Church of England

The Church of England’s obsession with diversity is damaging its orthodoxy

“Your Grace, do you by chance know what ‘Sexuality, composition of themed groups’ is? Or what it has to do with the price of fish?” tweeted George Trefgarne in response to the observation that out of 85 General Synod questions, not one was concerned with the plight of the world’s persecuted Christians. He was referring to Synod question No.9:

The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby (Universities & TEIs) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q9 What steps are being taken to ensure that the themed groups as outlined in GS Misc 1158 which will contribute to a Teaching Document on ‘human’ sexuality are at least somewhat balanced in terms of gender?

This has nothing at all to do with the price of fish (or eggs, or the tea in China), but concerns the statement issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury for “a radical new inclusion” following the General Synod’s vote “not to take note” of a report by the House of Bishops on Marriage and Same-Sex Relationships. GS Misc 1158 is an attempt to put some radically inclusive flesh on the wordy bones: a co-ordinating group of bishops will oversee “thematic working groups” comprised of diverse clergy and laity aided by consultants from such disciplines as theology, biblical ethics, church history, sociology, anthropology, and genetics. Judith Maltby’s concern appears to focus on the gender (ie sex) balance of these groups. Her question received the following response from the Archbishop of Canterbury:

In putting all these groups together, we are seeking to ensure that a very wide range of differing experiences, views, perspectives and areas of expertise are included. GS Misc 1158 makes it clear that many places on the groups remain to be filled and it is premature to comment on the balances within the overall membership as we haven’t got there yet.

Gender (ie sex) balance (ie equality) is a curious fixation in this context. Why not racial balance, since different cultures derive different ethical understandings of human sexuality? Why not sexuality balance, since the human-human-divine relationship is manifestly differently apprehended? Why not diversity of sexuality balance, observing that not all LGBT Christians believe that same-sex marriage is even a thing? Why not conservative-liberal balance, since there is evidently a spectrum of theological understanding relating to these complex matters? Indeed, isn’t the traditionalist-progressive composition of these themed groups rather more significant than the balance of sexes? Isn’t that truly where proponents of revisionist heterodoxy will encounter the doctrine of the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it?

What about the equality of those who uphold biblical truth? What about the equality of those expound doctrinal error? There is no logical end to ensuring that Church of England working groups are balanced in terms of diversity.

A few other Synod questions relate to the diversity obsession:

Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q21 Is the House of Bishops aware of evidence that unconscious bias training is ineffective in increasing the representation or advancement of minority groups within organisations, and may even be counterproductive in that regard?

To which the Bishop of Chelmsford replied:

The question unfortunately misunderstands the nature and purpose of Unconscious Bias training. There has never been any suggestion that this work is designed to increase representation of minority groups. The training addresses the fact that everyone, from whatever social group, is affected in their judgements about others by unconscious factors which can lead to bias. The objective is better and more conscious awareness of one’s self, and better and more conscious decision making which will benefit the Church, as it has demonstrably benefitted many other organisations.

And then this:

The Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain (London) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q22 Unconscious bias training is being offered in many dioceses at present to help address the possibility of unrecognised bias in appointment procedures, most commonly around gender and race. Are there any plans for the House of Bishops to recommend similar training around sexuality in the selection and appointment of LGBTQIA clergy and lay members to Church appointments and in unconscious attitudes towards the LGBTQIA communities in wider society?

To which the Bishop of Newcastle replied:

The training referred to is about uncovering and addressing Unconscious Bias in relation to all aspects of being human. It is not tailored exclusively to gender and/or race, and someone who has fully engaged with Unconscious Bias training will be sensitised to the potential for such bias in many settings and, if they have learned well, will understand how to recognise and resist unconscious bias in their own thinking and in processes in which they take part.

Unconscious Bias training is being offered in at least six dioceses to date and has been undertaken by the CNC, the Joint Employment and Common Services Board, the Appointments Committee and the Church House HR team among other bodies. We will continue to offer this training as widely as possible because we believe it is an essential part of growing closer to the mind of Christ in all our dealings with our own members and others.

Unconscious Bias training is designed to make leaders of organisations and employers (in particular) sensitive to the decisions they make every day on an unconscious basis, since what we think (especially unconsciously) about people determines how we behave towards them. To be human is to hold a natural set of neurological/psychological/social-affinity biases, but in the workplace (and so in the Church), this means that some groups may be favoured over others for quite irrational reasons, such as the belief that tall men make good CEOs (/bishops); Spaniards are lazy; disabled people are unreliable; Gay people make bad youth-workers; Asians make good doctors, etc., etc. You may be wholly persuaded of the fairness of your unconcealed perceptions and biases when confronted by them, but stereotypical discrimination can never be just.

But there is a revealing disparity between the responses of the two bishops to this theory. For the Bishop of Chelmsford (male), Unconscious Bias training is not designed to increase representation of minority groups. For the Bishop of Newcastle (female), Unconscious Bias training has been undertaken by the Crown Nominations Commission, the Joint Employment and Common Services Board, the Appointments Committee and the Church House HR team – ie, all those church bodies concerned with employment and appointment, the objective of which must logically be to increase diversity to ensure greater equality or ‘balance’, for “we believe it is an essential part of growing closer to the mind of Christ”.

The Rev’d Andrew Foreshew-Cain’s priority is to ensure LGBT balance (or at least ‘fair representation’) at all levels of the church: Diversity & Equality training is a mechanism for achieving this.

Or is it?

Toby Young writes in the Spectator that it’s “complete hokum“:

…employees were asked to shortlist candidates for a managerial position, with half of them being given their names and other identity markers and the other half not. If these public servants were suffering from unconscious bias, you would expect the ‘blindfolded’ group to be more likely to shortlist female and minority candidates and less likely to shortlist white men. In fact, the reverse happened.

The participants in the study were 2.9 per cent more likely to shortlist female applicants and 3.2 per cent less likely to shortlist male applicants when their identities were made clear. Minority males were 5.8 per cent more likely to be shortlisted and minority females 8.6 per cent more likely when their identities were known, and candidates who were lucky enough to be both female and from a minority background were virtually guaranteed a job.

