Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 30 March 2019

Helen King sharedconversations The indecent Virgin

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Schools, Sex, Parents and Churches

Michael Higgins Church Times A threat to cathedrals’ collegiality and independence
“The General Synod should be wary of the Working Group report’s more far-reaching recommendations”

Rupert Shortt Church Times Does religion do more harm than good?
“Rupert Shortt weighs up the evidence in a new book. Here is an extract”

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Stanley MonkhouseMichael MulhernRod GillisJamesAnn Reddecliffe Recent comment authors
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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: Rupert Shortt/Church Times, telling that most of the ink here is used to focus on Islam.Folks might like to review Karen Armstrong and two of her influences, Wilfred Cantwell Smith and Bernard Lonergan. From the article, “…the saving conflagrations of Marxist rhetoric ….Destroy in order to save.” Similar to journalist Peter Arnett’s quote from a U.S. major during the American war in Vietnam i.e. “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it”. Hardly a Marxist insight then. It is a view that can be laid at the feet of any ideology, Christian ones included. Indeed,… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Helen King’s subject matter is fascinating. On the general issue ( Christian art and the ‘indecent’), during my time as rector of St. James, Halifax, Canada, we had a contemporary stained glass window series commissioned. Once installed, the final three lite window (passion&resurrection) received a number comments (meant variously as positive or negative) that the final two lites are rather ‘vaginal’. If it works, the link below will show you the final design via the studio’s web-page, and why perhaps those particular comments. http://www.obatastudios.com/pictures-of-stained-glass-windows/hiResGallery/St-JamesArmdale4.jpg On a second issue, I disagree with King’s take, and that of the piece in the… Read more »

Ann Reddecliffe
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Another excellent and really honest article from Trevor. He is absolutely right in his analysis about the effect of emotive language in the discussions and the difficulties that people experience. His final point is the one that gives me hope, because it shows that way that education can be so effective in helping our young people see diversity as normal.

James
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James

I join Michael Higgins in his wariness of the Cathedral Working Group’s recommendations to change the relationship between deans and residentially canons. This is the church copying a secular management hierarchy from which the business world, which invented it, is now in full retreat.

Michael Mulhern
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Michael Mulhern

Agreed, James. It is this dimension of changed relationships within Chapter that will prove to be the nemesis of this particular piece of Welby-inspired reform, not least because everyone can see how it is both a knee-jerk reaction to Peterborough, as well as an attempt by the ‘God Squad’ to get their hands on the C of E’s growth area. It will cash-out with a significant drop in quality clergy applying for residentiary canonries. I have been told of two vacancies recently where there was a paucity in quality candidates. This could be why. Who wants to go and do… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
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The strong men in charge will have their way. They were brought up in a business milieu that is now, as James says, passé. Even academia has moved on somewhat from that model, but not the CoE. As regards a knee-jerk reaction to Peterborough, MM, I suspect that that’s spot on too, Not just P’boro though: Exeter was said to be in bother, and even Durham – despite its historic wealth from land once rich in fossil fuels (allegedy). What I see when I visit cathedrals (which I can hardly bear to do these days) are vanity projects and half-hearted… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: Helen King on systematic theology, interesting to follow the trail depicting systematic theology from her article to the embedded ‘one critic piece’ and from there to the embedded John Hobbins. Contrary minded to the arguments of all three, I think it is indeed possible to transcend both one’s self and one’s culture in the quest for what is so. “God did not give us a system, he gave us a story.” This assertion is problematic at several levels. Just in short, it is people and cultures that create stories just as people and cultures create systems of theology. Philosophical… Read more »