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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Space to think...




Christ Abandoned


I have noticed that some Blogs are taking a break during the summer so perhaps I should take the hint and leave some space to ponder for a while, in particular on what has happened to Anglicanism and where we go from here.

When I came across the above image a few years ago it spoke volumes to me. The church was derelict leaving Jesus hanging abandoned on the cross.
 
("O my people, what have I done to you? What have I done to make you tired of me? Answer me!")
Old Anglicanism hangs by a thread; New Anglicanism wants it cut. Why? The road to the ordination of women was not easy for them. There were failures and disappointments which proponents put down to the work of the devil but after the voting procedures had been suitably engineered, success was proclaimed as the work of the Holy Spirit. That cannot be right. The constant misrepresentation of those with a conscientious objection to the ordination of women, together with the way New Anglicanism is moving, demonstrates that what has been ‘achieved’ cannot be the work of the Holy Spirit, in fact, it is the other way round.

While I have been heartened by the ‘traditionalist’ faithful women and men who have contributed to blogs on this subject, I have despaired of the mean, vindictive ‘Christian’ people, often women, who, now they have what they wanted, enjoy rubbing the noses of the faithful in the dirt as they attempt to cast us adrift. To their credit, there are still faithful Old Anglicans who are determined not be put down by these strident advocates of liberalism whose attitude is “If you don’t like it, leave!” But leave for what? For confirmed Anglicans there is nowhere to go. If, as seems implied, Rome were an option, worshippers would have made that decision on its merits, not on a single issue however fundamental that issue. It does not concern ‘liberal’ Christians that for many there simply isn’t anywhere to go, hence our desire for sacramental and pastoral oversight that accords with our consciences and with what we believe to be Christ’s example. That does not make women bishops second class, it maintains the gospel.

New Anglicans pick and mix to suit their cause while many of them regard Jesus simply as a man of his time from which we have to move on. If that were true, the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church must be nonsense but for those who believe that Peter answered Jesus correctly when he said You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, there can be no leaving. Can New Anglicans seriously suggest that Christ did not know what He was doing, or is it that they simply do not care?

Saturday, 24 July 2010

'Great' Minds Think Alike!


A report in Wales Online shows Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church, and the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, to be in complete agreement on how religion should be brought into the third millennium to make it more relevant to society today.

Unhappily for those trying to keep the faith, these church leaders are just big fish in small ponds, completely out of touch with the wider Christian church. Rather than adhere to scripture and tradition, the new make-it-up-as-you-go-along Anglican church twists events to suit their stance and misrepresents the facts giving rise to claims of discrimination and misogyny to crush those who disagree with them.

Thy do it their way without the humility to consider that they may be wrong, dragging their flocks down with them. The very least they could do is to allow those who disagree with them to worship according to their own beliefs, not how they, as church leaders, determine. Neither has the authority to do so other than that taken upon themselves by a flawed procedure.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Lies, damned lies and statistics


The Church Times today (23 July 2010) is carrying an article showing that “a poll by YouGov, which was not commissioned by any external organisation, found that 63 per cent of those questioned agreed that the Church of England should appoint women bishops, while ten per cent objected to the move. Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) said they had no opinion either way, and three per cent did not know what they thought.”

In response to their own ‘survey’ the Church Times found that Synod did the right thing for traditionalists in the women bishops' votes. These figures will now be bandied around by the supporters of women’s ordination as justification for their stand, ignoring the fact that the historic faith shared by the vast majority of Christians throughout the world cannot be changed by committee simply to satisfy feminist whims.

Accepting that the YouGov survey was a representative sample, what did the sample really represent? It represents the views of people with scant, if any, knowledge of the real issues. The organisation Women and the Church (WATCH) have skillfully manipulated public opinion, including many church-goers, into believing that it is simply a matter of women’s rights. Having achieved their aim in principle, they sought to put the measure into practice while claiming that adequate provision will be made for those worshippers who, in common with most of Christendom, believe the innovation to be illegal, breaking our bond with the wider Catholic and Orthodox churches.

The proposed voluntary code of practice is another skillful device which, to those looking at the issue from the women's rights perspective, obscures the real issue that it cannot be acceptable to those who, in conscience, believe that what is being done is not the will of God but of man, or, in this case, of woman with the support of many men who have been hoodwinked into supporting the measure under false pretences.

