Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 2 March 2024

Alex Frost ViaMedia.News Estates Evangelism: Justice on the Margins

Charlie Bell ViaMedia.News Finding a Way Through: February 2024

Tim Sumpter Church Times How Covid changed one vicar
Church Times has lifted its paywall for the whole of March.

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Peter
Peter
1 month ago

Charlie Bell is an articulate and determined champion of the progressive campaign.

However, I’m afraid conservatives will not be looking to him for guidance and reassurance.

His appeal to us to do so has a hollow ring.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

It seems to me that “conservatives will not” is a frequent response to suggestions such as “let’s sit down and work out how we can move forwards” which Charlie Bell has made here.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Richard Barrett
1 month ago

You are mis representing me

Conservatives will sit down and talk to anybody, within the limits of available time.

Bell’s advice to conservatives is to be ignored for the reasons set out by Martin Davie in his rebuttal – link in comment below

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, why does Charlie Bell’s appeal have “a hollow ring”?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

See Martin Davie rebuttal below

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
William
William
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

It’s fascinating that ‘progressive’ Anglicans are so against ‘conservatives’ splitting off and doing their own thing. One would have thought that this would make life more tolerable for everyone. My theory is that progressives need conservatives in order to justify their existence as progressives. In a sense there have to be ‘bad guys’ to kick against.

Dan Leafe
Dan Leafe
Reply to  William
1 month ago

Hi William, I’d not seen your post when mine was approved but perhaps we are asking similar questions.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  William
1 month ago

You would be wrong. I’m a former conservative myself and it gives me no pleasure to be at loggerheads with my old friends. But all I need to justify my existence as a progressive is my many dear LGBTQI+ friends and family members.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  William
1 month ago

I too am a former conservative. I’m not quite sure what ‘progressive’ means (I’m pretty traditional on doctrine) but I want as many people as possible to be included. That’s why I’d rather conservatives stayed with us. It’s when I was a conservative that I needed ‘bad guys’ to kick against. When you’re brought up on a diet of Reformation heroes you need someone to rebel against, in order to define your identity as one of God’s army. I did, anyway.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  William
1 month ago

I do not think it is quite that, no least because there are people such as Tim Chesterton for whom it is a genuine grief to walk apart from conservatives.

My observation is that progressives are entirely sincere in their convictions.

They believe what they are saying.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  William
1 month ago

Speaking only personally my objection is that some churches will become permanently inimical to LGBT Christians, especially those in same sex relationships. In the established church I don’t think that is acceptable.

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

And people with a liberal outlook could say the same thing of various pundits who are articulate and determined champions of the conservative campaign.
And, yes, there’s a conservative campaign.
With apologies to the deceased songwriter Bob Merrill, Politics, spiritual and secular, makes the world go ’round. Humans excel at it.
Neither side has a lock on truth or error. Both sides have fallible human beings who are well-meaning and trying to do the right thing by the insights given to them by God, filtered through through their life experience.

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

Absolutely correct.

Lottie E Allen
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

It’s pretty clear that Conservative Evangelicals don’t want to “sit down and talk” with anyone who is not a Conservative Evangelical. It’s equally clear that their agenda is to subvert the life of the CofE into an Evangelical Cult. In many areas they are clearly in control and well on the way to achieving their insidious agenda.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Lottie E Allen
1 month ago

Perhaps a little over-stated

David James
David James
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

No. Been planned in one way or another since the Keele Conference in the 60s. Occasional setback but pretty easy sailing since then. Two major difficulties though. First is unity. The various strands in Evangelicalism don’t seem to be able to agree. Second is the very plain and obvious fact that a very large part of the. Church of England just don’t agree.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David James
1 month ago

That is quite a conspiracy theory you have got going there !

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, you state that Lottie’s comment is only “a little overstated” whilst David’s is “quite a conspiracy theory”.

Does that mean you agree with Lottie’s 3 statements?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

I’m confident you know the answer to your own question.

It is clear your purpose is to score points rather than engage in any kind good faith dialogue with me.

If only out of respect for the moderators’ time, I wish you well and bring an end to the exchanges between us.

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, I do not know the answer to the question. That is why I asked it.

My purpose is not to score points. I am trying to engage in “good faith dialogue”.

As I have written elsewhere, if a person makes a statement in a debating and discussion forum, it is well within the bounds of reasonable behaviour and expectation to examine and question it.

I am sorrow that you feel unable to continue in our exchanges. I wish you well for the future too.

David James
David James
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

That’s right!

Lottie E Allen
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

From the perspective of LGBTQ+ people in the CofE anything but: I invite you to see life beyond the narrow boundaries of your own horizons.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Lottie E Allen
1 month ago

I don’t think it helps to make those sort of accusations in a forum which is supposed to be about intelligent discussion.

Lottie E Allen
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

To many of us within the LGBTQ+ communities the language we have had to listen to in GS would not be tolerated in many other forums in our country. The hostility towards us by the Conservative Evangelicals rising like a rotten incense at the Foot of the Cross. I invite you to come and sit with us and consider the matter from a different perspective before adopting so sanctimonious a tone.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Lottie E Allen
1 month ago

Do you have any idea who Janet Fife is ???

I am a conservative – which Janet is not – and I admire and respect her.

You have absolutely no idea how completely ill judged your comment is.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Lottie E Allen
1 month ago

In my diocese your “Conservative Evangelicals” are part of a wide grouping of orthodox Christians, including charismatics, as well as evangelicals who welcome women priests and bishops. The leadership of the grouping includes ordained women. Not such a narrow group, or ‘cult’!

Lottie E Allen
Reply to  Bob
1 month ago

No one has a monopoly on the language of “orthodoxy”. It is a deeply inappropriate hijacking of language. Maybe you need to consider the level of influence by Con Evos in the nexus of power around Lambeth a little more closely. The notion that the current iteration of the Anglican Church is a broad church is a fantasy.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Lottie E Allen
1 month ago

People are free to use any vocabulary they wish to use.

