Friday, 30 October 2009

I Was Controversial Then

My article in the 1974 school magazine didn't win me many friends. My parents moved to Sutton when the railway to and from Hornsea closed. It had a village centre and historical layout, but the surrounding farmland was purchased and built upon. The complaint made then has since been answered: today housing and street patterns do not follow architecture's adventures. Still that is itself boring and tedious.

On the second page taken from the 1974 magazine is my friend's poem. I know it's his from the subject matter, the town mentioned and the slight non-event humour. The signatures are unclear about who did what, but he did the writing. He is the one who beats me at Scrabble.

Below on the third page is text extracted from the 1978 magazine, a much more boring and badly bound black and white production, with references to friends who had left the same time we had and their effect on the competitive chess club.

The .PDF file is 908kb. The image pages were scanned via Irfan View and Optic Pro scanner on my Windows 95 computer and saved as two .bmp files. The text was scanned via Pagis Scanner and Optic Pro to be processed by Textbridge and saved to pure text and Ultimashell Autocompletion helped with the processing of corrections before the text was then formatted in MS Word. I passed the contents over to my Windows XP computer, along with some storage, via CD writing. Then on the Windows XP computer a later Irfan View produced the two page images direct to .PDF files, and these were merged by PDFMerge for Code One. The processed text passed also over, it was displayed in Open Office Writer and checked again and then Open Office Writer exported the text directly to .PDF. I then merged the 1974 image pages with the 1978 text page (I missed a v showing that should have been a y - I later did this part again). The combined result went back to the Windows 95 computer by floppy disk, from where it was uploaded by dial up, along with changes to other web pages and a broken link restored, to my website (and this was done twice too). The website changes are always tested on my Windows XP computer using broadband.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Final Solution in Uganda

Uganda has come up with a Final Solution for gay people. They will die, if the consenting (or unconsenting) person is disabled, or have life imprisonment otherwise. Indeed life imprisonment is available now to the authorities. Anyone positively counselling, or procuring another, with gays will also go to prison. I think the reasoning is something like the polluting effect of mixing with pollutants.

Gets them off the streets, out of the way: dead or dead before socially active (imprisoned for life).

Shocking, appalling, worse: and so is the silence, especially when some Anglican Bishop Stanley Ntagali thinks locking gay people up for a period of time is a better alternative, apparently compassionate when the Churches are leading the campaigns against the existence of gay people, a man inspired by his national President congratulating Anglican bishops last August for their campaign against gay people.

Oh, and remember Rowan: the Anglican Communion comes first. Sod what happens to people.

Disappointed by Hans Küng

An elderly friend of mine, now deceased, and a definitely non-Christian Unitarian, who I would see pretty much weekly at his house, used to praise Hans Küng to the hills. Küng's Global Ethic suited my friend's self-declared universalist outlook, and it was part of my running argument with my friend that there is no such position as a pure, interfaith, universalist position, except that of yet another position and interpretation. For me, Hans Küng was that ecumenical Christian, the one who could describe the whole Christian faith, which of course was another kind of universal survey. The In Depth Group programme will eventually land on Hans Küng (assuming it continues) as a big describer of Christianity. His 1977 trans. Edward Quinn On Being a Christian, London: Collins, is like a Christian textbook for confirmation candidates (and was just this for me).

As I understand it, he and Joseph Ratzinger were fairly close, but it was Ratzinger who took fright after the German experience of 1968 and all that. Part of the In Depth discussion has been about Germany (because of its theologians, a legacy of having so many states and universities) and it being both a place of the most progressive, Enlightenment thought, rational and inclusive of Jews like nowhere else, and a turn in Romanticism into a fantasy paganism, a distortion of power, Nazism and vicious anti-semitism, as in the culture of Wagner and Beyreuth (and all that). After the Nazi defeat the Western children of the Nazis were handling the most recent legacy, and reacted via 1968 against the fact that the same people were in power who had been in power, just that they were silent about the previous time. That Ratzinger reacted against 1968 and all that meant he was walking in dangerous territory, even if he did it inside Roman Catholicism.

Back in 1979 I was an economic liberal in outlook - voted Conservative then - and a female penfriend in Germany called Claudia Ziesel (met on a train going into Scotland) couldn't understand my association with a social class that she had rejected along with her generation, and she was going Green in those days. For me it was just economic theory and clearing up a mess of failed British institutions. I understand more now, and remain a social liberal as I became around 1981 as I watched people thrown on the scrapheap and had to adjust my outlook (voting Liberal Democrat or equivalent since, with Labour as a necessary exception in 1997 as part of another clearout - another one is coming but via the expenses scandal).

With more of a cultural understanding, built largely around religion, we come to a figure like Hans Küng. Reading him in The Guardian Online Comment is Free Belief, one sees the limit of his outlook. In The Vatican thirst for power divides Christianity and damages Catholicism, Hans Küng when on Anglicanism he declares that the pope's action creatign a mini-Church of Anglo-Catholics :

...means further corrosion. It is already suffering from the consequences of the heedless and unnecessary election of an avowed gay priest as bishop in the US, an event that split his own diocese and the whole Anglican communion. This friction has been enhanced by the ambivalent attitude of the church's leadership with respect to homosexual partnerships. Many Anglicans would accept a civil registration of such couples with wide-ranging legal consequences, for instance in inheritance law, and would even accept an ecclesiastical blessing for them, but they would not accept a "marriage"...

The latter part is just description of the facts, but he is opinionating the consecration of a gay man as "heedless and unnecessary". Had Hans Küng been the figure of universal and inclusive outlook he might have said instead that a man's sexuality has no bearing on his ability to be a bishop. What makes this "heedless and unnecessary" is a bureaucratic-institutional assessment, also as if this was done deliberately. Would, for example, the position of Jeffrey John as bishop also been "heedless and unnecessary"? Presumably, on a bureaucratic-institutional assessment, yes. Because, on that assessment, it always depends on the level of opposition at the time.

Now such expressions (for example having prayers and blessings after civil gay partnerships) may be quite radical from a Roman Catholic, but they are still about social and cultural boundaries as in institutions. So it is disappointing.

Even so, he recognises his countryman's institutional power grab for what it is, for "imperium" over ecumenism and "Ratzinger's stubborn, uncomprehending intransigence". He understands Roman Catholicism's quest for power and division.

It is running much deeper. There is no doubt just how deep the Pope's Finger has gone, in seeking to wrench out Anglicanism's most traditionalist. I've listened to even locally half-baked mutterings and expressions, that reflect this Catholicism up against the more Charles Gore tradition of Catholicism as in Affirming Catholicism and all that. It is as if there is this desperate need to be counted as Catholic, and even about 'Holy Mother Church', whilst Benny and all that specifically doesn't include these other Reformed Catholics. There is the feeling that the Pope's Finger has shaken those who use the label, because it indeed excludes as well as includes. So the division caused runs deep. The fantasy of Catholicism runs into such people who, basically, have had the division between them and the Oxford Movement-neat Catholics made very clear this month, and they don't like it.

