Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 22 April 2023

Martine Oborne Student Christian Movement blog Frustrated Vocations: Why We Need an Honest Church on Women’s Ministry

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The essence of the Christian message – the primacy of God’s unconditional, infinite, intimate love

Marianne Rozario Theos The death of traditional funerals

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Nuno Torre
Nuno Torre
1 year ago

Those 3 articles joint together represent what so much wonderful things all Christianity has to learn from the Anglican world: To accept a broad load of traditions and ideas on everything else apart the very basics in an as harmonic as possible way possible. Congrats Thinking Anglicans for this piece of wonderful information! But that so large freedom range is not risk exempt; and the previous post very well stresses it: Sometimes there are those GAFCONites pushing the boat here and there…

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 year ago

I fail to see the point of Martine Oborne’s article. She writes as if she is surprised there are divergent views on women’s ministry – a fact that has been evident since female ordinations were first enacted. She calls for “honesty” in the Church, implying “mutual flourishing” must be “dishonest”. By campaigning for women’s equality, she must want people like Philip North to disappear.

David
David
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Martine is clear in her article that she has known and experienced cases where people’s attitudes and opinions have changed as a result of exposure to the ministry of women rather than staying in the bubble of opinion which says it is wrong. I would expect her to be hoping that Philip North (and others) experience what women have to offer in ministry and have a change of heart. A more Christian position than saying “keep away”?

Rob
Rob
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I think the point of Martine Oborne’s article is clear: that misogyny and sexism, whether implicit or explicit, well-intentioned or ill-intentioned, has limited and continues to limit parity of the sexes in church ministry.
She (in my view) rightly calls for honesty and transparency about that.
Does that help?

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Rob
1 year ago

I think Martine Oborne is being more nuanced than that. Whilst she may not support Philip North’s views on women’s ministry, she would at least support his transparency, and the fact that he makes no secret of his views. What Martine, and WATCH, are concerned about is where churches have a policy of excluding women from positions of authority, but keep such a policy secret. A woman may join such a congregation ignorant of the position of that church’s incumbent or PCC, and be unknowingly held back if she subsequently attempts to pursue her own sense of a vocational calling.… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rob
1 year ago

I would add that many of us feel that the soundbite ‘mutual flourishing’ is dishonest about the inherent misogyny and impact on women involved.

Kate
Kate
1 year ago

I believe we have arrived at a moment when the essence of Christian teaching has to be reframed to emphasise the primacy of God’s unconditional, infinite, intimate love the Gospels reveal in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, rooted in his core message, his teaching, actions and wisdom.. – Colin Coward English law has two major components: [written] statute law and [unwritten] common law. We similarly have two understandings of Christianity in the Church of England: orthodoxy corresponds to statute law and the liberal position (I won’t describe it as progressive as I think that term is used… Read more »

Father David
Father David
1 year ago

With regard to the death of the Traditional Funeral I wonder if the rot set in with the funeral of the Princess of Wales when Mr. Elton John was allowed to sing in Westmister Abbey? What a contrast that was to the wonderful Traditional Funeral of the Queen Mother.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Father David
1 year ago

“Rot”? Sir Elton John’s music was NOT rot. I hope “In place of a single (and so, shared) understanding of what a funeral should look like, a range of expressions – often reflecting the unique personality, values, and preferences of the deceased – have sprung up.” is not “rot”. I hope a funeral where not only the formulaic rituals are observed — rituals that may have no meaning for numerous attendees — but moments of reflection of that particular individual’s life are observed and celebrated. I once attended a funeral that was in strict accordance with the deceased’s parents’ religion,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

I think “the rot set in” must have a different meaning or connotation in the US. It refers to a process of something deteriorating, and not necessarily to people or, in this case, the music being performed, itself being ‘rot’. Another instance, I think, of our two nations sharing a common language with, sometimes, different understandings. The music at Princess Diana’s funeral was under the direction of Martin Neary, a very fine musician (and, for me, a privilege to have known him earlier at Winchester Cathedral). He specifically asked the Dean and Chapter of Westminster to invite Elton John to… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

As we’re all made in the same image, should not a common condition demand at some point a common rite? If this is so, the ‘good funeral’ will blend the universal and objective with the personal and subjective. I was forcefully reminded of this when taking the funeral of a communicant who was also a serial abuser. When words fail we need the rituals of transition to manage ambivalence: the Paschal candle standing by the coffin; the priest sprinkling the coffin; the family placing a white (baptismal) pall on the coffin, and later casting handfuls of earth into the grave.… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Father David
1 year ago

Diana was born 60 years after the Queen Mother. That explains a lot. Elton John was invited to sing in Westminster Abbey. What do you think was the seed of the rot? Mr. John himself? The song? A piano in the Abbey? I find Amazing Grace cringe-worthy, but wouldn’t blame the decline in the number of church funerals on it.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Richard
1 year ago

Americans seem to love Amazing Grace and sing it at every twist and turn, not least at the inauguration of every U S President. I agree with your assesment of it but at least it praises God which is surely the purpose of worship. I cannot see how God is praised or worshipped by the singing of Candle in the Wind which seems to me to praise the deceased rather than the Almighty.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Father David
1 year ago

At a funeral, is it not appropriate to speak (or sing) of the deceased? Think of “Candle in the Wind” (or, as the version performed at the funeral is properly titled, “Goodbye, England’s Rose”) as a musical eulogy.

Geoff M.
Geoff M.
Reply to  Pat ONeill
11 months ago

Speaking of the deceased is certainly appropriate at a funeral. Eulogies are best saved for the wake.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Geoff M.
11 months ago

Must be a difference between US and UK customs. Here, at a funeral of any denomination, a eulogy is generally a part of the service. Wakes over here are more for the family and friends to gather and reminisce in a more casual atmosphere.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  Pat ONeill
11 months ago

Most Protestant services I’ve attended have eulogies.

