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Monday, 31 March 2014

The Rev John Richardson RIP




I have just read with great sadness of the death of the Rev John Richardson, the Ugely Vicar. Thank you John for what you did for Christ and for His Church. May you deservedly rest in peace.
Read an appreciation here.

Friday, 28 March 2014

The norm!


Photograph: Per Lindgren/Rex Features

TV commentators among others are working themselves into a frenzy as 'gay marriage' day approaches. In a pathetic vote buying move, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has decided that the Rainbow flag will be hoisted over Whitehall to mark the occasion. A sort of metaphorical 'Jolly Roger' designed to say 'up yours' to the over 668,000 Britons who signed the Coalition for Marriage petition only to be ignored by the governing coalition. 

Was it coincidence I wonder that the BBC's Question Time was held in the 'gay capital', Brighton, last night where the audience seemed to think that the only expression of love is marriage. What does that say about hetero-sexual couples who are shunning marriage? Love is love but there wasn't much love shown towards the two brave ladies in the audience who stood against the rest to defend the traditional principle that marriage is the complimentary union of one man and one woman. My impression from the debate was that the audience imagined there was something profoundly wrong with anyone who had not been bitten by the Zeitgeist.  

As predicted each demand has led to another. Not satisfied with civil partnerships, same-sex marriage was being demanded as a right immediately afterwards. Having achieved that goal there are demands that the Church conform. Practicing Anglican, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow who owns a surrogacy company and his civil partner Tony, the 'gay dads' of five, will be among the first to undergo a civil marriage ceremony tomorrow, Saturday, but still intend taking the Church of England to the European Court if necessary so that they can have a church wedding ignoring "the very fact that you take another believer to court means you have lost the battle already (1 Corinthians 6).

Ben Bradshaw MP who claimed to be an Anglo Catholic but now uses that hideous label of duplicity 'a liberal catholic' has "thrown down the gauntlet" to the Church of England, saying it should confirm whether it would defrock a priest for marrying a same-sex partner - story here. The Archbishop of Canterbury has already signalled that the Church of England will mount no more resistance to gay marriage among churchgoers, another step towards the extinction of the Anglican Church in this country as the elderly die out.

One priest who plans to defy the Church makes his position clear in an interview for the BBC here. The Rev Andrew Cain of St Mary's Kilburn and St James' West in north London, is prepared to defy a Church of England ban on the blessings of same-sex marriages and is planning to get married to his civil partner in June. His reasoning? - He says "The generational change as it comes suggests that a more generous acceptance of sexuality is increasing and will be the norm very soon indeed. And I think that once people start to experience same-sex marriages in the way that they experience same-sex partnerships it will become utterly unremarkable. It will be just like everybody else." - Just like the Vicar of Dibley, familiarity makes the situation appear normal, a variation on 'if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself'. 

For the young the situation is already 'utterly unremarkable'. A BBC poll shows that younger people are more likely to support same-sex marriage with 80% of 18 to 34-year-olds backing it compared with 44% of over-65s, suggesting that the young have been successfully brainwashed by a minority with accusations of bigotry if there is any dissent. As a Catholic priest responded to the news, "It is a great irony that those seeking to increase tolerance do not extend that to those who disagree with them."

Adoration of the Golden Calf - Nicolas Poussin, 1629

From an entry dated  February 17, 2013:
"Women want to be priests and bishops, men want to be wives, women want to be husbands, same sex couples want to be married and have children. I want, I want, I want, I want. And our priests say, if that is what you want, have it"! 

'The norm' it seems now requires everything including faith to be adapted to suit current fashion. Even clergy twist the Bible to suit themselves using it as a tool of self justification. As the Rev Andrew Cain said in his interview "The Gospel is always about justice, Christ chose to include people who in His society were excluded and marginalised and the Church should be leading in the inclusion of excluded and marginalised people in the world today. That is what we are called to do". 

