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Saturday, 9 December 2017

Over-egged


Australian Labor MP Linda Burney jumps into the arms of Liberal MP Warren Enstch  after 
parliament passed legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Australia. Michael Masters/Getty


This was the scene when Australia overwhelmingly voted to legalise same-sex marriage on Thursday. More pictures here.

There was considerable drama. An emotional Liberal MP fought back tears to propose to his long-term partner in the House of Representatives shortly after the same-sex marriage bill was introduced to the Lower House.

The vote was "greeted with applause from all sides of politics and the public gallery" (here). Spectators in the public gallery began singing “I Am Australian” (here) but such enthusiasm was disproportionate and inappropriate.

The reality has been exposed in Great Britain by the Coalition for Marriage. Quoting a study by academics at the University of York: "There are around 40,000 places of worship in Britain in which a traditional marriage may be solemnised. Only 182 of these are registered to conduct same-sex weddings. Half of those which responded to the researchers had never done so.

The study showed that "the total number of same-sex marriages that have been solemnized in the
places of worship comprising the sample is 83. Over half of the places of worship that have
solemnized a same-sex marriage have done so on only one occasion. 19 places of worship report that they have solemnized one same-sex marriage, eight report that they have solemnized two same-sex marriages, and four report that they have solemnized three same-sex marriages. Only five places of worship have solemnized four or more same-sex marriages, with the highest number of  same-sex marriages solemnized in any place of worship reported as 10".

The gay marriage plebiscite in Australia was estimated to cost Australia $525 million but a poll suggests that the millions of dollars spent on television advertising by the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ sides during the same-sex marriage campaign had little impact on voting intentions.

The population of Great Britain in 2016 was around 66 million compared with 24 million in Australia so in the unlikely event of exceptional demand the number of same sex marriages in Australia compared with the 118,401 marriages registered should be tiny.

The enthusiasm for gay marriage when compared with this reality is baffling. There are so many deserving causes which could benefit from money wasted on providing self-satisfaction for a few people with little or no regard for the sanctity of marriage as generally understood which is the union between one man and one woman for the procreation of children, without whom civilization would cease.

They talk of love and equality with no apparent understanding of either. Civil partnerships granted equality whether couples loved one another or not.

Same sex 'marriage' has over-egged a wrong which was put right at considerable cost with no benefit whatever to society.

It has been egged on by the media, often portraying the church as out of touch yet only a week after his enthronement in Brecon Cathedral the Archbishop of Wales John Davies is referred to in his local newspaper as the 'Archbishop of Brecon'. The Most Rev John Davies is also the diocesan bishop of Swansea and Brecon.

Twitter advises that the Archbishop of Wales will be discussing the role of the church in Welsh life on BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement this Sunday at 8am. Clearly he has much to do. On its own web site, the Church in Wales regularly refers to its clergy as, for example, Rev Smith instead of the Rev John Smith or the Rev Mr Smith.

Given the record of the bench of bishops in the Church in Wales, no doubt 'Right Rev John' as he was referred to in a BBC news article will be thrilled for the people of Australia in another giant leap for secularism.

Postscript [10.12.2017]

Readers who tuned in to listen to the Archbishop of Wales talking about the role of the church in Welsh life will have been disappointed if they expected any hint of the Great Commission. In his first presidential address to the Governing Body of the Church in Wales, bishop John Davies urged, "Put evangelism at heart of ministry".

There was little evidence of putting his words into practice. Instead we had the political face of a progressive church which, allegedly, "respects the consciences of people who feel differently" while providing their own answer to the Archbishop's question: "What would Jesus do?"

Ignoring what Jesus actually did when appointing His apostles and using 'love' as justification for departing from scripture and tradition, the Archbishop misleadingly pointed to the Governing Body as being representative of congregations when we all know from experience that it has become a tool to be used or ignored by the bench of bishops as have parish soundings and expensive diocesan consultations.

But the pièce de résistance came with the Archbishop's closing comments when he cited the Church of England's traditionalist bishop Philip North as an example of the church's concern for the poor.

Philip North is the bishop who was denounced by WATCH stooge, Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. He urged Philip North to either renounce his membership of the Society, a C of E organisation that rejects female priests, or decline his nomination as Bishop of Sheffield.

Perhaps we should not be surprised.  The new archbishop "signalled that the Province will continue to develop the vision begun by his predecessor, Dr Barry Morgan" but he hoped to "increase the tempo of change".

Monday, 4 December 2017

Archbishop's high-five


The new Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev John Davies, with the other five diocesan bishops                                                                Source: Church in Wales

Preaching at his enthronement service on Saturday, the new Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, sought to identify himself with a generation that would probably give Job a "high-five or even an affirming hug". 