Spot Me

I was put into a middle stream in the third year (first year at Malet Lambert) and so joined significant friends in the my form and most classes the year after. This is probably 1973. Click on it for full size. Uploaded also to Friends Reunited (where it is obviously relevant).

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

What a Beautiful Day

I must say I enjoyed the morning and the sunlight. I took the camera to take pictures of the still to be finished altar frontal by Viv Rowett. My square is five pictures across and four down - painted. A comment was made before the service, as I photographed from the floor and then got up, that this was the only time I had genuflected in front of the altar. Too true. I don't genuflect. I'm also wondering about staying sat down during the gospel reading - I don't know why people stand up to hear words from a book. I do stand now but 'sit out' for the Eucharist section. Then after the service I took more pictures with the light a little further around. This is a later one.

Below shows Beck Hill, the road in between the present Anglican church and the second former Anglican church in Barton-upon-Humber and now a museum. Click to enlarge.

After all this I went around outside to take advantage of the strong morning sun and warmth. Below shows St Peter's church that is now a museum, where bones are kept in special storage for which a mass was held last year.

Below is the active church, St. Mary's.

You can get nearly an all round view of both churches. In this light the church almost vanishes mystically into the sky with the trees showing autumn structural detail. The viewpoint is from Beck Hill. The best time from this viewpoint is in spring, when leaves are few and green. Light and shade are less polarised. Obviously by now I have a collection of Barton church photographs, digital and otherwise. Go around the road off Beck Hill and closer to the church and the result is the tower is hidden as you look upwards but the stonework shows up (in this light). See below. Click on any image for 800 by 600 views. Such can provide desktop wallpaper if you have a 800 by 600 screen size. Feel free to use these pictures.

Get over it Move On

Next game begins. I scored 24 with the highlighted go, and love this formation of bricks.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Grudge Match Begins - and Thrashed

Click on the image to read the text. This explains why he did not play HEARD in the last game. Challenging me to another game, my opponent assumed that I was feeling hard but asked if was I hard enough. The scores now are 35 him and 47 me, he started with TAW, then I put TIRE across (the T added to IRE just to assist in the renewal of my letters), he put MEEK in early this morning and I've added SHOD this afternoon gaining a nice 40 score due to 3 letters earning three times their number and one earning twice the number.

And all in one day...

My letters turned awful, and this after Mick played a crafty connecting 7 letter word. I was going to exchange, had a lifeline from him, but that was it, and although I'd had the Q (and it let a bigger triple happen) he had every letter of power afterwards. Sometimes Scrabble is like that and you just have to play it out to a stinging defeat. So I'm back in the Championship again and not so 'hard' after all.

Mick: TAW 12

Adrian: TI AR WE TIRE 17

Mick: WE ARM MEEK 23

Adrian: EH WEES KO SHOD 40

Mick: WEEST 24

Adrian: AG NA EL CANE 21

Mick: AYE AGA WAY 28

Adrian: NAYS SQUID 42 (allowed a triple)

Mick: IF DO FOUND 51

Adrian: KOP DE PED 27

Mick: TWEEST TING*lER 68 (the turning point - my letters were awful - about to exchange but one comes possible)

Adrian: CROON 21

Mick: DEB DA BAM 26

Adrian: Exchanged 7 (my letters were awful - two Vs and repeat vowels - words of two and three)

Mick: BAMS SAZ 44

Adrian: HI IN HI 28

Mick: TIN TEX 26

Adrian: YE EX YEAR 35

Mick: VEX EYE LEV 44

Adrian: AWAY BARF 28


Adrian: OB VI*dEO 29

Mick: VEXI*l 14

Adrian: JO GO 18

Mick: IF 15


Mick: UNRULE 14 (could have gone out with LUNIER for 12 and add 2, also 2 off me)

Adrian: POI 5

Mick: -2 427 (should have been 429)

Adrian: + 2 334 (pathetic and 9 higher than should have been)

Leaves it at 7 games to Mick and 2 to me

The Anglican Alternative: Power

The Statement, called a Pastoral Exhortation, from a collection of Global South Anglican Primates makes it clear in rejecting the Pope's offer and the adequacy of Anglicanism: it is all about the Covenant, Primates exercising international power, and homosexuality specifically.

With blinkers on they read the Pope's invitation to Anglo-Catholics to join a Personal Ordinariate as a statement about being for narrow biblical interpretation and against homosexuals in the episcopate, whereas it is all about Church order and being against women in the episcopate. What a depressing, blinkered, narrowed outlook these Anglican obsessives have. They don't even mention the issue of females in the episcopate, which is the issue concerning the Oxford Movement type Anglo-Catholic (the Gore type Anglo-Catholic will accept women in the episcopate).

It is this, they want: thanks Pope but no thanks; the Covenant should be passed and quickly and is sufficient; the Covenant gives authority to Primates to make international decisions on all Anglican Churches and legitimacy; this centres around no homosexuals in the ordained ministry and principally bishops and no blessings of homosexual partners anywhere within the legitimate Anglican Communion.

So to anyone who has an ethical basis about all of humanity, the Covenant must be opposed: it is the very thing that these patriarchs want to establish their power.

There is no other way of seeing the Covenant, and there never was.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Online Scrabble Win (Phew!)

I do enjoy online version of Scrabble. Now it has a 2 word dictionary and a dictionary finder, and it has prevention of incorrect words entry. It has chat as well as scores entered. I have a very good opponent here, so good that at the end that I have had to learn fast and to be careful. I thus arrived at that endgame and went into alternatives overdrive - and made a complete hash of calculating due to forgetting I'd already played the X. Getting around that stupidity, I then went for best moves calculation, and realised I had also AGAIN (from the last game) misread his end letters. What is it about me? I read ADDEINR when they were ADEEINR - so I took it there were two 7 letter words (that he could not get out, even in the open lower board) and ORDAINED across an O but prevented by GRIGN which is not a word. This should have given me confidence to play to maximum score with the X, but I played with nerves to the southern area of the board to add blockage. Here is how it went up to last moves.

Scrabble at Mick 6 Adrian 1 games

Mick: HA 10

Adrian: HAP UPDART 20

Mick: IT IRON 18

Adrian: AKIN 18


Adrian: CYME 33

Mick: AIM DI LA *eM 21

Adrian: NE RIFE IF KI 33

Mick: DIV *eMO VOLE 32

Adrian: HE QUARE 31


Adrian: NONFATAL 94

Mick: YO YO OW 35

Adrian: JO LOB YOB 28


Adrian: ROPE NO OP NE 26

Mick: DIVI OI 12

Adrian: EL DEV DA 21


Adrian: ABNEGAT*e 61

Mick: SWITHE TROPE 39 [this play leaves Mick with ADEEINR and 0 letters in pot; wanted to play ENDEARING on the now used G]

Adrian: DEVA EAUX 35 [from AEETUXZ - analysis below]

[Note that I misread his letters. I misread that he had ADDENIR giving DANDIER, DRAINED and, with an O but blocked, ORDAINED. Obviously I have difficulty seeing as well as adding up. He has ADEENIR. Up at the top right I could have played ZAX for a 47 score, but his triple would have meant a score of 45 for ZA AD AD - but obviously down at the bottom was potentially open and I calculated a reply score of 17 to my 35 for EAUX DEVA DA EL, plus the block advantage, with B the only accepted link in front of the word EAUX and unavailable, and as he can't go out I could get the Z out unless blocked by HEARD DIT, which he must play for advantage. He then has EEIN. I go RET HE ET for 12, and he plays NINE for 4. My Z passes. He plays his E at WE for 10. He then gets 10 and I lose 10. This calculates to 340 + 13 +4 +10 + 10 him and 399 + 12 - 10 me or 377 him 401 me.

