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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Friday, 26 April 2013
On the one hand, you have a growing population of Muslim believers brimming with masculine self-confidence and assertiveness about their faith, and on the other hand, you have a dwindling population of Christians who are long on nurturance and sensitivity but short on manpower. Who seems more likely to prevail?
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
|Photo: Belfast Telegraph|
See "The Qu’ran is facing a blistering attack from contemporary scholarship" on the Christian Medical Comment blog here.
Sunday, 21 April 2013
|Photo: Jonathan_W flickr|
Thursday, 18 April 2013
Bravo! "More than a century of male-dominated baton wielding will finally be brought to an end when Marin Alsop becomes the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms. ... Ms Alsop, 56, was not chosen because she was a woman. Her musical strengths simply made her the best person to conduct this year’s festivities, which traditionally provide a flag-waving finale to the two-month series, the BBC said." - The Independent.
That is as it should be, the best person for the job. There can be nothing more demeaning to womanhood than the notion that they would not have been considered had they not been female.
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
This morning while hospital visiting I overheard an elderly couple telling anyone who was prepared to listen what a wonderful person Margaret Thatcher was. Clutching a copy of the Daily Mail, the essential guide for working class Tories, they were pressing all to agree that Port Stanley should be re-named Port Margaret in recognition of Mrs Thatcher's conquering of the "enemy without" adding that she had "done more for the working class than all union officials put together". The only response came from a frail old man as he shuffled away reminding them that the "enemy within" were the successors of the Bevin Boys who helped us win the real war.
Margaret Thatcher could claim some remarkable achievements but that unguarded comment about the enemy within was not one of them. Her policies split the country and problems created for the mining communities linger on today as families continue to pay the price of their convictions. At the top of the scale those who were to gain most from the Thatcher revolution have learned nothing as they continue to line their pockets while the rest of us are told to tighten our belts. At the bottom of the scale people worry not only about the cost of living but about the cost of dying with the average cost of a funeral exceeding £3,000. It is understandable therefore that people regard spending £10 million of tax-payers money on what appears to be a state funeral in all but name as a grave error of judgement.
But at the end of the day this is what politics is all about. There have been many fulsome tributes and some entertaining speeches in both Houses showing parliament at its best. The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition set examples of propriety in the Commons while Baroness Shirley Williams, another remarkable female politician, gave us a woman's perspective from the Lords where Mrs Thatcher's ever faithful servant Norman Tebbit expressed his profound regret of having "left her at the mercy of her friends"!
Mrs Thatcher served her party well but she was dropped when she became a burden to them. Now, in death, her image is being restored, projecting her as the person who "saved" Britain and made Britain "great" again. That's politics for you but apart from the enormous cost of this exercise it sets a dangerous precedent by drawing the Queen into the political manoeuvering. The Queen's attendance at the funeral appears to endorse the suggestion implied here that she gives royal approval to a period of great divisiveness in which we still live today. That is a matter of great regret.
Monday, 8 April 2013
To the non-Anglican the Church of England must appear to be an archaic debating society in which the newly 'enlightened' struggle to drag reluctant members into the 21st Century. In a secular society most people at least have some understanding of conscientious objection but apparently not in a religious context so they employ secular criteria to arrive at the wrong conclusion. I remember men who were not called to fight in WWII being described as 'conscies' without any awareness of the facts. Possibly they were conscientious objectors but they were probably in reserved occupations which barred them from active service.
During WWI in their ignorance many feminists and suffragettes handed out white feathers to men who were not in uniform, including honourably discharged wounded soldiers and those on leave from the front assuming them to be cowards. So earnest were some of these women that the facts became irrelevant to their cause believing only what they wanted to believe.
I have no idea what to expect from the July 2013 Synod but some have suggested that a two-stage Bill similar to that being presented to the Governing Body (GB) of the Church in Wales in September may be a way forward. According to a Press Release preliminary GB group discussions are to take place on 10 April but given the firm stand already taken by the establishment (here and here) it is difficult to see what could be offered that would be acceptable to traditionalists resulting in the danger that if no agreement were possible the establishment would seek to find a way around the problem in the knowledge that the ordination of women bishops had been agreed. That does not suggest a sensible solution for those who already feel betrayed by actions taken to date.
In looking for a new way forward women who would be bishops and their supporters must accept that for traditionalists, remaining faithful to Christ is not an optional extra but the faith of the Holy Catholic Church as we understand it in common with the majority of catholic and orthodox Christians worldwide. If we were a debating society to be swayed by secular criteria we would not have to bear the burden of conscience but that is not how it is. To say yes to secularism would be saying 'no' to Christ.
The honourable way forward would be to satisfy first the needs of traditionalists and evangelicals. To do otherwise would perpetuate the legacy of ordaining women to the priesthood by fair means or foul, in that case foul given the already broken promises. In conscience as Christians we can and must do better.