Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 14 May 2022

April Alexander ViaMedia.News Women Bishops: The Legacy of Baroness Howe of Idlicote (8 February 1932-22 March 2022)

Giles Fraser UnHerd How the Church attacks its own
“Bishops are presiding over a climate of fear”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Surviving Church and the World of Ecclesiastical Politics

Helen King sharedconversations Me and Christ Church: beauty and truth

Jeremy Morris Ad fontes On not leaving the Church of England

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Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
7 days ago

My goodness, TA contributors get something of a pasting from Jeremy Morris. Are ‘we’ really that bad? Doubtless he will reflect that with its open editorial policy TA published the article.

Froghole
Froghole
7 days ago

Dr Morris writes: “If you follow the website ‘Thinking Anglicans’, as I do, it’s sobering to see what people contributing to the ‘below the line’ comments seem to make of things. Sometimes I think the website – an amazingly well-maintained and informative one – ought to be renamed ‘Shrieking Anglicans’. There is the most grotesque parade of accusation, sweeping generalization, and sheer lack of Christian charity on display at times. And all this, when it’s almost certain that many of those commenting do not actually know the people involved, or the situations in detail, on which they have such strong views.” I agree… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Froghole
7 days ago

You are not alone, Froghole, in feeling the force of Dr Morris’s castigation. Me too. I frequently remind myself that my **opinion** counts for nothing, as do the opinions of many on TA. Recent rants, for example about WO, reveal only the state of mind of the ranters. Mr Wateridge, lawyer that he is, regularly urges us to stick to facts and chronology. He is right. All that aside, Froghole, your analyses and historical surveys, based as they are on extensive personal scholarship, are second to none – please keep them coming.

Susannah Clark
7 days ago

With regard to Christ Church (again) the final safeguarding charge against Martyn Percy is in a sense a distraction from the longer-term vendetta I believe was waged against him over several years. In the case of Martyn and Alannah, which being honest is a very sad affair, it is one person’s word against another. There can be no resolution except kindness, love, forgiveness. But a lot of grace may be needed for that. However, the danger is that case gets used (weaponised?) as a distraction, as if to erase years of what some would call outrageous claims about the Dean,… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
7 days ago

I am grateful to Ms Alexander for her observations, and I assume (although I cannot be certain) that she and Elspeth Howe knew each other even before the latter became prominent in Church affairs during the late 1990s, given that they had both been resident in what has, since 2005-06, become the same benefice (the Howes were at Henshaw, Cooper’s Hill Road, Nutfield). Lady Howe, along with the party agent, Denise Spencer, and the formidable and ubiquitous local party chair, Margaret McNaughten, effectively ran constituency affairs in East Surrey during the week, whilst Geoffrey was in Westminster. Lady Howe’s engagement… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
7 days ago

Herbert McCabe wrote in 1967 that the church was ‘quite plainly corrupt’ but that was not sufficient reason for leaving it. Jeremy Morris seems to be of a similar opinion, though, being an Anglican, he uses the language of ‘imperfections’ and ‘mistakes’ rather than corruptions. As to his remarks on Thinking Anglicans: I find it ironic that the author of A People’s Church: A History of the Church of England should be so scornful of a website where the plebs Dei are free to express their opinions. I’ve often felt that the real offence of TA, in the eyes of… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
7 days ago

As an outsider from across the pond, one who does not comment on some of the more gossipy C of E issues because I know nothing about them, my advice is not to beat up on yourselves over the comment about TA in the Ad Fontes piece. Don’t let yourself be so easily guilted. It’s a blog. Comment boards provide a great workout for the amygdala. (am I right about that Stanley?) Besides, catharsis can be therapeutic. Look at the comments on the UnHerd site. Some of the most entertaining ones are provided by what appear to be academic sophists… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
7 days ago

Rod, the amygdala, What a joy! I regard it as the Protestant organ. “Protestantism – the adroit castrator / Of art; the bitter negation / Of song and dance and the heart’s innocent joy” (R SThomas). The stifler of initiative, the finger-wagging inhibitor. The last sentence is me not Thomas. It’s part of the limbic system, so called because that group of connected brain areas is developmentally and evolutionarily (is there such a word?) at the margin of the (thinking) forebrain, just “above” the (reflex) midbrain, to put it in terms that would enrage neuroscientists. The amygdala seems to be… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
7 days ago

Stanley when I read this comment of yours I shrieked, almost reflexively, 😱 “what a terrific comment!” Lol ( but see below) On the larger question, I found the slam at TA commentators in the Jeremy Morris piece a tad precious. The citation from Austin Farrer is lovely indeed as a period piece. However it is anachronistic romanticism when placed in the service of apologetics for the institutional church. There is a tremendous power gap between the institution and those who occasionally shriek in response to anecdotes about perceived injustice in the church. So, which is the greater sin, apologetics… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
6 days ago

Rod, yes, the psychopharmacology of addiction is being uncovered – reward chemicals. Either we ingest chemicals to dull the pain of our wounds, or we develop behaviours that release such chemicals within us, the behaviours quickly becoming addictions – or demons as Scripture has it. If you want to know more of what I think about this, read: https://ramblingrector.me/2020/04/03/whats-your-little-helper/

