Anglican Samizdat

April 28, 2010

The Anglican Church of Canada is dafter than Richard Dawkins

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada — David Jenkins @ 1:31 pm
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Here is the Anglican Church of Canada’s answer to the anti-theists: Jesus was the equivalent of  an evolutionary misfit; far from God being infinite, he’s not even big; let’s try pantheism and worship the cosmos for a change.

That should appeal to Dawkins and Hitchens; I am expecting an imminent conversion.

[T]he bigger we try to make God, the more silly such a God sounds. If we want people to take God seriously, they are telling us, forget the idea of God as a very big person out there.

Like Charles Darwin, author of Origin of the Species, Dawkins is telling us that new kinds of animals are created when large numbers of normal animals die off. Misfits suddenly fit well and become the ancestors of a new normal. If life has arisen on other planets or anywhere in the universe, that process of death leading to new forms of life will be the way it happens.

But that sounds strangely like Christ. He was a misfit who insisted on fairness and dignity for all, including women, the diseased and social outcasts of all kinds. That sort of equality would never fit into the violent hierarchy of human empires, yet through his death, Christ became the ancestor of a whole new kind of human–the community founded in God’s kingdom of justice, the community that is a follower of The Way.

Rather than asking people to imagine a great Being in the sky, maybe we should be focusing on faith in Christ as a way to grasp the deepest mystery of life. What if our worship spoke to the realities of the cosmos, of life, that skeptics already know to be true?

Then, would our worship elicit hysterics or awe?

I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to feel the onset of a bout of hysterics; hysterical laughter, that is.


Looking for meaning over the dinner table

Filed under: Humour — David Jenkins @ 9:54 am

April 27, 2010

World Vision and abortion

Filed under: World Vision — David Jenkins @ 12:00 pm
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The Conservative government has taken a stand against abortion which appears to upset World Vision:

HALIFAX — The political debate about whether Ottawa should fund safe abortion services overseas is a distraction, and should not be allowed to derail a new Canadian-led campaign to save the lives of new mothers and children the world’s poorest countries, says World Vision Canada.

World Vision is one of a handful of independent relief agencies, working in the developing world, that convinced Prime Minister Stephen Harper in January to make maternal and child health care in Africa and Asia one of his new international priorities.

Harper’s International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda, is in Halifax today hosting a meeting of her counterparts from the G8 nations, to try to hammer out a consensus on funding a new maternal health initiative.

The initiative has become a political hot potato in Canada, however, because of long-standing disagreements over abortion. Oda announced on Monday that any new Canadian efforts to improve maternal health care in poor countries would not include abortion services.

No matter, says World Vision. There are bigger issues at stake.

“The debate is ongoing in Canada. We’re not going to solve it. But we’re not prepared to see this initiative derailed while we’re trying to sort out the ideologies around this,” says Caroline Riseboro, World Vision Canada’s vice-president of public affairs.

Why is World Vision Canada not applauding the government’s opposition to killing the unborn? I really do hope that it’s not because World Vision surreptitiously condones abortion – particularly as I have supported them for many years.

April 26, 2010

Richard Dawkins explains how the gay gene was preserved

Filed under: homosexuality,Richard Dawkins — David Jenkins @ 7:00 pm
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Richard Dawkins, in keeping with the contemporary liberal credendum, assumes that there must be a gay gene. In this brief video he struggles valiantly to explain why the gay gene was not selected out of his Darwinian universe; it should have been, since homosexuals would not have reproduced.

His suggested answers are below and appear to have been extracted from the Beano Comic Book of Weird Science:

  1. The gay uncle theory: a prehistoric gay equivalent of the eunuch who looks after the females and their offspring while the butch males are out hunting. They passed on gay genes to the children by protecting their relatives’ children who would have carried the gay gene, demonstrating – albeit tenuously -the Darwinian advantage of the protective gay uncle for cavemen; it doesn’t explain the last 6000 years.
  2. The gay gene was passed on by homosexuals who had sex with the dominant males’ females on the side; homosexuality was used merely as a cunning ploy to steal other men’s’ women.
  3. The gay gene only produces homosexual behaviour given the right social stimulation – such as today. Dawkins almost slips into blasphemy on this one by saying there is no gay gene; he quickly recovers by sputtering that there is a gay gene now even if it once used to be an animal tracking gene which wasn’t allowed to express itself properly. Of course, this leaves the original problem: once the gay gene expresses itself in gay behaviour, homosexuals would be selected out – they don’t seem to have been.

