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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Gender politics to trump Christian unity

From the Archbishop of Canterbury: "We're very conscious that one of the reproaches that can be laid against the bench is that it's not exactly representative in gender terms. As and when women become bishops, we don't particularly want women bishops to have to wait until 2025 or something before there is any possibility of their being represented on the bench. We want the discretion and flexibility to allow a little bit of fast-tracking there."

So gender politics, not spirituality, will be the life-blood of the Church of England (as it is in the Church in Wales), putting aside any chance of responding to Christ's prayer for unity. Giving evidence to the joint committee on the draft House of Lords reform bill, Archbishop Rowan Williams explained that 'the Church of England was nearing the end of a "complex, protracted process" to allow the ordination of women as bishops'. A confident prediction which implies a forgone conclusion. A similar confidence afflicted his successor as Archbishop of Wales who lost the vote largely because of his mean spirited attitude to those who did not share his conviction that he knew better than the teaching of the Universal Church which has handed down our core beliefs and tradition for two thousand years. One can only hope that when it comes to the vote in Synod there will be a pause for deep thought and reflection on what the Church of England is doing, not in the name of God but in the name of feminism.

In England, Archbishop Rowan does not share the same attitude as his successor in Wales, preferring to make some sort of provision for traditionalists but in their usual narrow minded way, Women and the Church (WATCH) have poured cold water on the idea that there could be renewed hope for traditionalists following the diocesan process of debating proposed legislation for the admission of women to the episcopacy - the process which determines religious obligation by voting on the whim of the day instead of theology. That has been a disaster for the Anglican church in the USA and well illustrates the path being followed here. I can no better sum up my feelings than quote from this heartfelt cry:

"This once-noble Church is being transformed, at the hands of single-minded activists, into a secular cult which will reflect only its lack of all Scripture-based grounding and tradition, and (in their place) will embody only the sacrifice to Caesar of those things which are properly God's. Nothing will then distinguish such a "Church" from its pagan predecessors. As a consequence, nothing about it will any longer have any claim to loyalty or adherence on the part of its traditional members."

Monday, 28 November 2011

Are we already an Islamic country?

"Christian Britain is dead" said The Rt Rev Paul Richardson, a bishop of our established church, the Church of England. But the Queen is still Defender of the Faith, a faith based on love which shaped our nation, a love that now dare not speak its name.

The latest incident of alleged religious discrimination highlights the case of a Christian worker who lost her job after being 'targeted' by Islamic extremists at Heathrow Airport. In his Blog, Cranmer raises some important issues here. Whatever the facts of this new case, there is a perception that only Islam is beyond question with legitimate questions about the treatment of Christians being met with cries of 'Islamophobia'. 

Endless excuses are made but if we look abroad,for example, in Egypt,  the home of our Christian Desert Fathers, there are regular authentic accounts of the persecution of Christians and the destruction of Coptic churches but where is the condemnation from the 'Religion of Peace'? The answer is neatly summed-up by the Coptic priest Fr Zakaria Botros here. Those involved in inter-faith talks please take note. 

Pakistan to review list of obscene words that includes 'Jesus Christ'.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Tête à tête

Disregarding previous warnings of being taken for a ride, the Archbishop of Wales was recently snapped in conversation with one of another faith he would rather talk with than traditionalist Christians in his own flock. If he were truly interested in the facts he could hear more about Islamic 'tolerance' through the taqiyya amplifier hereadvancing to position to 18 to see how he is viewed within Islam although I strongly recommend that he and others watch the whole explanation of how Islam is being whitewashed. 

More from 'The Religion of Peace' here.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Jesus was a good bloke

The Good Shepherd

Being both God and man, there is no doubt that Jesus must have been 'a good bloke' but more than that, Jesus the Son of God is here now, a fact that the Church of England too often keeps quiet about giving the impression that only the Muslim Allah has to be respected leaving Anglicans to please themselves, bringing Him out for Christmas festivities and in time of need. 

