Anglican Samizdat

September 11, 2009

The Anglican Church of Canada has a Director of Philanthropy

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada,Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 11:19 pm

The word “philanthropy” is derived from Greek, philanthropos, meaning “to love people”.

The word was favoured in the Hellenistic period by pagan moralists and is normally used now to describe the humanitarian act of giving a significant sum of money to a worthy cause by a person who owns an unusually large quantity of it. Thus, Bill Gates qualifies as a philanthropist since he donates some of his personal fortune to good works, whereas Bono does not since he devotes much of his spare time preaching at others in the hope of making philanthropists of them.

In contrast, 2 Cor 9:7, God loves a cheerful giver uses dotēs for giver; the emphasis is as much on the giver as the recipient. Everyone should give, no matter how small the gift. The theme of giving is a ubiquitous one in the Bible: as God has given to us, so we should give back to God and to others. The lesson of the widow’s mite (Mark 12: 41-44) is that the smallest gift given sacrificially is of more significance than largesse born of abundance.

Philanthropy is an entirely different kettle of fish: it originated in the pagan world and has been adopted by modern humanism; what matters is how much is given – the bigger the better. It is not a particularly Christian concept; this is probably seen as an advantage by the Anglican Church of Canada who, no doubt, would find a biblically inspired title such as Director of Tithing cringingly embarrassing. Director of Philanthropy, however, is rather cool in a Bono sort of way:

Holland Lee Hendrix, who has served as chief advancement officer at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and as president of the New York-based Union Theological Seminary, has been named executive director of philanthropy, a new position created by General Synod.

Archdeacon Michael Pollesel, general secretary of the national office in Toronto, said that Mr. Hendrix “brings to the position all the needed gifts and skills to help the Anglican Church of Canada achieve a level of financial stability that will enable it to carry out the vital mission and ministry to which we are called in this new era.”


August 30, 2009

Startling news from the World Council of Churches

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 8:13 am

The WCC has a new General Secretary with a “New Agenda” and – everyone should sit down for this bit – he has noticed that Christians are often in the minority and suffer from persecution:

Tveit said many Christians today are minorities in the communities and countries where they live, or in areas that are suffering from violence or extreme poverty, or both.

After this unusual flash of insight, the WCC GS makes a quick recovery to note that we really must do something about climate change, have dialogue with Islam and see each other as human.

A tiny spark of insight that was quickly extinguished by the familiar deadening blanket of bombastic clichés.

August 26, 2009

Diocese of Niagara: leadership, optimism, justice and baloney

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 4:42 pm

Christopher Grabiec wrote a lead article in the diocesan paper:

Many Anglicans have had heavy hearts during the past year or two, as we watch a number of parishes close and a number of parishes depart from our diocesan family over ideological disagreements. In many ways, it feels like we can put all that in the past. The future is ahead and the future is bright.

For many years now the diocese of Niagara has been in the forefront of the battle for justice in our society. In 1976 in one of the most important moments in the life of our church, John Bothwell, then Bishop of Niagara, ordained the first women to the priesthood. Generations before could never have imagined this happening. It was a great moment in our history and a great moment for the cause of justice in our society and in our church.

First, the disagreements were not ideological, they were theological: does the bible dictate how we are to behave no matter what the culture is telling us, or does the culture determine how we “interpret” the bible to make it fit culture’s demands. Those who left the diocese believe the former.

Second, if the departures are “in the past”, why is the diocese occupying ANiC parish buildings with pretend congregations – oh right, because they want to grab the buildings and sell them.

Third, the future for the diocese of Niagara can hardly be bright since it is losing people, losing money and is saddling itself with the costs of suing ANiC parishes.

Fourth, John Bothwell is a draconian liberal who attempted to purge orthodox priests from his diocese with a vicious enthusiasm that made a mockery of his alleged calling as ‘shepherd’. Justice was the last thing on his mind.

