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Church of England

Bishop of Burnley: CofE’s agenda is set by academia, moneyed elites, and sections of the secular media

The Rt Rev’d Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, decided to celebrate his 50th birthday with a splash in the Church Times, which has become a veritable flash in the Daily Mail, and justifiably so. ‘Heeding the voices of the popular revolution‘ is a donnish headline: far better to go with the demotic jugular: ‘Bishop accuses “elitist” Church of England of being embarrassed by patriotism and failing to understand “frozen out” Brexit voters‘. Yes, that’s much better. Sometimes you just can’t beat calling a spade a shovel.

And shovel it he does:

For the most part, the Church of England has reacted to the election of Donald Trump (News, 11 November) and the UK’s vote to leave the EU (News, 1 July) (the “Trump-Brexit phenomenon”) by jumping on to the middle-class Est­abl­­ishment bandwagon of outrage and horror. As if set to auto-pilot, the C of E has joined in with those who are decrying the collapse of the liberal consensus and bemoaning a new mood of division in our public life.

And so he urges his fellow bishops “to pay proper attention to the voices of those whose votes have caused this revolution, whether or not we like what we hear”. Pace the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the bishops generally don’t much like what they hear, which is why they’re not paying proper attention. Indeed, when they tweet about Trump-Brexit “hate” and “nightmare scenarios”, they convey a certain disdain for the laity, which the Rev’d Marcus Walker summarises with a question: “Can Guardian-reading clergy minister to Mail-reading laity?”

That’s a good question: the ministry/mission tensions of the theme will be familiar to regular readers of this blog. Rather too many clergy look down their noses at those (of us) who hold ‘unacceptable’ views: it’s one thing to be a ‘racist’ Tory (according to Fr Simon Rundell, they are synonymous), but God forbid one might be a Brexiteer, for that way lies all manner of evil (O, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes). No wonder some sections of society feel “dispossessed and mar­­­­­­­­ginalised”, as Bishop Philip observes, especially perhaps readers of the (“fascist”) Mail, Sun and Express

Such people feel frozen out of the post-crash economy, their wages shrinking in real terms while the rich get ever richer. They are routinely accused of xenophobia, or worse, when they express concerns about changes imposed on their com­munities by those who live far away. In the UK, they feel abandoned by the institutions that were formed to represent them: austerity-stricken local government, the Labour Party, and the demutualised building soc­i­eties.

And he hits on a possible remedy:

If the C of E was still adequately present in areas of deprivation, it would not have been surprised at the revolution in popular politics that this anger caused (Comment, 1 July). But it has become so discon­nected from many of these communities that it no longer hears what they are saying, let alone amplifies their voices to the nation. And, until the Church re-invests in urban ministry, places the best leaders in the most deprived parishes, and returns to the estates it has abandoned, these voices will continue to go un­­heard.

And then comes a gnash at the jugular:

THE Church’s agenda is being set not by the poor, but by academia, the moneyed elites, and certain sections of the secular media. It is their preoccupations that dictate the terms of the Church’s debate, and that pose the questions that it expends its energy on answering. We then listen to the poor on condition that what they say backs up our own pre-conceived argu­ments. They have become for us an illustration, or a theological idea — anything other than people.

Specifically:

An example is the debate on human sexuality. This is indeed an important debate, but it has come to dominate the Church’s agenda to an extraordinary extent, pushing almost everything else to the bottom of the list. By prioritising this one issue to such an extent, we risk failing to hear other cries of pain.

There is a tension here, of course: the CofE talks about an awful lot more, but the media tend to amplify this particular debate to the exclusion of all else because, well.. it’s sex, innit. And the church then pussyfoots around notions of ‘family’ for fear of offending or alienating single mothers or gay couples or happily-cohabiting threesomes – all of whom constitute ‘family’ because the term now means basically whatever you want it to mean: the notion of a mother being married to a father and this being optimal for the raising of children is distinctly passé, if not forbidden to express by public servants. Bishop Philip laments this sorry state of affairs:

Across many communities, ex­­tended family life remains very strong. For all its frustrations, it is where most people find support, self-identity, and purpose. But too many Anglicans seem embarrassed to stand up for the sanctity of the family. This is often motivated by a laudable desire not to exclude minorities. But the danger is that the Church is failing to address or uphold an area of life that is a core preoccupation for the majority of people.

And failing it is. Have you heard even one bishop stand up to defend Christian ex-magistrate Richard Page, who was not only sacked as a JP after 15 years of diligent and loyal service, but removed as a non-executive director on the board of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, just for stating that it is preferable for children to be brought up by a mother and a father – you know, like in a family. Such beliefs and comments may apparently offend to the extent of summary dismissal, and it’s left to Christian Concern to do all the defending. Or have you heard even one bishop defend Daniel McArthur? What’s that? No? well, there’s a surprise. There is a marked reluctance to engage in such crucial matters of liberty: far easier to extol food-banks, bless solar panels or berate the government for the paucity of house-building.

On Brexit, Philip North identifies a chronic injustice:

..It is dangerous to read too many detailed conclusions from the EU referen­dum, but a constant refrain of the Leave campaign which re­­sonated with voters was the need to “take back control of our country”. It was less an anti-immigration vote than a patriotic vote from people who were fed up with having pride in their nation, its flag, and its armed forces misrepresented as intolerance or racism.

This is sound stuff, so why didn’t he speak in defence of Bishop Mark Rylands or the Rev’d Dr Giles Fraser when they were mocked and vilified for supporting Brexit? Far better for a bishop to lead boldly than to ruminate retrospectively. Ultimately, this is all about the proclamation of the gospel and the efficacy of the church’s mission:

There is no doubting the genuine grief and dismay of those who, in recent months, have found that democratic systems have delivered results with which they profoundly disagree, and the mere fact that they have lost the vote does not mean that they should change their minds. For example, listening hard to why someone voted for Brexit, and seeking to understand the complex range of factors behind his or her decision, does not mean that one auto­matically has to agree with Brexit.

But, at the same time, it is vital that we stop condemning, and instead listen to the voices of those who have used their democratic right to express a deep-seated frust­ra­tion at structures and institu­tions that have abandoned them, and at a middle-class culture that misun­derstands or misrepresents their heart­felt concerns.

If, as Christians, we can re-engage, listen to the questions, and offer some answers, we will not just be playing our part in re-unifying a nation. We may find that people also start listening afresh to the gospel that we pro­claim.

Engage.. listen.. offer.. This is elemental ministry and basic missiology. It is indeed vital that clergy stop condemning with leitmotifs of ‘hate’, ‘racism’, ‘xenophobia’ and ‘nightmare scenarios’. They won’t, of course. Not least because they believe in the God who affirms their socialist or pro-EU politics, which is the path to moral responsibility and peace and reconciliation. It is ultimately “the theology of where they are coming from“… empirically unassailable and epistemologically irrefutable. Those who demur may phone the Bishop of Burnley, who will listen sympathetically and seek to understand. But don’t expect him to change.

  • Inspector General

    When badgered to do something about the beastly Roman’s, Jesus said “my kingdom is not of this world”. Now, perhaps North or any other Anglican who dares call himself or herself a bishop could explain what Christ meant by that to a simple God fearing soul that is the Inspector.

  • PessimisticPurple

    There seems to be some surprise that a religious community which elects as its frontman an old Etonian, ex-oil industry executive who had only been a bishop for a year before his elevation, rather than a bush school graduate who had spent his youth being beaten up by Idi Amin’s henchmen, should be out of touch. Don’t understand why people should think that.

    • Pinker

      To be honest, I don’t think that either background is typical amongst my congregations. I would guess that we have more OEs than people who have been imprisoned by Idi Amin though. Is a bishop’s background *that* important? Peter was a fisherman after all.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Paul, the most intellectual of the apostles, worked as a tent maker.

        • Old Nick

          Oh come, he was a Roman citizen and that did not grow on trees in the 1st century. Your observation is a bit like saying that Wedgewood Benn was descended from a family of potters – instead of being an incarnation of why the hereditary principle should be confined to the House of Lords where it can do no harm.

          • Royinsouthwest

            “And labour, working with our hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it.” 1 Corinthians, 4:12.

      • PessimisticPurple

        It’s important because the C of E had a chance to go with a radical, “if you build it, they will come” Christian (albeit one lacking apostolic succession), but instead went with someone called Justin.

  • The Explorer

    The C of E used to be called the Conservative Party at prayer. Now it’s called the Labour Party at prayer. That may be a reflection on how the church leadership has shifted, but it’s even more a reflection on how the Labour Party has shifted from the constituency it represented in, say, the days of Ramsay MacDonald.

    • Anton

      The C of E used to be called the Conservative Party at prayer. Now it’s called the Labour Party at prayer.

      What a pity it isn’t called the church at prayer!

  • len

    The Church is supposed to be in the world but not of the world.How can a Church which is shackled to the State resist being corrupted by the State?.
    Disestablish the Church and get on with preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ while their is still time.

    • PessimisticPurple

      Disestablish the C of E and there won’t be a C of E. Half will come home to Rome, a quarter will give up and the rest will join your lot.

      • len

        There will be a remnant(as there always has been) who having passed through the fire will come out the better for it.
        ‘My Lot’ is the lot thoroughly disenchanted with religion who have chosen to follow Christ alone.

        • David

          Are you saying that you are not associated with any particular denomination as you are so disenchanted with the lot of them ?

  • cybervicar

    Though I might agree with Bishop North’s sentiments they remain largely that – sentiment and betrays what I suspect is a frustrated cultural liberal trying to reconnect with ordinary people. His analysis is that the Church is only talking about sexuality issues and should instead raise the banner for worthier causes. This again betrays his own cultural theological background – it is bourgeois. At certain levels (i.e. elite theological circles) the CoE talks nothing but the agony of “shared conversations.” This is not theological debate and exploration but “facilitated” discussions. At most others levels of the CoE there is a dearth of theologically exposition on sexuality, the centrality of the family and the sanctity of life. The official CofE would rather preach food banks and mission marketing techniques than this. My gut sense is that the Brexit-Trump votes show that there is an appetite to reject the cultural neo-Marxist liberalism that shot through Western society since 1968. The dawning of th Age of Aquarius is not coming and never will. The liberal-progressive consensus which thought it could have Christian values without God cannot withstand the winds of Darwinian secularism and Islamic radicalism. This is what really hurts many of the leading figures in ecclesiastical life.

    • David

      As a Lay Minister in the C of E your “gut sense” aligns closely with what I see with most of the clergy, and indeed many of the lay “pillars” of the Church. Their world view is now so closely tuned to politically liberal-left ideas, and theologically to the liberal, human created “god” defined as, “all that we value and hold most dear”, rather than the true God who is Creator, Saviour and Judge of all, that they are now very confused.
      Indeed if this peoples insurrection continues across the west, which it may well do, the shrinkage of their formerly dominant liberal territory will become most painful to them A few may smell the coffee and rethink their ideas. But most will simply become liberal dinosaurs, by passed by history. Given that us conservatives have stoically endured this pain for fifty years now, but soldieried on, I am very happy for it to be shared more widely !

