|Possible contenders Photo: The Independent|
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Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Monday, 27 May 2013
|A Baghdad church. More 'religion of peace' images here|
and white Britons has also risen, by nine points to 59%. But these buck the broader trend.
Compared with last year, when we ran the same survey, people are now either just as likely, or more likely, to endorse a series of more positive statements: that Muslims are compatible with the national way of life; are good citizens; make important contributions to society; and share British culture and values." [My emphasis - Ed.]
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
|Photo: Church Times|
The reason for the Dean of Llandaff's resignation after only two months in post is as obscure now as it was when the announcement was made. At the time the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said that he would be making no further comment. Dr Morgan has commented in the June edition of the Llandaff Parish Magazine, The Bell, but there is no further clarity. He writes:
Speculation has revolved around a spat with members of the choir, since denied, and absurd mischief making about opposition to women, still perpetuated in the Thinking Anglicans blog despite the numerous women in the diocese and this comment from a parishioner: "...There are intransigent problems with Llandaff that have arisen since 2000, due to previous appointments. [...] comments are singularly ill-informed, since the congregation - contrary to his picture of "rampant congregationalism" - actually have very little say in the running of the place. Any institution that lives wildly beyond its means and invests in white elephants whilst ignoring the pastoral needs of its congregation - and its wider mission - deserves to fail. ..."
While this may suggest local infighting, the silence of the Archbishop and the former Dean suggests a personal spat followed by an agreement to say nothing. I am pleased to report that Dean Henderson has wisely moved on but what of the Cathedral, the diocese and the Church in Wales?
Dr Morgan poses the question: What is it about our [Cathedral] corporate life that can lead to a situation such as this?
Monday, 20 May 2013
Saturday, 18 May 2013
"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place" - not in Jerusalem on this occasion but in Swanbridge!
|Swanbridge Photo: Francis Frith|
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
See reports here, here and here about a Lebanese man who was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes for converting a Muslim woman to Christianity and a Saudi man who was sentenced to two years and 200 lashes for aiding her escape abroad. As severe as these penalties are they are relatively lenient when compared with the possible fatwa induced execution of those in Morocco who renounce Islam even though it is not a crime in that country.
In the video that follows, Richard Dawkins manages to strain an admission from Dr Mohamed Mukadam, the then Chairman of the Association of Muslim Schools, that in Islam apostasy is dealt with by the death penalty but Dr Mukadam failed to see the connection in what happens in an Islamic country and what happens in Great Britain. The connection is the universal freedom of choice:
Monday, 13 May 2013
From Window Tax to Bedroom Tax, what might appear to be a bright idea to one is another's nightmare. The wealthy simply paid someone to brick up windows to avoid paying window tax but where do the poor get the money to knock down walls to make two bedrooms into one, even if they were allowed to? There is a real injustice here.
What is so unreasonable about having a spare bedroom or two after your children have moved out? Do they not need somewhere to stay when they and their children visit, or is that a privilege reserved for the wealthy? And what if they are sick? It is far more cost effective to have a carer stay than fill a bed in our over-stretched hospitals. This scheme is sold as one of fairness but if a wealth tax is unfair because it could result in old ladies being forced out of their homes, how is it fairer that poor old ladies are forced out of theirs?
Stephanie Bottrill's neighbour said: “She spoke to us over the fence and said they’d offered her three places; one was a flat which was no good to her because of her condition, one was in Shirley and wasn’t near a bus stop, and another was in Alton, further away. I think, because she loved her garden, the thought of moving away from her friends and into something like a one-bed bungalow has had that effect.”
Would you want to leave your house and garden for a one bedroom property, if one could be found, in a different community, and expect your family to find hotel accommodation when visiting or caring in times of illness? I wouldn't. An Englishman's home used to be his castle. Now it is dependent on status. This has all the makings of the coalition's Poll Tax.
Saturday, 11 May 2013
The media have strung together bits and pieces from the initial story to put their own spin on it. The Sun highlights the row about chorister fees [since denied by the CinW - Ed] while The Times in its online preview states "No explanation was given, but Llandaff is known as an Anglo-Catholic heartland and Church sources indicated that as a woman she might have had a difficult time." That Llandaff is known as an Anglo-Catholic heartland will come as a surprise to many including the Archbishop who has done more than most to change the Church in Wales into a club for like-minded liberals.
