Anglican Samizdat

December 2, 2009

Devilish deception

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 11:43 am
Tags: ,

As Baudelaire observed, the devil’s best trick is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist. Anglican clergyman, George Pitcher is persuaded:

English satanic practices always make me smile. They conjure up images of very white, fat people dancing around clumsily in a wood. So when I read our story today that a vicar in the Forest of Dean is seeing signs of “dark forces”, I’m afraid I was reminded more of Ghostbusters than of The Omen.

But the Rev Nick Bromfield, rector of Drybrook, Lydbrook and Ruardean, is taking it all very seriously: “It might sound medieval to talk about the relationship between good and evil, but there is no middle ground on this. People need to leave well alone.”

Oh, c’mon, Rev Nick. We’re not talking about Old Nick here, are we? All that classical theistic Greek dualism, which gave us the battle between God and the Devil, with the great eschatological battle fought out at the Cross of Calvary? Are you mates with Mel Gibson?  Or perhaps you just didn’t like finding a sheep’s head impaled on a stake outside one of your churches?

I agree that’s not very nice, least of all for the sheep, but are we still really talking about a Miltonesque battle for dominion between the powers of darkness and light? I don’t think so. Evil is the absence of the divine in humanity, made potent by the power of human imagination gone wrong. So I agree that humans obviously have a capacity for great evil. But because they are possessed by the Prince of Darkness? No. There’s only room for one deity here.

Let’s see, if there is no devil there was no Fall, no rebellion against God, no sin, no need for a Saviour, no Incarnation, no atonement on the cross, no salvation, no heaven, no hell, no hope.

What does that leave us with? The Church of England.


November 30, 2009

Diocese of Ottawa: please get married here

The Diocese of Ottawa is “testing” same sex blessings:

Bishop John Chapman has given a church in the diocese of Ottawa permission to begin offering a rite of blessing to same-gender couples who are civilly married.

The Church of St. John the Evangelist could offer its first blessing as soon as a married couple asks. At least one person in the couple needs to be baptized.

Bishop John Chapman is now scouring Canada trying to find a homosexual couple who want to get their marriage blessed in his church. I understand that he did find one couple but lost them to Bishop Michael Bird after a brief scuffle.

November 17, 2009

Rowan Williams: salvation through taxation

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Angst,bishops gone wild — David Jenkins @ 12:00 pm
Tags: , ,

Rowan Williams, in a last ditch effort to attract people back to the Anglican Church, has suggested that they should pay more taxes:

Higher levels of tax would be good for society, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Rowan Williams said that taxation should not be seen as a way of stifling business or redistributing wealth but helping to make the world a better place in which to live.

He called for new levies to be introduced on financial transactions and carbon emissions, and an end to the idea that unlimited economic growth is desirable.

Dr Williams claimed that the “fantasies of unlimited growth” had led to a “vicious cycle” in which consumers are encouraged to buy more goods, which also uses up limited energy and raw materials.

Instead, he said the economy should be geared towards creating a secure and sustainable environment for families.

As part of this, the archbishop said: “We have to ask about ‘green taxes’ (including ‘green’ tax breaks) that will check environmental irresponsibility and build up resources to address the ecological crises that menace us.

For the Pope picking off disenchanted Anglicans, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

October 24, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI on the left, Rowan Williams on the right

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 10:37 pm

October 22, 2009

The Church of England, heading for oblivion at full throttle

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 5:08 pm
Tags: ,

The Roman Catholic church is poaching in Rowan’s Anglican empire. Rowan did not anticipate Rome’s offer to absorb disaffected Anglicans: it came as a shock, had nothing to do with ecumenism and certainly did not have Rowan’s consent.

Of course, Rowan has brought this on himself with weak – make that no – leadership, speeches that remain impenetrable even by Ephraim Radner standards and an ivory tower elitism that has placed his thinking out of reach and beyond the sympathy of the common  man.

Combine this with the mayhem in North America and it is clear that the Western Anglican Church is going under. What may have been forgotten is that, in addition to the woes of its spiritual and numerical decline, the clouded vision of the CofE led it to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management. The only individual who stands to benefit from this is hoax magnate and conman extraordinaire, Al Gore who is making money hand over fist.

So, Western Anglicanism: spiritually and morally bankrupt and soon to be financially bankrupt.

Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord.

October 20, 2009

Rowan Williams tries to make the best of it

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 6:22 pm

As the Anglican empire crumbles around him, Rowan Williams wants to “work together” with Rome to assist in its further dismemberment; the good news is that efforts towards “ecumenism” and “ARCIC” can continue unabated – not that anyone really cares.