    • Old Nick

      I am not sure you are right about the good Bishop being a frustrated cultural liberal. Was he not the much-admired traditional Anglo-Catholic parson who was black-balled by a diocese in Yorkshire for not sharing their views about women in the priesthood ?

  • carl jacobs

    The bishop’s article reads like a post-election analysis for a political party that has just lost an election. In fact, it could apply to the Labour Party as much as the CoE. But the Church is not supposed to be a coalition of constituencies. The problem with the CoE is not that it has lost touch with those who have been left behind by globalization. The problem with the CoE is that it doesn’t know what it believes anymore. It’s reduced to providing immanent answers because it no longer believes in the transcendent. And so it becomes just one more political actor wondering why the voters have gone elsewhere.

    The problem is not that the CoE talks too much about sex and too little about the impact of globalist visions. The problem is that the church doesn’t talk about that which it exists to talk about – sin, death, judgment, redemption. It doesn’t talk about the Gospel, or the Cross, or the person & work of Christ. It doesn’t talk about God and who He is and what we owe Him.

    You can redeem a political party by getting the party to reconnect with the right group of voters. You can’t fix a church that way.

    • Anton

      In fairness, it does talk about sin, death, judgement and redemption, but the media don’t report the stuff of sermons. There is plenty of living faith in the CoE. The real trouble is that the higher you go in this system, the worse the apostasy.

      • David

        Spot on. Most of the episcopacy are very cold, academic and detached from the gritty reality of the lives of the working class. When my bishop expressed his surprise at the referendum result, I advised him to talk to the people on the Council Estates who see their lives being made harder by an endless stream of ever cheaper labour. It wasn’t received with great enthusiasm.

  • David

    This article shows that there are at least a few senior clergy that understand now just how remote the C of E has become from many of the people of this country. I am grateful to the good bishop of Burnley for speaking out. He will be part of a very small minority of C of E bishops that have any feel for the gulf that now exists in our society between the left-liberal narrative spouted by the media, and what many people really think.

    Those of a conservative persuasion have learnt to become silent due to the arrogant outspoken left-liberal narrative that constantly assumes that it alone has the right to dictate society’s direction. This sense of entitlement is now being reflected in the high handed, oh so superior outrage of the thwarted, high profile Remainers. Oh how they squeak with anger !

    So many of the wholesome things that were an intrinsic part of my childhood in the 50s, and which give meaning and continuity to life, like faith, family, patriotism and the military are now ignored by too many clergy, and in some cases sneered at, as being unfashionably at odds with the zeitgeist of the age that they attempt to contort themselves to reflect.

    Liberalism is a disease in the body politic and the body theological. Eventually the disease of liberalism will kills its host, be it The Church of the nation. Thankfully the winds of change are now moving ever more strongly against it.

    Most vicars seem to regard the Guardian as the fifth Gospel or perhaps a contemporary Letter to The Faithful of the UK. The responsible pursuit of profit is a complete NO NO to most of these clergy. Yet without healthy firms paying good wages and salaries, and yielding taxes there would be no NHS or much else of value beside – just wall to wall Socialist poverty ! But with so many clergy drawn from the intrinsically left leaning activities like the NHS or teaching it is no wonder that this is so.
    Oh for another John Wesley or the Anglo-Catholic clergy of the 19th C who preached and ministered God’s grace to the poor of the dark Satanic mill towns.

    • dannybhoy

      The love and majesty of Christ Jesus Son of God transcends class; not least because He sees the real person, and understands how they came to be who they are.
      A true Christian does not look down on those less educated, less intelligent or lacking in the social graces. Certainly we may struggle to find common ground and interests, but God’s Holy Spirit will give us grace, humility and patience in reaching out to our fellow man.
      There’s no shame in seeking out others like ourselves, but Christians should always prefer one another in love and seek to build relationships within the Body of Christ.
      Sadly some of us idealise the poor and disadvantaged, but face to face find ourselves embarrassed by them..

      • David

        A very profound and true statement.
        Some of the letters give us insight into how allegiance to, and love of, Christ transcended big social differences. Paul’s letter to Philemon, the runaway slave is most instructive.

  • Mrs S wilson

    Yes indeed. Isn’t it sad that it was left to newspapers, atheists and gay people to say that the Ashers bakery result was a breach of freedom of conscience, while Bishops said absolutely nothing. Can you imagine what Paul the apostle would have said? How we need a deep cleansing of the Church, and leaders who actually believe the vows they made at their ordination/consecration.

    • David

      Excellent point Mrs Wilson.

    • Anton

      I’m not sure what Paul would have said. Ashers got shafted by the world, and Paul knew that the world is an evil place and only occasionally ranted about it. He was far more concerned with keeping the church clean.

  • Royinsouthwest

    The attitude of most CoE bishops to the idea of listening to the opinions of what they regard as the lower classes seems to be like the attitude of St Augustine of Hippo to promiscuity in his youth, Lord, make me chaste—but not yet.

    • Old Nick

      Augustine did not have a promiscuous youth. He was faithful for about 10 years to a concubine in a form of “second-class marriage” well recognised in the Roman world, and was devoted to his son Adeodatus. It was only when his mother insisted that the lady be sent away (so A could make a good marriage) that he took up briefly with another woman owing to what Romans called the “necessitas”. Sorry to nitpick, but so much of what people say about Augustine does not stand up to an actual perusal of the Confessions (my desert island book).

      • Royinsouthwest

        Thanks for the information. I admit that my knowledge of Augustine is quite superficial. However I think the quotation about chastity is quite apt, and it is quite likely that whoever drew the cartoon that Cranmer used above this article had that quotation in mind.

        • Old Nick

          I am sure that you are right about the cartoonist.

      • Anton

        Do you know the legend that in the 16th century the Catholics said that they followed Augustine, and the protestants said the same – except that the Catholics followed his City of God and the protestants his Confessions?

        • Old Nick

          Augustine lived through a whole series of philosophies each one of which would have lasted most intelligent folk a lifetime !

  • Well done Philip North! I have been dismayed by the response of so many clergy to Brexit and Trump – the phrase ‘out of touch’ comes to mind.

  • Sybaseguru

    +Philip gets to the nub of the matter (as have one or two other commentators have in recent days) – I was born here, brought up here, have lived here for 65 years and have nowhere else to go to call “home”. When I have gone abroad it is on a temporary basis, and I enjoy the differences of those places from the UK. When abroad I accept the local rules and customs (even though I may disagree with them) and do not seek to change them or abuse them. I’m happy for citizens from other countries to come here on the same basis, but that is not what has happened, hence Brexit.

    • The Explorer

      It wasn’t the fault of the immigrants. It was the fault of our rulers, who hated Britain and wanted to turn it into somewhere else. They succeeded by bringing in immigrants and instructing them to retain their customs and separate identities. Then, after the London bombings, the great and good panicked, and started sounding off about British values.

      • David

        Exactly. Some on the right wanted cheap labour and some on the left wanted reliably left leaning voters, captive clients of the burgeoning welfare state. Both right and left betrayed the ordinary working and middle classes I’d say. The context was also unhelpful with the UN, a seriously anti-western, left wing organisation now, pushing for ever greater migration of the third world into the west, to destroy us I do believe.
        Moreover, because the political elite had lost faith in the Christian roots of their nation, believing that all religions were essentially bunkum and about to fade away, they were encouraged, as you said, to remain distinct and not assimilate, which was the more successful model that had been used in the US. The result is a balkanised nation with dissimilar groups ever mistrusting one of the other.
        We have now reached the parlous state that the elite is attempting, in the absence of any serious philosophical or faith basis, to invent a synthetic code of conduct called “British values”. This will simply not stick. Lord Jonathan Sacks recently stated, in his sensible common sense sort of way, that a society cannot survive without a shared set of morals. He is so obviously correct, but “British values” will not endure.

        • The Explorer

          There’s that Muslim school in trouble with Ofsted for not teaching British values. One British value it declines to teach is how lesbians make love. Another is that all religions are equal and none may be taught as true at the expense of any other.

          • David

            Yes the political establishment have created a problem to which they have no solution.
            I am convinced through that Christians need to become much more assertive regarding their freedom to live as Christians. We need to be different from, distinct from, the secularists and any other faiths. We may need to learn the lessons that allowed the Orthodox Church to survive 70 years of Godless state promoted atheism.

          • Anton

            We may need to learn the lessons that allowed the Orthodox Church to survive 70 years of Godless state promoted atheism.

            Like a hierarchy that reported to the KGB? See the Mitrokhin Archive.

          • Merchantman

            There was of course a numberless killing of the Christian leadership just post 1917 that allowed a new collaborating leadership to take over yet retaining a form of religion. The salt however more or less retained their savour.

          • Anton

            The salt went into the underground evangelical churches.

        • Old Nick

          Jonathan, Lord Sacks. He is not the younger son of a duke, so far as I know.

          • Lord Rabbi Sacks is one of maybe dozen living rabbis I hold by, theologically, as well as politically.

          • Old Nick

            Oh agreed, a most impressive man. I was just being pedantic about the solecism which places the word “Lord” before the given name rather than after the given name and before the title (which is his title, even though it happens also to be Lord Sacks’s surname as well). This is correct only with the courtesy titles of younger sons of dukes and marquesses (as in Lord Peter Wimsey). All this probably makes me a snob as well as a pedant.

          • Snobs and pedants…my kind of folks.

  • As I may have mentioned once or twice, when the Church of England took the decision to throw its weight behind Third World immigration, Islamization and diversity, it betrayed the English. It was at that point, half a century ago and more, that the church ‘disconnected’ itself, to use the bishop’s term, from the people. And what in Heaven’s name possessed the church to betray its flock and put its own survival in jeopardy by welcoming Christianity’s historic enemy, Islam?

    Not that the church’s Supreme Governor has any problem with betrayal. She was smiling benevolently on mass immigration and multiculturalism as long ago as 1982

    ‘I believe that for those with a sense of tolerance the arrival and proximity of different races and religions have provided a much better chance for each to appreciate the value of the others.’

    and again in 2004:

    ‘Everyone is our neighbour, no matter what race, creed or colour. The need to look after a fellow human being is far more important than any cultural or religious differences.’

    Even the Queen is agin us.

    • Don Benson

      She has many fine qualities for which many of us are deeply grateful but she is far removed from normal life, and has recourse to thousands of acres where she can retreat completely. Her generosity of spirit is commendable in theory but so unrealistic and disastrous in practice that we have no option but gently to ignore it. As a pretty sharp-minded individual it may be that she says what the ‘great and good’ expect of her rather than what she truly believes.