The APS employees were suffering from bias all right, but it was bias in the other direction. It was only when the participants were forced to judge the job applicants on their merits, rather than gender or skin colour, that the white males got a fair shout.

You have to wonder if the Church of England’s (expensive) obsession with diversity, equality and working-group ‘balance’ to ensure ‘radical inclusion’ does anything at all for corporate holiness of the church, or for personal discipleship or “growing closer to the mind of Christ”. If, as Toby Young avers, it all amounts to little more than snake-oil, would it not be preferable simply to appoint the best people to the appropriate jobs; to let eyes be eyes, hands hands, and big toes big toes; to let humble hearts and the most intelligent, penetrating and astute minds apply themselves to the complex theological matters at hand, and to do so on the basis of God-given merit rather than on the crass consideration of genitalia and what people do with them?

  • Keith Mason

    I wish there was a way to give to my local church without paying into the central pot of the CoE. I associate with it less and less every passing moment when I hear this sort of thing. I am so ashamed.

    To be given such a glorious heritage as the Anglican church provides and squander it in this way is a crime against God and the world.

    • Maalaistollo

      I had exactly the same problem and was advised (by another communicant on this blog) that restricted funds are not taken into account when calculating the quota or whatever it is now called. As a result, I set up a standing order in favour of the PCC but designated for the ‘Friends of St X’s Church’, all of which is used in preserving the fabric of the building and, as I understand it, none of which will find its way into diocesan coffers to be squandered on the kinds of ‘initiative’ it regularly foists on the weary body of the church. Granted, my money doesn’t fund the worship either, but as I have now returned to my non-conformist roots, that is of comparatively little concern to me.

    • layreader

      Your local church could quite easily opt out of paying anything into the central pot. The diocese has no legal enforceable right to ask the church for anything – it can however stop paying your vicar’s salary or contributing to his pension if you don’t toe the line. On the other hand, if the church could be financially independent and pay its own way, than it has a perfect right to do so.

    • David

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Merchantman

      The answer may be to set up an entirely separate organisation to run in parallel to your local church. Maybe a company limited by guarantee, indeed a nascent charitable organisation. In fact how about it? A nationwide parallel C of E to shadow each parish that so wishes it.
      Sincerely, how much longer can any orthodox follower of Jesus Christ continue shoveling funds into C of E ( Apostate)?

  • magnolia

    “Wide range of experiences” fills me with foreboding. Where is a qualitative assessment there? Since when did we consider all experience equally virtuous? Since when did we jettison discernment? Does the broad experience of a sex worker, or a deeply promiscuous sex life have equal validity to the deep and considered faithfulness of a monogamous married person?

    What about depth of experience? Or sanctified v worldly in experience? Or deep wisdom of analysis? Or loving faithfulness to Christ and his word?

    We do not represent all shades of experience and opinion. We try by the Holy Spirit to be channels- albeit very flawed ones- that represent Christ.

  • bluedog

    ‘…an essential part of growing closer to the mind of Christ…’. Just so long as the very reverend lady remembers that Christ was focussed on the salvation of individuals and not groups. It’s all in the book.

  • Maalaistollo

    If appointments in the C of E are supposed to be made in accordance with the will of the Holy Spirit, how is this kind of managerial nonsense even countenanced? Looking at another way, if the processes are entirely managerial, then the Holy Spirit seems not to get a look-in, which demonstrates that the C of E can no longer properly be considered a Christian church in the manner of its administration. I have to say that a good dose of conscious bias would be beneficial, if it were the bias prescribed in the New Testament when considering the appointment of elders and deacons.

    • David

      Well put !

  • Chefofsinners

    It is glaringly obvious what the agenda is behind this push for gender equality in groups of influential people. Female appointees are by definition highly likely to be of a ‘progressive’ mindset. This is an attempt to load up committees with ‘progressives’. There is barely an attempt to conceal it – a measure of the ascendancy which the ‘progressive ‘ voices now enjoy.

    • bluedog

      It’s brilliant, really. By capturing the national church, they have a ready-made platform to propagate Marxism under a thin veneer of Christianity. Most of the bishops seem to be nothing but delegates to the International, er, General Synod.

  • IanCad

    If The Revd Andrew Foreskin-Pain is so concerned over the priority of LGBT balance, should he perhaps, remove himself from any association with the established church, for surely the sodomites and their lackeys are grossly over-represented in that noble institution. Maybe with any luck, Ms Jayne Ozanne would leave with him.

    • Merchantman

      AS some one said its a battle for Western Civilization and Christianity. The liberal agenda is something completely different, equality at all costs. End of…………

      • Coniston

        Regarding equality (and democracy) C. S. Lewis has some wise observations in two of his essays – ‘Screwtape Proposes a Toast’ and ‘Membership’.

    • RobinHMasters

      You’d think that there would be some sort of outreach to recruit heterosexual cis-male clergy with noticeably masculine characteristics.

      • Busy Mum

        When the new breed of untouchables – the white males – agree to become dependent on any sort of ‘outreach’, Western civilisation will have taken its last breath.

  • would it not be preferable simply to appoint the best people

    The church cannot deliver the Bishop of Newcastle’s precious diversity and, at the same time, appoint the best people; see this map of national IQ.

    • David

      Don’t confuse the progressives with the facts !

    • Coniston

      I quite agree that ‘diversity’ and ‘the best people’ do not go together, but I have always been suspicious about IQ. It can be measured for a particular function, but there are different kinds of IQ. I remember seeing, in an American magazine, some 40 – 50 years ago, a similar map to the one you show. It was quite similar, but I noticed it was skewed very heavily to Western countries, and did not include Japan or China among nations with high IQs. For surviving in the Arctic Eskimos would probably come out on top.

      • @ Coniston—The Orient occupies its rightful place in this league table of national IQ, based on ‘work carried out from 2002 to 2006’.

        • Manfarang

          Because education is highly valued in East Asia.

          • @ Manfarang—And East Asians are simply more intelligent.

          • Manfarang

            Westerners who deal with them on a daily basis may not always think so.

        • Coniston

          I’m not disputing that. Earlier Western ideas assumed that ‘Western IQ’ was bound to be superior.