Hats off to Rowan, though, for being able to say that this move by the Vatican should not “in any sense be seen as a commentary on Anglican problems”; not many could pull that off with a straight face.

The Episcopal Church has a promotion

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 4:35 pm

TEC has issued a characteristically vague statement in response to the Vatican’s recent overtures to disaffected Anglicans.

The last sentence struck me as particularly revealing since it unwittingly portrays the confusion of TEC’s view of its mission:

The Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and works together with other Provinces and with our ecumenical and interfaith partners to promote God’s reign on earth.

God does reign on earth, with or without promotion from TEC. What Jesus asks of TEC is in the Great Commission:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

TEC is too busy promoting its own reign on earth to bother with this.

October 17, 2009

For John Shelby Spong the listening process is over

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 12:27 am

From Ruth Gledhill’s blog; apparently Spong has written a new book whose theme is “I will not listen”:

‘I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is “an abomination to God,” about how homosexuality is a “chosen lifestyle,” or about how through prayer and “spiritual counseling” homosexual persons can be “cured.”


‘I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality “deviant.” I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that “we love the sinner but hate the sin.” That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement.


‘The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn’t.’


‘I will particularly ignore those members of my own Episcopal Church who seek to break away from this body to form a “new church,” claiming that this new and bigoted instrument alone now represents the Anglican Communion. Such a new ecclesiastical body is designed to allow these pathetic human beings, who are so deeply locked into a world that no longer exists, to form a community in which they can continue to hate gay people, distort gay people with their hopeless rhetoric and to be part of a religious fellowship in which they can continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives.’

In my personal life, I will no longer listen to televised debates conducted by “fair-minded” channels that seek to give “both sides” of this issue “equal time.” I am aware that these stations no longer give equal time to the advocates of treating women as if they are the property of men or to the advocates of reinstating either segregation or slavery, despite the fact that when these evil institutions were coming to an end the Bible was still being quoted frequently on each of these subjects. It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people. There is no way that justice for homosexual people can be compromised any longer.

I will no longer act as if the Papal office is to be respected if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak with embarrassing ineptitude.

I will no longer be respectful of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to believe that rude behavior, intolerance and even killing prejudice is somehow acceptable, so long as it comes from third-world religious leaders, who more than anything else reveal in themselves the price that colonial oppression has required of the minds and hearts of so many of our world’s population. I see no way that ignorance and truth can be placed side by side, nor do I believe that evil is somehow less evil if the Bible is quoted to justify it. I will dismiss as unworthy of any more of my attention the wild, false and uninformed opinions of such would-be religious leaders as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Albert Mohler, and Robert Duncan.

I make these statements because it is time to move on. The battle is over. The victory has been won. There is no reasonable doubt as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be. Homosexual people will be accepted as equal, full human beings, who have a legitimate claim on every right that both church and society have to offer any of us. Homosexual marriages will become legal, recognized by the state and pronounced holy by the church.

I will also no longer act as if I need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church.

The battle in both our culture and our church to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished. A new consciousness has arisen. A decision has quite clearly been made. Inequality for gay and lesbian people is no longer a debatable issue in either church or state. Therefore, I will from this moment on refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice by engaging it. I do not tolerate racism or sexism any longer. From this moment on, I will no longer tolerate our culture’s various forms of homophobia. I do not care who it is who articulates these attitudes or who tries to make them sound holy with religious jargon.

I have been part of this debate for years, but things do get settled and this issue is now settled for me. I do not debate any longer with members of the “Flat Earth Society” either. I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy by casting demons out of the epileptic person; I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection. I do not converse with people who think that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as punishment for the sin of being the birthplace of Ellen DeGeneres or that the terrorists hit the United Sates on 9/11 because we tolerated homosexual people, abortions, feminism or the American Civil Liberties Union.

I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church’s participation in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day. Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize, but do public penance for the way we have treated people of colour, women, adherents of other religions and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people.

This is my manifesto and my creed. I proclaim it today. I invite others to join me in this public declaration. I believe that such a public outpouring will help cleanse both the church and this nation of its own distorting past. It will restore integrity and honor to both church and state. It will signal that a new day has dawned and we are ready not just to embrace it, but also to rejoice in it and to celebrate it.’

He sounds a bit like Richard Dawkins giving his reasons why he won’t debate Creationists.

And, apparently, since I attend a church that is a member of the ACNA, I am a “pathetic human being” (without the saving grace of Christ, very true) who is “deeply locked into a world that no longer exists” (if only) in order to “continue to hate gay people” (I actually rather like the gay people I know), and “continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives.” (poor tortured me).

I suspect Spong’s pension fund must have been hit by the recession and this is a publicity stunt to sell books.