      • Anton

        Put uncharitably, she salves her soul by having advisers who tell her that it is her constitutional duty to rubber-stamp whatever Parliament puts before her, no matter how evil that legislation and how contrary to her Coronation Oath.

      • David

        Well summed up I’d say.
        She is in many ways a prisoner of her role.

    • I think maybe she has to go along with the prevailing government wind. She is not allowed to voice her own opinions.

      • @ Marie1797—The ‘prevailing government wind’ has also brought, for example, abortion on demand and single-sex marriage. We wouldn’t, of course, expect the Queen to agree with such policies, and, as she is not allowed to criticize them, she takes the only way open to her and says nothing.

        But with the policy of mass immigration and Islamization—that’s to say, the policy of race and faith replacement—it’s quite different. She not only endorses the policy but quotes the Bible in support and then finishes off with one of the world’s most disgusting lies, ‘diversity is indeed a strength and not a threat.’

        • Your link to the Queen’s Christmas speech of 2004, say no more! The height of the Teflon Tony era.
          HM has her Christmas messages written for her and the prevailing government wind was to promote their multi-culti mess.

          Whoever wrote this bit was living in their own utopian left wing dream world:
          “It was for this reason that I particularly enjoyed a story I heard the other day about an overseas visitor to Britain who said the best part of his visit had been travelling from Heathrow into central London on the tube.
          His British friends were, as you can imagine, somewhat surprised, particularly as the visitor had been to some of the great attractions of the country. What do you mean they asked? Because, he replied, I boarded the train just as the schools were coming out.
          At each stop children were getting on and off – they were of every ethnic and religious background, some with scarves or turbans, some talking quietly, others playing and occasionally misbehaving together, completely at ease and trusting one another. How lucky you are, said the visitor, to live in a country where your children can grow up this way.
          I hope they will be allowed to enjoy this happy companionship for the rest of their lives.”

          • Anton

            I believe that the Christmas speech is one that HM writes herself, and has pressed that point with politicians who sought to meddle.

        • bluedog

          ‘…she takes the only way open to her and says nothing.’

          In public. Do we really believe that the Queen is silent and accepting in her private meetings with the PM? Would Cameron have been able to introduce SSM without questioning about both the act and the circumstances of its introduction, un-mandated? We can’t know the answers, but we can guess.

          As the Queen becomes very elderly and potentially less able to follow the rigours of debate, we are fortunate that a woman of self-evident integrity like Mrs May is there to guide her. A spiv like Cameron or Blair would be able to try anything on, and probably get away with it.

          • @ bluedog—a woman of self-evident integrity like Mrs May

            failure…fiasco…disastrous…succession of derelictions…welfare of the realm is of secondary concern…national shame…scandals…Rotherham…secretive…controlling…vengeful…unpleasant…and so on.

          • bluedog

            Ah, but Johnny, that link takes you straight to a hatchet job that was dated around the time of the leadership battle following Cameron’s defeat and resignation over Brexit. I think we can discount the sentiments expressed to zero. It would be no surprise to learn the author is now a loyal member of Mrs May’s cabinet.

    • Anton

      The Duke of Edinburgh probably has more robust views…

      • chefofsinners

        …narrow views, due to looking through slitty eyes.

  • Inspector General

    Read about the lives of priests in awkward areas of the world some years ago. These fellows all seemed to spend some time in captivity. It went with the job. Not only did they minister to other captives with them, but to their gaolers too. The latter being men of cruelty of course, but the ministering was not put off by that. And now compare those dedicated Christians to the self indulgent wretches who call themselves priests in the Church of England and who show overt disdain to others who don’t hold politically the same as them. And in the UK too, this bastion of decency. Makes you want to spit…

  • Mrs S wilson

    Anton, I was contrasting Paul with today’s church leaders, who are NOT interested in keeping the church clean but in going along with whatever the culture dictates.

    • Anton

      Point taken!

  • Chris Beeson

    I do wonder, from the majority of comments so far, if anyone has actually read Bishop Philip’s article in the Church Times to which this piece refers, and read it with an open mind. Most seem to have treated the reported comments, rather than the whole article, as a canvas on which to paint their own pictures. He does not, for instance, condemn alternative ways of being family, but acknowledges that the ‘conventional’ extended family is the pattern that occupies the concerns of a majority of people. The article is all about listening with an open mind to people who the Church has slipped into ignoring, and relating the radical teaching of Jesus to what they are telling us. And about time too!

    • Inspector General

      We followers trust to Cranmer first and foremost. If Cranmer is not relaying as he should, then address your complaint to him personally…

    • carl jacobs

      1. Yes, I did read it.

      2. Yes, I understood the “radically inclusive” undertone of the article.

      3. I also recognized its fundamentally patronizing and condescending attitude toward the subjects of the article.

      “We the enlightened have lost touch with the masses. How then can we be their vanguard? If we don’t fix it, they will keep doing stupid s__t like voting for Brexit.”

      The heart and soul of progressive thought is self-identitied moral authority – an authority that conveys a divine right to rule. Except it isn’t divine because God has been made by into a convenient abstraction of that self-same moral authority.

      Man is God and the Progressive is his prophet.

      • chefofsinners

        Couldn’t agree more, Carl. This bishop is perpetuating the deeply patronising myth that the Brexit vote is down to poor, uneducated, disenfranchised folk who can’t compete with immigrant labour.
        No. The Brexit debate was won against the might of government and establishment by people who are every bit as clever and informed as the rest of the population.

        • Oisín mac Fionn

          Clever and informed?

          On average those who voted for Brexit were less well-educated than those who voted against it.

          On average they were informed by the Daily Mail and the Sun rather than by broadsheet publications.

          So no, not clever and informed, but – like all those who fall for populist demagoguery – the very embodiment of the lowest common denominator.

          Of course that’s democracy for you. Politicians forget that when ignorant masses vote, ignorant outcomes follow.

          Ignorance gave us Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy, and those who voted for such political ideas got exactly what they deserved in the end. Did Berlin Hausfraus and ardent Hitler supporters regret choices made in the 30s when the Red Army came pounding on their doors in the 40s? One imagines they probably did.

          But of course, it wasn’t their fault, was it? All they wanted was for the trains to run on time and for those unnatural cabarets where the men looked like women, and the women looked like nothing at all, to be shut down.

          Well, all they wanted was exactly what they got, along with a great deal more. Be careful what you wish for. You may get it, and then find out that the reality isn’t quite as marvellous as the dream.

          The Brexit vote has unleashed forces that we’ll all come to regret. History never repeats, but you can trace certain themes across the ages, one of which is that when an upwelling of ignorance and fear brings populism to power, pain and misery follows for everyone.

          Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Hungary, the Philippines … every country where populism reigns comes to regret it in the end. Those who voted for Brexit will gnash their teeth and tear their hair in regret and remorse soon enough, and the disaster they bring on themselves will be nobody’s fault but their own.

          Who’ll feel sorry for you when you come to pay the price for your foolish and selfish choices? You, of course. Because it won’t be your fault, will it? It never is…

          • Anton

            The majority of the people may be right or wrong, but in this case they are right and you are wrong.

            Love Europe, hate the EU.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Hate the EU, hate your neighbour, you mean.

            Pretend that you love him while plotting his downfall and seeking to profit from it, in other words.

            A typically Christian, typically British attitude.

          • Anton

            If you want to put words in my mouth and then argue with them, you are arguing with yourself.

            And with democracy too, it seems.

          • Tissue?

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            No thanks. But I’m planning to eat a nice slice of Sacher Torte for dessert this evening, so a napkin might be good idea.

          • Yes, you already gloated about the sacher torte feast above. And I warned you about the sauer Kraut syndrome to follow. Seriously? This is what you consider a victory for socialism? Drink responsibly and stay away from the Meidling district side-streets.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            It’s a very convincing victory for Europe. Despite all the rhetoric about the unstoppable wave of populism sweeping over Europe, a people – one of the most Euro-skeptic in the Union – has chosen to give the pro-EU candidate a greatly increased majority over the result of just a few weeks ago.

            All the Brexit gloaters should take note. The tide is turning. Brexit means isolationism rather than a return to some imaginary pre-EU perfect world of squabbling nation states.

          • It’s a pitiful piddle on the pissoir wall, Linus. Fiddling while Rome burns, the boner rising with rigor mortis and such. Keep your Teddy bear.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Poor little populist, your pitiful little revolution has already run out of steam and you refuse to believe it.

            No matter. Whatever happens in Europe, you’ll still have to live with the most politically correct, right-on liberal government in the Western world.

            How is Justin these days? I hear he’s provided Canadian Neanderthals with a way out when all the progressive rainbow diversity gets too much for you. Just pop along to your nearest euthanasia booth and goodbye cruel world.

            Isn’t it nice to know you have options?

          • Very kind of you to ask about our juvenile PM; I’ll relay your concerns. The boy is still sulking over the scolding he got for his man-tears and silly garble over Fidel’s demise. Now he’s too scared to even attend the funeral. He’s already knuckling under on the pipelines…understandable, what with billions waiting to be plucked out of our Alberta sands… which upsets the Lefties who might split the next vote by going over to the New Democrats. And, the sober and quiet Canadian public has had enough of worrying about whether to call someone zze or zey, and is waking up to the fact that it doesn’t have to listen to the Left with polite deferrence, because the sky didn’t fall after the shellacking it got down south. Enjoy that bid of schadenfreude, because Boy Trudeau might be kicked out by a Conservative after only one term; hopefully by my favourite, Kellie Leitch.

          • Inspector General

            Ah, darling Fidel. Big Gay was all set to send off a card of condolence to the people of Cuba, until some spoilsport happened to mentioned he cheerfully locked up the worst of the queers in labour camps. And did Che Guevara object?

          • And because Castro confessed, it wasn’t unusual to see a rainbow flag with Fidel’s or Che’s mug on it last week.

          • Inspector General

            All are forgivable Avi, in Big Gay’s eyes. Except the Christian. He is well beyond PC redemption…

          • Well, you guys blew it with the refusal to bake and decorate rainbow cakes with two plastic chaps in tuxes and stove pipe hats. O, the humanity! Took Western civilization right back to the Black Plague times, nearly throttling the march of Holy Progress, if it weren’t for a few brave judges who saved the day with fines the criminals would never be able to pay off. That’ll learn ya. Now, if it was an issue of refusing to sew a dress for the future US First Lady, that’s entirely different, of course….

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            The sky hasn’t fallen in the US yet because Trump doesn’t take power until next year.

            It’s like Brexit: until it actually happens and the markets have a real crisis to react to, things will go on much as before. They always do until reality starts to bite.

            If the Italian referendum swings Renzi’s way tonight and the UK Supreme Court gives parliament the right to veto Brexit tomorrow, your populist revolution will be over before it began.

