on Saturday, 28 May 2022 at 11.29 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
Augustine Tanner-Ihm ViaMedia.News Sharing in Privilege: Black and Collared
Philip Goff Church Times Platinum Jubilee: The way we wore
Robert Thompson ViaMedia.News ‘Resource Churches’: When Planting Becomes Colonialism
Mr Thompson’s article is a welcome one. At present policy towards the provision of resources to the parishes seems to be divided in twain between: (i) those who argue that parishes should keep what they hold and keep what they accrue (STP); and (ii) those in authority who wish to select pet projects, to which the annual £400m pot will be directed. Of course, this is to simplify these two approaches, perhaps to the point of caricature. I am antipathetic towards both approaches. The first strikes me as being rather selfish and self-absorbed; it strikes me as leading the Church… Read more »
Thanks for that really engaged response. I am myself a member of STP but think I sit on its ‘left wing’ – some things are better centralized as you say & both STP & planting can all very easily foster a Congregationalist ecclesiology that seems to me not to be Anglican in the sense that we have historically inherited it.
I think that the man on the extreme left of the photo in the article entitled ‘Platinum Jubilee: The way we wore’ is Hugh Gough, then Bishop of Barking and later Archbishop of Sydney. If I am correct the Bishop of Chelmsford and his suffragan must both have been present at the event.
I once mused that I would wear a clerical collar at the dojo, underneath my uwagi. My thought was that during sparring, the collar would either intimidate my opponent, or more likely make it more difficult for them to set aside their hostility and keep a zen mind. Either way, I would gain a slight advantage. Otherwise, I can’t say I have much use for one.
I found Augustine Tanner-Ihm’s article gave me a lot of food for thought. I think he makes two important points. The first is how theological college did not prepare him for the way that he would be seen differently as a person with a collar, even to the extent that he did not expect there to be a difference. Is this clericalism? I also can’t make up my mind if this is a good thing or just collateral to being ordained. The other point is how he felt before ordination and how people reacted to him then. It shows that… Read more »
It’s a moving piece.I struggle to understand why someone can be treated so differently just because their skin is a different colour. How does someone being black make them a potential threat? I’ve been threatened – and assaulted – by white people, but never by black or brown. My own experience, as one of the first Anglican women to be ordained, was a bit different from Augustine’s. People openly stared, and some were plainly nonplussed. It made me feel very exposed. Of course, in those days it was also not easy to get a clerical shirt made for women. My… Read more »
I don’t think this is clericalism, but more an indication of how male privilege and deference work in English society. My own background is a white, middle class 65 year old man, physically fit, with the experience of working as a commissioned officer in the armed forces. But I have also worked on the wards as a staff nurse, in what is actually quite a low status job. I found it interesting to note that whilst my other women nursing colleagues, especially those from Africa, were often ignored and belittled by staff and patients, I was always treated with respect… Read more »
Generalising from your own personal experience to the entire population is not a good idea. You reference the world of healthcare which is a good illustration of the point. An eighteen year old man is 50% less likely to be given a place at medical school than an eighteen year old woman in the UK Obviously lots of arguments are made as to why this is a good thing. However if we are dealing in reality then in this instance male privilege is the very opposite of the truth If you have had a privileged life you obviously need to… Read more »
Digression alert: “An eighteen year old man is 50% less likely to be given a place at medical school than an eighteen year old woman in the UK”. Yes indeed, and it is shocking. It is multifactorial of course but a significant issue is that at that age the female human is in some respects more mature than the male. Over 30 years I experienced medical student selection of many types: tests, interviews, portfolios, references, the lot. The only one that matters IMO is the objective test, All else can be and is faked. There are several parallels with ordination… Read more »
Given the cost of a medical school education and the fact that people are doctors for forty years it is disappointing, to put it mildly, that selectors are unable or unwilling to see past the very temporary issue of late-adolescent levels of maturity.
