judging-by-appearances
Media

Is it wrong to judge a blog by the comments it attracts?

“I guess I find it hard to take that particular blog very seriously really,” wrote the Rev’d Canon Andrew Godsall, ministry development adviser in the Diocese of Exeter, of the Archbishop Cranmer Blog. He was commenting over at the Psephizo blog, expressing his surprise that the eminent and Very Rev’d Professor Martyn Percy would deign to publish his 95 New Theses (or, indeed, anything) on this site. The reason was not because his colleague the Dean of Exeter was criticised in a previous post for tweeting that Brexit Christians are all uneducated morons, or even that the Archbishop Cranmer blog is just rubbish. No, the reason he was “surprised” that any serious Christian or senior member of the clergy would engage with this blog is because of “the vitriolic comments it attracts”.

He isn’t the first member of the clergy to judge this blog by its comment threads. The Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Rev’d Alan Wilson, did so a few years ago, and he went a good deal further:

..if you build a community on people who assume silly monnikers and sound off in a way they never would at work or at home, they reinforce the worst aspects of their characters, all you get is a seething mass of babyish sarcasm. The anger of man (and it is about 90% men — they come over as prep school masters indulging their shadow sides) really doesn’t work the righteousness of God.

And he went on to compare this blogs’ delinquent communicants and deficient comment threads with his own capacity to inspire experts and inculcate social-media virtue:

Compare and contrast a conversation I on my Facebook page where around 30 people, including specialist doctors, lawyers (including one who had worked on the Shipman case), care workers, bereaved relatives and others, engaged in a hugely respectful mutual conversation about assisted dying. Many points of view were expressed, including some angry ones. But all had integrity, partly, mostly perhaps, because all were accountable for what they said using their real names.

Should a blog be judged by its comment threads? Is a blogger in some way responsible for the way commenters sound off? Is this mainly the critique of politically-motivated left-wing, liberal-minded clergy who think that conservative Christians who incline toward moral orthodoxy and Brexit are, basically, ‘bigots’ and ‘-phobes’ and ought to be silenced (or reported to the police for ‘hate’)? Do they judge the Guardian by its vitriolic comment threads, or is its journalism of such superior quality that its online defects may be overlooked?

If this blog’s posts are thoughtful and intelligent and written in elegant prose, should a sewer of a comment thread be deleted because it detracts, offends or deters people from reading? What or whose threshold of acceptability should obtain? Who made Archbishop Cranmer pope? Does one delete every comment which certain (Exeter) clergy might find racist or homophobic? Or every anti-EU comment which Lord Deben judges to be xenophobic or anti-Christian? In the hundreds and hundreds of comments that pour in, should they all be screened and pre-approved for ‘acceptability’ before they can be published? Should commenters’ identities be checked to satisfy the Bishop of Buckingham’s demands for accountability? If so, where would the hours come from to do all this? How would identity be established? Passports? Credit cards? Do they think the blog pays anyone a salary? It’s easy for the Bishop to filter and ‘approve’ comments on his Facebook page if the most he gets is 30, but when you’re dealing with vast quantities every day, you either allow freedom of expression within the law or you close down the comment facility altogether because it’s simply impractical to monitor it all.

This blog will be 11 years old in March. God knows, it has consumed many, many thousands of hours, but those thousands would have been doubled if a million comments had had to be sifted for something called ‘vitriol’. And what, in any case, is the appropriate threshold of vitriolic acceptability on a blog? Is it vitriolic to speak the truth plainly as you see it? Must all commenters have art in their expression? Was Jesus not a tad vitriolic?

Andrew Godsall says he is concerned with “re-engaging the nation with the Church of England… to focus on things that communicate the Gospel in imaginative and generous ways.”

How can a Christian-Anglican blog best contribute to that mission? If its sermons aren’t the problem but its comment threads are, should the temple be cleansed, the community expelled, and another (nicer? more erudite?) congregation installed? Or should current communicants just be instructed to be less vitriolic? How, exactly, would that be enforced?

What clergy like Andrew Godsall and Alan Wilson tend to overlook (wilfully, it seems) is the fact that the overwhelming number of comments on this blog are reasoned, reasonable and intelligent. Occasionally, a thread emerges which is so erudite in its mutual interrogation and counter-ripostes that it could be a work of platonic theo-philosophy. These emerge spontaneously: the medium is the fons et origo. The danger, of course, is that someone interjects with anti-Semitic deflection, or plunges the tone into the sewer by obsessing about anal sex. These may be few and far between, but they are all that critics like Alan Wilson and Andrew Godsall choose to recall, and these then become the episodes which are deployed to bludgeon the blog and discredit the blogger: ‘If you don’t delete them, you must agree with them.. blah.. blah..’

Hence Andrew Godsall’s surprise that someone as eminently learned and respectable as Martyn Percy would sully himself by association. Why didn’t he give his 95 New Theses to the equally eminent theologian, author, speaker, academic consultant, and honorary assistant professor the Rev’d Dr Ian Paul?

Jesus mingled with lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors and other outcasts.

Is mingling with a few vitriolic blog commenters not a decidedly Christian thing to do? And, if market forces and popularity may be adduced to counter a little religious snobbery, the Archbishop Cranmer blog keeps going because something is clearly working. As of today, 329,190 people all over the world have read last October’s post on the Christian missionaries crucified in Aleppo. Sure, a few of the comments were vitriolic, but why should the post be judged by the crass contributions of a few when 329,168 people never bothered to leave any comment at all? Why should a whole blog be judged by what two or three people think or express upon it, when they are a minuscule fraction (0.007%) of those who actually read it?

The assertion that if you don’t delete comments you must agree with them is perhaps one of the most unintelligent criticisms made of bloggers. The expectation appears to be that every comment posted must be an extension of the author’s mind; that you can judge a blogger’s character by the company he attracts. So if (say) the BNP or Britain First like a sentence within it, you become one of them, and unless you issue perpetual denials and rebuttals, you are deemed to affirm all that they believe and stand for. And so all comments must be somehow qualified or tempered by the blog owner to ensure social conformity, which would effectively make every comment a mini blog-post, if not a whole new chat thread as the commenter appeals and the host is obliged to justify (or otherwise is deemed to agree with the commenter’s reasoning..).

Setting aside the vast number of hours this would take, why should the fact that some commenters believe that Anglicans aren’t real Christians (or that Pope Francis is a moron, or that all Muslims should be deported and Islam banned) be suffixed with a ‘superior’ official opinion or apology? It may offend to read some people’s comments about Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals or hamsters, but isn’t moderation by the participant community preferable to the host’s haughty censorship? Don’t the overwhelming number of ‘vitriolic’ comments on this blog receive seasoned riposte by some of the more moderate and compassionate communicants? Isn’t that what salt is supposed to do? Isn’t mutual correction and rebuke the biblical way? Why must it be down to the blog host to judge, sift and mete out arbitrary punitive measures upon recalcitrants?

Is it that because an eminent bishop and respected priest judge this blog by its comment threads, others feel justified and affirmed in trashing the whole enterprise? It saves having to engage with the substance, doesn’t it? Just hurl ‘bigot’, ‘-phobe’, ‘racist’ and ‘hate’ into the argument and, hey presto, there’s no longer any argument to be had. Far easier to dismiss Martyn Percy’s 95 New Theses because you can’t take his chosen medium seriously, than to reason with them, one by one, in a comment thread infected with vitriolic deplorables.

Does the vitriol come from robust Roman Catholics or fundamentalist Protestants? Is it Happy Jack, Martin or Dominic Stockford? Is his name really Dominic Stockford, or is he just pretending to be a church pastor? Martin who? Shouldn’t we be told?  Avi? Bluedog? What kind of names are those? It’s not CliveM, 1642again or Albert, is it? Is the serial offender David, Anton, Jon Sorensen, dannybhoy or Cressida de Nova? Is it Marie 1797, IanCad, not a machine, Len or Dreadnaught? It’s surely not carl jacobs or the Inspector, is it? And God forbid that it might be Mrs Proudie…

Apologies if you’re a regular communicant and haven’t been name-checked, but it’s impossible to facilitate Andrew Godsall’s desire for perpetual fragrance without identifying the cause of the stench, and that means naming (and shaming) individuals, many of whom use pseudonyms, so aren’t really accountable anyway (according to the Bishop of Buckingham), and so can’t really be shamed.

But there’s a person behind every moniker – sometimes lonely, depressed, angry, frustrated or needy; or (more often) just eager to express a robust opinion on a matter of politics or theology which isn’t possible anywhere else (is there another blog like this?). And all the world’s a stage, so everyone pretends to be what they are not, which might be magnified on social media to the point of uncharacteristic crudeness or terseness which would seldom be expressed face-to-face. That might be off-putting to some, but others find the anti-PC honesty and freedom of expression refreshing. Jesus wasn’t very PC, was he? And what’s wrong with free speech?

Is it wrong to judge a blog by the comments it attracts? Is the blogger not only the author of his post, but also co-author of every opinion expressed upon and about it? Isn’t judging this blog by its comment threads as un-Christian as judging people by appearance? After all, you’re judging the moral foundation and ethical motives of a whole missional endeavour by what a fraction of its readers say about it. Where there is scriptural dispensation for Christians to judge, the exhortation is to do it fairly and reasonably: ‘Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment‘ (Jn 7:24, KJV); ‘Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly‘ (NIV). Christians are exhorted to judge just judgment. Is judging a blog by its comments not an unjust judgment according to the flesh? Matthew Henry observes: “We must not judge concerning any by their outward appearance, but by their worth, and by the gifts and graces of God’s Spirit in them.” The words of commenters may be justly judged for what they are, but are they not merely the outward appearance of the whole blog? The comment threads speak what communicants’ hearts are full of, but surely they may not be adduced to judge the heart of the blog.

Does the Rev’d Andrew Godsall write off a whole church fellowship because it contains a few cranks and gadflies? Is the vicar responsible for all who enter his church and chat about the sermon over a coffee in the vestry afterwards? Okay, it’s not quite the same: a Christian blog’s fellowship is not a parish church, but it is an ecclesial community. If a vicar isn’t responsible for the calibre of sinning reprobate who turns up on a Sunday, why judge a blog community any differently and so unjustly? If, as Andrew Godsall claims, one’s heart’s desire is to “communicate the Gospel in imaginative and generous ways”, why does that imaginative generosity not stretch latitudinally to the toleration of a little vitriol?

It is true that some commenters are robust in expressing their opinions, which may be interpreted as aggression, anger or rudeness. It is also true that some who fellowship here (and have done for a decade) are utterly hostile to the theology, ecclesiology and political philosophy of the conservative Anglican host. When Bishop Alan Wilson hurled the attribution ‘troll’ in this general direction, it became clear that the blog’s and blogger’s fiercest critics are prepared to twist and distort motives, or misrepresent and caricature theology or philosophy in order to undermine credibility and destroy reputation (behind the back; not face-to-face). When one responds, more in sorrow than in anger, it only attracts what may be termed vitriol, which, of course, is left to stand without any community rebuke or higher accountability.

But comment threads are largely a process of iron sharpening iron: some intelligent, thoughtful and mature people (from many denominations and by no means all Christian) are eager to pick holes in weak arguments, challenge shoddy political thinking or shady theology, or correct grammatical errors (for which, many thanks). Can iron be sharpened without the red-heat of a sweaty forge and deadly sparks of vitriol? Perhaps, but it’s not everyone’s style to pop into John Lewis’s to buy an ergonomic Rota for plain or serrated blades, encased in plastic housing for health and safety.

Judge a blog by its content, by all means, but not by what you might read below the line, where a pair of idle hands may do the Devil’s work. That doesn’t make the blogger the Devil; nor does it make the blog evil. And you can always choose not to read the comments at all. Ever.

  • Anton

    Why should Your Grace or his regulars be concerned at the opinion of one man who is probably in disagreement with the political aspects of this blog? He doesn’t take it seriously. Let us return the compliment – courteously, of course.

  • Eddie Arthur

    I seem to remember that people complained about the company that Jesus kept, too.

  • Anton

    Your Grace forgot Oisin van Linus among the regulars.

    • Sarky

      And me, one of those nice people covered in tattoo’s.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        One of the founders of modern architecture, Adolf Loos, gave a lecture Ornament and Crime, which was then turned into a essay entitled “passion for smooth and precious surfaces” in which:

        he explains his philosophy, describing how ornamentation can have the effect of causing objects to go out of style and thus become obsolete. It struck him that it was a crime to waste the effort needed to add ornamentation, when the ornamentation would cause the object to soon go out of style. Loos introduced a sense of the “immorality” of ornament, describing it as “degenerate”, its suppression as necessary for regulating modern society. He took as one of his examples the tattooing of the “Papuan” and the intense surface decorations of the objects about him—Loos says that, in the eyes of western culture, the Papuan has not evolved to the moral and civilized circumstances of modern man, who, should he tattoo himself, would either be considered a criminal or a degenerate.

        But he was hardly the sort of character one would want to be friends with, see for example his trial for paedophilia.

        Though if one cuts out all the philosophy, in architecture at least he may have had something of a point. Whenever I watch the Vienna New Years’ concert, I find the decoration of the Musikverein concert hall rather overblown.

        • Anton

          I got into a full dress rehearsal of that for almost nothing in the early 1980s!

    • The Explorer

      Oisin deleted himself on the MacArthur thread.

      New name possibly Holger.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Thank you.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Or Helga…

  • ZX10

    Hmm sorry to ask your grace but why be so defensive over this mans judgmental and sneering claims to being a better human because he holds a mutually exclusive echo chamber round table on Facebook ? you do good things in this place and engage on a level this hollow person can only fear .

    • Old Nick

      Canon Godsall does seem to spend an awful lot of time commenting on blogs. Maybe it is the new way of Mission.

  • bluedog

    Well said, Your Grace, although somewhat concerning that you feel the need to go on the defensive to such a degree. One suspects that there is more than a trace of envy in the criticism you face. At a time of plummeting congregations, the emergence of an Anglican layman with the ability to marshal coherent positions on a range of topics and draw a considerable cyber-congregation must be jarring to the less successful. Perhaps your critics should consider that Christ offered individual rather than collective salvation, the obverse of which is individual rather than collective guilt. And yet it suits these eminent churchmen seemingly to assign collective guilt to the entire Cranmer congregation; a move hardly consistent with Christian teaching.

    • Cressida de Nova

      I think a lot of the repartee and wicked innuendo is not understood by certain readers. God did not create all people with higher intelligence but for some strange reason he appointed some of those without it to hierarchical positions.

      • ….. and the rest He placed in America.

        • carl jacobs

          Oh, the provocation!

        • Bruce Atkinson

          Talk about micro-aggression and ethnic bigotry.

          • So invade.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Sorry for butting in on your friendly jousting match. It is not ‘friendly’ behavior where I come from.

          • Bruce, why not hang around? It’s a good blog and there are times we have serious discussions. People here have very strong divisions and yet we’ve learned over time to respect one another and develop friendships.

      • dannybhoy

        Some of us have a bit of the Puritan about us. I think I do. But then I think if we are Christians shouldn’t there be a difference? Else how are we salt and light?
        If it is that we do good works how are we any different to humanists?

        • CliveM

          Puritan? Nah, like my drink and meat to much.

          Need more feasting!

        • Cressida de Nova

          Sorry to hear that dannyboy. Puritanism is a perversion and very unhealthy. I hope you are not a follower of one of those weird protestant cults that does not allow dancing
          singing or any form of human joy in a life.

