Anglican Samizdat

April 30, 2010

Another type of long-term committed relationship

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 4:30 pm

From here:Add an Image

A grandmother has shocked her friends and family after revealing she is having a baby with her own grandson.

Pearl Carter, 72, says she has never been happier after beginning an incestuous relationship with her 26-year-old grandchild Phil Bailey.

The pensioner, from Indiana, US, is using her pension to pay a surrogate mother so they can have a child, reports New Zealand’s New Idea magazine.

She said: “I’m not interested in anyone else’s opinion. I am in love with Phil and he’s in love with me.

Anglican bishops announced that Episcopal permission is to be given to a limited number of parishes, based on Episcopal discernment, to offer prayers and blessing (but not the nuptial blessing) to grandmother-grandson couples in stable, long-term, committed relationships, as an extension of the current pastoral norms.


March 31, 2010

For a Lent study, a Quebec Anglican Church invites imam to speak about Islam

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 12:12 pm
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Just what every Anglican needs to meditate on during Lent: the basics of Islam:

Also, on three Tuesday evenings at 7:30, beginning Feb. 23, we welcome Dr. Ahmad Shafaat, the imam of the local mosque, who will teach us some basics about Islam. He will bring several members of his congregation to join us in conversation. Take the time for what interests you; everyone is welcome.

The series was called, “Understanding Islam” and:

Dr. Shafaat’s lectures dealt with the life of the prophet, the roots of Islam, and the prayer recited by the faithful five times daily. It begins, “In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, Master of the Day of Recompense.” Everything we have comes from God, Dr. Shafaat said, and our relationship to Creation is based on respect. The nature of God is indescribable but unmistakable, a transcendental reality.

As Anglicans we do need to remember, particularly during Lent, that Jesus died on the cross to help us understand Islam better.

March 9, 2010

Rowan Williams turning evangelism into “destinies converging” and other twaddle

Filed under: Rowan Williams — David Jenkins @ 1:18 pm
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Rowan Williams continues to astound:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned evangelist “bullies” who attempt to convert people of other faiths to Christianity.

Dr Rowan Williams said it was right to be suspicious of proselytism that involves “bullying, insensitive approaches” to other faiths.

In a speech at Guildford cathedral, Dr Williams criticised those who believed they had all the answers and treated non-Christians as if their traditions of reflection and imagination were of no interest to anyone. “God save us form that kind of approach,” he said.

But he added: “God save us also from the nervousness about our own conviction that doesn’t allow us to say we speak about Jesus because we believe he matters, we believe he matters, because we believe that in him human beings find their peace, their destinies converge, and their dignities are fully honoured.”

In his address, titled “The Finality of Christ in a Pluralist World”, Dr Williams addressed difficulties modern Christians have with Biblical texts which suggest that Christianity is the only path to salvation.

Dr Williams admitted that in the past four decades, the problems around the classical interpretation of these texts had become more prominent.

He asked: “What about all those people who never had a chance of hearing about Jesus?”

He also asked about the generations before Jesus and the many cultures untouched by Christianity.

“Can we believe in a just God, who in effect punishes people, for not being in the right place at the right time?”

He raised a political objection to the claim that Christ is the final truth about God and the Universe, suggesting it had helped justify “wicked” things such as crusading and colonialism.

“What could we possibly mean by saying that a truth expressed in the Middle East 2,000 years ago was truth applicable to everybody, everywhere?” he asked.

Belief in the uniqueness or finality of Christ, in the way it has usually been understood, is something that “sits very badly indeed, not just with a plural society – whatever that means – but with a society that regards itself as liberal or democratic”.

In the Gospels, Jesus said: “No one comes to the father, except through me.”

Dr Williams said that in this context: “The father cannot be shown as an object in the sky, something abstract, something you can point to.” Instead, God should be understood in the first or second person, walking with Jesus towards the cross and resurrection.”

The Archbishop’s speech was an attempt to reconcile the claims of the Bible about Jesus and Christianity with the multi-faith societies in which Christians around the world must live.

The Gospels and the rest of the New Testament urge believers to spread the “good news” or evangelise, but the need for good relations with other faiths in the secular world militates against proselytism.