The archbishop spoke of "a commitment to an overdue drive to rehabilitate and refresh how we explain our Gospel message, helping others really grasp that it’s not simply about going to church". 

The former Archbishop of Wales and the Dean of St Albans have been there before, re-interpreting the Gospel to embrace secularism and accept same sex marriage, a theme continued by the bishop of Bangor in a contribution submitted by a regular commentator, Evangelical Ed: 

"The Bible and Human Sexuality

The church has taught that marriage is the faithful and exclusive union of one man and one woman for life’s duration. It has based this on texts from the OT (eg Gen 2:24) and NT (1 Cor. 7) and the long unbroken tradition of the church. It has also taught that sexual relationships between the same gendered, is prohibited. It has done so on the basis again of OT texts (Leviticus 18:22) and NT texts (1 Cor. 6:9, Romans 1:26f). The case for marriage as the only lifelong union involving sexual contact is the traditional teaching of most of the churches in the East and West.

However, this norm has been challenged in the latter part of the 20th Century and more recently too. Appeal has been made to Scripture, tradition and reason to argue for a development of the classic understanding of faithful, exclusive and permanent unions for couples irrespective of gender.

What is the basis for this development?

1. The church’s task to be faithful to God – what is morality for?
What is the purpose of a moral code? In other words, why does God give law and guidance?


Firstly, to enable faithful belonging to God who makes a relationship possible through Jesus. Habits and practices which are destructive undermine this. In 1 Corinthians 6:12f Paul illustrates how disordered lifestyles and practices are ruinous for a healthy relationship with God. But relationships which are mutual, loving, faithful and life giving do not appear to be the focus for Paul’s thought here.

Secondly to provide a framework for life in which mutual human flourishing can occur. In 1 Cor. 7 Paul unpacks a set of rules concerning marriage. The creation of these unions is clearly to create mutuality and belonging. If that same mutuality and belonging is present among same sex couples how is this obstructive or contrary to God’s will? It creates inconsistency viz God wishing faithful belonging but denying its reality among certain human relationships.

The parable of the Good Samaritan highlights the mandate to love one’s neighbour. This broad moral principle is helpful because it does not specify how such demanding love is expressed but contains within it the conditions which make love possible – it must, in order to be loving, not be selfish, exploitative, insincere.

Thirdly, there are Biblical principles which position fruit as the key criteria for discerning the authenticity of action and faith. Jesus taught that fruitfulness (Matt. 7:15, John 15) was a sign of this authenticity. Can we discern signs of fruitfulness among same sex couples? St Paul listed the evidences of godliness in the epistle to the Galatians (the fruit of the Spirit in 5:22f). When we encounter people living in same sex relationships where there is an increase in grace and clear signs of Christian fruit, how are we to interpret this? To suggest it is other than a work of God is to set the word of the NT against the Spirit of the Living God. Put another way, how can we sustain a view which pits the activity of God against the revealed will of God at a certain time?


2. The church engaging with the world with a willingness to develop appropriate moral codes (eg slavery, head covering and worship) for service and faithfulness

The reality of some moral guidance in Scripture is that it supports principles which are expressions of faithful obedience to God. But when that obedience is not any longer expressed via a social norm it cannot effectively do this.

In the NT, it was the practice of Christian women to wear hats to show they were under the authority of a man. It is likely this practice referred to married women. But mutual belonging in relationships (eg marriage) no longer requires a hat to signify anything. They are now purely decorative. However, the teaching of NT is unambiguous. If we appeal to the NT text to support exclusively male/female relationships, it seems inconsistent not to insist on head covering!!

Likewise, some of the cultural and social norms of the day have now been subject to many centuries of development and scrutiny. Where the Bible is ambivalent about slavery and is adamant on the issue of divorce, the church has developed understandings and approaches which attempt to reflect the essence of Biblical teaching recognizing that morality is complex and nuanced. No-one would argue today a Christian view on slavery which is ambivalent and yet that is the position of the NT (Philemon, Col. 3:22). Few would argue that divorce, if regrettable, is on occasions both necessary and the kindest and fairest response to a failure in relationships.

3. The experience of people
The experience of gay people cannot be ignored even if experience is not the first determining factor. Our sisters and brothers are not spiritual misfits or errant or deviant. They find their greatest purpose and identity as disciples in the context of loving another human being who happens to be the same gender. This reality is self-evident to such couples in much the same way in which it is to opposite gendered couples. It is a Christian virtue to listen with respect to what is being described before attempting to press experience through a particular mould with a pre-determined outcome in mind.

We believe in a God of justice and fairness. It is hard to see how the gospel can be good news and truth if it allows injustices which deprive people of certain permissions in law and society which bring joy and happiness.

+Andrew Bangor"

Or to put it another way from an anonymous commentator, the Gilbert and Sullivan Mass

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Mad mad mad



Mad -

A notice inviting Canadian elementary school teachers to attend 'LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP' inclusiveness training session (here).