      • dannybhoy

        I rather think IQ is shaped by climate and environmental conditions.
        As in your reference to eskimos/Inuits, their main concern is survival so they become attuned to weather conditions and the unconsciously biased behaviour of polar bears etc….

        • Coniston

          Agreed – but definitions of IQ can differ. We tend to think it is only about logical and rational thinking – obviously very important, particularly in our technological and scientific world. But ‘intelligence’ can be about other things – understanding beauty, love, and values for example.

          • dannybhoy

            I thought I’d just alluded to that..?
            My IQ must be faulty
            (shake shake)

  • Dolphinfish

    I know some contributors are of the opinion that I’m something of a sniper, scoring points off fellow Christians, but actually, this stuff is important, so here’s the question(s): do protestants HAVE an orthodoxy? Is the very concept not alien to Protestantism, virtually by definition? And if it is, why should this kind of thing be surprising? I mean, what did Luther THINK was going to happen?

    • Busy Mum

      We have our Bibles.

      Presumably, any thoughts Luther entertained with regards to the future would have revolved around the idea that we would all be reading them.

      • Dolphinfish

        Some do. All 73 books.

        • Busy Mum

          And you wonder why some people think you are a sniper?

    • David

      As Busy Mum below said authentic protestants regard the Bible as God’s revealed Word. Conservative Anglicans like myself can also point to the Thirty Nine Articles reproduced in the back of most good copies of the Book of Common Prayer and GAFCON’s Jerusalem Declaration of Faith. Each protestant group will point to their particular document, although they all very similar to one another, as we all trace our origins to the Reformation, which aimed to take us back as close as possible to the beliefs of the early Church after the three great Councils of the Church.

      • Then shouldn’t all protestant groups be in favour of an episcopal structure with final doctrinal authority being the preserve of bishops? Nowhere in scripture, tradition or in the reasoning of the Church Fathers, is there any suggestion that doctrine should be formed by a majority vote of laity, priests and bishops.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Yes, I tend to this view myself, but then the full horror of the current episcopate flashes before my eyes and I find myself infatuated with presbyterianism….oh my oh my.

          • Remember, presbyterianism grew out of the rebellion against orthodox authority and harps back to the time of the early post-resurrection church, ignoring context. The Church of England attempts to mix an episcopalian structure with democracy. In Jack’s view, it’s doomed to failure because it seems to assume participants in the democratic processes are guided by the Holy Spirit when they overturn 2000 years of constant teaching.

        • dannybhoy

          No way Jose.
          I believe in authority within the Church/aka the Body of Christ, but I think it’s a fluid thing.
          The Scriptures contain all that we need to know about the Gospel. basic theology and Church structure. And as you have pointed out there are many loony toon interpretations of the Gospel, but always always always we come back to the Gospels and the pastoral letters to get our bearings..

          • As do all those with “looney toon interpretations”.

          • dannybhoy

            Be quiet brother and share the Peace with me..
            I take it your health is holding up?

      • Dominic Stockford

        Yes indeed. And we seek to ensure that our doctrine is formed by the Word of God, and then consistently seek to reform the church according to that sole arbiter of truth about God, and from God.

        • Problem is just who decides and how on what God has revealed in Scripture?

  • Dreadnaught

    I wonder if this sort of corporate-speak exercise goes on in the dark recesses and convocations of the guardians of other functioning religions? … probably not, because its got bugger all to do with extending the message of the prophets or holy-joes.

  • john in cheshire

    I can imagine if this lot were around when Jesus was alive, they’d be criticising Him for only having men as disciples and probably moaning that too many of them were Jews and none of them were Ba’al worshippers etc.
    They don’t strike me as being, in any regard, Christians. Maybe they should spend some time pondering on that truism.

    Oh, and why cannot the Chairman be called the Chairman?

    • Merchantman

      Chairman Mao or Dear Leader?

    • Manfarang

      Hey come on. Don’t forget the three wise men were Zoroastrians or was that bit made up?

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Now here’s something I learned today. In Tudor times, a table was known as a ‘board.’ At the head of the table was placed a chair with arms, for the master of the house. He was known as the chairman of the board.

      • dannybhoy

        You made that up..

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          No, I was talking this afternoon by a learned person from the National Trust…

          • Pubcrawler

            It’s somewhat muddled as to chronology, but basically correct. Board did indeed come to mean table, and food laid thereon (as in ‘bread and board’, ‘boarder’ etc.), at around that time, likewise ‘table around which council is held’. But ‘chairman’ and the sense of ‘board of directors’ are later.

          • dannybhoy

            Be quiet. No lifelines allowed…

          • Pubcrawler

            *sulks off back into purdah*

          • dannybhoy

            Where’ve you been?
            Are you spending most of your time over at Hannah’s?

          • Pubcrawler

            Hannah’s gone ‘invite only’ and it looks like mine’s been lost in the post. It’ sOK, I can take the rejection… *sobs!*

            I’ve just been pretty busy with work and other things. Plus, much like Carl, I felt like having a bit of a ‘retreat’ to read something other than yet another retread of 500-year-old arguments.

          • dannybhoy

            Gosh.
            I felt I’d exhausted anything useful I had to say at Hannah’s, and I didn’t much take to the new format.
            Actually since then I have become more involved in the Zionist Federation as a way of keeping in touch with what is happening in the broader UK Jewish community.
            I’d forgotten about Carl, but I had respect for his contributions here. I quite understand about having ‘time out’.
            Essentially I am an activist which means I feel compelled to translate my convictions into actions. Just commenting means nothing if you don’t follow it up with some kind of action.
            Great to know you’re still around though and may our Lord bless you and guide you.

          • Pubcrawler

            Thank you, Danny.

            As you might remember, Hannah was persistently getting invaded by leftard anti-Semitic morons, so I can’t say I blame her for pulling the shutters down. And I had nothing to say about Doctor Who and the SciFi, so…

            I still pop in here to see what’s going on, but only as an observer for now.

            Peace..

          • dannybhoy

            Yes I can understand her actions, but it’s a shame because her family were very interesting and supportive of her.
            As I recall you made some very pithy comments on that and this blog. Are you going to continue here of topics interest you?