Leading up to Christmas lapsed Anglicans in the Church of England can enter their post code on a new C of E site to find 'carol services, Christingles and other special Christmas services' within a 15 miles radius. People with iPhones can search 'myCofE' at the App StoreThis initiative is being fronted by Jo Brand so in the spirit of Christmas I entered the post code of her birth place, SW18, and was greeted with a list of 130 results within just 5 miles (there is an option of 1 to 15 miles) showing a full range of services and events for adults and children. 

If this initiative gets back to church those who simply profess to be Christians it will be hailed as a success but it will be an abject failure if people come away just thinking: Yes, Jesus was a good bloke.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Deficit Dave drops another one.

Deficit, deficit, deficit. No matter what the problem, the cause, the effect, the Prime Minister's response is unwavering: stick to the deficit reduction plan. When you are in a hole stop digging is generally good advice but such an analogy is unlikey to register. David Blanchflower has laid out the problem facing us in an article for the New Statesman in which he says: It is becoming increasingly apparent that Cameron is a) totally out of his depth when it comes to the economy; b) has no clue what to do to fix the problem; c) has little sympathy for those who are less fortunate than he is. He just doesn't care. But it is extremely unlikely that Deficit Dave will take any notice as illustrated in an earlier article for The Telegraph by Damian Thompson.  

Dave's latest gem to be dropped on the working classes is to advise parents to take their children to work during strikes. I can only assume he shot that one from the hip without giving any thought to child protection, health and safety or even the logistics of trying to work with an eye on the kids after possibly doubling the occupancy in the workplace - "when it is safe for them to do so" of course. A useful get out!  For people in a less privileged position struggling to make ends meet, life is not that simple especially for the elderly. 

Today's shocking report on care of the elderly at home illustrates how detached from reality politicians have become. 'Care' has been downgraded in hospitals and at home to the extent that many 'carers' just don't care any longer. Hospital nurses and District nurses have been elevated to the status of semi-medical professionals no longer soiling their hands on menial tasks yet it is precisely the intimate care that made 'nursing' what it was before accountants re-defined 'care'. Without proper care the entire system is in a state of collapse in hospitals, care homes and in people's own homes where 'home care' has become a 15 min visit. Today's carers are among the poorest paid with an undervalued status. This must change. If carers were better rewarded financially and in their status, genuine caring people may be attracted to what much of nursing care was all about. This is one deficit that cannot be ignored.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Godless Guides?

The Queen and Princess Margaret.
Picture: Associated Newspapers / Daily Mail /Rex Features

"I promise that I will do my best, to love my God, to serve the Queen and my country, to help other people and to keep the Guide Law."

A story in the Telegraph just about sums up the absurdity of life in Britain today especially for Christians. Because a girl "felt unable to take part in her Brownies enrolment in north Somerset due to the religious content of the Promise" the Girl Guides Association is reported to be considering reviewing the wording of its affirmation for new members, to remove religious references. What next? Immigrants and secularists objecting to Her Majesty the Queen being "Defender of the Faith"? 

Baden-Powell must be turning in his grave. The Guide Promise has already been amended from 'To do my duty to God' to 'To love my God', in order to accommodate different faiths leaving secularists free to have a stab at changing the foundation of Guiding again but oddly, not Scouting which retains the original Promise. Give them time! The Scouts are now a mix of boy scouts and girl scouts although the Girl Guides remain exclusively sexist reflecting what has happened in the rest of society. Thanks to that enemy of democracy, political correctness, we no longer have the heroine, actress, headmaster or chairman but curiously we still have the Baroness.

For many in today's eunuch led liberal church, belief in the one true God has become an optional extra but belief in one God means just that. As Christians we should be above the political correctness that implies the legitimacy of other faiths. People may believe what they want in a free country but tolerance has been perverted to allow our Christian heritage to be eroded by do-gooders who have nothing to offer other than a suffocating desire to impose their bland sterility on Christians. Much of this is a consequence of  the feminist campaign for the ordination of women which has resulted in the spiritual decline of the Episcopal Church in America and continues to emasculate the Church of England as WATCH and GRAS demand their own way here.

