tom Smail reminds us, the Bible gives us at least 4 models of the atonement, each with its particular… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Anglican Priest
Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

We live in an age without a John the Baptist or even an Amos, Hosea, Isaiah or Jeremiah. Do I think that the Lord has stopped speaking to us? No. He speaks through the Spirit and to many people.

Others will disagree, but I think Colin Coward is one of those, albeit one of very many. Do I agree with everything Colin says? No. But I think what he says about the importance of love is absolutely prophetic

Peter
Peter
1 month ago

Eighteen people attended Colin’s conference.

Facts are facts. Their is no audience for his message.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Jesus had twelve disciples. “Their (sic) is no audience for his message”.

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, there is such desperation in your arguments compared with the brief affirmations from others here that what I am writing is appreciated by many. It’s all about numbers, isn’t it, Peter? Yes, there were just eighteen people at the conference, people longing and searching and questioning, people yearning for deep spiritual awareness, unconditional love, and bishops and Archbishops who genuinely want a radical new Christian inclusion. Numbers aren’t that important. Truth, love, justice, wisdom . . .these qualities are of the essence. Where two or three are gathered together . . . Evaluating success by numbers is part of… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 month ago

Colin, I have no desire to wound you personally.

The imputation of ill will by others in regard to my comment is entirely wrong.

You preach that which is not true. That is an affliction for you and those who hear you.

Surely it is right to tell you the truth.

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

“You preach that which is not true.”

Wouldn’t “I don’t agree with what you preach” be better – unless you have 100% certainty?

You claim to know “the truth”. It’s “revelation”, you wrote in a previous thread post. How do you know it’s true though? (Genuine question)

My search for truth leads me to something similar to what Colin writes, although I’m open to the possibility that I may be wrong

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Nigel Jones
1 month ago

The New Testament is neither obtuse nor ambiguous.

It is perfectly obvious that Colin Coward is not articulating the meaning of the New Testament.

The notion that everybody has their own “truth” is a modern conceit.

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

I asked you how you know that your understanding is true.

You have replied by saying that the meaning of the NT is obvious.

Do you not want to answer my question then?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Nigel Jones
1 month ago

You will know it is true through repentance and faith in Christ

If you do not know if it is true, your problem is not epistemological. It is spiritual.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

So…if I repent and come to faith in Christ only then I will realise the truth that I needed to repent and come to faith in Christ? Gosh, God does make it hard for us, doesn’t she?

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

“The New Testament is neither obtuse nor ambiguous.”

Which explains, of course, why there have been literally thousands of books, articles, etc., explaining what it means, most contradicting each other in one way or another.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Try Matthew c18, vv19-20?

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Jesus built a church on only 12.

Ian H
Ian H
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

Yes….The size of an “audience” is no measure of truth. But it can be a measure of traction in the wider world.

However… Jesus didn’t build his church “on only 12″…. not even the 12 apostles but a quickly grown group of disciples in less than three years – numbering over 500 very rapidly..

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Every year, millions of people quit christian churches feeling / thinking / saying what one can read on Colin’s texts.

Doesn’t that count?

You may think they are wrong and you and churches are right, but, at least, give a moment’s thought to it. That would be clever.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  José Ribeiro
1 month ago

Could you provide the evidence for your statement ‘each year millions of people quit Christian churches’.

John Davies
John Davies
1 month ago

Loved the piece by Rev Koons, which is so perfect in its explanation of the symbolism of the healing serpent. I knew of the Mosaic story and its Christian interpretation in a very simple way, but he takes it to a new, and much deeper level of understanding for me. Thank you. And Colin, I’m sorry the meeting disappointed you in some ways – you never know, but it may yet prove to be the seed from which something very great will grow. ‘Life in all its fullness’ is a massive package to unwrap – and any honest Christian will… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
1 month ago

Are we correct that 18 people attended an event, that people here agree in large measure that Christianity in Britain is dying or in sharp decline, and also that the writing before us is taken to be honest and even poignant? That is my takeaway from the comments. I am not Peter and would not presume to speak for him. But I would say that, if the above is true, it is a matter for sorrow and deep thinking about what went wrong and whether (inside the CofE at least) the situation is salvageable. Perhaps “Christianity” has simply exited the… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

Indeed – very pertinent questions, as always: many thanks! There is now a considerable body of literature on secularisation, but why it has occurred as it has still strikes me as being something of a mystery. My present view (which may be subject to change) is that secularisation has been part of a process which has roots that are far deeper than many have often supposed – that it is not necessarily a growth dating from the second quarter of the 18th century, but perhaps to the late middle ages. Even before Nicholas Orme recently remarked upon attendance being far… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Froghole,

I was interested in your quote “an indifference which perhaps grew after attendance ceased to be compulsory in 1689″. I was not aware that attendance was ever compulsory. Could you, or anybody help to educate me here?