            Tomorrow is another day…

          • The markets are going ballistic, the Dow Jones is breaking records, consumer confidence is going through the roof, the panic over Obama Care and the myriads of life-sucking regulations is subsiding and the excitement over Trump’s competent cabinet is palpable, even among soft Dems…many of whom voted for Trump, actually. By January 20th, when he takes over, he will probably have accomplished more for the US and the world than Obama has in 8 years. Yup, I agree; your sky is falling.

          • Inspector General

            It looks like the future is going to be exactly as the Inspector predicted it would be. We have our political independence from the EU yet still pay into it on a year by year diminishing amount while the thing gets to appreciate reality – the German dominated pan European dream is dying. This won’t please the majority of the countries as it is no secret that they became members with their hands held out for whatever they could financially get. As time goes on, these countries will become disappointed with their payoffs and petty nationalism within which never went away will surface. You didn’t think that business was confined to the Scots, did you?

            Misbehaving minorities will feel the brunt as dissatisfaction mounts, and the peoples moan about their lot. Attempts to gay society will be among the first to experience, shall we call it robust rebuttal.

            So you see, when populism sweeps all before, you’d best keep your atheist homosexual Islamic immigrant pandering mouth shut, before they take it upon themselves to shut it for you. And there’ll be no shortage of fellows who’d want to do that…it’s the way they are ‘over there’, and if you don’t believe the Inspector, bone up on the little appreciated collaboration these countries enjoyed with a previous Reich a mere eighty years ago…

          • It’s not even “populism”…a cheap label by the crazed and panicked progressives…Inspector. It’s merely a timely head-shake and a step back from lunacy, a mass return to sanity and normalcy.

          • Inspector General

            Not at all Avi. Populism is a much ill-treated stance. It is the antithesis of progressivism and they know it, and those swine lift their leg on it whenever they can. It is the stuff of the silent majority, the very people politicians do not represent…and never will, those in the parties we have now in parliament…

          • I agree with you partially, Inspector (swine don’t lift a leg when they pish), but what may have been a useful term in the past has been rendered unusable by the fact that the current popular revolt shares few common features apart from opposition to elites and that over several decades the word has been skewed to mean ignorant, uneducated, hate-fill reactionary sentiment. I agree that some words should be restored to their original meanings, but sometimes its better to come up with neologisms than to fight hopeless language battles.

          • chefofsinners

            One line you forgot, Linus:
            “Let them eat cake.”

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Sacher Torte, you mean?

            Delicious!

          • To be followed by very sour Krauts, soon enough.

          • chefofsinners

            Was thinking more of an old French tart.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Unchivalrous of you to be so disobliging about Marine Le Pen.

          • chefofsinners

            Le Pen is just her nom de plume. Her real name is Linus.

          • The only ones gnashing their teeth, old Linus, are you and your ilk. The lunatic, progressive, alt-left pipe dream went kaputt rather quickly and dramatically, though. First with Brexit, then with Trump and the collapse of the ever-left-leaning Democrats, now with France, Italy and Holland getting restless. So much for your hopes and dreams. How’s your PTSD treatment going? Would you like a tissue?

          • carl jacobs

            You know, I hadn’t considered that. Linus hasn’t been around much lately so I hadn’t gotten around to blocking his latest incarnation. But then he showed up with a vengeance on this thread. You’d be amazed at how pleasant a thread can become by the addition of four little words: “This user is blocked”

            But you are correct. He might have vanished for a while due to the US Presidential election. Heretofore I had found only one good outcome from Trump’s election … well, two.

            1. Hillary will now forever carry the stigma of being “the candidate who lost to Donald Trump.”
            2. There is still hope that Hillary will end up in jail where she belongs.

            But now I have a third.

            3. Perhaps it suppressed the presence of Linus on this weblog for a little while. That’s not nothing.

          • You block him? Why? Only so many belly-aching, rolling on the floor laughter with coffee-up-the-nose episodes you can handle? They say laughter prolongs one’s life span.

            Not only did Bill’s Wife lose to The Donald, but she took the entire Party for a bath in the toilet with her. And if that’s not enough, the Pelosi mummy will most likely pull the flush lever with her bony hand and send the entire mess on its merry way. You should be impressed with Linus’ staying power, though; lesser creatures would have succumbed to depression. Either that or look for garlic and silver bullets.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Not keeping up with the times in Trudeau-land, I see.

            The cure for the plague of populism that was threatening to escalate into a pandemic has just been found. And who would have guessed it would have come from Austria, one of the most conservative countries in Europe.

            Thanks be to the people who kept all those unruly Slavs and Magyars in check for so many centuries for this their latest contribution to the peace and progress of Europe.

          • Not keeping up with bottom of news pages and two-paragraph mentions, actually. My phone didn’t even ping an annnouncement for this. No one except for the Germans rooted for yet another socialist wingnut. Kinda like the old times, Deutschland mit Oesterreich, ja Linus? Have a party for the old gent and hope he ducks dementia or pneumonia and at least makes it to Spring. Or that the Syrian yoofs don’t jump him for his watch on Kertner Strasse.. You’d think Karl der Grosse is back again, the way you desperates are carrying on.

          • Inspector General

            A man whom Seyss-Inquart would have shaken hands with narrowly missed being elected President, and you crow about it…

            Wonderful stuff…you have no idea what’s going on, have you…

          • Ssssh, Ispector, let him have this brief moment of joy in the pale Winter sun…at least for today.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            The left wing candidate in the closely-fought Austrian election has just won a convincing victory, increasing his majority by a substantial margin despite being accused of electoral irregularities in the initial election, and you tell ME I have no idea what’s going on?

            If you’d pull your thick head out of your wizened behind for a second, you might realise that your so-called popular revolution has just run out of fuel.

            If the far right is unelectable in Austria, where can it possibly win?

            In your imagination, maybe. Nowhere else.

          • Inspector General

            They say it’s not over until the fat tranny sings. When Austria gets its EU ‘fair’ share of Islamic immigration on top of what they already have, and Saudi Arabia has financed the new build mosques, we’ll see then. That will be before the mentioned immigrants acclimatise themselves and attend the mosques to be reminded what Allah expects of them…that will be bloody, as it always has been…

  • bluedog

    With the return of nationalism, a national Church has an open goal before it. Trouble is, the CofE has become an apostle of internationalism and despises nationalism. An own-goal seems inevitable unless Welby’s recognition of the dangers of Islam permeates through the clergy and becomes the new orthodoxy. A grudging recognition of the popular will expressed by Brexit would help too. It is the white working class who have borne the brunt of multiculturalism in general and the impact of Muslim settlement in their own towns and villages in particular. There has been much comment about the neo-nazi leanings of the killer of Jo Cox. Does the CofE think beyond outrage to the underlying reasons why a misfit and loner turned to such an evil ideology? Where was the CofE when needed?

    • carl jacobs

      Except the purpose of the Church is to worship God and not the nation state.

      • bluedog

        True, but using the brand of the nation state to promote the worship of God is potentially an advantage, for those who can recognise opportunity.

      • Worship God in word and deed:

        “Let us not tire of preaching love; it is the force that will overcome the world. Let us not tire of preaching love. Though we see that waves of violence succeed in drowning the fire of Christian love, love must win out; it is the only thing that can.”
        (Saint Oscar Romero – Christian Martyr)

        “What we would like to do is change the world – make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended for them to do….We can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing that we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbour, to love our enemy as well as our friend.”
        (Dorothy Day – Servant of God)

  • chefofsinners

    The CoE needs bishops whose focus is on eternal life, not Brexit. Men who do not worry about what they will eat or drink or wear, but about spiritual needs. Even in the early church the mundane ministries of earthly things were given over to deacons. Our land needs spiritual leadership. It’s time to Bish up.

    • dannybhoy

      :0)

    • Royinsouthwest

      The issue of Brexit has been painted as a moral issue. “Brexiteers” are depicted as xenophobes and racists. On the other hand there are moral arguments in favour of wanting to preserve the inheritance you have received from the sacrifices of previous generations and not wanting to sell it for a mess of potage. The deacons in the early church were important. Stephen, the first martyr, was a deacon and one of the other original seven deacons was Philip, the evangelist to Samaria.

      • chefofsinners

        Brexit is not a moral issue, it is a worldly, carnal and temporal issue. It is about economic union and economic prosperity, political union and governance, markets and trade. The only people who would claim otherwise are the frustrated amateur politicians who have usurped our pulpits.
        Deacons were first appointed to enable the apostles to lead the spiritual work. And the gospel is concerned with the eternal:

        “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans pursue all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Matt 6:30-32

        • Anton

          It is also, perhaps, a theological issue, for God separated us at Babel by language and by geography, and did it for our own good.

          • chefofsinners

            Whatever the ins and outs of that argument, the primary mission of the church is not to keep people in their countries of birth, but to bring them into heavenly citizenship through new birth. Is it too much to ask that the bishops at least focus on that?

          • Anton

            Don’t look to me to disagree with that!

          • chefofsinners

            That’s you out of the talent pool. Get your towel and sit by the side.

          • David

            Thank you. That clear theological pointer is almost always ignored by today’s “right on” Christians. I believe that The Bible teaches separation of the peoples, the language groups into nations. I see little support for internationalism in The Bible.

          • Anton

            Internationalism goes by another name in the Bible: Empires.

          • David

            Exactly !
            That’s the conclusion I reached some years ago.

          • So are you against the globalisation of capitalism and multinational companies?

          • Anton

            David spoke of internationalism and I take that to mean who has jurisdiction where. If you want to widen the subject then let’s include in globalisation cheap air fares and the internet.

            I am for free trade across national borders. Politicians have allowed multinational companies to get away with not paying fair taxes, however.

          • Global capitalism is an “Empire” too. It’s much more than free trade across national boundaries and corporate interests have a deep influence on national states.

          • Anton

            it is important to distinguish between big business and the financial system. The former is a mixed blessing. The latter is almost entirely pernicious.

          • The Tower of Babel wasn’t about maintaining a separation of nations. It’s a message about something much deeper – the sinful human desire to be God and our obsession with human freedom. It’s about the self-destructive nature of self-lust. The lie of Babel, that we can be gods, leads to the curse of Babel, our inability to communicate. Jack doesn’t believe it justifies nationalism. Patriotism and the common good of communities, is something else.

            http://www.crisismagazine.com/2016/the-babble-of-babel

          • David

            You assume that by “nationalism” I mean the aggressive sort of nationalism like we see today in India’s Hindu Nationalism or the ultra-aggresive National Socialists of Germany under Hitler, but I don’t ! By nationalism I simply mean having a responsible form of patriotism, taking joy in ones own national arrangements, the common good of all within the nation, national symbols and instruments of government, whilst respecting all other nation states and peoples.
            The Bible recognises the different nations, or peoples, if you’d prefer that word, and clearly approves of these separate arrangements for the different language groups. This recognition of separation, without condemnation, occurs many times throughout the Bible, including in Revelation.
            Encouraging the mass migration of radically different cultures into dissimilar cultures is evil, as it is inevitably, human nature being what it is, going to cause social friction, tension and even destruction.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I agree that it should not be an issue on which there is an obvious Christian line and that it is not the job of the Church to tell us what the government’s policy should be on matters of economics or politics in general. However, if political disputes inflame hatred of foreigners, as some “retainers” complain, or if slander and abuse is aimed at people who voted for “Brexit” then such actions are sinful.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, those actions are sinful. To stop them you have to turn men to Christ, one by one.