Mad -

Not only can boys who identify as female now become Guides but they will also be allowed to share showers, tents, changing rooms and toilets with girls (here).


Mad -

Anglican minister sparks outrage by urging prayers for Prince George to be gay (here)



How much madder can it get?

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Wimmin not listening


ReutersAntje Jackelen, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden, at Uppsala Cathedral                                                                                    Source: Christian Today

The Church of Sweden is opting for gender-neutral language when referring to God, with designators like 'he' and 'Lord' being omitted....'Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human,' said Archbishop Antje Jackelén, who leads the Church of Sweden. She said the change had been in conversation for decades, as early as 1986. Full report here.

In response Christer Pahlmblad, associate theology professor at Sweden's Lund University, criticsed the move. He told Denmark's Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper that the change undermined 'the doctrine of the Trinity and the community with the other Christian churches'.

Antje Jackelén is not the first female archbishop to ignore the wider church and please herself. The  heretical mentor of the former Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, liked to put her own spin on the Gospel. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori used 'violent images' for God. She described the Son of God as a Hell's Angel "Gang Leader" and "Party Animal".

Less extreme but also obsessed by secularist feminism in the church, Australia's first female Anglican archbishop, Kay Goldsworthy, would like to see more women in church leadership roles, a constant theme of women bishops in England and Wales.

More women than men are going forward for training for ordination for the first time in more than 15 years according to a recent report, strengthening the view that church ministry is going the same way as primary school teaching where there are few male role models, and primary medicine with Health Centres often staffed by part-time female GPs, a problem which is also affecting hospital care with many female consultants working part-time.

But still the clamour for more women continues regardless of the consequences. As the Guardian headline put it, Amid fight for equality, new bishop of London unlikely to be a woman. The feminist pressure group Women and the Church puts it succinctly as they move towards their true goal after the Church of England was beaten into submission and accepted the ordination of women priests and bishops: Just getting started - working actively for gender justice, equality and inclusion in the Church of England - as if there were no justice, equality or inclusion. Ironically that is just what these feminists are creating leading some to speculate that the Church of England is about to split over theological liberalism.

After her appointment, the second woman bishop in Wales boasted in a BBC interview that Wales was the province in the Anglican Communion with the highest percentage of female bishops before going on with the familiar feminist theme about gender parity, equating equality with sameness.

As if Wales were an example. Their own theological college has closed. Out of the ashes, St Padarn’s Institute, the 'training arm of the Church in Wales' is inviting  all licensed minsters to share what makes them [my emphasis Ed.] flourish and what they struggle with in a series of ‘listening days’ taking place across Wales.

Recent history shows that wimmin issues, not listening, has become the driving force in the Church in Wales. Consultations that have not worked out as the bench of bishop desired were simply ignored. Traditional Anglicanism has been virtually extinguished.

Those churches that are not on the redundant list should not have long to wait as congregations become increasingly elderly. Similarly in England, "Women clergy become the death of the Church of England" as attendance continues to slide.

All are equal in death!

Postscript [27.11.2017]

"Reforming" Church of Sweden looks to Islam:

"It would be foolish to assume that Jackelén's ecclesiastical revolution will end with this victory. On the contrary, there is every reason to believe that her success at Thursday's synod will inspire her to redouble her efforts to transform the Church of Sweden into a more Islam-friendly institution – one that ultimately, at the very least, puts Muhammed on an equal plane with Jesus Christ. No, we cannot know what is really in this woman's heart; but one thing we can be sure of is that when Islam does eventually take over Sweden, her remarkable history of appeasement will not save either her or her Church from a brutal reckoning." Full report here.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

All change at the Cathedral


#RedWednesday, Epstein's Majestas,  Llandaff Cathedral                                                                                                                    Original Source: Cool Places


It is "all change at the Cathedral" according to a Diocesan press release in which the bishop of St Davids announced more appointments at St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.

The first woman bishop in the Church in Wales followed her own appointment by appointing the first woman Dean of St Davids. She continues her feminizing by appointing another woman to be Canon Treasurer.

Thankfully there will still be a male presence at the holy shrine of the Patron Saint of Wales, Dewi Sant because Bishop Joanna has appointed Canon Leigh Richardson to be the next Canon Residentiary.

From their diocesan website: "The history of the present diocese of St Davids is long and varied. Celtic saints and Welsh princes, mediaeval bishops and Victorian legislators, Reformation scholars and Puritan divines, ascetic monks and Georgian parsons – all have left their mark on an extensive sacred landscape."

But it is all change at the Cathedral. Only now have past 'errors' been realised by the new elite who presumably regard Christ as sexist for not appointing a woman apostle.