          • Pubcrawler

            “her family were very interesting and supportive of her”

            Agreed.

            “Are you going to continue here of topics interest you?”

            Oh yes.

          • dannybhoy

            Good.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah, so you had nothing to do and were feeling board…?

  • Guglielmo Marinaro

    “…would it not be preferable simply to appoint the best people to the appropriate jobs…?”

    What a very sensible suggestion.

    • Ah, but what would the Job Descriptions and Person Specifications consist of for the role of bishop or priest? There’s no consensus and so its all about a power struggle for control of the soul of the Church of England played out through its decision making structures and processes. One side claims the other is biased; the other that it is unbiblical.

  • See, the thing is, what if one has a rationally formed conscious bias? You know, like being opposed to women priests and bishops; or being opposed to affirming same sex relationships?

    Perhaps the modernist-progressives have an unconscious bias against the revealed will of God.

    • Chefofsinners

      Bishop caught high on drugs with rent boys. It was unconscious buy-ass.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Cardinal caught fiddling with little boys during swimming, ditto.

        • Cardinal accused 40 years after alleged assaults when two men, after meeting to share their experiences, finally found the courage to speak out in the midst of mass hysteria against the Church and said Cardinal.

          Cardinal already tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion when the allegations somehow found their way from the police into the press, with the full case and evidence for the prosecution later published in a book – notwithstanding the presumption of innocence, due process and a fair trial with the right of reply.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          What is a cardinal doing swimming, and in a swimming poor how did anyone know he was a cardinal? Red swimming trunks and a biretta-shaped swimming cap?

          • bluedog

            He was a young priest at the time. The whole thing is an orchestrated beat-up by the Left to destroy the Catholic Church. Even this writer, as a proddy dog, can see where it leads and the dangers to the Anglican communion. All the established churches are equally threatened, and in the case of the CoE, the enemy is already within.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Those who think that speaking out about sexual abuse much later in life means it probably didn’t happen have clearly not been sexually abused themselves.

      • It was a Monsignor and it was (allegedly) a drug fuelled orgy, with no mention of street boys.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        tacky…

        • dannybhoy

          Probably..

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Oh…urgh…wet wipes!

          • dannybhoy

            disposables..
            Yeeeuk!
            (Where does one keep them once used?
            Highly improper to put them down the loo..
            Consult the Green Party?

      • David

        That’s between Mrs Proudie’s “tacky” and just plain disgusting.

  • Any time you’re Lambeth way
    Any evening, any day,
    You’ll find them all
    Doin’ the Lambeth walk.
    All the modern Lambeth wags
    With their modern Lambeth fags
    You’ll find ‘em all
    Doin’ the Lambeth walk.

    Ev’rything’s free and easy,
    Do as darn well pleasey,
    Why don’t you make your way there?
    Go there, stay there,
    Once you get down Lambeth way
    Ev’ry evening, ev’ry day,
    You’ll find yourself
    Doin’ the Lambeth walk.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Inspired….

      • dannybhoy

        Nah, he’s putting the Catholic boot in.

  • David Gee

    How disappointing to see the CofE spending time and money on this utter distraction. The church is called to preach the gospel and to disciple christians. God’s word does not change to suit the modern era. It is time that church leaders got back to doing what they are called to do, not going down blind alleys of liberal codswallop

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      There is a new gospel, of diversity ad equality…that is what they preach now

  • ecclesiaman

    I thought the unconscious bias was indwelling sin? Still, what did Wesley know?

    • That’s just your unconscious preference for scripture and Christian orthodoxy intruding. It means you are biased against the heretic, the apostate and the pagan. Shame on you.

      • dannybhoy

        He needs to go on a course to rid him of his daemons.
        There’s one being held in room 101 I believe…

      • ecclesiaman

        Words fail!

  • Chefofsinners

    The Chef’s book is now open on how the Church of England will finally die:

    7/2: Collapse under the weight of its own stupidity.
    10/1: Act of God.
    14/1: Declared bankrupt. (Morally)
    20/1: Venereal disease.
    1000/1: Taken away to heaven in a fiery chariot.
    2,000,000/1: Persecution / martyrdom.

    • One’s public sector pension, tripled locked old age pension, winter fuel allowance, and other sundry benefits, doesn’t go too far in these days of austerity. The local food bank helps, of course, but there’s only so much one can get with all the nurses receiving priority. So before parting with his hard earned dosh, Jack would like some pundit to give an overview of the form of each of these fillies with an analysis of running conditions.

      • dannybhoy

        Running conditions soft to boggy…

        • Chefofsinners

          Act of God left the opposition for dead at Sodom and eclipsed the field at Calvary. Fewer people have shown faith in her over recent years.

          • It’ll make a come back.

            Each year an estimated 78 million people are infected with gonorrhoea. Antibiotic resistance is making this disease increasingly impossible to cure. Some countries are finding cases of the infection that are untreatable by all known antibiotics.

          • Linus

            I thought so…

            I’ve been developing theory for a while now that Jack isn’t actually a real person, but rather an echo of the front page of the Daily Wail being read aloud by an increasingly senile Catholic priest.

            Today’s comment confirms it.

            Want to know what Jack will say on any given day?

            Click on this link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

          • Scared, are you Linus? Just as progress is made towards a vaccination for HIV/AIDS along comes another scare.

          • Linus

            Scared of a typical Daily Wail scaremongering piece that takes an obscure medical phenomenon and spins it into a worldwide pandemic on the basis of one fascist editorial team’s desire to see the LGBT community eradicated by a plague of suitably biblical proportions?

            Quaking in my boots I am not. You on the other hand are clearly delighted by visions, no matter how deluded they may be, of our extermination. That’s your Catholic love and charity at work. The same emotions that sent countless heretics to their death at the stake. For their own good, of course. And the eternal satisfaction of vengeful ghouls like you.

          • Jack takes no pleasure at all in your plight, Linus. And remember, the same “scare mongering” took place when the first AIDS cases were detected.

          • Linus

            Jack’s only pleasures in life are his daydreams of divine retribution against all those who dare to disobey him.

            Don’t even try to hide your joy at the prospect of seeing millions of us die from some horrible disease you clearly believe we deserve. Experience has taught me that you really are that bitter, hateful and twisted.

