Democracy

Sorry, left-wing clergy, but God supports strong and stable government

A gaggle of left-wing clergy is a tad upset that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have used their General Election ‘Pastoral Letter‘ to exhort Christians to consider the need for stability in government. This, the clergy aver, closely associates them with the Conservative Party’s mantra of “strong and stable”, and so the archiepiscopal lurch to the right must be righteously repudiated.

The letter was written by the Rev’d Al Barrett (a PhD student you’d think.. O, never mind), but dozens upon dozens more clergy have scrambled to append their names to the rebuke, which includes this gem of theological insight:

..your conflation of the deeply-contested discourses of “our Christian heritage” and “our shared British values” (a conflation often appropriated by far-right nationalist groups) are also all deeply troubling.

Just think about this. These are priests, deans, archdeacons (undoubtedly supported by many bishops) who seriously think that when a political party appropriates a word, phrase or symbol to their partisan and invariably vacuous cause, the Church should abandon it to them. So since Theresa May now owns ‘strong and stable’, Christian leaders should avoid using them at least during an election campaign. And whatever you do, don’t fly the Union Jack or Cross of St George, because they’re owned by far-right BNP-Ukippy nationalist types, whom God loathes with a passion.

You can guarantee, however, that these clergy would have had no problem at all with the Archbishops’ use of terms like ‘equality’ or ‘fairness’ or ‘justice for the many, not the few’, despite Jeremy Corbyn going on and on about these “politically freighted” virtues. If the message is about peace, nurture and tolerance, it is permissible; if it is about aspiration, competition and ambition, it is absolutely not. And so the Archbishops’ robust moral vision gets drowned out by a cacophony of love liberators, each believing that their hermeneutic embodies a superior theo-political righteousness, and the naive Archbishops must be corrected and rebuked “with urgency”.

As BBC producer Callum May quips, if clergy may not use the word ‘stable’, “it could make for a few awkward nativity services later this year”. More seriously, the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a terse riposte: “Just because in a political campaign various words get bandied around, I don’t think Christians should give up and say we don’t have the copyright of the word any longer. We do, and stability is ours, thank you.”

Thank you, indeed.

God desires and supports strong and stable government, so an archiepiscopal exhortation to ‘stability’ (they didn’t actually use the words ‘strong’ or ‘stable’) is consistent with the Christian ethic of governance. Human flourishing in societal diversity is contingent on structure, or “the beauty of order”, as Aquinas put it. And that order is contingent on stability, or it ceases to be inclined toward the common good. And that stability demands strong leadership of whatever polity to hold it all together, or it ceases to be just. When government is weak, it is unstable. When it is unstable, it becomes an imitation of law and justice; a tyranny of false representation.

Implicit in strong and stable democratic government is the consent of the governed: if they do not accept the moral basis of law or the legitimacy of the legal order, we move toward anarchy and tyranny, and so strength and stability become cohesive. For Theresa May a practising and devout Christian – her politics is ordered toward the furtherance of God’s kingdom on earth. She won’t put it in those terms, of course: ‘doing God’ has been sacrificed on the altar of secularity, or at least doing God in a robust way. But you can’t maintain law and order if your government is not strong. You can’t relieve the poor, free the oppressed, provide for common peace or execute justice if your government is not stable. A politician needs all the potency and constancy of a priest, and you’d expect a mass of clergy – even lefty ones – to understand that both their vocations depend upon it.

Scripture teaches that those who exercise political authority are commissioned and empowered by God (Rom 13). They are endowed with divine authority and are not to be despised but prayed for. Transformative peace and reconciliation are contingent on the moral foundations of strength and stability. It is not partisan to point this out during a General Election campaign, even if one political party has appropriated the essence of the words as a slogan. Indeed, the urgent Christian task then is to redeem the shallow words and preach a deeper truth.

Just because a political party preaches that its government will be strong and stable does not mean that it will be so: democratic politics is sophistry, after all. But priestly politics should not be so, at all.

  • Manfarang

    The Mandate of Heaven

  • CliveM

    What do these Clergy want for crying out loud? A civic society riven by instability?

    Anyway the use of stability in the letter was pointing to society and was not part of a wish list for the requirements of a PM.

    Really they simply embarrass themselves.

    • Mark Hewerdine

      Did you read the letter? It didn’t call for instability. It critiqued the kind of stability that the government/May espouse, the dark side to that, and the danger of Archbishops appearing to collide with stability without reference to Christ or the vulnerable.

      • bluedog

        Yes. Anonymous has it roughly right. Would be inclined to add ‘precious’ before ‘drivel’.

        • Mark Hewerdine

          Glad we’re being mature. If you disagree why not argue for why rather than chucking around insults?

          • bluedog

            Well, the immaturity of your letter scarcely encourages any other response than ridicule. But one can see it in two parts. Firstly the trigger for your outrage is an apparent inability to accept what ‘Justin and Sentamu’ (no Christian name for York, why?) have written at face value. Secondly, a laboured and desperately contrived effort at legitimising your criticisms by invoking Benedictine precedents. One suspects that Justin and John will struggle to contain their mirth.

            One notes that a large number of the signatories are concentrated around Birmingham, where apparently 41% of children are Muslim. Would your energies not be better directed in attempting to preach the Christian gospel to them, in the interests of stability and cohesion? Or would you regard such activity as culturally insensitivity and likely to cause harm? In any event, one trusts that the women priests who signed the document are brisk in their denunciation of FGM on their pastoral visits to local schools and mosques.

          • Pubcrawler

            “(no Christian name for York, why?)”