Bishop Michael Bird, not unlike Bishop ‘ Bothwell in 1976 has taken another huge step-in justice. Effective September 14, 2009 he will give permission for the blessing of civilly married persons, regardless of gender. This rite is a means for the church to extend affirmation, support and commitment to those who present themselves seeking a sign of God’s love in response to the love and commitment they express for each other and have already affirmed in a civil ceremony. Obviously, this continues to be a contentions issue in the world-wide communion of Anglicans. We are reminded though that historically, every move toward justice has always been contentious (think back to the ordination of women priests!). Our bishop has courage and conviction in this matter and is exhibiting strong and math needed leadership.

Indeed, Bird is not unlike Bothwell in his pursuit of justice: he is tolerant of all who agree with him. Those who don’t, he either fires or sues – sometimes both. As for his leadership qualities, they were admirably demonstrated during a parish meeting when a parishioner asked him what he believed; his answer was that his beliefs were personal and he wasn’t willing to share them. Bird has all backbone of runny blancmange; the positions he takes are thrust upon him by the likes of Peter Wall and his henchmen.

Michael Bird, the Great Helmsman, is hot in pursuit of excellence and seems to want to use technology in this exploit; however, he is a Bird that doesn’t Tweet yet. It will be a happy day when he does, because I will be able to tweet back.

August 14, 2009

Rowan’s hell

Filed under: Nothing in Particular,Rowan Williams — David Jenkins @ 10:27 am

One of Jean-Paul Sartre’s bon mots was Hell is other people (No Exit); Rowan Williams takes the opposite view:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has described hell as being stuck by himself for ever.

Dr Rowan Williams said that although his vision was not that of the traditional inferno, being alone with his “selfish little ego” for all eternity would be torment enough.

This view fits well with one biblical metaphor for hell: being cast into outer darkness (Matt 22:13).

According to C. S. Lewis, people choose hell for themselves on the principle, better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven (The Great Divorce).

Another type of hell might be having to spend eternity with no-one to talk to except Rowan Williams.

July 6, 2009

The British art of the stiff upper lip

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 3:09 pm

From here:

A 54-year-old carpenter in Wantage, England, accidentally cut off his own penis while working with a saw, his mother says.

This was an unfortunate accident but these things happen all the time to people in his profession.”

“I have spoken to him and he is quite embarrassed about the whole incident”

And to think I get upset when I accidentally delete a computer file.

July 5, 2009

I hate sport

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 8:53 pm

It would be more accurate to say I hate team sports; this is probably because, in modern vernacular, I am not a team player. I don’t want to be a team player – I even dislike the term. Of course, to get on in modern business, you have to at least give the appearance of being a team player. However, although still employed by a large company, I am too old, tired and crotchety to maintain any illusions of being one, having long given up any pretensions of getting on.

But I do like tennis. It is the antithesis of a team sport: individuals battle physically and mentally  – alone. When I was younger, fitter, thinner and taller I used to play tennis; I stopped when my son started beating me. But I still watch and enjoy Wimbledon; of course, the men’s finals is always on Sunday, so I always miss it.

I suspected Roger Federer would win and beat Pete Sampras’s Grand Slam record; watching Federer ply his trade is like watching grace in motion. He deserved to win and is probably the greatest tennis player ever – until the next one.

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June 27, 2009

St. Hilda’s: Artists for Africa

Filed under: Nothing in Particular,St. Hilda's — David Jenkins @ 3:37 pm

St. Hilda’s, ANiC has a lot of artists in its congregegation. A couple of times per year, the artists put on an Art Show as a community outreach and to raise money for World Vision. The latest Artists for Africa was held on St. Hilda’s front law in June; a percentage of the proceeds will go to World Vision:

Some of the Art:

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One of the Artists:

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To buy or not to buy, that is the question:

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The youngest visitors:

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Another Artist:

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June 17, 2009

Why blog

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 7:05 pm

Some recent comments on this blog started me thinking about this strange medium and why people do it. Damian Thompson writes:

In April, an anonymous police blog written by a detective calling himself “NightJack” won the Orwell Prize for online political writing. And it deserved to, wrote one newspaper, “because it took you inside real life in a way you couldn’t go by yourself”.

But now you can’t go inside real life with NightJack. Visit the site, and you read: “The authors have deleted this blog. The content is no longer available.” Thishas been taken down in its entirety because the Lancashire detective lost a court case to stop his identity being revealed by The Times – the very paper that praised him to the skies when he won the Orwell Prize.

Blogging is an art. The intrinsic messiness and spontaneity of the form make it more, not less, important to write in a disciplined fashion. The unreadable websites of five years ago have largely disappeared: teenagers are bored with keeping online diaries and (except at election times) the only local politicians who can be bothered to blog are Lib Dem bedsit councillors obsessed with dog mess and broken paving stones.

But good blogs are one of the joys of the 21st century. No one set out to create this strange medium: it just evolved. And we’re lucky that it did.

For my part, this blog is the result of my being a member of an Anglican Church for over 30 years. The parish I belong to is orthodox and, until 2008, was in the diocese of Niagara. The only way an orthodox parish can exist within the Diocese of Niagara is by a mutual unspoken agreement that each ignores the other.

This separation arrangement didn’t work particularly well for my parish: we have been subject to 30 years of deranged meanderings by assorted bishops appearing at random intervals every time the diocese suffered financial embarrassment; parish representatives were subject to the pagan cavortings of God-forsaken synods; believing priests were openly derided for being naive enough to adhere to what they had promised when ordained.

And all that time, the average Anglican didn’t have a voice; well, 30 years of pent-up frustration now has an outlet in blogdom. Welcome to the 21st century, Fred Hiltz and Michael Bird – I want to say “up yours” (the Fresh Expressions version of Matt 23:27), but that wouldn’t be polite would it.

May 19, 2009

I left my heart in San Francisco

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 11:35 pm

When I was in Italy a few years back I remember visiting the basilica where St. Anthony’s tongue, larynx and associated parts could be inspected. A book has been written about scattered holy body parts:

They are scattered all over the world – holy little odds and bits: St. Anthony’s shrivelled tongue in Rome, a tooth from the Buddha in Sri Lanka, the finger of St. John the Baptist in Florence.

More than isolated curiosities, these pieces of the dead have always attracted reverence from the religious who find in the smallest, and often grossest, body parts, evidence of holiness.

Why else would an English bishop take a bite out of St. Mary Magdalene’s bones? And how did a hair from Muhammad’s chin end up in Kashmir?

These are the kinds of questions that inspired author and scholar Peter Manseau to embark on a journey around the world to investigate relics and the people who adore them, which resulted in the book Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World’s Holy Dead.

I saw quite a few relics while in Italy but they did not, unlike many of the churches that housed them, inspire reverence. In fact, after a while I found myself humming Spike Milligan’s version of, “I left my heart in San Francisco”:

I left my heart in San Francisco,
I left my knees in old Peru.
I left my little wooden leg
Hanging on a metal peg,
And my eyeballs I gave to you.
I left my teeth on Table Mountain,
High on a hill they smile at me.
When I come home to you, San Francisco,
There won’t be much left of me.

May 13, 2009

Canterbury is not gay enough

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 3:28 pm

Canterbury is not sending out enough “gay signals” apparently:

Historic city ‘not gay enough’ say equality campaigners

Its ancient cathedral is the oldest church in Britain still in use and millions of tourists visit each year.

But Canterbury, it seems, is not all-inclusive in what it offers.

The historic cathedral city is simply not gay enough, according to an official complaint.

The city – scene of the murder Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170 and famed for its association for Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – is the subject of an investigation by the local government watchdog after gay activists lodged an official complaint.

They say the city council has failed to ‘send out signals’ that it welcomes the gay community.

Canterbury, the complaint says, ‘is still a cultural wilderness for LGBTs’ (lesbian, gay bisexual or transgender).

Among complaints, made by the group Pride in Canterbury, is that the city does not have a gay bar or community centre.

The organisation has also complained about the ‘stereotypical’ depiction of a gay character in a play staged at the city’s Marlowe theatre.

Last night the council seemed bewildered by the investigation, insisting it had done its best to help the gay community by offering money, help and use of its facilities – including £4,000 in grants to Pride in Canterbury.

But Andrew Bretell, of Pride in Canterbury, said more was needed and that the council was missing out on the ‘pink pound’.

He said he complained to the council last year and when that failed went to the ombudsman.

‘They’re more interested in ticking their equality boxes and engaging in back and forth ‘who said what’ games than they are in dealing with the real issues.

‘We do not believe the council want a thriving LGBT community in our city.’

This should put to rest the canard that the homosexual agenda is to gain equal access or have equal rights and opportunities. It is really about campaigning for equal cultural pervasiveness; an endeavour as ridiculous as insisting there aren’t enough bearded men in Canterbury.

Speaking of bearded men, although Rowan Williams is doing his best at increasing the gaiety of the Anglican church, it looks as if he needs to re-double his efforts; after all Anglicanism’s colonial centre is still in Canterbury.

What Canterbury needs is one of these:

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April 1, 2009

Dawkins, Dimness, Aids and the Pope

Filed under: Christianity,Nothing in Particular,Politics — David Jenkins @ 8:10 am
Tags: ,

Richard Dawkins offers his opinion on an evolutionary dead-end: the condom.

Professor Dawkins, the prominent biologist and atheist, said that Benedict XVI would have blood on his hands if his beliefs were followed by Catholics around the continent.

Speaking at a university in Spain, he said: “I wonder on what basis anyone can say condoms make Aids worse. The Pope is either stupid, ignorant or dim.

That must make Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies dim, too. It couldn’t be Dawkins that is dim, could it?

“The pope is correct,” Green told National Review Online Wednesday, “or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s comments. He stresses that “condoms have been proven to not be effective at the ‘level of population.'”

“There is,” Green adds, “a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ‘technology’ such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by ‘compensating’ or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology.”

If Richard Dawkins had the courage of his convictions, he would be advocating as much reproduction as possible between HIV infected people in order for natural selection to develop an Aids resistant strain of humanity. This, after all, is his religion’s view of progress.

March 25, 2009

An interesting Birthday Card

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 3:54 pm

This is one of the most interesting birthday cards I have ever received. Judging by the signatures, it is from all my friends in the Diocese of Niagara (I really did receive this in the mail today):

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February 12, 2009

Galloping Gallimaufry

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 4:26 pm

It’s Darwin’s birthday; the Roman Catholic church has capitulated and agrees that, at heart, we are all monkeys; the Anglican Church has decided it’s OK to convert unbelievers after all; according to the Bishop of London, nudge, nudge, losing your job is good for you; Peter Akinola’s letter to Rowan Williams was written by someone else and is part of a larger, deeper conspiracy according Rev. Colin Coward, purveyor of poofta propaganda; I found a crack on the side of my Martin D35 which prompted me to play Can’t Keep from Crying Sometimes.

Now I am going to have a snooze and when I wake up all of this will have gone away.

December 26, 2008

Odd Jobs

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 1:54 pm

Nova Scotia Scott tagged me so that I could bore everyone with a list of jobs I’ve had. I admit, after an early, unfulfilled yearning to be a train driver, my ambition was to live as a tantrel; but things rarely work out as one hopes.

“It’s simple. Just list all the jobs you’ve had in your life, in order. Don’t bust your brain: no durations or details are necessary, and feel free to omit anything that you feel might tend to incriminate you. I’m just curious. And when you’re done, tag another five bloggers you’re curious about.”

Counting traffic for the city.

Ice-cream vendor – on a bike.

Cataloguing school health data for the NHS.

Teaching computer languages at a community college.

From then on – that’s the last 40 years or so – I’ve been paid by various companies to fiddle around with their computers, mostly mainframes and networks. Many of my compatriots are either retired, dead or senile, but the alluring prospect of retiring myself recedes a little more each year.

December 16, 2008

One Star Hotel

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 6:00 pm

From the Spectator.

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One Star Hotel

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