          • David

            Agreed.

        • David

          “Brexit is not a moral issue, it is a worldly, carnal and temporal issue”
          I agree.
          But it is also about much, much more than that.
          It is also about democracy, who has the right to govern us and impose laws on us, what for good government is the appropriate scale of a political unit ?, the meaning of “demos”, the encouragement of local cultures, or not, the survival of The Common Law, the limits on the ability of our small island to absorb ever more people and the attendant buildings, roads, demands on space, water supply, public services etc, etc, peoples’ sense of identity and belonging, our ability to contribute to world culture as an unique set of British peoples, etc etc
          The political establishment and much of the media attempted to reduce the arguments to mainly economic ones, which was a mistake. Yes economics are very important, but as ‘man does live by bread alone’, so it is essentially about who we think that we are.

  • We have a multi ethnic society living in a Christian country with an established Church that should be preaching to us all the values of Christianity.

  • chefofsinners

    As Christmas approaches and we remember the poverty of the manger, it seems that our bishops have completely lost the plot.

    “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” – 1 Cor 1: 26-30

    • David

      Amen to that.

  • wisestreligion

    North says “Church has a part to play in finding a new and unifying national narrative that is patriotic, besides tolerant and in­­clusive”. That sounds suspiciously like Cameron’s artificial “British values”. What is wrong with the history that we already have? If immigrants find it uncomfortably white and Christian then perhaps they have come to the wrong country. It is up to immigrants to include themselves in our culture, as so many have indeed done individually in the past, rather than expect us to rewrite the history books.

    • Royinsouthwest

      The head of OFSTED seems to think that support for gay “marrigage” is a “British value.” He and Cameron and everyone who thinks like them obviously think that the generation who lived through what Churchill called Britain and the British Empire’s “finest hour” had a poor grasp of true “British values.”

      • IanCad

        Further Roy, Sir Michael Wilshaw is an older gentleman; a perfect example of natural characteristics developing over time. His background was in teaching – a requirement for which is a profound lack of common sense – perhaps contributing to his rather twisted values.
        Dare we speculate as to how Nicky Morgan will develop over the next thirty years?

  • chefofsinners

    Richard Page – magistrate mentioned here – another good candidate for top 100 Christians of the Year?

    • Anton

      Some day soon there will be a martyr for the Christian faith in this country, probably someone like Nissar Hussain. Then lists like that get serious.

    • Royinsouthwest

      It is utterly disgraceful that Richard Page lost both his positions. The disgrace is multiplied by the fact that the CoE archbishops and bishops and the leaders of other churches did not kick up a storm over this. Contrast Page’s treatment with that of politically correct officials who have deliberately made disastrous decisions in their jobs. How many people have lost their jobs as a result of deliberately ignoring the sexual abuse of (mainly white) girls in several English towns in the interest of “community cohesion”? Nobody in the Electoral Commission lost his or her job as even though they ignored allegations of electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets that were later proven to be true.

      This country’s “human rights” advocates are perfectly happy with such blatant injustices.

    • David

      Absolutely !

  • wisestreligion

    With the oversized, crony-laden House of Lords coming under criticism, the role of the 26 Church of England bishops who sit in the House is again questioned. Elsewhere, Paul Nuttall calls for the creation of 26 new UKIP peers to give the party fair representation. His party is the only party that produced a Christian Manifesto at the last election, which supports the Christian view of marriage and upholds freedom of expression for Christians.

    Just a thought to float: could we not kill two birds with one stone here. Would the bishops like to consider resolving this lack of representation for UKIP voters, and at the same time giving their role democratic legitimacy (not to mention furthering the cause of Christianity in our country) by taking the UKIP whip? 26 UKIP peers. 2 problems solved! I can already see the delight on the faces of our distinguished prelates at the prospect of taking on such a positive and Christian purpose.

    • It’s an idea worth discussing.

    • David

      Well said. But mention that you support Ukip in many C of E churches and you receive funny looks, like I have been receiving for years.

    • petej

      I thought UKIP abandoned opposition to SSM well before the general election?

  • Some quotes from Saint Oscar Romero – Christian Martyr:

    “A church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed — ​what gospel is that?”

    “We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.”

    “When we speak for the poor, please note that we do not take sides with one social class. What we do is invite all social classes, rich and poor, without distinction, saying to everyone let us take seriously the cause of the poor as though it were our own.”

    And my favourite ones:

    “Beautiful is the moment in which we understand that we are no more than an instrument of God; we live only as long as God wants us to live; we can only do as much as God makes us able to do; we are only as intelligent as God would have us be.”

    “Even when they call us mad, when they call us subversives and communists and all the epithets they put on us, we know we only preach the subversive witness of the Beatitudes, which have turned everything upside down.”

  • petej

    I’m in the “liberal elite”. I read the guardian. I don’t feel at all welcome in the cofe – so who exactly are they reaching out to?!

    • Mike Stallard

      …other bishops in the coe!

    • carl jacobs

      One must ask why you don’t feel welcomed by the CoE? Is it because you don’t feel “affirmed” about something or other. Because I guarantee you there are churches in the CoE that would affirm any individual belief or predilection you might possess. There are priests in the CoE who are atheists, for goodness sake. What is withheld from you?

      No, I suspect your problem with the CoE is that it still contains those who would not affirm you. Except they be driven out, you will not feel welcome. But then you wouldn’t come anyways. You just want your enemies driven out.

      • Bulls-eye! Many a liberal Reform synagogue too has closed down after reaching the end of that liberal rainbow. Shortened services involving electric guitars, lesbian “rabbis” teaching yoga and meditation, choirs rap-singing Psalms to hip-hop tunes, macrobiotic fair trade luncheons (no shmaltz herring, hot pastrami on rye or endless shots of single malt for dinosaurs like me!), all these “improvements” intended to engage the yoofs and attract the progressives are flopping big-time, with some of the shell-shocked refugees winding up at my traditionalist Orthodox synagogue to threaten my herring supply. I hear you have similar dynamics with your Episcopalians sneaking away to Evangelical congregations. Rather amusing.

        • carl jacobs

          … shell-shocked refugees winding up at my traditionalist Orthodox synagogue to threaten my herring supply.

          What? They bring their cats to the synagogue? Is that allowed?

          The demographic profile of the Episcopal Church resembles that of Portugal. Except its happening faster.

          • Your anti-piscisism and gato-phobic biggotry will land you in hot water one day, Carl.

            Portugal? Am I missing something? Do you mean their disconnect between high numbers of religious affiliation and lack of church attendance? But at least they have cathedrals which attract gawking tourists. You folks in Yankee-land have those tacky post-modern abominations one can easily miss because they look like utility stations or bus shelters.

          • carl jacobs

            I am referring to the fact that Portugal’s population is projected to fall by 40% over the next 30-40 years.

          • I see. Don’t worry, they are eager to accept hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Africans with a much more robust birth rate. Maybe the Portuguese are itching to replay the Reconquista against the Moors a few decades from now. Either that, or they have a passion for cultural euthanasia, since the culture bit is now doing its death-rattle.

      • petej

        I don’t have a problem with the cofe. I’m just saying they don’t represent my values *and* there are some factions who say I should not be allowed to attend at all.

        • Martin

          Pete

          Why should any Christians show any respect for your ‘values’?

          • petej

            I didn’t say they should.

            My point was the cofe is fiscally and socially conservative. It doesn’t “reach out” to moderates or liberals. It is therefore bizarre that this bishop should claim it also isn’t reachng out to conservatives. If he is right then it means the cofe isn’t reaching out to anyone which is probably why Christianity is in decline in the UK

          • carl jacobs

            Are we talking about the same CoE here? The CoE is virtually an adjunct of the Labour Party. There is nothing conservative about it – except the “We want to preserve the institution any any cost” kind of conservative.

          • petej

            “The Conservative party at prayer” yes.

          • carl jacobs

            Are you one of those Corbynites who thinks that Labour is really Conservative?

          • Martin

            Pete

            It isn’t the task of a Christian church to reach out to anyone, their task is to preach the gospel. Men’s values are subordinated to what God commands. In reality, God causes men to be saved and thus the number of Christians. And the Church of God will never decline.

          • petej

            I was commenting on the article.

        • carl jacobs

          they don’t represent my values

          How could the CoE not represent your values when it represents everyone’s values? There are numerous homosexual priests in the CoE, and in open homosexual relationships. Nothing happens to them. The AoC is in fact fully prepared to lose 20% of the membership of the CoE to formally affirm your values – an event which will likely occur within the next two years. Ah! It hasn’t formally affirmed your values, yet, has it? But isn’t that what I said?

          some factions who say I should not be allowed to attend at all

          You are stealing a base with that assertion. Some factions will say you shouldn’t attend if you refuse to repent. There is a big different between what you said they say and what they actually say. But never mind. Why do you care about these factions since they are precisely the 20% the AoC is prepared to toss over the side in order to affirm your values? They are the ones who will soon be gone. Ah! They haven’t left yet. But isn’t that also what I said?

          • petej

            Sorry but my point has become entirely derailed by Happy Jack deciding to talk about sexuality. The point has nothing to do with my sexuality. Nor does it have anything to do with what the cofe should be doing. I’m merely stating the fact that it is conservative in all its views. It is not reaching out to lefties or moderates was my point.

            Not that I want to talk about sexuality, but there *are* factions who say that gay people should not be welcome in the church and there are other factions who say we should be welcome if we repent. There is no explanation as to how one repents of something that you have no power to change and so both factions views amount to the same thing.

            The ABC is very anti gay – don’t you remember him leading the opposition to SSM in parliament? He’s not nasty with it is the only difference. I think it highly unlikely he’s going to do anything to make the church more tolerant towards gay people.

    • Maybe it’s the sin of homosexuality putting a barrier between you and the Church.

      • Are you still allowed to say that without being excommunicated or dragged into a human rights star-chamber, Jack?

        • It is still Catholic doctrine, Avi. The way things are heading, it may not be for much longer. As for the temporal realm and human rights law, who gives a toss? Not Jack.

          • Well, temporal human rights fads can invent fabulous fictions and as fads go, these can or may be easily reversed when fashions change, but as little as I may know about Church law, I cannot imagine the Vatican bending scriptural interpretations to say the opposite of what’s clearly stated.