            Because that’s how he signs himself.

          • betteroffoutofit

            I guess he doesn’t want to be associated with Hamlet’s buddy: “poor Yorick” (as in Jorvik, tha knaws – t’ Viking name for ower city).

      • CliveM

        Did you read what I said? If you did you will understand that my question was rhetorical.

        Your problem, as shown both by your response to the Archbishops and my point, is that you are too quick to respond to not what is being said, but what you imagine was said.

        Your prejudices are too much on show. But don’t panic, just because the Archbishops don’t fully share them, this will not lead people to think they are endorsing the last Govt. or the Conservative manifesto.

        • Mark Hewerdine

          Apologies. For some reason only first sentence of your comment loaded hence my responding to that rather than full comment. I imagine we still disagree RE how they should be talking about stability, but I concede I was too hasty in my response.

  • Peter Forster

    Amen and amen.

    Peter Forster

  • Darter Noster

    Anglicanism contains a large number of hysterically touchy lefties…?! Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs!

  • magnolia

    I think, also, that they have mistaken the words “all” and “both” in that quotation from their letter. A rookie error, I feel.

  • Human flourishing in societal diversity is contingent on structure, or ‘the beauty of order’…And that order is contingent on stability, or it ceases to be inclined toward the common good. And that stability demands strong leadership of whatever polity to hold it all together

    I gather that boils down to ‘A diverse society is inherently unstable and requires repressive government to keep the lid on the unholy mess.’

    Theresa May – a practising and devout Christian

    May ‘Consistently voted for allowing marriage between two people of same sex’. Adducing her as a devout Christian makes Christianity look foolish.

  • magnolia

    ‘Appropriation of a conflation’; interestingly weird concept indeed. Still, maybe “May I appropriate your conflation?” passes for small talk in some circles

  • dexey

    I find it odd that given the choice between a marxist aetheist and a Christian church goer that a Christian could have any trouble about which way to vote.

    • Manfarang

      Then vote for a committed evangelical Christian who says that “becoming a Christian at the age of eighteen was the most massive choice he has made.

      • Martin

        If you mean Farron, I fail to see evidence that he is a Christian when he denies the sinfulness of sin.

        • Manfarang

          7 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

          2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

          3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

          • Martin

            So we have to judge with righteous judgement and the evidence of that righteous judgement is that he is willing to sell his Christianity for the leadership of a political party.

          • Manfarang

            One of the most interesting things Enoch Powell ever said is that religion teaches that it is your own weaknesses that you should concern yourself with not those of other people.

          • Anton

            When I face a choice at the ballot box I’m rather interested in the weaknesses of the persons whose names are before me. Should I not be?

          • Manfarang

            Of great concern is the weakness of the British economy. Decline is setting in.

          • Anton

            Nice change of subject! Actually the British economy has been in decline for about a century, but we’re still here and still a major economy.

          • Manfarang

            Industrial decllne since WW2.In the 1960s my economic history teacher spoke of the change to a service economy but as can be seen now this doesn’t provide enough jobs or income for everyone. No I am not still there as are an increasing number of people. The young will emigrate if they want to find work. Perceptions of politicians are not always accurate. JFK was seen as youthful and energetic, he had in fact poor health.

          • Anton

            Everywhere is in recession due in part to lousy monetary policy.

          • Manfarang

            There maybe a bit of a slow down but most Asian economies are enjoying growth,

          • Anton

            Japan has been stagnant for two decades although quantitative easing pumps up its stocks without any improvement in living standards. China has got itself so deep in debt that even its phenomenal growth rate can’t save it from the inevitable crash. Of course we shall all dust ourselves off and start again, including Britain as one of the world’s major economies.

          • Manfarang

            The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development projects 1 percent growth in real terms while Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates growth at a 1.4 percent clip and the Japan Research Institute predicts 0.9 percent. Japan is not standing still, they are doing research on robot technology and the like.
            The world’s second largest economy ended 2016 on a firm note after a rocky start to the year. Consumption is holding up, factories have pulled out of a four-year streak of deflation and overall growth is expected to comfortably meet the government’s target. Analysts expect another year of solid growth ahead of a twice-a-decade reshuffle of the Communist Party’s top leadership scheduled for later this year. As you say there are concerns about debt but the Chinese economy still comes under a lot of state control.

          • Anton

            The economic predictions of economists are not even useful as toilet paper.

          • Manfarang

            While the projections may have some readjustment they are not likely to be completely wrong. Remember both China and Japan have a big economic presence in SE Asia where lots of production takes place.

          • Anton

            I stand corrected. The economic predictions of economists are useful as toilet paper.

          • Manfarang

            Your career in the City didn’t go far.

          • Anton

            I never sought nor wished for one. What do you mean?

          • Anton

            Paul Krugman, who holds a Nobel Prize in Economics, stated early this century that a housing bubble was just what the US economy needed. He got what he wanted in 2008, didn’t he? No major economist saw it coming, either.

            Are you an economist?

            See also upgraded answer below.

          • Manfarang

            I am more interested in economic history. The lessons of the 1930s were becoming forgotten by the beginning of this century and a lot of regulation had become discarded.
            I can take a bus ride and see a lot of construction going on as is the case in a lot of east Asia. I don’t notice a lot of change in this regard in England.

          • Coniston

            When I was in the voting booth last week, deciding who to vote for in the county council elections, I was faced with 5 candidates from 5 different parties. None of them had sent anyone in my area any leaflets or information about themselves, and I had never heard of any of them before and knew nothing about any of them. And they expect you to vote for them?