Scripture and tradition are being swept away. Just like many faithful Anglicans who have been sacrificed to appease a few vocal feminists and disproportionate numbers of homosexuals who, from the security of the vestry and pews, claim to be excluded from the church. The lights are going out. For many they went out years ago but not in the candle-lit world of their progressive liberal bishops.

Worshippers who attended church twice or three times on a Sunday have shrunk as change has been forced on passive congregations by ambitious clerics led by the likes of Archbishop Barry Morgan and his bench sitters. One wonders what beliefs they hold with no apparent fear of judgement day when they will have to account for their actions which have resulted in losing many as they compromise on sin to satisfy the desires of the few.

Traditionalists are often accused of misogyny but from my own experience more women than men have been driven to the conclusion that their church has left them. Read a Church of England account here.

St Davids is not alone in making changes. I have seen no formal announcement but I understand that the second woman bishop to be appointed in Wales, the bishop of Llandaff, has appointed the former bishop of Monmouth Dominic Walker to be her assistant bishop representing her at confirmation services in parishes which request a male bishop.

Clearly they don't get it. A male bishop whose beliefs resulted in the appointment of women priests and bishops, who stands in, or preferably sits, to confirm dwindling numbers in her place reduces a theological objection to one of sexism.

Similarly in St Davids, the new Canon Residentiary will serve as Sub Dean of the Cathedral, the Dean's assistant with only delegated authority from Dean Sarah. Canon Richardson will be licensed at the Cathedral on 2th February 2018 leaving a considerable gap before the new Dean & Precentor, the Rev'd Canon Dr Sarah Rowland Jones is licensed, collated and installed in the Cathedral on 5th May 2018.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 is Red Wednesday when we are asked to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and all who suffer for their peacefully held beliefs:

"Red is the Christian colour of martyrdom. Christians are the most persecuted faith group in today’s world and #RedWednesday will honour all Christians who suffer and die for their faithfulness to Christ’s message of peace and love."

The campaign calls for respect and tolerance for people of faith and between different faith traditions.

Anglicans who have been effectively excluded from their own church cannot compare their suffering with those we seek to honour tomorrow but many in their own church have suffered for their faith, tragically at the hands of those who were supposed to be their shepherds. Is it any wonder that Anglicanism is dying in England and Wales.

Monday, 20 November 2017

BEAM: Help a homeless person to train up and get into work


Homelessness has increased by 34 per cent since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, partly due to benefit cuts and welfare changes PA/Independent


From The Independent: "More than 300,000 people – equivalent to a city the size of Newcastle – are now sleeping rough in Britain after the number of people losing their home soared in the last year, a report has revealed. The study, by housing charity Shelter, found that 307,000, or one in every 200, people are now homeless. Although the figure has risen by 13,000 in the last year alone, Shelter said the partial nature of government data means the real number of homeless people is likely to be even higher."

Shelter has estimated that 8 million people are one pay check away from being unable to pay for their home. Professional people in work are not exempt illustrating how precarious life can be in Britain today.

Seeing people begging on the streets makes many of us feel uncomfortable. It is 2017. We have the Welfare State. There are charities for the homeless. So why? Homeless people describe being hit, kicked, urinated on, and sexually assaulted while living on the street, according to the research from homelessness charity Crisis. Who would choose such a life?

Sadly there are abusers who act as a deterrent. Like the illegal street beggar in one British city earning up to £500 a day despite not being homeless. Consequently, donating to organisations which help vulnerable, homeless people to find shelter is often preferred.

As explained in an Express article, an innovative scheme has been started to help homeless people who lack the necessary skills or resources to get into work.

Welcome to the crowdfunding get-back-to-work campaign, We are BEAM.

The best of British.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

View of the lowly from on high


View enjoyed by the Provincial Offices of the Church in Wales                                                                          Source: Twitter


The Provincial Offices of the Church in Wales which 'provide professional assistance to the work of the Governing Body, the Representative Body, the Bench of Bishops and the Bishops’ Advisers' recently moved from their leafy suburban office in Cathedral Road, to a more elevated position in 2 Callaghan Square, Cardiff.

The Archbishop of Wales on high         Twitter
A tweet from D&G Office Interiors has afforded readers the opportunity to enjoy a glimpse of a Church in Wales blue ribbon event at which the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Reverend John D E Davies, took the opportunity to view from on high the more lowly areas of the city where some of the less fortunate in society are accommodated in the Huggard Hostel for the homeless surrounded by those who have become largely indifferent to the church.

But do not be misled. The needy are not forgotten. On the ground, front line workers are taking part in the Cardiff Churches  Nightshelter scheme which provides food and shelter for the homeless over the Christmas season and beyond.

Along with churches from other denominations, the Parish of St German with St Saviour will be providing care for the needy. Details are on the Nightshelter page of their parish website.