Well yes, but they don’t or can’t or won’t. Given the cost of a medical school training, questions need to be asked about why there is so much “wastage” (some deeply politically incorrect answers there) and why so many medics emigrate. This is not for TA I suppose though one could ask why some clergy, NSMs in particular, withdraw from ministry after a short time. I know one who wanted her Sundays back. Ye Gods!
Equality of outcome may or may not be a good thing (answers on a postcard) but one thing is for sure. It is extremely expensive.
Perhaps the financial hardship that may be ahead of us will see us rethink the issues
Good points, Simon.
As a woman I haven’t generally had automatic deference, with or without the collar. It does occasionally happen, but just as often it’s attracted hostility or uncertainty. That at least is one thing that’s improved since 1987. My accent is mid-Atlantic, modified by all the English towns I’ve lived in since 1974, so that makes it more difficult for people to place me as to class.
Class is still a major factor in the UK, sadly, and men with the ‘wrong’ accent don’t get deference either.
Thanks Janet, I think the issue about deference is not the deference, but how do you find out about it, because many white middle/upper class men have not had any experiences to learn from, and do not notice the subtle ways that people react differently to them than to others.. I was totally unaware of the issue as a naval officer, but when I switched to a low status job halfway through my life I had a steep learning curve, both in what I observed myself, and what I found out from chatting to many women nurse and doctor friends… Read more »
If you were a nurse you were not in a low status job. If you were a cleaner or a rubbish collector you would have experienced a low status job
Sometimes I think we haven’t come far from Shaw’s ‘It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him’. And not only the English – Shaw would have known how a Northside accent in his native Dublin was (is) seen as socially inferior to a Southside accent. But is disdain preferable to invisibility – the opposite to deference? When we were in a highly socially conservative occupation (farming), my wife rarely suffered invisibility; once she became a clergy spouse it became almost the norm. Made worse occasionally by the appellation ‘Mrs… Read more »
Class (i.e. your socio-economic status) is THE defining factor in the UK. Those of us who have broken out of our parent’s class boundaries are very rare.
Class is important, but I think it is more complex than to say there is any one defining factor. Firstly, there was a period in the UK when economic circumstances made it quite common to break out of ones parent’s class boundaries. But that period has come to an end. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jun/01/social-mobility-prospects-for-young-people-disappearing-says-research Secondly, I think Rod Gillis is right in that intersectionality is a key factor. It is possible to overcome the disadvantage and prejudice caused by any one characteristic, whether class, education, sexuality, gender, race or disability. But it is when a number of characteristics overlap in one person that… Read more »
It is simply a matter of empirical fact that the economic status of your parents is the most important predictor of your life prospects and is more important than all the other factors combined. Social mobility has always been very limited. It may be getting worse, but the great majority of the population have never had any serious prospect of achieving significant upward mobility from one generation to the next. We have known since the days of the New Testament that the poor are the true disadvantaged. It is only in the last twenty years that we have taken on… Read more »
“We have known since the days of the New Testament that the poor are the true disadvantaged.” Not quite so strait forward. The NT presents us with a public proclamation of Jesus which is directed to those who because of sin or the appearance of sin are excluded or marginalized from life in the people of Israel. See for example Bruce Meyer: ” As Jesus’ macarisms show, the heirs of the reign of God were not ‘the good’ but ‘ the miserable’. …The point is that the heirs of the reign of God were the poor without qualification–not the deserving… Read more »
I agree entirely that the poor need repentance alongside the the “elites”/privileged. I was making a separate point. We have developed an essentially ideological set of beliefs that cause us to “gaslight” the poor by telling the majority of the poor in the UK that they are “privileged” because of their gender or ethnicity. It is a self-evidently absurd claim. For example, the impact of gender on your life prospects is essentially zero when compared to the impact of parental economic status. I am not here making a values claim or an ideological assertion. I am just stating what is… Read more »
Re your 2nd para, I could not possible comment since I do not know who in the UK may be telling what to whom–although it reads more like a conspiracy muddle than a fact based analysis. I simply wanted to correct your assertion that, “We have known since the days of the New Testament that the poor are the true disadvantaged.” (1)The ‘true disadvantaged” (unfortunate term) in the NT are not the poor in the first instance, but ‘sinners’ (2) We have “known about” both well before the NT period. You write, ” I am not here making a values… Read more »
You completely ignore context and dissect my statements as if I had just coughed them up out of nowhere !