          • Martin

            We need to ensure that those who claim to be Christians are so, otherwise we may be led astray.

          • Manfarang

            Led to temperance, vegetarianism, no smoking and absolutely no drugs.
            And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

          • Martin

            Why would you imagine vegetarianism has anything to do with Christianity?

          • Manfarang

            Compassion for animals. Many children in countries such as the United States bring their pets to the church to be blessed on St Francis’ feast day because of his love for animals as expressed in his Canticle of Creatures..
            “29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
            And the Seventh Day Adventists of course.

          • Anton

            The New Testament leaves me entirely free to eat meat, as Christ did (and I do).

          • Manfarang

            He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

          • Anton

            If you believe that this scripture excludes Christian carnivorism, please explain why.

          • Manfarang

            Manna, not ordinary food.

          • Anton

            And until I receive it, I shall eat meat as the New Testament leaves me free to, does it not?

          • Martin

            Nowt there to do with Christianity.

          • Manfarang

            My Seventh Day Adventists pastor friend carries a small bible around with him. He is a good Christian. Pictures of Jesus at the Adventist hospital.

          • Martin

            How do you know he is a good Christian, do you know what a Christian is? And pictures of Jesus are idols. not a good thing.

          • Manfarang

            He does good and spreads the word of God.

          • Martin

            And what is that?

          • Manfarang

            All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

          • Martin

            Rather, as I meant, what is it that the word of God says, what is the gospel?

          • Manfarang

            The minister or elder can give the candidate one of two sets of baptismal vows, one consisting of 13 vows or one consisting of the following three questions:

            1. Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, and do you desire to live your life in a saving relationship with him?

            2. Do you accept the teachings of the Bible as expressed in the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and do you pledge by God’s grace to live your life in harmony with these teachings?

            3. Do you desire to be baptized as a public expression of your belief in Jesus Christ, to be accepted into the fellowship of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and to support the church and its mission as a faithful steward by your personal influence, tithes and offerings, and a life of service?

          • Martin

            I’d say that the gospel is two fold. It starts with the nature of Man, that all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. The second is that God has offered forgiveness of sin and new life to all who repent of their sin and turn to Him in faith, trusting Him to do as He has promised. There is further detail but that is the summary.

          • Manfarang

            There appears to be some Zoroastrian dualism.

          • Martin

            Demonstrate I am wrong from the Bible.

          • Manfarang

            Isaiah 45:7 “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
            If God is good why would he create evil?

          • Martin

            Use a better translation:

            I form light and create darkness,
            I make well-being and create calamity,
            I am the LORD, who does all these things.
            (Isaiah 45:7 [ESV])

      • Anton

        Perhaps followed by his choice to deny his saviour’s definition of sin in order to preserve his worldly position?

        • Manfarang

          Who is without sin?

          • Anton

            But which sinner to vote for?

          • Manfarang

            I don’t get a vote anymore. I have been away for many many years but if I could it would be for Naomi Long.

      • dexey

        Even odder that you should be advising me how to vote. I am not your proxy.
        Other than their music, I am not keen on evangelicals. Besides that, Farron is an also ran.

        • Manfarang

          Your the one who is saying vote for a church goer.

          • dexey

            I never said that at all.

          • Manfarang

            “a Christian church goer” were your words.

  • IanCad

    I cannot help but think that the CofE offers the only hope of employment for such as the Revd. Al Barrett and his co-signatories.
    “I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.” These guys/gals need re-resourcing Pronto!!

    • Mark Hewerdine

      You can speculate on someone’s employability based on signing a letter? I appreciate your concern but I held down two long term jobs in my pre-ordained days. I think I’ll be fine.

      • IanCad

        Within the brevity of a blog format generalizations should be overlooked.
        I’m glad that you’ve proven yourself the exception to the rule.

  • I’m from Barcelona

    The best political advice ever given…

    “Esto peccator et pecca fortiter, sed fortius fide et gaude in Christo”

    • chefofsinners

      Unfortunately most politicians are incapable of moving beyond the first clause.

      • I’m from Barcelona

        So very true and with no fear of retribution.

  • Intonsus

    “say we don’t have the copyright of the word any longer. We do”
    Possibly their riposte is stronger than the grammar. It should be “We have”; what possible reason can there be for a such a craching change of verb?

  • len

    Strong stable leadership .Well, that narrows the field down somewhat!.

  • Anton

    The Archbishops would do well to apply the principles they espouse in this letter to the Church of England.

  • The left truly believe they ought to be in control of language, and therefore thought. They are deranged. Thankfully there is a new word in the English lexicon to describe them – libtards.

    • Martin

      Antinomians might be an alternative but I’m not sure they believe in faith and grace.

      • Mark Hewerdine

        I signed the letter. I believe in faith and grace. I preach them week in, week out. I’m not sure how calling a fellow Christian “deranged” and a “libtard” is consonant with the Gospel and Faith of Jesus Christ; how such vitriol builds up the body of Christ; how it bears witness to the Gospel and the work of God. I am left wing. But that comes second to my allegiance to Christ.

        • Martin

          Mark

          It seems strange to me that a letter would be sent objecting to the primates use of the word stability, when the Bible tells us to pray for such, when little seems to have been heard from the clergy criticising the failure of the bishops to condemn the sexual immorality and uphold the Bible in our nation.

          You say you believe in faith and grace, but are they the faith and grace laid out in the 39 Articles that seems so sadly neglected in the CoE. If not, it may be that you are not preaching the faith and grace that are in the Bible.