Dr Williams said: “When we sit along side the Jew, the Buddhist, the Muslim, Hindu, when we sit alongside them, we expect to see in their humanity something that challenges and enlarges us.”

The Archbishop quoted the Koran: “And God did not elect to make everybody the same. God has made us to learn in dialogue.”

On the question of whether Christians could legitimately believe that people of other faiths could be saved, Dr Williams said believers were too reluctant to leave this to God to sort out.

“We have often a vague feeling that God hasn’t read the proper books,” he said. “I’m very content to let God be the judge of how far anyone outside the visible family of faith is related to Jesus or has turned towards the father.”

According to Rowan:

  • Jesus is not the only way to the Father in the sense that Christians have understood him to be for the last couple of millennia.
  • The problem of what happens to those who have never heard the Gospel has suddenly become so prominent that all previous explanations are inadequate.
  • Christians should not evangelise aggressively for fear of hurting people’s feelings.
  • Getting on harmoniously with other faiths is more important than sharing the Good News (whatever that is).
  • The fact that evil has been done in Christ’s name means he can’t be the final revelation of God to mankind; and the meaning of the universe cannot be found in him.

To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, if Jesus is who he claims to be, he is of ultimate importance; if he isn’t, he is of no importance at all. The one thing he cannot be is what Rowan is determined to make him: moderately important.

Next month, Rowan will give a lecture on why the Western Anglican Church is disappearing.

March 3, 2010

A gathering of demented Anglican women

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 5:04 pm
Tags: ,

In New York:

Thousands of women from around the world, including more than 90 representing the Anglican Communion, will gather in New York March 1-12 for the 54th session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women to undertake a 15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

It takes a special blindness for women to rally under the banner of a city whose country is bent on their extermination. Naturally, Anglican women will be there in full force.

On the garbage dumps that surround Beijing, scavengers from time to time will find a newborn baby girl amid the stinking refuge.

Sometimes she is still alive.

Every year, say researchers, perhaps a million girl foetuses are aborted and tens of thousands of girl babies are abandoned.

February 19, 2010

Bridging divisions the Anglican way

John Chapman, Bishop of Ottawa is going to quell the strife in his church by training his priests:

The Anglican Church in Canada is updating how it trains priests so they can minister to everyone from Bay Street stockbrokers to Baffin Island Inuit.

Up until now priests have only been trained to seek out and hunt down candidates for same-sex unions; now that demographic has been exhausted, they are going after stockbrokers.

Ottawa Bishop John Chapman, who is leading the initiative, believes a savvier clergy would help bridge the church’s current bitter divisions over issues such as gay priests.

I can’t think why no-one has come up with this before. If only the clergy were more “savvy” we’d all start agreeing with same-sex blessings. It’s so obvious.

“The genius of the Anglican Church has been its capacity to live in difference,” Chapman said in an interview.

Or, as is now the case, disintegrate in difference.

As much as the church is badly divided these days, at least people care, “and that’s not what I remember as a child. I don’t remember people working up that kind of energy about anything. It was still the club; it was the social life. You found yourself there every Sunday and you weren’t even sure why some times.

Now, at least, people know why they do not belong to the Anglican Church of Canada

“I can’t imagine my childhood church getting worked about human sexuality,” said Chapman. “These are one of the most exciting times; there is a passion for faith.”

It’s true, of course: the creeping heresy of the ACoC has created passion among Anglican Christians; so much passion that a new Anglican province has been formed. Thanks for the nudge, John.

But pastors need new skills in calming congregations at war over sexuality or steering communities through traumatic change like closing a church. “There is quite a variety of need … that has exploded in last 25 years and we have not, in terms of a common standard … kept pace with that.”

It’s hard to keep pace with dealing with the havoc you have created when you are expending so much energy in creating more, John.

In order to calm congregations, training in doping incense with teargas, crippling but non-lethal wielding of thuribles and the use of taser tipped bishops crooks has begun.

Those working with immigrants, in urban areas, or remote First Nations communities, all need unique skills if they are to keep the church vibrant.