The context is the set of ideas commonly known as social justice clearly referenced in the via media piece on privilege.
Your analysis of my statements lacks rigour because you have entirely failed to read them in context
I reviewed your comments to date over morning tea. I cannot find a single comment where you mention Dr. Tanner-Ihm by name or where you address directly his Viamedia piece on the theme of race and privilege. Your comments tended to shift the focus to the topic of poverty and class in the UK, rightly described earlier by one poster as a ‘digression’ which of course tends to place your comments in a context of their own. In your initial reply to Simon Dawson you write, “An eighteen year old man is 50% less likely to be given a place… Read more »
Poverty and economic disadvantage are a “digression” from the issue of privilege. – seriously ? Public health data is entirely neutral. It is simple a fact that across all the principal domains for life prospects the major determinant is the economic status of your parents. The issue of discriminatory access to elite university courses is again just an issue of fact. You breezily refer to “affirmative action programs” which leads me to assume you do not actually live in the country which is the subject of discussion. Deliberate affirmative action is a form of discrimination and is illegal in the… Read more »
No need to be suspicious. Have you been following this thread closely? I’m Canadian, I live in Canada. I’ve been clear about that repeatedly on TA. Perhaps you missed my reply to Simon Dawson for example. ” Poverty and economic disadvantage are a ‘digression’ from the issue of privilege. – seriously ?”. Yes, seriously, they are in this instance a complete digression from Tanner-Ihm’s article about race and its intersection with perceived clerical privilege. Here in Canada statisticians, at least those in the service of Statistics Canada, do not use the word ‘poverty’. It’s a ‘no no’. They talk about… Read more »
I think the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican rings as true today as it ever did. Who are those who exalt themselves, thanking God that they are not as others? Are they not those who already have their reward?
“Who are those who exalt themselves, thanking God that they are not as others?” Who do you think they are?
That’s rather the point, isn’t it? Proclaiming the moral deficiencies of others is apt to shade into congratulating oneself for one’s own perceived moral superiority. Far better for each of us to take the parable to heart and decide for ourselves which of the two characters we are and which we need to be.
In terms of this thread, you’ve lost me friend.
Then, as a friend, let me put it simply. We’re talking about Luke 18:9-14 9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much… Read more »
I’m familiar with the Gospels, sort of an occupational requirement. Lol. I’m just not clear on what your take on it has to do with the chit chat on this thread? Sorry, as we say in Canada.
My take on it is of little importance to anyone but myself. What is important to each reader of this thread is how they respond to it individually in their own lives. As for its relevance to the “chit chat on this thread”, let us hope that everyone posting here allows themselves a moment to reflect on whether what they are planning to say makes them out to be the Pharisee or the sinners.