          • Mark Hewerdine

            I don’t understand faith and grace in a way which is identical to the 39 articles necessarily.
            I’m not sure what sexual immorality has to do with this. Criticising them for one things doesn’t mean i/we automatically don’t care about other things.
            The criticism RE stability was about what they mean by the word, how it will be read by others, what the government understand by stability. No one is saying it’s a bad concept or something to be entirely rejected.
            I stand by the fact that using the word in this letter by the Archbishops, given it has become a mantra of the Tory campaign is, at best, naive. I would say the same if they had used a watchword of the Labour campaign.
            If they had said, for example, “for the many not the few”, I may agree with the sentiment (due to my bias) BUT I would question the wisdom of using the phrase in a pastoral letter.

          • Anton

            The 39 articles are pretty clear. The last person who claimed that they could be “reinterpreted” was John Henry Newman.

          • Martin

            Mark

            So why are you in the CoE if you don’t accept the 39 Articles?

            If you criticise the Archbishops for the use of a word that is also being used by a political party, why is it you don’t criticise them for the far more serious matter of being mealy mouthed about sexually immoral persons among the clergy?

        • bluedog

          ‘I believe in faith and grace.’ Anything but Forward in Faith, it would appear.

  • carl jacobs

    This is just an exercise in “Not in my name”. If the archbishop’s letter was irrelevant, this letter is doubly so. But it makes a bunch of left-wing clergy feel better about themselves. They have “spoken truth to power” or something.

  • Martin

    Pity they aren’t as interested in preaching Christ’s gospel of salvation to the fallen rebel sinner. the homosexual, the transexual, the liar, the thief, the gossip, as they are the gospel of Karl Marx.

    • Manfarang

      44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

      45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

      • Acts 6:2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.” There’s a place for social outreach but not without preaching the word of God.

        • Manfarang

          They held property in common that is the point.

          • The property in common was for the believers, as we see with Paul collecting money “for the saints”. It wasn’t a Marxist ideology, that was my point.

          • carl jacobs

            They chose to hold their property in common. They were free to do so or not. They were also free to withdraw from the arrangement. That is a far cry from the assertion that “All property is theft!” and from government coercion over who receives the benefits of labor.

            Men are by nature evil. If you give them an opportunity to live comfortably without working, they will gladly take it.

          • Anton

            That’s not evil, that’s smart! What’s evil is a system that does it at someone else’s involuntary expense.

          • carl jacobs

            Indolence. Laziness. Entitlement. These are the attitudes that Leftism in fact produces in the name of “victimhood”. When the Leftist discovers that a man will not produce according to his ability solely for the sake of another’s need, the Leftist resorts to coercion. This is why Leftism devolves into bloodshed.

          • Inspector General

            Victimhood indeed, Carl!

            The Inspector patrols a site devoted to victimhood. Poor blighters. When others tell them that they will never know happiness because they’ve been roped into something they HAVE to be part of, it’s swallowed so easily. Yes, so easily swallowed.

          • Blame it on the French:

            French communist Morelly,[4] who proposed in his 1755 Code of Nature “Sacred and Fundamental Laws that would tear out the roots of vice and of all the evils of a society” including“

            I. Nothing in society will belong to anyone, either as a personal possession or as capital goods, except the things for which the person has immediate use, for either his needs, his pleasures, or his daily work.
            II. Every citizen will be a public man, sustained by, supported by, and occupied at the public expense.
            III. Every citizen will make his particular contribution to the activities of the community according to his capacity, his talent and his age; it is on this basis that his duties will be determined, in conformity with the distributive laws.

            https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_each_according_to_his_ability,_to_each_according_to_his_need

            However impossible to realise, it is surely right that the Church promote a sense of solidarity in a community and a mutual responsibility for one another – even though this goes against the grain of fallen human nature. Our gifts and talents are God given and the wealth of the world is for everyone.

          • carl jacobs

            … the wealth of the world is for everyone.

            What does that even mean, Jack? How would you operationalize that sentiment?

          • It cannot be imposed and therefore cannot be fully operationalised; and different contexts require different responses. The Church should witness this truth and discourage greed and selfishness and an awareness of the disparity between rich and poor – at home and internationally. There are policies that promote a sense of solidarity.

          • “Men are by nature evil. If you give them an opportunity to live comfortably without working, they will gladly take it.”

            They’re called global capitalists.

          • carl jacobs

            Been watching BBC again, I take it.

          • Manfarang

            Nearly every wants to live on the dole eh?

          • Ivan M

            At that time the primitive Christians believed that their world was ending, hence they held their property in common, recalcitrant though some may have been; waiting for that day. Their world indeed ended in various conflagrations of one kind or another. Our world continues. St Paul in one of his letters warned against the grifters, freeloaders and I suppose assgrabbers infesting the early communes. The early communism was to mark time till the end of the world. It was not to herald a new dawn in this world.

            See The Socialist Phenomenon for an informative and entertaining read.
            https://archive.org/details/SocialistPhenomenon

          • Manfarang

            Years ago I worked on a collective. None of that what St Paul describes went on. Of course the members weren’t Christian.

          • Ivan M

            It must have been an exceptional bunch of people. Or just as likely: The time frame was too limited for the less desirable traits of your commune members to manifest themselves.

            The Pilgrim’s Failed Socialist Experiment:
            http://libertyunderfire.org/2011/11/1430/

          • Manfarang

            It was a kibbutz of course.

