Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 28 August 2021

Leander S Harding The Living Church What should bishops do?

Giles Fraser UnHerd Does Jordan Peterson believe in God?
“The professor isn’t being shifty when he refuses to declare his faith”

Rosemarie Mallett The Diocese of Southwark Remembering Slavery and Emancipation: Reparation and Restitution

Archbishop Cranmer has two pieces relating to our article earlier this week.
Safeguarding suicide: ‘there is a crisis of trust within the Diocese of London’
Martin Sewell Fr Alan Griffin (RIP): the buck stops with Bishop Sarah Mullally

Edmund Weiner Surviving Church Memories of Bash (Iwerne) Camps in the early 70s

Margaret Pritchard Houston Church Times Want children in church? Put them in charge

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Kate
Kate
26 days ago

Margaret Pritchard Houston’s article in Church Times is incredibly refreshing. I hate the approach of sending children out to Sunday School which has been the practice everywhere I have attended family worship (and not just in the Church of England). It is a patronising approach which essentially sets up a lifetime trajectory to accept a patriarchy. To discover that several churches have adopted wonderful alternatives has really brightened my day. I wish them every success and hope that enlightenment will lead to the full inclusion of children everywhere. And, yes, I do think that should include blessing the hosts during… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
26 days ago

Is it significant that most of the adults mentioned in the article as being creative and supportive of the full inclusion of children and young people were women? I think it is.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
26 days ago

Quite possibly

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Kate
25 days ago

I wonder how dismissing children at the offertory is different to sending away the catachumens at this point. There is certainly history and tradition for that.

RosalindR
RosalindR
Reply to  Richard
25 days ago

Catechumens are preparing for baptism. In general, most children regularly attending a C of E church will be baptised. This of course, leads to the question of including baptised children as communicant members of the church.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  RosalindR
24 days ago

I don’t understand why children aren’t automatically communicant. Baptism should be sufficient. The usual argument is that they don’t understand, but in all honesty there is something wrong with any liturgy which teenagers can’t understand.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
24 days ago

Some parts of the Anglican Communion have been doing that for years. In Canada we authorized it back in the 1980s.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Kate
24 days ago

It’s all a load of nonsense. I gave Holy Communion to anything that moved. Sometimes the parents said no but the children never did (the bishop knew and said nowt). As to preparation, one 30 min exchange did the trick for me, one of the most rewarding being with a Down’s syndrome person. I have no idea what s/he made of it, but then I’ve no idea what anyone makes of it (I know what I made of six weekly sessions in the early 1960s poring over the BCP catechism). Show, don’t tell.

Last edited 24 days ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
26 days ago

Giles Fraser’s opening paragraph on Jordan Peterson quotes Christopher Kaczor, “the most influential Biblical interpreter in the world today” Clicking on the quote in Fraser’s piece takes us to Kaczor’s article (Jordan Peterson on Adam and Eve) which is well worth the read. However, I think what is closer to the truth is that Jordan Peterson is the most influential interpreter of Jordan Peterson in the world today. If the point of Fraser’s excursus is the importance of the distinction between the notions of faith and belief, that the former may be strengthened by a healthy skepticism of the latter… Read more »

PatrickT
PatrickT
Reply to  Rod Gillis
26 days ago

I think it is important to remember that Jordan Peterson cut his teeth as an anthropologist, rather than as a philosopher or theologian. As such, he appears to regard religion as a cultural phenomenon. I particularly noted that in one Q&A session Jordan Peterson was asked whether he was in favour of same-sex marriages: and after a moment of thinking he replied that he was, on the grounds that this would permit the maximum number of people to participate in the structures of society.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  PatrickT
25 days ago

Sure thing. My comment was intended to be primarily a comment on Fraser who is using his interest in Peterson as a jumping off point. I believe Fraser and Peterson both have a significant interest in Nietzsche. My comment on Peterson is an aside about the hyperbolic statement by Kaczor i.e. Peterson being “the most influential biblical biblical interpreter in the world today.” One hears this kind of hype a lot when sales are up. It’s like the ubiquitous use of the term ‘legendary’ in just about every celebrity’s obit. I’m aware of Peterson’s popularity and his gig as a… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Rod Gillis
25 days ago

I don’t know Jordan Peterson, and I’m not sure that his views on God are of any more relevance than mine. However, he seems to get quite a lot of self-generated air time. Much of this stuff goes back four or five years. His Wikipedia entry (which might need better referencing) states this: “In a 2017 interview, Peterson was asked if he was a Christian. He responded, “I suppose the most straight-forward answer to that is yes.” When asked if he believes in God, Peterson responded: “I think the proper response to that is no, but I’m afraid He might… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Anthony Archer
25 days ago

One should not judge a writer by their fans. But Peterson is _huge_ in Incel-world and on the alt-right. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he is himself a fascist, but he is absolute the sort of figure that is what “educated” looks like to people who are not themselves educated. Or, more pithily, “the stupid man’s smart person“. As that article says, you won’t catch him quoting the fourteen words because he’s smart enough to avoid being obviously racist, but you can be absolutely certain a lot of his friends have no such compunction. It’s possible you can talk about… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Interested Observer
24 days ago