          • Oh, Jack doesn’t know about that. There are forces at work within the Catholic Church to undermine the application of doctrine, which cannot be changed, in the name of “mercy” and “pastoral discernment”.

          • carl jacobs

            which cannot be changed,

            It won’t change. It will grow. Like an acorn.

          • If that’s the way God intends it to be, then so be it. At some point, if this insanity continues, there will be another Western schism. At least the divide is out in the open and the wolves are shedding their sheep’s clothing. Perhaps it’s for the best.

      • petej

        Yes currently it seems popular to try to exclude gay people like me from the church, but that’s not what I meant. There was a cofe priest on the radio the other day saying we shouldn’t care or minister to the poor! I really wonder what bible they are reading. There is nothing at all to say that being gay is a sin, but apparently it is “tradional” to hate people like me. There is plenty about caring for the last, the least and the lost, but maybe this is too hard for the modern church?

        • Inspector General

          Nobody in the church hates you, you silly gay boy…but Mother Nature, God’s agent on this earth…Well, let’s just say rectal chlamydia, amongst other gifts from her, is not a walk in the park, so the symptoms reveal…

          • petej

            Yeah when you make negative (and false) assumptions about my sexual behaviour based purely on my orientation it doesn’t exactly make me feel the love.

          • Inspector General

            That’s hardly fair! If you don’t queer than you’re not gay…

          • petej

            Hang on! You want me to accept that nobody in the church hates me. You couple that with a statement mocking me for allegedly having an STI – purely on the basis of me being gay. It is nasty to make negative stereotypes, but it is also nasty to mock disease. Is this the same “love” you show your children! Frankly you have demonstrated exactly how the church treats gay people.

          • Inspector General

            If you have experienced hate from the church, we need you to relate the incident. If you can’t, then you are very much a homosexual as they are understood – wallowing in a victimhood of a perceived injustice that never happened. ‘Nasty’ is a subjective word. Either you appreciate that communicable disease is part of the promiscuous homosexuals lot or you don’t. It makes no difference as you are going to end up in the pox clinic queue whatever if that is the lifestyle for you.

            Of course, you could have just come on here spoiling for a fight. Seen that in real life in town pubs years ago…you are very similar to aggrieved fellows from forty years ago…

          • petej

            I’m far from an expert but Im pretty sure that you usually get STIs from having unprotected sex. Orientation has no baring on it.

            If I did have an STI then the loving thing would be to express sympathy and, if you have the knowledge, tooffer advice on recovery and advice on how to avoid getting another one. The hateful thing is to mock me for it.

            The loving thing now would be for you to seek forgiveness.

          • Inspector General

            Man up! You can’t go through life soliciting apology even if it was due…

          • petej

            If “manning up” involves degrading people and using nasty insults against others then no thank you!

            I wasn’t particularly expecting an apology. You were asking where I had experienced hate in the church and I was responding with where I have experienced hateful remarks from you. There is a practical difference between love and hate. If you/the church hate gay people then your behaviour is justified and inline with that, but you won’t convince me that you or the church “love” me when you continue to insult me.

          • Inspector General

            Let’s see. One’s post was…

            “Nobody in the church hates you, you silly gay boy…but Mother Nature, God’s agent on this earth…Well, let’s just say rectal chlamydia, amongst other gifts from her, is not a walk in the park, so the symptoms reveal…”

            You find hate in that, do you? You’ll have to point it out, for this blind man before you is oblivious to his sin…Rather, it’s more of a salutatory medical warning for all tempted down the free and easy gay way, which one has not suggested you are…

          • petej

            Yes. Insults, false negative stereotyping and mocking disease are all hateful behaviours.

            You are in the same place as the church in that you claim love but your behaviour is not love. There is a inconsistency there.

          • Inspector General

            I put it to you sir, that you arrived here with your accusations having already pre-judged us.

            Hardly surprising and one doesn’t blame you for that one bit. You see, an increasingly bizarre society is lauding homosexuality as a new religion and its practitioners as a high priesthood. You only have to ask and it will be forthcoming, say our political leaders, but mercifully they have no pull in the church. Of course, this largesse granted to you types doesn’t extend as far as when our brightest and best require their schoolboys to receive football coaching, but that’s just a small fetter in the great scheme in store for you…

          • petej

            Kind of. Your reaction towards me was consistent with what I have previously experienced from the church (including your lack of apology).

            My intention here was merely to comment on the Church of England’s appeal to people of different political persuasions. Happy Jack successfully derailed this by identifying my orientation. Then you insulted me, made negative assumptions about my sex life and ridiculed me for having an infection (which I don’t have). This was entirely unsolicited, but sadly not unexpected. You haven’t apologised. I am repeating myself, but the church cannot legitimately claim to “love” when it behaves like this.

            I don’t understand the comment about schoolboys?

          • Inspector General

            Before Gloucester closed its 222 year old prison, one would occasionally walk past the queue on a Saturday morning. Think it was around 9:30 am when they opened the doors to the visitors. Wives and mothers mainly. It is possible to love and not approve of behaviour then. Don’t worry about the schoolboys. One was merely making the point that as far as politicians are concerned these days, the sky really is the limit for LBGT requisites, so long as these politicians own underage children are not sodomised. That would be ingratitude…

          • petej

            I know plenty of Christians who manage to communicate their opposition to gay relationships without resorting to insults, negative stereotyping and, now slander (assuming you are implying gay people are paedophiles and/or rapists). You are not one of these.

            You have used these shameful things not to oppose my behaviour (you know nothing of my behaviour) but to attack me personally on account of my orientation.

          • Inspector General

            Not one’s intention, but have it as you will. The robust posts to date stand – maybe you are too sensitive to criticism, you think? And there’s much to criticise about homosexuality. It will always be an opportunist pernicious disease out to infect the church. And we can’t be having that, can we, what!

          • petej

            I’m not sensitive at all. I’ve been desensitised by having these insults repeatedly thrown at me! I’m merely saying that if you/the church continue to behave like this towards gay people then you cannot claim to love people because love doesn’t call others a “disease”.

          • Inspector General

            One is not calling you a disease. Only what you champion. Why not put homosexuality in your pocket and just be a human. People will shake you by the hand then, not wonder up whose ar…well you can imagine…

          • petej

            It wasn’t my choice to discuss this. I think it is irrelevant to the topic.

            I haven’t championed anything I have stated that you (and the wider church) cannot legitimately claim to love us while you continue to insult us and propagate false stereotypes about us.

            It is entirely up to you (or the church) how you treat us but I do believe there is a huge gap between how you treat us and how you claim to treat us.

          • Inspector General

            For the traditional nuclear family, the church gives its love, approval and support. For homosexuals, it gives only one. Now, can you work out what it doesn’t give you. Then scratch your head and think of why that is. Perhaps then, you can understand…

          • petej

            Most of the church currently gives none of these things… As your continued unsolicited aggression demonstrates. I did not choose to be gay nor am I able to change it – so no I don’t understand why this is except for good old fashioned prejudice.

            I have done nothing to you and your anger against me is completely unjustified. I would like apology and repentance

          • Inspector General

            Very curious! If you can detect anger, of all things, in this man’s correspondence with you then all one can say is that you are deficient in inter personal communication skill. You seem to be unable to accept someone having a rigid viewpoint contrary to your rigid viewpoint. If this be the case, then perhaps you be not the ideal fellow to champion ever increasing LGBT ‘rights’ in the church. So don’t!

            There’s nothing wrong with prejudice. If you don’t like something, such as milky cocoa, then come out and say it. You won’t then be given milky cocoa at night. What makes you think there’s anything wrong with prejudice?

          • petej

            Insults are a fruit of anger. Negative stereotyping and slander are fruits of prejudice.

            I don’t know what you mean about “rigid viewpoints” – you haven’t stated any views you’ve just written insults and then bizarrely want me to believe you love me(!)

            I’m glad you can at least admit that the church is prejudiced against gay people. If you can’t see anything wrong -even evil – in that then it explains why you treat me as you do

          • Inspector General

            Now look. You are either one of three things. A schoolboy, an adult daftee, or a windup merchant. Which is it.

          • petej

            Because I’m calling it like it is?

          • Inspector General

            Tell you what. Read about this ugly fellow. The fact that he is disabled is besides the point. It’s how he goes about his fun as he puts it which is the essential, the same way the rest do. Afterwards, ask yourself how the church could possibly support him in his lifestyle of choice…
            http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/12/09/comment-i-have-cerebral-palsy-the-government-must-give-me-prep/

          • petej

            But that’s one guy! There are plenty of straight people who have anonymous sex and the church doesn’t judge all straight people by their actions. Havent you heard of tindr?

            As I have said earlier it is perfectly possible to love someone without approving of their behaviour. I know plenty of Christians who oppose all sex outside of het marriage, but manage not to use insults or negative stereotyping.

          • Inspector General

            Insult – A particularly unpleasant negative stereotype pertaining to you.

            Negative Stereotype – A rather inconvenient truth that you’d rather not be aired (qv ‘Insult’)

            Anything else one can assist your understanding with?

          • petej

            I’m not sure how your response follows on from mine? You have sought out a case of a guy who is promiscuous in order to blame all gay people for his behaviour. And I think we both know that you know fine well that lots of gay people are celibate and lots of gay people are monogamous (and lots of straight people aren’t!). He also has cerebral palsy so why aren’t you insulting all people who have that and trying to exclude them from the church? It is the same logic as you are using against me!

            I understand those terms fine. When we use them against someone we are not loving them – that is my point. Jesus said if you call someone an idiot then you are in danger of the fires of hell.

          • Inspector General

            You’re not as obtuse as you seem happy to present yourself as. You employ a most devious technique. Just look at you, the way you deftly hold innocent cerebral palsy people in front of you as a shield now. And best of all, you’re walking hand in hand with Jesus too! How did that happen?

            You are a skilled manipulator of words, and you’re rather masterful with it. Are you a skilled manipulator of people too? Younger, less experienced of life people. And what about your accusers as you go about your business, do you slip away from them in the same greasy manner…

          • petej

            No they aren’t a shield at all. I’m merely pointing out the illegitimacy of your position. You are happy to stereotype all gay people (including me) as promiscuous because this one man is. Therefore by the same logic you should also stereotype all sufferers of cerebral palsy. I don’t need a shield from you. I don’t care what you think or how you treat me. My point is that your treatment of me isn’t loving.

            It is also hypocritical of you to claim I have a devious technique. I posted on this message board about the cofe’s position on the political spectrum. Happy Jack decided to ridicule my sexuality even though there was no reason to even mention it. Then you insulted me multiple times and have applied all sorts of negative stereotyping and aggressive language against me. You now seem to be accusing me of rape (?) is that right??!!! Yet you accuse me of “devious tactics” and being a “skilled manipulator of words”. No actually I am stating things clearly and saying what I mean.