Thank you.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

I am afraid that it was. There is a reference to mandatory attendance and the Sabbath not being profaned in the laws of Ine (king of Wessex, 689-726), the first great Anglo-Saxon law code (see the great Felix Liebermann’s ‘Der Gesetze der Angelsachsen’ (1903) v. 1, 90-91; also F. L. Attenborough’s ‘Laws of the Earliest English Kings’ (1922), 36-37 – Frederick Attenborough was father of Dickie and David: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/laws-of-the-earliest-english-kings/0F769B4FF96DCA1E45EFAB0DCDC9BC58). Attendance at one’s parish church was treated by the courts Christian as compulsory, and we have records of cases in archdeacons’ courts. Customarily, offenders would be required to do penance; non-attendance… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Thank you. I have always been interested in the transition from an early church which was voluntary, to a church after Constantine where the bishops claimed the power to enforce Christian morals on an entire population, by use of the Roman army and the Christian mob. How and why did that happen? I have been trying to research this history, in my own amateur way because whilst the enforcement was over the entire population, it was often those who we might today label homosexual who got much the worst of it. It is clear that the same often brutal enforcement… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon Dawson
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

“How and why did that happen?” I think it is necessary to examine the politics of the early 5th century, and specifically the formation of the Codex Theodosianus (438). The western half of the empire (which was under its own administration) was in grave peril during that period, whilst the future of the eastern half was also in doubt: the Balkans were assailed by the Huns under Attila and Bleda in the 420s; the Vandals were penetrating north Africa (which was ruled partly by the east, and partly by the west), and relations with the Sassanids were mostly bad (there… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Thanks for that. I think my analysis matches yours, but I am grateful for the added detail. But the question for me is not the action of the Emperor but the action of the bishops. In a post (below) leading on from this discussion I wrote: “And if Europe and America move (as is likely) into a more insecure and impoverished future that may drive an increase in church attendance. But if those churches are led by people who see an advantage in linking the church to Conservative populist leaders such as Trump or Orban, would we see that as… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Yes, indeed (and thank you also for your message below also). If, per Adolf von Harnack’s prospectus, we need to strip away later accretions, perhaps it is the accretions dating from the 4th century, when the Church was *arguably* corrupted by its contact with the state. As you note, it took two to tango: the Church baited the state by promising victory in the field, whilst the state baited the Church with land, tax and other exemptions, and ‘converts’. For the great Arnaldo Momigliano the central feature of the 4th century was the competition between the Church and the state;… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Always for me the underlying question is not the wider question of of church history, but the more specific question of why did the church (and state) develop such a catastrophically violent teaching against homosexuality in those early centuries. Such teaching was not as strong in other religions, even within Judaism. In fact in many religions and cultures these LGBTQ type practises were seen as beneficial to society. Perhaps one answer is that one dominant strand of Pagan Roman religion was the worship of Cybele, which was originally a very strong and popular part of the overall Roman liturgical pattern.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon Dawson
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Many thanks, as ever! “why did the church (and state) develop such a catastrophically violent teaching against homosexuality in those early centuries” Although the punitive Theodosian Code was the work of an eastern emperor and his jurists composed within a Greek city, the governing elite was still largely functioning in Latin, and this remained the case well into the sixth century. It was therefore influenced by Roman culture. As you very likely know, there were some differences between Greek and Roman attitudes towards homosexual acts. Pederastic sex, sex between a slave owner and his slaves, and sex with male prostitutes… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Thanks again. Reference your first main paragraph, I think one has to be careful about taking the writings or actions of the the elite male culture as being representative of what is actually happening in the entire society. Up to and including the second century CE I think more recent scholarship would argue that the picture was more varied, more nuanced and more accepting of male homosexuality in practice, despite what was proclaimed in public. There is evidence of same-sex male marriage, and the dramatic growth of the cult of Antinous, the Emperor Hadrian’s same sex lover who was declared… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

“Up to and including the second century CE I think more recent scholarship would argue that the picture was more varied, more nuanced and more accepting of male homosexuality in practice, despite what was proclaimed in public.” Many thanks. Indeed, you are right to sound a note of caution. However, what I do think is evident is the almost complete hypocrisy of Roman mores: homosexual acts were effectively permissible when performed between adults and children, or between owners and slaves where usually, in such cases, the adult or the owner was the ‘active’ partner and the child or slave the… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

You say it took two to Tango. But did it? Does it?

You are effectively treating church and state as two, rather than one. Article 37 teaches us that the King has equal responsibility for both.

Of course, Tango is an Orange-flavoured beverage. Whether this influenced your choice of metaphor I cannot tell.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  T Pott
1 month ago

Yes – apologies for not making myself clear. I was referring only to a specific, if formative, period of late antiquity (specifically c. 350 to c. 450) and not to post-Reformation England. Moreover, even after the Reformation the Church has been reduced to something akin to a ‘department of state’ for only episodic periods, such as the ‘long 18th century’ (to use Jonathan Clark’s phrase), whilst the royal supremacy has now perhaps been a comparative nullity (and polite legal fiction) for at least almost a century.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Froghole, this is a late entry into the discussion, and one with a distinction between church and state from a very different place. But it being St. Patrick’s day and all, I wonder if you have a take on this? It is written from an American R.C. perspective. Title: Ireland Joins the World and Leaves the Church.