The reason this site is so valuable is that it is run by people who know the value of free speech

Please preserve us from those who want to control speech and vocabulary

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Lottie E Allen
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

The Conservative Evangelicals are engaged in a power grab on the use of language around “orthodoxy”. If anyone is in control mode it is them. They are about control, power and sex. That’s the top and bottom of the matter.

Dan Leafe
Dan Leafe
1 month ago

I have put much the same question as this on Twitter/X and I’m aware that I might be inviting a ‘pile on’ but I am genuinely engaged with the Anglican Future. When, a large number of (younger?!) active Anglicans (using Charlie Bell’s language) “choose to exclude” themselves from the CofE (as I think they will) what then? What is the liberal/revisionist (please don’t complain about the language) plan to deal with a horrendous safeguarding legacy and situation, 10,000 listed buildings, a more white and elderly church with declining vocations, income and congregations? The Commissioner’s billions might help for a while… Read more »

Rowland P
Rowland P
Reply to  Dan Leafe
1 month ago

Thanks, Dan. I just can’t quite understand why there cannot be a full split. The CofE is facing meltdown on numbers alone. Why not just have two separate denominations. No more fighting. Each does what they want

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Rowland P
1 month ago

Maybe Lent would be a good time to reflect on the sin of causing yet another rupture in the body of Christ?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rowland P
1 month ago

The legalities of a full split would be an absolute nightmare, and would probably require legislation from the House of Commons as well as the C of E internally. Sorting out the finance and property would be difficult too. But to my mind the real problem with the C of E is not the battle between ‘liberal/revisionist’ (whatever those terms mean) and ‘conservative’ parties – which of course are not homogenous but contain people with differing and nuanced views. It’s the corruption that has overwhelmed the Church from the top. That’s our real enemy and we ought to be coming… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Besides, which of the two would be the established church?

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

It would be seen by many as an ideal opportunity to disestablish the church.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Simon Bravery
1 month ago

Well, that’s something to be said in its favour!

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

I completely agree .
The real tragedy of the last Synod is the Bishop sponsored prevarication in respect of the Jay report, despite the the best efforts to the contrary particularly of Martin Sewell and Clive Billenness , and XX Justin’s outrageous protection of the secretary general suggesting that criticism of him was unchristian .
It is hard not to feel bleak about the future of the Church of England, or see it as a force for good while this is our level of management.

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

I stopped trying not to feel bleak about the C of E’s future a couple of years ago!
XX Justin’s intervention was typical DARVO, and shameful.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Sorry, Janet, but what’s DARVO? I don’t understand the acronym.

If you said SNAFU, or even better, FUBAR (which seems pretty accurate) I would be in total agreement!

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  John Davies
1 month ago

From Wikipedia:

DARVO (an acronym for “deny, attack, and reverse victim & offender”) is a reaction that perpetrators of wrongdoing, such as sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior.”

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Dan Leafe
1 month ago

I read the part about a ‘pure’ ‘church within a church’ as something that conservatives seem to want, not what liberals want. I cannot answer all of your questions about the “liberal/revisionist plan”, and I speak only for myself and not for all liberals, but on the subject of safeguarding I think the implementation of the Jay recommendations and a change in culture from reputation management to honesty and transparency would be a start. As a former mental health professional, I do not understand how the CofE has been allowed to ‘mark its own homework’ for so long. I find… Read more »

Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

Or people like me, Alwyn, who would be labelled ‘progressive’ but for the fact that I, and an increasing number of other Christians, are gender critical and shunned by liberal orthodoxy because of it.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
1 month ago

I have rarely prayed at the high altar. That seems presumptuous. Before transition I tended to be most comfortable praying to an altar or side chapel to the right of the main altar. After transition that changed and I am now most comfortable on the left. I have learnt that’s often associated with Mary, but that’s a discovery after the effect. I can say with some confidence that the Lord recognises me as a woman. Obviously there is no way I can prove that but I am confident that it is true. So a gender critical Christian (personally I think… Read more »

Dan Leafe
Dan Leafe
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

Simply because as the (defeated) Shaw amendment stated for some the matters at hand (yes I know there are real people involved- including Shaw) are not things about which there will be an agreement to disagree (on either ‘side’- and no a so-called ‘conscience clause’ won’t do it). It doesn’t matter how much people say it shouldn’t be so- if the past 10 years have proved anything it is that it is so. I know that many on here (as above) will say that such conservatives should just take their principles and leave but if/when they do so that is… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Dan Leafe
1 month ago

Dan. I need to comment on your language because you label simply everyone holding progressive views ‘liberal’. You make no reference to the presence of fellow evangelicals, like me and Tim here, who hold inclusive views we believe to be based upon scripture. Furthermore we do not believe evangelicals need to divide over this at all. We are simply not in win/lose language you use.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

I agree, David. When I was on the conservative side of ‘the issue’, I was happy to work with those who disagreed with me in the Diocese of Edmonton. In fact, I often found that inclusive Christians were more interested in mission and outreach, putting some of us conservatives to shame. Now that I’ve moved to an affirming position myself, I’m happy to continue to be in fellowship with those who are still conservative, as long as they are happy to be in fellowship with me. But of course in Anglicanism this is nothing new. One of my best friends… Read more »

Dan Leafe
Dan Leafe
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Thanks to all who have engaged. Most importantly, I couldn’t agree more on the implementation in full of Alexis Jay’s recommendations. I don’t think they are perfect but the perfect cannot be the enemy of the merely very good given the current safeguarding situation. Anyone who thinks it is more than a modest start though I’d disagree with- the actual and cultural legacy will need addressing for decades at least. I’ll stay away from issues of who gets to ‘own’ language- I find it one of the more dispiriting aspect of modern discourse- we generally know what/who we mean/don’t mean… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Dan Leafe
Peter
Peter
1 month ago

Martin Davie has provided a detailed rebuttal of Bell’s rejection of structural provision:

https://mbarrattdavie.wordpress.com/2024/03/02/a-response-to-charlie-bell-finding-a-way-through/

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Of course this detailed rebuttal rests on magical thinking: that a consensus will ever exist enabling a third province to be created. Magical thinking of this sort used to be widespread in Anglo-Catholic circles when it became clear they had lost the argument over ordaining women. The consensus was never achieved, and the nearest answer to the desire for a structurally protected position was only achieved when Benedict XVI implemented Anglicanorum Coetibus. Those who were determined to have a third province have largely ended up there. It is important to remember the long story here, because this will tell you… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kieran
1 month ago

You have clearly not actually read Davie’s piece and do not understand the conservative position.