          • len

            Not all have sold their souls to the welfare state system.Many yes , most yes, but some have not.Thank God for those brave souls the entreprenaurs, the inventors, the public spirited who work for very little return rather than go on welfare.These are the working poor, the heroes of our society.

        • Martin

          LI

          And they appointed deacons to wait on tables. Elders/overseers, aka ministers, preach the gospel.

          • That is literally what I just wrote.

          • Martin

            LI

            A paraphrase maybe, but not literally.

      • Martin

        However, it was for Christians only, not for the whole of society. And there is no evidence it continued.

        • Manfarang

          There were various groups down the ages, one was the town of Harmony, founded by the Harmony Society in 1814 under the leadership of German immigrant George Rapp (actually Johann Georg Rapp), was the second of three towns built by the pietist, communal German religious group, known as Harmonists, Harmonites or Rappites.
          The Mennonites have various agricultural co-operatives in the Americas today.

          • Martin

            And both those are over a millennia later.

          • Manfarang

            So you are not yet prepared to sell your possessions and give the proceeds to the poor to follow Jesus.

          • Martin

            I’m not that young man.

        • Merchantman

          Early Jerusalem church went bust and had to be bailed out at Paul’s suggestion.

          • Martin

            The Romans sacked Jerusalem in AD70.

          • chefofsinners

            Which was because Jerusalem wasn’t doing it’s job very well, and nothing to do with the fact that it was investigating links between the Romans and the Russians.

          • Martin

            CoS

            More to do with the Jews being a rebellious people with whom the Romans had finally had enough.

  • It’s hard to equate being a devout Christian with sacrificing ‘doing God’ on the altar of secularity.

  • Damaris Tighe

    Of even more concern for me is that Rev’d Barrett considers reference to our ‘Christian heritage’ ‘deeply troubling’.

  • magnolia

    Trees, roses, torches, flames oil lamps, birds, change, strength, stability, new anything, left, right, centre, national, work/labour, liberal, conservative, independence, br/exit, and leadership. Would that get most of the potentially taboo words? Oh, not forgetting blue, green orange yellow, red and purple…

    Perhaps it would be safer to remain silent and indoors at that [absurd] rate. Even giving instructions to get anywhere would be a minefield…

  • Father David

    From an article in today’s Times by Alice Thomson which reads “‘Lambeth Palace and Downing Street relations are at the most cordial they have been for decades’ says one dean.”
    Oh dear, I still remember the good old days when Archbishop Robert Runcie was the unofficial Leader of the Opposition to the Thatcher Government. “Faith in the City” – “The Church and the Bomb” and Runcie’s Falkland Islands sermon in St. Paul’s were all thorns in the flesh to our first woman Prime Minister.

  • chefofsinners

    These are the clergy who have grown resentful, not just of Archbishops but of Christ ruling His church. After 2000 years of strong and stable leadership they have decided it’s time He moved over and let them have a go.
    Time to usher in the age of weakness and instability. It recalls the image of an enormous statue with feet of clay.

    • Anton

      An enormous statue with feet of clay? Dream on…

    • len

      Iron mixed with clay.
      One strong, the other ( the rest ) weak.

      Anything come to mind Chef?.

      • chefofsinners

        British Rail sandwiches?

      • Pubcrawler

        “I thought my mother’s cooking was bad, but at least her gravy used to move about. Yours just sort of lies there and sets.”

        “That’s the goodness in it!”

        “That’s the half a pound of flour you put in it!”

    • Rhoda

      An alarming number of the clergy who have signed that letter are priestesses.

      • Inspector General

        Jesus’ “loose women”

  • chefofsinners

    This is all a misunderstanding. Thick vicars who don’t know the difference between:
    Strong and stable leadership – T.M.
    and:
    Strong and stable leadership™

    • Lienus

      Ooh la-la! Mon cherie. Je™.

  • Inspector General

    Watch out chaps, the effete dare speak! Their whimpering is almost audible. But of course, it isn’t. Instead, the Inspector suggests they all get together in some supermarket car park and lie down in rows as a mass protest. Face down. Shall we say from 2pm to 5pm. They could pass the time by weeping. For a cruel world that doesn’t listen to them. The meek may not need to inherit the earth after all, but the tarmac thereon instead.

    Just an idea, but they could invite shoppers to walk all over them too. That would be nice…nothing like a bit of self-pity when you are so so right, but nobody else thinks so.

    In the meantime, onwards we go to greater things as the entire country slides to the right, leaving that crowd of Jenny’s behind…

    Tally ho!

  • Inspector General

    The life of a progressive lefty CoE priest(ess), eh! It’s a challenging one alright. Whom in their right mind would live this way…

    10am. Wake. Read papers in bed
    11:30am. Ablutions
    12:30pm. Brunch

    1:30pm. Drive round parish. Stopping occasionally to wind window down and remind a recognised member of the flock to vote Labour or you’ll tell Jesus about them
    3pm. Return home. Men – write long letter to Guardian newspaper bemoaning existence of Conservative party. Women – Off to attend feminist meeting and make view known about 2000 years of misogyny and inequality and PMT. On way home, pop into Gay brothel sauna and pick up donated Rainbow flag. Well, you never know when the church is going to start ‘marrying’ two men who look uncomfortably alike before an altar. Better put it in the wash first, mind. What was that Clint Eastwood once said about a spoon…

    4pm. Glass of Chardonnay from Aldi. Followed by crossword and snooze for men. Hours yap on phone to best friend for women.

    5pm. Do something about getting new youth leader for church, now that Mr Turin’s appeal has failed and he is definitely going to do time. Oh yes, quick trip to church food bank while no one is around. Nearly out of rice, you see.