I don't recall reading of any rush to same-sex unions as a result of what Christ said or did. That is the new norm! So what will the next generation hold?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Honour!



"Honor Diaries is the first film to break the silence on ‘honor violence’ against women and girls. 
Honor Diaries is more than a movie, it is a movement to save women and girls from human rights abuses – around the world and here in America". Read about it HERE.

While women around the world suffer the most appalling abuse, a phony war has been conducted in Anglicanism to discredit Christianity as being misogynistic and out of touch with modern society. So successful has this campaign been that Christian values are now constantly ridiculed and undermined, the price of facilitating the advancement of women in the Church on the basis of secular criteria of discrimination. In doing so a religious vacuum is being filled by a religious ideology which encourages the very thing that is complained about - regarding women as inferior beings as the film clip so distressingly illustrates.

That Parliament and now The Law Society have become party to this deception must be a cause for despair for women around the world who suffer genuine discrimination, hardship and real misery.

Monday, 24 March 2014

The Law Society and Pastor Saeed Abedini




Had it been April 1st when I read the story about Islamic law being adopted by British legal chiefs (here) I would have laughed it off as a totally ridiculous spoof coming straight after the mutual back-slapping by MPs in their misguided campaign to see women admitted to the Episcopate in England on a false definition of equality.

The Telegraph reports that "under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether. The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs. Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognise only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes".

Before they have their palms crossed with silver, solicitors tempted along this path should first read a report from the Gatestone Institute (here) which begins with the statement: "There are some who are putting women at risk. And doing so for ridiculous reasons, namely that they are somehow responsible for the abuse they are suffering." — Nazir Afzal, head of the Crown Prosecution Service, northwest England".

In Iran a pastor, Saeed Abedini, is imprisoned simply for being a Christian in an Islamic State. By coincidence after reading about The Law Society's "ground-breaking guidance" I received the following e-mail about his imprisonment with a request to sign a petition for his release :

He [Saeed Abedini] needs your prayers and needs to know that you are thinking of him! 

Ask 'World Leaders' not to forget about the false imprisoned, Christian pastor, Saeed Abedini. His medical condition is getting worse. Iran is treating him worse than an animal, leaving him encaged and shackled, refusing to give him medical treatment.

If you have not already, please sign the petition to world leaders urging them to do everything in their power to demand the Iranian government immediately release Pastor Saeed Abedini.

Over 1 year ago, the American citizen, husband, and father of two children, with the permission of the United States and Iranian governments, traveled to Iran to help build an orphanage. Soon thereafter, he was arrested and imprisoned.

His crime? Being a known Christian. 

The contrast could not be more stark with the British legal system aiding an alien religious ideology which in the twenty-first century not only treats women as inferior but permits the public stoning of women, hanging of homosexuals, amputations as a punishment and the beheading of infidels to follow the example of one regarded as the perfect man.

You can sign the petition here. I look forward to signing another directed at The Law Society for promoting undermining “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system.

Postscript
You can petition The Law Society HERE.

Law Society: Withdraw your guidance legitimising discrimination against women, non-Muslims, and ‘illegitimate’ and adopted children.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Bradshaw plays the Joker




Vicar's boy and LGBT champion Ben Bradshaw MP played the Joker card when he spoke in a women's ordination 20th anniversary debate in Westminster Hall yesterday on 'Women’s Contribution to the Ordained Ministry (Church of England)' here. The Mail was quick to run the headline "Church is 'running out of men to be bishops': Labour MP uses debate on women being consecrated to says [sic] Anglican talent pool is drying up". If that sounds familiar the words were recently uttered by a Synod member who warned that the Church of England urgently needs to ordain its first women bishops because it has effectively run out of male clerics who are up to the task. See earlier entry here.