It is obvious as the day is long no consensus existing that would lead to structural differentiation.

Nobody is dreaming dreams. Progressives will block differentiation. Conservatives will block same sex marriage.

Bell is wrong in claiming settlement is possible with differentiation.

The future is stalemate. We all know that.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

True but I do believe there is a possibility if conservatives reframed the debate. At the moment their position seems defined by an antipathy towards LGBT Christians and negatives don’t sell well. If Conservatism was presented as a package of self-restraint across multiple areas (and avoiding the language of sin) not just LGBT issues then I think it would find a more positive welcome and a greater willingness to change structures.

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

Settlements happen when parties agree to settle for their own core objectives.

Setting requirements for the other party is not settlement.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

I am not settling requirements just commenting that conservatives are being politically naive and better tactics might yield what they want.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate Keates
1 month ago

Hardly, Kate !

You are impugning conservatives on the grounds that they must have reprehensible sentiments because they will not agree with you.

You are not a neutral observer offering detached analysis.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, are any of us “neutral observers offering detached analysis”? My own view is that most people engaged in Thinking Anglicans are not. All of us have our own traditions and experiences, we reason differently, and have different interpretations of scripture. That is what makes the CofE a broad church. I read nothing in Kate’s measured comments that suggest that she is impugning conservatives. Instead, she is suggesting ways in which conservatives could make their position more appealing, to frame it in a positive light rather than an “antipathy to LGBT Christians”. If tactics aren’t working, it’s either time to… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

It is perfectly obvious that “seems defined by an antipathy towards LGBT Christians” is impugning conservatives.

I might equally say the progressive position seems defined by a contempt for the holiness of God.

Are you seriously suggesting that Kate would accept that observation as an “olive branch” intended to help her and other progressives understand their position better ?

Please, be serious. We can all bait each other with passive aggression.

This is a time for calm heads

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, I am being serious, and my intention is not to be passive-aggressive. Kate’s advice was, “If Conservatism was presented as a package of self-restraint across multiple areas (and avoiding the language of sin) not just LGBT issues then I think it would find a more positive welcome and a greater willingness to change structures.” I would agree with Kate that comments from many people with conservative viewpoints across a broad swathe of media seem “defined by an antipathy towards LGBT Christians”. The seem indicates how it is received by the recipient. Would you say that the conservative position is… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

The conservative position is and always has been one of welcome to LGBT christians.

You are presenting your own partisan position (to which you are entitled) as a general reflection of reasonable opinion.

That is a logical fallacy (circular reasoning) in which you simply proceed on the basis of your original axiom that you are right.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

“You are presenting your own partisan position (to which you are entitled) as a general reflection of reasonable opinion.
That is a logical fallacy (circular reasoning) in which you simply proceed on the basis of your original axiom that you are right.”

which is exactly what Martin Davie is doing.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

That is an uncharacteristically weak point from you, Andrew.

Davie’s piece is a rebuttal of Bell’s tendentious “olive branch”. It is an entirely different category of statement to the one I described as a logical fallacy

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, I am delighted to hear that “The conservative position is and always has been one of welcome to LGBT christians.” Would that welcome extend to full unrestricted (subject to the usual DBS checks) participation in all aspects of church life? I recognise how easy it would be for me to be in a liberal/progressive/inclusive echo chamber, which is why I always try to take a wider look at a subject. In this case, I have made a general statement rather than a categorical one. I have read of and heard about many LGBT people who have felt unwelcome at… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

‘Progressives will block differentiation. Conservatives will block same sex marriage.’ Sorry, but as the father of a Christian daughter in a same-sex marriage—and a friend of many others—this makes me sick at heart. It comes across as ‘conservatives think their doctrinal purity is more important than the actual lives of real human beings.’ And if the answer is, “We want to stop same-sex marriage because we love gay people and don’t want them to go to hell,’ how is structural differentiation going to stop a single person from entering a same-sex marriage? They weren’t going to do that in conservative… Read more »

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Now Peter, you are being pretty disrespectful here. As it happens I read Martin Davie before reading Charlie Bell. I approached the original through the critique. So you agree that there is no consensus leading to the sort of settlement you have been advocating on this forum for some time. Thankyou. This is a really important matter to recognise. Essentially you agree that what Martin Davie describes as the alternative universe of the sort of settlement you have advocated on this forum is indeed magical thinking. The next step is to let go of the magical thinking and consider other… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kieran
1 month ago

Please don’t mis represent me.

I have not said that Davie’s article is magical thinking. That is a simply absurd inference to draw from my own comments.

The lack of consensus means we are in a state of deadlock. That is all I have said because it is as obvious as the day is long.

There are only two possible futures

1. A settlement which provides the orthodox with legally autonomous bishops.

2. Deadlock.

I’m afraid it is magical thinking to believe there are any other futures.