          • dannybhoy

            Don’t be sorry Cressida de, for I am not sad, nor particularly perverted. Least, not in any obvious way..
            “The theological roots of Puritanism may be found in continental Reformed theology, in a native dissenting tradition stretching back to John Wycliffe and the Lollards, but especially in the theological labors of first – generation English reformers. From William Tyndale (d. 1536) the Puritans took an intense commitment to Scripture and a theology which emphasized the concept of covenant; from John Knox they absorbed a dedication to thorough reform in church and state; and from John Hooper (d. 1555) they received a determined conviction that Scripture should regulate ecclesiastical structure and personal behavior alike.”
            https://kenbaker.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/the-theological-roots-of-puritanism.doc

            My puritan streak shows in that I take my faith very seriously and I can’t abide hypocrisy -aka ‘Sunday Christianity’. manifesting as gossip about other Christians, grumbling, criticising or undermining the priest/pastor/minister,
            Also when we feel more comfortable with non Christians than Christians, when our morality becomes ‘our flexible friend’ and we’re quite happy listening to or telling, a dirty story.
            Although I cringe at the language, I admit to finding Billy Connolly very funny because he is very funny. I/we used to find South Park very funny , especially Kenny and Cartman. We only stopped when it got too blasphemous for our consciences.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Danny? Tsk…Billy Connolly and South Park? I’m not suprised you feel uncomfortable. They are not funny.
            This is not being puritancial response , this is being discerning and having a modicum of sensitivity. Peter Sellers as Inspector Closeau… that is funny series without blasphemy . Steve Martin is good too, especially the episode where he is investigating the Pope.

            One has to be higher up the food chain to create humour without blasphemy and this is one of the best features about this blog because a lot of the communicants are highly educated,very clever and funny Christians . It would be a good idea to produce a “Best Of Cranmer” using the outrageously funny excerpts over the years. I would buy it. A blog of this kind is always going to attract criticism because of envy and jealousy even if they are pastors and bishops.

          • dannybhoy

            “Danny? Tsk…Billy Connolly and South Park? I’m not suprised you feel uncomfortable. They are not funny.”
            But they are!
            Otherwise why would I watch them?

            Billy Connolly is a keen observer of human nature and our foibles. He is similar to Dave Allen, but more basic. Was Dave Allen more acceptable because he was more sophisticated in his attacks on the Catholic Church?
            South Park did some very funny spoofs on consumerism, group behaviour, the Lord of the Rings and pc values like with Jenifer Aniston taking a kids choir to sing in support of saving the environment..

  • Richard B

    Ur Grace – carry on the good work and many thanks for doing so. Religious spirits always seek to shackle true believers through self-appointed ‘thought police’, plus the fact the cross-section of spiritual maturity in CoE leadership is too broad (imho). So I was amazed the good Lord moved me last year into a local church having a Spirit-led vicar, who discovered at the EU Referendum God’s will is FOR Brexit!
    Many ‘laity’ were far more aware of the situation than their bishops etc, (except Revd Clifford Hill) that Brexit is an ‘Act of God’, as I blogged in https://richards-watch.org/2016/06/29/brexit-an-act-of-god-challenges-churches/ and listed elsewhere almost 20 prophetic words received post-2005 on this. So a lot more clergy need to practise listening to the Lord before jumping to judgement!

    • Royinsouthwest

      I voted for Brexit but would be extremely suspicious of anyone who claimed divine authority for such a vote. Even the Apostles after the Resurrection seemed to think that God should endorse their political opinions and were rebuked by Jesus for it.

      Acts 1:6-7

      Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
      He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

      • Richard B

        Hi Roy, thanks for quoting one of my favourites verses. No one’s claiming divine authority but simply noting the empirical evidence of what Spirit-led Christians of various shades, and who are prophetically sensitive, heard and sensed, especially when praying about the whole situation. The question is; why didn’t Christian leaders know and thus got themselves in a tizz-wazz? Ans: problem with their theology!
        I didn’t want to blog about the Referendum but evidence was rapidly mounting – as well as peculiar physical opposition in 3 weeks disruption to our phones during June! And when my wife (who’s not involved) got a direct insight ‘out-of-the-blue’ during Trooping the Colour on the Lord’s heart then I was left with absolutely no option.
        Have often noted a number of preachers get a wrong handle on Acts 1, especially as even Jesus doesn’t know precisely the timing of His return. Imho, this allows plenty of scope for Father to mould and shape humanity’s course according to our volition, and yet allow flexibility within His action-plan for everything to fit into His declared purposes and ultimate plans.

        Moreover, Acts 1 isn’t about Gentile Britain and Europe but about the Jewish nation’s eventual return and role within God’s Kingdom (which isn’t the same as any church). It was a priority in their theocracy but doesn’t preclude Christian involvement in politics. (One could argue we need to be learning how to rule the world righteously in view of our major role upon Jesus return!)
        So I think you’re reading more into to the text than is warranted and misapplying to our situation, as well as ignoring the evidence.

        • Anton

          Jesus didn’t know the timing at the time he spoke. Obviously he will know the timing somewhat in advance of his return, and plausibly knows it today.

          • Richard B

            I’d think so too Anton. You may like to note, therefore, a brief insight ‘The White Horse’ and my covering remark, as posted in a selection for 2016-17 on 4th Jan (via above link’s main page)

          • Anton

            4th Jan 2016 or 2017? Please provide an accurate link to the White Horse material.

          • Richard B

            As requested Anton (apols for delay by breaking news) https://richards-watch.org/2017/01/04/a-selection-of-2016-2017-prophetic-words-1/

  • The Banana

    Back in the good old days everybody on the internet used a handle, because privacy and anonymity were respected back then. That’s kinda the whole point. I’ve had the same handle or a variant thereof for 20 odd years now.

    You get frankness then which you can’t have any other way. John Stuart Mill himself recognised the dangers of socially enforced tyranny “enslaving the very soul”; and in this day and age when people have to routinely watch what they say if they don’t want to lose their careers or worse, we’ve never needed it more.

  • CliveM

    Oh well you can’t please everyone and neither should you try. That way madness lies.

    You know you’re doing right if you piss people off occasionally.

    Including some of us regulars!

  • len

    The worst people I ever met were in the church and also running a church.One of the most honest people I ever met was a member of a motorcycling fraternity and covered with tattoos.
    I say this as a Bible believing Christian.
    This may not be the normal Christian experience but it was certainly mine.

    • alternative_perspective

      It is not my experience but I certainly know what you mean. It only takes one or two Christians to say something insensitively or unlovingly in order to poison the well, so to speak. Sadly we are all human and from time to time, likely to commit this sin.
      If Christians weren’t held to higher expectations than others in society it wouldn’t matter but we are and so it does.

      • len

        Sadly it goes a lot deeper than that.My family was split up and I had to move 300 miles to save my wife’s peace of mind.

    • Cressida de Nova

      You are not normal Len so of course you have an affinity with the Hells Angels

      I think you should apologise to Reverend Godsall for saying all those
      nasty things about Catholics and the Pope.

      • len

        I think the Pope is a very nice chap….for a heretic.

        • dannybhoy

          No fear of that Len..

          • len

            I will take that as a compliment Danny ….I think?.

          • dannybhoy

            A gentle josh, Len..

          • Cressida de Nova

            He is lying Len:)

    • You were born to be wild, Len.
      How do you know he was covered in tattoos? Is there something you need to confess?

      • len

        In plain sight Jack

        • You saw his whole body?

          • len

            No, why would I ???. Arms, legs, neck, that’s all.That amounts to’ covered’ in my estimation.

  • alternative_perspective

    He’s angry with the blog because his comments are critiqued from the breadth of conservative Christian opinion and teaching on a topic, rather than the secular musings of lawyers and specialist doctors.
    It is very easy to have conversations about difficult topics where Jesus is excluded and scriptural writ ignored. One can fall back on easy truths, such as “God is Love” without mediating the full breadth of Christian belief.
    It is the age old debate between (paraphrasing): “All truth is God’s truth”, and “what has Jerusalem to do with Athens” or perhaps he’s just ashamed of the Gospel. Though I’d prefer to assume otherwise.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Well said sir.

    • David

      Well expressed !

  • len

    The Politically Correct movement channels people into a particular from of debate where some subjects cannot be broached for fear of offence.
    It is this fear of offence that is used as a restraint on free speech.
    I have no doubt that I have offended others as others have offended me.But were there is genuine and truthful debate heat will be generated and those who do not like the heat should stay out of the kitchen.
    If one likes a nice peaceful (probably meaningless ) discussion perhaps one should visit a more sedate blog?

    • Redrose82

      Are there any more sedate blogs than this one?

      • len

        Loads more.

  • maigemu

    I was going to say I favour real names when I saw I have a favourite nickname here. But like the Archbishop himself, if anyone wants to find me I am sure he/she can, especially if they speak my second language, Hausa.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    I’m not sure whether I am a crank, sad person or gadfly…I shall retire to my boudoir with hobnobs and Earl Grey and contemplate the nature of Man, the City of God and the lack of humour in some Anglican clerics.

    • CliveM

      “I’m not sure whether I am a crank, sad person or gadfly.”

      Only someone who is not a gentleman would suggest that you were.

    • len

      Religion is a sad humourless business, however following Christ is bright vibrant and full of life.
      Leave the dead to preach sermons to empty churches.

      • David

        Direct hit !

    • Dominic Stockford

      I have a tie you might like, with both cranks and gadflies on it…..

      • David

        Damn ! You beat me to it !

    • David

      Would you like my large rosette which proves that I am both a crank and a gadfly ?
      Us cranks and gadflies successfully challenged international centrism, for by wining the referendum for our freedom, we’ve changed the course of history….

  • Jon Sorensen

    Ooops. Sorry. Please don’t judge this blog because of my comments here 🙁

    • len

      What would life be like if only the righteous came to His Graces esteemed blog?.

      • Sarky

        There would be no comments!

      • David

        Define “righteous” please.

        • Faithful Roman Catholics.

          • David

            Back in your box, you precocious boy !

          • Not until dark.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Smirks!

      • Cressida de Nova

        Jack Albert and I represent the righteous here. No need for extras.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          Only hypocrites presume to be the righteous ones.

          • We don’t “presume”. It is an infallible decree from Rome.

          • Anton

            It’s not hard to make the claim that you are infallible whenever you feel like it. Doesn’t mean it’s true, of course.

          • Catholics are not always infallible but we at rarely wrong.

          • Anton

            Your typing suggests otherwise…

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Not all Catholics believe that. A few are humble. You just appear to be one of the more hypocritical and presumptuous ones. Self-righteousness is no righteousness at all.

          • CliveM

            Do you do humour as you clearly don’t do irony?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I appreciate good humor and wit. But I confess that I regard these issues as serious matters. Some of the comments here are hardly humorous and some of the irony is insipid.
            Just because you say it in a distantly droll way does not mean you do not believe what you are saying. Unless you preface it with a warning of satire, I will respond as if you mean what you say.

          • “checkers”?
            One smells an American.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            O horrors! That an American would be allowed here! Where is a Moderator when you need one?
            At least I am a conservative Anglican. And I confess that I find the comments on this thread full of Brit silliness. If you don’t play at checkers, what do you play at? Oh, yes, blogging.

          • Sadly, Americans lack a sense of humour unable to grasp irony. Carl will explain.
            What is the definition of a “conservative Anglican”? One get’s so confused with Protestant self-designations.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Please deal with him Jack and pray that we and the others will be spared an onslaught of American Catholics.The term is an oxymoron anyway.

          • We must try to educate the Americans, Cressida.

          • Cressida de Nova

            No one can possibly be this boring. We have had all manner of fruit cakes here but you are decidedly the most unsuitable to be a communicant on this blog. If you persist in this I will lead a petition to have you removed.

          • bluedog

            Seconded. Is this man for real?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Only from a different planet.

          • CliveM

            He’s an American Cressida, we need to shower patience.

            As you will notice he doesn’t even know how to spell humour, never mind recognise it.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            How superior you believe you are.
            No one makes you read my posts. If you if know you don’t like my thinking, simply ignore my comments. Get over it.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            If Rome is where you get your righteousness …

          • No, Jack was born with it. Call it predestination.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            Not when righteousness is gained by grace.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            True. However, those who are righteous because of their faith in The Righteous One will not pat themselves on the back or point to their own “more righteous” behavior. The truly righteous are humble, knowing they deserve nothing good. They do not feel superior to others. You may have heard the story of the boy who won the badge in school for “Most Humble”— they had to take it away … because he wore it.

            Those who proclaim their own righteousness (rather than praise the Lord) can only be self-righteous. A few on this thread provide excellent examples.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            Did I say they would?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Right. So those who proclaim their own righteousness by their works may not actually be among the righteous. Go back to the very beginning of this thread and you will see that the whole issue was about people thinking they were more righteous by their acts online. Boasting about their superiority, in fact. Not about grace at all.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            I was addressing your point, and did you not realise that ‘presuming to be the righteous ones’ is ‘boasting in the Lord? It is not a position of superiority, just one of accepting your status and being grateful for it.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Right. The happy inferiority of righteousness.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            Read what those saints in the Bible say of themselves.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Absolutely. Paul called himself the worst of sinners.
            When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)

            Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
            (Philippians 2:3-8)

            Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
            (Colossians 3:12-13)

            It would be wonderful if I was this humble. But I am not. But I can guarantee you that God is working on my case. : )

            http://www.virtueonline.org/pauls-experience-thorn-flesh-issue-pride-part-2

        • CliveM

          Cressida I’ve just noticed, thanks to HJ, you’ve missed off the Inspector??

          • Cressida de Nova

            I think there is a question mark over the Inspectors religion. He does not seem au fait with Church teachings ,
            I don’t think he even believes in the Divinity of Jesus although he claims to have been schooled by the Carmelites….He is very Protestant in his interpretation of Christianity.He could be a liberal Catholic which Catholics do not recognise because of their heretical views.

          • dannybhoy

            The Inspector is wonderfully quirky with a rather unhealthy interest in things ‘omosexual.
            He’s a fan of Rudyard Kipling as am I, and he is I think a Deist. We are here for no other reason than that it amused God that we should..

        • len

          In you minds at least 😉 No offence intended, well perhaps a little.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Sighs of exasperation!

        • Holger

          Is claiming righteousness for oneself a righteous act?

        • chefofsinners

          How nice of you to represent us.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I know you are a Protestant, not sure of the denomination but I can feel a potential Catholic lurking under that hat.

  • JWM

    I am a Guardian reader, and an occasional Archbishop Cranmer blog reader, and I broadly align myself with Dr Martyn Percy’s ’95 New Theses’.

    The CofE likes to portray itself as a Church that values its ‘democratic’ credentials. This should mean a willingness to listen with respect to all voices and opinions of her members seriously made … except, of course when one doesn’t swallow, hook, line and sinker, or expresses a counter view to the new orthodoxy of its (sic) ‘liberal elite’ hierarchy. It is at this point that one discovers just how illiberal and bigoted liberality can be.

    • len

      Guardian reader, brave to admit that(no offence intended)

      • Dominic Stockford

        I go to their website in order to find out what they constitutes news.

    • Anton

      You’re too good for The Guardian!

    • David

      Well said !
      But independent thinking, as you’ve just demonstrated, is rare, in my experience, amongst Guardian readers.
      I go to their website just to read how they’ll spin reality.

      • James Bolivar DiGriz

        And in my experience such people commenting there become the target of comments far more vitriolic than used on this site.