So there you have it: the great high priest of Darwinian Dogma has spoken; all nonsense perhaps, but atheists, please genuflect.

The world’s biggest telescope

Filed under: Anglican,Science — David Jenkins @ 6:03 pm

Is being built in Chile.Add an Image

When it is finished, Bishop Michael Bird plans to rent it for the weekend, to scour the universe for a same-sex couple to marry.

The observatory will be constructed on Cerro Armazones, a 3,000m-high mountain in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

The E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope) will have a primary mirror 42m in diameter – about five times the width of today’s best telescopes.

Astronomers say the next-generation observatory will be so powerful it will be able to image directly rocky planets beyond our Solar System.

It should also be able to provide major insights into the nature of black holes, galaxy formation, the mysterious “dark matter” that pervades the Universe, and the even more mysterious “dark energy” which appears to be pushing the cosmos apart at an accelerating rate.

Selected heresies from the Diocese of Niagara

Filed under: Diocese of Niagara — David Jenkins @ 2:27 pm
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Plucked fresh from the May Niagara Anglican:

Jesus is not God:

St. George’s, Guelph, is a free thinking church, where dissent from the faith is permitted, if not encouraged. Everything is open to debate, including the divinity of Christ and the Trinity.

Man is not sinful:

Reservations of St. Augustine’s theology, especially that part which described “humankind as a mass of corruption and sin, or looked upon the world as irredeemably evil.”

The Good News is temporal and unrelated to Jesus atoning for our sins, salvation or eternal life:

“To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom”…. The Marks of Mission invite the church to begin our ministry where Jesus began his, with proclamation that another way—the kingdom of heaven, the reign of God, a New Creation—has become an available choice within history, and not just a hope for the eternal future.

Jesus is not unique; all religions lead to the same place:

Who’s in charge? No one person or religion, and that’s fine. Let’s work with other religions as a global force doing God’s work and let’s allow our traditional rivalries to die away……

Recently a cartoon was printed of a wall dividing a dry desert from a luscious garden with every fruit tree imaginable in it. In the wall were two gateways; one with “Right Religion” over it, the other with “Wrong Religion.” Everyone, of all races and tribes were clamoring to enter the one marked “Right Religion,” but no one the one labeled “Wrong Religion.” Above were God and some angels. The caption read, “It’s too bad that they just don’t get it.”

Jesus was a heretic and but a caricature of God:

But we do see Jesus, the greatest heretic of all time, but the truest manifestation, or caricature, of God we’ve got, or will ever get.

Faith is shaped not by objective truth, but by experience:

There’s no part of the faith that’s so sacrosanct that it cannot, or should not, be questioned, pulled apart, and put back together again. Faith is not like the multiplication tables. We may question whether six times seven is the same as seven times six, which equals forty two; but it won’t change, no matter how we look at it.

The Diocese of Niagara has something to be proud of

Filed under: Diocese of Niagara,Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 1:13 pm

The Anglican Church of Canada is shrinking faster than a haemorrhoid in an argon laser. Consequently, the dioceses of B. C., Toronto, Rupert’s Land, Ottawa, Ontario and Huron (and Montreal) are “restructuring” in order to survive with fewer people. This, of course, is a euphemism for closing parishes.

I just received an email from a friend in the Diocese of Rupert’s Land who was very excited by the fact that a committee of the Synod will be looking at the vitality and viability of all the parishes in the diocese. This follows on the news of the completed Diocese of B. C. study that called for the closure of some parishes and restructuring of others. The Diocese of Toronto has a strategic plan in the making, Ottawa, Ontario and Huron as well as others I may not know about.

The Diocese of Niagara, however, during the diabolarchy of its last three bishops, has been clever enough to anticipate fleeing parishioners and has been closing churches in advance. Bravo the Diocese of Niagara!

