Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 24 August 2019

Stanley Monkhouse Rambling Rector O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself

Jonathan Clatworthy Modern Church Christian imperialism

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Trick or Treat?

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Losing Sleep Over Michaela – why children aren’t coming to church

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FrDavid H
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FrDavid H

Stanley Monkhouse may doubt he did the right thing by being ordained. Personally I think he is a breath of fresh air. Would there were more like Fr Stanley in our Church. He tells it as it is. I hope he continues to write and speak for a long time to come.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Hear, hear.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Excellent piece by Stanley Monkhouse – but he means Jonathan Fletcher, not Jeremy Fletcher.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

thanks Janet. I do indeed. Now corrected.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

“the institutional Church of England is secretive, evasive, cruel and corrupt”

And as Matt Ineson said in his letter published in the Church Times this week:

“Even the word ‘sorry’ is too hard to say”

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

“To non-American Christians, wrapping up the promotion of guns in Christian rhetoric is astonishing, and arguably blasphemous.” — Jonathan Clatworthy Mr. Clatworthy, to many non-Christian Americans, wrapping up the promotion of guns in Christian rhetoric is astonishing, and arguably blasphemous. A fantastic piece by Mr. Clatworthy. Fr. Monkhouse’s piece is also excellent. But, he shouldn’t be ashamed to be the public face of the Church of England to his congregation and others he meets. Instead, the leadership of the Church of England, starting right at the top, should be ashamed that they have failed Fr. Monkhouse and all the local… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

I would add that wrapping up the promotion of guns in Christian rhetoric is astonishing, and arguably blasphemous, to many Christian Americans–I might almost say MOST Christian Americans.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

“To adapt another Americanism, we could ask ‘Which gun would Jesus carry?’ From everything we know of him, the Prince of Peace would carry none at all.” Why would he, when he believed that he had the power to call down the mother of all airstrikes, and frequently warned that it was imminent? Jesus preached pacifism not as an end in itself, but because he believed that God has the ultimate monopoly on force. This thinking is so alien that neither contemporary liberals nor conservatives can dragoon it to their cause, but so central is it to his message that… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

“So, as I say, I’m not sure why the revelations of abuse should so affect me other than being profoundly disappointed in an organization that professes to be Godly.”

Litmus paper turns red in acidic conditions. A Christian will equally react profoundly to abuse by people in positions of trust, more strongly so if there appears to be some sort of cover up.

If litmus paper doesn’t turn red in the presence of scid, then we know, whatever is claimed for it, that it is not litmus paper.

Your reaction is appropriate. Peace be with you.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Kate: as is so often the case, the very act of writing that I didn’t know exactly what caused my distress enabled that cause to start to show itself. I have spent a lifetime nurturing adolescents and young adults, provoking them to think, freeing them to set the world alight in their chosen field. So it appalls me that some church people use their positions of trust and influence to stifle, to repress, and to maim, rather than to liberate to life abundant. Jesus came to abolish religion (yesterday’s gospel CoE lectionary). This so affects me that I weep as… Read more »

John Wallace
Guest
John Wallace

Fr Stanley, I share your desperation about the church we serve – in my case as a layperson, supporting its governance and bureaucracy as I see (saw?) that as a way of ensuring that the Gospel was proclaimed. I am sure that there are hundreds of people supported and touched by your priestly ministry, who value you. I still think my years, which are almost equal to your length of ordination, were not wasted. Yesterday, I was preaching in my liberal catholic parish – I found the lectionary unhelpful, so I reverted to the previous day, St Bartholomew. Instead of… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Stanley Monkhouse’s blog piece is an extended (and edited) version of comments he posted on a TA thread a few days ago. Both are raw, angry and very honest and he shares a great deal of vulnerable, personal pain and memory across a lifetime. May I add my prayer that the burden of these wounds may find a place to be set down and find healing? No one chooses to lose hold of the hope and trust that lie at the heart of Christian vocation. The Institution of the church, and every tradition within it, is under urgent, fierce and… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Mr Runcorn, you write of ‘total lack of’ (your quotation marks) faith in the churches where I minister. I search in vain in my piece for having written this. Our faith in the Lord is, as far as I know, not in doubt. The parishioners that read my blog tell me they appreciate it and are stimulated by it. Congregations slowly grow.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Mr Monkhouse Apologies if I misunderstood you but it was my understanding of these words from your blog that Mr Symonds quotes below.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

I didn’t read ‘they come for a weekly fix of what they’ve always done on Sunday’ as ‘total lack of faith’. I thought he was referring to the way many congregations concentrate on their own needs rather than reaching out to the community and beyond. But maybe that reflects my own experience rather than what Stanley meant.