I think there are non-stupid people who peddle tripe about “cultural marxism” et al. Cynical manipulation of the stupid and the ignorant has a long history.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Interested Observer
24 days ago

IO writes that Peterson ‘is the sort of figure that is what “educated” looks like to people who are not themselves educated’ and implies that the word ‘stupid’ could be applied to such people. One of the many things that parochial ministry taught me is that people ‘who are not themselves educated’ are as often as not bright, intuitive, sharp-minded, perspicacious and untroubled by the narrow-mindedness that education so easily brings in its wake. The most impressive supplicant for ordination that I handled as an Assistant DDO was a Derbyshire woman who left school at 16, brought up a family… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
24 days ago

Hear, Hear, and Amen to that!

That’s my experience too.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
24 days ago

Absolutely, Stanley, I agree with every word of that, and if I implied otherwise I apologise.

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Interested Observer
24 days ago

“the stupid man’s smart person” — clever…and all-purpose, on all sides of the spectrum. I can think of a lot of people who would fit that bill on the alt-left.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  CR SEITZ
24 days ago

Oh yes: the left is just as bad.

PatrickT
PatrickT
Reply to  Interested Observer
24 days ago

Your post offers insinuations about Jordan Peterson, including various words in quotation marks, together with indeterminate references as to how some unspecified person might be behaving and speaking, some of which is contrary to what Jordan Peterson has said, specifically that he does not refuse to use people’s chosen pronouns; to describe (insult?) his writing and thinking as you do seems to suggest that you’re perhaps not simply the ‘Interested Observer’ of your username.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  PatrickT
24 days ago

What is quite clear from this discussion of JP is that he scares the ordure out of the illiberal liberal elite. Why else would they heap such opprobrium on him? Plenty examples in Holy Scripture. Some were killed.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  PatrickT
23 days ago

In fact, he precisely does refuse to use people’s pronouns, depending on what they are. He claims he’ll allow you the he or she of your choice, but after that it’s all over. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-37875695 “If the standard transsexual person wants to be regarded as he or she, my sense is I’ll address you according to the part that you appear to be playing,”  https://ideapod.com/why-jordan-peterson-wont-refer-to-transgender-people-by-their-preferred-pronouns/ “I certainly won’t use them now that I am compelled to by law. It’s a reprehensible law… a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I don’t believe, either, that any such prosecution would stand a court challenge, unless… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Anthony Archer
24 days ago

I know nothing about Peterson. However, there is a venerable European tradition of identifying as ‘Christian’ without actually believing in God. Richard Dawkins, for instance, identifies as ‘culturally Anglican’ despite his well-known proclivities. In an earlier generation, J. M. E. McTaggart was strongly Anglican (and assiduous in his attendance at chapel at Trinity) despite also being an atheist. What I think that a number of ‘cultural Christians’ (and Douglas Murray is another of these) are getting at is something akin to the ‘integral nationalism’ of Charles Maurras in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Maurras was a devout ‘cultural… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Froghole
24 days ago

What’s your take on Sir Anthony Kenny? (He taught a mentor of mine a very long time ago.)

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/14-december/features/interviews/interview-anthony-kenny-philosopher

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rod Gillis
23 days ago

Many thanks, Archdeacon! I am an admirer. I see that the CT interview refers to John, Card. Heenan. Heenan was a very tough old bird (my grandfather was a childhood friend and recalled Heenan’s father telling his dog: “Die for Ireland!”, with the dog lying prostrate, and then “Live for Ireland!”, with the dog jumping up and barking profusely). Heenan often seemed dogmatic and quick to anger (Bruce Kent, who was a chaplain and later also laicised, remarked of his face turning red with anger, almost redder than his zucchetto, when reading of the latest ecumenical pronouncements from Ramsey’s or… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Froghole
23 days ago

Froghole, Thanks so much for the reply. My mentor, The Rev. Dr. Greg Macleod, or ‘Greg’ as he preferred, was indeed fortunate. I talked with him just a few months before he died. One of the things he recalled was his ‘wonderful education’ experience at Oxford at that time and the ongoing importance of Aristotle. The link below will take you to an article about Greg from Commonweal, May 2021. I was very fortunate to have known him. His approach to difficult issues was worlds away from our current climate of polarization and rams headbutting–his was passion without dogmatism. Kenny… Read more »

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Froghole
23 days ago

I suspect ‘integral nationalism’ is irrelevant in Peterson’s case, if not also something he’d be opposed to in his own cultural context.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  CR SEITZ
23 days ago

Many thanks, Prof. Seitz! Having now looked him up and having seen him on Youtube, albeit briefly, I suspect that is probably right. He seems, at least in political terms (and I cannot say anything about his work in psychology) to be something of a ‘market liberal’, at least based on my extremely superficial acquaintance with his views.

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Froghole
23 days ago

No big deal. I just suspect the ‘integral nationalist’ category is an Old World phenomenon (where it endures, if now anywhere).