        One example of this that I remember is in the comments to a piece about Corbyn when he became party leader, when people were talking about how he would galvanise the non-voters and thus sweep to victory.

        A couple of brave souls pointed out the minor flaws in this plan:
        1. Non-voters don’t vote.
        2. Even if you did increase the turnout, it would not exclusively help Labour.
        3.Even if the increase did only apply to Labour voters it would not help Corbyn much. Of the 100 seats with the lowest turnout (where any rise will be greatest) Labour already have c. 90, so there are at most c. 20 seats to be gained.

        Faced with this trivia, the hardy comrades then abused the nay-sayers and repeatedly explained that Corbyn would galvanise the non-voters and thus sweep to victory!

        • David

          Interesting !
          Thank you.

        • Martin

          James

          Sounds as if most Guardian commentators are also Twitter users.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            What as in the Cameron question, “How many tweets does it take to make a …” ?

  • David

    The prophets were rejected because they spoke God’s truth to power, which sought the superficially easier way, ultimately to ruin. Jesus was an incredibly insightful, cutting, blunt speaker and the very opposite of the current fashionable inclusive and PC patterns being foisted on society.
    Although Christians should always strive to convey blunt truth gracefully and in love, being human beings, with varying moods, the highest of standards cannot always be maintained. But hey, that’s what being human and flawed is about, so let’s not sulk about it.
    The English, Anglican drive to never offend, to always be “nice”, at the cost of failing to point to God’s revealed Truth is a serious mistake, as truth is not being proclaimed loudly enough to our nations. That obsession for “niceness”, coupled with the west’s growing disease, the mentally smothering effects of PC, is I suspect what is at the bottom of all this. People nowadays are always snooty and shocked by anything that tells it, bluntly, clearly and plainly, as it is ! But let us never forget that, it is the truth that will make us free !

    • len

      Yes indeed!

    • Cressida de Nova

      The Anglican drive to never offend is not alive and well on here. The Reverend Godsall is right . The Anglicans are very rude and letting the side down. You are all supposed to be ‘nice’ and most of you are not.

      • Anton

        Neither you nor I is Anglican, but what do you suggest faithful Anglicans do when liberals propose stuff like SSM that is obviously incompatible with scripture and 200 years of tradition?

        • Cressida de Nova

          Invite them all to afternoon tea and get a Borgia connection to create a special brew.

          • Anton

            I believe the word is cantarella.

      • David

        You are right, but the Anglicans on here, like me, are atypical, prepared to risk a debate to tease out something more truthful. Also I genuinely enjoy hearing from conservatives from the Orthodox, Catholic and non-conformist Churches plus Jews and of course our dear, “odds and sods” !
        Anyone who thinks that they alone possess all the truth is a very hopeful person !

        • Cressida de Nova

          Hopeful? Nicely expressed euphemism . Yes, Catholics are imbued with faith hope and on occasion charity:)

  • Royinsouthwest

    I respect people who use their real names. If I only very rarely commented on Internet blogs I would probably use mine. In the old days one could fire off the occasional stroppy letter to a newspaper on some topic of controversy secure in the knowledge that nobody would take the trouble years later to search for every letter you had ever written to any newspaper in order to build up a picture of your views and use the evidence against you.

    With the Internet it is rather different. Suppose you were applying for a post in a very politically correct university or some other body where there is a prevailing view of what opinions you ought to have on a wide range of subjects. It would be easy for the people perusing the job applications to do a Google search and reject anyone whose views they disagreed with. That would be perfectly legal under our “equality” laws.

    Furthermore people’s views often change over time. I was far more left-wing in the 1960s. Should a middle aged person be judged by opinions he or she expressed years ago? My opinions, even in my left wing phase, were not particularly offensive but even if they had been outrageously offensive I think it would be wrong to judge me now by the views I had then.

    • Watchman

      How very humble of you. Your name suggests that your majesty is the King of Wessex!

      • Royinsouthwest

        Shhh! Don’t tell the Duke of Cornwall!

    • Shadrach Fire

      I would dare to suggest that if you were far left in the 60’s then you must be well past middle age. LOL.

      • Royinsouthwest

        I’ve got fewer wrinkles than Mick Jagger!

        • Martin

          Roy

          Haven’t we all.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Yes, that’s true!

    • Martin

      Roy

      Fortunately I’m not likely to be applying for a post anywhere. If I were, a google of my name, which is rather distinctive, would reveal a treasure trove of disapprobation, and probably put anyone off. Hence I use part of my name/.

  • Happy Jack blames Carl Jacobs for lowering the tone of discussion. However, he is American so some allowance must be made.

    • David

      May I suggest that, we need a new “picture” of you, to be used when your tongue is firmly rammed into the cheek of your mouth ?

    • Cressida de Nova

      LOL

    • carl jacobs

      Really, Jack. This sublimated distress over not having been born in the States … It can be corrected. All you have to do is apply for citizenship.

      • All Americans are born in a state, Carl.

        • carl jacobs

          More trouble with your English grammar, I see. We can fix that.

  • CliveM

    If we are honest most of us would admit that we have on occasion stayed from the ‘narrow’ on this blog, either through bad judgment, over excitement or drink. Except me of course (ahem)!!

    But it is a rather sad individual who makes a judgment simply on the bad and ignores the good.

    • David

      Yes agreed, but if one is holding one’s nose, against the lesser mortals, and seeking reasons to reject ….. ?

      • CliveM

        Some people simply like an echo chamber for their prejudices.

        That’s why they conduct their discussions on Facebook.

        And some people like the frisson to be enjoyed by parading their moral superiority. I think an element of ‘virtue signalling’ by our Canon friend.

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          I don’t use FB but I believe that that there are various privacy settings.

          So it is quite possible that all of the Canon’s FB ‘friends’ are de facto selected to be broadly like thinking. Hence the discussion referred to did not actually involve divergent points of view.

          • CliveM

            FB is of the devil as far as I’m concerned.

        • David

          Spot on !
          Facebook, and other social media platforms, have their place, but are being widely recognised as attractive to “in groups” that don’t like being challenged to think and defend their views from opposers, which is one of the strengths of this blog. But we are not all sufficiently robust to enjoy debate !

    • Bruce Atkinson

      It is always wise to separate the wheat from the chaff. They call it discernment. But if the pile turns out to be almost all chaff, it becomes a waste of time to pour through it looking for the rare nugget. Like the unrealistically optimistic child who is digging through a large pile of horse manure, “I know there is a pony in here somewhere!”

  • Jon Sorensen

    “But all had integrity, partly, mostly perhaps, because all were accountable for what they said using their real names”

    Good article debunking the myth that requiring people to use their real names on the Internet makes them behave better:
    https://blog.coralproject.net/the-real-name-fallacy/

  • Dominic Stockford

    If he is worried about ‘vitriolic comments’ he really ought to spend more time cogitating the words of Scripture. herewith just a few from the NT. Plenty more where these came from.

    “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.” Paul, the Bible.

    “Bold and wilful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgement against them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, revelling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!” Peter, the Bible.

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” Jesus, the Bible.

    P.S. I do use my real name!

    • Bruce Atkinson

      Good point. The question, as always, is where should we draw the line? Much of it has to do with our knowledge of the speaker/writer. Who among us would edit or ban the words of Jesus, Peter, or Paul? But anonymous commenters who become rude, obscene, or use insults and ad hominem arguments … .they should always be shown the door. We should not feed (nor encourage) the trolls. There is no need to allow our blogs to be so uglified that people come to avoid the comment section (I avoid the comment section of almost all secular News websites because they do not moderate their the comments closely).

      • Dominic Stockford

        A while ago there was a brilliant skit article, pretending to be from Christianity Today, written in response to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians as if it had been written to a church today. It was clear that they “didn’t like it up ’em”, as Corporal Jones would have said.

        That is, those who are offended by the truth of the Gospel will be offended by it, and by many of the things Christians rightly say from and about the Gospel. That includes those many within the ‘visible church’ who are not also in the ‘invisible church’. Ignoring, or blocking, trolls and abusive commenters is one thing – not telling the truth of the Gospel because it might upset someone is a very different one. If we cannot do the latter on this site then the site is utterly redundant.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          Yes indeed. I do not mind offending people (“the offense of the cross” as Paul called it) when I stay true to the scriptures and do not make the debate personal. A good debate is definitely a good thing. But when commenters clearly cross the line into bad manners and insults, they should be warned by a Moderator. If they continue to egregiously disrespect the other commenters (or the author of the article), they should be banned. As a Moderator on a religious website, I have been enlisted for just this purpose. It works.

          • I say, you should moderate this very blog! I know I speak for everyone here when I say that your approach is exactly what we have been clamoring for here all these years, and it would give His Grace such a respite from policing us night and day.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Avi …you jest of course! You wont look near as handsome when each hair of your beard and moustache is removed by a pair of blunt tweezers.

          • For safety’s sake, I’ll admit to jesting. As for my facial hair, I would shine too brightly and turn too many heads without it. It’s there for the sake of public order.

          • Then her tweezers will have to applied to other regions.

          • bluedog

            What did we do to deserve Bruce? Is he a CofE plant?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            We all get far better than we deserve, but in this case I can give you good news. Unless Archbishop Cranmer invites otherwise, I will graciously bow out very soon.

            No, I am much more annoying than a CofE plant, I am a conservative American member of the Internet Manner Police (IMP). I am always poking people when they get out-of-line, and if they are thin-skinned, they do not handle it well. But it can be entertaining if your sense of humoUr is flexible enough.

          • bluedog

            Astounding. Totally speechless. Never in a million years would this communicant hold himself out in that sort of self-appointed role. Takes all sorts though. Thanks for the info.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Chuckle. This crowd would freak out.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You called the Catholics here hypocrites….that is insulting… no one corrected you and no one cares However your excruciatinglyignorant and boring responses are insufferable . I suggest you moderate yourself away from writing comments here until you learn to keep up.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Your are totally confusing me with someone else. I do not (and will never) call Catholics or any group hypocrites. I am quite sure that hypocrites can be found in all denominations and churches.

            Your critique of my comments is itself insufferably judgmental, as if you have a corner on the truth and are somehow superior. Look in the mirror, Cressida. Pointing out the speck in my eye only reveals your own log.

      • bluedog

        ‘ (I avoid the comment section of almost all secular News websites because they do not moderate their the comments closely).’

        Big mistake. Many comments sections are remarkably prescient in the opinions they reflect. For example, Brexit was up there in neon lights across the blogosphere. It’s just that the censorious elites choose to ignore the evidence.

  • James Bolivar DiGriz

    Is that supposed to be “can’t” or did you mean “cant”?

    • CliveM

      Cant! Predictive texting changed it!!

  • Maalaistollo

    It would be hypocritical of me to criticise the learned ‘ministry development adviser’ when I myself have given up on the C of E, which I can no longer take seriously because of the published utterances of the majority of its bishops and senior clergy.

  • Cressida de Nova

    Thanks Clive !

  • weirdvisions

    Perhaps Godsall (there’s a misnomer for you) should concentrate on his ministry, let God into his church and dump the snowflakey political activism. We’re all growing tired of these lefty, virtue signalling dimwits who think that they are in the right and everyone else who disagrees with them is stupid and wrong.

    Little wonder there are fewer bums on seats these days.

    • David

      Hear, hear !

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Is it wrong to judge a blog by the comments it attracts?

    No one judges a speaker at Hyde Park corner by what is said by hecklers.

  • CliveM

    Carl

    Agreed and I have looked for other sites as good. Still looking, they’re as rare as hens teeth.

  • ecclesiaman

    Your Grace is right to be aggrieved by the slings and arrows of unwise commentators such as Rev Godsall. Other commentators about his remarks have more than justified your response.
    The sad thing is that Christianity suffers with such comments, and the C of E in particular. One hopes he reads the responses below and profits from them.

  • Dreadnaught

    Publish and be Damned Cranny.
    The fact that you are being attacked is that you are succeeding where others fail in providing a genuine forum for free speech, unmoderated and respected by all who make regular comment here.
    There is nothing wrong with using nom-de-plume or nom-de-guere; infact in this age of cyber trolling, preservation of privacy or person it makes extreme sense.

    There will always be detractors from amongst establishment type figures because they prefer the sanctity of their ivory towers and are happy to be aloof and removed from the smell of the crowd: how very unlike the founder of their claimed faith.
    I could restrict my reading and comment to Atheist blogs or anti Islam blogs or military blogs, none of which would generate fresh insights or provide the stimulous to test my own default positions as much as is done here.
    Keep Calm and Carry On; I for one will always appreciate the high standard of the prose employed in the daily missives and comments, whether or not I agree with the message.

    • David

      Nicely put Sir !

  • You omitted to mention Calvinists.

    • CliveM

      I suppose they’re covered by ‘whatever’……………….

      • carl jacobs

        Et tu, Clive?

  • Inspector? Are you there? Jack has secured a kosher indulgence that permits you to comment on this thread for 1 day.

    • len

      Kosher indulgence?. Thought the RCC had the monopoly on indulgences?

      • As my dear, departed Dad would say, all true Jews are Catholic.

        • dannybhoy

          There are some similarities Jack, but the Jews got there first. Whatever the reason why your dear old Dad converted God loves him.
          If my Dad had been Jewish, I would be immensely (and sinfully) proud.

          • Jesus perfected and fulfilled the Mosaic law and so Christians are now the People of God.

          • dannybhoy

            Are now a part of the People of God, Jack.
            God revealed Himself to the world through Abram and subsequently the People of Israel. We repentant and saved Goyyim are now a part of that holy nation believing and repentant Israel. For by faith are ye saved…

          • Jews do not believe in the Triune God or in Jesus Christ, Danny.

          • dannybhoy

            “Jews do not believe in a Triune God or in Jesus Christ, Danny..”
            Are you winding me up Jacko?
            I wasn’t referring to the natural/physical nation of Israel, or the historical and existent Jewish people.
            If you take a look at that link I sent Dominic https://www.oneforisrael.org/ you will see testimonies of Jewish people who came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and become what we Christians refer to as being born again…
            As St Paul says in Romans 9>.
            6 “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”
            As I am sure we have discussed before, the Body of Christ, aka The Church, aka a Holy Nation and a Royal Priesthood, is made up of all true believers of all time, from all denominations and all races. Men and women, Jews and Gentiles who have accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour.
            Thus as St Paul points out..
            “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,[a] as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17

            “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:11

          • Dominic Stockford

            My mother’s, mother’s, mother and her husband were Jewish, and indeed I am sinfully proud.

          • dannybhoy

            To be a believer and belong to that ancient people is quite something. Have you ever seen this website?
            https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQDc5idYQE2T6IYKT3bUN7A

          • Dominic Stockford

            No, I hadn’t. Thank you.

            And yes, it is awesome – in a quite challenging way. It requires a lot of thinking through in terms of ingrafting, being already in, and so on. Knowing it makes some of Romans a very different read!

        • IanCad

          Given that modern Judaism is an extension of Pharisaism, a sect which also places great emphasis on oral law and tradition, to the diminution of the Written Word, your Old Man may well have had a point.

          • dannybhoy

            Ouuch!

          • The Sadducees were the heretics of that time. They did indeed believe in “scripture alone”. Pharisees believed in life after death, judgement and an immortal soul. Tradition and oral law wasn’t the real issue. You do know that Jesus accepted the oral law.

            “The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So practice and observe everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
            The “seat of Moses” is never mentioned in the Old Testament and yet Jesus accepted this authority.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Isn’t “the seat of Moses” a figure of speech rather like someone being up before “the Bench” if they appear in a modern court? Before the introduction of the monarchy in the time of Saul and David some of the Israelite prophets were also judges.