One commentator responded to the Mail article with "Perhaps the church is "running out of men" because it has pursued a secular, sexist agenda designed to advance women irrespective of any other consideration? Precisely. On his Ugely Vicar blog, the Rev John Richardson has been pointing out "The Church of England has only consecrated one Conservative Evangelical bishop of 'complementarian' views since 1997. Since he retired in October 2012, it has been without ANY of that persuasion for 506 days and counting" (here).

Akin to a WATCH pressure group meeting, members were informed that despite Archbishop Justin "managing the situation quite brilliantly" WATCH remains concerned about the continuing role of flying bishops and while the first two guiding principles in the 'Draft House of Bishops Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests' (here - see Annex A) were acceptable, "WATCH has concerns about the other three statements". As the Speaker's Chaplain put it, "As we go forward, the Church must stop leaving women to feel second best" suggesting that once women bishops are approved their campaign will continue until they have a Church acceptable to WATCH.

The debate offered a marvelous opportunity for mutual back-slapping interwoven with comments solicited from women priests on motherhood, housekeeping and social work:
"It goes without saying that women are not the same as men. They often have more responsibility for families, looking after the home at the same time as carrying out a job. Many female vicars are also mothers or grandmothers, and I have seen the benefits that those other duties have had on their ministry. One female vicar in my constituency said: “In Kingshurst, people call at the vicarage if they need help. I listen to a woman who works in a factory and needs help with improving her reading. I have been doing this for about three years.” Some of the women in my constituency lack female role models within their own family—perhaps they are estranged from the grandparental generation. A female priest can provide real practical help, advice and support to young women making their first steps in motherhood without a family network around them."

Previously accused of playing the buffoon, the Second Church Estates Commissioner produced some interesting figures: "Today, some 23%, or nearly a quarter, of stipendiary ministers—full-time paid clergy—are women. Just over half, or 53%, of self-supporting ministers are women. At present, some 1,245 people in England are training to become Anglican priests and of those, 594, or 48%, are women." ... "Women priests are now involved in every part and aspect of the Church’s life, from Lambeth palace where two of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s close team are women priests, to parish priests up and down the country. As time goes on, I think everyone expects that the proportion of women as cathedral deans and archdeacons will grow." 

Sir Tony made "no pretence of seeking to be a theologian" when he quoted from the New Testament to illustrate Christ's close relationship with women which is probably why he, along with the rest of the speakers, completely overlooks the fact that Christ appointed only male Apostles, a position maintained by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches contrary to Mr Bradshaw's assertion that  "At some time, though not in my lifetime, I confidently expect the Roman Catholic Church to embrace the ministry of women, in exactly the same way as the Church of England has done.

To mark and celebrate the 20th anniversary of women as clergy, there will be a gathering of ordained women clergy and others at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 3 May, followed by a procession to St Paul’s Cathedral where there will be a service of celebration for 20 years of women’s ordained ministry. 

This is equality? What a joke!

Postscript
The theme of this post is echoed by Cranmer (here) and VirtueOnline (here) but what really hits home for me is a comment by George Conger (here) in Anglican Unscripted [advance to position 40] when he refers to clerics such as Bishop Gene Robinson as someone who believes that the Holy Spirit has informed him of God's new way of acting in this world, not tied to scripture and tradition, but only to what he believes God is telling him to do. That sounds familiar!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Misconduct charges filed against Katharine Jefferts Schori




A Washington-based conservative group, the American Anglican Fellowship has filed charges against the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, alleging her $30 million legal campaign against church conservatives is an abuse of office and violates church canons. - HT Anglican Ink; story here.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

World Water Day 2014



World Water Day: 22 March 2014
"Safe water transforms lives."


From WaterAid:
In the UK, it’s easy to take it for granted: yet 768 million people around the world have no clean water to drink. Follow this link for details.

You can add your name to an online form or tweet your support for a world where everyone, everywhere has clean water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030. Then on 19 and 20 March in London’s Canary Wharf, your name will be cascading down a waterfall alongside thousands of others to help raise awareness of the water and sanitation crisis.

