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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Women and the[ir] Church

 
 
 
Affirming themselves + campaigning for themselves + transforming the Church for themselves. Self + self + self.
 
The six bullet points used in an earlier blog entry on marriage may be equally applied to  WATCH feminist campaigners who demand parity for women in what they now see as their church:
    • Exploit the “victim” status;
    • Use the sympathetic media;
    • Confuse and neutralize the churches;
    • Slander and stereotype [traditionalist] Christians;
    • Bait and switch (hide their true nature); and
    • Intimidation.
Thinking Anglicans yesterday reproduced this press release: WATCH continues to call for complete withdrawal of Clause 5(1)c.

 "Amongst the key points in the[ir] thinking are:
  • We do not agree with the reasons given by Archbishop Rowan for the need for further amendment. Opposition to the priestly of episcopal ministry of women is based foundationally upon theologies of gender.
  • Those who support the ordained ministry of women have already made huge compromises in supporting the unamended Measure that already made provision for those opposed to have a male priest and a male bishop. Accepting the new Clause 8 represents a further compromise on our part.
  • The unamended Measure received an overwhelming mandate from the dioceses. 42/44 have debated and approved this legislation. General Synod should be allowed to vote on legislation that is as close as possible to that which was approved by the dioceses.
  • We are concerned that hasty amendment will again prove to be a hostage to fortune. Any new wording inserted at this stage will not have received adequate scrutiny given the timing of the consultation (25/7 to 24/8). It is likely that the full implications of any new wording will only be discovered later in the autumn influencing Synod voting in unforeseen ways.
  • If further concessions are made, some Synod members will no longer be able to support the draft legislation and the loss of just a few votes from those who support the ordained ministry of women may be enough, in combination with those who would vote against it anyway, to bring the legislation down.
  • With the full support of the bishops and archbishops, legislation with the new Clause 8 but without Clause 5(1)c would have a better chance of passing than any other option.
We conclude that withdrawing 5(1)c is the safest path to the successful passage of this Measure and the only way to keep faith with the diocesan consultation process."
 
The first point of their 'thinking' boldly states: "We do not agree with the reasons given by Archbishop Rowan for the need for further amendment. Opposition to the priestly of episcopal ministry of women is based foundationally upon theologies of gender." I have written previously here and here that Archbishop Rowan has done everything possible to empower women in the church but unlike the women he has supported, he remains mindful that there are still many Anglicans who adhere to the faith of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and have deep theological objections to the Anglican Communion deviating from the Universal Church, thus hindering the cherished ambition of Christian Unity. The 'huge compromises' supporters of the ordained ministry of women say they have already made are meaningful only to themselves. As the Church of England struggles to find a compromise fair to all, that one small crumb is more than they can bear because it is for others, not self.

The first comment  listed in response to the Thinking Anglicans article makes a fair point:
   "Rachel Weir and members of WATCH have conveniently forgotten that a significant minority of the 44 Dioceses also passed following motions expressing a desire for a proper form of provision for traditionalists. What kind of a church are we developing into, I wonder, where majority rule becomes the order of the day, and there is no place for conscience or space for those with whom we disagree. The Church of England has never been of that ilk, and I suspect that Ms Weir will actually (hopefully) discover that the Bishops will remain mindful of their pastoral imperative to care for ALL in their respective dioceses. If the current unyielding and unbending position of WATCH is any guide to the future with women Bishops, I fear not only for traditionalists but for the Church as a whole. It is definitely not the sort of pastoral care I or others in our local church would wish to receive. Many in the congregation (of both genders) are becoming increasingly irritated at the stance of WATCH. Irritation will lead to refutation and refusal, so WATCH members need to be careful what they wish for. Conscience will never be overriden in these matters. - Posted by: Benedict"

Back in June WATCH asked the question: "What do ordinary people think about the House of Bishops' amendment to Clause 5?" The truth is that 'ordinary people'  haven't a clue what the House of Bishop's amendment to Clause 5 is all about and care even less. In fact, most 'ordinary people' gave up going to Anglican churches long ago, fed up with an institution that has become obsessed with gender politics, preferring to look elsewhere for spiritual fulfilment. When our churches are completely empty we will know who to blame.