    6:30pm. Realise char hasn’t turned up. Might have to get duster out oneself.

    7pm. Prepare dinner. Doorbell goes. Char not around to answer it so it is ignored. Don’t these people eat at all! Anyway, it’s probably that drunken tart who hangs around sometimes looking to raise money for another tattoo. How I hate myself for befriending her.

    8pm. Dinner. Finish off bottle of Chardonnay, and open new one. That will save time tomorrow.

    9pm. Time to relax and wonder where the time has gone today. Just be thankful it’s not Sunday when you really do rush around like a blue-arsed fly.

    10pm. Bed time. Another few pages and that’s Das Kapital finished! (men) Fifty Shades of Grey (women). Then it’s onto Che Guevara. “Quite fancy him” (Women and Men)

    • len

      Hope this isn`t a window into your day Inspector?.

  • Inspector General

    Your Inspector has been writing a speech for Tim Farron (if he wants it). Our Christian brother Tim has come down with a bad case of invert atonement…
    ————————
    “Tim Farron: NHS should provide HIV-preventing PrEP drugs for gay sex”
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/05/10/tim-farron-nhs-should-provide-hiv-preventing-prep-drugs-for-gay-sex/
    ————————
    “The four pillars holding up our marvellous homosexual elite’s platform as they look down on us mere heterosexuals are named as follows: Excrement, Disease, Madness and Death. From today, in the middle will stand a fifth pillar of support. The mightiest of all of them, and that will be Tim Farron”

    {LOUD APPLAUSE!…CHEERING!…}

    Fifty quid please, Tim

  • Royinsouthwest

    When someone uses the word “discourse,” refers to Conservative attitudes as “far right” and puts “British values” in inverted commas you know that you are almost certainly dealing with the sort of person who is responsible for most of what has gone wrong with Britain in the past 50 years.

  • len

    ‘God supports strong and stable government’.
    But its a pity that politicians that claim to ‘do God’ cannot be strong and stable in their support for the Word of God.
    Or many ‘in the church’ come to that…

  • len

    It would be a lot better if those’ Christian politicians’ would just stop putting out mixed messages about Christian morality and just shut the %&£^…..up.
    Better to say nothing that put out a false Gospel(we’ve got enough people doing that already)

  • David

    What this article mainly says to me, is that it is tragic that “dozens upon dozens more clergy” are so deeply focussed upon a GE, when their energies should be focussed on preaching the gospel of Christ crucified, repentance and salvation by faith.
    Yes of course clergy, like everyone else, have the right to hold political opinions and vote, but there seems to be far too much dabbling by clergy, high and low, in political matters, and insufficient commitment to evangelising the nation.

  • chefofsinners

    Follow Cranmer’s link and read the whole of this letter. It’s hilarious. I love this criticism of the Archbishops’ call for cohesion:
    “at this point in the history of the United Kingdom, politicians issuing calls to ‘unite’ risk concealing deep divisions under a banner of conformity, rather than addressing these divisions at their roots.”
    So, after decades of the left trumpeting cohesion, taxpayers’ cash cascading into the bottomless bucket of integration… Now, the moment that cohesion might just mean the losers accepting defeat over Brexit, this is when ‘cohesion’ becomes a dirty word.
    Bad Archbishops. Naughty, dirty boys to speak such filth. Thou shalt not cohese.
    “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord and cast him out of the city and stoned him.”

    • Anton

      Thank you for the tip! Should we go over there and rain on their parade?

      • chefofsinners

        I have made a small deposit, but it had to be anonymous due to the opaque system for leaving comments, evidently designed to deter the discerning commentator.

        • Anton

          Now they’re squealing to His Grace against freedom of speech!

    • Inspector General

      Few appreciate satire around here. Perhaps no one. Not one uptick for the speech crafted (yes, you can use that word outside of a beer setting) for Tim Farron (if he would have it) by the Inspector. Not even yours…

      • chefofsinners

        No offer of a peerage from Tim yet? You surprise me.
        Gay sex is a sin, but none of us is without sexual sin, or can cast the first stone. Ergo no upticks.
        The day in the life of the progressive priest, however, is most acceptable.

        • Inspector General

          To think that the Inspector delayed pulling down his knickers for the night waiting for that! (he sleeps Au Revoir, you know)…

          • chefofsinners

            Mange tout, Rodney, mange tout.

          • carl jacobs

            GAAAH! My eyes! My eyes!

          • Not an image one wants in his head before bedtime.

          • Allosexuel

            Yoo weer knickors? Nouty boy.

            Je geets mien froom Agent Provocateur.

          • chefofsinners

            I vaguely imagined that you slept hanging upside down.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Never mind Inspector. You are currently top of the pops for your “diary of a priest(ess)” contribution!

      • Dreadnaught

        You really are and attention seeking narcissist HJ. You should start a blog, it could be the making of you.

        • Inspector General

          Thanks for that…

        • HJ?

    • One notes a certain Dodo made a comment too.

    • David

      Most observant of you, chief, despite your vision being impaired by the shades.

  • carl jacobs

    It’s well know that the CoE is a baahstion of support for Labour.

    • David

      Yes, that’s right. But when I was young it was the opposite.
      But with the clergy, the drift to theological liberalism is associated with left of centre politics. In fact the political standpoint seems to have become the lens through which they view their theology – it’s the world in the Church, whereas it should be that a Biblical viewpoint informs their total worldview.

    • len

      Its no good bleating about it.