"On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law"

Scouts of my generation felt 'honour' bound to keep their 'promise', two words that the new breed of Anglicans in the churches of England and Wales have consigned to the PC dustbin only to be replaced by deception

Monday, 21 November 2011

Fr Jeremy Winston, Dean of Monmouth, RIP

Many people in Wales and beyond will be mourning the loss of Fr Jeremy Winston who died this morning after a short illness reported in the Abergavenny Chronicle here. Tributes appear here, here and here. Witty, talented and a joy to know, the Church in Wales will be the poorer without him. 

Personal tributes appear on the Church  in Wales site here. There is a report of Fr Jeremy's funeral here with funeral address here and burial service here.

Thanksgiving Service report here and here.

Belated Telegraph obituary here.

 Rest eternal grant him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

'Archbishop invalidates Cathedral Insurance by Inviting in Protestors?'

That was the question posed by a worried parishioner in the Diocese of Llandaff who emailed me after reading of the latest stunt of the publicity seeking Archbishop of Wales who said he would allow anti-capitalist protesters to shelter overnight in Llandaff Cathedral if they set up camp there. The reaction of the Dean pictured above with the Archbishop incognito was not recorded but if my memory serves me right, according to the Llandaffchester Chronicles, 'Napoleon' would have some well chosen expletives to make his point. 

Tucked away in a hollow miles away from Cardiff Castle where protesters had earlier set up  camp before being moved on, Llandaff Cathedral is a most unlikely setting for a visible protest apart from distracting worshippers and the many weddings held there. Dr Morgan says that the Cathedral stands there as "a place of dialogue". That is not how traditionalists in the Church in Wales see it having been marginalised by their own Archbishop. Charity begins at home Barry.

More news from Wales Online about 'Occupy Cardiff' here and here. Disappointment for 'Bazzer' here but fortunate for Mr Dean!

Friday, 18 November 2011

World Toilet Day 2011


Tomorrow, 19 November 2011 is World Toilet Day. Despite previous promises of World leaders 40% of people do not have proper sanitationWater Aid continues to do battle and is asking people to act now to help them simply by emailing their MP. 

After all, who would want to use this

or have to drink this?

Water Aid struggles to do something about it and will appreciate your support. Thanks.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Faith by numbers

The Lord Bishop of Oxford has been looking at figures again. Not filling Church of England schools with Muslims this time but looking forward to having the first woman bishop in his county.

He said "I am delighted we have got to this stage. We have had women deacons and priests for the last 17 years and it’s absolutely logical if we have women as deacons and priests we should also be able to have them as bishops." Faith by numbers. The illogical agenda of modern bishops which has virtually destroyed the Anglican Church as we knew it has nothing to do with the faith of the early church, tiny, determined, believing in the example set by Christ. It spreads secularism in stages so that it looks perfectly natural. Natural because the church is viewed by most people from a secular perspective seeing people in the workplace with leaders dressed up to give them a stature they would not otherwise enjoy.

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Mark 8:36

Vulture Culture is back

In March I reported that the Jubilee Debt Campaign was successful in its campaign to stop Vulture Culture in the UK. The vultures have now flown to Jersey. Please take action here to help some of the poorest people in the world.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Another lost generation?

The Minister for Employment speaks on a journey of no hope

Continually blaming the previous Government for the crisis the bankers left us in is wearing a bit thin so now it is the fault of the eurozone. Commenting on the unemployment figures, Chris Grayling the Employment Minister said, "These figures show just how much our economy is being affected by the crisis in the eurozone. Our European partners must take urgent action to stabilise the position."

His BBC2 'Newsnight' performance in front of a group of unemployed youngsters last night offered no encouragement. With the prospect of youth employment exceeding one million (realised in this morning's figures) an increase in apprenticeships was one crumb offered despite the scheme being discredited in a news story on Sunday. 