          • IanCad

            Thanks Roy, I was going to go all long-winded about it.
            Briefer and better than my draft reply. I was even confusing myself.

          • No. Jesus was referring to authority to apply God’s laws.

          • IanCad

            Jack.
            Roy answered the “Moses’ seat” issue.
            For Heaven’s Sake!! You don’t want me to start in on the falsity of the belief in the immortality of the soul again do you? Got into that with Martin yesterday. Mercy man, mercy.

          • Anna

            “The Sadducees were the heretics of that time…”

            Not really. In fact they were the custodians of the temple. Caiaphas, for example, was a Sadduccee.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadducees

          • Samuel

            Why is Pharisaism so negative? You guys go on endlessly about moral laws being more important than anything else. So you are also in the same boat as us Pharisees.

          • dannybhoy

            “You guys go on endlessly about moral laws being more important than anything else.”
            And we like to dissect and analyse them too..

          • Samuel

            Dude

            The thing is that Jews also analyse and [attempt] to follow the written and oral Torah. For that we are called- presumably negatively as the New Testament Jesus calls Pharisees a brood of vipers etc – Pharisees . But when the Christian does so, it is not Pharisaism? Is that therefore not muddled, contradictory, picking and choosing and or having one’s cake and eating it? These, such as picking and choosing , are all allegations that Christians here have levelled against my sister Hannah (maybe fairly or unfairly) for being lesbian. Yet to my mind at least Christianity via Peter and Paul did pick and choose bits of Torah two thousand years ago when they decided it was ok to eat pork and shellfish, you don’t need to be circumcised (convenient if you want to convert non Jews) , but other Torah ‘moral’ rules were judged to be o.k….. but Christianity isn’t a legalistic religion and all is about ‘love’ ….

            I don’t expect answers. But you see my confusion with Christianity?

            With kind regards.

            Sam.

          • Anton

            We believe that the oral torah was not given by God at Sinai but is a gathering of early comments on the Pentateuch, some of it wise, some of it not, but all of it human rather than divine. (Reason: we note, as do the karaites, that the oral torah refers to the Pentateuch continually but not vice-versa.) The divine law should not be added to, and that is one thing which Jesus had against the Pharisees. The other was that they did not practice what they preached.

            As to what parts of the Pentateuch are still binding, it stands or falls as a whole and since obviously Christians – including ethnic Jewish ones – believe that they don’t need to bring animals to sacrifice to Jerusalem any more (even were a Temple available), it is no longer binding. Paul/Saul says as much. But the principles governing interpersonal relations did not change because one man got crucified, so the ‘moral’ laws remain binding even if the ceremonial ones don’t.

            Regardless of whether you agree, I hope you now understand our position!

          • dannybhoy

            You shouldn’t be confused Samuel.
            Mark 12>
            “28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

            Jeremiah 31>

            The New Covenant
            31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

            Jesus is the Promise and Initiator of that prophecy.
            Now you can and probably will argue or dismiss those two sets of Scripture.
            Not a problem. The point is though that the most of us here believe it, we believe Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, the Son of God our Saviour and redeemer.
            More and more Jewish people are coming to that conclusion also.. and becoming believers without abandoning their Jewishness.
            So yes we argue, we discuss, like you do and like the 12 disciples did; but the unifying bedrock of our faith is Jesus.

          • Samuel

            Dude

            I will never really understand Christianity tbh.

          • dannybhoy

            Well maybe you would get a better idea if you watched some of those Jewish people who came to believe that Jesus is the Messiah..
            https://www.oneforisrael.org/

            It’s not that different from Judaism.
            We have different groups Baptists/Methodists/non-denominational/ house churches etc.
            They tend to be minimum ritual, minimum liturgy but centered on Scripture, relationships and outreach.
            Then we have the more religious/liturgical like the Anglo Catholics/ Catholics/ High Church of England. They tend to focus more on church structure and authority and tradition.
            There are parallel groupings under the umbrella of Judaism, are there not?
            On one level what binds us together is pretty much what binds you together.
            On another level what binds us together regardless of tradition or denomination is the belief that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Godhead, the Three in One. So Jewish people believe that God is One, and we believe that too, but that He manifests in three forms. Most Christians will point to various places in Tanakh which show that God has male and female qualities, where His Spirit is distinct from Elohim, from Yehovah, from the Lord of Hosts, from El Shaddai. That they also speak of a Son who is not David..
            Micah 5>
            “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
            who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
            from you shall come forth for me
            one who is to be ruler in Israel,
            whose coming forth is from of old,
            from ancient days.
            3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
            when she who is in labour has given birth;
            then the rest of his brothers shall return
            to the people of Israel.
            4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
            in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
            And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
            to the ends of the earth.”

            It is a fact that the rabbis of old believed those verses and passages of Scripture pointed to Messiah, but modern Judaism has largely abandoned the idea that Messiah was God and King and Redeemer, and decided instead that these passages really refer to Israel the people.

          • Samuel

            Dude,

            I think you misunderstand. I fully grasp the principle core Christian message and I fully get that “most of us here believe it”.

            My confusion was specific to the appeal to authority that jesus and his disciples, as apparent Jews, could change bits of Torah and keep other parts. Hannah answered that one, I forget that Christians see jesus as god, not just a man .

            [Incidentally I had written The first five points on my general issues with why Christianity makes no sense to my mind . But I thought better of it, as I know that would provoke an unnecessary argument and there’s no point in upsetting people of other faiths ].

          • dannybhoy

            Well I understand that you can’t but if you could, you might consider that if Messiah is a person and not the people of Israel, and if not only he is sent by God but is God, as the passage in Micah suggests…
            and couple that with the promise of a new Covenant which God speaks of through the prophet Jeremiah…
            Then Messiah interprets Scripture as He wills. Not only does He question some of the rabbi’s interpretations, He backs up His own authority by forgiving sins and healing people. Which is why the various religious groups had a problem with Him. He confounded their teaching and practices, and backed it up by works of miracles.
            What he was trying to get people to see is that 1) no one could completely live to God’s standards, everyone sins and not only is it the heart that God looks at, trying to conform outwardly only leads to legalism and trying to find ways around the laws that men made from Torah.
            Hence the study already..

          • Samuel

            Dude,

            *sigh*.

            Whatever floats your boat, but as you know I think Judaism and Christianity are incompatible faiths for various reasons .The big one is as we cannot accept Jesus as a God /human sacrifice/messiah. You know this already and you know my views on that and messianic converts to Christianity as we’ve had similar discussions before . I will not waver from Judaism as you will not with your Christianity. I fully support counter Christian messianic missionary activities such as Jews for Judaism& out reach Judaism. I cannot see the point in a debate as there’s nothing to gain . You either believe Judaism or Christianity. The caveat for I is that I think we can respect each other’s faiths even as we disagree.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes.
            One of the blessings of life is friendship. and for friendships to blossom it doesn’t take concurrence of views but pleasure in each other’s company.
            I can honestly say that I would love to have an orthodox Jew as a friend, to listen and learn and watch and join in.. It’s respect for each other Samuel. not trying to convince the other that you are right.
            Remember me saying on Hannah’s blog that I have far too much respect for Jewish people than to try and convert anyone?

          • Hi Sam

            From a Christian lense it is quite simple : Christianity believes Jesus was a human Jew and God at the same time. Because he was a God he could arbitrate on Torah in whatever way he wanted. Because he was God he had the authority to contradict Torah, e.g. marriage and divorce. He never contradicted kosher food laws, this came later as the Jewish following of Jesus moved to convert gentiles, via Paul and Peter.

            Peter and Paul were given apostolic authorisation from Jesus/ God so they could also pick and choose whatever they thought was right and proper for their new offshoot religion. Male circumcision as an adult is painful, Greeks hated the practice , pork and shellfish were widely eaten , so no surprise Paul of Tarsus, who wanted gentiles to beef up his numbers , decided that had to go. He had a row with others, but Peter had a convenient dream/ vision which convinced them it was ok to eat non kosher.

            Homosexuality gets quite a negative reaction here in part because of religious belief, but also because -as several people have said over the years – they find lesbian and male homosexuality too physically ‘icky’ to be acceptable, e.g. even , say, me holding hands with my partner is “disgusting”.

            I trust this answers you questions.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            I don’t think that, way back then, people really had anything like the modern scientific concept of homosexuality, which really only took off in the nineteenth century.

            What Paul was surrounded by was what a friend of mine called “Greek sex”. Though according to Diarmaid MacCulloch*, who chose not to go for holy orders in the Anglican church because of his orientation, the Greek did regard someone who did not settle down and marry as somewhat odd.

            *About a year ago he did a series on “Sex and the Church” which I found informative and interesting, but a bit too BBC in places.

            P.S. What did the Canaanites get up to?

          • Anna

            The NT makes a distinction between things which ‘defile the heart’ and things which are merely external. Christ also mentioned that the foods we eat cannot defile our hearts –

            ‘“Are you still so dull?” He asked. “Do you not understand? Nothing that enters a man from the outside can defile him, because it does not enter his heart, but it goes into his stomach and then is eliminated.” (Thus all foods are clean.)

            ‘He continued: “What comes out of a man, that is what defiles him. For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. All these evils come from within, and these are what defile a man.”’

            (Mark 7:18-23 Berean Study Bible)

          • Samuel

            Hannah ,

            That makes sense , I think!

          • IrishNeanderthal

            This gives me an opportunity to share the following with Cranmer followers:

            Popery, Psalms and Protestant Pharisees

            On Hannah’s blog, I have avoided the topic, but I have felt an itch to share this story, understood to be a true report:

            A Sunday School teacher had just told her pupils the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector (or publican, if ye be old fashioned.) After she had finished, she then said to the whole class:

            “Now children, let’s all get down on our knees and thank God that we’re not like that Pharisee.” (!?!)

          • IanCad

            Sam,
            I was comparing Catholicism with Pharisaism. The parallels are really quite strong. Both give equal – or more – weight to tradition, than to the written word; both accept, in one form or another, apocrypha.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I have frequently argued the point that the RC church is in fact an Old Testament church, with its set up as you describe above, combined with its sacrifice offering priests.

          • Albert

            It’s a bit like saying Protestantism is a form of Wahhabi Islam.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Comfort yourself dear Albert that you will never be a part of Pastor Stockford’s congregation.Gives Wahhab islam
            an appeal.

          • Albert

            Now that really did make me laugh out loud! 🙂

          • Samuel

            Okay I get you.

          • Albert

            No we don’t.

          • IanCad

            From the Catechism Albert:

            “—Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”

            By no means am I absolving Protestantism. Catholics, generally, are far more consistent in regard to their respect of tradition.

          • Albert

            The Catechism does not say what you said. Firstly, this says “equal” and not “more”. Secondly, it is about devotion and reverence, not authority. Thirdly, we always have to be careful about what is meant by tradition. Apostlolic tradition is clearly equal to apostolic writing in terms of authority. But customs – even laudable ones – are not. Finally, we do not have any apocrypha in our scriptures.

          • IanCad

            I copied the text hot from the Vatican Albert. No 82 as I recall.
            Sure tradition is placed above scripture. The change of the Sabbath Day for a start. The Immaculate Conception is another.
            As to apocrypha – I suppose that depends on what the definition is; the RC church recognizes around a dozen books that Prods consider to be thus.

          • Albert

            As to apocrypha – I suppose that depends on what the definition is; the RC church recognizes around a dozen books that Prods consider to be thus.

            From which the correct inference is that Protestants have cut from scripture.

            I copied the text hot from the Vatican Albert. No 82 as I recall.

            I’m not disagreeing with the text, just your interpretation of it.

            Sure tradition is placed above scripture. The change of the Sabbath Day for a start. The Immaculate Conception is another.

            I think the Sabbath Day is apostolic tradition. That, and the Immaculate Conception are valid interpretations of the word of God.

          • Anna

            Christians can become quite legalistic as well and Paul’s letter to the Galatians dealt with this topic. For some information on the reason for Paul’s objections, please see:

            https://gingerteasympathy.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/the-leaven-part-1/

          • It wasn’t until I saw your post that I remembered that our original Perushim and their development of halakha and minhag are actually seen in a critical light by Christians. It makes sense, though; they prevented the collapse of Judaism and the assimilation of Jewry and allowed it to flourish even in the Exile.

        • Hiya Happy Jack,

          I’ve been wonderfully ecumenical by watching father Brown on the BBC I player.The one with the pagans was interesting. The Anglicans and Methodists uproar against paganism in the village – I guessed who dun it – against the tolerant Catholic priest….

          • Hi Hannah. Jack will have to catch-up with Father B.

        • Cressida de Nova

          Erm…no I don’t think so !

          • It’s a theological statement. The People of God before Christ were Jewish; after Christ they are Christians. And, the Catholic Church is the one true Church.

    • dannybhoy

      That’s very funny Jack..

    • David

      What, what ! Selling indulgences to The Inspector !
      Oh – they are free – that’s all right then.
      Most amusing Jack !

  • IanCad

    Try as I might, I just can’t seem to separate the role of a “Ministry Development Adviser” from an image of a dead sheep. Both are equally ineffectual, and to be savaged by either should be of no consequence.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Superb!

      • IanCad

        Thank you.

    • Anton

      It’s not clear to me if this position is as well as or instead of running a parish. It is not in doubt that he has run a parish in the past. Let us hope that the Diocese of Exeter brings in converts. Here is Andrew Godsall’s one-page autobiography:

      http://www.exeter.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Electoral-address-clergy-Godsall.pdf

      The following passage gives some cause for concern:

      …a synod that had focussed on getting the legislation about women bishops finalised. I am a member of WATCH and supported the legislation. Re-imagining the Church of England will be the major challenge facing the new General Synod. I hope that debate and conversation about the inclusion of all in the Church regardless of sexuality will not dominate the next five years of General Synod and that by 2020 this will no longer be an issue that causes such division in the Church…

      These are WATCH’s aims:

      http://watchorguk.wpengine.com/aims-and-objectives/

      • IanCad

        I followed your links Anton. If the Rev. Godsall is aboard the “Watch” wagon, along with many other of his colleagues, then the CofE is bound to split.
        Silly vicars are a menace.

  • dannybhoy

    “Should a blog be judged by its comment threads? Is a blogger in some way responsible for the way commenters sound off?”
    To a point, yes I think it should.
    I like that your blog attracts non Christians as well as Christians. I still think it’s the best Christian blogsite because you keep us supplied with up to date issues.
    Danny is an activist.
    I would like to see more campaigns and petitions clearly posted on the blog so that we can act positively and add our names rather than just chunter amongst ourselves.
    My main desire is to witness to my faith in Christ Jesus, to live my faith and engage with anybody and everybody who has an opinion, and can state it without resorting to crude language, swearing or blasphemy.
    I like the fact that I/we am/are challenged here on our opinions.
    I totally dislike pomp/cant/piety/religiosity and fanaticism. I enjoy a good joke and a belly laugh, especially from people I know love our Lord and are passionate about the faith..
    On this blog I learn, I am forced to question my own beliefs and theories, and to try to more accurately articulate what I think and feel.