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, I have represented you fairly. Magical thinking is a reference to the pattern of reasoning in Martin Davie’s article. To the extent that it’s representative of the tendency of thinking among conservative evangelicals it is indeed magical thinking. It’s only fair to call it what it is. There is a third possibility. Provincial episcopal visitors and a resolution parish system. It is exists, operates perfectly well within the Church of England, and for all its problems it’s a viable way forward. It’s up to you to say why it is not. One more point. I was baptised with water… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kieran
1 month ago

It really is for me to decide if you are representing me fairly. Characterising the position of those with whom you disagree as magical thinking is just an ad Hominem slur Conservatives are clear they need their own bishops to settle. They do not have to convince you that is necessary. The conservative position is identical to the progressive position. You do not entertain for a moment a requirement that conservatives should be persuaded by the claim for SSM. You must treat others as you expect to be treated yourself On the issue of vocabulary, you choose yours and I… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, it’s up to you to say why the existing system of resolution parishes and provincial episcopal visitors doesn’t achieve the aim of “settlement” and “differentiation.” It already has at least two bishops designated to minister to conservative evangelicals.

The “conservative” and “progressive” positions are not identical. Only the “conservatives” are threatening to blow up the institution. It strikes me that your use of language is very imprecise and lacking in clarity with some of the words you throw around in defiance of their actual meaning.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kieran
1 month ago

Your premise is that conservatives must convince progressives of a proposition before it can be taken seriously. You assert that I, as a conservative, must say why the existing PEV is not adequate. The clear implication is that until you are satisfied by the explanation no further consideration of it is merited. If your premise is valid it therefore follows that you must convince me that Same Sex Rites are necessary. You have come no where near making such a case. Until that case is made there is no justification for any decisions at all in the progressive direction. That… Read more »

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

No Peter, that is not my “premise,” as you put it. It’s a question I have asked you. For the sake of keeping the question at the front, here it is again:

In your opinion what is unacceptable to conservatives about the PEV system? As far as I can see it achieves the aims of “structural differentiation” and provision of appropriate episcopal oversight, which you put forward as the chief aims of any “settlement.” What’s the problem with it?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kieran
1 month ago

I’m afraid you simply do not understand the character of logical discourse.

You want to insist that it is your prerogative to frame the matter by setting a question which I must answer

You have no such prerogative.

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Well Peter, people are entitled to ask questions in the course of logical discourse. That’s surely the point. I’m not really sure what being schooled about the basics of discussion really does to answer the question I was asking.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

And so we are this far apart. I have never read such bile inducing intransigence on this site. No grace, no reconciliation, no middle ground, no compromise. I fear it is the so-called conservatives who are pulling my church down. Such a shame, and ironically – so un-orthodox.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
1 month ago

What an absolutely extraordinary comment to make. I have done nothing more – in my response to Kieran – than demonstrate the logical fallacy of insisting that conservatives must convince progressives of anything at all. Conservatives want and are seeking a settlement. It is pure blindness to deliberately ignore that fact. We need orthodox bishops and would then remove ourselves from a progressive space which wanted to do as it sees fit. It could not be simpler. If you are a progessive you get exactly what you say you want – same sex marriage. Please do not blame others if… Read more »

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, there you go again, using orthodox as a boo word. Unless you can prove any bishop currently serving in the Church of England has denied the divinity of Christ, denied the doctrine of the Trinity, has ceased to baptise with water and the Trinitarian formula, then you’re just flinging words around without regard for meaning.

It’s a generally accepted principle of debate that you don’t get far by insulting people.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kieran
1 month ago

People can use whatever vocabulary they wish to. It’s called free speech

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Free speech is not a Christian principle. You are beginning to sound like Humpty Dumpty.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

I’m ‘picturing’ Martin’s ‘proposal’ applied to national government- Two ‘provinces’- one called ‘London and the rich provinces’; the other ‘the north’, each with its own government with its responsibilities, policies, ‘creed’ applied accordingly across a geographical ‘swiss cheese’. Who will decide where the boundaries will fall (in pleasant places?)- current vicars, congregations, electoral rolls, bishops, …? One nation? Matthew 12: 25?

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  God 'elp us all
1 month ago

Sounds like England and Scotland with England trying to dominate Scotland anyway.

Christopher
Christopher
1 month ago

Thanks yet again Charlie for such a hopeful and uplifting piece amidst all this mess.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
1 month ago

Charlie Bell uses the expression ‘irresponsible organs’ á propos churchy organisations etc. sadly there is constantly too much fixation from too many about organs rather persons. I just fail to see why these folk don’t get it that God made some people with blue eyes and some with brown. In matters or human sexuality and love one size does not fit all. Meanwhile the World seems to be falling towards war and destruction. Was it not Carey who compared the Church of England to a ‘toothless old woman’? Too sexist but I think we get his point. Time we stopped… Read more »

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

A parting of ways is inevitable as both sides would have to give up a fundamental tenet of their position to find a compromise in my opinion. The differentiation we have over women priests has been a mess that has allowed this clamour for more differentiation to occur. It creates a top heavy church where suspicion of the motives of others is rife and highly toxic. The church should make its decision and clearly state that that is the decision that must be abided by all members of the C of E. Those that cannot in conscience abide by that… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

There has been no olive branch. Conservatives would welcome one !

It means opening a conversation in which you listen – not tell people what is and is not going to happen.

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

But Peter, listening has to happen on both sides. You yourself said “The future is stalemate. We all know that.” You have also said in several comments on both this and other threads that structural provision will not happen. How is that not telling people “what is or is not going to happen”? It’s not a matter of semantics. Charlie Bell has offered what I would call an olive branch for dialogue, understanding and working together, a la Cherry Vann, who I referenced earlier. The CofE has stayed together through women’s ordination and consecration, despite the hostility to both from… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

I have made the factual observation that there is not one iota of evidence that progressives will support differentiation in exchange for the opportunity to enact same sex marriage.

It is simply perverse to accuse me of therefore telling people what is going to happen ! Obviously I deplore the refusal of progressives to settle.