            But don’t expect to dance on my grave any time soon. Considering your own state of decrepitude and the way you fade in and out of this site with longer absences every time, it seems to me they’ll be drumming a beat on your coffin long before mine is ever ordered. And what a party it will be. I can only imagine the joy of your long-suffering family, released at long last from the onerous burden of caring for a vicious old fascist. I should imagine I’ll hear the party from this side of La Manche.

          • Well go forth and multiply the incurable bacteria and viruses. It’s a creative act of sorts, one supposes.

          • Linus

            A creative act, eh? A bit like the out-of-control multiplication of cells that so often ends up killing bitter and twisted Christians like you. God loves you so much he visits cancer upon you. Now there’s a caring father.

            Or will cardiac stress prove to be your undoing? Will the accumulated tension of all that outrage and hatred finally cause your circulatory system to collapse and your heart (dried up old thing that it is) to give out?

            However you die, you’ll be just as dead as any AIDS-related fatality. Dead and gone. Forever.

          • Bless you, thank you for caring.

          • dannybhoy

            “Want to know what Linus will say on any given day..?

          • Pubcrawler

            Semper eadem.

          • The Queen who originally used that motto took it as an expression of stability, integrity and tranquil equanimity.

          • Pubcrawler

            Indeed. In this queen’s case, however, it represents his tedious predictability.

          • Linus reminds Jack of Screwtape’s delight in the company Wormwood’s “patient” (the human he’s been assigned to lure into perdition) has fallen in with:

            “. . . the sort of people we want him [the patient] to know–rich, smart, superficially intellectual, and brightly sceptical about everything in the world. I gather they are even vaguely pacifist, not on moral grounds but from an ingrained habit of belittling anything that concerns the great mass of their fellow men and from a dash of purely fashionable and literary communism. And you seem to have made a good use of all his [the patient’s] social, sexual, and intellectual vanity. . . .”

          • Linus

            Oh dear: C.S. Lewis. Very much the heavy artillery of the partially educated working class English Christian’s understanding of religion.

            I suppose it comes from just about being able to understand the language he uses to express his belief that god is really a tweedy Oxford don.

            Could you lower your sights any further? If the supreme being belongs to a class only just superior to your own, having grown up in the house of a provincial solicitor (in Belfast of all places!), heaven is going to be a terribly dreary place. All doylies, Brylcreem, chipped Spode and the reek of pipe tobacco and poor dental hygiene.

            Have fun in paradise. Glad I won’t be there to suffer the indignities of a labourer’s vision of a lower middle class professor’s heaven.

          • Pubcrawler

            Behold Exhibit A.

          • Linus

            While she was slaughtering Catholics…

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I’ll go for the 7/2

      • bluedog

        Never back the favourite and check the over night markets against the prices on the day. 14/1 has it, with VD coming strongly from behind.

    • David

      Despite the advice from blue dog I’m with Mrs Proudie on the 7/2. But just as the collapse occurs I shall be in the lifeboat launched by the conservative and Biblical evangelicals, named “C of E2”. Traditional Anglo-Catholics will be welcome with us.

    • Martin

      CoS

      I think the act of God has already occurred, the lamp stands are being removed, and the fools are moving in.

      • Sarky

        Good luck with the move!

        • Martin

          Sarky

          I’m safely outside.

    • Manfarang

      Gambling is a sin.

      • Chefofsinners

        I’ll put you down for a fiver each way on Act of God then, shall I?

        • Manfarang

          By all means. 23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

      • IanCad

        Who says?

        • Manfarang

          11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

          • IanCad

            I do believe the passage pertains to wealth gotten by fraud.
            I see no prohibition against a wager on a horse in the 3:10pm at Sandown Park. More especially if you had knowledge from the stable lad attending, that his appetite was hearty and he had performed well on the gallops of late.
            Further; could not, by your perception, any form of interest be prohibited as it is unearned? Investing in stocks, dabbling in puts and calls?

          • Manfarang

            He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

    • michaelkx

      I will put a tenner on act of God
      and a ten penny each way bet on the first and third on your list.

      • Chefofsinners

        Hedging your bets like a true Anglican.

        • michaelkx

          you insult me sir I’m a Baptist. (for my sins which are many)

    • IanCad

      It is generally held that a good favourite is the best bet. Not bad odds Chef; still I’ll wait until you offer 5/1

  • Royinsouthwest

    Can we assume that unconscious bias training will end discrimination against paedophiles or are they already over-represented in the Church of England’s clergy?

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Bias…now let’s see…I have a personal bias towards the novels of Trollope (no surprise there) and Austen, but currently I have discovered Sansom. I have a natural bias towards good wine but dislike rum. I’m biased towards holidays Italy and France as against Kenya…of course it would make more sense if I used the word ‘prefer’, but hopefully you will see my point. I prefer the old type of scholar parson to the current bunch of clerical diversifiers ignorant of scripture and tradition. What relevance has synod to me? None. They talk about their own issues and priorities, not mine. Its an annual -love-in’ of the bien pensant.

    • dannybhoy

      Ah, Sansom. Master Matthew Shardlake.
      Well drawn characters, constant reminders of the mindset of the times combined with the appeal of yer regular and timeless whodunit..
      I enjoy Sansom’s novels as much as I enjoy Vince Flynn’s thrillers..

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Yes, the plots are masterly

        • dannybhoy

          In both cases.
          My problem is that when I’m enjoying a book I seek every opportunity to finish it!
          I enjoy historical novels and there’s another author I enjoy.. Stephen R Lawhead.
          He writes about the life of a young Englishman who though an agnostic at best, rises through the ranks of the Church to become a major influence within the courts of Byzantium.
          https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/405589.Byzantium
          IMHO a very riveting read..

      • Pubcrawler

        There’s a dramatisation of Sansom’s Dissolution on Radio 4Extra this week and next. Do you get digital radio in darkest Norfolk? Or is it still semaphore?