Had I played ZAX for 47 he would have played ZA AD AD for 45 and then I'd have played RET HE ET for 11, REIN him for 4, DAE is 4 for me and he does GEN for 4 and has + 1 for my U and I lose 1. He gets 340 + 45 + 4 + 4 + 1 394. I get 364 + 47 + 11 + 4 - 1 425. Variant A.

I could have played the X in the strongest position available leaving the lower board open. Mick has ADEENIR. So REX HE EX makes 18 + 5 + 17 or 40. He still plays HEARD DIT to block 13. I have AUTZ. I play ZA DEVA and get 19. Mick plays NINE for 4. TO under the Z gives me 13. Mick loses 1 for E and I gain 1. For me that's 364 + 40 + 19 + 13 + 1 or 437. Mick gets 340 + 13 + 4 -1 or 356. Variant B.

Mick 377 Adrian 401 (win by 24) EAUX - the nervous play to block the southern area of the board
Mick 356 Adrian 437 (win by 81) REX - the highest scoring win leaving the southern area of the board relatively open

Mick 394 Adrian 425 (win by 31) ZAX - the jump to the triple, the rejected option.

Now see what happens.

Mick doesn't play HEARD at all! He plays DAE OE for 10 and 350. I'm 399. This is an irrational choice regarding my known Z and its limited potential two placings.

I can now play the Z as it remains unblocked. DAZE gives 14 to me. I'm 413. This is illustrated.

He has ENIR left allowing, with the N, going out on INNER for 5. then I have T -1 me +1 him. Silly me. INNER connects with XI.

Mick 356 Adrian 412 (win by 56)
Mick 365 Adrian 412 (win by 47)

But he may play DE ER AR for 17 and I play HET for 6 leaving him with NI -2 +2 for me. That's 367 -2 or 365 him and 419 +2 or 421.

Mick 365 Adrian 421 (win by 56)

It's interesting that my opponent did not try to block my Z. Perhaps it was because he could not win. But I would still play as best as possible, short of psychological blocks and uncertainty. Perhaps my irrational play is spreading.

And I still can't see the obvious, given XI as a second connector.

So it continued:

Mick: OE DAE 10
Adrian: DAZE 14
Mick: XI INNER 14
Adrian: -1
Mick: +1

Mick 365 Adrian 412 (win by 47)

My opponent has challenged me immediately to another game. I prefer a break. He chats that I think I am hard but am I hard enough? I ask what does he think, seeing as he has just lost. I grant that he is a Premier League player and I am in the Championship, but look at how similar these scores appear, and had I been less 'blind', assured and a bit more rational my score would have been 437. But I have to recognise - and why I play with some caution - that I don't see things and mis-see things. The graphic regarding Dominic is wrong - many days ago I played him and completed that game. It's 6 Mick 2 Me and 10 Me 2 Dominic in games.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Forward in Faith & Remaining Catholics

At present I am listening to the various sound files of the Forward in Faith conference, and indeed writing notes from these directly into a text editor. I think it is rather good that they provide these files and so quickly, and so far (only the introduction and part way through the second PEV bishop) the presentation is rather calm and rational and upbeat.

But I'm thinking, whilst listening, about the Catholic Anglicans who come from the Charles Gore tradition - those, for example, who do accept the ordination of women to the priesthood and to the episcopate. There is a complete division here. I have heard Forward in Faith describe them as 'Faux Catholics' as a put down, as much a put down as the rather nasty reference by Geoffrey Kirk about Christina Rees as "that graceless woman".

Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox, and this grouping, do regard Catholics who accept full inclusive ordination as say 'flavour of Catholics', and it must be from this institutional position that the Catholics that remain in the Church of England will be 'Protestant Catholics'.

Of course there is the argument, and set against that of Geoffrey Kirk's (surely unnecessary repetition in that company), that there is good evidence of female headship in the early Churches, and not just Gnostic, and that Paul was revolutionary in his last days equalitarian outlook, and that it is in later patriarchy that women become squeezed out of full ministry from the proto-orthodox stream. Within the period of the wandering Nazarite grouping in Judaism, there is plenty to suggest a very high status for Mary Magdalene, whatever position the developing proto-orthodox Gospels may give to and deny from her (though, with Judas, the wrong choice, the twelve to head the twelve mythic tribes of Israel in the coming Kingdom do not include this companion in a leadership role), and of course she is not recorded as an Apostle of the earliest Jewish 'Churches'.

Nevertheless, it was the left wing of the Reformation that recovered women's ministry as in the early Gentile Churches, and then for social reasons not as quickly as it could have. This recovery started in the most radical of sects and Churches, then moved to liberal Churches, and only in these days has it reached the orthodox strand (in terms of acceptance of the Nicene and other Creeds and the various Councils). But because of the institutional conservation of the other larger credal Churches, it is just a fact that women's ministry (for now, and probably for a very long time indeed) is part of Protestant Catholicism.

There is another Catholic grouping that also accepts women's ministry in full, which is the esoteric liberal Catholic strand that tends to be anti-Reformation. There is one Bishop in England of this ilk. This is a tiny grouping as such, but still important. It also picks up the argument about the earliest and full leadership of women with men in the earliest Christian Churches, but further continues the inclusion through the Gnostics. It combines its Catholicism with other faith expressions (as in Theosophy), and very partly through some left wing Reformation expressions that are almost post-Protestant in their rush to early radicalism (but then were Protestant). It has produced a flexible form of Catholicism found in tiny and sometimes inflexible groupings.

The Liberal Catholics aside, there is also a movement of non-Roman Old Catholicism towards a more Reformed position long after the Reformation, where they can join up with Anglicans and Lutherans. There is also independent Catholicism that derives directly from Old Catholicism (bypassing Liberal Catholicism in terms of inheritance, though not in the laying on of hands) and there is one female Bishop in Wales of this ilk. Nevertheless, in general, this is also Reformed or Protestant Catholicism.

Personally I regard Catholicism, as in the Church of England and elsewhere, as no more than a set of styles and flavours, like an addition of sauces to the cooking. The idea of ontological ordination is so much puff and magic, and indeed ordination itself is puff and magic, just a ceremony of recognition (but important for that), and this is available in many ways that uses and does not use the language of ordination. Nevertheless, institutionally, if Forward in Faith people make the break then, in a sense, they seal the institutional deal. It means not a unity between Anglicans and Rome, or between Lutherans or Old Catholics and Rome, but a wider gap, and one would now expect this Pope in his few years available to make gigantic gestures towards the Orthodox too. His hands are on the accelerator and the steering wheel, at least while his brain works.