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/ireland-church-catholic-fintan-o-toole-baumann

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Thanks Rod. I know Ireland quite well as my husband’s family come from there so we visit quite often. Although the influence of the church has collapsed it does not seem to have lost its moral compass, apart from, as the article describes, high level financial corruption. It raises an interesting question. Where do the moral rules guiding a society come from, and what to do if the religion (the claimed source of morality) collapses. As part of my studies into the history of homosexuality I have spent a lot of time studying indigenous culture across the world, before each… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Thanks Simon. With regard to your question about what may be learned, I thought back to an experience I had as adjunct faculty lecturing in ‘world religions’ at Cape Breton University back in the nineties. There were several Mi’kmaq female students in the class. The Mi’kmaq are matriarchal. We had a a young member of the Jewish community come and speak to the class about Judaism. A really interesting dialogue resulted. What was interesting is that the conversation, as animated by what the Mi’kmaq were interested in, was not about God and doctrine but about family and cultural spiritual practices… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Rod Gillis
30 days ago

Thanks Rod, that a link between Judaism and Canadian indigenous culture is fascinating. What it brought up for me is the question of patriarchy, and the challenge to patriarchy. There is currently a lot of work being done challenging traditional assumptions in academia about patriarchy, especially when one looks at early cultures or indigenous cultures. Traditional scholarship assumed that patriarchy is the norm both for human and animal behaviour, but that idea can no longer be sustained. Just to give a couple of quotes. “Neolithic cultures were relatively matrifocal, peaceful, and nonhierarchical in the social arrangement. It should be noted… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon Dawson
30 days ago

Here we are still very much on a learning curve in dialogue with First Nations as part of Truth and Reconciliation. In fact, I think we could call it Truth, Reconciliation and Visibility. There were several Mi’kmaq communities or ‘reserves’ around where I grew up. At that time they were invisible to the wider society. Now through higher education, arts and culture, people have visibility. A question that I ask with some sadness is: how could we not have known about them? I’ve attached a link to a Mi’kmaq studies program at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. Click on… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Isn’t drawing a significant distinction between Church and State in past ages though overlooking that the citizens and worshippers were one and the same body of people?. A person does not think one thing as a churchman and another as a subject. Long before the Reformation bishops were often members of royal or noble families. Perhaps they fought their own corners but they were not fundamentally different groups. Now it is a different matter although Archbishop Welby is an old Etonian. His choice for bishop of London was chairman of the Post Office but we got Chief Nurse. Are they,… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  T Pott
1 month ago

But the citizens and worshippers were not the same body of people. Throughout history people have wanted to follow different religions, and so the citizens could be split into different groups depending on their faith. They were not a homogenous group I raised this issue with Froghole to question the problem of Christian leaders working with political leaders to impose Christian based laws on non Christian citizens. Whether we are talking about 4th century bishops getting Roman emperors to tear down pagan temples, or English medieval bishops creating the basis of English civil law by cutting and pasting the penitential… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Many thanks to you and T. Pott. I think that it was certainly the case that bishops in late antiquity came to be drawn from the same social milieu as many civic leaders: https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520280175/holy-bishops-in-late-antiquity and in parts of the eastern empire there came to be something of a revolving door between some of the middle and upper echelons of the civil bureaucracy and the ecclesiastical bureaucracy. However, much of the time the position was rather more complex: for example in late medieval England there were certainly bishops who were from the highest social strata (Arundels, Beauforts, Bourchiers, Courtenays, Nevilles, Scropes,… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Froghole, Thanks for this, an interesting corrective to my assumption that many of the ruling cadre in the church came from the same background as the ruling cadre in the state. But even if the church provided a route upwards for bright young men of humble origin, one still has to question the revolving door between Church and State. It seems that in those English mediaeval times it was common for church officials to have state appointed authority, and to carry out the duties similar to a “minister”, or even “prime minister” in a modern government. I suppose that due… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

My apologies for being impertinent but I think you make a very good point. Yet I wonder. Was there ever a time that all, or almost all, believed? I don’t know.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  T Pott
30 days ago

Thanks. I don’t know that answer either.

But for me what is important is how a religion treats those who do not believe.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

I agree with much in your last paragraph. Where I part company is over the idea that the church is “for” something, though you may have a version of that I have not encountered. The church is for preaching the Gospel and administering faithfully the sacraments. I doubt you disagree. This is a long topic, but “faith burning fainting” may be something that makes sense in an establishment container, where the idea is to be something like the NHS, that is, a services organization. I have long defended the idea that establishment is but one model among others and has… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Froghole, I am afraid the biblical answer to your analysis is hard on the ear.

Church decline is not a complex phenomenon. It is a work of judgement by God.

The decline of the Church of England is His response to the apostasy of the Church of England.