In another YouGov poll, 67 per cent of people agreed that the burqa should be banned in Britain. Along with the Immigration Minister, many oppose such a ban on the grounds that we are a tolerant society and Muslims should be allowed freedom of expression. It has been admitted that for security reasons there are circumstances where the face would have to be uncovered leaving one to wonder if the only time it would be permitted in public would be on the public highway where it could conceal anyone or anything. As witnessed on Question Time last night, strong passions are aroused in such discussions, similar to those aroused over the possible restoration of the death penalty in 1998. In that debate, 99 per cent of those questioned said that the death penalty should be re-introduced according to “a staggering 99 per cent of the 95,000 [Sun] readers who responded to our You The Jury poll”. You can get almost any answer you want if you ask the ‘right’ question of the ‘right’ people.

So what of our so called ‘tolerant’ society when the very thing we pride ourselves on is used against us? Our cherished values are being undermined under the banner of political correctness but we deceive ourselves at our peril. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York failed in their attempt to provide a crumb of comfort for traditional orthodox Anglicans in their battle for survival. As one female activist shouted from the gallery on an earlier occasion, “We asked you for bread but you gave us a stone!” Short memories!

The intolerance of Islam towards Christians in Islamic countries is being echoed by intolerance of ‘Christians’ towards traditional Anglicans. So much so that Dr John Sentamu the Archbishop of York had to remind Synod members to behave like Christians. Tolerant Britain?

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Flushed away




You can have almost anything you want in Great Britain today other than traditional orthodox Anglicanism. Since WATCH squatted in the church everything has gone down the pan.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

WATCH

  
Readers of this blog, and of comments I have made on various other blogs, will know that I have taken exception to the fraudulent claims of Women and the Church (WATCH) in their campaign for the ordination of women and their refusal to honour the promise of a place in the Anglican church for those who do not accept the legality of their claims. Their campaign is documented here. 

Much of what is written is self-congratulatory and simply records the progress of their campaign but one document stands out above the others because illustrates what they are about. Extracts are copied below together with the source for anyone who wants to read the whole document. Unsurprisingly, faith and tradition are not regarded as important as Feminism which appears in Canon Lucy Winkett's first sentence:

"Never mind Gordon Ramsay, we have in modern society a
new F-word: Feminism.

At current rates of change, it would take 40
years to achieve equality in the judiciary, 60 years to
achieve equality in business and a staggering 200 years
to achieve equal representation of women and men in
parliament. Until women are consecrated bishop, there is
no representation in the leadership of the established
church. Apart from all the theological arguments, this
absence damages our mission and our communication
with the society in which we are embedded.

And in the 21st century, in the West, women have more
freedom and choice than at any time in our history. There
are very few areas of public life that are technically closed
to women; we are airline pilots, politicians, astronauts,
lawyers, mechanics, builders, football club owners. The
only areas of public life still closed to women are those
protected by organised religion.

But the fact is that it is part of the mission of the
church to read the signs of the times, to practise discernment,
to cultivate wisdom. Christian women and Christian
women leaders have something to contribute, not just to
the church’s internal debates on what women are allowed
to do – but to the wider debate in the society we serve.

Women clergy have found a place in British society and
we are learning to be priests in our own way. We are only
just beginning to see the difference we are making and
the possibilities that a whole priesthood offers to the
people of God. In a million pastoral encounters it will
have mattered to someone that the priest they sought
out was female. The receptiveness of women combined
with our authority as priests has made a compelling combination
in parishes throughout the country.

"... so we are transformed...
into people of compassion, people who see
what others overlook, people who can begin to trace the
vague outlines of the prophetic vision of the reign of God
where justice and mercy embrace and a grand table is
set." James Schmitmeyer (Liturgy and Justice ed. Anne Y.
Koestner p 73)

Women can be signs of
change – an affirmation that things do not always have to
be as they are.

I would like to suggest that the presence of women in the
decision making layers of the church could have a significant
effect on the theology and ecclesiology and therefore
the mission of the church in society.
Women who reflect on the gender critique available to
them when looking at the institution may help to move
the church from an overemphasis on Christology towards
a more Trinitarian understanding of God; and this may
help us in our communication with the rest of society.

Feminist theologian and Biblical scholar Rosemary
Radford Ruether encourages us not to indulge in
Christolatry; by that she means an over-emphasis on the
one man Jesus to the exclusion of God the Creator or the
Holy Spirit. Also we must try to avoid an over-emphasis
on the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was male. ... A greater
emphasis on the Trinity produces a differentmodel of church
because it expands as it goes up rather than contracts.

... Christianity in the West has been very effective in
confining and controlling women’s energy and sexuality.
Notable and famous exceptions stand out from the
crowd, but the fact remains that millions of voiceless
women have lived and died being taught by male
Christian leaders that they were responsible for all the sin
in the world. It’s all about Eve. She was the one who was
taken in by the serpent and she tempted her man away
from his higher calling.

The need for our half-changed world to change further is
urgent. Christian women can play our part in imagining
what this changed world might be like. We can tell our
daughters and our sons that things do not have to be as
they are.