    • chefofsinners

      A bunch of flockers. Plenty of woolly doctrine, not much better than the Baaptists. But sheariously, folks…

      • Tear them lamb from lamb.

        • Inspector General

          You be careful with those lambs. Two of them look like they could be related to a certain Mr Hilton…

          • … more likely to Linus, Jack would say.

  • ‘God desires and supports strong and stable government’…. not so sure about that. Just government that supports good and resists evil yes but not ‘strong and stable’ per se.

  • len

    Political policies are so last week.
    Its catch phrases and sound bites now.

    Trump used ‘Make America Great Again’ But How?. Did no one ask?.

    Just get a good slogan and you could win an election.That’s all it takes ..Apparently.

  • C A Dark

    Devout Christian…..could’ve fooled me. I have yet to hear her defend the Christian faith in the face of Islamic onslaught.

    • Dreadnaught

      That’s the job of the Bishops surely.

    • David

      My views exactly.
      She does the wishy washy be “nice” to one another form of very liberal Anglicanism, which is barely Christianity at all.

    • bluedog

      You’re not paying attention. Mrs May’s Easter address was emphatically Christian and at an earlier meeting she announced the importance of ‘faith in Christ’. While we have yet to see a detailed critique of Islam offered by any Western politician, this writer has no doubts that Mrs May will continue to do the next best thing, which is to proclaim her Christian faith with complete sincerity and without apology.

  • layreader

    There was actually a Bishop on the list of signatories, albeit a retired one, and one to whom I once pledged obedience, as we in the C of E have to do from time to time. He was often to be seen pitching up in a local pub armed with a guitar and a whole stack of sixties protest songs, and still wearing his purple shirt. I always thought he did it to be noticed, sadly it seems he still believed that politics consists of meaningless slogans, even after 18 years sitting on the episcopal bench.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Very good Arch Bishop. These lefties need to be told they don’t have the right to shut down all opposing views.
    As to my pseudonym, I do not believe the use of my real name (Norman Peter Yardy) will add anything to the debate. Shadrach was a person that believed in his God to the point where he was prepared to die for it. It also points to the belief of the fourth man in the fire (Jesus) and the confirmation that he was there throughout all scripture in reality and in power.

  • carl jacobs

    We’re a baaad weblog and I’m a baaaad commenter. At least according to one Mark Hewerdine. Just have a read from these Twitter extracts and let Mr Hewerdine’s righteousness speak for itself.

    A [sic] guys agreeing with each other in a nasty manner, seeing who can come up with most eloquent insults, or guys throwing insults at each other

    Is it going too far to suggest he’s [Archbishop Cranmer] unhealthily narcissistic?

    It’s a little safe space for Men who hate the notion of losing their privilege, who feel emasculated. A nihilistic cesspool of hate.

    When I see the comments on @His_Grace ‘s blog I’m reminded of Fight Club: angsty men hiding their true identities, lashing out violently.

    Mr Hewerdine’s lack of self-awareness is palpable.

    • Sarky

      Or he’s quite astute.

    • Inspector General

      Nonsense, that man. Mr Hewerdine is a fine fellow, though some say he is a little turdgid at times…

      • chefofsinners

        You accidentally put ‘gid’ on the end of a word, Inspector.

    • bluedog

      No coherent response then, just a collective ad hominem in the finest traditions of the Left.

      • Sheep comments.

      • carl jacobs

        The coherence is found in the reduction of a different worldview to character defect or psychological disorder. As in “If you weren’t such a hateful/vile/troubled/sick human being, you would agree with me.” This attitude is endemic on the Left. It means they don’t have to engage but can simply dismiss.

    • chefofsinners

      Insulting one another? Only in the most jovial and convivial of ways. It’s all jolly good fellowsheep.

      • We are a Little Sheep of Horrors

        • Manfarang

          The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
          (concerning a plot by evil magicians to create a Moonchild that might well turn out to be the Antichrist)

      • carl jacobs

        When I first read that statement, I thought “Why should we be held to account for the acidic expectorations of Linus?” For surely Linus is the prime example of his accusation, and yet Linus is his most reliable ally on the board.

        But you are correct. Jack fulfills his role as weblog punching bag with natural skill. What would we do without him? Not sure he would agree that I am eloquent, however.

    • I didn’t realise this place was just for men…

      • carl jacobs

        Well, and grapefruits. We also allow grapefruits.

      • len

        It isn`t .Some quite feisty females post here.

    • len

      Perhaps Mr Hewerdine feels threatened bythe concept of free speech?.

      ‘If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

      George Orwell.

  • Dreadnaught

    A couple of things about Treseme disturbed me recently, namely;
    1. showing herself as a major target for the baying mob of Lefties in avoiding a head on TV debate;
    2. Coming out in favour of fox hunting;
    and
    3. talking of interfering in the energy market by ‘capping’ charges, which anyone could have told her that just like higher education fees, the highest ‘capped’ charge also becomes the minimum and this will hit the poorest hardest.
    She is making a rod for her own back and her advisors are sleeping on the job.

    • David

      She’s not a conservative but a Big State liberal.
      I’d say she possesses, like most of the present “Conservative” Party, a very weak, confused view of what, philosophically conservatism is.

      • Dreadnaught

        I am voting for the Party and if I could, for T May as PM. She has put aside her personal opinion on the Brexit Referendum and is standing full square with representing her Country, when many conservatives and ukippers have slunk away. This is the calibre of the person – this is a woman with bottle.

        • Manfarang

          A bottle if what? By the look of her drinking has taken its toll.