For what shall it profit a woman, if she shall gain the whole world, and lose her own soul?
 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Clang!


Photo: 'The Bell'

Writing a tribute to the retiring Dean in the July/August 2012 edition of the Llandaff Parish Magazine, The Bell, Archbishop Morgan wrote: 
"The Dean is called to be pastor to the congregation; to be someone who can, through the Cathedral’s worship, showcase best liturgical practice and someone who enables a ministry of welcome to organisations, parishes and institutions, so that through that ministry people feel that they are valued and cherished by God. It is an awesome responsibility." Without a hint of irony the Archbishop continued, "I have therefore appointed myself to be “in charge” of the Cathedral for the next few months".

In the September edition he writes of the Church in Wales Review Recommendation VIII, (The distinctive role of each cathedral as a centre of excellence should be fully integrated into the mission and ministry strategy of its Diocese):
    "It makes clear, what we know already, that any cathedral is central to the life of the diocese in which it is set.  Llandaff Cathedral as well as being a parish church is a place (like any other church, but with a special responsibility for it) of welcome, hospitality and friendship.  The Cathedral extends this to all the parishes of the diocese because it is  the diocesan church par excellence.  That dual role could lead to a conflict between the needs of parish and diocese.  That should never be the case, but rather should be embraced as a glorious opportunity to minister not just to the local community (the parish) but to the wider family of the diocese as well. 
That is why it is the Bishop’s church, the place where he has his chair – the place, in other words, where he has his home but the place from which he exercises oversight over the wider diocesan family.  And, it is in my capacity as Bishop, that I have decided to exercise direct oversight over the Cathedral for the time being."

So there you have it. The Archbishop has taken on the 'awesome responsibility' of making sure people feel that they are valued and cherished by God. Unless his words are intended as a veiled criticism of his former Dean's stewardship, this initiative comes rather late in his ministry. The truth is that people already feel valued and cherished by God but not by the Archbishop who sees ministry only on his terms. Claiming to be "gobsmacked" when he was appointed in 2003, Archbishop Morgan said he was "just an ordinary bloke who's got ordinary interests". Hardly! Just before his enthronement he came out with this observation:
   "Lots of priests who are homosexual by orientation don't practice and lead celibate lives and that is not a problem. "The problem comes if someone is homosexual and is promiscuous - then that is real issue, whether homosexual or heterosexual." He added:
the main challenge for the church concerned making "the connection between faith and life".

In another parish church at the other end of his diocese a packed congregation met on Sunday to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption in the knowledge that a much loved sister church looks set to be sold off to the local Muslim community, adherents of  a religion noted for its harsh treatment of homosexuality often leading to the death sentence but for reasons best known to himself, on good terms with the Archbishop. The question being asked was, "Will Archbishop Barry be prepared publicly to declare his support for female imams and same sex marriages in mosques?"  

For dwindling congregations the reality is that his liberal policy of 'connecting faith with life' has all but killed off the Church in Wales while facilitating illiberal Muslim expansion in his diocese but at least the Archbishop can be satisfied that in mosques, 'people feel that they are valued and cherished by God' - strictly on their terms of course. More here.  

Clang!

Postscript

In the last paragraph, above, I provided two links to reports of the oppression of Christians in Pakistan. Damian Thompson has  since published an article, Radical Islam revives an ancient hatred. It highlights the problems facing Christian minorities throughout the world. Read it here. Compared with issues surrounding homosexuality and the role of women in the church, the fate of Christians abroad receives very little attention. Celebrating diversity in our own country enhances the feel-good factor but this myopia ignores the fact that while good relations may be shared with minority Muslim communities, when Christians are in the minority the picture changes radically. To Muslims, Christians (and Jews) are "the worst of creatures" but this is not made obvious when Muslims are in the minority. In these circumstances deception is employed to hoodwink the gullible, see here (advance to position 18 if short of time and watch the whole later). Afterwards try to find 90 Mins to watch Islam - What The West Needs To Know.