James
James
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter: I think you are right. But not many here will thank you for saying so, the concept of divine judgment being considered “pre-modern”, “fundamentalist” etc – although it is very evidently central to Anglican theology Ian Paul on ‘Psephizo’ has opined that Colin Coward is a kind of “Christian Buddhist”; I do not know if Mr Coward would own that description, but often it seems to me that we are faced with two different religions using the same language but meaning very different things. The contributors here seem to range from fairly conservative (except about homosexuality) to very radical… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  James
1 month ago

I think Colin is more Gnostic than Buddhist, but that is rather splitting hairs.

He is not articulating anything close to the historic Christian faith

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, you wrote above: “The notion that everybody has their own “truth” is a modern conceit.” Agreed.

So isn’t discerning what is objectively true more important than adhering to “the historic Christian faith”?

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

It is fascinating how often those declaring something to be a “divine judgment” have discovered that God agrees with their judgment.

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

There is no silver bullet to avert decline: neither acceptance of same sex marriage, nor rejection; neither the way of a societal church, nor that of a righteous sect.

Things go deeper: the traditional narrative on God (to which churches stick) is no longer credible. Judaism / Christianity was born in ancient cultures, very far from ours, with different understandings of Nature and Man. And such ancient cultural traits were incorporated as Essentials in the narrative. They aren’t.

This is the rub.

And Collins knows it. And Peter (and most of christians) don’t.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  José Ribeiro
1 month ago

Am still waiting for the evidence to support your earlier statement: Every year, millions of people quit christian churches.

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

The way forward is that Collins is travelling: to deconstruct and expurgate archaisms.

This is done amidst the hostility of his Christian brothers. That’s extremely painful and from here stems his anguish.

I speak from self experience and I send him my warmness, my endless warmness.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  José Ribeiro
1 month ago

Just a brief response. It is a bit narrowly sighted to think that the remedy you are encouraging hasn’t been on offer. You can get it at churches all over the US, for example, and elsewhere. And in the UK. If the CofE wants to adopt this, they can join those already offering it. As for this resolving anything, count me robustly skeptical.

Last edited 1 month ago by Anglican Priest
James
James
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

It’s called Unitarianism, isn’t it? Lots of shuttered churches in the NE United States went down that route, now they are cafes and gyms. But the old white childless world is being demographically replaced. The future belongs to those who show up for it,

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  James
1 month ago

Correct, in large measure. But also a large swath of “liberal” denominations other than Unitarianism. I.e., breakaway denominations. United Church of Christ (UCC). The PCUSA, ELCA, UMC, into sub-sections — all collapsing in domino fashion. Way ahead of the author of this essay, in terms of a “progressive” vision that will attract and comfort. They are what they are: redoubts of aging 60s folk, disillusioned. But they are not the attractive choice of anyone under 60.

Last edited 1 month ago by Anglican Priest
Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

Agreed. Perhaps the problem is that historically the church has mostly just talked about Jesus, rather than followed him.

Alexei Navalny seems to have done what Jesus did. I suspect that’s the response most faithful to the historical figure of Jesus, in which case it will probably remain a faith for very few. I’m not sure I’m brave enough for that.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

“…they are not the attractive choice of anyone under 60.”

In my experience, very little in the way of organized religion is attractive to those under 60….and even less to those under 40.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

You have said this before, and I have no doubt it reflects the cultural circle in which you move. Obviously the huge revivals and day long prayer times at places like Asbury, Wheaton, Beeson are outside that circle. The Nashville Christian nightclub run by African-American Christians has to turn people away. We have plenty of younger Christians at Wycliffe in Toronto, and there are even more at Tyndale University College. The black churches in my neighborhood have no problem attracting younger Christians, as do the big non-denominational churches. Does the Episcopal Church experience what you describe? Yes. The statistics are… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

TEC is also, at least in part, apostate.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

Do you have any strategy or proposals which might halt decline in TEC?

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

It is hard to know whether as a contributor here you are genuinely interested in thinking about things, as against taking sides. I have spent my professional life trying to halt the decline in TEC. TEC wanted to go a different direction, and it has done that. Given that they have done that, I have referred to the need to address the surfeit of dioceses and bishops, now no longer needed given the size of the decline. But TEC will likely do what it wants, just as we see in the CofE. I do applaud them for following the numerical… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

Thank you. Presumably if TEC had gone in a more conservative direction the decline would have been halted. You don’t say what your ” different direction” was.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

What percentage of the overall population of people under 40 do these numbers represent?

As of August 2020, more than 50% of the US population is under the age of 40. (https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/04/us/millennials-outnumber-boomers-trnd/index.html). That’s 162 million people, give or take. Even allowing that these places you cite are attracting half-a-million or more under-40s on a regular basis, that’s 0.03 percent of the total relevant population; multiply that raw number of attendees by 10 (5 million) and it’s still only 3 percent of the total.

This is not a recipe for turning around a century or more of decline.