On Monday 24 March, WaterAid will be taking the names to the House of Lords where WaterAid supporters will be meeting MPs and parliamentarians to show them the strength of public support for increasing efforts to reach everyone, everywhere by 2030.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

No No No Noah




From The Independent: Darren Aronofsky's forthcoming Biblical epic Noah has been banned in several Middle Eastern countries for depicting religious figures. Censorship boards in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have confirmed to Paramount Pictures that they will not release the film, which stars Russell Crowe and begins its global release later this month. Jordan, Kuwait and Egypt are expected to follow suit, stating that the movie offends Islamic teaching and the “feelings of the faithful” with its dark representation of a holy figure. Al-Azhar, Egypt’s leading Sunni Muslim institute, criticised Noah in a statement on Thursday, arguing that the £75 million movie should be banned in the country. Full story here.

For those prepared think for themselves rather than be told what to believe, there is a very informative article here by a celebrated Egyptian liberal political thinker, Tarek Heggy: "Conversations with Islamists: An Egyptian scholar reports his conclusions from decades of talking with leaders of political Islam". This is how he begins his disturbing conclusion: 

My discussions with dozens (or even hundreds) of Islamists over four decades has ranged over many other areas. I have frequently spoken with them on the destructive role which Muslim immigrants play in Western societies, in particular in France, Britain, Germany and Italy. My point of view always has been, and still is, that a large number of these were, and still are, working to shatter the value system of the societies to which they have emigrated, despite having themselves left backwardness, poverty and primitiveness behind and entered into an environment of progress, comfort and civilisation. Even so there are some who do not stop at attempting to shatter the foundational values of these societies; Islamists have always stated that any integration of Muslims into the societies they have emigrated to is something that is forbidden! Many of them affirm that emigrants should work towards turning these societies Islamic! All who value freedom of thought should read it all here.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

International Women's Day 2014



Harking back to my previous entry, claims about lack of equality by same-sex couples who want to get married and women who want to be bishops wear a bit thin against genuine inequality. Converts, ex-atheists and the plain ambitious who have been building careers for themselves in the Church at the expense of others should hang their heads in shame for using the brutalisation of women around the world in their campaign for personal advancement.

The ACT NOW! campaign by Amnesty International draws attention to real injustice in Mozambique where parliament is to consider an update to its criminal code which would allow rapists to escape prosecution if they marry their victims. Anyone who truly wants to end the brutalization of women around the world can celebrate International Women's Day 2014 by doing something positive. Act now and respond to the Amnesty International appeal. 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The crunch


Original picture Tony Wills

For some days now, looking out of our kitchen window around breakfast time I have been watching the antics of a couple of male blackbirds. A female is busying herself around the garden but soon she will make her choice of mate. One of the males will have to leave. There is no way they will be building a nest together.


Liberal Anglicanism sees things differently. The ramifications of the House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage (here) rumble on. A summary of the various reactions can be found on Anglican Mainstream (here). According to the Telegraph (here) the authority of the House of Bishop is going to be tested by a vicar of two large parishes in north-west London who said that he would not be “frightened” into cancelling his wedding to his long-term partner by any prohibition. They have been together for fourteen years and not only will they "press ahead" with their plans but they expected "at least two bishops" to be among their guests.


Across the pond the 'marriage' of 2 lesbian Episcopal priests made the headlines in 2011 adding "a  new twist to gay issues" (story here). The Episcopal Church in the United States has now moved so far from traditional Anglicanism that it should be a warning to anyone in Great Britain who values any claim of continuity with the Apostolic Church. Read Anglican Curmudgeon's account (here) of the fate of faithful Anglicans in TEC. The author A. S. Haley concludes with the words: "Anglo-Catholics sought to travel the via media of Anglicanism on a path toward the ultimate reconciliation of Orthodoxy and Catholicism. The modern crop of identity-liberals have no common goal other than to celebrate their own individuality, and to make others respect (and even honor) it."