The most significant effect of cutting public sector employment so far has been to reduce the tax intake while increasing the amount needed for benefits plus letting into the country an unknown number of undesirables because of a shortage of immigration control staff to deal with lengthy queues. Gone is the rosy picture of the private sector mopping up people made redundant although for many that was always a puzzle when unemployment was already high.

With the Bank of England reducing growth forecasts the outlook for the young unemployed is dire and especially so for graduates who have left university with massive debts to repay - provided they ever earn enough to repay their loans. Without growth the outlook is grim with the prospect of another lost generation. It is no good simply waiting for others to provide a stimulus. An impotent Government serves none of us.

Life in the Lords

Baroness Trumpington responds to Lord King's remarks here.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Queer Street

Life has taken a queer turn for older generations who thought 'gay' meant bright and lively. Considerably younger than myself, Robert Peston finds himself in hot water for referring to Carey Street as Queer Street, something we oldies would have readily understood.

Meanwhile, others are applauding the decision of Liverpool City Council to erect street signs to assist 'gay' people. As The Christian Institute points out, this is in stark contrast to Councils that have banned Christian symbols from public display. How very queer!

Loan sharks: e-petition signatures please

Soldiers from the Alpha Grenadier Company attend a Remembrance Day (pic: PA)

Close on the heels of Remembrance Day the Mirror yesterday ran a story,  'Legal loan sharks target soldiers battling to survive on low military wages'. Today, better news: 'Legal loan shark QuickQuid stops targeting soldiers after Mirror story'. But the battle is not over. Nick Sommerlad illustrates the wider problem here. Britain is one of the few countries left with no restriction on the interest rates and fees that lenders can apply - 300% to 400% a year is typical - which is more than ten times the cost of mainstream credit.

The Government's advice for dealing with loan sharks is 'Don't'. Good advice but likely to miss the target aimed at by loan sharks.  More information on the problem is available here

Please sign the e-petition calling on the Government to take action and encourage others to do the same. Thank you.

Monday, 14 November 2011

'Modern' Evangelism

About a million Catholics regularly attend mass in England and Wales, but leaders say there
 are many more who are baptised but do not go to church. Photograph: John D Mchugh/AP

In her article for the Guardian, "Catholic church plans campaign to re-evangelise inactive members", their award winning religious affairs correspondent, Riazat Butt, includes what is presumably an old image of the ex-Archbishop of Westminster with a picture of Pope John Paul II, whose initiative the plan was. It has been driven forward by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, who offered a more recent view here.

The Anglican Church has Back to Church Sunday. God help us! Sorry, I couldn't watch it all. No wonder Anglican churches are emptying.

The price of unity

The wrong direction

"Church regions back women bishops" to let women break through the "stained glass ceiling" says a Reuter's report yesterday. Stained glass in the ceiling doesn't alter the secular concept. The Anglican church can see the path to unity but is choosing to go the wrong way. 

There is an interesting analysis here which suggests that the vote is not a foregone conclusion.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Remembrance Sunday

The memorial service commemorating the fourth anniversary of World War I
Etaples, France, 4 Aug 1918

Etaples today. The largest CWGC cemetery in France with over 11,000 burials

Him's not in it

Above is the image that welcomes you if you go to the site of the Orthodox Church in the UK. Likewise go the site of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and you get a good sense of a spiritual world. Now go to the Church in Wales site for their latest highlight. Not about Him but H'mm. Even the Church of England site suggests some semblence of faith rather than a business linked to the Eisteddfod.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Armistice Day

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them."

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

God's call

Dim ond munud Samuel! We have a new agenda here in Wales.

Reports of the Welsh Ordinariate exploration day have appeared here and here. From a lay perspective friends who attended tell me that they were encouraged by the positive mood of those who had travelled the length of Wales and from across the border to be there. Mgr Keith Newton, the Ordinary, spoke of Christ's prayer for unity and the generous opportunity offered by Pope Benedict to keep the Anglo Catholic tradition alive in communion with Rome as part of the first century church from which the Anglican church had departed.