Last edited 1 month ago by Pat ONeill
Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

And your point is? I have said many times that TEC will not likely survive, and progressive Christianity offers lots of choices already, and it is shrinking rapidly.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

My point is that “conservative Christianity” (presuming that is what you wish your examples to represent) is really doing no better in terms of the relevant demographic cohort.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

Evidence for that, please? Thank you.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

BTW, watching the Passion 2024 concert series being interviewed. 60,000 college students packing out a stadium to hear the Gospel being proclaimed in music. I guess we can call that basic Christianity, “conservative” Christianity, Christianity. Lots of hunger and thirst in this generation for Jesus Christ and the Gospel. “is really doing no better” would require a counterpart in liberal, progressive dress. That is where you find baby-boomers, aging churches like TEC, and so forth. You can see the same demographic at the local non-denominational church all over the country (Antioch fellowship, for example). Peoples’ lives being changed and hope… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

Again, 60,000 out of how many in the wider community? What’s the percentage?

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

Pat. You said: “…very little in the way of organized religion is attractive to those under 60….and even less to those under 40.” I repeat my point. It would be accurate to say that *you* do not know those under 60 or 40 interested in “organized religion” (whatever that is). “Very little” as you say. But, again to repeat, there is plenty of evidence that substantial numbers of those under 40 are indeed flocking to churches and Christian gatherings. I know them personally, teach them, and see their gatherings full of worship, hope, love and service. I think the point… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Anglican Priest
Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

“Evidence for that, please? Thank you.”

See my previous post, outlining the demographics. At this point, I believe it is your turn to present actual numbers and not just anecdotal evidence that the places and programs you cite are drawing statistically significant numbers of under-40 congregants.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

You make the assertion and then it is my job to produce the evidence?

I was thrilled to hear this morning about the chaplaincy at the Citadel. 165 people baptized in the last 2.5 years.

I am very comfortable in the position that progressive churches can’t come within 15% of the growth and character of traditional Christianity with the under 40 category. And that’s probably generous. Progressive religion is a baby-boomer thing. Most people who accept the cultural views of liberal Christianity can’t be bothered to go.

Last edited 1 month ago by Anglican Priest
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

I should add, amongst all of the literature I have consumed on the subject of ‘secularisation’ one work made a particular impression on me several years’ ago, and it was a paper by a German academic, then at Innsbruck, Jochen Hirschle: ‘”Secularization of Consciousness” or Alternative Opportunities? The Impact of Economic Growth on Religious Belief and Practice in 13 European Countries’ (in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, v. 52, no. 2 (2013), at 410-24). Does religious belief decline as a function of increasing prosperity, noting that it has declined markedly in almost all advanced economies, and is… Read more »

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

I’ve read once, but can’t remember the reference, a much informed and structured paper where correlation was exhibited not between unreligiosity and gdp per capita, but the level of social security and free public health care.

This points to freedom from insecurity as driving factor. And could explain the relative delay of the States.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  José Ribeiro
1 month ago

I think there is much in this. In Britain many of those keenest on the creation of the welfare state amongst the ‘New Liberals’ of the 1900s (such Leonard Hobhouse or Charles Masterman), whose work led to the 1909 budget, were actual or soi-disant churchmen. A few years’ later they were followed by George Lansbury and R. H. Tawney. Tawney felt that collectivism would permit a return to more benign Old Poor Law principles (1601-1834). They all felt that collective provision would help create a civitas dei on Earth. What they perhaps failed to appreciate was that the absence of… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

I am likely biased, but I have been very impressed with movements like Chemin Neuf in France, taking over historic abbeys, retreats, targeting the younger Catholic, married couples, good educational training. I taught once at Catho in Paris (Catholic University) and was likewise impressed with the education and ethos. I worship at St Ignace in Paris fairly regularly and it is full, big family presence, lots of young couples, also St Germain de Pres — very active. I have the sense that notional, ‘established’ church-going had pretty much washed out entirely, leaving in its wake more volitional belonging and involvement.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Anglican Priest
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

Many thanks for your comments. I agree entirely: this is why I have felt it essential to do something about the buildings. Briand, the rapporteur of the loi, eventually came to realise that the assumption of title and responsibility had been a boon to the Church, and had eventually helped to reconcile most of it to the Third Republic (Lavigerie’s attempt in 1890 had perhaps really been for political show). On my last visit to Paris I attended mass at St Germain (partly an act of homage to my Maurist heroes Mabillon, Montfaucon, etc.). Even allowing for the fact that… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Have you seen it recently? The restoration is stunning.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

I have not, alas. My last visit there was shortly before the pandemic. I am delighted to read it has been restored so well (the ministry of culture has come in for much criticism for some of its recent restorations, notably at Chartres). Thank you also for your other posts!

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Stunning. It has been worth the wait. BTW, if you made a donation, you get a star in the firmament ceiling. Dazzling down at you.

James
James
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

The interesting question is what kind of continent (or Britain) will you have in which the white population is largely godless but the black population is Christian or Muslim and the brown population is Muslin or Hindu – at least in group identity terms. A pretty combustible recipe, I think.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

It is all too easy to rely on quantitative analysis and equate faith with church attendance. It is much harder to do a qualitative analysis in terms of the type and quality of people’s faith across history. Such analysis also involves making difficult value judgements. In Salisbury diocese we have a link with the church in South Sudan and many people have made liaison visits. Invariably they return with reports of the depth and quality of Christian faith in the people they have met. So is it better to live in a war zone or refugee camp with a deeper… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

All the evidence indicates that the Church of England has become an apostate church. Colin’s piece is a picture of where that leads.