This is simply to illustrate that in light of declining membership and resources in many dioceses the leadership is taking a hard look at the future, most have decided to create a “grand plan”. We in Niagara have taken a slightly different approach and under the leadership of the Bishops Asbil, Spence and Bird and the support of Synod Councils over the years, we have been closing and amalgamating parishes at a pace that makes us the Canadian leaders in restructuring for mission in a changing context.

This technique has been so successful, it is to be exported:

Our Synod has been so successful in our approaches to these issues that the writer and other members of the Mission Strategy Committee have been asked to present our methods to other Diocesan leaders across Canada and the United States.

The whole thing is based on relationship and trust:

This respect leads to relationship which leads to trust and finally a mutual understanding of what the next steps in ministry may need to be.

And doing things the Niagara Way:

What is more it all seems to be very much our “Niagara Way”.

April 25, 2010

You can’t advertise God’s love here

Filed under: St. Hilda's — David Jenkins @ 7:21 pm
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St. Hilda’s Anglican Church in Oakville has a yearly garage sale; it’s not a normal garage sale, though, because no money is collected for the items. The message to the Oakville community is that, just as the items are free, so is God’s love for us and so is the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

There is a Yahoo Group called oakvillefreecycle where used articles are exchanged free of charge; we thought it would be a good idea to advertise St. Hilda’s free garage sale there. Here is the post as it was originally written (you have to join the group to see it):

Free Market
Join us for our “Free Market”

An expression of God’s free gift to us.

Many items , books, toys, clothes, household items all free!

St. Hilda’s ANIC Church
1258 Rebecca Street
Oakville On.

Sat. May 15, 2010

9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.

The moderator of the group removed the line that I have in bold (it was not bold in the original post). No explanation, apology or reason; just commonplace secular illiberality.

Pope will make historic apology for abuse

Filed under: Roman Catholic child abuse — David Jenkins @ 7:07 pm

From The Independent, which in its subheading, is painting the Pope’s proposed apology as an attempt to defuse the scandal. It seems to me more likely, that this is a genuine act of repentance by the Pope of behalf of his Church; in light of their recent buffoonery, manic secularists will probably remain unappeased.

Vatican hopes unprecedented act of penance at June jamboree will defuse anger over worldwide claims.

Pope Benedict XVI is planning to make the first general apology for the abuse of children and minors by Roman Catholic priests when he meets thousands of clergymen from around the world in June at the climax of the International Year for Priests, Vatican sources say.

In the past there have been papal or church apologies for individual cases of paedophilia or for abuse in specific countries, for example during the German pontiff’s recent visit to Malta. What is being prepared now would be the first time a pope seeks to atone publicly for the extent to which paedophilia has been a major stain on the modern history of the church touching a constellation of countries, say the sources at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy. It could be considered comparable to the historic step that the previous pope, John Paul II, took in apologising to the Jews for historic church anti-Semitism and for misdeeds during the Crusades, they say.

Vatican officials hope such an unprecedented act of penance by Benedict, together with thousands of clergymen in St Peter’s Square, 9-11 June, will do much to lay to rest the scandal and defuse protests that might disrupt his trip to Britain in September. The encounter will form the climax of the special year of events designed in part to encourage vocations to the cloth but which instead has been marred by the mushrooming paedophile scandal.

Anglican Church of Canada is hawking the silverware

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada — David Jenkins @ 6:05 pm

What’s the next step after corporate sponsors? Peddling spoons on ebay.

April 24, 2010

How Christopher Hitchens copes with futility

Filed under: Atheism,Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 11:10 am
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Albert Camus in his novel, The Plague, makes the point that without God humans live in an indifferent, incomprehensible universe that has no rational meaning or order. Camus’ solution to this little problem is not resignation or stoicism but to fight back even though it may be with the knowledge that the fight is futile. For an atheistic existentialist, life’s meaning is found not in overcoming, but in struggling against  the apparent evil in the natural order of things. This struggle in the certain knowledge of ultimate failure defines man’s freedom: he is not merely a puppet of the natural order that created him.