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

“For his [Stanley Monkhouse’s] sake, and theirs, I found myself fervently hoping that none of those congregations ever read his blog” If I was a member of his congregation, I fervently hope I would be deeply challenged by what I read: “It’s difficult to preach about this because, to be frank, the bulk of the punters simply don’t want to know. They come for a weekly fix of what they’ve always done on Sunday before pootling off to the pub or the local beauty spot. The last thing they want is for their complacency to be sullied by deeply unpalatable… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

No, Stanley is (sadly) right. The Church of England is about being inoffensive. So no official position on Brexit or immigration or dozens of other things.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Kate I note the ABC is presently causing offence by joining in cross party talks to avoid a non-deal Brexit.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Good. I wish that got more prominence because I certainly had missed it

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

It’s being prominent in the Times coverage. Front page yesterday, though admittedly that was about objections to his doing it.
Incidentally, I don’t think the C of E should have an official position on Brexit. If we do anything should be in a facilitating role.

Simon Sarmiento
Admin

I’ve just published a separate article about this. Please continue any discussion on this specific issue over there…

FrDavid H
Guest
FrDavid H

Fr Monkhouse ‘s congregation is lucky to have someone who speaks such naked truth and whose sincerity is so apparent. Surely a priest can’t write a blog which is suitable for everyone except his congregations. If we can’t speak the truth to our own people, what purpose do we have?

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

I agree with the need to exercise critical scrutiny of the Church and those in positions of power, especially in areas of visceral distress such as safeguarding and abuse and prejudice. I am concerned though, that we try to maintain balance and intelligent perspective here at ‘Thinking Anglicans’. This forum is arguably the most relied upon internet platform for thinking about Anglican issues from (frankly) some quite liberal perspectives along with opportunities for diverse theological views, not all of them ‘liberal’. It is an asset and a meeting place, and it provides valuable news and debate. May I suggest that… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

“But let’s also maintain our hope in Jesus Christ” [Susannah].

I have no doubt almost-all of us readers and contributors “maintain our hope in Jesus Christ” but, it seems to me, that’s not the issue at stake here.

The issue at stake is whether or not we, as ‘Thinking Anglicans’, can maintain our hope in the Church of England.

Bishop Bell said 80 years ago in ‘The Church’s Function in War-time’:

“The Church therefore ought to declare what is just”

The Church of England hierarchs are not declaring what is just.

May ‘Thinking Anglicans’ continue its vital role in declaring what is just.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

I think Susannah’s gracious warning to TA is to remind us how even the most principled campaigning and struggling against evil and sin in all its appearances, in community and institutions, can lead to its own forms of hardening, anger and bitterness.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Thank you Susannah for these wise words. I take them to heart. And in the midst of these debates thank you for how you consistently model the work of gracious challenge here and elsewhere.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I largely agree. One real problem with TA (and no criticism of the ever-patient and tolerant editors) is that continuity is lost when people reply to posts on topic A, and the very next post – which can be an earlier or later one – is about topic B. Sometimes the results can become very mixed-up, e.g., the other day a comment referring only to “the bishop”, which I thought related to the Bishop of Oxford about the Martyn Percy case, after very careful re-reading turned out to be referring to a different bishop on a completely different issue. This… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Susannah writes “let’s also maintain our hope in Jesus Christ”. Yes indeed. I’m struck at the moment by how the readings at mass for both Sundays and weekdays show that hope in Jesus Christ demands that abscesses of hypocrisy and corruption be lanced, with pus squeezed out. Our hope in Jesus Christ is unlikely to survive by maintaining that all is well, any more than an abscess will heal simply by sticking on an Elastoplast. The abscess will only fester, its eventual eruption all the more destructive, possibly leading to overwhelming sepsis and death. I’m put in mind of a… Read more »

Hilary Cotton
Guest
Hilary Cotton

Re Richard Peers’ post: You might want to be aware that the fierce strictness at Michaela School applies to staff too: staff appointed to Michaela School have to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, so they cannot speak out if things get hard – which they do. I wonder about the effect of such an over-bearing, harsh regime on the emotional life of pupils and staff, and although the results are outstanding, who bears the cost?

Richard Peers
Guest
Richard Peers

Hilary I would recommend you visit MCS. There is no culture of ‘fierce strictness’ and your use of “over-bearing, harsh” is way off the mark. MCS is a happy community in which children are thriving. Poor behaviour and low expectations make children unhappy and afraid. I spent time at MCS talking to pupils on the playground in a completely informal context and they love their school. At the lunch table I had fantastic conversations with children who love their teachers. It is one of the happiest schools I have had the pleasure to be in.

Hilary Cotton
Guest
Hilary Cotton

And they are great at showing their best side to visitors. But there is a deeply troubling shadow side – and I can’t reveal sources because they are fearful of the consequences.