        • dannybhoy

          Dissolution was the first Sansom novel I read, and I shall be reading it again ‘ere long, having just finished Revelation. I picture Matthew Shardlake as a sad and serious version of Rowan Atkinson.. Weird eh?
          (As Father Jack said)
          “I love my br -digital radio!!” Classic FM, LBC Radio 4 Extra..
          Yes we have them here. Mobile phone reception is poor around abouts, but TV and radio is fine

    • Linus

      What have we done to deserve the scourge of La Proudie descending on us in her fiery crinoline and fuming pelisse?

      Ah well, given the effect of Brexit on the pound Sterling, one assumes we’ll be spared this biblical plague for the foreseeable future. Foreign holidays are set to become a thing of the past for penurious Brits. No more foie gras and truffles for you on some shaded French terrace. It’s egg’n chips on a pebbly pretence of a beach in Brighton or Blackpool from now on.

      Well might the citizens of these “resort towns” groan at the prospect of an evangelical harpy descending on them to harangue, declaim and kill all joy. And well might we French raise our glasses in a toast to British xenophobia and insularity.

      It’s an ill wind…

  • dannybhoy

    It really is, Sarks.
    The author draws believable characters, and because he is an ‘opportunist’ of sorts he gets into all sorts of adventures – war, murder, intrigue, drug use etc.
    Danny also enjoys reading Lee Armstrong’s Jack Reacher novels (read ’em all), and Vince Flynn’s CIA special ops yarns (Imo he was the better story teller).
    I like action novels but the characters have to be believable. That to me is the mark of a good writer.

    • Sarky has yet to progress from reading his Rupert the Bear tales. Give him time.

      • dannybhoy

        :0)

      • Manfarang

        Plenty of wisdom in The Tao of Pooh.

      • Sarky

        Oi!! I’ll have you know I’ve just finished the last Janet and John novel!!!

        • A sexist collection of stories. You should move onto Janet and Joan and then their friends John and James.

    • Sarky

      Like the jack reacher movies, just wish it wasn’t tom cruise in em.

      • dannybhoy

        Me too. Don’t much care for Tom Cruise as an actor anyway,
        But Jack Reacher comes in at 6′ 6″…

        • dannybhoy

          And Tom Cruise is what, 5′ 6″?
          Does not compute..

      • dannybhoy

        James Patterson’s stuff seems a bit too formulaic for me. I’ve tried a few, but mehhh..
        Forsyth yes, but Lee Childs and Vince Flynn lead the pack for me.

  • Linus

    What’s the fake archbishop’s problem with the synod peddling snake oil?

    After all, that’s what the entire church has been doing for thousands of years.

    The gospels, the 39 articles, radical inclusion, unconscious bias training: all of them perfect examples of snake oil and how to sell it to the credulous and unquestioning masses.

    But of course the fake archbishop doesn’t like the particular brand of serpent juice being hawked by the church at the moment. He wants to restock the old label.

    Someone should tell him that the market for bogus miracle cures has moved on and consumers no longer want his outmoded product.

    • Three out of four correct.

    • dannybhoy

      “Someone should tell him that the market for bogus miracle cures has moved on and consumers no longer want his outmoded product.”
      Go on Linus.
      Do it.
      We’re all relying on you and the vast hordes supporting you…
      Ooops! forgot.
      You ARE the horde…

      • Linus

        With the Anglican Church unable to muster more than a handful of aging spinsters at the average Sunday service, while millions flock to the nearest shopping centre for their weekly communion with the spirits of secularism, I think I have the edge over you as far as hordes are concerned.

        Don’t you?

        • dannybhoy

          Er, nope.

          • In the Bahamas 75% of the population attend Church.

          • dannybhoy

            I read or saw a programme about that.
            Anyways this old geezer needs his bed, so good night all.
            And you Linus, sleep well.

          • Linus

            I always sleep well. The sleep of the secular is sound indeed, not being troubled by the visions of flames and eternal suffering that attend the dreams of the superstitious.

            Quick, repent that sin before you fall asleep! At your age you never know what malady might carry you off in the night and of course the smallest mortal sin for which you haven’t whipped yourself and begged forgiveness might be the one that lands you in hell.

          • dannybhoy

            A “goodnight Dannybhoy”, would have sufficed…..

          • Linus

            In the Bahamas few have Internet access in the home or even via smartphones. The data network is underdeveloped and bringing it up to international standards is a major goal of the Bahamian government.

            A country of devout Christians can go from piety to effective secularism in as little as one generation once access to information technology becomes widespread. Look at Ireland. Look at Spain. Both examples of how prosperity and the access to information it brings sound the death knell of religion.

          • dannybhoy

            Genuinely analytical that Linus. I’m impressed.
            Keep ’em coming..

          • Addiction to online shopping, gambling, porn, sex dating, drug and weapon dealing, the spread of narcissism, encouragement of vanity, selfishness, spread of terrorism, yeah that’s prosperity alright. How did we ever manage without it I wonder?

            Granted it has its good points, let’s hope they learn to manage contents properly and keep manning the filth filters.

          • Linus

            Christianity can’t survive without censorship. Give a person all the facts and, if he’s not suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder that makes him invent a supreme being who looks just like him, he’ll choose rationality over religion every time.

          • It’s rational to believe in Jesus Christ the son of God and want to lead a life as He advocated. It’s rational to try and overcome temptations and battle sin for a clean, healthy and prosperous life as He advocated.
            What are the rules of secularism? Where do you get your set of rules and values from? What compels you to follow them?

          • Linus

            It is not rational to believe in someone for whose existence no solid physical evidence exists and whose divinity rests on two impossible events: mammalian parthenogenesis and the resurrection of necrotic flesh.

            To accept these you have to believe there’s an invisible, intangible sky pixie floating about in an invisible, intangible sky-pixieland who can intervene in the human lifecycle on a molecular level. He can magic into existence the DNA necessary to get a virgin up the duff and then abracadabraficate it into a viable zygote. And he can reverse necrosis and reconstruct decaying cells while jump-starting the processes of life and restoring identity and memory from some kind of cosmic iCloud.

            One assumes he must have a pretty powerful magic ring, a bit like Galadriel in the Lord of The Rings. Or is it a magic wand à la Harry Potter? And what is it made of? Gingerbread and licorice allsorts stuck together with unicorn saliva?