I think this is a daft way to live but, as can be seen in this exchange with William Lane Craig, it seems to be an energising principle behind Christopher Hitchens’ attempt to live with the futility of his own existence. The difference between Camus and Hitchens is that, whereas Hitchens never tires of expressing his hatred of all things Christian, Camus had a grudging respect for believers who lived by their Christian principles.

April 22, 2010

The Fred Hiltz Corporate Sponsor Letter

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada — David Jenkins @ 2:30 pm
Tags: ,

Here is the letter from Fred Hiltz asking for corporate sponsors:

Dear Friend,

I am writing to invite you to partner with the Anglican Church of Canada as a corporate sponsor for our national gathering in Halifax, Nova Scotia from June 3rd to 11th, 2010. Nearly five hundred people from coast to coast will gather at St. Mary’s University for General Synod which is held every three years.

The theme for General Synod 2010 is “Feeling the winds of God: Charting a New Course”. A major piece of our work will be to consider Vision 2019, a dynamic plan to renew our commitment to God’s mission and to invigorate our ministries of service in that mission. We will also be engaged by presentations on major global issues such as poverty, human sexuality, the rights of indigenous peoples, and the care of the environment. Among a number of special guests at the Synod will be the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, the Anglican Observer to the United Nations (by appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury), the Secretary General of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, and two commissioners of Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

This event not only presents an opportunity for you to get your message out to delegates from across Canada, and it is also an opportunity for you to support a faithful group of community and not-forprofit leaders from across the country and their guests from around the world. Comprised of bishops, as well as clergy and lay people elected by their own dioceses, delegates to General Synod are some of the most committed, dedicated and tireless volunteers in our country – they are people who do much to sustain our common life and make the world a better place. In addition to the gathered community, Synod-on-demand now attracts an internet audience in excess of 30 thousand international viewers.

It is my hope that you will consider this invitation and the positive impact your corporation’s support will have on the Church’s ability to ensure the sustainability of this national gathering for years to come.

In Christ,

I am,

Sincerely yours,

The Most Rev. Fred J. Hiltz


Since there is little that excites me more than “major global issues such as poverty, human sexuality, the rights of indigenous peoples, and the care of the environment”, I am currently negotiating the price of having the Anglican Samizdat logo tastefully emblazoned on every clerical collar.

Hope ‘n climate change from Canada’s churches

Filed under: Global Warming — David Jenkins @ 11:06 am
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Perhaps this is how it will end for the both United Church and Anglican Church of Canada: an ever increasing obsession with bogus causes by an ever decreasing band of eccentrics struggling to have their communities of congruence taken seriously:

“We have to work together in communities of congruence…. We must be prepared to speak the truth even in the midst of denial and even in the midst of ridicule,” said Mardi Tindal, moderator of the United Church of Canada.

Tindal said that in the course of advocating for climate change action, she has learned that “there is a deep hunger for hope” among people, and that “you and I are actually in a position to offer it.”

Meanwhile, to remind Mardi Tindal who is really in charge:

April 21, 2010

Discrimination in the Gay Softball World Series

Filed under: homosexuality — David Jenkins @ 8:43 pm

Apparently, bisexual men are not gay enough to compete:

Three bisexual men filed a lawsuit in Seattle, Washington against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) claiming they were discriminated against for not being gay enough to participate in the organization’s Gay Softball World Series, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday evening.

Three bisexual men filed a lawsuit in Seattle, Washington against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) claiming they were discriminated against for not being gay enough to participate in the organization’s Gay Softball World Series, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday evening.

The three men who filed the suit, Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ, claim their softball team, D2, was disqualified from participating in the softball championship because the alliance ruled they were “nongay.”

It’s hard to know what to say about this, other than to note how unfair it is of the NAGAAA to take the wind out the sails of anyone trying to be funnier than them.

The Anglican Church of Canada is seeking corporate sponsors

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada — David Jenkins @ 8:02 pm

From the Globe and Mail:

The Anglican Church of Canada is inviting corporate sponsorship of its national convention this year, selling space for brand logos on delegate documents, advertising signs in its meeting spaces and a private lunch for executives with the church’s senior archbishop.

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