Geoff McLarney
Geoff McLarney
Reply to  CR SEITZ
23 days ago

It certainly persists in some quarters here in Quebec!

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Anthony Archer
24 days ago

I’ve read a couple of Peterson’s articles in The National Post, a newspaper in Canada the editorial policy of which champions the politcal right. He is a highly accomplished academic in his field. In public discourse he is a controversialist. He was enmeshed in a controversy with Cambridge a year or two ago, one of those tempests in a tea pot that grip and excite universities. There were apoplectic articles about it in the press right and left. It is not unusual for academics who are highly expert in one highly defined field to see themselves as expert in a… Read more »

Geoff McLarney
Geoff McLarney
Reply to  Rod Gillis
23 days ago

Well, *an* entire congregation (West Hill UC in Scarborough, Toronto).

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Geoff McLarney
22 days ago

In addition to T.O., We have one in here Halifax as well. I attended one of their Sunday morning fiestas there not that long ago. My point is that hand wringing over whether or not a populist controversialist should take the extra step to a more conventional faith is a little precious.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
26 days ago

Regarding the Giles Fraser article, 1) What Professor Peterson “isn’t being” in the subhead and elsewhere in the article requires carefully reading the word following. 2) “I am really not that bothered by Peterson’s apparently indeterminate status” Yet Dr. Fraser just wrote an entire essay on the issue. I’d say he and those Christian writers and pundits who ardently wish Professor Peterson would boldly declare he believes in (their version of?) God, a) need to let Professor Peterson alone, he has the freedom to keep his belief in God as open or as secret as he damn well pleases, and… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
26 days ago

If he declared his beliefs there is surely a risk that someone would say that he is biased in his translation (not because he is, but to attempt to undermine a disliked interpretation) so I fully understand why Peterson prefers not to say.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
25 days ago

Thank you so much peterpi – Peter Gross. You articulate many of my feelings about attempting to force other people’s views into boxes of our, not their, making. In so doing we may feel self-satisfied at having filled another glass slipper while ignoring the blood that has resulted from the necessary amputations to stuff the foot in. Dr Fraser wants to squeeze Peterson into a shape that he, GF, can comprehend. Is this not at the root of all mission – to get people to see things as we see them and think as we think? Wanting to change other… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
25 days ago

Stanley, I appreciate both your comment, and that of peterpi to whom you reply. What I know about Jordan Peterson I could write on the back of an envelope. So, I simply don’t know if he is a candidate or not for the kind of conversationalist you wish to uphold. (see links) A great many years ago, I was introduced to the study of philosophy by a Catholic priest, who became a good friend, who had studied at Oxford, who toted a Ph.D. from Louvain. He was considered a ‘maverick’ by his bishop among others. He avoided, as much as… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
25 days ago

Thanks, Rod, for sentiments and links. I am dogmatic about nothing other than a rejection of dogmatism! I enjoy Peterson’s writings and find them resonating with me, an agnostic about much doctrine. Like your mentor, JP too is a maverick – indeed I would say that just as the amoeba moves by putting out pseudopodia to “test the waters”, so mavericks are the pseudopodia of our corporate intellectual life. People have called me one (maverick not amoeba) amongst other things, and I am thrilled. If you wish to insult me, call me “nice”. I may have put this on TA… Read more »

Last edited 25 days ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
25 days ago

To your 2nd point first, I continue to enjoy reading the Caroline Divines. Classic. Additionally, Anglicanism has a decent intellectual tradition in people like William Paley, in the writers of Lux Mundi and Soundings, in ‘mavericks’ like Bishop David Jenkins. I’d also include in that intellectual tradition theologians like John Macquarrie and Joe Cassidy. As well, Anglicanism has had some very controversial and effective change agent activists such as Fr. Malcom Boyd, Archbishop Ted Scott, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. To the larger point about dogmatism, it is important to keep in mind what is at stake in any conversation or controversy.… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
25 days ago

Sorry to ramble on, but the fertility of Lancelot Andrewes’s intellect was something else. I find he has to be read slowly. It can take me some time to realise how the phrases in his long sentences are related. But his ideas and imagination are myriad, to misuse a fashionable phrase. I suppose he had plenty time to think. I wonder what his audiences made of his sermons – they are not short and there was no sound system. Which brings me to another point: why can’t clergy these days speak up and pronounce their consonants, especially terminal, properly? Rant,… Read more »

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
25 days ago

Thank you Martin for your concise and objective article regarding the Diocese of London, and the tragic death of Fr Alan Griffin.

The buck does stop with the Bishop of London, if she is not prepared to name the gossip mongers on her diocesan staff..

Fr John Emlyn

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Fr John Harris-White
25 days ago

Father John I think his Holiness Pope Francis has rightly described Gossip as a form of terrorism, it is a Sin, a very serious Sin, as it can destroy people, reputations and Communities, and as far as this Sin and other sins of the Tongue are concerned , Christians can be the worst offenders and descend to the standards of the world, when we are called by our Christian Profession to higher standards, to be counter-cultural. It can be a Sin that send people to Hell, or lead to a prolonged time in Purgatory atoning for this Sin, it is… Read more »

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