But in any case I strongly recommend this talk by Sr Consilio who does marvellous work in Ireland – her talk begins 15 minutes in: https://www.icatholic.ie/portlaoise-novena-sr-consilio/

As she says, we are all in recovery.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
6 days ago

Tks Stanley. I am familiar with the talk by Sr. Consilio. I think I picked that up from one of your comments here at TA sometime ago, or it otherwise came my way. On the subject of addictions, by following the links/comments under the Surviving Church article posted May 15 (above), I came across your sermon for Lent, and the references to addictions. First rate! It is applicable to views on online debates as under consideration on this thread at the moment. I’ve attached a link for others on TA who may not have seen it. “My name is Rod,… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
7 days ago

I don’t recognise Jeremy Morris’ description of TA as being ‘Shrieking Anglicans’. There is a good deal of humour and polite disagreement with the views expressed. There is on the whole a willingness to apologise for sometime intemperate or ill judged remarks. I personally value TA both for the articles (which often I wouldn’t otherwise have seen), and the comments that challenge my own (occasionally lazy) assumptions. I hugely appreciate the volunteers that give up their time to run this site.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Fr Dean
6 days ago

Is TA what it is despite of or because of “sometime intemperate or ill judged remarks”? As a notorious evil liver in that respect, on the whole I find TA infinitely preferable to that cloying Anglican niceness which is so very effective at closing down debate.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Allan Sheath
6 days ago

When we look at Putin’s Russia, and ‘closing down debate’ by pressurising (or some would say murdering) journalists… I think we all need to be on our guard against people in various walks of life who try to ‘control the narrative’. A classic PR tactic in the corporate world is to try to control the narrative, only debating and discussing on an organisations’ own terms, but not engaging in the free-for-all of more open dialogue and discourse. Now here on ‘Thinking Anglicans’ we may sometimes lapse and become intemperate (and Simon will tell you that I have probably asked him… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Allan Sheath
6 days ago

I was once ticked off in a MDR interview for ‘not being very CofE’ I probed this further with the reviewer and it gradually became clear that what they meant was that I lacked the cloying niceness to which you refer. Of course the process of my probing only reinforced for the reviewer my perceived defect. Cheesy grins and faux sincerity are not pulling in the crowds are they?

Michael H
Michael H
Reply to  Fr Dean
6 days ago

I agree (as usual!) with Fr Dean and unusually I disagree with Froghole. ‘‘Thinking Anglicans…ought to be renamed ‘Shrieking Anglicans’. There is the most grotesque parade of accusation, sweeping generalization, and sheer lack of Christian charity on display at times” writes Jeremy Morris. Guilty as charged although my long running bugbear relates only to the bad mishandling of lockdown by the House of Bishops. The proof that Archbishop Welby made several disastrous decisions is evident in the chronology. As Archbishop he should have known that he had no authority to order clergy not to enter their churches. It took more than… Read more »

Peter
Peter
6 days ago

Thinking Anglicans provides a valuable service in promulgating articles of wide interest. The editors are to be thanked for that

The commentariat are essentially an echo chamber in which a small group affirm each others views and castigate anybody who falls outside a liberal progressive view. Ad hominem is the reflex response of many commentators.

Morris describes the position with precision.

I am still grateful to the editors of the site for their efforts

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Peter
6 days ago

Dr Morris describes the position with regard to ‘below the line comments on TA’ as being ‘grotesque’; is that a precise use of language Peter, or is it hyperbole?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Fr Dean
6 days ago

Comments on this site do from time to time accelerate off in the direction of the grotesque.

The point is that commentators are clearly ventilating their own ideas with often no meaningful connection to what can reasonably be considered as public knowledge.

To the extent that people who are commenting are doing do so on the basis of their own private contacts – which is obviously possible – it is reprehensible to use a public forum to circulate private conversations

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Peter
6 days ago

And yet here you are echoing Morris. Precision, eh? I find his comment about TA to be more of an over generalized ad hominem side swipe. Eye of the beholder I reckon. I know nothing about the personalities and particular governance politics referenced at the top of his piece; but I find his over all religious spin on Christianity in the two paragraphs above his citation from Farrar rather tone deaf in the light of systemic issues plaguing institutional Christianity pretty much everywhere.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
6 days ago

This is exactly my experience of Thinking Anglicans.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
6 days ago

Interesting, Tim. My experience of the site is somewhat the opposite. I find a great many of the comments here passionate–even the ones I may disagree with in whole or in part. A passionate people of God seems right to me. On the other hand, I find the posted articles a mixed bag. Some of those written by establishment types I have found rather supercilious and easily contested. I wonder what accounts for our different experiences of the same site?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
5 days ago

Indeed.

Kate
Kate
6 days ago

When the bishops talk of how they will approach the next phase of LLF they see it as a process of discernment and describe it as such, but comments on TA are described as grotesque. Inherent in that comparison is that bishops, and their admirers, know best. But is that accurate? Is it not at least possible that the Spirit moves in the comments on TA as surely as in the bishops’ deliberations? In fact, prophets rarely are welcomed because their message is often ‘grotesque’ to the establishment of their day. The church is clearly struggling. Isn’t it most likely… Read more »

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