From the Forward in Faith sermon, at a Votive Mass of Our Lady on Saturday, 24th October 2009 delivered by Revd. William Davage SSC:

You cannot dilute the Faith as would the liberal catholic: that suppurant oxymoron.

[Supparation is the formation act of becoming converted into and discharging pus.]

Exodus Out of Egypt Stalls

How it all proceeded...

Roman Catholic representative: Now some of you were looking for a lifeboat and the Pope has offered you a galleon.
Collected Anglican voices: Yes, yes, yes indeed.
Roman Catholic representative: You will be able to run your own affairs, so that although bishops cannot be married, a former bishop who is married, say, and who is reordained as Father Reverend only, can still run the show.
Collected Anglican voices: Yes, yes, yes indeed, very good.
Roman Catholic representative: You will, like, be in your own Church, probably called the Saint Newman Ordinariate, yet fully Roman Catholic.
Collected Anglican voices: Yes, yes, yes indeed, very good, excellent.
Roman Catholic representative: However, you won't get the monthly salary.
Collected Anglican voices: No, no, oh dear, well that's no good. Well, we're not going then.
Roman Catholic representative: But you have no choice now. The Pope has decreed it.

Cudden Careyless Complains

Lord Cudden Careyless has complained bitterly to his new boss, the Roman Catholic Church, for it's treatment of the former Archbishop of Anglicanism, Rev. Dr. Rowan Tree, for originally giving him no notice when it came to the takeover of the Church in England by the Roman Catholic Church. Lord Careyless, who travels the world in a personal refusal to retire, made his complaint because Rome operates from the centre, which is what Rev. Rowan Tree wanted to do with the former Anglican Communion. However, it seems that the real complaint is that upsetting Rev. Rowan Tree has been the speciality of Lord Careyless, and he is rather annoyed that Pope Benny is better at the task than he is, starting with Benny cutting off the head of the Anglican Communion. The Rev. George Austin Metro, former Archdeacon somewhere up north, is said to be delirious.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Go for the Man (and his Material)

So my views, providing a narrative of recent events, are available on Episcopal Café's Daily Episcopalian. What I write there I don't put here, but I link from here.

The English Counter-Reformation

Following the takeover of the Church in England by the Roman Catholic Church, the new Archbishop of Anglicanism, The Most Reverend Vince Hill, today announced its complete Holy Restoration from Reformation into an English Counter-Reformation through a series of Societies and Papal Ordinariates for those who are of various Anglican patrimonies. After this, the Church in England will be closed down completely.

The Society of Saint Newman continues as the Personal Ordinariate of those priests considered by Pope Benny as entirely compatible with the new outlook of Rome under Pope Benny. These are those Anglican priests and congregations originally Rome orientated who have come over with their wives and sometimes congregations. Only those who have shown continued orientation towards the culture of Romanised Anglicanism can marry and then join its seminaries.

However, this has left two main groups identified by the Holy See, that of the Affirming Catholics and other Liberals, and that of the Puritan Evangelicals and other Evangelicals.

The adapted Uniate model on the Personal Ordinariate basis will be used for so called Affirming Catholics and other Liberals in the new regime. This will be a Personal Unitariate under The Society of Saint Orchard, named after the recently sainted once Congregationalist Free Catholic who became Roman Catholic and had worked alongside J. M. Lloyd Thomas, the Unitarian Free Catholic, in recognition of the Pope's view of the dodgy nature of these folks' actual beliefs despite their apparent subscription to the Creeds. Anglicans who value the Broad Church outlook, liberality and Affirming Catholicism will come into this Society, again one that can be headed by priests. Although the former Archbishop Rowan Tree, now simply Rev. Rowan Tree (because he is married) is tipped to be the new leader of this group, there is considerable opposition because of his ethical abandonings while he was Archbishop of Anglicanism. All the once ordained women will be Deaconesses, a lay order called the Order of R. J. Campbell, and will be granted the right to run Sunday Schools, if there are any.

Then the Pope (for it is always the Pope - he is very busy, despite his age) decided that the new once Evangelical based grouping will be a mainly lay body on a Personal Ordinariate basis again, this time a Personal Lactate, not under a Saint's name (recognising Evangelical sensitivities), called the Society of Oak Hill Creamery. He rejected submissions to use the name Wycliffe, although he does enjoy the detective series reruns on ITV 3. In this, there will be a structure of lay Ministers and Superintendents allowed to run the Society, but only those identified as compatible with the former Bishop of the South, Graham Monarch, will be eligible for re-ordination and thus the number of Masses said will only be about four times a year within the Society. The Supreme Superintendent is expected to be the Rev. Lord Cudden Careyless. The rest of the worship observance will be sing-songs from overhead projectors and lots of shouting. Whilst members will be generously allowed to read out the once constructed Thirty-nine Articles, they will have no place in Church doctrine, and the Book of Common Prayer will have some naughty bits removed. Of course those who do not like this arrangement are perfectly free to go and form their own Church, which is what many of them were doing when they were Anglicans anyway. In a magnificent act of Papal reconciliation, Protestant and Catholic martyrs will all be recognised as martyrs in equalabrio parsethemoney, Elizabeth I and Henry VIII will continue to be ex-communicated.

All reordained priests are expected to work outside of their societies carrying out ordinary Roman Catholic services to those churches and congregations currently without a priest, which means most of them.

In getting its long lost property back, and thus increasing its asset base as well as its workforce, the Holy See announced that it is rebuilding Fountains and Rievaulx Abbeys as part of this English Holy Restoration, and will people them with some former Anglican monks and nuns, and again only men will be re-ordained as once again they start to keep sheep. This announcement includes a Papal Bullshit on the merging of the Shrines at Walsingham into one; the current Ordinariate shrine will thus be part of one shrine, just as there is only one Mary.

The Rev. Rowan Tree was said to be "very happy" at this ecumenical development and said that "no doubt all former Anglicans will be filled with joy" when the Pope comes to England to cut the ribbons of his two additional Societies next month and lays the 'new foundation stones' at Fountains and Rievaulx Abbeys. At least one Abbey in England will be left in ruins as a mark of remembrance to the Reformation and one Anglican bishop's palace left unoccupied as a mark of recognition of the Enlightenment, but otherwise the Reformation and Enlightenment will have no official setting in Catholic documents and no function outside the three new Societies, the Ordinariate, the Unitariate and the Creamery.

In this announcement the Pope has demanded that the Church of Wales submit to Roman Catholicism, but is said to be pleased that in recent developments he has "cut off the head" of the Anglican Communion.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Here Instead

This is very good, at Episcopal Café's Daily Episcopalian.

Because I have submitted a different article to Episcopal Café, I will now reproduce the one I sent before it here. It rearranges the talk given by Bishop Peter Selby into a summary logical order. It is relevant to display now, given the humiliation of Rowan Williams in the context of the Pope's latest action.


It is an interesting exercise to reduce to essentials the points made in Peter Selby's recent address to Inclusive Church opposing the Covenant. When the points are given headings and reordered, they become even more powerful.