Monday, 20 August 2012

To be joined together




Male and female, made for each other, bonding together for a purpose. Whether you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that he was a philosopher or just a perceptive Rabbi, this is the definition of marriage most people understand:

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19: 3-6. 
Footnotes: [a] Matthew 19:4 Gen. 1:27 [b] Matthew 19:5 Gen. 2:24

Joining together male and female is what defines marriage, be it metal, wood or human flesh. Two males or two females may 'bond' in terms of human affection but so does a mother and her child or a person may express love for their pet but that does not, indeed can not, lead to marriage. Claims that same sex couples are discriminated against because they are not allowed to marry are absurd. They have equal rights under civil partnership legislation which puts them on equal basis with heterosexual couples but by definition they cannot be joined together in marriage. Some have suggested that if they were allowed to marry their union would be no different to the union of a heterosexual couple unable to have children. That is as bogus as it is unkind. But it goes further than that. The 'want it all' mentality extends to same sex couples expecting to have children by one means or another regardless of the cost to the child or the claimed heartbreak because a child 'has no mother' when clearly he must have.

Manipulation is the name of the game. This article lists the six ways homosexual activists manipulate public opinion:
  • Exploit the “victim” status;
  • Use the sympathetic media;
  • Confuse and neutralize the churches;
  • Slander and stereotype Christians;
  • Bait and switch (hide their true nature); and
  • Intimidation.

The Anglican church knows all about 'Confuse and neutralize the churches' and 'Slander and stereotype Christians', particularly in England and Wales where US liberalism has spread like a rash losing the bond of trust that existed in our once broad church. Remember how traditionalists were promised an honoured place in the church, how civil partnerships didn't mean gay marriage? No more. Tolerance of minorities has become intolerance by minorities but whatever they say, they cannot redefine what it means is to be male and female.  

You don't have to be religious to oppose same-sex marriage, just rational.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Olympian Double Standards


Watching the London 2012 Olympics, I felt sadness mingled with admiration for the first Saudi woman athlete to compete as she crossed the finishing line of the Women's 800 metres half a minute after the rest of the competitors. Forced to compete in a form of Islamic attire better suited to the Winter Olympics she provided an own goal for Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic code which denies their womenfolk the freedoms other women around the world take for granted.

Roared on by the 80,000 spectators in the Olympic Arena it is difficult to reconcile the crowd's response with the report in PressTV headed - Olympics on a land full of Islamophobia in which they allege:
   
"The UK is presenting itself as an equal opportunities state and a secure location, especially when it comes to an international sports event such as the Olympic Games that are currently taking place in London. But recent history of racial and religious hatred in Britain could send a negative message worldwide.

Islamophobia has become one of the latest forms of racism in Britain, starting with the Bradford riots in 2001 that involved a high population of Asians. Approximately 68,000 Pakistanis, 12,500 Indians, 5,000 Bangladeshis and 3,000 other Asians were facing a far-right reawakening of the "National Front" that existed since the 20th century. They are currently known as the British National Party (BNP) additional to other anti-Islam groups such as the English Defence League (EDL)."

I very much doubt that religious observance forbids Muslim men to watch women dressed for running in what they must regard as inappropriate sports wear so they will have witnessed the unequal opportunities forced on Muslim women competitors. To question UK equal opportunities in such circumstances is as bizarre as it is ridiculous. But then PressTV is interested only in Islamic propaganda with their endless accusations of Islamophobia. I have tried correcting their misapprehensions in the past but they do not publish comments that are unfavourable to the cause of Islamic rule under Sharia law. 

