Peter Ould inhabits a very different part of the Church of England, and we differ hugely on issues of sexuality, gender and the process by which Christ’s salvation works, but we both proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord and have a great mutual respect for each other. He is a true brother in Christ as we both seek to build the Kingdom.
It was therefore very flattering to see him list me in a one to watch list for 2013. Utterly undeserved, of course, but that a colleague with whom I occasionally disagree yet respect hugely should say this is affirming. Thank you, Peter.
Of course, he is utterly wrong on the purple issue – to be one of those you need discretion, political nous, skills in oratory and flattery and as all of my friends know, that ain’t me.
The other names are of course much more deserving interesting and significant. Watch them, and pray for me: parish priesthood is my calling, mission is my life. Let us meet with Christ together in his holy and blessed sacraments…
“Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God”
This was Benjamin Franklin’s design for the seal of the US. I love the motto, which speaks volumes about the radical call to challenge oppression, tyranny and persecution which is at the heart of the Gospel. How, then, have they made “Christianity” so respectable, when it clearly demonstrates itself to be the most subversive movement in the world.
It is the desire of God for tyranny to be overcome, for the captives to be freed, for the slavery of sin to be defeated in the victory of the Cross. It is therefore right to strive for freedom, equality and to oppose reaction. Franklin understood this. Bravo.
The Guardian reports that up to 150 clergy might walk out of the Church of Scotland because they are unable to accept the bidding of the Holy Spirit. Now, Newspapers love this kind of reporting because it appears to be such a disaster – we are constantly reading about how the Church of England is about to fracture (usually over sex, ’twas ever thus); but the Church of Scotland should stand firm in the face of such (usually idle) threats.
I have learnt the hard way to accept that not everyone travels in the same direction and at the same speed and sometimes the Holy Spirit can be a relentless taskmistress. This means that some parting of the ways are inevitable and the unity which Christ himself prayed for was unity of purpose, not of the means. We are all individuals after all, and we group together as the people of God in common purpose and by different means. Paul and his companions set off in different directions after they disagreed, and the Gospel was further proclaimed…
This means that if someone is unable to deal with the issue at hand: the sexuality of their priests, the gender of their bishops, the morality of money, the style and substance of their Vicar; then they should be allowed with grace to move onto wherever God calls them.
I have learnt that the best thing is to always accept a resignation if it is tendered or threatened – especially if it is threatened. Nothing I can say or do will change the reason why the threat was made in the first place; and I believe that once one has done this, then it is an irrevocable position.
No-one: not me, or the Churchwardens or the Treasurer or the Organist, or Mrs Jones in the middle pew is irreplacable to a parish. It may change (and, praise God, it will usually change for the better) as a result of the leaving of an individual or group or faction, but if people are unhappy now, they will be unhappy in the future and history moves us forward, not backwards.
We were threatened that the Ordinariate would be an avalanche of schism, but it turned out to be a very light snowfall. We waved goodbye and blessed the few (usually difficult individuals) who crossed the Tiber. We made comparatively little fuss when the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament gave most of our Anglican money to pay their Stipends for a while (when we here could have done with a new Monstrance as well…), and we will quietly receive them back when they have had enough of playing Roman. In the same way, when the Southern Cone threatens to take its ball home, we should bless them and allow them to move on, and allow the majority of the Church of England, Canada and USA follow where the Holy Spirit leads us. We have voted overwhelmingly for Women Bishops; if we were brave enough to actually ask the Dioceses or even more importantly the Parishes what they thought of their gay clergy, gay congregation or gay anything really then they would not be anti, just quietly affirming, gently supportive and frankly not really fussed by it. The Church of England is liberal with a small ‘l’ and we should celebrate that.
So, my dear friends north of the border, do what your conscience dictates and the Holy Spirit suggests; if that relaxes your view of sexuality then let it, and pray that the Church of England soon realises the same thing. Ignore those who threaten to resign and bless them on their way if they do (but don’t let them take their buildings or their Charitable funds with them), and let us concentrate on the real task at hand – to proclaim the Resurrection.
“If the picture on the left shocks you more than the one on the right, you need to revise your views on immorality”
Source: Annski via MadPriest
There are some things which are genuinely obscene: the apparently homophobic murder of a young scottish man this week, the continued injustice of unfair trade which leads to worldwide famine and deprivation, the growth of poverty in this country. Suddenly, the closure of S. Paul’s in London isn’t such a big deal, but we are seemingly inured to it all: more concerned about who rebelled against the Government in a vote they were bound to win anyway, rather than what steps we are taking to alleviate the loss of manufacturing whilst the banks continue to rake it in. Christ spoke much more about money than he did about sex, stood out against injustice more than for the status quo, challenged prejudice against women and the stranger and yet we continue to miss the point.