    “But comment threads are largely a process of iron sharpening iron: some intelligent, thoughtful and mature people (from many denominations and by no means all Christian) are eager to pick holes in weak arguments, challenge shoddy political thinking or shady theology, or correct grammatical errors (for which, many thanks). Can iron be sharpened without the red-heat of a sweaty forge and deadly sparks of vitriol? Perhaps, but it’s not everyone’s style to pop into John Lewis’s to buy an ergonomic Rota for plain or serrated blades, encased in plastic housing for health and safety.”
    Exactly.
    Being alive in this wonderful, dangerous, imperfect world only lasts so long, and then we are gone to meet our Maker. Rather be part of the rough and tumble of Archbishop Cranmer than a pious, cap doffing, bottom licking bunch of sycophants…..

    • dannybhoy

      Hello Sweetpea..

      • CliveM

        Are you calling yourself sweetpea!

        • dannybhoy

          Ssh I’m loving myself up.
          Oooh er Missus!
          (twas aimed at Hannale really)

  • chefofsinners

    The comments thread is like Sodom. God will not destroy it if we can find ten righteous men.
    1. Um…

    • Dominic Stockford

      1. Jesus
      2……….

  • William Lewis

    This is a most excellent blog and the commentary often very informative and entertaining. The Catholics are mostly harmless – considering what they used to get up to – and we even have a shape shifting atheist who entertains us with a new shape every few months or so – though, sadly, rarely a new argument.

    What is highly commendable, to my mind, Your Grace, is the freedom you allow all and sundry to express their views. A freedom that makes the commentary section alone something of an oasis.

    But it is the painstaking detail and erudition of the pieces themselves that invariably make this such a pleasurable and important site to visit. All power to your elbow.

    • dannybhoy

      Creep.

      • William Lewis

        See! That’s the kind of “vitriol” that give this blog a bad name!

        I shall be withdrawing to my safe space until further notice.

        • dannybhoy

          :0)

      • “Thou lump of foul deformity”

        • dannybhoy

          Thou lump of foul reformity would suit better.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Outstanding!

    • David

      Well said !

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Agreed

    • Albert

      The Catholics are mostly harmless – considering what they used to get up to

      Now that you’ve repented from burning our villages, we are inclined to let bygones be bygones. 🙂

      • Cressida de Nova

        Not all of us Albert..not all of us:)

  • Anna

    I wonder what Andrew Godsall or Alan Wilson would have made of Jesus.

  • The Guardian reading left-wing liberal PC lot with their group think are not happy unless they are reducing everyone down to the same level as themselves by shutting down debate, banning those with originality, gagging free speech, censoring challenge and destroying creativity and uniqueness. His Grace’s Blog positively vibrates with originality, free speech, ideas, challenges and is quite unique. No wonder it has attracted the attention of those who wish to curb it. And no wonder the Church is grinding to a halt, it has in excess of these people in it.

    • David

      Excellent comment Marie !

  • David

    Having read, and enjoyed, the many excellent comments below, almost all defending this blog, it is really all summed up, by :-

    Long live free speech !

    But those who consider themselves part of some superior group, in possession of the “wisdom” that they wish to impose on others, will always want to limit discussion.

  • Holger

    Football clubs are judged by and punished for the behaviour of their supporters.

    Why should blogs be any different?

    • Are you a snowflake, Holger?

      • The Explorer

        Is Holger the latest Linus?

        • Too early to say definitely, but Jack suspects so. Another

      • Holger

        I don’t understand the question.

        What do you mean by “snowflake”?

        • Snowflake: An overly sensitive person, incapable of dealing with any opinions that differ from their own. These people can often be seen congregating in “safe zones” on college campuses. Those social justice warriors are just a bunch of snowflakes.

          –Danglo, Urban Dictionary, 2016

          • Holger

            Oh I see.

            No, I don’t consider myself to be a snowflake. I’m perfectly at ease with opinions that differ from my own.

            In the context of this blog however, there is a case for banning those who don’t share the blogger’s opinions.

            What is a blog if not a propaganda tool? In this case for the promotion of Christianity and the blogger’s position within the Christian, and more specifically Anglican, communities?

            The most cursory search reveals the identity of Archbishop Cranmer, so there’s little or no attempt at anonymity despite the use of a pompous pseudonym. As a means of self-promotion and saying “look at me and what a marvellous Christian I am, so you should all model yourselves on me” this blog is the equivalent of a daily sermon on the Mount. Its author clearly takes himself VERY seriously and prides himself on his influence and moral authority. I gather he has even attempted (unsuccessfully) to get himself elected to Parliament. What further evidence could there be of a desire to be heard and to exercise authority?

            It would therefore not be surprising to see Mr Hilton ban those who contradict the positions he takes on this blog. That’s certainly what other self-promoting bloggers like Ian Paul do as part of their profile-raising strategy. They want to be taken seriously as “players” in their field, so negative or critical comments are not welcome.

            I don’t know either Dr Paul or Mr Hilton personally, but their online activities speak volumes about their respective characters and motivations. Both are politicians jockeying for position within their chosen constituencies. Both want to be seen, to be heard and above all to be taken seriously. Both clearly have high personal ambition. But perhaps Mr Hilton is slightly less pragmatic in his approach than Dr Paul. There’s an element of quixotic romanticism in his determination to stand by the principle of free speech come what may. And one rather suspects he enjoys the slings and arrows targeted at him as a result of this stance. Given his propensity to support in the most flowery of terms those who pose as Christian martyrs, one cannot help but wonder if he does not think of himself in similar heroic terms.

            To paraphrase Madonna: “Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it … blog!” Blogging without banning gets Mr Hilton the praise he wants while also attracting criticism, which allows him to assume the mantle of Christian saint suffering for his faith. If the self-promoting pathos and melodrama of his last post are anything to go by, one suspects the more he’s slapped, the better he likes it. Nobody gets more excited about martyrdom than a Christian. After all, it worked wonders for the reputation of the religion’s founder.

          • So what’s your agenda, Linus?

          • William Lewis

            Homonormativity.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Indeed, why should The Guardian, Morning Star, Socialist Worker and Pravda get away with it?

      Maybe the National Socialists had it right: burn the books lads!

      Eh?

    • David

      “Why should blogs be any different?”

      Because unruly football supporters sometimes threaten, abuse, break, fight and attack the innocent.
      In contrast this blog supporter’s seek a place for robust, reasoned free speech.
      Spot the difference !

      Jack’s question “Are you a snowflake” need’s answering please.

    • carl jacobs

      We try, but Linus just keeps coming back.

      • Holger

        Then why not ban him?

        • Royinsouthwest

          Most of us on this blog believe in free speech. Furthermore I doubt if Cranmer wants only the already converted to read his blog.

          • Inspector General

            Indeed Roy. Nothing like having the odd misanthropist turn up to spice the occasion…

          • dannybhoy

            Time’s up.
            Back into purdah you go….

        • Pity?

          • Pubcrawler

            Pity stayed his hand.

            “It’s a pity I’ve run out of bullets,” thought Frito.

            Bored of the Rings

          • Holger

            Ah, so all who do not agree with you are miserable and depraved addicts like Gollum, are they?

            An interesting insight into your self-image, is this. I already know you see yourself as righteous. Now I can add uncorrupted to the growing list of your self-proclaimed virtues.

            I wonder, does modesty come on that list?

          • Hiya Linus.

          • Holger

            No answer to my question, I see.

            I take it you’re referring to a previous incarnation of a former contributor to this blog who keeps coming back under different names. But a little research shows me that you yourself are guilty of this very “crime”.

            Am I talking to Happy Jack or Dodo? Both perhaps.

            Well, whoever you are, you certainly seem to have a very high opinion of yourself. Righteous and condemnatory at the same time. But tell me, as the Pope himself says, who are you to judge?

            Logs and motes, my friend. Logs and motes…

          • Why this compulsion to continually change your identity, Linus? It’s really very peculiar and completely unnecessary.

          • Holger

            So you see Linus under every stone, do you?

            I wonder what the poor chap did to deserve such ire. Change his name? Oooh, the worst of crimes, eh? Well, as far as judgmental types like you are concerned, it is.

            I mean, if you don’t know someone’s name, how can you judge and condemn him?

            Call me whatever you like. My name is not Linus, but as Linus seems to be a generic name for anyone who opposes you or questions your divine right to judge and condemn, I suppose I’ll have to get used to you calling me that. Unless of course you decide to ignore me.

            Now doesn’t that sound like a great solution to your problem? It’s what the Queen does whenever she’s subjected to lèse-majesté. She doesn’t have much of a choice of course, but she carries it off with aplomb. But then perhaps she has a more stoic character than you. She is an Anglican after all. None of this hysterical flinging about of incense and theatrical prayer in the Chapel Royal. You could take a leaf out of her book and rise above it.

            No? I thought not…

          • Pubcrawler

            Protesting too much, much?

          • But why the compulsive lying and deception, Linus? Or should that be “the poster formally known as Linus”?
            Man-up and be truthful. You have nothing to lose but your pride.

          • Holger

            I have already told you my name is not Linus. It appears you don’t like this statement, therefore it must be a lie.

            Is that how you determine the truth of every statement: by whether you like it or not? I wouldn’t be surprised. We already know you consider yourself righteous even when you judge and condemn others. Do you also think you’re truthful when you lie? Are you thin when you’re fat? Young when you’re old? How about welcoming when aggressive?

            Or are you just so far up your own backside that you think you have all the gifts while none of the rules apply to you? It’s starting to look that way.

          • Are you denying you have never posted here using the name Linus?

          • Holger

            Are you denying you have never posted here using the name Linus?

            If I was denying that I’d never posted here using the name of Linus, I’d be claiming that I had posted as Linus. I make no such claim. You’re the one claiming I’ve posted as Linus, not me.

            Ask a clear question and you might get a clear answer. Then again, you might not.

            Quite frankly I know of no reason why I should dignify your high-handed and arrogant questions with any further response. Who exactly do you think you are? Are you some kind of moderator tasked with acting as doorman and bouncer? If so, kick me out. If not, deal with my presence and wander off to growl at someone else. You’re wasting your time with me. I’m really not impressed by jumped up commenters who try to lay down the law as if they owned the place.

          • It’s a straightforward question.
            Have you at any time ever posted on this blog using the name “Linus”?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You sound a bit paranoid, Jack. Not happy at all.

          • You’re new here. American Exceptionalism doesn’t apply. Jack is always Happy.

          • If you hope to remain incognito past a couple of posts, Linus, avoid familiar lines like, “no answer to my question, I see,” and get sloppier with your punctuation.

          • CliveM

            There are typically clues from his first post.

          • Pubcrawler

            Recherché name, no previous commenting history, faint whiff of garlic…

          • CliveM

            A post that seems to go on forever………..

        • carl jacobs

          Cranmer doesn’t ban commenters for being foolish and obnoxious and acidic. The rest of us have no recourse beyond moral suasion.

          It’s unfortunate, really. Linus is smart enough to be an asset to the weblog if only he would behave with civility. But he was never willing.

          • Holger

            Hmmm, but there’s a fine line between “moral suasion” and threadbare moralising, isn’t there?

            I have no issue with those who believe in a universal moral standard. But to chide and denigrate others for failing to adhere to it shows an assumption of authority I find worrying. Who are you to judge, after all? History teaches us that self-appointed moral guardians almost always turn into busybodies and a bullies.

            It’s a short step from “thou shalt not” to the hurling of those who do off tall buildings. Christians who claim their religion prevents them from inflicting punishment on those who transgress their moral codes would do well to look at the history of their religion and realise that when too much emphasis is placed on authority and obedience, compulsion and punishment are quick to follow.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Are football clubs punished for the behaviour of fans of rival clubs?

      • Holger

        They may be if they rise to the bait of another team’s taunts and launch an attack on them.

        Isn’t one of the measures of virtue an ability to rise above criticism and provocation?

  • ChaucerChronicle

    ‘SOMETIMES THE NICEST PEOPLE YOU MEET ARE COVERED IN TATTOOS & SOMETIMES THE MOST JUDGEMENTAL PEOPLE YOU MEET GO TO CHURCH ON SUNDAYS’

    Your Grace,

    Where the blazes did you get that quote from?

    Does the author not know:

    ‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.’

    Leviticus 19:28 — New American Standard

    If a bishop, can you ask h/er if she would make the same remark to the Nazis in Berlin, 1942?

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Your Grace,

      To prevent you from interfering: I’m using the same rhetorical device as ‘them’.

    • Royinsouthwest

      We are no longer bound by the letter of every Old Testament Law. “The Law kills but the Spirit gives Life.”

      • ChaucerChronicle

        True.

        Aye, as the great Lord Denning affirmed (Court of Appeal (?)).

        Yes, yes; I’ve read St Paul.

        But, what if we discovered that Yeshua cut deeper than the ‘Law’?

        Upon this discovery, would you state that we are no longer bound by the inferior legal regime?

    • Sarky

      I’ve actually got that as a tattoo…loved the irony.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        That’s, too bad.

        • Sarky

          It’s actually very good.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            No, no, no my good man.

            ‘Actually’ is not fact. You , mean in your opinion.

    • David

      OT purity rules, fall under the New Covenant.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Aye, my dear brother.

        Under or parallel too, or supportive:

        5 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

        5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

        7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”

        She said, “Yes, for so much.”

        9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

  • Samuel

    Dudes ,

    When the FTSE goes up and down like a tart’s knickers , I do have the condolence that the comments here will be consistent.

    But in any case , the chap of Exeter must surely realise that Martin Luther- antisemitic git that he was- published his “theses” in full public view and in the marketplace. He didn’t go go to some “where is that?” theological elite academic school or the German equivalent of a 15th century guardian . Well o.k. he should have published his views in the Deutschland Guardian, Oxbridge Gazette and Ottoman Times….

    • David

      Good point Mr Toad, I mean Samuel.

  • dannybhoy

    Hmmmm.

    • Samuel

      That was an attempted Joke, bud!

      • dannybhoy

        Give me that shtreimel I’ve been asking for and okay I’ll laugh for you..
        How’s that sweet sister of yours btw?

  • Sybaseguru

    By far the most obnoxious comments of the few blogs I read are to be found in the Guardian and are clearly from their mainstream readers.

    Back in the early days of newsgroups the database company Sybase (responsible for Microsofts SQL Server) had a policy of not responding to bad postings, but encouraged the other contributors to correct error. It was believed to be much more powerful a rebuttal if it came from other users. I don’t remember one case that showed this to be flawed logic.

    Perhaps its up to us as contributors to point out where immoderate language has been used and ask the originator to either keep away or express himself using different language.

    • chefofsinners

      We might focus on the thoughts expressed more than the language used.

    • bluedog

      Quite right. The Guardian is a particular joy and the language is astounding. It does seem that only long standing and trusted members of the liberal-left may use obscenities to make a point, and ‘guests’ are required to use more moderate expression. One notes that many of the commentators, such as Jonathan Freedland and Nick Cohen, now seem to prefer their polemics to be read in silence without the benefit of criticism from the proletariat. This retreat from the market place of ideas is scarcely a sign of confidence or strength.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      This of course is the ideal that we would desire; self-policing by discerning commenters. However, some trolls only become more obscene when rebuked and all the proper criticism in the world will not cause them to shut up. This is why Moderators are needed; not for those who disagree … but to eliminate those who are invariably insulting and disagreeable, those who consistently disrespect all propriety.

  • Inspector General

    One is reminded of the Radio Times. During its days of being owned by the BBC, you had to write like a scholar of the classics to get a letter printed. An interesting read, the correspondence was. When the Radio Times was hived off and sold, it began publishing the likes of ‘me and my dog loved watching…’ whatever Saturday evening pap it was that excited them to write in. So no more viewers letters for this man. Easy to avoid they were, they were printed towards the front of publication. Cranmer’s comments section is at the end of his. Easy to avoid.