When looking at these points again, keep in mind this: the Church of England Synod voted for draft legislation that meant that in the future diocesan bishops, men and women, would provide male only alternatives to congregations not accepting women bishops. A committee of nineteen overturned this in favour of a general statute, undermining the diocesan principle (the one that elsewhere the Archbishop of Canterbury upholds to the point of undermining Anglican Churches). This revision will go back to the Synod, but this is an example of how the Church of England undermines even the semblance of representational democracy in favour of hierarchy.

Bishop Peter Selby on...

Recognising Anglicanism

Recognisable Anglican practice takes controversial decisions because they seemed to be right, and taking time to see whether they were legitimate developments or not. Recognisable Anglican practice has not been based on procedures of the kind the Archbishop of Canterbury now has in mind.

Unrecognisable Anglicanism in numerous provinces other than TEC has involved bullying, threats, withdrawal of communion, unilateral invasions of others' territories.

Given the treatment given to TEC it is less likely to make a positive response. The Archbishop's Response warm comments on TEC carry little weight if most of his thoughts are actually directed against it.

Anglican Communion

Why does the Archbishop of Canterbury have to deny that the Covenant is a manifestation of centralisation?

The Covenant is a 'when accepted' due to TINA (There Is No Alternative)

Representational congruity, like that of recognisability, cuts in more than one direction.

Membership of the communion ('track A') will in some way be made dependent on conformity to the Covenant text with its message about recognisability and congruity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury would settle for a stalemate, which is what his response actually advocates.

Shared Discernment Recognized by All article: the ACI/ Bishop of Durham 'all' is just selected 'insiders'

The People not the Hierarchy

'Facts on the ground' get established for reasons of conscience and integrity by both 'sides' and reveal the importance of the matter in hand. It is unrealistic for the Archbishop of Canterbury to reject these.

Truth gets discovered precisely in the context of biblical and theological reflection and acted out in worship: the Archbishop quite wrongly suggests that the Church will have ended up conforming to social mores. An example from the people of God in worship: the congregation remained in their seats until a gay pair whose partnership was to be Civil Partner registered had received Communion together.

What is happening to the role and person of the Archbishop if an issue 'seems to fall' to him to articulate a matter? His response to TEC was addressed to 'the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion', like a papal encyclical.

Ecumenical Relations

Anglicans shall have to take steps to notify ecumenical partners that 'Anglicanism' is not represented only by participants 'signed up' to the Covenant. Such will be 'not in my name' and this excluding will just be the official Church not the peopled Church.

Church of England

The Church of England criticises TEC for collusion with its surrounding culture, but it is itself one of the most successfully enculturated churches.

The Church of England has discomfort with ideologies opposing centuries of European monarchical history, conditioning assumptions behind approaches to Rome rising in priority presently.

Over more than twenty years Bishops' Meetings have brought more mistrust and less openness than at any previous time. There is a pretence of unity that needs to be confronted for the sake of the integrity of ecclesial life.


The Archbishop of Canterbury needs to own some responsibility for the situation regarding homophobia in the Church being far worse than during his predecessor's time.

The Archbishop treats issues of sexuality only as ecclesiastical problems and solutions, denying theological insight and fresh thinking regarding this issue as given to other matters.

There are many forms of 'Church' but 'Hygienic Church' is the one innovation apparently to benefit everyone.

When the Archbishop says that there must be no questioning of LGBT people's human or civil rights or of their membership of the Body of Christ, he is.

His personal opposition to homophobia does not exempt him from complicity in the way that he deals with this issue that traditionalists have used precisely because of the visceral responses which homosexuality arouses and its energies tapped.

'Lifestyle' wording to describe gay partnerships is something of a giveaway of the Archbishop's attitude.

The Archbishop has responded to overwhelming pressure, there is also an element of personal choice and he has arrived at a false consciousness.

Denunciations of homophobia are made without reference to the Archbishop being personally responsible for requiring Jeffrey John's withdrawal from his acceptance of the see of Reading.

The decision not to allow the appointment of a gay person as a bishop is a representative action.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Listen Carefully

Rowan Williams, who is rumoured to be the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Church of England, is going to Rome before Christmas, where he will "touch base". Listening to him, the Roman Catholics surely cannot believe their luck.

I've written a piece for Episcopal Café. I hope it gets published there soon.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

New Catholic Anglican Church

Today the Archbishop of Anglicanism, Rowan Tree, and his Brother-in-Faith, Archbishop to Angles and Saxons, Vince Hill, issued a joint statement of ecstatic welcome to a new papal decree setting up another Anglican Church this time inside Roman Catholicism. However, at a press conference held later, the Archbishop of Anglicanism added, "The way I'm feeling, the way I am treated by those who are, apparently, my lot, I might not be the last in line to sign on and sign in."

An Apostolic Constitution has been declared, a condition recognised by many in purple attending parish lunches and endless cups of tea. His Extreme Unctiousness, the One and Holy, the Zweckreligionrational, the Vicar of Christ, Pope Benny of Crossroads, waved a finger and produced the new Church body that will receive Anglicans who think they are Catholics and Anglicans at the same time.

This move is said to complete the Counter Reformation started, in Roman Catholic understanding, about five minutes ago, but to others, who changed their thinking 250 years before now, this is all part of a different era and they could no longer care less.

However, religious anoraks are said to be excited to the point of Delirium, a Roman City near Boney Carteledge.

The Apostolic Constitution sets up lots of buildings called Cottages with male only toilets. The urinals will be personal ordinary ones. In the main halls, men in funny costumes and newly washed clerical collars will be able to gather and say Anglican things while actually having a picture of the Pope up above. They'll even be able to have seminary Cottages for new Roman Anglican devotees.

A spokeswoman for Backwards in Belief (Anglican Tradition), challenged that this is no different from now, said, "I know it is odd to think women support this thing, but we rotunda hat-wearers know our place among these lovely men. We expect quite a lot of our people to now cross the Tiber in a transatlantic liner, rather than in Welsh coracles. Whoopee! The picture of the Pope will be more up to date, and on dull paper rather than glossy."

A spokesman for the Fellowship of Cuper Apostles said, "What this does, it does, is takes away our chances for our own dioceses of men as yer only truly confessing Bible believing superintendents as headships. An' if we split off from them costumed sort, we might split again again. It's a wee wee free situation this, a right pisser. Here I am Lord, take me as I am Lord Cudden Careyless."

In the Constitution, the Anglican converts to Rome can be looked after by non-bishops. This is because, in all religion that can be called religion, men (and only men) in charge are too busy to have time to penetrate a woman and have children. Women are a distraction. At the new Cottages, women can go outside. However - and this will be different - some of them will be married to those with the personal ordinary urinals on the inside.

In the joint statement, Tree on a Hill said, reading together from a prepared script, "Really, we believe the same things. We set up all these bodies to show that we inherit roughly the same set of beliefs. So it is good to talk. This is quite a fruitful development and there could be some signatures in big books possible. Locally, in the spirit of ARGOS [Anglican Roman Gathering Of Superintendents] and VICARBUM [Vatican International Conversation with Anglicans in Rome under Benny Übermensch's Ministry] we look forward to further developments of the mutual ecumenical developments that have happened in places in England, where else."