            Or would that just be a silly fantasy?

          • Linus

            Great. So if you want to revive Christianity in the UK, all you have to do is open your doors to massive immigration from Iran. Or China. Or what about Syria?

            Don’t do it and your religion will be dead in your islands within a very few generations. While you close yourselves off from the world inside Fortress Brexit, you sign the death warrant of British Christianity.

            And as for the rest of the world, we’ll see what the spread of information technology and the access to knowledge and education it brings does to your religion. Primitive peasants and factory workers whose horizons are limited to whatever fairy tales their priests can tell them are perfect fodder for Christianity. But knowledge drives out superstition.

    • Chefofsinners

      The serpent and his oil are something very different to Cranmer and the church. They are the evil which you serve and we fight.

      • Linus

        I serve is the light of truth and reason, which I agree you fight against. Obscurantism has always been Christianity’s goal.

        Your problem is that you’re just not a worthy opponent. In less than two generations we’ve toppled you from your former dominant position and beaten you back into a few dark crevices where you lurk in anger and hatred, vowing revenge. But there just aren’t enough of you for that ever to happen. And you’re certainly not reproducing at anything like the rate needed to grow your numbers. In fact with every year that passes you fade away as you die off and are not replaced.

        All in all, I’d say the fight is over and you have lost.

        • Pubcrawler

          “I serve is the light of truth and reason”

          And bad grammar.

          • Linus

            And a typo, you mean. But thank you for pointing it out.

        • dannybhoy

          And yet here we are Linus, Christians to a man and a few ladies. Most all involved in a church, discussing all kinds of issues on a Christian blog. And you and yours..?
          Well, lets have a look.
          Here’s the front web page of ‘Attitude’ magazine..
          http://attitude.co.uk/
          Edifying ain’t it?
          Then there’s “Daily Crush: Stick Your Flower Into the Arse Vase For Charity”
          https://www.out.com/
          Lovely..
          I find it gross.

          • Linus

            You’ll find just as many references to sex in the heterosexual press. But you don’t point that out and you don’t hurl abuse at heterosexuals because you happen to be one and it wouldn’t do to criticise your own kind, would it?

            Gay men are interested in sex. So are straight men. In fact ALL men are interested in sex. If you want to hate us because we like sex, hate yourself at the same time.

          • dannybhoy

            Let’s start at the end if your teleprompter rant shall we?

            First I don’t hate homosexuals per se. I do object to this virulent remorseless attempt to brainwash people and cause children and youngsters to start fixating on their sexual identity or gender at a time when previous generations were swapping comics, playing marbles and just being innocent kids.
            You do realise that it is in fact the gay lobby which is relentlessly pressuring the Department of Education and organisations working with our children and young people to accept not just the naturalness of homosexuality but actively promoting it in the classroom. Your gay lobby has succeeded in making it a hate crime to disagree or question the rightness of its agenda.
            You realise that this ‘magnificent obsession’ with sexuality and gender is helping fuel the rise of depression amongst young people and teenagers?
            So don’t come on here shouting the odds about the evils of Christianity when your own gay lobby is helping children feel unsure about they are and causing all kinds of emotional problems for children and parents.
            Finally as a Christian I totally accept that sex is primarily about reproduction as it is for all creatures. Yes its pleasurable, but like anything it can be distorted into something ugly and depraved so that women become objects with no other purpose than to please and be used.
            I’m against that too.
            Does that sound like I’m defending heterosexuals?
            You’ve been screwed up by evil people posing as Christians. That’s terrible and we all feel for you. But it’s also terrible to use education to teach school kids that it’s quite normal to be homosexual or to question their own gender and if necessary to change it.
            You’re a broken record Linus, and you need to get sorted out with God.

          • Linus

            The broken record is you. And it’s a record that was pressed in the 1950s and plays a hopelessly outdated and obsolete tune.

            Children in schools today learn that human sexuality exists on a spectrum, and that they’re free to figure out where they fall on that spectrum in their own time.

            As this philosophy runs counter to your rigid and unbending dogma that heterosexuality is the only acceptable kind of sexuality and that
            everything else is abnormal and evil, of course you hate it. It deprives you of your right to dictate how things will be. But here’s the thing: you’ve already been deprived of that right. It’s done. Game over. Shriek and wail all you like, but you’ve lost the fight and must now live with the consequences of that defeat, the main one being that you must watch impotently as schoolchildren are instructed in the dominant philosophy. History is written by the victors after all. It’s what your lot did before they grew weak and ceded control to us.

            So writhe away in impotent rage. You’ve been soundly beaten and must now live with that failure – and the knowledge that if we’re wrong and this sky pixie of yours really does exist, that you’ve failed him most miserably and will have to bear the consequences of that.

            I mean, why didn’t you just try harder? There you are, lazy and complacent, blaming everyone but yourself for your own defeat. Man up and take responsibility for your failures. And beg your sky pixie for forgiveness rather than bitching about those who beat you in a fair fight.

            You had all the power in the world and let a bunch of fairies and bull dykes grab it from under your nose.

            What does that say about you?

          • dannybhoy

            One, your understanding of Christianity is wrong, warped perhaps by those who abused you. True Christians do not “writhe in impotent rage”, and we don’t believe we have the right to dictate how things will be.
            There is a very good reason why the world has never seen a society in which homosexuality has been the dominant sexual orientation, and same sex marriage has been accepted as equally valid.
            Can you guess why that is, Linus?
            Most human beings throughout socialised history have recognised that there is only one way to make babies.
            All major religions recognise marriage as being between one man and one women -or in some cases, women.
            They also recognise that teaching their young “that human sexuality exists on a spectrum, and that they’re free to figure out where they fall on that spectrum in their own time”, is to bring confusion and anxiety into a child’s development.
            That confusion can lead to depression, self harm and a break down of family relationships.
            I am not saying people aren’t born gay, but it hasn’t been scientifically proven, and may have more to do with early years development. Whatever the reason Christians believe in treating all people with respect. But Christianity, Islam and Judaism teach that the practice of homosexuality is wrong, and we cannot erase that fact from our Scriptures to suit other people.

          • Linus

            It’s this kind of ridiculous scaremongering that marks you out as the mindless bigot you truly are.