An increasing custom in my area of TEC is, immediately after the opening procession and before the funeral service itself, one to three family members are permitted to make SHORT memorial comments about the deceased.

The service then continues with the lessons, followed by a theological sermon by the rector. At the reception following the service in the parish hall, there is an opportunity for anyone to offer additional memories about the deceased.

This seems to satisfy the need to deliver eulogies but preserve the theological meaning of the service in the sermon.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  dr.primrose
11 months ago

It’s the same here in Western Canada. Funerals almost always include eulogies.

SadPhil
SadPhil
1 year ago

when people talk solely about God’s ‘unconditional’ love, I am often reminded of Neibuhrs’ characterisation of certain streams-

“A God without wrath who brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”

It seems the only vicious judgement in a place like this is for those who hold traditional views in good conscience.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  SadPhil
1 year ago

“A God without wrath”
Sounds fine to me.
“a Kingdom without judgment”
That also sounds fine to me. I was often homeless (not “unhoused”, homeless) in the early 1980s, and often used the services of a very conservative Christian “Rescue Mission”. I received enough judgement there from the ministers berating my and my fellow homeless attendees for our sorrowful sinful state to last the rest of this life — and for all of the next (if there is one)..

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

“A God without wrath”
Sounds fine to me.
“a Kingdom without judgment”
That also sounds fine to me.”

So how do you think God should (or maybe does) regard homohobia, racism and sexism? Does she look on such things and think ‘no problem – I will overlook all that’ or is God moved to wrath at seeing such sin which afflicts those he has created and loves? (And wrath, properly understood, is not the same as blind rage – perhaps righteous anger would be a better term.)

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

Thank you. Charles Read, “righteous anger” is much more appropriate. Regarding anyone who practices homophobia, racism, homophobia, and is not repentant prior to death (I’m not certain of the Emperor Constantine “get an insurance policy at the last second”, either), I believe God would simply cut that person’s soul off from God. I refuse to believe that an omnipotent, omniscient, all just, all merciful God singles out any one select group of humanity as entering Heaven and casts the overwhelming rest into darkness. When I hear “wrath” or “judgement”, I too often think of what is dispensed in this world… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
SadPhil
SadPhil
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
11 months ago

Can I ask then, Peter- are you saying that if someone had some remnant of racist or homophobic thinking in them, but was a professing Christian, they would have no chance of salvation?

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  SadPhil
11 months ago

I wouldn’t say no chance but a severely reduced one. Remember the second of the two great commandments: “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

SadPhil
SadPhil
Reply to  Pat ONeill
11 months ago

I’m glad that when God looks at me, he sees Jesus’ righteousness and not mine.

SadPhil
SadPhil
Reply to  Pat ONeill
11 months ago

Or, to add to that- my hope is that Jesus- the one person who ever lived who didn’t prejudice against a perceived ‘other’ – has welcomed me into his family. To be an honest sinner is to admit that for each of us (liberal/progressive, conservative/traditional) there are ‘others’ that we dehumanize. And thank you Jesus for rebuking, healing and restoring.

SadPhil
SadPhil
1 year ago

And to quote from the late, great, David Powlison- God’s love is very different from “unconditional positive regard,” the seedbed of contemporary notions of unconditional love. God does not accept me just as I am; He loves me despite how I am; He loves me just as Jesus is; He loves me enough to devote my life to renewing me in the image of Jesus. This love is much, much, much better than unconditional! Perhaps we could call it “contraconditional” love. Contrary to the conditions for knowing God’s blessing, He has blessed me because His Son fulfilled the conditions. Contrary… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  SadPhil
1 year ago

Thank you. A great quote.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  SadPhil
1 year ago

Unconditional love is gift – unearned and undeserved. God simply chooses to love me this way. But there is nothing easy or soft about being loved like that. A large conference of Christian counsellors and spiritual directors was asked the most common struggle among those they journeyed with. The answer was – accepting they are loved. The seedbed for the rise of unconditional, person-centred approaches is actually to be found in conservative religion and the burdens on those who could simply never get past the emphasis on judgement, sin and guilt and come to any sense that they were actually… Read more »

SadPhil
SadPhil
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

amen! that’s a v. good thought- our issue is often that we want to approach the Lord on our terms, not his.
‘sadphil’ is a reference to my grief for the CofE, rather than my general state- I hope!-
thanks

Andrew Kleissner
Andrew Kleissner
1 year ago

The article on funerals puzzles me because, in a Baptist ministerial career of 35 years, I cannot recall one which has not included a eulogy to the deceased. Many have been very traditional services, others more inventive – in my tradition there is a great deal of scope to suit the occasion to the family’s wishes. Two points: I agree with the view expressed which says that the funeral is “too” celebratory, both failing to acknowledge the reality of death and the place that the funeral can have in assuaging grief. I have found this to be particularly true with… Read more »

Andrew Kleissner
Andrew Kleissner
Reply to  Andrew Kleissner
1 year ago

Correction: “… which says that a funeral can be “too” celebratory …”

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
11 months ago

Thanks so much for the link to Colin Coward’s article. I read it this morning. Just the thing for my cognitive hangover from debating on the other thread. I am not familiar with the local ecclesiastical jigs and reels he references; but his over all theme of God’s unconditional love juxtaposed to particular types of harmful theological constructs is bang on. My take away from what he is pleading for is to focus on a sense of God’s love as transcendent, one that allows us to get outside ourselves. There is one aspect of Coward’s position that I struggle with… Read more »

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