There is no golden future at the end of this progressive “Rainbow”.

Only buildings that are as cold and as empty of life as the grave.

Stuart
Stuart
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

That may be true, but there’s no direct line from cause to effect.

Job’s friends made much the same mistake, linking Job’s suffering to some wrong he had done. That wasn’t the case, and that’s important. There are plenty of examples in history of the ungodly triumphing and the godly failing and suffering.

God’s promise to us isn’t success as the world understands it. It’s to be with us always and grant us the peace that the world cannot give.

Numbers don’t tell us very much about what God thinks about things.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Stuart
1 month ago

Suffering and apostacy are not the same.

The mark of apostacy is false teaching. Empty churches are the consequence.

I have neither suggested nor asserted that the issue is the numbers. The issue is false teaching.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Stuart
1 month ago

Not sure how the exemplary Job is relevant in discussing decline in churches.

Stuart
Stuart
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

What I think it is is a warning to all of us that God’s cause and effect can be surprising. Earthly success doesn’t mean that we are doing God’s will and earthly failure doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re not.

Consider some of the very full churches where leadership scandals have occurred.

That’s all.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
1 month ago

PS–it would sad if the ABC (and colleagues) were simply trying to ride the established church to the end of their tenure, and then “apres moi le deluge.” Another X years and it won’t be my problem.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Interesting pairing Colin Coward with Zac Koons. I went looking for commonalities between the two articles.–a reflex that comes from a half century of preparing sermons. My trade is to address a set of lections that, on first glance at least, seem to have little in common. Something, albeit often tenuous, usually surfaces. So it is with Coward and Koons. Coward references the cosmic in terms of unconditional love. Koons references the cosmic in terms of the larger soteriological perspective. So there is a start. Lent is a time of story telling in the liturgy. Here we began with the… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

How is the church “incorporating prophetic mystical claims” – from Coward, or anybody else – anything other than base syncretism ?

It defiles the Gospel and renders instead a futile bagload of fictional notions.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Speaking of The Cosmic here is a link to, Cosmic: A Homily for Holy Thursday by the late Stanley Monkhouse, from about one year ago.

https://ramblingrector.me/2023/04/04/cosmic/

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Thank you for the link. A wonderful homily from a lovely man.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

I think Peter’s rather unpleasant opening comment and his equally unpleasant defence of it is slightly uncharacteristic of him. I wish he would have the courage to give his full name. His contributions here and elsewhere have been helpful in stating robustly what the conservative position might be. It is a very vocal and, I suspect, quite small minority within the CofE. It is worth recalling that ‘Anglican Mainstream’ organised a conference a number of years ago at which only a handful turned up. I don’t think one can read much into numbers. But I do think there is a… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

I despair of the way everything is personalised.

Colin Coward is not articulating anything that even remotely resembles orthodox Christianity.

If you hold to the historic understanding of both Christianity and Anglicanism you will disapprove of and correct such heterodoxy.

You obviously disagree with my theological position but can you please not muddy the waters with these insinuations I am being unpleasant

I am doing nothing more than any orthodox believer is required to do.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

At the heart of the historic evangelical tradition is what is called a ‘love for the lost’ – the priority of mission and outreach. But when it comes to those considered to be theologically and biblically ‘lost’ the present conservative approach lacks anything resembling love or reaching out at all. Loving the theologically lost might, like other familiar expressions of mission, include seeking out meeting places to talk, building relationships for mutual understanding – theological alpha? (I know this language will be winding up others here but please bear with me). Turning up here and simply telling people they are… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

David,

I have said all the evidence is that the Church of England is an apostate church. I have said Colin Coward’s message is not orthodox – because it is not. I have said the idea we all have our own “truth” is a conceit – because it is.

I do not personalise it in the way you clearly imply. This is a blog. It is a place where ideas and claims are exchanged.

I reject completely the claim that I am shouting at and insulting individuals.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
1 month ago

For what it is worth. The account of the Christian Faith that the man named “Peter” here defends is the same faith of the church catholic: from Origen and Ireneaus; from Antioch to Alexandria, on to Augustine, Jerome, Bede, the Cappadocians, Gregory the Great, all the great monastics (Honoratus and Cassion, to Benedict and then Bernard and the Cistercians, and the monks of la Trappe), Aquinas, and then disputants (even) at the Reformation period (Luther, Sixtus, Clementine, Calvin, Erasmus, Bellarmine, et al). This isn’t a debate about a malcontent at TA, but about the character of Christian faith and its… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

I am no scholar.

Therefore it is an encouragement and a relief to read your confirmation of the scope and depth and historicity of the church catholic.