October 13, 2009

The John Shelby Spong Delusion

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 8:34 pm

Just what we need, another anti-God apologist: retired Anglican bishop John Shelby Spong. Move over Dawkins:

There is no God, there is no heaven and there is no afterlife. At least, not in the way we have traditionally thought of such things.

These days, with atheist arguments topping bestseller lists, such statements might not seem all that contentious.

But when a retired bishop says it, it’s worth noting.

“The institution of the church is more about seeking security than finding the truth,” he says. “It’s tough to be a human being. We seek security, and religion is a coping mechanism.”

But such notions, he says, cannot survive the insights of astronomer Galileo, physicist Isaac Newton and evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. Through them, says Spong, we discovered that the Earth is not the centre of the universe and that there’s space (not heaven) above us, that the workings of the world are due to basic physics (not Godly intervention) and that humans evolved from other creatures.

In his reasons for discarding 2000 years of Christian thinking Spong exhibits a theological naivety that makes the most fervent of fundamentalist atheists look like Thomas Aquinas. Only in Spong’s demented little pataphysical universe do Christians believe that heaven is contained in the material or that there are no physical laws to which the universe conforms. How did this nutter become a bishop?

One presumes that when Spong eventually finds himself in hell – or heaven – he will continue to stoutly maintain that he does not believe in the afterlife; just like the damned Anglican cleric in C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce who didn’t believe in hell even though he inhabited it.

September 18, 2009

Crime and Punishment

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 7:18 pm

The Anglican Church is obsessed with justice: we have social justice, eco-justice, justice camps, justice networks and justice missions. What we don’t have is any recognition of what justice is, or of the distinction between injustice and unfairness, or of the concept that, from the point of view of the state – which is where the church applies pressure – justice is properly concerned with the punishment of crime. Of course, the notion of punishing crime is anathema to Western Anglicanism, probably because it reminds apostate Anglican bishops of the essence of Christianity: we deserve to be punished, Christ was punished instead, we , if we accept it, go free – much too redolent of fundamentalism.

In Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov murders an odious pawnbroker, ostensibly to steal her money and use it for good. Raskolnikov reasons that conventional morality is for ordinary people; the extraordinary make their own rules and become their own “god” – the downfall of Satan and now the foundation of the ACoC and TEC.

Although Raskolnikov has convinced himself that he is extraordinary and therefore above conventional morality, the act of murder plays on his conscience so he gives himself up. He eventually realises that he needs redemption and rebirth; submitting to temporal justice is a necessary part of this rebirth. Because justice is part of the order of the universe, for redemption, the criminal needs justice as much as the victim.

Regrettably, the thinking of the modern criminal is not quite as subtle as Raskolnikov’s; neither is that of the average justice obsessed cleric. For him justice has little to do with rewarding the virtuous and punishing the guilty: it is, instead, a levelling exercise where the successful – even the successful criminal – must be flattened or rehabilitated to the level of mediocrity, perhaps then to pursue a career as an Anglican priest.

August 28, 2009

Gay clergy are a gift from God

Filed under: Anglican Angst,homosexuality — David Jenkins @ 4:06 pm
Tags: ,

According to Gene Robinson:Add an Image

Gene Robinson, the Episcopalian bishop of New Hampshire, criticised the policy of the Church of England towards gay and lesbian clergy. Alluding to the significant number of clergy who are gay, he said: “I think gay clergy in the Church of England are thought of as a problem to be solved or at least lived with, rather than a gift from God.”

If gay clergy are a gift from God, it is a very strange gift, not unlike the Greeks’ gift to Troy. Once the gift is unwrapped and the clergy have come out, chaos will run amok leaving destruction – at least of the western Anglican church – in its path. Which leaves one wondering which god has given the gift.

August 10, 2009

A new strategy for dealing with litigious dioceses

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 9:42 am

From the Ohio Anglican Blog:

St. Lawrence (or Laurence) was chief of the seven deacons of the congregation at Rome, the seven men who, like Stephen and his companions (Acts 6:1-6), were in charge of administering the church budget, particularly with regard to the care of the poor.

In 257, the emperor Valerian began a persecution aimed chiefly at the clergy and the laity of the upper classes. All Church property was confiscated and meetings of Christians were forbidden. The bishop of Rome, Sixtus II, and most of his clergy were executed on 7 August 258, and Laurence on the 10th. This much from the near-contemporary records of the Church.