            You twist my remark that human sexuality exists on a spectrum to imply that I believe everyone should be gay. I have never said that. And even if I did, what effect would my wishes have on reality?

            People are what they are. The reality is that heterosexuals outnumber homosexuals greatly and, as they always have, probably always will. This is a problem for nobody except rabid narcissistic heterosexuals like you who insist that everyone must be just like them and, if we’re not, we must be plotting to seize control and make everyone just like us.

            The control issues you reveal in your paranoid posts tell me all I need to know about you. You are a manipulative, domineering, narrow-minded bigot. It’s your way or the highway, and those who refuse to submit to your demands are viewed as threats to your dominance when all we want to do is live our lives and allow those who are like us to live their lives too.

            Quite honestly I’ve rarely seen such a clear cut case of paranoid delusion disorder. What must it be like to live in fear of a “queer peril” that wants to turn everyone gay? How exactly are we going to do it? By advertising? And if a lifetime of being assailed by heterosexual erotic imagery hasn’t been able to turn me straight, what makes you think a suggestive photo of a man will suddenly turn you into a “raving homosexual”?

            Unless you’re further along that spectrum than you care to admit, the danger of you coming out is thankfully minuscule no matter how many Pride parades you see. And I say that with great feeling. We just don’t want people suffering from your kind of mental illness in our community. Stay where you are and gibber at your own kind. We have absolutely no time for your sort of nonsense.

          • dannybhoy

            “You twist my remark that human sexuality exists on a spectrum to imply that I believe everyone should be gay. I have never said that. ”
            And I didn’t say you did Linus. Read what I said again.
            And please answer my assertions that in all of recorded human history no organised society has existed -let alone flourished – in which homosexuality has been the dominant sexual orientation or same sex marriage regarded as equally valid.
            Linus, in all your posts you seem to be continually reliving your traumatic past. Your grasp on what people are actually saying is weak to say the least.

  • What a load of old cobblers. Unconscious Bias training – brainwashing in other words. What on God’s Earth is happening to the Church?

  • Martin

    Not sure anyone who was in any way holy would get a job with the CoE.

  • petej

    Women make up half of the population and more than half of the Church of England. Is it really such a bad thing if they are consulted about decisions that impact them?!

    • Plasterer

      The problem is that if you push that line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, the only person who can adequately understand or represent my interests is me. That gets complicated rather quickly.

      • petej

        But you don’t make up 50% of the population…

  • Skidger

    I give up! Where are the “intelligent, penetrating and astute minds” in this moribund organisation anyway? Just listening to the mindless contributions from some of the bishops on Thought for Day is enough.

    • Linus

      “I give up…”

      Great! Another Christian defeated. One by one they all bite the dust. When the last one has renounced his faith in the church in despair, we’ll finally be able to bury it.

      Roll on that happy day!

      • Skidger

        It’s taken you a couple of thousand years, maybe it will take a bit longer for you to have your way.

        • Linus

          Not long now. We’re down to the final few thousand and the clock is ticking.

      • dannybhoy

        But what will YOU do Linus?
        Where will you go?
        Your whole apparent raison d’etre will be gone; and you’ll be left with no one to talk to. Sitting there all alone, like Alexander on Sergei’s day off, with “All by myself” playing gently in the background….

    • Martin

      More accurately called ‘lack of thought’. It’s difficult to tell most of those who are Christians from the heather contributors.

  • TropicalAnglican

    I would not be at all surprised if they had outsourced the “unconscious bias training” to the BBC.

    I still remember this segment from a very long time ago (obviously, I can’t recall the exact words, but the commentary ran along these lines):

    You must be aware of witness bias. For example, someone may see a white man stab a black man. However, when asked to recall the incident later, the witness’s bias may lead him to state that he saw a black man stab a white man.

    To this day, I have in my memory a recollection of a knife jumping from a white hand into a black hand. Wow, the BBC is certainly effective in its indoctrination, I mean brainwashing, I mean training … finally got it right!

  • Chefofsinners

    A new virus, first detected among the LGBTQI community, is now thought to have spread to the House of Bishops via an infected dongle. The so-called WannaGuy virus displays the message: ‘Your flies are now locked.’ In order to access their contents, a payment is demanded in a new spiritual currency, bitkoinonia.
    The virus is believed to have originated in North Korea, with the half man-half ape creature known as King Kong Un. However this was denied by the regime’s spokeswoman Miss Isla Test.

    • Linus

      A new spiritual currency, eh? Completely virtual and relying on credulity and criminally irresponsible levels of naivety for its value.

      I doubt the scam will work. A decent pair of scissors is all that’s needed to liberate one from trousers with jammed flies. Removing the entire mechanism will prevent further attempts at blackmail. Who knows, you might start quite the fashion for crotchless trousers and earn the undying gratitude of every Pride organising committee the world over.

      See how your acts, no matter how ill-intentioned, merely redound to our glory? With enemies like you we can’t lose.

      • Chefofsinners

        You have nothing left to lose.

        • Linus

          I’ll take what I have over your fantasies and delusions any time. What I have is real. What you gibber on about is pure fantasy.

          If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, how much more valuable is it than a whole flock that exists only in your imagination and absolutely nowhere else?

          • Chefofsinners

            Your trouble is you’re too emotional. Every time you start a train of logical thought it jumps off the rails.

          • Linus

            Your trouble is that you reduce every situation in life to a series of hackneyed quips, the purpose of which is to bury any kind of emotion under an impermeable layer of humourless chuckles.

            Keep up the rictus grin. If it ever slips, who knows what kind of stinking, foetid flood of pent-up and decomposing emotion might burst forth? Laugh your way through the pain of your utter impotence while you hold in all that rage and frustration. What else can you do?

  • len

    How could Jesus have got things so wrong about Christianity?.
    What we need is’ another Jesus’ to put things right. Oh the Church is creating one?.

  • Martin

    It isn’t true that the CoE has an interest in diversity, it has an interest only in perversities, holiness and godliness are banished from its ranks.

  • The Snail

    Just a reminder to the synod.

    X is not Y
    And Y is not X.
    You can try as you may,
    But you cannot change sex.