However, after his own press conference, the Archbishop of Anglicanism was overheard saying very different things when in the gents. Our journalist had his recorder going during the piddling of the holy waters.

"The bastards. It's because this Covenant is buggered. I've been back to Benny, over and over again, saying, 'Look you, I can create worldwide Anglicanism with Instruments of Communion', but he's pulled the rug from under me."

The language then became so blue that this family blog cannot report what he said any more, except to say that the language was of the kind chartered, farce coal and ducking blunt, especially when washing his hands furiously at the lavabo.

In Depth Cupitt

Tuesday evening and it's time for In Depth again, a small group that meets under the auspices of St Mary's Barton-upon-Humber. This time it is Don Cupitt, and I'm presenting about the man who remains my most influential theologian.

Here is the paper that I shall ad-lib from - that gets distributed electronically and on paper, and it is on my website of course.

I just happened to be rifling through some very old bits of paper - I still have two letters from Lesney (remember them - diecast engineers and makers of Matchbox cars) dated June and July 1970 - and found old drawings including Don Cupitt (reproduced here) and David Jenkins on one piece of paper and two correspondences from Don Cupitt, one in response to my critical book review of 1989 and another in response to a letter in 1986. Of the two, 1986 is by far the most interesting [note: more advanced PDF readers like the free PDF X-Change or free Sumatra PDF can see my commentary text (which is an XML overlay)]. Basically it puts arguments that Don Cupitt now, generally speaking, puts himself (!) - direct talk, myth taken from our thought patterns of this time, the religious language of everyday talk, and a movement away from seeking myth out of the construction of Christianity. I see his turning point as 2006 and The Old Creed and the New, and I reviewed that as well.

Next time, it is uphill again through doctrine, starting with David Jenkins, who some took as a theological radical, but I never have, whose theology was based on Barth and Bonhoeffer. And my drawing made years ago is also reproduced here. I remember some years ago when David Jenkins was on TV in an invited audience making it plain to Melvyn Bragg and company that he was very different from John Spong's liberalism on the panel, and for me that said everything. David Jenkins was no equivalent of John Robinson either: what was important in the 'Durham Affair' was that someone quite orthodox was being vilified in an increasingly right wing Church (theologically speaking). More on that for discussion in a month.

Something extra...
Don Cupitt's cave
Submitted by Pluralist on 23 August, 2005 - 7:26pm. [Surefish discussion boards, I think]

The cave inhabited by Don Cupitt has a front door, side door and back door. There are many windows, some with frosty glass and many clear. It has been redecorated several times and had some structural work. The living room has been done in a nice shade of Buddha, the kitchen has Christianity as a splash wall behind the cooker and the bedroom has some comforting shades of humanism.

In postmodernist John Milbank's cave, the one door that exists has been bolted, the windows have been bricked in and boarded up, and although the house is decorated in pure Christianity throughout the light bulb has bust and no one can see anything.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Jack Spong's Manifesto

Thanks to Erika, I was aware of Jack Spong's latest, but didn't want to carry it wholesale because of his copyrighting and commercial activities in presenting his ideas. There are clauses about permissions about carrying it in full and the like. Now it is made available and is complete via Ruth Gledhill I can more easily comment.

I think his sentiment is right, that he won't any longer debate homosexuality with people. I'm also fed up with adding a justification: I now assume it and write of it assuming it, for example when giving another voice into Fulcrum.

Inevitably, such people who are religiously homophobic, when set against an institution shaking this off, are going to separate off. Let them go, I say. Have the courage of your convictions. Comments such as those by Revd Stephen Kuhrt that he is 'orthodox' on homosexuality as part of his loyalty to the Church of England shows just how backward the Church of England has become, that someone can claim orthodoxy on an issue that has little to do with doctrinal orthodoxy or heterodoxy. He notes also how well evangelicals are doing during the occupation of the office of Archbishop of Canterbury by Rowan Williams, contrasted with Robert Runcie. Keep fighting the ugly corner!

Theology, especially narrative theology, is such a dishonest business these days, that the criticism Rowan Williams when Bishop of Monmouth made of John Spong's Twelve Theses wasn't worth too much attention, but this comment by John Spong now has resonance given the recent lecture by Peter Selby:

I will no longer be respectful of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to believe that rude behavior, intolerance and even killing prejudice is somehow acceptable, so long as it comes from third-world religious leaders, who more than anything else reveal in themselves the price that colonial oppression has required of the minds and hearts of so many of our world's population.

The Archbishop is a person who puts religious bureaucracy and its intentions and fantasies before human rights, who can somehow separate out human rights from religious rights. This is why Peter Selby is right with the effective charge of being complicit. It is also why the silence of serving, paid bishops - at least those who should know better - is so deafening.

No, one doesn't debate with the Flat Earth Society, or the equivalent, but sometimes you do have to engage prejudice and stupidity with rationality. Take creationists, for example, whose argument trotted out is that evolution does not have proof of running across species. We now know from DNA and cellular switching that the eye evolved only once, and that it spread through the tree of life through stage after stage of development. There are now some fossils of species in transition. It may not be worth a debate, to say this to creationists, but it is worth saying to underline a point. And if these sorts say the Fall has to be historical with a real person Adam etc. or the whole of the redemptive scheme to Jesus Christ fails, then that's their lookout. You create the height of the barrier, so don't be suprised if (like the athlete Jonathan Edwards) you fail to get over it any more.

So we don't debate, but people of influence, or attempted influence, have to be tackled. Someone who causes real harm has to be tackled. The question is still, whether, the institutions are the right ones given what theologies we hold. Even John Spong is having to be selective.

Priest Shops and Plays Golf

Reverend Alan Peart was doing his rounds in the town of Blue Velvet and was accompanying Mrs Dorothy Finch, 55, to the shops. She was the wife of the imprisoned murderer, Mr James Finch, 56, and one time Churchwarden. As they walked she was telling the vicar about visiting her husband in prison and if he could travel there sometime as a visit would be appreciated.
"I can but the chaplain presumably sees him often," he said. "You know that my job is here with you."
"I find it difficult to forgive him," said Mrs Finch.
"Yes it must be difficult."
"I mean, not telling Mr Conder that he had a spanner," she said. "He is a good neighbour. I like Mr Conder," she said.
"And how are you getting on with the new computer he gave you?"
"I have it in the spare bedroom, you know, and there is so much to learn, and for a while I was going downstairs and coming upstairs again, down and up."
"Why so?" he asked.
"Because a speech bubble kept popping up on screen saying 'You've got mail' and I thought Peter Cornet must have kept finding some post for me in his bag, but there was never anything on the doormat."