The May edition of the Llandaff Parish magazine, The Bell, lists 29 recommendations for action on the sustainability of the Cathedral and its development. Reading through the recommendations there is a suggestion of years of neglect with Dean Henderson being the fall guy. To the recommendations she added her own areas of importance: "excellence of worship, good all age Christian education, support and training for staff and the exploration of the riches that are present in our archives and on site. I also see a great deal of opportunity to develop our musical and artistic life and to be in partnership with schools, colleges and universities" which makes one wonder if anyone at a senior level has done anything other than pursue a political agenda in recent years.
Janet Henderson's farewell sermon in St Mary's Richmond in January this year makes interesting reading in retrospect, particularly these quotes: "Or maybe God does speak to us directly, just occasionally. Perhaps when we are very far away from God or in great distress."..." There is nothing we can do to make God speak to us. We can only expect and hope that God might. We can hold ourselves open to hear and to act on what we hear." ... "You can always recognise a person who listens and talks with God. You can always tell a church where lots of the members are engaged in doing this." - Or not?
This interesting comment from a Llandaff parishioner has appeared on the Thinking Anglicans site:
"Former Dean Janet was welcomed by the parishioners at Llandaff - it's a parish church as well as a cathedral - and many were impressed by her personal warmth and commonsense approach.
Her resignation has stunned many, but the gender issues claimed in statements by "Church sources" are probably not the main cause of this. There are intransigent problems with Llandaff that have arisen since 2000, due to previous appointments. Keith Kimber's comments are singularly ill-informed, since the congregation - contrary to his picture of "rampant congregationalism" - actually have very little say in the running of the place.
Any institution that lives wildly beyond its means and invests in white elephants whilst ignoring the pastoral needs of its congregation - and its wider mission - deserves to fail. It is probable that Janet recognised this at a very early stage. Regrettably, we will now be denied her vision and energy. However she quickly realised the unfortunate truth of Llandaff's parlous position and we will now have to fend for ourselves.
Posted by: Landavian on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 10:49pm BST"
Thursday, 9 May 2013
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Afterwards came reports of abduction, murder and abuse with the obligatory gut-churning statements before what appeared to be almost an afterthought when some time was given at the end of the bulletin to the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous campaign of WW2 which ensured our survival and enabled us to watch events unfold now as a free country, sadly in decline, not through war but through total indifference.
Thank God for all those who gave their lives so that we are free to endure the trivia that has become all important today.
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
|Bevin Boys - from BBC Wales History|
|Members of the Irish Defence Forces during the Second World War. (© UTV)|
Two images, both of sacrifice unrecognised, until now.
The 'Bevin Boys' had a long struggle to be recognised for their contribution to the war effort. Their story is told here. Personally I would have preferred to take my chances with the enemy than work underground, a story I recall hearing from others.
Less familiar - ignorance would be a better description - is the story of the thousands of Irish soldiers who joined the British Army only to be branded as 'deserters' and those who returned home denied their civil rights. For them a long overdue pardon and our grateful thanks for the undeserved misery they endured.
Sunday, 5 May 2013
Saturday, 4 May 2013
|Telegraph: "Yes, those are real skulls" (Photo: CNS)|
The Religion & Ethics Blog carries a dialogue on Muslim Antiterrorism in which it is claimed that online predators "misinterpret the religion [Islam] to give it a violent ideology". Vatican Radio carries a report here on Islam and Christianity in Europe. Dialogue is fine; it is praiseworthy that a solution is being sought but it does not address the real problem which is a militant ideology which conflicts with Christianity. Read about it HERE in Death to Churches Under Islam: A Study of the Coptic Church.
Where Muslims are in a minority they are happy to talk while they build bigger and grander mosques. At the same time others are busy injecting a Muslim way of life into communities. Meanwhile in countries where they are in the majority churches are being torn down and Christians persecuted and killed for being Christians. Read here and here how the 'Arab spring' has given way to a Christian winter. Muslim Persecution of Christians continues around the world while in Great Britain we surrender the Christian faith at the earliest opportunity validating other faiths to be 'inclusive' as the Rt Rev John Pritchard put it in 2011 with regard to Church of England schools. Close on his heels came the Rt Rev Nick Baines with the view: Church of England schools are established primarily for the communities they are located in. They are inclusive and serve equally those who are of the Christian faith, of other faiths and of no faith. - "Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man"!
Church and State appear to be oblivious to what is going on in the world around us. Here is query from a Muslim asking, 'is it OK to teach in a catholic school' with 'the Ruling on teaching in a Christian school' given by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid whom I take to be the same as the person giving his views here. In any event, in Saudi Arabia the situation is dealt with simply by the state, Christian churches are banned! Meanwhile we yield more and more ground validating an ideology that is contrary to the Christian belief that there is only one way to the Father.