For almost all of Christian history, from the suppression of
the gospel of Mary Magdalene, to the 2nd century martyrdom
of Perpetua and her companions – from the
medieval denouncement of mystics as heretics to the
witch hunts of the Middle Ages, from the first women
preachers in the radical sects of the 17th century to the
campaigners for social justice of the 19th, women have
been speaking and praying from a situation of marginalisation
as far as church authority is concerned. This is a
vital concept for us to grasp.

Now women are on the inside, are exercising authority in
state and church, although the power is not yet equally
shared and the pay is certainly not equal. We are in a
new situation; I am not here to make a case for women
to be bishops – that case is obvious...

From the historical perspective of exclusion, women are
able to speak with authority from long centuries of marginalisation,
to bring these perspectives into the decision
making structures of society and church.

In the West, we live in a half changed world. There are
now very few areas of public life not open to women –
except those protected by organised religion."

Extracted from WATCH keynote address here.

Where is the historic faith in their New Anglicanism?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A pox on them all


That was the message received from WATCH and their allies after yesterday’s Synod vote. Those in favour of the ordination of women succeeded in denying those who disagree with them an honoured place in their New Anglican church simply brushing them aside with false accusations of discrimination against women. Their spokesperson Ms Rees with her usual charm hailed the result as “wonderful news”. So wonderful that it will exclude people from their church simply for keeping the historic Apostolic faith.

Of course they argue that ‘traditionalists’ are not being excluded while they legislate to make their position untenable with a ludicrous code of practice designed to ensure that women bishops would not be seen as 'second class bishops'. Demonstrably they must be if that is their idea of pastoral care. It cannot be discrimination to oppose something that is regarded as illegal by the vast majority of Christians.

I have long believed and trusted that Archbishop Rowan would see us through this mess but he is so wedded to women’s rights that he is in danger of losing sight of the rest of his flock. Like Forward in Faith he uses the ways of gentleness to persuade but there is no persuading those who see only their own selfish ends. The time for gentleness is over. Strong action and leadership is essential. For the results of the meek look to Wales where Credo Cymru has become impotent in the face of those who seek only to satisfy the insatiable demands of a few frustrated women. Traditionalists have been left with nothing but a self-satisfied Bench bent on doing the latest trendy thing to keep themselves “relevant to society”. In the process they have become wholly irrelevant to 99% of the population.

Ironically the Eucharist reading yesterday was from 1 Corinthians 3. One verse in particular stood out, “There can be no other foundation beyond that which is already laid; I mean Jesus Christ himself.” Today, thanks to Fr Michael’s Let Nothing You Dismay blog, I read:

"Robert Key, the General Synod member and former Conservative MP, speaks exclusively to The Times about women bishops and why he believes strongly that any legislation that makes women 'less than' men or that attempts to guarantee the Church of England exemption from the 2010 Equality Act should not and probably will not get through Parliament's Ecclesiastical Committee, or the Lords and Commons"

Is that what the church has come to? Unable to win the argument based on scripture and tradition they use untruths repeating them often enough so that people believe them. Jesus Christ, the foundation of our faith, did not shy away from righting injustice. Neither must we. Despite the cries of the Anglo Papists that the battle is done it must continue to ensure that faith prevails over feminism for those for whom the Anglican church is their natural home.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Slap for Rowan





The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was slapped in the face yesterday by the very people he has done most to help, today's clergy.

True to form, women from 'Women and the Church' (WATCH) were yelling discrimination because the Archbishop dared to show Christian charity towards their brothers and sisters in Christ who do not share the secular values peddled by their organization. Of all people, Rowan Williams has done more than anyone to further the cause of women in the church. The last thing he would do would be to undermine the authority he has sought for them. Yet when he and the Archbishop of York pleaded for tolerance they slapped him in the face claiming that concern for others would make female bishops second class. The concession was hardly earth-shattering, merely that 'traditionalists' should, as promised, be accorded an honoured place in their church.

I am reminded of the woman who, when the measure to allow the ordination of women to the priesthood went through commented, we are in control now and will make these people suffer as we have suffered. Says much for their idea of Christianity. Synod should know what to do next.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Spot the Difference?



YES YES NO


‘Woman and the Church’ (WATCH) constantly claim discrimination but that deception is part of their feminist propaganda campaign.

Contrary to what supporters would have us believe, opponents of the ordination of women are not misogynists. Many devout women and men are against the innovation but that is not to discriminate. To non-believers it may appear to be the case but that is of the the supporters own making. Having inched their way through the process to allow women first to become Deacons then Priests, they now claim that is discriminatory not to allow women to progress to become bishops (as though they have an automatic right to that office). The process has shown it was a grave error to have given in to what can now be seen as deceitful claims from the outset.