    Yes, there is anger on his comments site. And love, and compassion, and praise, and mistrust, and downright loathing. There’s everything. But most of all, there is truth. Truth as we wretches see it. As we can appreciate it. Truth that is unable to be publically aired elsewhere, for it is the type of truth that is no longer suitable for today’s sophisticate. It is the WRONG truth. And if you don’t think it is the truth, then come on here and say it isn’t. Put us right, or maybe be put right yourself.

    Here’s something else. One would rather eat his own hat than apologise to outside detractors for holding the views he adheres to. Once again, views that are no longer in vogue, but damn well were in more sensible times past…

    Cranmer’s missals are strong meat. No doubt about that. That’s why his noisy following tend to be as they are, one suspects. We hounds devour said meat enthusiastically. We do though turn our noses up at engaging in a hugely respectful mutual conversation. What’s the damn point of mutual back slapping where the wish not to offend is paramount? No doubt the Abortion act was drawn up in detail after hugely respectful mutual conversation. If only we were around then. If only…

    So, if no one minds, one will get back to his penance. For he has erred and must pay a price for that. Ironic isn’t it. There’s plenty of erring going on everywhere and those that do are lauded and encouraged by the so called righteous. So yes, there is anger on this site. It cannot be any other way!

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Good show, old boy!

      • Inspector General

        Thank you. You are a gentleman, Sir.

        • Cressida de Nova

          No he isn’t. Many years ago before your time here, he threatened to strangle me with piano wire.

          • Lol.

          • Inspector General

            Good Grief! You must have vexed him sorely, as is womankind’s gift…

    • dannybhoy

      How long was that Jack?
      Is he still within his kosher permit?

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Danny old chap, sometimes when a fool keeps silent, he is thought wise.

        • Inspector General

          It’s not often that Danny is thought wise…

    • David

      Very stoic of you Inspector, to stick to the path of penance.
      Most commendable !

      • I think this is on his daily after-lunch yard and smoke break.

        • David

          Undoubtedly !

  • Shadrach Fire

    That my monicar did not get listed can I believe that I am not one from whom the stench comes from with vitriol. Somehow I doubt it.
    Jealousy is often a cause of discriminatory attack. This man of sorts should be pitied for his attack, not on Cramer but on the Very Rev’d Professor Martyn Percy for placing his writings on the Cranmer Blog. Such disdain I have rarely heard.
    I like to comment on this blog to encourage Cramer that his efforts, and they are great, are very much appreciated.
    I also like to add my pennyworth on subjects where I feel that my spirit lead life and experience has something to contribute just as I imbibe from the wisdom of other contributors.

    Keep going Cranmer just as you have been in the past and and as you are lead in the future.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Maybe that is it. He has felt ‘got at’, given his episcopal status, by Mr Percy’s comments and has thus lashed out at those whom he can attack without causing dissension within the group he feels at home in (CofE bishops) – so we, the great unwashed, and ABC who enables our odour to enter his nostrils, get it instead!

  • dannybhoy

    Happy Birthday and blessings for your wife. May she soon be blessed with children from you and may they be blessed with more of their mother’s good points…..
    Let me know I’ll come to the party..

  • chefofsinners

    Who are calling a sanctimonious cant? It’s language like that which lets the site down…

    • CliveM

      Ive been letting this site down for a long time now……….

  • chefofsinners

    “Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.”
    Luke 6:26

    • Dominic Stockford

      Which comment is of great comfort, frequently.

      • chefofsinners

        And will give the Reverend Canon great comfort if he reads these comments. See how I reach out to him in magnanimous compassion.

        • William Lewis

          “The Chef serveth and the Chef cleareth away”

  • dannybhoy

    Holger,,, or Volger??

    • Dreadnaught

      Nah – I think its Helga.

    • More like, Silly Bolger – or something sounding very similar.

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Your Grace

    Is it wrong to judge a blog by the comments it attracts?

    In the 16th century the performance of William Shakespeare’s plays induced the heckling of the audience.

    None now dare to question his insights – for fear of being thought a fool.

    How can one describe your blog?

    O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
    The brightest heaven of invention,
    A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
    And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

    King Henry V, Prologue, by William Shakespeare

    • Anton

      Will Durant (in the relevant volume of his history) and Gilbert Highet (in The Classical Tradition) were both learned enough and wise enough to critique Shakespeare. Both were generous where praise was due.

  • dannybhoy

    I know you have four sisters Samuel, but only one blog did I comment on regularly…
    I meant Hannah.

    • Samuel

      And she’s fashionably late -!

    • Hi Danny

      Oh aside from a chest infection , for which I’m taking penicillin , I’m ok.

      • dannybhoy

        I had one over Christmas but better now. I hope you get better soon.

      • Liberal applications of goose fat, Hannah.

  • len

    It would seem that some of the Anglican elite sit in their ivory Towers and put their musings to paper and then present them to the rabble below expecting to bask in their unending admiration.
    When ‘the rabble below’ (much as the rabble not seeing the Emperors New Clothes) report nothing worth seeing the Anglican elite retire in disdain for the rabble.

    This seems to highlight be the problem in the C of E and today, the gulf between those at the top and the men on the ground.

    • 1642again

      Well said Len.

  • ceige

    Mr Cranmer me thinks thou protesteth too much!

    Forsooth thou blog has its number of vitriolic comments. To admit thus is no disgrace. Be thee responsible, but in part, for every man his own sins doth own.

    And by jolly the comments on the guardian are by no means any less civil.

    The question be not shall we allow free speech on blogs or the justification of ‘they are just as bad’ but rather the higher ground in what manner of decency will one choose to express oneself? Jesus may have used a few choice expressions directed at certain people yet as he also knew the heart of people one may conclude they were not without substance. No such conclusion is so easily applied to any other man.

    Not withstanding one does appreciate the personalities you attract. Who could ever get angry with Happy Jack? And the inspector has a pompousity that is so well, English.

    One only needs Shakespeare to illustrate one’s point can be cleverly and pointedly made without resorting to unecessary maligning.

    And now I must finish “I would engage you in a battle of wits but I see you are unarmed” (Shakespeare)

    • William Lewis

      Cheeky

      • ceige

        Guilty as charged

    • IrishNeanderthal
      • ceige

        Oh no … may it not be … I have little enough memorisation space left in my poor brain to waste some of it would be a crime..

        • IrishNeanderthal

          It does sound, though, like something from Restoration drama, though I’m not an expert on that. Lydia Languish, Sir Toby Belch, Sir Lucius O’Trigger, that’s about as much as comes to mind just now.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Good lad!

    • Inspector General

      Pompous? How dare you, sir!

      • ceige

        Well in that nicest kind of way, you know, I imagine a plum in the mouth type of accent, a top hat, a glass of port, waistcoat and smoking a pipe. How I get that from your comments I have no idea…

    • ChaucerChronicle

      ‘Be thee responsible’.

      Are you stupid as well as inexperienced in the maintenance of a free speech blog?

      It is we, individual commentators, who are going to be held responsible before the Great Judge; in the Final Court of Appeal (the Last Judgement).

      There are many on this blog who, subtly, rebuke each other.

      Think well, sir, before you encourage the closure of mens’ lips.

      • ceige

        Stupid – no; inexperienced in blog maintenance yes.

        I do not encourage the closure of mens’ lips merely men to monitor the use of their own lips. Truth with love I think it was called… by this famous guy. Wit is good, humour is good, but winning a war or an argument by stooping to the level of your opponent simply means you do not win at all.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          “But I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. “ (Matthew 12:36) We are all in a bit of trouble, don’t you think?

          • ceige

            For sure and for certain…!

          • Cressida de Nova

            You are in for a big shock on judgement day. Careless words will seem trivial compared to the consequences you will face for having bored the socks off everyone .

            As a Christian you are not supposed to make an effort to bring joy (See : Clive,bluedog,dannyboy,chefofsinners,mrs proudie..all militant Protestants) Watch and learn !

          • CliveM

            Splutter, MILITANT! I say that’s a bit strong,

            I’m mild mannered and reasonable.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Oh for goodness sake…Strong? Of course it’s strong. Catholic women are industrial strength!

          • bluedog

            Hmm, only second ranking. Must try harder.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Sorry poodle. Have changed the ranking. Been a while since we have had an exchange:)

          • bluedog

            Many thanks, Cressida, you are a Christian gentlewoman. The possibility of not being top-dog aroused a deep sense of insecurity.

      • ceige

        ..

    • len

      Are you a loose Canon sir?.

      • Dreadnaught

        Linus again.

      • ceige

        No but I am ineptly clumsy. For example I think I just down voted you and I truly didn’t mean too ’twas an accident … so I shall up vote as well – but not quite sure if this action makes me a liberal or a conservative?

        • len

          Sound a tad confused?

          • ceige

            Entirely. I daresay the words liberal and conservative have become so loaded and polarised it is impossible now to know their definition outside of the context of a particular conversation. For example to be for social justice has perhaps always been thought of as politically liberal yet it has now also obtained the status of being religiously liberal, albeit social justice in its most concrete use sits alongside the Gospel. Now the term social justice itself has been extended beyond its own meaning and thereby corrupted by some as means of obtaining social acceptance of all forms of moral choice.

            So I am for social justice yet not always for everything attributed to the term. Confused, indeed!

            So I am also socially liberal but religiously conservative if conservatism is interpreted as being dedicated to, in so far as my human-ness allows, the unchanging word of God.

        • dannybhoy

          An “undecided..”

          • ceige

            Two bob each way depending on the context!

  • Martin

    Clive

    Just him?

    • CliveM

      One at a time.

      • Martin

        Clive

        I was thinking that a mass exodus might save the CoE.

        • CliveM

          Can’t argue with the logic.

  • Dominic Stockford

    This is the best political/religious blog about. We need it, the information it shares with those interested, and the forthright exchange of views it enables.

    P.S. Is the next article about the attempt to destroy the Union via Northern Ireland?

    • Sarky

      Forthright views which you block.
      Don’t think you’re in any position to comment on this thread.

      • *Kapow*

        Hypocrisy thy name is Stockford.

        • Cressida de Nova

          Pastor Stockford…please Jack!:)

          • He is an ordained Catholic priest and now anti-Catholic, so Jack just cannot bring himself to call him a pastor.

          • Cressida de Nova

            He seems very bitter and troubled …this explains it. If he received Holy Orders one would assume he must have been a devout believer and had knowledge of how the faith works . I can understand him leaving the priesthood because of his inability to endure such a disciplined and selfless life but to bear such animosity is strange in these circumstances. His story may not be genuine of course.

          • I is. He’s the President of the “Protestant Truth Society” and there is an online account of his reasons for abandoning Catholicism. What stands out is that he never really understood Catholicism or obedience to his bishop.

          • len

            Perhaps He understood too much.

          • That’s what Judas thought too.

          • len

            Put those big girly bloomers away…

          • Cressida de Nova

            What is obvious from his account is his complete lack of integrity and amorality by never having any real Catholic belief and fooling the Bishop into accepting him into the seminary.

            All the while he is there ,he indulges in anti Catholic sentiments admits that he never believed in transubstantiation then insists on going through with an ordination (dreadful dreadful human being)

            Do Protestants really want this type of person as a shepherd of its flock?How could they even trust a person like this? Maybe they do not know the story of his sad lie of a life…

          • Simon Platt

            That might be a bit harsh, Cressida, although I was struck by this, partcularly:

            “Within 3 short years [in his first parish as parish priest] I had, in many ways, overhauled the church, the events and the services within the parish. I did not have auricular confessions, except ‘on demand’, and let us be honest, no-one is going to come to the church house door and ask for confession! The church was re-ordered from its very dominant Roman style to a style more recognisable within other denominations. The altar (still such, not yet a table!) was lowered from its position ‘on high’ and simplified. The wooden lectern, hard against one wall, was replaced with a far more dominant stone lectern, further out into the middle of the church. The idolatrous statue of Mary, mother of Jesus, was removed from the front of the church and placed in the entrance lobby. The tabernacle was moved from the main church building and into the side chapel. Much of the time I ignored the issues of required ‘colour changes’ for vestments and hangings that Rome demands for the different seasons and feast days.”

            This kind of thing is quite common and some dioceses seem to have a reputation for it. It’s often complained about by Catholics as protestantizing; Dominic is quote explicit that it was indeed so in his case.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Well of course it was so in his case because he was anti Catholic even in the seminary. Why not leave and become an Anglican priest?Why go through this perverted sham defiling the sacrament of Holy Orders and the Eucharist? Reasons of self interest no doubt.

            Complaints are not enough. Catholics should boycott these pastiches. The heretical priests should be excommunicated,the Churches exorcised and returned to the Roman Catholic tradition of worship

            Harsh? Not harsh enough.This is one of the worst sickening weird priest stories I have heard. The Church is in need of an overhaul to rid themselves of the rest of these leeches..

            I know saintly priests who work with the poor in the third world…they themselves are poor and often physically ill and exhausted with the work load they have to cope with, which they do in good spirit under terrible conditions.

            It disgusts me to think of these comfortable judas clones who don’t dirty their hands, who preach heresy,and ‘operate’ as Catholic clergy.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Why? With more investigation I can answer my own questions. They always say when there are unanswered questions always follow the money trail.

            A lot of people never manage to save a deposit for a bed-sit after seven years of paid employment. This amount was given to Stockford by the Bishop when he left the Church. Meanwhile up to that time he enjoyed rent free accomodation, free food and services, a car + donations from a congregation. Not a bad scam eh!

          • Simon Platt

            Interesting, Jack. Thank you.

          • You’re very welcome, Simon.

          • Simon Platt

            I did think it odd, having seen some of Dominic’s comments here, that someone with such an antipathy to the Catholic Faith would be called (or would use the pseudonym, as I now know is not the case) “Dominic”. I understand, now.

  • Have trouble tying your shoe laces to, Clive?

    • CliveM

      I use Velcro!

  • Dominic Stockford

    Yes, exactly.

  • In true ecumenical fashion, Happy Jack says to His Graces detractors:

    “You sophistic worms, grasshoppers, locusts, frogs and lice!”
    (Marin Luther)

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Class, sheer class, Happy Jack.

      Thank you.

      • Happy Jack was going to post his one, but thought it too crude:

        “You say, “What comes out of our mouth must be kept!” I hear it – which mouth do you mean? The one from which the farts come? (You can keep that yourself!)”
        (Martin Luther)

        One has certain standards.

        • len

          Good job you didn`t then.

          • Yes, Happy Jack wouldn’t want to be accused of vitriolic comments.

          • carl jacobs

            You called me a troll. That’s vitriolic. Your guilt over this false accusation should be crushing your spirit about now.

          • Yes, Jack feels some remorse. Not because the accusation was false. Being an American is enough of a burden to carry without Jack adding to your troubles.

        • HedgehogFive

          But what if you were come to the notice of the Hedgehogatollah?

          He might pronounce a FASWA (Arabic for “fart”) against you.

          • He’s a prickly customer to be sure.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            As we race towards mankind’s inevitable demise, I wonder how many Muslims will be left to pronounce a ‘faswa’:

            ‘An unprecedented number of Muslims are becoming Christians. Many of them are having dreams and visions of Jesus. Others are coming to faith through studying the Koran, as David Garrison reports: “Amid is a Muslim-background Christian I met in South Asia. He said, ‘Once I read the Koran in my own language I realised I was lost.’ Amid discovered that the Koran had no plan of salvation within it. ‘No titles of honour for Muhammad in the Koran, but 23 honourable titles that Allah gave to Isa [Jesus]. I saw that Muhammad is dead, but Isa is alive in heaven with Allah now. Muhammad is not coming again, but Isa will come again at the last judgement…’ These discoveries led Amid, and many other Muslims, to read the New Testament and discover Jesus for themselves. This unexpected pathway from Koran to the gospel is occurring throughout the Muslim world.”‘

            Note gleaned from Premier Christian radio

          • Anton

            David Garrison’s book A wind in the house of Islam is vital reading: for the first time in 1400 years, Muslims are coming to Christ in mass movements, not just isolated individuals, and doing so all over the Islamic world. This is a matter for great praise and joy.

          • CliveM

            If this is true (and I don’t doubt it), then we can expect an intensification of violence from the religion of peace.

            But it and Satan will fail.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Now I can see what’s about to take place:

            The West is wiped out by a nuclear exchange.

            It’s the Muslim converts to Jesus who are beheaded:

            Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

            Revelation 20:4

          • 1642again

            There are rumours of large scale conversions in Iran.

    • Inspector General

      Not ‘Christmashoppers’?

    • len

      If it was Luther that’s OK …please continue…

  • chefofsinners

    And lo, the tribe of Cranmer did rend their garments and put on sackcloth and prostrate themselves in ashes before the Reverend Canon. And verily they did repent themselves and smote upon their breasts saying ‘O that such worms as we might dwell in thine all consuming presence and bear the glory of thy holiness upon our naked souls.’ And they fain would have scraped their sores with potsherds and they wept many days. Then they arose spake they unto him, saying: ‘Up yours you sanctimonious twat’.

    • William Lewis

      Is that from the Chef’s Bible, with commentary by Gordon Ramsay?

      • chefofsinners

        **** *#*#!

    • CliveM

      Can I ask why sanctimonious twat is acceptable, sanctimonious cant isn’t??????

      • chefofsinners

        Oh… cant. Sorry.

        • CliveM

          I’m going to confess, I have no idea if you’re pulling my leg or not!

          • chefofsinners

            Just the way I like it.

    • dannybhoy

      :0)

  • David

    As in 2016, so perhaps in 2017, one wonders, one hopes …. will the liberal-left continue being trounced by evidence and reasoned, free thinking ?
    Let all ideas ever be tested in the open market place, of debate.

  • chefofsinners

    Ad cominem: an attack on the comments thread rather than the article itself. Device often employed once an argument has been lost.

    • Pubcrawler

      Ad collinam: claiming the moral high ground. Ditto.

    • David

      Yes, it is all too easy to ignore the frequent and obvious, and so it needs identifying, thus, : “ad cominem” – very apt !

  • If Jack wasn’t Catholic he would be Orthodox Jewish.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Erm…No …I don’t think so. If Jack raised with Catholic values went to live in a Jewish conclave for ten years he would not like it.

      • Maybe not. Jack’s father was Orthodox Jewish before converting to Catholicism because he understood it was the fulfilment of Judaism. If he had converted Jack’s mother, he would have been raised a Jew. If he had not married Jack’s mother, a more likely scenario given her strong faith, Jack would not be here today.

        • Cressida de Nova

          I am pleased you are here today Jack and I give thanks that Jack had such a great mother, who I believe is still watching over him.

    • Samuel

      Dude

      Marvellous!

  • Doug

    On the other hand, if you wind the devil up, and then allow or even invite him (or her, I’m not exclusive on the gender of evil!) to comment …

    In that no doubt hypothetical case (as perhaps you would yourself construct a fence against criticism), it might then be ever so slightly disingenuous to appeal to your hewing to the line of reason, and expressing yourself in eloquent prose, as a defence entire and whole against such accusation.

    • Liberal progressives are regularly wound up but the devil’s minions prefer more fruitful pastures these days, such as the Guardian, and tend to talk in more moderate, inclusive terms. Consider how he beguiled Eve with his smooth talking.

  • Richard Hill

    agree completely with the post, perhaps it is a bit long. As for the comments, they are often witty and insightful. BUT they are evidence that there are too many people (not excluding myself) who have time on their hands when we should be discussing how to defeat the Salafist menace.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Those who oppose that which is evil need to speak to one another, to encourage one another, and to strengthen on another for the fight ahead – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

  • not a machine

    Is it really 11yrs since your grace made a cyber presence ? how time flies. Your grace has no doubt thought and indeed developed his thoughts ,over the time from when blogging was like the wild west to the more mob like workings of today ,however I perhaps consider timothy Galton Ashs discussion on freedom of speech or even the astringent of Roger Screwton ,then we have Will self and even David Starky .Mr Galton Ashes memorable conclusion was that you have to defend free speech ,speech can be less articulate than written composure .,but so is youth .Perhaps I start by considering how the invention itself may have created the environment ,not all blogg sites require thought ,indeed it seems to me that most of the evolved activities are about comment ,the new youth brigade seem to prefer ,highly condensed codified meanings useually with some exciting personal or event footage .There are also now deliberate or even automated commenting ,people can be paid to post nice or bad things on consumer goods or reviews .So the invention itself is unable to make any decision about what is suitable , it is after all just very high speed mathematical code ,deconstructed and reconstructed to assignated values .
    At another level it allows exchange in fast time ,to anywhere on the globe .When I try and explain what pre 1995 was like ,I struggle ,I am not sure if that world had real values ,it doesn’t feels like it to me .Modernity requires your mind to work differently ,you need to process loads of trivial communications .I personally have doubts that this is a good thing ,I ponder if we are ,rather than swimming in nexus of knowledge ,are becoming the intellectual equivalent of small or shallow rooted , busy but rather devoid any good mental furnishings that are imperative for living life or a living faith.
    But this is a philosophical question ,your grace wishes to raise Judgement ,in a Christian context in blogging.In blogging we are engaging in an exchange , an exchange which for the most part is between thoughtful individuals , who in the crucible of death by hard copy , have to survive millennia of amassed knowledge about life , after life ,bible study , theology and philosophy. No one person can contain all this knowledge , which perhaps is part of the fun , and in my darker thoughts a game that cannot be won .
    Over time this blog used to receive regular high end athiests , who thought that it was their media to destroy the dopey lower intellectuals ,who were happy with a mere 2000yr old mystery and bring about ,true and perfected and accurate scientific living , but thanks to this blog and his graces world wide communicants , well we had to improve our own thoughts , with perhaps the exception of Happy Jack and Shadrach Fire , who have had some delightful comforts to troubling questions , and for all those who have found the bible a good source of blogg material to post.
    Moses immediately after the Red sea incident ,had a similar problem and god gave him the 10 commandments ,once you escape slavery ,what should comprise as regards rules to live by ?
    Jesus no doubt was faced with a scene of ,of everyday living having a lawful meaning , and where this lawful meaning ,became something of an oppression, yet he changed none of it , the law was to apply and where we have laws we have judgements , we perhaps also have judgements where we don’t have laws .jesus left a far more enigmatic “you are to love as you would yourself ” , which sort of end loads things ,I mean what is at the end of definition by judgement ,useually its judge being found guilty of some failing of his/her own legal prognosis .
    At one time I thought I was pretty smart , when I brought a T shirt that was rare , to be seen in on the dance floor , whilst no doubt having had a few drinks , move on 30yrs and I don’t think like that ,Jesus changes lives .Now my younger self would have been batting for science , taking all you deluded Christians fools for a try out in the arena , for intellectual combat .I lost I thank the lord I did ,this is far better than anything I could have brought in a shop .But did I make a judgement ? well yes I had to consider if God and Christ were true , and given the sheer variety of what constitutes Christian belief exists , that is not easy .
    Yet God/Christ does not work in only the beautiful places or the beautiful people , which confounds a great deal of the sort of judgement I thought was good when I was younger .The truth about judgement is that I have had to learn what good judgement entails , and that requires a freedom to develop ,to say wrong things ,to be corrected ,to consider things , to furnish your mind with a processor ,that hopefully interprets and understands Jesus and god , and if I understand Gods way correctly , that is a lifetimes work , which perhaps is why we understand through forgiveness, better than if we do not .
    I do not deny , I have judgements or make judgements ,I perhaps try and think these days where they may be coming from .But let me be clear ,some pretty poor governements and beurocracies have made judgements that should be challenged .I listened to the NHS minister got his grilling ,my fury rose “that at least 2 people a week are dying through dehydration under the government ” goodness knows how many people died from dehydration under the previous Labour government , they were not bothered about collecting the figures , or for that matter , telling the operators to sort it out .They were as far I can tell A judgemental .
    What can happen if your primary legislature pays/expenses an a-judgemental system for financial mismanagement, prepping for unexplained/unqualified federal rule,kinghthoods for bankers , civil service failiure ,you get duck houses and shardenfraud , and imporverish democratic value .
    Judgement appears to come in one form or another , if you forget that it came with the escape from slavery .
    The bishop who complains, has to consider if a mess can be sorted out with no judgement , the future considered with a breakdown due to the constituents it has created ,where loving as you would yourself includes those who would film a child holding a hand gun shooting a prisoner .The bishop perhaps should consider if he has any judgemental feelings on such a moment ,take yer pick none , a bit , a lot , but then what is upheld by judgement , it can be good or bad justice .

  • Dreadnaught

    Richard Hill makes a valid observations on the amunt of time some who visit here (myself included) have at their disposal. To those so fortunate, may I suggest that they use some of that time to view what I think is the most informative debate

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Well this has got us all talking in Barchester. Nothing like stirring up a hornet’s nest. It seems to me that the Rev’d Mr. Godsall believes in the ‘Anglican Doormat’ approach to Christianity, i.e. that anyone and everyone should be able to wipe their feet on it without any come back. Niceness is all well and good, but it doesn’t win hearts and minds. Passion does. Belief does. Look at Islam, well on the way to world conquest because its adherents believe in their mission to conquer and subdue. No amount of cucumber sandwiches on the vicarage lawn and tickets for the church tombola can counter that.

    • Anton

      This tells us something of the Reverend Godsall’s approach to Christianity in his own words:

      http://www.exeter.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Electoral-address-clergy-Godsall.pdf

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        “re-imagining” the church???????????????? Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!

        • William Lewis

          One imagines hobnobs being replaced by some kind of tasteless, gender-neutral confection, Mrs. P.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            No, one simply cannot stretch the imagination that far. However, I have recently started adding a chocolate topping to my hobnobs…rather good with cocoa…

        • bluedog

          After the success of New Labour, surely it is time for the progressives to announce the debut of New Christianity.

    • CliveM

      Agreed. Since when did Christianity become a zero cost faith? Who decided it had to be nice? If a faith asks nothing of you, or demands nothing, how can it lead to change? God demands a changed life. If they want simply to be nice, become Pagans. It asks for nothing, demands nothing, but it allows people to wallow in ‘spiritual fuzziness’ and encourages people to believe that it doesn’t matter how broken or perverted their life is, all will be alright.

    • bluedog

      Perhaps a church Calcutta would excite more interest than a tombola.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        As in O Calcutta?

        • bluedog

          Umm, no. The age of most congregations may dampen the interest one envisaged stimulating.

  • dannybhoy

    That was rather cutting Sarky.

  • ChaucerChronicle

    ‘But all had integrity, partly, mostly perhaps, because all were accountable for what they said using their real names.’

    The Rt Rev’d Alan Wilson

    Why are we in an age where men feel that they are impelled to conceal their identities?

    What are the issues that drive men to go underground, as it were?

    Fear of losing jobs? Homes? Destitution?

    That sort of thing only happened in countries like the German Democratic Republic.

    For years we’ve waited for our vicars, pastors and bishops to speak out about the issues that matter: abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, transgender, defence of the historic faith, women priests (neutering the priesthood); immigration, divorce, social services snatching children from parents, impending OFSTED inspections of our Sunday Schools, liberty, freedom, the fascist EU and now the threat to our free press.

    They gave us, the people, a referendum and all our whisperings thundered: BREXIT!

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes sir. You are right. But a few still insist on using our names. I speak out against these things in the knowledge that either the establishment has decided that what they perceive as my weakness and ineffectuality makes me no threat and/or negates my comments, or that one day they will knock on the door and try to stop me. But I WILL use my name, I shall not be driven underground, I shall not shut up. My name is written in the Book of Life – what’s good enough for God is good enough for a blog!

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Bravo.

      • William Lewis

        I use my name as I reminder (to myself) that I need to communicate personally, as if face to face. It doesn’t always work. There is nothing wrong with using a nom de plume and I think that trouble on the internet starts when we think that we can say, or do, anything without any personal come back, much like road rage. Of course, Christianity reminds us that no personal come back is not an option.

        • CliveM

          Same reason as me, although I have thought of reverting to a nom de plume, as there are things I would like to have said, but would have preferred (for professional reasons) not to be tracked back to me.

          • dannybhoy

            Doin’ time eh?

        • chefofsinners

          Yes, that’s why I use my real name and photo.

          • William Lewis

            It’s not the most revealing of photos Mr. Chefofsinners. Are you sure you’re not trying to hide something?

          • Cressida de Nova

            He is. It is lurking under his hat.

          • chefofsinners

            No… I mean yes… er… it wasn’t me.

          • Happy Jack too.

          • Anton

            Have you considered writing a limerick about the Bishop of Buckingham?

          • chefofsinners

            No, nothing rhymes with Buckingham.
            I’m working on the chorus of of Boney M’s Rasputin…
            Vlad Vlad Vlad Putin,
            Knows your password and your PIN
            The Democrat emails really have gone.
            Vlad Vlad Vlad Putin
            Russia’s inside your machine
            He won the game, they elected the Don.

        • Dominic Stockford

          As with chef, yes – though my picture is probably a little closer to what I look like than his……

      • Bruce Atkinson

        I must admit that I tend to have more respect for those who use their real names and avoid anonymous online pseudonyms. Using our real names necessarily makes us more accountable for what we write. We should have the courage of our convictions … or write nothing.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Absolutely.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          ‘We should have the courage of our convictions … or write nothing.’

          Mr Atkinson,

          I suggest that you fail to understand how far into moral corruption this country has fallen. Consequently, you fail to understand why men are driven to conceal their identities.

          The situation Judaeo-Christians are facing in ‘England’ is similar to that in the former GDR.

          Yesterday, I had a conference with three Christian lawyers.

          When I asked them, why they hadn’t removed their batteries from their mobile phones and deposited the devices in the office fridge; their reply indicated that they were used to their privacy being invaded.

          I was tempted to ask what their reaction would be if, whilst at work, men came into their homes and ejaculated semen into the mouth of their wives’ toothpate tubes.

          When I inquired about the support of Christian MPs in parliament for their work, I was advised it was cautious (fear).

          An MP (Christian) formerly of Cabinet rank, spoke to me before Christmas. I advised that Christians are silenced in the employment context. He replied that in the news there are very few cases. I advised he was seeing the mere tip of an iceberg.

          He wasn’t interested in the plight of his people (the Christians).

          I went to visit an old lady in hospital and requested that the Chaplain visit her. The nurses, Christian, looked afraid. I had to organise the visits myself.

          I look back at the USSR, the Nazis, the GDR and realise if Christians didn’t conceal their identity, resistance would’ve have been so much easier for the authorities to terminate.

          All those Christians, in ancient Rome, in the catacombs. All they had to do was emerge. It would’ve been so much easier for the Praetorian Guard.