The purpose of nest building is for the continuance of the species. God made male and female. If males or females want to live together in civil partnerships that is fine by me but the notion of same sex marriage goes beyond the protection of assets. Marriage is the joining together of a man and a woman. To demand that same sex couples should be allowed to marry on grounds of equality is an abuse of the word. It has more to do with expecting others to give their stamp of approval to a misguided concept of equality or as the Curmudgeon puts it, to celebrate their individuality and to make others respect (and even honor) it.

Liberals constantly push boundaries by exploiting tolerance and understanding until all are expected to bow to every fad or endure the consequences as members of the Episcopal Church have discovered (here). The following video illustrates the manipulation of public opinion which has aided the acceptance of women first as deacons, then priests and soon to be bishops while the LGBT lobby has moved from pleas of acceptance to threatening demands:



Reports are coming in of diocesan synods giving "the green light" to women bishops (here and here). No surprises there given that synods have become councils of the like minded and few in the Church of England and nobody in the Church of Wales gets anywhere unless they accept the liberal agenda.

Women expecting to be bishops because they think they should be bishops and men wanting women to  be bishops because they are women is based on an erroneous notion of equality of opportunity. But soon that will be yesterday's news.

Claiming 'equality' to justify gay marriage is altogether a different ball game. Men and women are not the same, deliberately so in terms of continuance of the species. Same-sex marriage cannot be justified. That is the crunch.


Postscript [07/03/2014]

From The Christian Institute Gay marriage: Law changes backed in Commons vote. Centuries-old laws changed by MPs ahead of this month’s gay marriages. 

“These changes cover legislation going back nearly 800 years, affecting legislation covering inheritance, taxation, social security and children.” The amendments mean the terms “husband” and “wife” will be replaced in many pieces of legislation. If Dukes, Earls and other male Peers marry other men, their ‘husbands’ could not be made Duchesses, Countesses or Ladies. A gay King’s ‘husband’ is prevented from becoming Queen.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Near neighbours




"A programme crossing religious and cultural boundaries has been awarded a further £3m by the Government in support of its work. The Near Neighbours programme is a partnership between the Church Urban Fund and the Archbishop's Council that provides small grants to grassroots multi-faith projects" (story here). That's £8 million so far for learning to be good neighbours, something that Christians are familiar with even when not reciprocated.

Sadly this story has links with my previous entry despite the apparent good works. The idea of Near Neighbours "in a nutshell" is to bring people together who are near neighbours in communities that are diverse, so they can get to know each other better, build relationships as people and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community they live in. In other words, trying to make multiculturalism work. Archbishop Welby had this to say: "In our Christian belief...one of the biggest characteristics of Jesus was not being frightened about who He talked to. He didn't only sit in His own holy little huddle but He reached out telling us to love our neighbour" quoting the story of the Good Samaritan.

Of the 2,000 visitors to this Blog since my previous entry few bothered to watch "What the West Needs to Know" according to the viewing count. Perhaps they have the same view as the Home Secretary, that presenting the facts spreads hate! If so, and an hour and a half is too much time to learn why 90% of conflict around the world involves Islam, perhaps they can be persuaded to spend just eight minutes here. One of the three points covered is the Islamic principle of Taqiyya where Muslims are allowed to deceive non-Muslims if it helps Islam: There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman.  These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause Islam - in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them.  

Archbishop Welby was right when he said that Jesus was not frightened about who He talked to but Jesus' message was clear. He said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". Yet some Islamists even claim that Jesus was a Muslim (here)! Jesus also said: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves". Love your neighbour, yes, but also be aware of what your neighbour believes.

Churchill was considered to be “scaremongering” when he spoke in the 1930s of the growing Nazi German threat. This is what he wrote earlier in The River War (1899) about the threat of Islam:

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property‹either as a child, a wife, or a concubine‹must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science‹the science against which it had vainly struggled‹the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome."