Anglican Samizdat

January 22, 2010

How To Live A Simple Life: The Little Flowers of St. Jones

Filed under: Anglican — David Jenkins @ 11:46 am

An Anglican priest is trying to live a simple life just like St. Francis of Assisi. While making this attempt he will be followed around by a full BBC production crew, sound equipment, Add an Imagecameras and computers recording his every excursion into an urban dustbin. Can’t get much simpler that that. Nice simple hat too.

Anglican priest Peter Owen Jones has gone back to basics in the search for a simpler way of living life for a new BBC Two series.

How To Live A Simple Life is inspired by St Francis of Assisi who entered into a life of voluntary poverty after hearing a sermon on Matthew 10, in which Jesus tells his disciples to go and proclaim the Kingdom of God without taking any money or other possessions with them.

The series was filmed over eight months in Jones’ small country village of Firle, in Sussex and sees him grow his own crops and raise chickens.

Taking to the road without any cash, Jones has to barter his skills for scraps of food and throw himself at the mercy of his community as well as strangers.

Jones sees the programme as a personal challenge to discover whether the best things in life are really free after feeling like he had become caught in mindless spending.

“I want to see if there is another way,” he said.

“All the great religions say don’t rely on money – it is too much the measure of a life. And I’m addicted to the stuff!

“I want to see if I can wean myself off it and live a different life.”


January 18, 2010

Another unrealistic proposal from Ephraim Radner

Filed under: Anglican — David Jenkins @ 5:36 pm

It’s a specialty of his:

An Unrealistic Proposal for the Sake of the Gospel.

In the face of the tragedy in Haiti, I want to make a proposal. It’s not a realistic proposal, I grant; but it is a serious one. My proposal is this: that all those Anglicans involved in litigation amongst one another in North America – both in the Episcopal Church and those outside of TEC; in the Anglican Church of Canada, and those outside – herewith cease all court battles over property. And, having done this, they do two further things:

a. devote the forecast amount they were planning to spend on such litigation to the rebuilding of the Episcopal Church and its people in Haiti; and

b. sit down with one another, prayerfully and for however long it takes, and with whatever mediating and facilitating presence they accept, and agree to a mutually agreed process for dealing with contested property.

Before addressing the “unrealistic” character of this proposal, let’s be clear about the money that may be involved. As I read TEC’s national budget, for instance, over $4 million has been spent already on “Title IV” and litigation matters in the dioceses, and over $4 million more is budgeted for the next triennium. Let’s assume that some comparable amount is being spent by the opposing parties – maybe not as much, but still a lot. I don’t know … $3 million over the past three years and $3 million more over the next? Maybe less. Then there are the dioceses alone that are spending their own money. I know that Colorado has spent upwards of $3 million in these matters, and its opponents again, perhaps less again but certainly a sizable amount. I really don’t know what we’re talking about here – maybe $20 million already spent, maybe more? And certainly another $10 million in the pipeline.

Isn’t this rather crazy? Isn’t this in fact unfaithful? Isn’t this, indeed, perverse and even blasphemous?

And it is certainly so in the face of the needs we have just been witnessing in Port-au-Prince, needs which, it must be said, have been around us all the time these past years, but here have come into a blinding and heart-rending focus.

Rev. Radner has a point; giving large sums of money to lawyers to squabble over who owns a building does seem criminal in the face of what the church in Haiti has suffered.

Of course, it is so much easier to offer advice on how others should donate to good causes than it is to receive similar advice oneself. Radner is Professor of Historical Theology at Wycliffe College, Toronto. I can’t help noticing that Wycliffe College occupies some large buildings in an expensive part of Toronto; they would probably fetch at least $10M if sold to a condo developer – the probable fate of most of the buildings that are now in property disputes. So, Rev. Radner, take your own advice, sell the buildings and, along with Messrs. Bowen, Hayes, Seitz and the rest, find somewhere cheaper – a tent, say – and give the money to Haiti.

Church fetes ‘radicalising Anglicans’ claim

Filed under: Anglican,Humour — David Jenkins @ 11:26 am
Tags: ,

Anglican extremism in action:

An extremist Anglican group is infiltrating church fetes and vicarage tea parties in a plot to radicalise churchgoers, according to the anti-terrorist squad.

The group, MoreT4Uvicar, is believed to have close links with Al-cester, with some members allegedly attending training camps in the town.

But the group says that the training camps only provide religious instruction, choir practice and bell-ringing classes.

It’s alleged that the money raised at the events is laundered and used to build and maintain strategically placed fortified stone towers throughout the country.

‘We’re concerned about MoreT4Uvicar and the paramilitary infrastructure being built right under our noses,’ said the head of the anti-terrorist squad. ‘We want to ensure that innocent church-going folk understand the dangers of paying 20p for a slice of Victoria Sponge to these people.’

January 4, 2010

Anglican Covenant: whitewashing a denomination’s immorality

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 8:44 pm
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I met Bishop Moses Tay around 1990 when I was leading the musical part of the worship at a conference in Canada where he was the main speaker. I can’t really remember much about the theme of the conference or exactly what he said, but one thing sticks in my mind. He said something to the effect that “The besetting sin of North American Christians is that we are too sensitive, too quick to have hurt feelings; we are unable to take criticism”. He definitely used the word “sin”. And I think he was right.

It was refreshing then to hear an Anglican clergyman speak plainly and honestly and it is still refreshing to hear retired Archbishop Moses Tay speak, this time about the Anglican Covenant (the following are extracts):

…. he has advised fellow Anglican leaders not to waste their time on church structures which the Bible describes as dung and instead to concentrate on the supreme tasks of evangelism and discipleship, which he has succeeded in doing in America.

“To me, at best, it (the Anglican Communion Covenant) is whitewashing so the Church remains one and is not split; a lot of crack underneath is not shown,” said The Right Reverend Moses Tay, the immediate past Singapore Anglican bishop and former archbishop of the Anglican churches in Southeast Asia and Nepal.

Speaking today in an exclusive interview with The Christian Post, the retired archbishop said the covenant will not solve the essential problem of the Anglican Communion, which he identified as a crisis of biblical orthodoxy where the historic Anglican counterpart in America has embraced immorality and refuses to repent of it.

“It’s (the success of the Anglican Covenant) dependent on their willingness to repent, but they (the leaders of the American Anglican Church) have no fear of God,” he said, comparing them to Eli, a priest in the Bible whose sons died because he failed to discipline them.

“None of the resolutions have worked. None of the committees have worked,” said archbishop Tay. He described the Anglican Consultative Council, a ‘major decider’ in the Anglican Communion, as ‘U.S.-controlled.’

The archbishop depicted the covenant as an attempt to “draw a bigger circle to include both the gays and the non-gays.”

Some sincere evangelicals support the idea, he said, on the premise that Christians have a responsibility to facilitate the conversion of the liberals, something that cannot be done if they are to cut the latter off from the denomination.

They justify their view by highlighting that Jesus Christ Himself made friends with sinners and so should Christians.

“But Jesus accepting them (sinners) as friends is different from condoning their sins,” said Archbishop Tay, adding that in spite of the attractiveness of human reasoning the Bible is consistent in its warning that no mortal sinner, apostate, homosexual will enter the Kingdom of God.

Filling with passion, the archbishop said: “The Anglican Covenant cannot be of God because if you try to keep the light and darkness together, righteous and immoral together, to say we are a church, it’s disparaging the meaning of covenant… the covenant is a very sacred thing… [It is] God saying, ‘You will be Mine.’ … If you are using the sacred word to include dirt; that use of the word is an abomination.

“I cannot see how Bible-believing people can agree to the covenant,” he said, calling for spiritual ‘discernment’ on the part of Anglican leaders.

He also criticised leaders today for lacking the ‘guts’ to stand up for their convictions.

The archbishop said: “Church leaders will not even sacrifice a little bit of pride for the sake of truth. That is the darkness of the church leadership today. It is too much arrogance, too much human understandings… too much false grace, too much false unity, too much false humility.”

Archbishop Tay said that not only is the covenant an act of disobedience, it is also harmful to the denomination at large.

He said: “For me it’s very simple. If a thing is right it is right. If a thing is wrong it is wrong.”

During the two-hour interview, the archbishop questioned the personal conversions of the spiritual leader of Anglicans worldwide, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and the presiding bishop and other leaders of the established U.S. Anglican Church.

It is because of Archbishop Williams’ failure to speak out against the actions of the U.S. church, he said, that the Anglican Communion is facing the threats of biblical liberalism and of a split – evangelical Anglicans like Archbishop Tay feel that a split has already occurred since conservative leaders held a meeting last year in Jerusalem seen by some of them as an alternative to an all-important conference held every ten years in Canterbury, U.K., for Anglican archbishops and bishops worldwide – between the evangelical and liberal camps.

Archbishop Williams, who is recognised as a liberal, has been ‘accommodating’ the point of view of pro-homosexuality liberals on the grounds that some of them are religious in his view and that a split is an embarrassment and must be prevented at all costs.

As for U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, she has said that “salvation in Jesus is a heresy,” Archbishop Tay said.

The U.S. denomination ‘hates’ the people of God, Jesus Christ and the Word of God and wants to be ‘equal partners’ with the Archbishop of Canterbury, he said.

Clear, direct, honest and – correct.

December 31, 2009

No swearing or drinking allowed for Welsh clergy

Filed under: Anglican — David Jenkins @ 2:24 pm

Rev. Richard Grey, a Welsh vicar has been booted out of his parish for swearing:

A VICAR who is a personal friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury will leave his church today following allegations about his behaviour made by fellow clergymen.

A clergyman from a nearby parish who did not want to be identified told the Western Mail: “I am one of a number of clerics who made formal complaints to the Bishop about Richard Grey.

“I was very concerned at the language he used in a conversation he had with me. It is entirely inappropriate for a clergyman to use four-letter words.

And drinking!

“They have also accused him of having a drink problem, which is totally untrue. He’s a member of the British Legion club and has a drink down there, and it seems some people think that’s not right for a clergyman.

I have no idea what Rev. Richard’s theology is like but I wonder whether if instead of swearing and drinking, he had married a same-sex couple, he would find himself in this predicament.

Obviously Rev. Richard is a bit rough around the edges (he is Welsh, after all); a bit like that carpenter who was crucified a couple of thousand years ago.

December 30, 2009

A liberal Anglican clergyman taken for a ride

Filed under: Anglican — David Jenkins @ 10:16 pm

Liberal clergymen take themselves seriously; what makes this particularly amusing is that they are convinced that everyone else takes them seriously too. Thus, their earnest and predictable bon mots –  while of possible interest to future historians probing the cause of the fall of Western Civilisation – are of no interest to anyone else whatsoever.

Rev. George Pitcher appears to fallen hook line and sinker for a letter by an ostensible prostitute who, to protest China’s execution of Akmal Shaikh says, on ethical grounds, she will be withholding her favours from Chinese passport holders, but may make an exception for men from Hong Kong and will take all the Taiwanese she can get. George commends her for doing what she can and reckons that she is acting with great dignity and self-respect. Which is more than one can say for poor old George who, in the characteristic frenzied eagerness of the liberal parson to appear as non-judgemental as a partially set jelly, seems to have fallen victim to a hoax.

He asks for a translation of a phrase in the prostitute’s letter, Diu lai no mo hai, which, had he done a little research, he would have discovered more or less means go f*** your mother. It’s understandable George would not know the translation, though, since there is not much call for that remark in even the most liberal sermon. But he does find that the whole exchange is strangely uplifting; I don’t think that means he paid her a visit.

December 26, 2009

The 2009 awards for Canadian Anglican Dowfart of the Year

Filed under: Anglican — David Jenkins @ 12:39 am

The runners up

Primate Fred Hiltz for being unable to do what my five year old granddaughter can do: state what the Gospel is.

John Chapman, Bishop of Ottawa for coining the silliest phrase of the year: experiential discernment: trying to decide whether doing something is right by – doing it. Although I was unfamiliar with the terminology, I was closely acquainted with the technique by the time I was four. When I stole biscuits out of the biscuit jar, my mother experientially discerned me.

Bishop Michael Ingham for having the effrontery to invite ANiC congregations to stay in their buildings under his leadership. Evidently he was under the impression that the congregations had not read Proverbs 26:11: As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

Archdeacon Michael Patterson for saying that poverty is a sin with a capital “S” – move over idolatry, murder and theft.

Rev. Charles Stirling for his defence of homosexuality activity: animals do it, so it must be OK for humans, too.

Rev. Rick Jones for saying that the 135th Diocese of Niagara Synod would be as significant as the first moon landing. I should have a Moonbat award for Ricky.

The Venerable Lynne Corfield for sending out a letter appealing for $750,000 to fund the Diocese of Niagara’s lawsuits against ANiC Christians and giving it the heading Passion for Justice

Bishop Michael Bird for suing ANiC wardens personally.

Honourable mention: The nameless schlemiel who published a Lenten Meditation claiming that Jesus was a racist.

And the winner is

Nora Batty, Bouncer for the Diocese of Niagara. Nora barred my entrance to the church where I have worshipped for 30 years and pushed me unceremonious out of the building. On Easter morning I was thrown out of my church building, the Niagara Diocese threatened to sue me and my blog had more hits in one day than it normally gets in a month. Thanks Nora, I had a wonderful time; how was it for you?

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December 22, 2009

It must be Christmas: I half agree with George Pitcher

Filed under: Anglican — David Jenkins @ 12:17 pm
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George Pitcher is a liberal Anglican priest who writes for the Telegraph and doesn’t believe in the devil in spite of living in the country that produced the Guardian.

He rightly points out that equality legislation doesn’t work and, ironically, can penalise Christians who hold that every individual is equally loved by and valuable to God:

This Government has never learnt that you can’t legislate for equality and freedom. You can pass laws that protect people from specific harm. You can make it illegal to do harm to others or to their property. But fuzzy, feel-good laws, under which we’re generally enjoined to be nice to one another, are too easy to draft and dangerous to implement.

There’s a delicious irony in equality being thrust upon the household of faith. Because equality before God, all humanity being created equally in the image of that God, a God, as we say, who “has no grandchildren”, is a central tenet of the Christian faith. For orthodox Christians, equality really is not the issue. For them, gay people are equally loved of God; it’s their homosexuality that is sinful in that it is contrary to God’s will. For Catholics, women are every bit the equals of men, indeed they often seem to be venerated above men; it’s their supposed exercise of fatherhood that is an abomination.

Luckily, just as I was getting the uneasy feeling that I was about to agree with an entire article by George, to my relief, he came up with this:

As it happens, I don’t believe there are theological, scriptural or ecclesiological grounds for barring women or homosexuals from priesthood or bishoprics, any more than there is a case for barring newspaper columnists from them.

The bible makes the case for the first barring, and Pitcher himself makes the case for the second.

December 15, 2009

Anglicans united at last!

Filed under: Anglican,Global Warming — David Jenkins @ 5:36 pm
Tags: ,

Uniting Anglicans: Rowan Williams couldn’t do it, Katharine Jefferts-Schori didn’t want to do it; Fred Hiltz is still having a conversion about doing it; but Anglicans are finally united against a common foe – warm weather:

Copenhagen unites Anglicans hoping to combat climate change.

As church bells rang throughout the world Dec. 13 to mark Christianity’s commitment to combating climate change, Anglican leaders were making their voices heard about global warming in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The founder of Christianity foresaw this, of course; in the Garden of Gethsemane, as drops of blood oozed through the pores of his skin, he knew his sacrifice would be worth it, because in approximately 2000 years his followers would unite to wage the final battle against that most diabolical of evils: a 0.4 degree rise in the earth’s surface  temperature.

December 7, 2009

Rowan Williams: betrayal!

Filed under: Anglican,homosexuality — David Jenkins @ 6:41 pm
Tags: ,

Rowan’s meandering ambivalence:

A close friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury who was tutored by him at theological college said he felt betrayed by Dr Rowan Williams’ new-found opposition to gays and lesbians in the ordained ministry of the Anglican Communion.

The Rev Colin Coward, 64, who lives with a gay man and who preaches regularly at his local church in the Salisbury diocese, said that Dr Williams was aware of his sexuality and never once challenged it.

He said that about a quarter of the 50-plus students at his Cambridge theological college were gay and this was accepted by the Church of that era. Dr Williams was a tutor at Westcott House, a liberal college, from 1977 to 1980.

For some mysterious reason, the Anglican Church attracts a disproportionate number of homosexuals into its leadership ranks. Once they arrive, understandably, they can’t see why their presence is resisted; even though I disagree with the promoting of practising homosexual leadership in the church, I have some sympathy with them because Anglican liberals have “included”, “tolerated” and befriended homosexuals into an illusory sense of leadership entitlement.

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 20, 2009

J. I. Packer on blogging

Filed under: Anglican — David Jenkins @ 9:05 am

From here:

To web devotees: I’m amazed at the amount of time people spend on the internet. I’m not against technology, but all tools should be used to their best advantage. We should be spending our time on things that have staying power, instead of on the latest thought of the latest blogger—and then moving on quickly to the next blogger. That makes us more superficial, not more thoughtful.

He said much the same thing to me when I spoke to him in 2008. He also said a few things about bloggers and their egos; I didn’t tell him I was going to put our chat on a blog.

November 17, 2009

Doing my bit for climate justice

Filed under: Anglican — David Jenkins @ 9:28 pm

The Anglican Church at its finest:

Let the bells ring out for climate justice

The 13th of December is the defining moment for faith organizations and churches to conduct a church service and ring bells, sound conch shells, or beat drums or gongs 350 times.

For centuries, across the world musical instruments like bells and drums have been used to warn people of imminent danger – but also to call people to religious service, marking important moments in worship and seeking to connect to God. Sunday 13 December marks the height of the talks at United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen.

At 3 p.m. – marking the end of a high profile ecumenical celebration at the Lutheran Cathedral in Copenhagen, the Church of Our Lady where the Archbishop of Canterbury will be preaching – the churches in Denmark will ring their bells, and Christians around the world are invited to echo them by sounding their own bells, shells, drums, gongs or horns 350 times.

I suppose any auditory extravagance is acceptable in the cause of climate justice, whatever that is, so I am inviting others to join me in flatulating 350 times on the 13th of December; it will take concentration, but it’s worth it because Canadian winters are really cold.

Rowan Williams: salvation through taxation

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

November 9, 2009

The last temptation of Anglo-Catholics

Filed under: Anglican,Roman Catholicism — David Jenkins @ 6:39 pm
Tags: ,

The Apostolic Constitution has been published to the delight of Anglo-Catholics. It allows married priests and, effectively, married bishops; it is clear that the Pope has, as Anglicans like to say, drawn the circle wide and thrown open the doors in his bid to attract Anglicans disgusted with their own denomination. Unlike Anglicans, though, he has managed to do this without the benefit of Conversation, Dialogue, the Listening Process or Indaba Groups: he just did it.

For the Anglicans who accept what the charitable view as a more than generous offer and the cynical as opportunistic poaching, I wonder how they will feel when the Pope acts – and he or his successor will – on something they don’t agree with. Presumably those who are tempted by the current offer were not sufficiently tempted by previous ones or they would already be Roman Catholic; which means they don’t believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church. Or perhaps some of the RC specific dogma about Mary, the authority of the Pope or praying to the saints stuck in their craw. For the priests,  maybe it was the prospect of losing Anglo-Catholic paraphernalia – which now they can keep along with their wives; if that was the case, though, it seems like a shallow reason (well, apart from the wives) for resisting the call which has now become so compelling.

I have a friend who used to be an evangelical and converted to Roman Catholicism – mainly because he became convinced of the truth of transubstantiation. I asked him how he copes with some of the RC beliefs that are quite opposed to his previous views. His answer was that he ignores them – after all nothing is perfect. True enough, but I wonder how long Anglo-Catholic euphoria will last once the “Anglo” part fades under the weight of the Roman Magisterium.

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