Bell is saying the very opposite to what I am saying. He is saying “differentiation will not happen – so deal with it”

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

I see no perversity in what I wrote. I was using the words you wrote to highlight what I saw to be a matter of inconsistency in the opinions you have expressed. From comments you have made both here and on other Thinking Anglicans threads, you seem to be in agreement with Charlie Bell that differentiation/structural provision will not happen. At least, that is how I have understood your comments. But you also state “Obviously I deplore the refusal of progressives to settle.” “Progressives” (at least the ones I know) are usually keen to meet, discuss, and work together for… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Alwyn Hall
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

Conservatives need legally autonomous orthodox bishops.

They would, in exchange, remove themselves from progressive decision making structures such that they (progressives) can do as they see fit.

It is not possible for me to put it in clearer terms.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Would they remove themselves from choosing the Archbishops? From voting in General Synod? If not, they would remain a stumbling block to progessive ideas.

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, I notice that instead of answering the questions I have raised, you have chosen to restate your position. You are, of course, entitled to do this. It just seems to make debate somewhat difficult. I understand your position. But I also understand, from what you have said, that it isn’t going to happen. I would ask questions under two headings: 1) If the position you espouse were to come to fruition, how would it work in practice? Would this ‘orthodox province/archdiocese’ remain a part of the wider Church of England? How would it be structured and funded? If external… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

With respect, Alwyn, we can all come up with long lists of questions. There does seem to be a presumption amongst progressives that conservatives have an obligation to answer any question that is put to them ! We do not ! If a question is clearly genuine that is fair enough. Too often “questions” are simply objections with a question mark added on the end. On your first point – the key is bishops. We are an episcopal church. If we are given legally autonomous orthodox bishops then there are any number of possible answers to the practical questions you… Read more »

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, we can indeed all come up with long lists of questions. Thank you for your answers to mine. I have seen no “presumption amongst progressives” regarding an obligation specifically for conservatives “to answer any question that is put to them”. I would suggest that the structures of civilised debate and discourse allow anyone to make a claim, but then for that claim to be examined vigorously, and for questions to be asked and answered. If asked questions, I will answer where I can, and I will state if I do not know an answer. How would you define “legally… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

I have said nothing that constitutes hostility to negotiation. Charlie Bell is not making anything that even begins to constitutive a serious good faith overture. I have already referred you to Davie’s detailed rebuttal of Bell’s “olive branch”. Again, Davie answers your point about provincial structures. On your final point, I will assume you have unintentionally misunderstood me. Obviously I am not saying negotiations are pointless. If there was a solution other than differentiation it would certainly have been found. I refer you to item 66 at the recent Synod. 47% voted to acknowledge that agreeing to disagree is not… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

A couple of things in this debate – it is turning into tribal warfare. Immovable objects vs irresistible forces etc. The marriage analogy is a misguided one. The Anglican church is a rich, challenging and diverse community from diverse cultures. It is not a binary relationship. With this and so many other issues within the communion , we are wrestling with what it means to be a community which is in communion with each other. We are not negotiating a divorce settlement, but seeking a broken generosity on all sides so that we can all endeavour to live together. That… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter you can put it as clearly as you like. But again there is no evidence that any formal kind of offer such as you suggest will ever emerge. Conservatives are not going to give up their seats on General Synod and AC. Those are the only dec The bishops who are currently opposed to any development are not even hinting at the kind of arrangement. Just as an example: What would happen when the next round of liturgical revision comes around? Do you really think conservatives are not going to want a voice in that debate? There can’t just… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

‘Conservatives need legally autonomous orthodox bishops.’

Why is this a need and not a preference?

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, where is the evidence that Same Sex Marriage is something on offer? I know you have said that could be part of a settlement but where has it ever been formally offered by anyone in exchange for “differentiation”? This has not been mentioned at all in General Synod has it? I can’t see any evidence that conservative evangelicals would accept being part of the same ecclesial body as those who accepted same sex marriage. They do not wish to be in communion with those of us who are in favour of such things. And being in the same ecclesial… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

You need to listen to Charlie Skrine’s speech introducing 68 last week.

He was clear that he wants to get out of the way.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

I’ve heard that Peter. But I am afraid you ignore pretty much all of the points I made in my post. The opinion of a few people is not by any means a formal offer. CEEC have certainly not said they will be happy to be part of the same ecclesial body as those who celebrate same sex marriages and allow clergy to be same sex partnered. And none of the bishops who have opposed the developments already agreed have suggested that they would welcome that kind of arrangement either. I don’t think Martin Davie adequately understands the CofE. One… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

You have your own questions to answer, Andrew.

The progressive agenda is going nowhere fast.

You are not going to see stand alone blessings at any time in the foreseeable future. Same Sex Marriage is a fantasy aspiration.

What is absolutely here to stay is a divided Synod that is in a perpetual state of deadlock.

There is not the slightest reason to imagine that is going to change – and please spare me breezy assertions about why it is all going to work out for the best from the progressive perspective.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, the only breezy assertion I am making is that Martin Davie shows less understanding of the way the CofE works then is necessary for what he is proposing. His theology in this matter is driven by prejudice and not by clear thinking.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, we wanted same-sex marriage, but we didn’t get it, and there is no prospect that we will get it in the immediate future. OK then – if we couldn’t get that, we wanted blessing of same-sex unions, but PLF barely gives us that – it gives us prayers of blessing for the individuals who are in the SSU (and so far, not as stand alone services, but only in the prayers of the people). Do you understand how little of what we wanted we have actually received? Olive branches, you say! There are people who have been quietly living… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Tim Chesterton
David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Tim This is exactly how Inclusives feel it has been playing out. I was in the national consultations groups where concessions kept being made – as you list above – but without any reciprocal response from conversatives. They simply would not budge. I remember one bishop in the room challenging saying to them in utter frustration – ‘you are offering us absolutely nothing’.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

David, I am sorry but your comment is a travesty of the conservative position.

Do you accept that legally autonomous orthodox bishops should be conceded ? If you do, that unlocks everything – including same sex marriage.