“The Anglican Church is not … white Anglo-Saxon,” says Chapman.

“It’s very much a global church, represented in this country.”

The global Anglican church is the one thing that bishops like Chapman are ignoring; every request from the bulk of the Anglican Communion to stop same sex blessings and homosexual ordinations has only served to create perversely contorted justifications for continuing to do what it has been asked not to do. Chapman himself coined the phrase “experiential discernment” to explain why he was continuing to do what he ought not to; I understand that the Ottawa branch of the Hell’s Angels now tattoos that on every member’s arm as part of his initiation.

Recommendations will go to the national church’s faith, worship and ministry committee, which will develop a proposal for common standards. Chapman is hoping that Primate George Hiltz, head of the Anglican Church in Canada, will create a commission to address the problems.

“create a commission to address the problems” . In other words, nothing will be done.

February 13, 2010

Where does a priest who doesn’t believe in God get invited to preach?

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 3:00 pm

In an Anglican church, of course; but I expect you already knew that:

DON’T call me Father, says Peter Kennedy.

And it soon becomes clear why the man, who was a serving priest for 45 years before the Catholic Church evicted him from his parish in Brisbane, no longer wants the title.

He doesn’t believe in the priesthood anymore, nor the virgin birth, nor the infallibility of the Pope. In fact, he doubts that Jesus ever existed and although he is the spiritual leader of a 500-strong Christian community, he says he no longer prays because there’s “no one to pray to.”

The controversial and charismatic ex-priest, who made headlines last year when he refused to leave St Mary’s as instructed by his Bishop, will preach tomorrow at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Simpson Street, North Rockhampton.

Welcome home unFather Peter.

February 11, 2010

Dr. Mouneer Anis demonstrates integrity

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 5:42 pm

From here:

The President Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East has quit the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, stating he has no faith in its integrity.

In a withering critique released on Jan 30, the Bishop of Egypt Dr. Mouneer Anis said that after having served for three years on the Standing Committee he had come to the belief that his continued presence had “no value whatsoever and my voice is like a useless cry in the wilderness.”

The Bishop of Egypt’s defection comes as a blow to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who had counted on Dr. Anis as one of his few remaining allies among the global south coalition of primates.

Dr. Williams had attempted to dissuade Dr. Anis from quitting the standing committee after Dr. Anis gave voice to his concerns following its December meeting. He pleaded with Dr. Anis to stand fast, sources close to the Egyptian bishop told The Church of England Newspaper, arguing the Anglican Covenant would soon answer his concerns.

However, Dr. Anis’ Jan 30 letter branding the processes and structures Dr. Williams set in place as flawed, comes as a public rebuke to the archbishop, which further isolates Canterbury from the non-Western primates of the Communion.

Thank you Dr. Mouneer Anis.

Undoubtedly, the reason Rowan Williams wanted Anis to stay was in order to further the illusion of harmony between conservatives and liberals; Anis would have been the token conservative.

A salutary lesson to conservatives who have chosen to remain in the ACoC and TEC: you are being used.

February 10, 2010

The Lorna Ashworth Church of England Synod motion

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 1:26 pm

Her original motion before the Church of England Synod was, “that this Synod express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America.” It was defeated and an amended version passed 309 to 69 with 17 abstentions.

That this Synod, aware of the distress cause by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada,
(a) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family;
(b) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
(c) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011.

Lorna Ashworth’s reason for bringing the motion to synod was to “send a strong message of encouragement to people who are practising Biblical historical Anglicanism” – that’s it. The motion was not that the CoE be in communion with the ACNA, only that the synod express the desire that it should be so.

But even that was too much for the synod, so the Anglican-bland amended motion was put forward stating the reverse of the original motion – the desire of the ACNA to be part of the Anglican Communion.