They first went into the independent travel agent owned and run by Ms Holly Day, an ambitious woman of 30 already owning her own home outright and a new four wheel drive. Mrs Finch was considering her holiday, muttering that this was the first one she could have alone, and thinking she might ask friends to come along.
Reverend Peart asked Ms Day about the competition she ran. "Did anyone win the Seat Ibiza; there was a lot of interest in the town. I had three goes - £3, wow, for a car. Obviously wasn't me!"
"That's where everyone made their mistake," she said. "Mrs Cartwright won. She won a deckchair in Ibiza. It was 'Seat in Ibiza'. So I said to Ida, if she wants to sit in it, she can book a holiday through here."
"What, like, I put in £3 to win a deckchair? The brochure for the competition had a car in it!"
"And a deckchair. Down the bottom, look, on the beach. The car is just an example of a hire car when you get there."
"Ms Day, someone said that before you opened this shop, at another shop you had, someone won a Ford Fiesta."
"They did."
"So was that a car?"
"No, a top shelf magazine I bought from Ford, near Coldstream, when I did my research. It is a beautiful area and I sell holidays to the Scottish Borders," said Holly Day.
"What about Egypt?" said Mrs Finch, holding a brochure with the Pyramids on the front.
"I have a DVD about that by the renowned director, Andrii Litovchenko," said Ms Day. "It's called Five Girls in Egypt, especially if you want to take your friends. Up there among the selection of travel DVDs. He was the director of another DVD we have, Six Girls in One Bus, a bit like Cliff Richard and Summer Holiday but with an archaeological dig."
"I'll take that one on Egypt then," said Mrs Finch.
"That will be £39.99 then," said Ms Day. "It's a good film. Thank you."
Reverend Peart and Mrs Finch left the travel agent and arrived at the shop of Mrs Jennie Camp, 48, a churchgoer, who had extended her range by selling live chickens out the back. Mrs Camp was doing the books so it was up to her daughter, Miss Delilah Camp, 22, to serve.
So they took a look, but he told Mrs Finch that he leaves these decisions about the chickens to Mrs Capron. Mrs Finch, however, was going to join the town's craze for chickens and she wanted more packs of towels. "You never know," she said, and said to Delilah, "With Reverend Peart here I'll take two chickens to start, that can live in the shed now Jim's tools have gone, then get a tin of orange paint, and I need a couple of buckets for the feed - and fill that up with some - and one for water. I have one like but there's a hole in it, Delilah."
So she ended up with plenty for both to carry: two chickens, a pack of towels, a can of paint (so she could start to redecorate after the imprisonment) and two buckets, one containing feed. The DVD was in her pocket.
So they left the shop and he said to her, "I'll carry these for you, but can we take a direct way back down the alleyway, if you can manage the bucket with feed. I'm going to have to go off and prepare for golf so I won't be able to stay for a drink I'm afraid."
"You play golf?" she asked. "I didn't know that."
"Well Eugene Capron plays, and taught his wife a little and I tried it in my youth. I was keen once. He's busy at work so she said she'd come along. Though I was naughty - I said she would need to be like Jesus Christ to beat me."
"You shouldn't say that, being a vicar, vicar. But a good job you are a vicar, coming with me down this lane. I wouldn't with anyone else now, with no husband to defend me any more, like Jim obviously did. What some men can get up to, you know, with a woman, against the hedge."
"Well, whoever I might be, I'm carrying here two chickens under my arm, a tin of paint in one hand and a bucket in the other. So I'd be quite safe."
"That's easy," she said. "I'll put my bucket down, you let me take the chickens, you put your bucket down and the tin of paint."
"In theory," he said, as they carried on walking.

Alan Peart was stood at the doorway of the clubhouse at The Pits Golf Course as Janice Capron, 31, arrived with her husband's golf clubs. She spoke to some retired men there saying that Eugene would be playing in a few hours after dental surgery. The two walked together to the start of the first hole, where they kissed and she suggested a wood to begin with, and he agreed saying to her, "You're learning."
Whereupon two sun tanned players walked up and suggested a game. A long haired, hippie looking man said he would play with the "young lady", if her friend liked, and his other also hippyish looking friend would play with him.
"OK," said Reverend Peart. "I'm Alan and this is my friend Janice. Nine holes? We have only a limited amount of time."
"Hello Janice, Alan, I am Yes and this is my friend Mos. Let's keep this friendly because usually Mos tells me what golf clubs to use, but you can this time if you like Janice - or even your friend. Just friendly, not competitive. Nine holes then. "Give me a nine iron," Yes said to Janice.
"You need a wood - it's 335 yards and that needs a wood," said Janice.
"Well," said Alan Peart, "I'd take the lady's advice and use a wood. That's what I told her last time. She needs a wood."
But Yes said, "Sergio Garcia did it with a nine iron and so can I."
"Who's Sergio Garcia," whispered Janice to Alan.
"Good golfer; big hitter; went out with Greg Norman's daughter," he replied quietly.
Everyone except Yes used a wood and landed ready for the green, but Yes's ball dropped into the small lake positioned over 100 yards in front of the green.
"What we said, Yes," said Janice, thinking she'd lose with this guy.
"You'll have to drop a ball in front," said Alan, walking with the other three.
"No no," my friend can do it. "Mos, can you get the ball from the lake?"
Suddenly Alan and Janice stood startled as Mos approached the lake and the waters separated, creating an instant deep and dry path to a revealed golf ball. "That's the one," said Mos, pointing at the ball, as he walked through the gap, the water unfolding before him, and leaving the waters divided while Yes walked down, swung at the ball with the same nine iron so that it dropped just 3 yards from the hole on the green. When Yes left the small lake (after Mos), the water surface reunited.
Alan and Janice looked at each other, and had to take the route around the small lake to join the other two in front.
"That's his speciality," said Yes about Mos, as they all met up again. Mos, Alan and Janice both then took three shots to get into the hole, whereas Yes took just the one neat putt.
"This golf course," said Alan, "has all these lakes and ponds. They're like old flooded pits. So there's one before the next hole too. And a few more. Now don't drop it in the pond this time, er Yes, because it's not fair. 350 yards so it must be a wood this time."
"OK but no, again I think it's still my nine iron," said Yes. "Garcia could do it and so can I. Whack 'em hard."
So they all played, but this time the slightly nearer pond wasn't the same obstacle, and the ball landed just on the other side. Others had placed their shots further towards the green, with Alan Peart finding form with a huge hit of his own.
This time Mos joined Alan and Janice were walking around this obstacle and talking about different shots to play. And then they noticed Yes was walking straight across the pond towards the the golf ball on the other side.
"Who does he think he is?" asked Janice, "Jesus Christ or something?"
Alan Peart replied, "No, he keeps thinking he's Sergio Garcia."
Despite his early lead, after eight holes Yes was four over par, but Janice suddenly found length and position like she never had in any activity. She was actually at par. "This is better than sex," she said, as she hit her final long putt and achieved below par. Mos was three over par and Alan Peart was two over par, the same as the last time he played and then beat Janice. But as a result of being in teams, Yes declared that Janice and he had won, and Mos and Alan had lost by two shots.
At this point, where the golf course turned around, Yes suggested they all have a quick celebratory drink. "We can do that," said Janice to Alan, feeling victorious and happy, having beaten her golf partner in her team and on her own.
So Mos produced a set of towels from among the clubs - which seemed odd, as so popular in Blue Velvet, and they were all able to sit on one each with one in the middle. Then out of his golf bag came a large breadbun put onto the middle towel. Then Yes pulled out a bottle of red wine from among his clubs. As if from thin air Yes started handing out glasses, and then using his finger end the cork came out of the bottle. He poured.
"Good game," said Yes, "Have a bite first and drink up! Janice, we won - Janice, you won."
Alan Peart, still chewing bread after a first swig of wine, leaned over to Janice to whisper in her ear, "That's not Sergio Garcia, is it?"
She looked down as he said it, grinning slightly. But then when they looked back at their new friends, there was no one there. The two were left still holding their own glasses, but there were no others with them, and there were no towels other than the ones they were sat on.
This left both of them rather silent as they walked back. Leaving Eugene's golf clubs at the clubhouse, the two continued to the vicarage, but after she hugged and kissed Alan she decided to go home and, there, sat down to read while Eugene was out playing golf. The two glasses and two towels were left in the vicarage and found their way eventually into the kitchen at the Church Hall.

