Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 18 April 2020

Andrew Walker Ship of Fools The doubting disciple

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of Church: dispersed yet communal & catholic

Kelvin Holdsworth Grace Received: communion on the battlefield

Emma Major Building community in a crisis Church Online: Nothing New

Ann Memmott Ann’s Autism Blog Who is welcome? A reflection for churches, during online times.

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Coercion and Control and the Church

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Susannah Clark
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Thanks so much for posting Ann’s article. Neuro-diversity brings gift to church communities, and to families, and workplaces. I love the drawing in her article, which reminds us that Jesus ‘thought outside the box’, and reached outside the box to others, and we should do the same. Having family members who are autistic (and gifted) in my close private life, I try not to romanticise autism with its very real frustrations and pressure points, and the barriers that society constructs for people who don’t conform to the ‘acceptable’ norm; but I am also very much aware what gift neuro-diverse people… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Andrew Walker on Thomas: the Thomas story tells me that following Jesus means putting my hands in the wounds of others, sharing them, open to being wounded myself, allowing my wounds, my mistakes, my agony, my tears at the injustices of the world to be agents of healing. Thomas was no doubter. He was the first dirty hands, rolled up sleeves guy.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I recall that Archdruid Eileen (who, in reality, is a male C of E priest) wrote a wonderful piece in ‘defence’ of Thomas. Among all the whimsical humour of that blog, there are outstanding ‘sermons’, one of them similarly putting a proper perspective on St Mary Magdalene – one of the earliest disciples (the first?) who saw and believed.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Archdruid Eileen is a guy? I feel like a kid who’s just been told that Father Christmas isn’t real…

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

As I said, a male priest, and sometimes the ‘serious’ pieces are among the best and most thoughtful available on the internet. ‘Her’ true identity is easily ascertained with a bit of delving.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Kelvin’s article reminds me of a passage from ‘Chasing Charlie’: ‘It was the last battle…’ Old Duncan Ban at the fireplace, reflecting. The bar fell hushed as he spoke. ‘They waited in vain for the word to charge – Claymore! – but by then they were being cut to pieces, falling where they stood : Glenbucket, Pitsligo, and a’ the clans.’ ‘Oooh!’ Grouse whispered. ‘By Christ.’ ‘And mah faither used tae tell me this,’ Old Duncan continued, his shepherd’s face weathered like the landscape by winter of many years. ‘When the Laird Strathallan lay dying, he was gived his last… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Excellent article from Kelvin Holdsworth. Thanks so much. Definitely thoughtful and thought provoking. And if I may crib a line from a friend in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and from the language of my ancestors, a language which I alas do not have, “Tha Criosd air èiridh!”

Susannah Clark
Guest

Gu dearbh, tha e air èiridh!

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

He is risen Indeed! I picked up “Tha Criosd air èiridh!” from my friend in SEC. Fluent, he gives that greeting as one of the members of the montage during the last few minutes of the Easter Day service from St Ninian’s Cathedral in Perth, the link to which was in a post in the earlier House Church thread. I was also able to follow a couple of Eucharists he streamed via the public access on his social media platform.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

Atgyfododd Crist! Atgyfododd yn wir!

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Thanks for the link to the ‘Building Community in a Crisis’ blog; lots of good stuff there for those of us who want to explore new ways of being church in these strange times, rather than just look back longingly to what we used to be able to do.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

The Ann Memmott article is an excellent read. I’ve sent it around to a couple of immediate family members with serious significant disabilities, who are church members but church challenged as a result of their situations, for comment. I know one of them has already greeted the sudden major step up in online connectivity with, on the one hand, ‘ welcome to my world’ while, on the other hand, really feeling an increase in an ability to be connected in faith because of the surge in online worship from local parishes adapting to pandemic conditions for all.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

I sent around the Kelvin Holdsworth article (Oatcakes and Whiskey) to a few folks. My sister, who is R.C., sent me back the following article re: Pope Francis, Scotch Whiskey is the Real Holy Water.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/felipeschrieberg/2020/04/16/pope-francis-jokes-that-scotch-whisky-is-the-real-holy-water/#5523c6e81d0c

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

“Scotch Whiskey is the Real Holy Water”

As an admirer of single-malt Scotch Whiskey, I knew there was a reason I liked Pope Francis! 🙂

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

This is an unusual subject for TA, and apologies for being pedantic, but the spelling is Scotch Whisky (no ‘e’). Whiskey is the spelling for the Irish and American equivalents. Whisky from the Oban Distillery, as presented to Pope Francis, is a fine single malt. The town of Oban in Argyl and Bute on the west coast of Scotland is the sea port for the Isle of Mull and the Hebrides, both sources of more whiskies. Perhaps more relevant to this post, Oban possesses a Roman Catholic cathedral and diocese. The bishop has met Pope Francis.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Good post. Interaction here on TA sometimes provides a welcome distraction from harsh reality. ‘Whisky’ is also the spelling used by the Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to describe its products. Of course, there is no ‘American’ or ‘British’ or ‘Canadian’ spelling:there is only correct variant spelling. Sláinte! 🙂