That this is typically Anglican is evidenced by the 1 year delay, the expectation of a report and the fact that it is sufficiently woolly that people on each side of the issue see support or lack thereof depending on what they had for breakfast. For example, some tweets:

eicestercofe @vicardave #synod I’d hate to be on the end of your DIScouraging statements. PH

pastorev Well done Synod! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it USA liberals! 🙂 #synod

frsimon #synod f***s it all up by expressing its desire to join with schismatics. Very very disappointed.

eleysium Thomas Cranmer would be sick #synod

r_rabbit Lke a gun. First you make it safe (the amendment: Bishop of Bristol) and then you decide whether to use it or not. #synod

Lorna Ashworth, before the synod debate, said the heart of her motion was that “we desire to be communion”; the heart was ripped out by the amendment.

February 9, 2010

The Anglican experiment is over

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 4:57 pm

According to John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham.

I had no idea I was participating in an experiment.  I can only assume that we in Canada were the part of the experiment devised to test how long it would take a province to collapse if the leadership were infiltrated by a large number of heretics.

Now we know.

February 7, 2010

Who are the real Anglicans?

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 3:20 pm
Tags: ,

When I became a Christian, the final decision was simple. I felt like the thief on the cross with nothing to offer but sin, no recourse to good works to fall back on and, thus, no hope of earned salvation. I knew I was doomed without the only salvation that was on offer – the one from Jesus. There were no trappings, no liturgical requirements, no formularies, rituals or recitations, just a “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

In the current Anglican strife, what has become apparent is the desperation of each party to be included in the category “Anglican” while convincing everyone that the opposition should not. It is so pervasive that it raises the suspicion that being Anglican is more important than being Christian – perhaps because Anglicanism as it is practised in the West has become a buffer against the exigencies of real Christianity.

The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are determined that the ACNA not be recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury and they are busy trying to sabotage the private member’s motion asking the CofE to recognise the ACNA. Such recognition would help confirm the “Anglicanism” of the ACNA, a confirmation TEC and  the ACoC are determined to derail at all costs.

For my part, I think the meanderings of Rowan Williams have the aroma of an institution long dead and now in an advanced state of decay; the vitality in the institutional Anglican Church is centred in Africa where to be Anglican also means to be Christian.

A similar parochial obsession is in evidence in the Archbishop of York’s declaring that ex-Anglicans who join the Roman Catholic Church as part of the Pope’s Ordinariate Scheme will not be “proper Catholics” – a contention roundly repudiated by at least some Catholics – as if such a thing bore the weight of eternal significance.

To solve the “who are the real Anglicans” problem, it might be best for Christian Anglicans to leave Western Anglicanism to bury its dead and take a new name: Aflicans, perhaps.

So who are the real Anglicans? Who cares.

January 4, 2010

Anglican Covenant: whitewashing a denomination’s immorality

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 8:44 pm
Tags: ,

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.

Bullying bishops

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 10:39 am

I thought it was just a Canadian problem; apparently not:

“Bishops have got a lot nastier”, says the Reverend Gerry Barlow, chair of the faith workers branch of Unite.

Unite says the bullying frequently comes from superiors within the church who may be under financial pressure.

“A bullying case can go on for a long time”, says Terry Young, a former minister who runs the helpline.

“They’re picked on for everything they do wrong, so in the end the person runs around terrified. You see these people unsupported, driven into depression and a nervous breakdown.”

Mr Barlow said: “Bishops can treat people shamefully. The most common experience is a priest gets called in for a pastoral chat, to ‘see how things are going’, within half an hour he’s telling you he’s going to fire you or take your licence away”.

The Anglican church is being run like a business: rather than being shepherds, bishops have become executives, more preoccupied with the well being of the organisation than the people in it.

A far cry from a more humble view of the role of bishop: to be a slave of slaves.

Update: Ruth Gledhill has more on this here.

January 2, 2010

The Anglican Church of Canada: engulfed in relativism

Canon Harold Munn, writing in the Anglican Journal is happy to let people think of God is any way they choose:

“Not,” I was quick to add, “that it’s necessary to believe in God as an external being watching us—there are a variety of ways of thinking about this—for some people it’s more like deep goodness, or deep reality. But however we imagine it, it’s certainly been present and working through us as we re-design systems to serve those in need. What’s happened is quite wonderful. And I just wanted to say so.”