A few days later at mid-morning, after seeing to his chickens, she joined him upstairs, and reminded him that it was his day for his six monthly check up at the dental surgery. Getting closer, she told him to answer the questions honestly.
"Eugene doesn't like it if he asks if you are feeling anything and you say no, to avoid him doing more, when he's checking you up. So be honest with him. If it's him."
He wasn't sure what to make of this, or of recent events, but was pleased that they had resumed their lovemaking.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Manglican Church

In alphabetical order these are the members of the General Synod Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate who decided to overturn the Church of England General Synod vote in draft legislation for statutory code of practice which meant a diocesan bishop (man or woman) arranging an alternative bishop to come in for those congregations under them who could not accept women bishops.

01. Alexander, Mrs April (Southwark)
02. Ashworth, Mrs Lorna (Chichester)
03. Baker, Revd Jonathan (Oxford)
04. Broadbent, Rt Revd Peter (Bishop of Willesden, Southern Suffragans)
05. Faull, Very Revd Vivienne (Dean of Leicester, Deans)
06. Gooder, Dr Paula (Birmingham)
07. Hardman, Ven Christine (Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich, Southwark)
08. Hargrave, Revd Canon Dr Alan (Ely)
09. Jarrett, Rt Revd Martyn (Bishop of Beverley, Northern Suffragans)
10. Killwick, Revd Canon Simon (Manchester)
11. MacLeay, Revd Angus (Rochester)
12. Magowan, Ven Alistair (Archdeacon of Dorset, Salisbury)
13. Mansell, Ven Clive (Archdeacon of Tonbridge, Rochester)
14. McCulloch, Rt Revd Nigel (Bishop of Manchester) (Chair)
15. Spencer, Mrs Caroline (Canterbury).
16. Stevens, Revd Canon Anne (Southwark)
17. Swinson, Mrs Margaret (Liverpool)
18. Tattersall, Mr Geoffrey QC (Manchester)
19. Willmott, Rt Revd Trevor (Bishop of Basingstoke, Southern Suffragans)

The Revision Committee decided instead to amend the draft Measure to provide for certain functions to be vested in bishops by statute. In other words, the bishop in place, man or woman, would be bypassed in the case of a congregation wishing for alternative oversight.

Now there are a number of things wrong with this to someone who's a bit of an outsider. First of all a democratic (in so far as the tricameral General Synod is so) vote is overturned. This is only a limited criticism, because the altered legislation can go back and be altered again by the General Synod. It also ends up in Parliament, which has a stronger commitment to equality, though why Parliament wants to be interested in the internal affairs of a Church is quite puzzling in this day and age. I mean, until the link is broken, the few who could be bothered to vote about a Church in Parliament ought to just let whatever discriminatory legislation this Church chooses for itself go through (so long as it does not impact on the wider public).

What is on the table now is clearly discriminatory. It means that in the case of a woman bishop, and a male bishop bishoped by a woman, and a male bishop who produces women priests, a congregation can arrange its own alternative drawing upon a generally available statute. This rides a coach and horses through the diocesan principle, or rather uses a bypass.

There are times in Church life when a crossroads is reached, and where, whatever you do, an innovation is involved. Having ordained women as priests, and with only sectors of the Church of England objecting to women's headship (Protestant) or episcopal status (Catholic), the Church reaches a predicament of an innovation whatever it does. The point is, it cannot stay where it is: it is illogical being in an in-between state.

The first innovation is to have women as well as men bishops. That's it. These bishops might also decide on alternatives for some others, and even be required to do so, but it is their decisions.

The second alternative innovation, as by the Revision Committee, is to bust the diocesan principle via a general statute.

Another alternative could be to have separate male only dioceses, keeping the diocesan principle, as a sort of Apartheid solution of separate development, which busts the geographical principle of dioceses (it would produce dioceses with holes in them and other dioceses like a hand of many fingers).

The cleanest and simplest decision is once you decide on the equality of the sexes as bishops is to have both sexes as bishops full stop. Slightly more complicated is to require decisions of alternatives for those who want to sit in corners.

The objection to such simplicity is that people are forced to leave. The actual, real objection, is that ministers who are being paid a salary are forced to leave. They have to prepare a CV and fill in application forms, like the rest of us. But another Church might pay them, eventually. I think giving that salary up is rather a good test of conviction. Unpaid lay people might be involved too. Here is another test of convictions: set up your own meeting place and finance it, finding a suitable existing male bishop who can tap the head of someone else who is male to give the authority figure required for such a newly gathered congregation. If a few do this then a male bishop can organise male priests and all is hunky-dory.

Much of this is possible because there are other Churches who retain a male-only episcopate. There are 'sound' male only bishops available and other male only led Churches. These days we are free enough for people to choose denominations that come closest to their own convictions, or they can start their own and help is available from different sources and individuals.

Now the further objection to moving out is that these existing Churches to draw upon do not even recognise Anglican bishops and priests as bishops and priests. I would have thought this should worry many of the objecting last days Anglicans and their obviously one-direction ecumenical outlook (their tongue-licking of Rome and Orthodoxy is not reciprocated). But it should not be a problem because they can do as has been done with the Anglican Church of North America - set up your own Anglican Church.

Some would like the Pope to do this for them: an Anglican Rite offshoot. No doubt he could - he might. Actually, some of these last days Anglicans use the Roman Missal, so using Anglican rites inside Roman Catholicism might involve a culture shock. But then they would still have to be reordained. That would also be an innovation, because it would tell them that in all their recent past they were laymen behaving out of turn. That's what happens when a limited ecumenical outlook is not reciprocated.

The usually considered Protestant Church of Methodists are Anglicans with or without bishops, called Methodists because of their methodicalness in religious observance (High Church and Evangelical) at a time when Anglicanism was lazy. After Wesley's death, they became separated off. They might go back again. Go back further and under oppression the Puritans had the courage of their convictions and would not assent and consent to the Book of Common Prayer, thus setting up English Presbyterianism as a network of local ministers and congregations.

So really the Anglicans who could well split off soon need a new name for a new denomination that reflects their character.

I suggest The Manglican Church.

The Manglican Church can keep the appearances and forms of the old Anglican Church of England, and this way the cleanest innovation can take place in the actual Anglican Church, which is the equality of male and female throughout its ministry. It might just be that other gender definitions cease to be a barrier too, for example with whom you love and sleep, once this sex matter has been sorted out.

Oh dear. What superstitious lives some people lead.