Time for a reality check. Time for a return to prayer and to social action. Time to get righteously angry about the injustices of the world.
Lord, we praise you for what you have given us and for what you have promised us.
Give us the courage to come out from all our churches into the world,
that our lives may proclaim your glory,
and your whole creation may reveal your love.
We give ourselves to you and ask that our daily work may be part of the life of your Kingdom,
and that our love may be your love reaching out in the life of the world.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I personally love the hymn Jerusalem: we sang it at my wedding, and I certainly do not discourage couples from having it at their weddings. Those who do object to it really havn’t thought about the lyrics. Those who bellow it out over the rugby field or at the Last Night of the Proms have completely missed the plot. Those who believe it is jingoistic simply aren’t listening.
I love Jerusalem because it is the most radical, subversive, challenging and iconoclastic hymn of all, written by a true radical with a Christian Social Conscience. It completely challenges the establishment which believes Jerusalem is their theme tune. Let’s look at the text…
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountain green?
er… no. Jesus was not an Englishman. The presence of the question mark is the key pointer that it’s not going to be plain sailing in this hymn and it begins with an uncomfortable question, not a statement.
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
er… no, again. The question further emphasises the first one. Two negatives in a row seems to be emphatic. The alliteration of ‘pleasant pastures’ is particularly pleasing and I believe used in an ironic context, especially when considered in the light of the end of this verse
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
Guess what? No. Again. Even the clouded hills have been a little countenance-starved of recent years. This is an allusion to the appearance of YHWH on the mountains of Sinai to Moses (Exodus 34:5; Exodus 40:34). But it happened there, and not in England. Blake is pushing his point now.
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?
Most definitely not. Clearly dark satanic mills are nothing to be celebrated. They are in complete contrast to clouded hills and pleasant pastures and yet so much a part of the (then, before Thatcherism) English landscape. This first verse is therefore not a jingoistic celebration of all-things-English but a critique of that attitude and an indictment of the state of the nation. So things are rotten, what can we do about it…?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
You need the right equipment if you’re going to battle the evil in this world. As a sensualist, Blake clearly felt that passion was important. It’s a God-given grace to be passionate about things, and right to battle against the insipid and the bland.
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
The conversion of England is both a spiritual and a practical quest. It is a mental fight, but requires action and possibly even revolution if the denouement of the hymn is to take place. Is Blake calling for fighting in the streets like the Rolling Stones?
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.
It’s a challenge. It’s not here yet. It looks to a future, with a radical edge.
And, that, my dear friends is why Chris Bryant is completely wrong, both factually and spiritually: Jerusalem is sung often in Church but not for the reasons he thinks, and not for the reasons that many are thinking they are singing. It is a call to radical action, to social change, to Christian revolution and I will continue to have it sung in my Church.
Wikipedia Entry on the Hymn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_did_those_feet_in_ancient_time
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi - think about what you are singing!
I see that these terrible superinjunctions are now being issued because the news being gagged is ‘defamatory’
Surely, the allegations are only defamatory if they are untrue. If they have even a scintilla of truth in them (and they are usually about extra-marital affairs, poor employment practices and the like, the nature of which is simply black and white) then they cannot be defamatory, because the truth is paramount.
I take no delight in reading about who these people are shagging, but when a superinjunction is raised because someone stole, cheated, lied, betrayed or acted improperly, then I am being denied the truth, and no judicial process should be permitted to prevent the exploration and dissemination of the truth. Today it’s about shagging, tomorrow it might be about the very nature of democracy – let us not allow Judges to create privacy for the rich and famous and leave the rest of us in the dark and helpless.
I have been a long-time subscriber to Private Eye, and only recently had to cancel my subscription as part of an economy drive, which I deeply regret. Reading about injustice stirred me into action. My problem is that I prefer the truth to anything else, and I prefer to say the truth rather than play the political game. Maybe that’s why I shall remain here for a long time.