          • Dreadnaught

            Juncker’s the old soak – anyway have you seen yourself in the mirror lately.

          • Manfarang

            I saw someone who has negotiation skills.

    • Maalaistollo

      Have a look at the Mail. The Cameron has risen from its vault and is apparently going to help Mrs M to obtain a large enough majority to force through a ‘soft’ Brexit or, more likely, no real Brexit at all. Nigel Farage, as usual, is right about the need for UKIP to act as insurance against this.

      • Dreadnaught

        There’s no such animal as a soft Brexit or a hard Brexit – that was not on my ballot form; its only the EU that is determined to make it Hard and Punitive against the UK – funny how no politician is up for stating the bleedin’ obvious.

    • IanCad

      Treseme???? I’m totally lost.

      • Dreadnaught

        Its a soft soap shampoo pronounced Trez-a-may, which with a little imagination sounds like the name of the PM – No?

        • IanCad

          Thanks Dred. I would have worried about it over the entire weekend.

          • Dreadnaught

            Hahahaha

  • These biashops should sheep up or sheep out. Their remarks were inflambatory as there’s no place for censorsheep!

    • Pubcrawler

      “inflambatory”

      French farmers again?

      • Allosexuel

        Muttons for punieeshmont.

    • chefofsinners

      The lady bisheeps are all on muttonity leave.
      Fleece be with you.

      • Allosexuel

        What a shear delight. Wool you murry moi as je only have eyes for ewe?

        • chefofsinners

          I must go down to the seas again
          To the lonely sea and the sky
          And all I ask is a tall sheep
          And a star to steer her by.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Ah, thank you! One of my favorites, which then moves into: –
            And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
            And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

            Perhaps the final couplet is especially apposite nowadays:-
            . . .
            And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
            And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

      • Pubcrawler

        The fleece of cod, which passeth all attempts at genetic modification.

    • Pubcrawler

      Post-Brexit, will we still be allowed continental varieties, such as the Portuguese Merino?

  • chefofsinners

    That Labour manifesto in full:

    Church of England to be nationalised.

    All words to be nationalised.

    Free university reeducation for all non-Labour voters.

    Triple lock to be placed on the cell doors of all non-Labour voters.

    A trident will be purchased, with which Jeremy will defend the nation.

    Massive cuts in corporation tax, to be paid for by rises in corporation tax.

    (DRAFT)

    • Pubcrawler

      There’s a superfluous letter in the last line.

      • chefofsinners

        Ooh R

        • Pubcrawler

          Are you one of the Wurzels?

          • chefofsinners

            Got me.
            I live life on the Adge.

    • tbotns

      Too mild.

      – All churches to fly the rainbow flag.
      – God to be nationalised and then abolished.
      – Free NHS treatment for ‘Fundamentalists’. Those mentally ill saps who believe that God actually exists rather than a metaphor for human love/cooperation (Socialism?).
      – A far-reaching, well-financed programme so the academy/medical profession can establish conservative thinking as a cognitive defect and then appropriately treated for free.
      – Free and compulsory re-education for those who are not fully supportive of the race/gender/gay/class/trans/globalist agenda.
      – Hate speech laws to be expanded. No group except white males can be criticised.
      – The traditional family unit to be abolished. All children must have at least one gay/lesbian/trans carer.

      The sad thing is I am not joking.

      • Royinsouthwest

        No group except white males can be criticised..

        Isn’t that too wide a group? Shouldn’t it be heterosexual white males? Perhaps age should be taken into account too, limiting it to middle-aged, heterosexual white males.

        There is hope for the young since they can learn progressive values and as for the elderly, they won’t matter for much longer. In any case, if the elderly do start stirring up trouble we can always threaten to include compulsory euthanasia in the manifesto next time.

        The only problem would be that Jeremy Corbyn does not appear to be a member of a protected group – that is one reason why the manifesto is only a draft version. It needs a little more thought. Perhaps if the leader could identify as “gender fluid” that would solve the problem.

        Another points to be incorporated in the final manifesto are:

        – Blasphemy law to be introduced to prevent Islamaphobia. (Even though God will have been abolished, blasphemy laws still have their uses.

        – Scope of the Blasphemy law to be widened to include criticism of the NHS, social services, and the public sector in general.

        • tbotns

          “No group except white males can be criticised. Isn’t that too wide a group?” Yep my mistake should have said “Straight white males especially those in need of re-education”.

          ” – Blasphemy law to be introduced to prevent Islamaphobia. (Even though God will have been abolished, blasphemy laws still have their uses).” Already beginning to happen in Canada with Islamaphobia so loosely defined it could include any speech/action deemed subjectively hostile or critical.

      • len

        All these things are written into the EU constitution…Or will be.

    • len

      Deja vu Rodders ,Deja vu.
      This could be big….somewhere.

  • John

    Nebuchadnezzar, Caesar and Pharaoh had strong and stable government in Babylon, Rome and Egypt. As did Stalin in Russia and Castro in Cuba. Kim Jong-un looks pretty immovable in North Korea as well. God does not always support strong and stable leadership. He calls instead for righteous and just government that honours him as the one to whom all powers will one day have to give an account and bow the knee.

    • TrippingDwarves

      Surely all the examples you cite were not really stable, but weighted towards the authoritarian, which may have been strong, but in the end they all toppled over (North Korea and perhaps Cuba aside – so far… Though I still would not call them stable).

      That said, ‘righteous and just’ is an admirable alternative, but I can’t imagine any political organisation getting away with these words today – sadly.