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

I too appreciated the piece on Thomas and have pondered again his example. That he was so mistrustful of the testimony of close friends is not, in itself, a quality to admire. Nor do we know his reasons. But paradoxically I admire his willingness to question and not just go along the majority view. In our own age of fake news his insistence on questioning for himself is timely. Graham Greene believed there is a necessary unease in the experience of believing. Doubt is one expression of that – or at least a resistance to the tendency to believe too… Read more »

ACI
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ACI

I suspect part of the underlying issue with Thomas is what it means to be a twin (whose sib is never around). The Hebrew word “Thom” actually means “twin” (so Didymus). I once did some research on twins. They are not like us/we are not like them! Otherwise the essay makes some valuable “supposals.” I would add his presence with the named others in the final scene. I also tend to hear the “blessed are they that have not seen…” (as does Walker if I understand him) as less directed to Thomas exclusively and more akin to omniscient narrator commentary.… Read more »

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

Kelvin Holdsworth raises important points, as we worship a God who meets us in our hour of need with whatever is to hand.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Had Jesus been Scottish I have little doubt that we would all now celebrate the Eucharist with oatcake and whisky – or some similar combination.

But had Jesus livestreamed the Last Supper do we really believe he would have told those watching not to join in with their own bread and wine? This is Jesus who turned water into wine so that all guests could share in the celebration. This is Jesus who fed the multitude. Everything points to hospitality being important to him. So, no, I don’t believe he would have told people to have a “spiritual communion”.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Holdsworth’s article is so good because it poignantly raises questions about at least three distinct historical horizons: those of Jesus, the Jacobites’, and our own. Jesus of course was not Scottish, nor was he simply a model of 21st century western democratic ‘inclusiveness’. Interpreting via that frame makes it deceptively easy to re-create Jesus and the NT stories about him in our image. One of the things that is missed in this debate is the distinction between actual gatherings and those that are merely mediated as they are on any social medium platform. An in person presence before even just… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

To me, physical gathering in a particular time and place matters deeply too and there are risks in disconnecting from material reality. The question is, what happens when, for a sustained time and possibly the rest of some communicants’ lives, gathering face-to-face would be harmful (rather than just inconvenient)?

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Then we have social decline

Kate
Guest
Kate

“The question is, what happens when, for a sustained time and possibly the rest of some communicants’ lives, gathering face-to-face would be harmful (rather than just inconvenient)?”

We might know more later this week if the Government published its exit strategy.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“was following a well known liturgical practice”

In a decade or two livestreaming is likely to be described as “a well known liturgical practice”. In truth, it is a hollow phrase which says more about past practice than theological worthiness.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Soon our primitive technology will be replaced by holograms. Future generations may then be able to have their favorite long deceased prelate preach ‘live and in person’ right in their living room. Gives a whole new spin on the ‘communion of saints’, no? 🙂

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

Whisky does not look very much like blood, though does perhaps resemble something else.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Nor does white wine, which the altar guild sometimes prefers for the altar linens ( :

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

When the altar guild one of my priest asked that white wine be used, he told them that at the Eucharist he was offering the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, not his plasma.

ACI
Guest
ACI

Nor does it look like Passover, which Jewish Jesus was enacting and interpreting via his body (lamb) and blood (sacrificial death).

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Some years ago my altar guild noted that the bright red wine stained the linens. I switched to white. Later I got complaints that the wine was not ‘red like the blood’ of Jesus. So switched to a Tokay amber coloured communion wine that is widely used here. Problem solved. Although I still can’t decide if we were not ‘befriending’ our symbols enough, or just taking things to literally. Tempest in a wine glass, but hey fill your goblet.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Rod Gillis. You remind me of a time when I was a chaplain of a community at a Christian holiday/conference centre. At our weekly eucharist, one week, I had had to substitute the usual fortified sherry wine with a dry Co-Op red. I did not warn them and at communion watched people reacting quite strongly at the unexpected taste of the wine. Over breakfast afterwards there was an extended, impassioned discussion – some thought the wine should taste bitter to represent the suffering and pain of the cross. For others the sweetness of the wine expressed his love for us.… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Interesting. There is an aspect of “befriending” our symbols in all of this i.e. making them less ‘domesticated’ and more powerful in the process. Example:which is more vivid at the fracture, snapping a priest’s wafer or rending a common loaf of bread? A consideration of ‘biblical’ wine is in the link below. Articles on the subject abound. The Vinepair one is as good as any.

https://vinepair.com/wine-geekly/what-wine-would-jesus-drink/

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Here in Nova Scotia we are contending with the harsh realities of praxis under the most horrendous of circumstances. Events that began Saturday evening April 18th have left us with the worst mass shooting in Canadian history. A lone gunman left a trail of deadly violence in several communities over a 100 kilometer stretch. There are currently 20 known dead victims, including an RCMP officer. The gunman died Sunday morning after an armed confrontation with police. The extent of violence and loss are incomprehensible. Attention is now being turned to the inability to properly grieve. Under more ‘normal’ circumstances such… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

There have been several comments about virtual communities.

My guess is that most TA regulars are middle-aged or older. I suspect that the younger generation has a more positive view of virtual communities and communication. We often comment that the episcopate lacks diversity and that is certainly true when it comes to age. That might turn out to be a significant weakness.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“I suspect that the younger generation has a more positive view of virtual communities and communication.”
I suspect grandpa and grandma would beg to differ.