If you do not, you are in no position to object to the intransigence of others

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter. Respectfully, were you in the room when David was attending the national consultations groups? He is reporting from his lived experience of being present. How is David’s comment – a report from experience – a “travesty of the conservative position”? The way I read your comment suggests you recognise that conservatives are intransigent. Without wishing to repeat myself, “legally autonomous orthodox bishops” = a new province, and the complexities that entails. You yourself, in various comments, have recognised that this will not happen. Other people have critiqued Davie’s proposal – an independent province based on a single issue –… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
1 month ago

Not for the first time, you fail to read what I have actually said. I am responding to David Runcorn’s comment on this site.

I will assume you are not making the absurd suggestion that nobody is entitled to respond to David Runcorn’s comment unless they were in a meeting to which he refers

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

Peter.  I still have grateful memory of you defending me on a conservative blog site and firmly rebuking voices trying to shout me down. Here you are refusing to accept my account of a meeting I attended, that you did not, and that others present could verify if asked. Really, no discussion is possible if we are at this point. So I am out. But may I say, as someone who once received your pastoral support, that there is no mistaking how deeply distressing you find conversations here on this subject and I want to express my concern for you.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

David, Thank you for your comments. I promise you I am not in any way questioning your account of the meeting. I’m afraid I do not regard Alwyn Hall’s interpretation of my own comments as remotely helpful. They complicated an exchange between you and I. Blogs such as this are useful but they have some serious shortcoming. People can and do jump into an exchange of comments in a way that is neither edifying or helpful. Like you, David, I am deeply frustrated by the current impasse – though we see it from opposite sides. I sincerely believe that conservatives… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

Sorry, on a point of detail. I absolutely accept your account of the meeting you attended.

My point was that the general conservative position is essentially public knowledge.

We need our own bishops and will then step aside from a progressive space which wants to proceed with SSM.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

The progressives could have same sex marriage within five years or less if they agreed to Davie’s proposals.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Given that so far you conservatives have not budged an inch, I don’t think the ball is in our court.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Have you actually read Davie’s piece ??

I am completely mystified by the assertion conservatives have not budged an inch.

Freedom for progressives to do as they see fit is there right in front of them.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, your question is rather insulting. Of course I have read Martin Davie’s piece, and he is in error. He claims that what is being proposed is not a departure from the C of E’s traditional catholic ecclesiology, because the Church already has two (or three) independent provinces which run their own affairs and have a veto over General Synod decisions. He fails to mention the fundamental difference: that the existing provinces are all geographical. They are not based on theological preference. To have overlapping provinces, based not on geography but on theological preference, is a clear departure from the… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Tim Chesterton
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Tim, I’m sorry I did not mean to insult you and my question was dismissive in tone. The future for the Church of England involves a set of possibilities which are all terrible. I know that. Davie knows that. We all know that. On the subject of Davie it is unfair to the ignore his very obvious purpose in his article. He was rebutting a piece by Bell. Too much of the comment on his article completely ignores that context with frankly ridiculous assertions that he is engaging in magical thinking etc He will be as aware of reality as… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Thank you, Peter.

Would you please now address my criticisms?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Tim, that is a bit unfair !

I agree with you. It all looks absolutely awful. I do not think there are easy answers (or necessarily any answers at all) to the problems you identify.

We are still left in deadlock with no prospect of release

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, what is “on offer” is at the expense of an ecclesiology dearly owned across a wide spectrum of the Church of England, which was not given up when women were consecrated as bishops: the not giving up is recent history. “Structural solution” does not speak ecclesiologically, and to many is ambiguous and to some impossible. If our traditional ecclesiology is so important to some, you might understand why they hold out for (their version of) the truth on this as firmly as you hold to your truth. Arguments from the politics of the church and synodical arithmetic will not… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Mark, You are conflating too many separate issues. I can assure you I do not see arithmetic as the basis of theology. The point about the votes is that is shows the depth of the practical problem. The claim that conservatives are hazy on ecclesiology is a straw man argument. It is as clear as day that the next ten years or more is almost certainly going to consist of unending deadlock. Everybody knows that. There is still a duty on people to say what they would accept as a way forward. That is all conservatives are doing. They would… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Martin Davie isn’t in any position to make proposals. He is just an individual with no role any longer and he is simply offering some rather incoherent thoughts as I have indicated above.
Where is there any kind of formal proposal from conservatives Peter? Without that, there is nothing to discuss.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

And who exactly is Charlie Bell ?

For the avoidance of doubt I have no difficulty with him contributing to the discussion, but this idea that conservative comment should be dismissed unless is it a “formal proposal” produced by somebody who is “not just an individual” is an absurdity.

Anybody who wants to can identify the basic conservative position. They want their own bishops.

Please stop this business saying it’s all too difficult, it will never happen, the wrong people are saying it, it’s not a “formal proposal”.

You are just kicking up the dust.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter, the way decisions are made by the CofE is in Synod. Please be realistic. Separatism is not ever going to be acceptable because it is not Christian.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

I do wish you would stop mis representing me.

I do not think and have never said I am expecting a settlement. I think the future is deadlock. I have said that repeatedly.

I am perfectly certain Davie is equally realistic.

Charlie Bell produced an appeal to conservatives which is obviously flawed. Davie and I have both pointed out the flaws.

That is all.

You persist in then inferring all sorts of weak minded thinking to both Davie and myself without any basis for doing so.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter I am sorry to persist in this. I don’t infer anything, I have outlined a number of ways in which Martin’s thinking is extremely weak. Tim Chesterton has given a more detailed explanation also – see above, You don’t seem willing to address these points. I am sure that both Tim and I would like you to do so.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

This may come as a surprise to you. Conservatives are not entirely convinced as to the rigour of your positions. It is a tragedy in every sense, but there is a point in the collapse of a relationship where the differences become irreconcilable. It ceases to serve either party beyond that point for them to continue repeating exactly the same argument over and over and over. You are fundamentally in error in your theology. You obviously hold the same view about me. That is as much as can now be said All that is left is to see if any… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter I am afraid this doesn’t make any sense. You say conservatives have a red line but still want to remain in a Church – the same ecclesial body – where the very same conservatives will allow others to celebrate same sex marriages. That makes for a pretty wobbly line.