There is no indication that the thousands of Asians in Bradford referred to are clamouring to return to Asia; quite the reverse and, in any event, Islam is not a 'race' but a religio-political organization which regards non-Muslims as inferior so charges of racism are without foundation. Also, the BNP is no more representative of the British people than is PressTV yet they presume to print: "Britain’s position as a role model to host the peaceful Olympic Games, is widely criticized by many Muslims with regard to the UK’s recent military invasions in countries like Iraq or Afghanistan." - Britainophobia! PressTV would serve their followers more accurately if they spent some time looking towards their own culture where half the population is aggrieved by the way they are discriminated against. The Olympic Games made it plain for all to see that these repressive Islamists really condemn themselves in their actions.

In a subsequent assault on the UK, PressTV complain of the security measures taken to protect participants and spectators (that is of all faiths and none) but from the tone of their article one has to assume that they see any terrorist threat as most likely to be jihadist. This is no surprise following reports of British based jihadists in Syria fighting for a cause that is neither British or Syrian and of the trouble brewing in the Sinai.  PressTV should ask themselves some serious questions about where the threat to stability lies. If they have any doubt they should read about it here.   

Monday, 13 August 2012

Simply Splendid!


Citius, Altius, Fortius



The London Olympics closed truly exemplifying the Olympic motto: Faster, Higher, Stronger.

Four years ago when a London bus drove around the Beijing Arena, the precursor to the 2012 London Olympics, many hearts sank at the contrast witnessed. How could we possibly compete with the magnificent spectacle provided at enormous cost by the Chinese people, a nation of 1.3 billion? But compete we did, on a tight budget, in our typically qwerky, British way. A triumph of ingenuity and organisation, the London Olympics were set in spectacular venues  blotted only by that hideous metal construction, the Orbit Tower, the only sore thumb spoiling a landscape superbly enhanced by magnificent floral displays.

At the closing ceremony the most sustained applause was for the 70,000 helpers who freely gave of their time for the benefit of others. There had been glory in abundance, amazing performances accompanied by tears of joy mingled with tears of sadness. The physical became infused with the spiritual as many competitors crossed themselves bearing witness to their faith. In a memorable moment one competitor could be seen whispering "I love you Mum" as she looked up to heaven in gratitude for her mother's contribution to her success, the success which follows years of sacrifice not only by competitors but by their families as they help to facilitate rigorous training regimes day in day out, year in year out.

There is no Victor Ludorum. It would be invidious to try to pick out an overall winner from so many outstanding performances. Much better to see it, as De Coubertin quoted in 1908, as "The most important thing is not to win but to take part", a lesson for those commentators who implied that to achieve a Silver or a Bronze medal was a failure when in reality, simply to be an Olympian is an achievement. The best in competition and sportsmanship was amply demonstrated by the many post-competition embraces, none more so than by the 'King of Hugs', Sir Steve Redgrave shown above hugging Sir Chris Hoy, after he passed Sir Steve's own illustrious Gold Medal record.

One reviewer wanted to award BBC commentator Clare Balding a Gold Medal for her infectious informed enthusiasm but that honour had already been awarded in the Briton household to Garry Herbert for his early contribution to the 'feel good' factor as he encouraged rowers and spectators alike. Behind the commentators, all credit too to the planners, organisers, producers, camera crews, the list is endless, and to the spectators who turned out in droves to provide encouragement and show their gratitude for the supreme effort that made for a truly memorable spectacle of courage and endurance.

As the Olympic 'legacy' is discussed and politicians bask in the reflected glory, I hope they will also reflect on the fact that their policy of selling-off school playing fields and curtailing physical activities in state schools has been as short-sighted as it is foolish, endangering the health and well-being of future generations for short term political advantage with the result that sporting activities have to be fitted in at weekends - killing off many a church choir in the process! The athletes, organisers, helpers and spectators of the 2012 Olympics have reminded us of higher ideals. Thank you!