The accounts recorded about a century later by Ambrose (see 7 Dec) and the poet Prudentius say that, as Sixtus was being led to his death, Laurence followed him, saying, “Will you go to heaven and leave me behind?” and that the bishop replied, “Be comforted, you will follow me in three days.” They go on to say that the Roman prefect, knowing that Laurence was the principal financial officer, promised to set him free if he would surrender the wealth of the Church. Laurence agreed, but said that it would take him three days to gather it. During those three days, he placed all the money at his disposal in the hands of trustworthy stewards, and then assembled the sick, the aged, and the poor, the widows and orphans of the congregation, presented them to the prefect, and said, “These are the treasures of the Church.” The enraged prefect ordered him to be roasted alive on a gridiron. Laurence bore the torture with great calmness, saying to his executioners at one time, “You may turn me over; I am done on this side.” The spectacle of his courage made a great impression on the people of Rome, and made many converts, while greatly reducing among pagans the belief that Christianity was a socially undesirable movement that should be stamped out.

This presents an interesting solution to ANiC parishes that are being sued by their former dioceses; in the above account, substitute Fred Hiltz for the emperor Valerian, Michael Bird for the Roman prefect and church wardens for Lawrence. The only minor problem is the part about the roasting.

August 5, 2009

The Church of England, putting its money where its mouth isn’t

Filed under: Anglican Angst,bishops gone wild — David Jenkins @ 11:17 pm
Tags: ,

The refined art of Anglican hypocrisy:

After what it must have deemed a decent interval since triggering a furore over its attack on traders and bankers as “robbers and assassins” last year, the Church of England is shamelessly seeking more yield.

Just to refresh your memory, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, last September said it was right to ban short selling, while John Sentamu, archbishop of York, called traders who cashed in on falling prices “bank robbers and asset strippers“.

But the Church Commissioners had a tough year in 2008, as the Church’s total assets dropped from £5.7bn to £4.4bn, a 23 per cent fall over the period. Clearly, faith alone was not enough.

As the FT’s People column reports on Wednesday in an appropriately headlined piece “God meets Joy”, the Church of England has appointed fund manager Tom Joy to run its £4.4bn investment portfolio from a “very strong field of more than 70 applicants”.

Tom Joy of RMB Asset Management manages hedge funds which – you guessed it – employ as one of its techniques, asset stripping short selling.

In commenting upon the appointment of Joy a spokesman noted:

The spokesman added that belief in God wasn’t a necessary requirement for someone to take up the job.

This is entirely understandable,  since one does not have to believe in God to take up the job of Anglican bishop either.

August 4, 2009

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 5:50 pm

John Shepherd, Dean of St. George’s Cathedral Perth, Australia demonstrates how  taking too much LSD in one’s youth clouds the faculties, dims the intellect, opens what is left of the mind to cosmic detritus and is generally a Bad Thing:

I once invited the abbot of the Bodhinyana Buddhist monastery in Perth to preach at a Eucharist in St George’s Cathedral. During Communion representatives of the Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Bahai faiths read passages from their sacred writings, and after Communion an Aboriginal reader offered a dream-time reflection.

Wriggle as he might – and there is a fair bit of wriggling in this article – the ironically named Shepherd stumbles from muddle to confusion saying first that:

Perhaps appreciating this point, the writer of John’s Gospel emphasises the importance of staying focused on a living, humane [humane?] relationship with the person of the risen Christ. And it was in that person that salvation was to be experienced.

And then, desperate not to offend non-Christians:

We are all moving towards what we hope is a clearer appreciation of that which we call God. We come from different religious and cultural backgrounds and experiences, and we have been inspired by different revelations. And we all have our own tradition of worship — our own perception of a passage to God.

We all have our own perceptions, nothing is real man, and other religions’ paths are just as efficacious in re-uniting us to God as Jesus. Someone should have told Jesus that before he went to die in agony on the cross.


For ultimately all our streams, about which we can become so obsessive and insular, will empty out into nothing other than the one large sea — the one heart of the one God.

Trouble is, the one large sea is actually one large toilet bowl.

August 1, 2009

The two-track Anglican

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 3:53 pm
Tags: ,

Astonishingly, the crumbling of Anglicanism is still of enough interest to find a place in the secular press:

The Most Rev. Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, said profound differences among the world’s 77 million Anglicans over gay clergy and same-sex unions could divide their church into a “two-track model” yielding “two styles of being Anglican.”

The formula could avert a formal breach between liberals and conservatives but bring new strains in the relationship between the global Anglican Communion and American Episcopalians who resolved this month to open the door to ordaining openly gay bishops and to start the process of developing rites for same-sex marriages.

Personally, I am all in favour of a two-track Anglican church. It would be just like everyday life: God whispering in one ear and the devil in the other. The only remaining question is, will two-track Anglicanism last as long as 8 track tape?

« Previous PageNext Page »

Create a free website or blog at