Nothing better illustrates this than the final paragraph of Fr Mark Zorab's report linked above: "For many, the new Church in Wales and its Governing Body insisting on a new creed for the faithful and ordinands, that they are obliged to consent to their new found self appointed authority to change matters of doctrine and order within the church, will be a decisive factor."

Loyalty in Wales has had no reward. The Way looks clear.

Monday, 7 November 2011

UK Border Agency

Open all hours!

Spare a thought for Theresa May after the Prime Minister expressed his full support for the Home Secretary, usually a bad omen. Time will tell.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Muslims and Jews united

'The chop' has been in the news in the Netherlands uniting Jews and Muslims in their condemnation of laws which are now expected to ban slaughtering animals for halal and Kosher foods. This video has some exaggerated claims in defence of a system that many regard as cruel and outdated in civilized society

It is a relief that at long last halal and kosher meat will have to be labelled under new EU rules. For too long we have been duped into buying meat that has been slaughtered in the name of Allah. Ritual circumcision, though not voluntary for an eight-year old, is nevertheless not a custom forced on Christians. Why should Christians and other non-Muslims become involuntary participants in another rite of a minority religion in this country? Ritual slaughter should also be banned in the UK. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

At last some sanity in the C of E

The Church of England has warned its clergy not to register same-sex relationships, following government confirmation that places of worship can host civil partnership ceremonies from next month. 

This is welcome news. Civil Partnerships are a sensible development but as ever some people want continually to push the boundaries. On past form promises are discarded or there are denials that they ever existed.  

News from the US has it that the Anglican Covenant has been rejected because it is "a political and theological threat that would alter the American church’s power base and undo the advances made by the church’s liberal wing in recent years." 

We have had more than enough of the liberal US church's views wrecking the Anglican church in this Country. Let's hope sanity prevails this time.

All Souls

In the eyes of the foolish they seem to have died,
and their departure was thought to be a disaster,
and their going from us to be their destruction;
but they are at peace.
For though in the sight of others they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality.
Having been disciplined a little,
they will receive great good,
because God tested them and found them worthy of himself.
Those who trust in him will understand truth,
and the faithful will abide with him in love,
because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones,
and he watches over his elect.    Wisdom 3:1-6, 9

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Graecum est; non legitur

It's all Greek to me!

In a period when Statesmen/persons (?) are thin on the ground I remember listening to George Papandreou, the Prime Minister of Greece speaking in Berlin back in September and being impressed by what he had to say about Greece, her place in Europe and the problems associated with the sovereign debt crisis. He was well received so I thought hope was in the air.

The crisis appeared to ease after European leaders agreed a package that bought time for Greece. Papandreou was satisfied. We could breath again. It is all the more extraordinary then that the Greek Prime Minister should do a 'Bazzer' and decide on his own volition to hold a referendum. All Greek to the Greeks too apparently.

What would Jesus do?

Well what would Jesus do? 

Would he support the capitalist venture that sees an American evangelical WWJD import sold at $9 a time? It's all guess work. My guess is that He would deliver His message and move on. But that answers the wrong question which is, What did Jesus do? There is an interesting answer here.

The Established Church is already in deep trouble with American ideas of Anglicanism but this is not an evangelical protest or even a Christian protest. I read one report where demonstrators wondered what the Vatican response would be thinking that St Paul's was a Roman Catholic Cathedral. Various themes have been added to the protest by a mixed bunch of people using Christianity as one of their weapons. When professional protesters move in they become a liability to the legitimacy of the original cause as demonstrated at Dale Farm. A similar community establishing itself outside St Paul's will lead to an increasingly intolerable situation with a high probability of violence which both sides of the initial protest want to avoid.

When Jesus was shown the coin His advice was clear, obey the law.