Right on Simon. Once one gets beyond the clerical collar business as mere haberdashery, the intersectionality aspect of the the Augustine Tanner-Ihm piece jumped out at me. I understand Dr. Tanner-Ihm is originally from the States. His experiences seem manifold. I’m wondering if the comment board at TA has enough of a diversity ‘band width’ to tackle something like intersectionality and race broadly speaking? I can’t comment on the UK class system, but as a citizen of one of the white settler states in the G7, I can advert to the issues of race and gender here in Canada. There… Read more »
Up to a point. For me the key determinant is property, and specifically housing wealth. Some people may have certain accents, educations, provenance, incomes, etc., but if they do not have the housing equity, they will now be nowhere in class terms. Therefore it is all about: (i) the capital gains that have accrued since c. 1970 (when the property super-bubble commenced); and (ii) the ability to inherit those capital gains. This elides with previous class structures to a significant extent, but also cuts across them. For example, someone of modest means and background who purchased a property in, say,… Read more »
We have detailed information on social deprivation across populations and also across many decades. There is obviously a lot of information but it is neither ambiguous nor superficial. The fact is that hard population-level economics drives deprivation. To take the issue you reference above. Less than 30% of the population entirely own their own home across the country. Significantly less than that 30% will have life changing levels of equity of the kind you reference. Also, people need a roof over their heads. Property equity is not a liquid asset in the vast majority of cases. Capital gains on property… Read more »
Many thanks. “The fact is that hard population-level economics drives deprivation.” I am not sure what that means, and why capital gains, house prices or rents are not a factor in ‘population-level economics’. “Less than 30% of the population entirely own their own home across the country.” Perhaps, but there is this: https://www.statista.com/statistics/286503/england-propportion-of-owner-occupied-households/#:~:text=The%20proportion%20of%20households%20occupied,percent%20of%20households%20in%202021. Rates of owner occupation have lately decreased to below 30% for those aged 25-29, chiefly because of the cost of financing deadweight of capital gains further up the ladder (https://ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/bns/BN224.pdf). “Significantly less than that 30% will have life changing levels of equity of the kind you reference.”… Read more »
If you visit the public data on deprivation you will discover a very straightforward reality
The poor stay poor from generation to generation.
Deprivation and disadvantage is fundamentally a consequence of economics and not identity.
That is absolutely true and you still find yourself being treated as working class. I was told back in the early 80s, after being selected for training within the church, I might want to lose my northern accent. That was a recommendation from the selection body. I didn’t lose it so there you go. Power still resides with an elite and every decision recently is focussing on increasing, not even maintaining, the power structures for a minority within the church and society at large. I’m not surprised that the majority of people have nothing to do with religion – it… Read more »
Augustine’s article raises some interesting and pertinent questions about how people react to and perceive others. Pace Simon, he does say there was discussion of this at Cranmer (as there was when I taught there and as there is where I teach now) but not a discussion factoring in the issue of colour or race. (And his tutors were a mixture of men and women – including ordained women.) I am interested that the wearing of a collar seems to have overridden the issues of colour in how people react to him. I am interested too in Janet’s comments. (I… Read more »
Augustine writes, ‘I cannot allow the collar to become my overall identity’. Quite. While a culture of deference infantilises relationships for both parties, invisibility ignores our common humanity. In her 1990s BBC TV series, Sr Wendy Beckett said perceptively of a sitter for a portrait, ‘She asks for no tenderness; she asks for recognition.’
The single most accurate predictor of your life prospects is the economic status of your parents. Furthermore, its not a marginal increment. Parental economic status is more important than all other factors combined by a multiple of between two and three times. Working class white men are more likely than any other group to be failed by the education system. They are less likely to be given places at elite universities. They are less likely to be given gilt-edged careers with employers such as the NHS. They are more likely to work in sectors with high levels of industrial injury.… Read more »
The Augustine Tanner-Ihm article is an interesting and insightful read, something of a case study from the perspective of intersectionality.
Robert Thompson’s article expresses a lot of my thoughts on church planting as it is currently practiced. As my username states I am just a humble parishioner but as much as the central church protests the current creation of resource churches is clearly designed to replace existing non-evangelical wing parishes with evangelical plants, many of which are pretty white, at least in terms of leadership. I can find no other explanation for why plants have been sited where they have in my local area. There are plenty of defunct churches (sadly) around yet plants are placed where there are already… Read more »
A recent example of the issues in England dealing with regional and economic class accents, at least from an American point of view, is Fiona Hill, who is a Soviet Union/Russia expert and the advisor to several America presidents. She came to fame as a witness in one of Trump’s impeachment hearings. She grew up poor and working class (a miner’s daughter) in County Durham. She emigrated to the U.S. because she felt, in large part because of her northern accent (which she has struggled to modify through the years), she had no future in Britain. In the U.S., because… Read more »