Today Fr Marcus Stock, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has announced that sometime soon (have you noticed that everyone waits on the Vatican to do something and it never puts itself out to do anything except in its own good time) the Personal Ordinariate will be established for the few Anglicans who can’t wait to cross the Tiber, or at least dip a toe into Tiberian waters. It begins with three former Anglican Bishops who by Saturday will be Roman(ish) Priests and then it will be (depending upon who you listen to) the fracture and dissolution of the Church of England, or a trickle of already embittered Priests and a bit of their congregation who will have to uproot to the area RC church (there is one priest and four churches between Fareham and Gosport, I believe) and be treated with contempt by ”cradle catholics” until the Parousia.
I asked a colleague whom I respect utterly but who has a different perspective to mine if he was going to join the Ordinariate, he laughed and said “Oh no, if I was going to go to Rome, I’d become a proper Roman, not one of these plastic catholics“.
When one looks at the background information on the Ordinariate, and the arguments put forward by others unknown (but I have my suspicions) clearly intending to jump asap, what one sees coming up time and time again is the striving for unity: “entering into full communion” with the subtext of ”rejoining the one true church”. It shows up the ARCIC dialogues for what they truely have been: a process of sublimating all other discussions until Rome gets its own way: you can have Unity, but only if it is on Rome’s terms.
If Unity has all along therefore been about being subject to Rome, submitting to a dubious claim to Primacy (based more upon politics than the intention of Our Lord himself), then I’m personally glad that the decision of the Church of England to listen for once to the Holy Spirit and to discern that God was calling women to Ordained Ministry as Bishops, Priests and Deacons. This, the detractors claim, is the final nail in the unity coffin, because from here we can never go back… but wait… go back, what? To reunification?
That isn’t what one strives for when one prays for Unity.
We are not called to homogenity, but to recognise our diversity. Rome was not Antioch, was not Corinth and certainly was not Jerusalem, and therefore it should not be Canterbury. What joins us should be our proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord, a recognition of the sacramental action of God in our world
and a love of tat. I believe this returns us to the Anglopapalist arguments of the late Oxford Movement and the 1930s, and takes us no further. Rome demands today in Anglicanorum coetibus what it demanded of Newman: cross the Tiber, renounce your Anglicanism and become Roman.
It amused me no end that the initial thinking of the Ordinariate was that it would want to use “Anglican” liturgy, perhaps BCP or Common Worship, but by now they have realised that all those who intend to cross have never used those liturgies anyway and are almost wholly Roman Rite anyway. It says much about how much interest the Vatican had in them beforehand. Now, I notice that it says
“In addition to the Roman Rite, some of the liturgical rites of the Anglican tradition which have been adapted and approved by the Holy See may be used by the members of the Ordinariate.
It is expected that in due course, suitable rituals (Sacramentary, Divine Office, etc.) will be promulgated for Ordinariates across the world. However, as it will be fully a part of the Latin Catholic Church (as distinct from the Byzantine, Maronite, Chaldean Catholic Church, etc.) the Ordinariate will always be able to use the Roman Rite.”
So, Father doesn’t have to put away his Breviary when he crosses the Tiber…
In the meantime, as the few dedicated ones transfer, leaving more dates available for Pilgrimage to the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham, I wonder how quickly they will be asked to vacate their Vicarages, and who will be keeping body and soul together when their stipends cease. Have the ex-Anglican Bishops who were received into the Roman Church on 1st January 2011 moved into their own accommodation? Or because the Church of England is so inefficient, I expect a “period of grace” has been afforded them: if a Roman Priest expressed any desire for crossing the Thames then they would be out on their ear before sundown, I would predict.
I don’t want this post to come across as crowing because some people whom I love dearly (and a number whom I don’t like at all, but Christ calls me to love) will be leaving the Church that I feel still has a place for those opposed to the ordination of women and the LGBT – I think we are better and stronger because of that, and I lament their defection. I also fear for them that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the Tiber and the flexibility and autonomy that they loved in the Anglican Communion (until we have a Covenant) will not translate to the autocratic, inflexible and opaque Roman Church. My message to them is certainly not “sod off”, no one has “won” an argument, and whilst LGBT people are denied ordination there is still much listening to the Holy Spirit that our Church has to do, but if a relationship is broken, and if they feel that the Roman Church is right for them, then I wish them well and pray for them, praying that my fears for them are not realised and that they continue to flourish in God’s grace.
What I do hope is that from their exalted position in Peter’s bosom, they stop looking down upon those of us who think differently, and start to work for proper Unity, which is based upon mutual respect and a recognition that there is more than one Church focused upon the one true Christ, the son of the living God.