James
James
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

Well, you said it before I did. Peter articulates the orthodox catholic and evangelical faith which I was ordained to teach and promote. I have never met Colin Coward (who is however known to the presenters of ‘Anglican Unscripted’) and wouldn’t and couldn’t comment on his mood – although Andrew Godsall does comment on the mood of Justin Welby, for whom he is ‘very sorry’. All I can say is that I don’t recognise Mr Coward’s descriptions of faith as orthodox Christianity: whether they are ‘Buddhistic’ (Ian Paul) or ‘Gnostic’ (Peter), they are not catholic. It’s not much fun living… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  James
1 month ago

Thank you James for your comments. I note that at ordination the following question is asked:

Do you believe the doctrine of the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it, and in your ministry will you expound and teach it?
To which the ordinand says: I believe it and will so do.

It seems that some no longer believe it nor intend to expound it and teach it.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Bob
1 month ago

Bob – and others here. The idea that ordination vows commit clergy and bishops to a belief in fixed, unchanging doctrine is nonsense and being claimed by people who really should know better. The Church of England has always believed in the development of doctrine. Upholding doctrine has never meant guarding against any change. It means allowing doctrine to faithfully develop in response to new questions and understandings in each generation. One hundred years ago CofE doctrine of marriage was – lifelong/no divorce possible, the duty to have children, no artificial contraception and having sex without the intention to create children is a… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

Who said “belief in a fixed, unchanging doctrine”? Er, you did, David. The Church of England has its own ways of changing doctrine, it’s called a two-thirds vote in the three houses of General Synod. Which is why the Bishops had been trying to do an end run around “same sex marriage” with the nonsensical attempt to distinguish between civil marriage and “holy matrimony” – until legal advice (which they refuse to publish) and a threat of legal action by Nicky Gumbel put the kibosh on this. (Andrew Goddard has expounded on this at length in “Fulcrum” and “Psephizo”.) As… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  James
1 month ago

Bob clearly thinks doctrine does not change. I gather from your comments that you accept the concept of the development of doctrine. And I accept that the discernment process for this is exactly what we are engaged in. Canon B30’s claim that marriage is ‘the teaching of our Lord’ is more problematic. What teaching is this referring to – rather than teaching about divorce? And that is another problem – the canon claims marriage is ‘a union permanent and lifelong’. Well we have also changed that too – and by the same discernment process.

James
James
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

David – ‘doctrine’ just means ‘teaching’. There can be false doctrine and true doctrine. There certainly is ‘development of doctrine’ in church history – think of the articulation of the Trinity and Christology- but that is clarification in understanding, not the repudiation of the past. Further, the development or clarification of doctrine is something that can only take place in a *catholic way – which puts recent changes by the Church of England in a rather problematic light. We may discover that changes over divorce and ordination were actually false turns because they were not from the mind of the… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

I have merely quoted from the current Church of England ordination service. You can infer what you wish, but do not put words in my mouth!

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Bob
1 month ago

You did more than ‘merely’ quote. You suggested that ‘some no longer believe it nor intend to expound it and teach it’. It is clear who you have in mind. Ian Paul regularly says this too. I took the trouble to give my understanding of developing doctrine – backed up by the words of a conservative theologian. Neither you and nor James have responded to this.

James
James
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

I have now responded – your understanding of “the development of doctrine” needs to be shaped by catholic thinking, not Protestant sectarianism where everyone’s “experience” is treated as the voice of the Holy Spirit.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  James
1 month ago

Thank you for responding James. I don’t think I have ever heard a conservative evangelical distance themselves from the word Protestant and argue for decision making based on the ‘Church Cathoiic’ and the need to be shaped by ‘catholic thinking’. Since when have evangelicals seen thinking like catholics as their basis for belief? Nor do I know what ‘Church Catholic’ actually means in practice. But thanks again. Happy to leave it.

James
James
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

David, let me explain – although as a tutor in an Anglican theological college you ought to know this! The ‘Church Catholic’ refers to the Great Tradition of faith that historic Anglicans share. Historic Anglicanism is nothing other than Reformed Catholicism. Magisterial Protestants are nothing other than Reformed Catholics. That is why we recognise the Catholic Creeds (Apostles, Niceno-Constantinopolitan, Chalcedon) and affirm the usefulness (but not the necessity) of episcopal order for keeping good order (a belief that is now sorely tested). That is why we esteem and use the writings of the first six centuries or so (the value… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  James
1 month ago

That famous anglican dictum, in other words,

1 Bible, 2 Testaments, 3 Creeds, 4 Councils, 5 Centuries.

The early anglican apologists rejected the claims of the papacy, but laid hold of the Church Catholic.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

I have witnessed the fruits of this developing doctrine in my own city: a church where Hindu and Islamic chanting replaces Christian worship as people are encouraged to be led by the spirit; another church where it is preached that Christ had to repent of his sins before God could use him; another where an area dean preached that Christ was prejudiced; another where a reading from the Koran denying the divinity of Christ replaced the gospel reading at a carol service. All of these ordained individuals took the same oath, and clearly have no intention of keeping it despite… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Bob
1 month ago

‘All of these ordained individuals took the same oath, and clearly have no intention of keeping it despite their robes, choirs and liturgy. I rest my case.’ Why do you assume that? I have never been part of a church where all my fellow clergy interpret doctrine and faith in ways I agree with – sometimes quite the opposite. But rather than assuming this is a wilful abandoning of the faith it is at least possible that they believed they were faithfully interpreting and expressing it in the new and very challenging pastoral and missional contexts of our time. btw,… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

The reading of the Koran was not in Glasgow, it was more recent than that, and the archdeacon saw nothing wrong with denying the divinity of Christ. He also doesn’t believe that repentance is necessary either. The clergy I mention are denying fundamentals of the Christian faith. That is not faithfully interpreting scripture! It’s heresy.

James
James
Reply to  Bob
1 month ago

Where was this Koran incident, Bob? And the Hindu and Islamic chanting?
I know of Anglican clergy who are understandably frightened of sharing the Gospel with Muslims because of threats of violence to them – and actual attacks on cars or homes in Birmingham.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  James
1 month ago

In Sheffield James, in Inclusive Churches, one a parish church and the other an LEP.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Re: the predictable unfolding of the conversation on this thread and previous, generated ostensibly by the views of Colin Coward, I lean on an old cliche i.e. ” The one thing about banging your head against a brick wall, is that it feels so good when you stop”. I try and keep it in view when confronted with anonymous and pseudo anonymous true believers of all sorts and conditions. However, there is another saying, one used in medicine i.e. “above all else do no harm”. The treatment by the church of GLBTQ2 communities needs to be considered from the perspective… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

It is not uncommon for orthodox leaders in the Church of England to speak on the basis of anonymity. I can assure you it is going to get a lot more common in the months ahead. SSM Rites have put a hand grenade at the heart of every Church of England parish. People are perfectly entitled to be guarded in their disclosures. In any event, you make far too much of the matter. If I point out the fact that Christ died in our place to meet the requirements of God’s justice, it does not need to be corroborated by… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

”The one thing about banging your head against a brick wall, is that it feels so good when you stop” — nothing is stopping you!

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 month ago

My comments, such as they are, are for the general audience at TA and in solidarity with those experiencing harm from church policies. I’ve concluded that engaging with some specific fellow commentators on the specifics of the sexuality issue is pointless. No common ground whatsoever. “Above all else do no harm’ and “The one thing about banging your head against a brick wall, is that it feels so good when you stop”. Hope that clears things up. Cheers mate.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

I understood what you meant. Though you may not see it, it also applies to yourself. It applies to all who observe the decline and offer this or that comment. I agree with Mr Hobbs below. Things get too personal here. Not enough thinking. Cheers to you as well!

Last edited 1 month ago by Anglican Priest
William
William
1 month ago

It does need to be pointed out that some very unpleasant language has been used about orthodox believers on this site; the claim is regularly made that orthodox Christian belief amounts to ‘spiritual abuse’. If people are going to regularly throw out such comments then they need to expect their views to be robustly challenged.

Francis James
Francis James
1 month ago

There are times when this forum makes me laugh, & I love it when Peter throws around accusations of heresy, apostasy etc. In fact I have a made up a bingo card to celebrate his efforts. Worth noting that many more Brits believe in the Moon landing hoax conspiracy than in his brand of christianity.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Francis James
1 month ago

I am afraid you are engaging in your own version of wishful thinking if you imagine that orthodox christianity in this Country is less common that moon landing conspiracy theorists

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

And once again, Peter grabs the label “orthodox” and applies it to his own beliefs and practices, thereby branding anyone who thinks differently as a heretic.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

I’m not grabbing anything. I can and will choose my own vocabulary

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

So, we’re in Humpty-Dumpty land?

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

William
William
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

Lewis Carroll’s ‘Humpty-Dumpty speech’ is a serious philosophical debate about the meaning and use of language. It is extremely relevant to our age. It’s extraordinary to think that it was included in a Victorian children’s book.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Francis James
1 month ago

Congratulations on retaining your sense of humour- it cheered me up a little. Prior to that I was thinking that if ‘that’s what it’s all about’ this is the wrong Hokey Cokey for me and I couldn’t reach the exit fast enough

William
William
Reply to  Francis James
1 month ago

Quite a statement. Any evidence to back this up?

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  William
1 month ago

I think this thread (and the particular attacks on “Peter”) has long abandoned any use of evidence. The “misunderstandings” have all the characteristics of deliberate twisting of what’s been said; the worst spin that can be imagined put into print.

Is this what the forum has descended to? Being as polite as it might deserve… whichever “side” one might take it’s a poor example of debate or model of “grace and truth”.

It’s Lent… maybe give it up until after Easter… 2030 would seem quite early enough restart !

James
James
Reply to  Ian Hobbs
1 month ago

By Easter 2030 on current trends a third of the Church of England will be gone. Christianity will continue and thrive in England but the prospects for the C of E – not so good. But not many people here seem able to connest the dots.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Ian Hobbs
1 month ago

You are trying to put a spin on Peter’s self-assured judgementalism.

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