Thank you for engaging but I am sorry you do not wish to address the substantive issues here.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

The substantive issue is that the desire for SSM is a breach of communion.

There is a principle in law – “you must come to equity with clean hands”.

The same general principle applies in regard to the life of the church.

If you breach communion – and you certainly are doing that by seeking SSM – you cannot then assert the claims of communion.

You and others have split the church.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Equal marriage does not “breach communion”. Some opponents of it broke communion over it; other opponents accepted it with good grace and chose not to participate. Don’t play disingenuous games with language to try and disguise the foot-stamping schismatic character of conservative demands for their own pet bishops.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

You assume there are two “sides” rather than two “views”. As Jody Stowell made clear in her excellent Synod speech, many of us live in a mixed economy where there are “views” not “sides”. The reifying of disagreement into “sides” will be problematic for a significant proportion of Church of England churches. Where churches have chosen “sides” it seems obvious what the “solution” is, but most churches have not. Synod does not represent the mixed middle at all well at the moment.

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Surely this problem was baked in by Justin Welby’s insistence that the way forward is “good disagreement.”

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

But where do you go to unless you are a definite evangelical who cares not for bishops and is a sort of crypto anabaptist or a swivel eyed Anglo Papalist who ignores the bishop whose license and behaves like a congregationalist?
To many of us the Society of SS Hinge and Bracket, the dreaded Ordinariate, Reform, Rome or independent house churches or some ongoing fundamentalist quasi Anglican breakaway etc are simply not options and we have to weather the storm of the present Anglican nonsenses/power games/paranoia/homophobia/ petty point scoring and other distractions from trying to be vaguely Christian.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 month ago

I’m laughing at the assumption that definite evangelicals are ‘crypto-anabaptists’. Believe me, I currently attend a Mennonite church, and most definite evangelicals in the C of E are far, far from being Anabaptist!

These core convictions of the Anabaptist network in the UK might help:

https://amnetwork.uk/convictions/

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Yes…I was a somewhat wild with the anabaptist tag but at least I did not say they were swivel eyed!!
Fundamentalist perhaps?

John Davies
John Davies
1 month ago

I was hoping for some comments on Alex Frost’s piece, with its echoes and parallels in the one by Tim Sumpter, but so far am sadly disappointed. Everybody is still caught up with arguing over ‘words and the meaning of words’, which Paul advised us against – at present akin to Nero fiddling desperately on the rudder post of the Titanic. Yesterday a retired clergy friend said to me that no one respects the church (particularly the CofE) any more. Alex and Tim have shown us the only way we are likely to regain that respect – by getting out… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  John Davies
1 month ago

Thank you. Well, the Frost piece touches upon something which is of key importance, and yet it is telling (though entirely unsurprising) that his salutary article is not what attracts most attention. UPA parishes are, like many other parishes, being throttled because of the current financial settlement within the Church of England, in which the lowest and weakest tier in the system (the parish) provides a regressive implicit transfer to the highest and most affluent tier (the Commissioners). At the same time the lowest tier labours under the millstone of its buildings. This accelerates progress towards failure and extinction. Yet… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

This news is likely to accelerate the distributional contest within the Church, assuming that the quantum of the fund is accepted by the Church authorities: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/mar/04/church-of-england-told-to-boost-size-of-fund-to-address-legacy-of-slavery andhttps://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/03/04/church-england-told-raise-1bn-slavery-fund-wealthy-donors/. The ‘co-investors’ may well demand a large premium from the Church for their pains, and it may become larger over time as the underlying flow of funds to the Commissioners (i.e., the imputed subsidy of the Commissioners’ financial position via parish share) diminishes as the Church collapses at a local level. As the Church authorities have put themselves up for this, and have already conceded the ethical point, it is likely that they… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Thanks, Froghole for your comments. Seriously, I’m delighted to have triggered a response from you, as I do admire your historic and legal knowledge. As for the economic consequences of post colonialism (I’m old enough to remember the Empire) well, why do they think Singer, Humber, Austin, Sunbeam and all the rest disappeared? We’d grown used to having a very captive market for much of our industry, and failed to grasp the obvious connection. I’m aware of the parish problems, the loss of clergy, closure of churches etc, and can’t help thinking that is a seriously backward step. It’s akin… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  John Davies
1 month ago

Many years ago I heard a speaker at one of the more ‘reforming’ charismatic conferences make a comment which has lodged in my memory ever since. Now, I will admit (can’t remember his name) that, to me, he seemed rather arrogant and over-full of his vision of a revitalised church, but….. it was at the time that the Church Commissioners had lost rather a lot of money with unsound investments, and the financial collapse of the CofE was being talked about. Chummy boy’s remark was ‘Isn’t it GOOD to see God putting his axe to the root of the dead… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  John Davies
1 month ago

Thank you for your kind remarks and all your eirenic contributions! Yes, markets really do matter, and so do balances (contrary to Cheney’s statement that “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”). Trump and Biden recognise that deficits really do matter, which is why their policies are swinging against China, as China has not only raced up the value chain but has surpassed the US and Europe, for deficits in current account, and so subvert the foundations of dollar supremacy; if dollar supremacy fades then that will be the end of US (and Western) hegemony, with the US being drowned in its… Read more »

Mark
Mark
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

To your paragraph on the state of Europe, Froghole: I think there are two aspects of the decline in Europe that you do not mention, but which are possibly more important than those you do. Firstly, Europeans seem to have started falling out of love with their traditional religious culture in many countries as a result of the 1960s social upheaval. What started in a small number of Western European countries – e.g. Benelux, W Germany, France and the UK – has spread successively to places like Ireland & Italy, and we can be sure will fully encompass Poland, Greece… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Mark
1 month ago