          If only members of the French Resistance had said to the SS: ‘Say, fellas, here we are, catch us if you can.’

          One of my heroes, the great Soviet dissident, Solzhenitsyn asked could there have been any action we all could have taken to disrupt our persecution? I presume, he meant men, women and children.

          He concluded, yes there was: they could’ve thrown carpet tacks under the tyres of the Secret Police.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yes, sir! (Nazi salute.)

          • ChaucerChronicle

            I see that you are still at the puberty stage of development.

            Grow up, Atkinson.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Chuckle. Thank you very much …. for providing continuing evidence of the accepted culture here … of the insult and put down. This is common indeed among 12 year olds. Interesting that you would see me (at 70, with three advanced degrees) at that level. They call it ‘projection.’

          • CliveM

            I knew you must have three advanced degrees. It’s the way you resorted to accusing someone of be a Nazi that gave it away.

            Who else but someone who is greatly learned would be able to do that.

    • 1642again

      Good comment. I’m on the Boards of a number of companies and must divorce my professional life from my private opinions. Those who are not in this sort of position are not in a position to comment on whether people post under pseudonyms or not. After all Cranmer himself is a pseudonym is he not, as is Mrs Proudie?

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I assure you I am the real me…

        • 1642again

          Our very own female Scarlet Pimpernel.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      You only have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power- he’s free again.

      Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

      Perhaps I ought to use my real name:

      D. Singh

      • IanCad

        I use just enough of my real name so as to remember it.

        • dannybhoy

          Cad?

  • Little Black Censored

    Godsall and the Barmy Bishop of Bux are representative of the superior people who resent the democratic nature of the internet. They are control freaks who (I am assuming this) who thought leaving the EU and electing Trump were disasters that might have been avoided if only the debating and decisions had been left to enlightened people like them.
    (You are right to mention the comments on the Guardian website. Not only are they the most vitriolic of the lot – on the right side, of course – but they are energetically moderated to filter out some of the riff-raff.)

  • IrishNeanderthal

    I remember reading decades ago that, as the beaches of East Africa became increasingly frequented by tourists from other countries, the Germans who had up to then sunbathed there at the rate of about one per mile were finding them becoming objectionably crowded.

    But here is something for your attention, and that of other Cranmer blogistas:

    Who Faces the Greater Threat- Sir Alan Duncan or Israel?

  • 1642again

    I met this man once, when enquiring about non-stipendiary ordination as I live in the Diocese and have very little regard for the people who run it, who basically want to close all the village churches.. He was rather pompous and did all he can to discourage rather than encourage, I didn’t take it any further, but mentioned it to my vicar who had suggested it, but who was not surprised in the least by his response.

  • Albert

    Compare and contrast a conversation I on my Facebook page where around 30 people, including specialist doctors, lawyers (including one who had worked on the Shipman case), care workers, bereaved relatives and others, engaged in a hugely respectful mutual conversation about assisted dying.

    Is the assumption supposed to be that posters here aren’t educated? That just looks like snobbery to me.

    just eager to express a robust opinion on a matter of politics or theology which isn’t possible anywhere else

    Exactly. It’s pretty hard to have the kinds of discussions in real life like we do down here. Liberals in their wonderful, glorious open-mindedness would have many poster looked up for what they say here. I see that Dame Louise Casey, the Government’s integration tsar has said it is not okay for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage. (I assume I’m misreading her words if I say she means it is okay for the Catholic schools to be anti-same sex marriage, provided they are not homophobic.)

    For the record, I really enjoy this post and learn a lot from it. I like to thank Dr C for putting up with us – especially as we apparently tarnish his good name in the eyes of some.

  • Troll.

    • carl jacobs

      You see? That’s just the kind of vituperous comment that got our weblog host into hot water. You should be more understanding and refrain from these acts of micro-aggression.

      • Bruce Atkinson

        Uh, not so funny. You were the one who deliberately provoked Jack (micro-aggressively) “because it’s fun.”

        • carl jacobs

          You obviously don’t have a clue about my relationship with Jack.

          Not. The. First. Clue.

          You really should educate yourself before you shoot off your mouth and make yourself look ignorant by throwing around such judgments. Perhaps you should go back to the comments from 2011 and start from the beginning, because that’s how long I have known him.

          I will leave it to Jack to defend me. Or Avi. Or Clive. Or Chef. Or any of the other regulars here. I have no doubt that they will do so.

          • Me defend you? After triggering me under a blankie in my safe space with your rabid anti-Canadianism and relentless mega-aggressions against shmaltz herring? Ha!

          • carl jacobs

            Canada … You said Canada, right? Don’t tell me. I remember something called Canada. What was it?

            Wait! Isn’t that a glacier in Antartica?

          • No, it’s a little closer than that. I can see your house from here.

          • CliveM

            Hold on, you do know Brucie boy won’t realise you’re having a joke?

            You ARE joking……. aren’t you!

          • I forget, you did spend a little too long in the States, didn’t you?

          • CliveM

            Been three times, why what’s your point? ;0)

          • You were unsure about whether I was joking. Lest you’ve forgotten, when on American sites, you must follow a joke with a 🙂 and any sarcastic remark with a /sarc. It was a stated rule I ignored on an American history site and nearly got kicked out of for …get this… antisemitism. No shit. And in person, you’d better follow up statements with clear theatrical expressions, visible up to at least 300 yards, to clarify your intent lest pistols be drawn. Seems to me like you need time in an English reeducation camp, Clive.

          • CliveM

            But, but, but I was being ironic.

            But wait perhaps you’re being ironic and pretending not to spot the irony. In which case…………….. I’m getting lost in a maze of irony. But wait, maybe you aren’t being ironic (you are after all Canadian, which is nearly American), in which case……. there’s to much b£&@”y irony on this blog!!

            I’m off for a lie down in a darkened room, with a glass of port. I feel a headache coming on☹️

          • CliveM

            Anti Semitism, ROFL!

          • Cressida de Nova

            Stop this silliness immediately !

          • Jack will take a rain-cheque on that one.

          • carl jacobs

            And to think I told Dominic to unblock you. Oh, how sharper than a serpent’s tooth …

          • It is all a part of your development, Grasshopper. In time, you will understand.

            Does not the sage say: “What is more yielding than water? Yet, back it comes again, wearing down the ridged strength, which cannot stand to its strength. What is more forceful than quiet water?”

        • Very good, Bruce! That’s just the kind of entertainment we’ve been lacking for a while; a blog nanny to barge in and learn us rascals some manners. You did well to start up with Carl, but I think you should go after the Inspector General next.

        • CliveM

          I maybe to late as you’ve announced that you are flouncing off in a huff over ‘British silliness’. Carl and Happy Jack are friends, they indulge in a bit of leg pulling occasionally. It’s all harmless and no one is offended. You claimed in an earlier response that you have a sense of humour, well you show precious little evidence. Hang around, you might develop one. Carl, another American, has come along nicely and has even started to understand irony.

          Ps Carl is no troll.

          • You’re stretching the irony bit, but his English seems to be coming along nicely.

          • CliveM

            Still has problem with spelling.

      • An American claiming the moral high ground? How strange.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          That is a bigoted statement if I ever heard one. Americans are necessarily immoral or amoral? And this coming from a Brit?

          • There’s a convention here. We don’t use the ” b ” word.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            If you denigrate Americans, just because they are Americans, what are we to call it? Prejudice, unreasonable bias, ignorance? Indeed, there are other words that apply. But bigotry is a good word for this. Be honest. Own it. Confess it.

          • Bruce dear chap, you are unfamiliar with this blog. Did your mummy or daddy never advise to tread carefully in unfamiliar territory?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            ‘Where angels fear to tread’ is actually comfortable territory for me. I am experimenting, wondering if I should judge this blog by the comments it attracts. : )

            Actually I have always valued the Archbishop Cranmer articles, many of which have been used by my own favorite religious (Anglican) website. But until this thread, I have not examined the comments.

            Many on this online social club may choose to ostracize me. That’s OK. I have a wonderful online home to return to. So far, most of the comments have been lacking any serious wisdom. This club seems made up of a bunch of old Monty Python wannabees trying to be cleverly silly. Merely socializing at tea or the local pub. So far, it has been an interesting excursion into the modern British mind.

          • carl jacobs

            But until this thread, I have not examined the comments.

            So he admits he doesn’t know what he is talking about, and yet he insists on forging ahead with his judgment. I’d swear this was a parody of the criticism of the weblog that is at the root of the OP but … I don’t think it is.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            This blog’s comment section is quite lengthy, with an abundance of evidence revealing the nature of the comments… and the character of the commenters. In fact, this particular essay is focused exactly on this topic of whether or not to judge a blog by the comments, so my emphasis is spot on.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      Not so happy Jack. But of course I must agree that deliberately provoking anyone here does indeed reveal trollish manners.

  • Bruce Atkinson

    I will continue to read Archbishop Cranmer avidly. But I think I am done with the comment section. Too much foolishness for my taste.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Deo Gratias !

    • What a great shame.

  • Rest assured, Your Grace, that the Reverend Canon does indeed take your blog very seriously. He probably has nightmares about it. And he should, because this is not just about our ill-bred monkeying around here, “below the fold” as it were, but about the socially subversive effects of the electronic revolution which he might have thought would only make his work easier by not having to change typewriter ribbons. The horror! The horror; our contemporary Kurtz whispers, as every blog, every blogger and every pseudonymous poster …every rebellious hoi polloi with a cheap laptop or a smartphone… drives a nail onto the coffin lid of intellectual elitism and the reign of the aristocracy of experts. So sad.

    As for the Bishop of Buckingham’s grievance, are the 30 respectable sycophants on his Facebook page more likely to provide more truthful or useful opinions than a hundred anonymous rogues, many of whom may have similar or even higher qualification, but are forced into anonymity because of the potential penalties they would incur under the likes of him?

    Thanks for sticking it out through thick and thin, YG!

    • 1642again

      Well said Sir!

  • Cressida de Nova

    Gasp ! No more upticks for you:)

    • CliveM

      We all have our crosses to bear, Cressida :0(

      • Cressida de Nova

        Oh well, I suppose It could be worse if you chose a Catholic cross. Ever seen Catholic knees? 🙂

  • mmac1968

    I have been led astray by the teachings of Father Jack Hackett.

  • dannybhoy

    We liked Father Ted, but not Mrs Brown’s Boys..

  • “Nuns! Nuns! Reverse! Reverse!”

  • Simon Platt

    I’m reminded of something which, if I’m not too late, I’d like to mention here: by far the most vitriolic comments I’ve read online were on the BBC’s web site, the BBC South Asia Cricket Blog, to be precise, shortly after the fiasco in which Pakistan forfeited the Oval Test by refusing to play after being penalised for ball-tampering. How those Moslems and Hindus hated each other!

  • Bruce Atkinson

    I agree that I am only critiquing this particular selection of comments and commenters. That is fine with me. So all I have written applies to this one articles’ comments. However, it is a good guess that no one here was going out of their way to be different this time than they are normally. Other than my own unpleasant presence, have any of you frequent posters noted any great differences this time around? I bet not. It may in fact be more positive than usual (no Linus?).

    • carl jacobs

      This is your rationalization for making false accusations against me and against other people on this thread? Do you have the grace to apologize? Or will you just continue to backtrack on your claims as they are progressively shown false?

      • Bruce Atkinson

        What false accusations? Please name them.
        I have opinions based on evidence (I examine the fruit on the tree and thus I usually can figure out the type of tree). My opinions (like yours) are fallible. But no one can help having them. Everyone who comments on a blog shares their opinions. You don’t have to agree with them. In fact, you can ignore them. Read Archbishop Cranmer’s final sentence– the bottom line.

        • carl jacobs

          Ummm … You mean besides this entire post?


          Uh, not so funny. You were the one who deliberately provoked Jack (micro-aggressively) “because it’s fun.”

          And this entire post?

          That is a bigoted statement if I ever heard one. Americans are necessarily immoral or amoral? And this coming from a Brit?

          And this entire post?

          If you denigrate Americans, just because they are Americans, what are we to call it? Prejudice, unreasonable bias, ignorance? Indeed, there are other words that apply. But bigotry is a good word for this. Be honest. Own it. Confess it.

          All three of which were offered in support of this preening piece of puffery.

          I will continue to read Archbishop Cranmer avidly. But I think I am done with the comment section. Too much foolishness for my taste.

          There isn’t a valid charge in the lot. You didn’t understand what was being said because you only read this thread. You read too little, and assumed too much. I told you that, but you didn’t listen.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Nothing false in any of that. Putting down people from another culture is bigotry. Actually confessing to deliberately provoking someone is exactly that. Who would deny that this thread is full of foolishness (as fun, of course).
            What I now understand is that this is the actual culture of this blog comment section. And I had the effrontery to come in here and break the rules by not sufficiently having my tongue-in-cheek. Mea culpa!

          • carl jacobs

            You didn’t “break the rules”. You judged from ignorance. You are still doing so. Don’t blame us because you opened your mouth and spoke without knowledge. That’s on you and you alone. This is a community. It’s not just a collection of comment threads. It’s generally good practice to understand the community before you presume to correct it.

            If you want to see “serious” go to the thread of December 18th where Jack and I went 15 rounds over the bell ringer. You’ll see “serious.”

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Oh yes, I DID break the rules. There are rules in any community. In this case, they are unique rules, unlike the blogs that I am acquainted with. You people know each other fairly well and have developed a clique, your own preferred way of interacting. Yes, I was ignorant of those rules. However, I have no desire to become a part of this community. Not even a little. Your community’s style is not my style. Archbishop Cranmer will understand. I have already taken too much time and energy just sparring with you.

            Blessings to you and your community.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Toodle pip !

  • Bruce Atkinson

    My concluding comment (perhaps):

    No, we should not judge a blog (that is, the articles) by those who frequent the comment section nor
    even by their style of communication. However, we CAN judge the choices of the blogger and blog administrator on how (and how much) to moderate comments and commenters. Each blogger and website owner takes a different tack on this; some are very liberal and accepting of almost anything and others are more strict and will discipline and even ban trolls quickly. “Trolls” are defined here as negative disrupters of the thread who use ad hominem arguments, personal insults, obscene language, and other forms of egregiously bad manners. These commenters will unnecessarily uglify the blog and could even cause some people to judge the blog by the trolls’ consistently negative presence– and therefore avoid the website altogether.

    I happen to be a Moderator of a large/broad Anglican news website, and I choose to be more strict. It is appreciated by the founder/reporter/author. No one ever complains about troll-infested threads. The comments tend to stay focused on the article’s topic. It does not feel like a community in the sense of a local pub where participants are uninhibited, spontaneous, and make personal comments (like the AC comment section) but rather like a seminary round table discussion. The community rules are different.

    For me, this experience has been educational in the sense of being able to observe the psychosocial
    dynamics of a developing internet community, with subtle unspoken rules and habits of interaction … and cliques. In this case, the style is uniquely British, with almost continual tongue-in-cheek ironic humour. Newcomers who do not understand or like this style of community interaction (and say so) are not welcome and can be ostracized.

    So this has been a very interesting sociological study and I thank those who have interacted with
    this researcher. Perhaps I also have been an over-idealistic critic. But I must confess that I would
    not want to live in such an atmosphere as I have found here (far too much juvenile jousting). But it seems that others love to breathe the air and actually spend an immense amount of time interacting with each other here. To each his own.

    • Pubcrawler

      Do remember to thank God for making you one of the Eloi and not a Moloch like the rest of us, won’t you.

      Pip! Pip!