            This heartless aggression may well be how the church should be treating me, but it isn’t love, so don’t call it so.

          • Inspector General

            You do indignant astonished innocence too! Marvellous. You really are a master at your game. One can only sit crossed leg before you as you go through your routine…

            “Heartless aggression”!! Heh. There really is no stopping you once you’ve started, is there?

          • petej

            Ill remind you, for what seems like the fourth or fifth time, that I neither started nor wanted this discussion. I don’t really understand what your motives are in continuing it?

          • petej

            As I have said before I wasn’t commenting on sexuality. I was commenting on the political position of the cofe. You chose to insult me and degrade me. It is not my choice to continue this conversation. It is your choice to behave in a hateful manner towards me. The church can’t claim love whilst practising hate.

          • “Mother Nature, God’s agent on this earth … “
            Been opening your Christmas crackers early, Inspector?

        • Martin

          Pete

          The Bible excludes certain people from the Church:

          Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
          (I Corinthians 6:9-10 [ESV])

          No one is gay, they are simply sexual sinners.

          • Inspector General

            That’s just about everyone in the ‘Mouse and Wheel’ Martin, save the bar staff and indeed the Inspector himself…

          • petej

            Im not attracted to women – what word would you use to describe that if you don’t like “gay”?!

          • carl jacobs

            The authenticity of a desire is neither evidence of an ontology nor justification for acting on that desire.

          • If he’s a Christian, he’ll know that. How does it help?

          • carl jacobs

            How does what help?

            Jack, the entire case for the justification of homosexual behavior is built upon the authenticity of the desire. Because the desire is authentic, it is considered natural and therefore morally neutral. That assertion of “natural” is a claim of ontology – that homosexual desire is an intended part of the Created Order. I was setting out the case against this idea of “gay”. It is a convenient fiction used by people to deny the obvious unnaturalness that homosexuality exhibits.

          • And Jack, as you know, entirely agrees with you on that. However, has he claimed any of this? For all you know, he’s celibate and attempting to come to terms with overcoming his same sex attraction. You may know more about him than Jack.

            The developing (and Jack believes heretical) modern “Catholic” argument, currently being rehearsed in the divisions over AL about divorce and remarriage, is that people cannot live perfect lives, they do the best they can according to their conscience, and, for a variety of reasons, may not be subjectively culpable for their objective sin. They should be met where they are, accepted in mercy and love, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. It’s actually a far more dangerous line of “reasoning” than one that attempts to justify homosexuality as somehow God given.

          • carl jacobs

            However, has he claimed any of this?

            Yes, he did. Right here.

            Im not attracted to women – what word would you use to describe that if you don’t like “gay”?!

          • So he’s same attracted and describes himself as “gay”. That’s what happens nowadays. Has he said the attraction is acceptable or that he’s acted on it?

          • carl jacobs

            He made that statement in response to Martin’s denial of “gay” as a category.

            No one is gay, they are simply sexual sinners.

            He was obviously affirming the category that Martin had just denied, and affirming it by appeal to his own experience.

          • Which Jack took to mean same attraction exists (which it clearly does)and, in our secular culture, has been given a positive name. Homosexuals are only sexual sinners if they act on their desires.

          • petej

            In response (why don’t you ask me what I meant?!)

            I disagree with Martins understanding of the word “gay”. It is defined as someone who is only attracted to the same sex. He defines it as a sexual sinner. We have a disagreement in semantics.

          • carl jacobs

            “God given” is a facade. The true argument is an argument from autonomy. “I’m an adult. I can do what I want.” That argument obviously has problems. The “God-given” argument works but only so long as you don’t consider all those other authentic desires that people are supposed to suppress. The argument about homosexuality has to be hermetically sealed to avoid the obvious charge of inconsistency – a task accomplished by social coercion.

          • Social coercion of what sort and from whom?

          • petej

            Could I ask you to stop answering for me? Thanks

          • petej

            I’ve heard a number of different views on this that don’t justify, for example, SSM by claiming it is natural.

            For example, things that are not mentioned in scripture are not necessarily banned and do not require justification. I’m sure you will believe that scripture is clearly opposed to SSM, but this argument holds for those who do not believe it to be clearly opposed to SSM.

          • carl jacobs

            I haven’t mentioned SSM marriage at all. I have been talking about homosexual desire and the behavior that proceeds from it. About that subject the Scripture has quite a bit to say.

          • petej

            This is a big subject and usually religious objection focuses on SSM so I was just using that as an example. My point is that there are plenty of pro gay arguments about that do not rely on believing it is “natural”. The example I have given relies only on not believing the bible condemns homosexuality.

          • “The example I have given relies only on not believing the bible condemns homosexuality.”
            Which it clearly does.

          • petej

            My point wasn’t the right or the wrong of it, just pointing out this is what many people believe. It is not accurate to say that all acceptance of homosexuality depends on the view that it is “natural”.

            It seems to me that every discussion on how gay people should lead their lives ends up as an argument over semantics (the definition of “gay”, the correct translation of “arsenokotoi”, what “natural” actually means in a practical sense etc etc).

          • There’s nothing sematic about it. Moral sexual activity is between a man and a woman, married for life, for the purposes of procreation and life long bonding to raise the next generation. The scriptural promotion of God’s intention and the condemnation of same sex acts does not rest on the translation of one word. And, for a Christian, “natural” means the way we have been designed by God to live according to His will. Hopefully, you’re familiar with the orthodox arguments as well as the very recent revisionist, modernist ones.

          • petej

            You have cited what I would consider a catholic view of marriage and there are problems with this view which I’m sure I don’t need to rehearse. This view tells the gay person that he or she must remain celibate for their entire lives, but then that leads into a semantic argument about which behaviours count as sex and which do not.

            You have made one definition of “natural”, which again in this context is problematic, but again there is a semantic argument to be had here – what level of evidence is required to trump a “traditional” view of what scripture has to say is natural here?

            Both of these cases also show a consistent problem in that conservative Christians are using terms differently to the rest of society. How can you expect a gay person to remain celibate in your eyes if he or she has a different understanding of that term? How can you convince gay people to believe they are “unnatural” when by their usage of the word they may well be “natural”?

          • petej

            Of course.

          • carl jacobs

            Then prove to me that which you have asserted several times on this thread. Prove to me – without reference to your desire as justification – that you are by nature intended to desire sex with other men.

            The argument I hear over and over again is “I desire sex with other men. Therefore it is my nature to desire sex with other men.”. That argument is nonsense. It turns desire into its own justification.

          • petej

            I haven’t asserted that.

          • Same sex attracted. We all have our weaknesses. Why join a “club” and give your particular weakness a positive identity?

          • petej

            Not being attracted to women means I never am tempted to lust after women. I wouldn’t call that a weakness. I haven’t “joined a club” that gives my orientation a positive identity. The cofe considers it a negative.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Your still thinking in the wrong terms, identifying yourself with a sin.

          • Disordered.

          • petej

            Pejorative and not specific.

          • Describing someone as orientationaly disordered is not pejorative at all, you’re attaching negative connotations where there are none. You’ve got an inferiority complex it would seem. It’s medical similar to describing those with eating disorders as nutritionaly disordered, or anyone who is malfunctioning.

          • petej

            “Disordered” is a pejorative term! Having a disorder is, although hardly a good thing, not a personal negative.

            Regardless just saying “disordered” doesn’t describe the condition, it doesn’t allow for support or connection with others going through the same thing.

          • So you want a cuddly wuddly name for it to make you feel better and that will make it sound normal. It is what it is though. How about Epigenetically challenged?

          • petej

            There’s absolutely no need to be rude. Why should I take your opposition to homosexuality as anything other than homophobia if you are insulting towards me? I have been respectful towards you. Please do likewise.

            I don’t want a name for it because there is a term for it. Martin and you are saying I’m not allowed to use that term which is why I am asking what term you would prefer me to use.

          • The problem is that the Church no longer excludes the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers. So, how can Christian communities just exclude homosexuals? Jesus came to save sinners, not the righteous.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The Church excludes many:

            Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
            (I Corinthians 6:9-10 [ESV])

            Once they are saved they are no longer of that number:

            And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
            (I Corinthians 6:11 [ESV])

          • Well, that’s a non-answer – even by your standards.

          • Martin

            HJ

            What you mean is you didn’t understand it. Your church may do many things, but it isn’t THE Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

        • No Christian who truly follows Christ “hates” you. They may well “hate” the normalisation of homosexual behaviour and speak out against this – some in very strong terms. However, my impression is that this is very rarely condemned by ministers from the pulpit or, indeed, more privately. Most people probably don’t bother with your same sex attraction, one way or the other, unless your bring it to their attention. Do you?
          You are correct, being same sex attracted isn’t a sin and your temptations are your own and nobody else’s business, other than your pastor who should offer private counselling for resisting sin – if, that is, he is one of a rare breed who still considers homosexual acts sinful at all.
          As for the poor, it is my impression the Anglican Church does focus on them but, as the article suggests, in patronising ways that addresses their poverty but not their wider hopes and fears.

          • petej

            There have been a lot of cofe priests making public statements opposed to people like me. I’ve experienced several instances of verbal abuse and one instance of physical abuse from people in the church.

            The behaviour of the church towards gay people might not be motivated by hatred, but when the behaviour involves slander, negative stereotyping, exclusion and political campaigning against basic rights it is hard to see, in practical terms, what the difference is!

          • Speaking the Christian truth about homosexuality is not “slander or is it “negative stereotyping”. The Church is called to promote Christian marriage and family life. You seem to consider this to be “exclusion and political campaigning against basic rights”.

          • petej

            Some examples of what I’m talking about –

            Saying that all gay people are paedophiles or bad parents is slander.

            Saying that all gay people are promiscuous and disease-ridden is negative stereotyping.

            Saying gay people should not be welcome in church is exclusion.

            Campaigning against legal protections to allow gay people access to jobs, accommodation and goods and services is political campaigning against basic rights.

          • Jack agrees with your three examples. No Church he knows of campaigns against same sex attracted people having access to jobs, accommodation or goods and services. However, a small business, such as bed and breakfast, or a business offering services for weddings etc., should be able to act on their own consciences.

  • Mike Stallard

    “If the C of E was still adequately present in areas of deprivation, it would not have been surprised at the revolution in popular politics that this anger caused (Comment, 1 July). But it has become so discon­nected from many of these communities that it no longer hears what they are saying, let alone amplifies their voices to the nation. And, until the Church re-invests in urban ministry, places the best leaders in the most deprived parishes, and returns to the estates it has abandoned, these voices will continue to go un­­heard.”

    We often criticise in others the faults which we are most conscious of in ourselves. Why doesn’t this saintly man dump all his episcopal finery and his large episcopal house and salary and go and live in a slum parish – just like holy priests who knew the trade used to in the olden days?