Many women and men are dismayed that a woman would want a job such as an armed policewoman or soldier that may entail taking life rather than giving it but if that is their choice, so be it. The same for business and politics but religion is neither, though it has been treated as such by WATCH and is regarded as such by the vast majority of people who are non-believers, even atheists. That is the clever thing about the WATCH campaign; they push their secular views on people who have only secular values and understanding. These people judge accordingly and join in the cry of ‘discrimination!’ We have now reached the stage where genuine believers are likely to be pushed out of their cradle church, the Church of England, if WATCH have anything to do with it.

While the Archbishops of Canterbury and York make a belated attempt to make provision for those who, in conscience, cannot accept the ordination of women, Sally Barnes of WATCH claims that is a way to “institutionalise this kind of discrimination” (see previous post). Balderdash! They just don’t get it. This is faith, not politics or business. In common with the wider Christian church the faithful few still believe that the traditional pattern of ministry Christ established through his Apostles is not something to be changed by committee merely to suit the times or the whims of converts to Anglicanism.

These women and their male supporters have demonstrated by their behaviour that the innovation is wrong. Those who did not support it were promised an honoured place in the church as loyal Anglicans but every move since has been to deny that and squeeze them out with constant accusations of discrimination. There is discrimination. It is against ‘traditionalists’ who refuse to bend the knee to liberalism in the church. They want ‘traditionalists’ out. Synod should see these people for what they are, deceivers unworthy of the office they claim is their right and vote accordingly.

Postscript

So the vote has been taken. The advice of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the wishes of the Houses of Bishops and Laity have been rejected by the House of Clergy. It's a woman's world in the church, a sort of Mothers Union with ritual.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Let These People Go


From The Guardian looking forward to the forthcoming Synod debate on women bishops and the Archbishops’ desperate last hope amendment to maintain some integrity for the church:
“Sally Barnes, from Women and the Church [WATCH], said: "If you institutionalise this kind of discrimination, it creates more problems. The issues of division will not be healing. If this goes down, Christian women who want women bishops have said, 'We're waiting for it to happen, we're so sick of the opposition. We will just leave.'"

Well go and good riddance. The people in WATCH have already been given too much rope. They are wrecking the Anglican Church with their duplicity claiming the guidance of the Holy Spirit when it suits them and the work of the devil when things do not go according to their selfish plan. They claim discrimination where none exists. They are blatant feminists caring not one jot for the faith of true believers in the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

For those who have been converted to acceptance of the ordination of women to the priesthood, life is so much easier. They have bitten the apple but why make life so difficult for the rest of us who remained true to the tradition of our church? Saturday’s Observer Magazine (04.07.10) carries an article “Is the Church Still Sexist?” which says it all. Still sexist? Joanna Jepson pictured below is quoted as saying “Whether I am called to be a bishop or not, the impact is personal, for all of us, because this corporate injustice is being challenged.” [My italics]



I know I can do the job that is best suited to who I am” was the quote from a young curate while Lucy Winkett, who to her credit has not hidden her feminist goals, complains of what “in any other area of public life would be called discrimination.” She dismisses “the number of people who really can’t accept this [the ordination of women] [as] extremely small.” Rather like the early church? Forward in Faith and Reform are brushed aside as a small proportion of the ‘regular worshipping community of 1.7million (who attend at least once a month), the majority of whom – 65% - is female.”

This huge majority, a small minority in the Christian church as a whole, may be regular (I would say occasional) but it distorts the fact that the more frequent faithful few worshippers are more likely to have a deeper faith which is being pushed aside by forces content to see them fall by the wayside. How can this be? WATCH has nothing to do with faith. It is an ultra-feminist entrist organisation dressed in clerical clothing. I have no objection to feminism or to feminists but I do object to the deceit and duplicity WATCH use when they falsely claim discrimination to achieve their aim which is parity in the church as though it were a business corporation. They have already formed a woman bishop’s queue as they worm their way through the legal complexities and vote fixing in Synod as though they were engaged in some sort of corporate power struggle.

These women say they “will just leave” if they don’t get their own way. So what does this say about their faith and loyalty to the Anglican church if they can just up sticks and leave in a fit of pique while many devout Anglicans are so desperate to stay in their cradle church they are grateful for almost any fudge that can be put together? For far too long these WATCH feminists have been telling us to leave if we don’t like what they are about. Enough is enough. The church should embrace feminists but not destructive feminism before faith. It’s time to let them go and set up their own church, not destroy ours.

Postscript
With acknowledgments to Fr Ed's St Barnabas Blog this link is recommended viewing. I couldn't agree more.