Many thanks. I fear that the decline of religion in Europe has made very little difference to its economy and, thus, its ability to project power. What matters in international political economy is, it seems: (i) geography, particularly the ability to control ‘choke points’ and having strategic defence in depth; (ii) the ability to command resources (specifically mineral resources), and their application to industrial capacity; (iii) ample skilled manpower; and (iv) the ability to raise cheap finance. The remarkable decline of religious practice in France, the USSR or China, for example, made scant difference to their geopolitical heft and reach;… Read more »

Mark
Mark
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

That’s an interesting reply, thank-you: I shall ponder it. But I think that European breast-beaters go a bit too much to town on the idea that Europe succeeded because of exploiting everyone else in other continents. I’m interested in architectural history: the very large number of mediaeval churches surviving in England (and think how many more there would have been were it not for the Reformation) are surely testament to the fact that they were produced by a rich agricultural economy – the wool churches of East Anglia and the Cotswolds being striking examples of that. There were plenty of… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Mark
1 month ago

I was unavailable yesterday, but thank you for your very interesting remarks. I share your interests, but note that in the middle ages it could be argued that, despite the wealth of northern Italy, the Levantine entrepots, the north-west European plain and parts of southern and eastern England, the aggregate wealth of Europe was perhaps not as significant as that of China or India. Since you mention wool, an argument could be made that England became less wealthy in the later middle ages as the staples came under increasing pressure (see here for a classic discussion by ‘Mrs’ Postan: https://socialsciences.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/power/WoolTrade.pdf).… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Thanks for this depressing but, I fear, incredibly accurate analysis.

It is remarkable how the UK is a country that owes its wealth and status to the past benefits of world-wide colonial depredation, yet so many people in the UK simply do not understand the catastrophic effects of having lost our colonial economic power.

Mark
Mark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

as I say above, the time frame does not bear out the claim that the UK “owes its wealth…to world-wide colonial domination.” England, at least, was a relatively wealthy country before the colonial period: its high level of development is what enabled expansion overseas, not vice versa.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Mark
1 month ago

Another thread in this (seen in my usual, simple way) is the time when it was happening. A lot of our technical progress took place during the various European wars of the 18th and 19th centuries – Newcomen, Boulton, Watt, Trevithick and Stephenson for example coincide with those revolutionary wars, and much of their work was inspired by the need to reduce the high costs of horses, fodder etc due to the demands of the military. (Railway and Industrial archaeologists also have a bad habit of existing in their own little worlds – like Jane Austin’s characters – and forgetting… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Mark
1 month ago

Even more than the social revolution of the 1960s, I think what changed the public opinion of religion in Europe was World War 2. The Nazis and the Fascists of Italy and Spain were supported by the religious authorities (implicitly if not openly) and the revelation of their horrors reflected on the churches in the aftermath.

Mark
Mark
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

But Catholicism boomed in Italy in the immediate post-war decades; it has also fared rather better in Spain post-Franco than in many other West European countries which were not dictatorships (Belgium or the Netherlands, for example) during the same period.

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

Does your analysis leave out the issue of how much the established church was able to enforce its doctrine and practice through the force of law for many hundreds of years, from Constantine until after the enlightenment. It is only in the past one or two hundred yeas in the UK that effective freedom of religion has existed. And once people had the freedom, they chose the freedom not to be Christian. When we look back to when the churches were full and the churches well funded, we forget that church attendance and church funding at that time was not… Read more »

Mark
Mark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

A lot of people used their freedom to go to nonconformist churches, though, so it can’t be the case that Christianity as such was maintained by Anglican social coercion. From my reading of the literature of those periods, I don’t get the sense that many English people tended to feel coerced religiously, anyway, which would explain why Britain, almost uniquely in Europe, never developed an anti-clerical strand of literature.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  John Davies
1 month ago

Thanks for this, John. I was particularly touched by this paragraph from Alex Frost: ‘I truly believe that the growth of the Church of England will not come by producing a definition of fornication, or even by blessing same-sex unions; something, by the way, which I fully support. It won’t come in the calling out the wolves from the sheep. It can and it will come only from serving on the margins, by calling out the injustices of social and financial deprivation, and by walking in the footsteps of Jesus in the darkest of places.’ And also this paragraph: ‘(Growth)… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

The Tim Sumpter piece was inspiring. I had a similar positive response from the people who benefited from our online Sunday services and daily offices. But I take my hat off to all the practical care work he led. Well done, good and faithful servant.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Tim, I agree with your observations- the Frost and Sumpter pieces are great examples of how I like to think Jesus would want done- his words (however understood and interpreted) translated into loving action. Excellent contrasts with the many words spent in conflict within his church.

Thomas G. Reilly
Thomas G. Reilly
1 month ago

I am simultaneously excited and depressed by many of the arguments put forward in this debate. But I feel that we are not asking ourselves the fundamental question that as followers of Jesus we should be asking: are our priorities aligned with those of Jesus? When I read the Gospels I see that Jesus is overwhelmingly inclusive, not exclusive., that He loves, favours, and is welcomed by the poor, the excluded, the unclean, the slaves, and those at the bottom of the pile, much to the dismay and rejection of the “good” people, the religious people, those who knew that… Read more »

Francis James
Francis James
1 month ago

Interesting that in all the talk here of orthodox versus liberal & reasons for decline of CofE, the endless safeguarding scandals do not get a mention. This is despite the fact that the collapse of trust for priests of any Christian church in UK (CofE, Methodist, RC, etc) in the last 60 years has been spectacular. The latest general synod provides no sign of moving forward, and the longer that the CofE structure (both lay & clergy) continues to wriggle on the safeguarding hook, rather than accepting secular oversight, the worse things will get. Would I trust CofE system to… Read more »

Peter
Peter
1 month ago

Geographical episcopacy – a further response to Charlie Bell – Anglican Mainstream

Davie addresses the false claim that the episcopacy is geographical

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