He’s also happy to let people think just about anything can be a “holy book”:

“I stood before the judge, and she said, ‘What’s that?’ I held it out for her to see. ‘Looks like an Act,’ she said. ‘What Act?’”

“It’s the Canada Health Act. It’s my holy book.”

“That is my holy book. It says there is no distinction between rich and poor. Everyone deserves to be well. That’s holy to me.”

And, since the health act is holy and God is any creation of our choosing:

The Canada Health Act is how God is experienced by a senior government administrator.

Altogether a fine summary of the theological sophistication of the ACoC: forget all the trite nonsense like, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. For Anglicans in the 21st C, in the beginning – well around 1984 – was the Canada Health Act and the Trudeau was with the Canada Health act and the Trudeau was with God and the Canada Health act was God.

December 21, 2009

Thou shalt not steal

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 9:34 am

Unless you are Anglican and you pinch stuff from a supermarket and you really, really need what you are taking; then it’s OK:

WORSHIPPERS at one York church got a shock when their parish priest used the last Sunday before Christmas to advocate shoplifting.

Father Tim Jones, parish priest of St Lawrence and St Hilda, broke off from the traditional Nativity story yesterday, and said stealing from large national chains was sometimes the best option many vulnerable people had.

He told the congregation: “My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift. I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.

“I would ask that they do not steal from small, family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices. I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.”

There are many benefits to being Anglican; Christmas shoplifting is just one of them.

December 18, 2009

The Mary and Joseph billboard

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 12:30 am

Here it is:Add an Image

An unholy row has broken out in New Zealand over a church billboard aimed at “challenging stereotypes” about the birth of Jesus Christ.

A dejected-looking Joseph lies in bed next to Mary under the caption, “Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow”.

St Matthew-in-the-City Church in Auckland, which erected the billboard, said it had intended to provoke debate.

But the Catholic Church, among others, has condemned it as “inappropriate” and “disrespectful”.

The church’s vicar, Archdeacon Glynn Cardy, said the aim of the billboard had been to lampoon the literal interpretation of the Christmas conception story.

“What we’re trying to do is to get people to think more about what Christmas is all about,” he told the New Zealand Press Association (NZPA).

Perish the thought of taking Christmas literally; thankfully we have an Anglican Church to point out that we don’t have to.
St Matthew-in-the-City proudly proclaims:

We at St Matthew-in-the-City are a diverse group of people. What we have in common is that we choose to go to church in the city, in a powerful building, and to experience Anglican worship in the context of this diversity.

We enjoy thinking outside the box, exploring innovative liturgy, progressive ideas and topical issues. We work hard at having a bi-cultural flavour to the service, especially by using Maori language.

Above all else, we are an inclusive church. This means that all are welcome to attend, and that all are welcome to receive communion no matter what church or faith (if any) they are from. Different opinions and varying faith journeys are the strength of our church.

In this remarkable summary we have “diverse” twice, “inclusive” once, “thinking outside the box” once, “exploring innovative liturgy” and “progressive ideas” once each. Not bad for 6 sentences; I’d give that a 9 out of 10 for extreme stale cliché compaction.

St Matthew-in-the-City practices progressive Christianity which means they:

Have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus.

Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us.

And obviously don’t believe in the uniqueness of Christ and so are probably not practising Christianity at all. In fact they don’t believe in anything much: “Progressives are more interested in spirituality than right belief or proper worship.”

That explains why Joseph and Mary are in bed naked, on a billboard outside the church.

Why worry about Richard Dawkins outside the church when we have Archdeacon Glynn Cardy inside.

Update: The billboard was defaced a number of times and the church has made the startlingly sensible decision not to resuscitate it:

A controversial church billboard in Auckland has been attacked again.

The billboard outside St Matthew-in-the-City, an Anglican church, depicts an image of Joseph and Mary in bed, and one version of it has already been painted over, before being stolen.

The replacement billboard was attacked on Friday evening by an elderly woman. Police were called while she was held back by bystanders.

The Auckland church had earlier said it is sticking with the billboard, but have now decided to not put up another replacement. The church says it does not want to pose any further threat to public safety.

That must be what Christmas is really all about: Public Safety.

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