  • Dreadnaught

    The Church’s agenda is being set not by the poor, but by academia, the moneyed elites, and certain sections of the secular media.

    Was it ever any other way? Religion and Politics are the procaryots of Power. ‘The poor’ set no agendas and have always, been fobbed off by the Church and the powerful with promises of the bread of Heaven later, if not jam tomorrow.

    In previous times, the majority of the population lived with extreme inequality and grinding poverty and the CoE was of little use in reforming the controlling powers of the day with whom it was largely complicit in protecting. It promised reward in the afterlife for the unfortunates who were in acceptance of their poverty and even greater rewards for the powerful of the day, in return for their cash or benefaction.
    Did the CoE exhibit its Christian values in an age when people would be fined, shunned or driven from their tied homes for not attending Sunday services?
    Or that because of grinding poverty, child prostitutes were on sale in the Capitol?
    Or when we were hanging or transporting men and women for witchcraft or stealing a sheep or loaf of bread?
    Or when flooding China with opium for massive profits?
    Were Protestant land owners of large Irish estates practicing Christian values by doing nothing for thepoor affected by Potato Famines when millions starved to death?

    Adehrents of the CoE make huge assumptions that their chosen faith holds title to or has the influence to maintain wholesome Christian Values, when it can’t decide what they are in an age when it no longer has a dominant place in shaping any moral values now or at any time in British history.
    The British Establishment and the CoE were asleep at the wheel (and still are) when they encouraged the influx and acceptance of Muslim immigrants by ignoring the fact that their ‘religion’ was and is the anthiesis of what this Country stands for unless it is physically driven out.
    Only now, after fifty years or so, is there an Establishmen figure daring to poke the beast. I suggest that its nothing to do with Christian values that motivates him in saying this, but rather one lone man in a Mitre for whom the penny has dropped, prepared to stick his neck out and identify that violence and conquest is inherently characteristic in Islam.

    “Until religious leaders [Islamic] stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution”
    Justin Welby.

    • Anton

      I’m glad you say “CoE” not “the church”. A closer look at English history reveals that the nonconformists have been concerned with many of the things you mention. Things works out best when they act together (surprise, surprise): the nonconformists galvanise the people, and the serious Christians in the CoE galvanise the politicians. That is how slavery got abolished.

      • Dreadnaught

        I don’t hear any noises from the non-Anglicans either in denouncing the unwelcome presence of Islam amongst us. Christianity in Europe seems incapable of acting in any unified way to defend its own existence in any format.

        • Anton

          The media don’t publicise us nonconformists. Blame them, not us. There’s plenty on the internet. Or turn up!

          • Dreadnaught

            I am talking about the future shape of the Constitution and the future direction of this Country.
            I could not influence this by being a bum on a seat pretending to believe in something I don’t accept. Resolution of the Islamic presence will if anything, be down to all men and women who value our traditional way of life above their own.

          • Jim Fox

            ” Resolution of the Islamic presence”
            HOW, exactly do you propose achieving this impossibility??

          • Dreadnaught

            How would you?

        • Martin

          Dreadnaught

          Surely freedom of religion means any religion, even the ones you don’t like, must be allowed. And why should the monarch head their own church?

          Christianity doesn’t defend itself, God does that. The Christian just proclaims the gospel.

          • Jim Fox

            Except THIS__ ISLAM is a vicious theocratic dictatorship that cannot qualify as a genuine religion. And the “1.5 billion muslim” argument is a fallacy- the appeal to numbers. And My atheism sees through the Great Lie where Christians are often blinded by it.

          • Martin

            Jim

            And your Atheism is a religion. Tell me, how would you ‘defend’ against Islam?

          • Jim Fox

            Martin, you are an imbecile. Have you not heard that religion is BELIEF & atheism is DISBELIEF ? Why do you assume that atheists hate Islam any less than anyone else? How? I would nuke Mecca and Medina, just to start.

            My, you have several decades of growing up to do!

          • Inspector General

            A belief there is no creator is a disbelief these days!

          • Jim Fox

            You need even more educating- atheism is the ‘belief’ that there is no EVIDENCE’ for a creator. Such a creator MAY exist but we have nothing to suggest that.
            No further time to waste on someone with zero ability to think…

          • Inspector General

            You must be a very dim fellow not appreciate the natural order that is and pretend it came out of chaos. One does like your last sentence though!

          • Martin

            Jim

            Gee, thanks. So what do you think nuking Mecca & Medina would do? Would it make them think twice about killing you or enrage them?

            And Atheism is a belief in one’s own ability to understand, the religion of self-worship.

          • Jim Fox

            Martin

            In case you don’t know, Islam is at war with ALL non-muslims- jihad is its name and its aim is to fight the kuffar “until all worship is for allah”.
            The west, unfortunately has learnt nothing from 1400 years of Islamic conquest. All Arabia, N.Africa, Middle east, Persia, India, Europe and many others were Christian/Hindu/Zoroastrian etc- until Mohammad’s insane ‘religion’ invaded and colonised.

            Mecca & Medina need to be erased- then no more ‘Hajj’, no more ‘Holy Sites’ and the ensuing world war will enrage and flush out the ‘moderate muslims’ who silently support the evil of Islam, along with the Obamas and other useful idiots who have sold out civilization to a barbaric ideology. It IS ‘us or them’- they say so.
            The USA attacked the wrong countries- Saudi Arabia was the rational target, cradle of Islam and lots of oil.

            Again, your pathetic and childish claims that atheism is a belief are the mark of the butt-hurt christian. Get over it. We know why you hate atheists- because they make you doubt your fairy-tale ‘Faith’. Atheists are by nature skeptics and tend to disbelieve everything until proven otherwise. That is my conviction.
            I have only ONE certainty- death is the END. Heaven and hell are tribal primitive myths. Another thing I’m fairly sure of is this- the more I think I know, the less I actually know. Unlike christians…

            I don’t care either way about other religions- they don’t want me dead [generally]. Buddhism is the best of the bunch, having no
            “Creator of the Universe” even tho they do pray to Buddha- for good fortune and health, mainly.

            Anyway, enough of this futile nonsense. Believe what you want, I’ll believe NOTHING. Finally—-
            Benjamin Franklin: “The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason.”

          • Jim Fox

            Martin
            I wrote a long reply only to remember the futility of debating Creationists. So I won’t. ‘Religious atheism’ can be one of your
            beliefs if makes you happy. Just tack it on to the other absurdities
            that make up your life of delusions.
            Nothing more to say, so to save another silly reply, you’re BLOCKED.

          • Martin

            Jim

            Yes, it was emailed to me, so I saw it. The reason you find debating Creationists futile is that you have no real arguments. You accept Evolution on the basis of your religious belief that there is no God, despite the fact that you know God exists.

            I did note however that you’ve not managed to justify your opinion that ‘nuking Mecca & Medina’ would be worthwhile. I think you’re forgetting that this would make enemies of every Muslim throughout the world, even those that currently are opposed to the excesses of their brethren. You really need to think and/or grow up.

          • Dreadnaught

            This is preciesely where it goes wrong. Islam is not simply another religion; Muslims will tell you its a whole life formula. It has its own encoded laws.. It is conducted in Arabic wherever it is established. It holds that its laws and so call traditions of Mohammad are immutable.believes in the premise that Muslim ‘lands’ are at Peace and the rest places of War. And of the latter it precribes for slavery, plunder, and the status of women. It hold that Jews in particular are to be distrusted and if necessary, killed. A Global Caliphate is the ultimate aim.
            This is not just a religion – this is a Political manifesto.

          • Martin

            Dreadnaught

            So how would you defend against Islam? And how would you distinguish between Islam and other religions?

            For my grandchildren’s children’s children I am content to leave in the hands of God.

          • Dreadnaught

            If God was going to do something he would have done it long before now and not based on religuin but on being (according) made in his image ie all humanity. The fact that you are not concerned about the future is rather absolving yourself from reality. But what the Hell, its a free Country.
            One only has to read the Koran; revisit the history of Islamic conquest and really look at the world today.
            There is no other ‘religion’ creating murder and mayhem where ever it is seated or engaged in conquering. It’s not difficult to to realise that hard measures need to be taken to push back this primitive cult.
            Do you think it would be so powerful if not for sitting on the world largest oil reserves? Of course not.
            Athesism is not a religion by any stretch of the imagination. It is by its very nature a philosphy of living without the invention of a supernatural being..Yes there are people who are stridently ant-religion but they are a minority of a majority who have made their own minds up about life and death on this planet or there are millions of others who can’t be bothered with either stance.

          • Martin

            Dreadnaught

            God has done something. And God is in control of all that happens. Yes, Islam is a false religion and persecutes those who leave it, so do other religions, for instance Hinduism in India, but God is still in control.

            Atheism is a religion, its adherents worship their own wills. It’s as much a religion as Buddhism for example.

        • Those of us in traditionalist and conservative congregations tend to keep our mouths shut at this time, because it’s futile to waste time on locking horns with progressive crazies. Much better to vote well, align with like-minded folks, make a lot of kids and raise them to be moral, competent and successful.

  • Here’s a word I had to google; guessed its meaning, but wasn’t sure: Donnish: don·nish …adjective thought to resemble or suit a college don, particularly because of a pedantic, scholarly manner. Synonyms: scholarly, studious, academic, bookish, intellectual, learned, highbrow…

    I like it! Especially since few in Canada would get such donnish British-ism.

    • carl jacobs

      You have no idea how much temptation I have had to resist because of this post. The strain is almost unbearable.

      • But for the glass house you live in there go you, right?

  • Richard B

    Your Grace – on catching up with this after blogging about 2 examples of fulfilled predictions relating to Italy’s referendum, I’d inform you IT IS FAR, FAR more important for clergy to start learning to listen to what the good Lord Himself is saying – instead of indulging in political prattling. Jesus described Pharisees as ‘blind leading the blind’!
    As I’ve commented previously, I know of nearly two dozen prophetic words since 2001 on God’s urging us to detach from the EU behemoth – now wonder Anglican clergy were caught with their pants down (with the exception of Revd Dr Clifford Hill, who’s been writing on prophecy for the UK today for 30 years!!).

  • Aisla Sinclair

    It`so rare to hear from a member of the clergy who`s still got a mind of their own.
    The collective groupthink and spirit of the beehive as made compulsory in the C of E(for a career that will last anyway) has traduced and marginalised the historical Church of this country. So that it is now a hollowed out, supremely irrelevant joke.
    Jesus has long taken away the franchise. God rages and sanctions Islam to , at least, put the wind up the polite phonies who dare to speak in His Name.
    The Church is not Jesus-and Jesus and his disciples, apostles and prophets are well out of the church, primed and ready to act in the areas where they`re needed. Schools,universities, hospitals, pop culture. The Media, the academics, politics and the Church and polite society will be left to heard the hard way.