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Archive for the ‘Provoked by Transmitter’ Category

Just to say outright I predict that this posting will be long and rambling filled with many examples in all sorts of places but I think I should start close to home…

I love books and it won’t come as a surprise [at least I hope not] to any reader to know I’m a christian – so this bit is about that strange but quite interesting range of bookshops known by the initials SPCK, well it was up to fairly recently… One thing I liked was that they were all different – the managers could have different bees in their respective bonnets – one might like to offer a large range of music and somewhere to sit, have a drink and listen to it before bought, others might think that obscure and interestingly challenging theological texts was the gap that needed to be filled. Well that’s no more, not since SPCK was sold off to St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust… Since then, apart from going bust in the US of A, the Great Charitable Trust has flexed its muscles and denied managers their once so unique authority and turned them into lackeys at the check out. As a roving wanderer I managed to visit the shop in Worcester and saw how the policy changes were stripping the manager of the fullness he had brought to his branch. He talked about how he would try to order things he thought folk would like as he also tried to get to know his clientèle. He was far from happy with the view of shelves that were being slowly stripped of any freedom to re-order as they weren’t on The Great Charitable Trust’s list and so they became bare as he wasn’t resupplied and couldn’t re-order. The branch in Worcester is now shut and the former manager has committed suicide. It is more than possible that the two things aren’t related but it does show the demeaning factor of stripping an individual of his freedom when he has been so aware of it before and used it constructively.

Not content with leaning on branches The Great Charitable Trust has also been busy legally, as noted by Bishop Alan here, he also gives a link to yet another post here at The Wardman Wire which has some articles on this. The cowardice of this is due to a very thorough and painfully objective campaign by Dave Walker on logging what has been happening, well at least until the Cease and Desist notice came through – with the interesting threat that they would legally haul Dave off to the State’s for his innocent ramblings… so the question arises – How long oh Great Charitable Trust before you send me one for this? One thing I find disappointing is that The Church Times has not decided to pick up where their cartoonist was rammed off the road… [His post about why he couldn’t fight any further was subject to another Cease and Desist order…]

So, apparently, speaking the truth is no defence against a wily crocodile lawyer. Trying to limit what one might publish and therefore limit another from reading it is a crude form of Mind Control – just ask the Chinese Government if they think it works…

But at this time there is more than enough mind control to go around…

There has been the story of a soldier refused his room at an hotel. Now under laws I’m aware of because of the film 1408 [which I reviewed here, in a purely self-centred plug] in the USA due to prejudice would not be legal – here in the UK we have a more interesting situation. Anyway, the story, in a nut can be found here. The thing that has stuck in my craw was the Defence Minister, Derek Twigg, has then spoken out saying that there are no reasons for this type of behaviour. We have a long and honourable tradition of pacifism here – the conscientious objectors in the First World War went over the top into no-man’s land armed only with stretchers to bring back the wounded. Personally, I’m in a dilemma in that after reading Sniper One I am aware that the military job can bring good things but also that I have sympathy and understanding for those who do not wish to support those who’s job actively involves training and then carrying out their training to kill or directly to support those on the front… My own thoughts on the blip of the British Love Affair with the Armed Forces is here. So do we then condemn folk for having a dislike of an uniform or should we try to understand each other… As a postscript to this bit the hotel in question has denied that it has any policy on uniform wearing individuals – so are they trying to do a media u-turn to limit damage or was the desk clerk a principled [no matter how misguided you may think] individual? Where in this is the freedom of thought and principle?

Unfortunately the state does not wish to stop there. Oh no. It has come to the notice of the Telegraph that some as young as eight years old are being recruited by local councils to spy on their neighbourhoods. It reminds me of the policies of Nazi Germany just as much as the Stasi of East Germany. The whole thing reminds me of the controversy over the now widely accepted ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ which was criticized as ‘Shop your neighbour’ and shows strongly that once you start down this path – Where does it stop?

Well for one thing it doesn’t stop prejudice, in fact it could be seen to support it – if we are right then we can censure those who don’t agree. I was listenning to Any Questions last night and was surprised to find that the two female panelists [Bea Campbell and Dame Liz Forgan, in no particular order] felt freely able to say of Sarah Palin, the now running mate of John McCain, that due to the fact that she is a ‘creationist’ and only believes the world to be 5 or 6 thousand years old she must be crass and stupid and if not illiterate does not read… Alright – she might be wrong but as Dawkins noted [and I somewhat provocatively posted] we should not use evolutionary theory to determine how we should live and treat others – So What? So she won’t use evolutionary theory to help her decide policies, which is how Dawkins wants it. The problem is that if we are smart then we can condemn those who aren’t smart, the problem being how do we determine who is smart…

I may think that Sarah Palin is ‘on the ticket’ as the saying goes because they want to try to appeal to as many dissatisfied Clinton supporters as possible – that makes her a politically expedient choice, it does not make her stupid. I don’t think that how old someone believes the Earth is will alter their personal political beliefs – ok she’s pro-life, and whilst I’m also pro-life I would not make abortion illegal as those who are in the predicament of wanting to choose abortion have enough demons to face without anybody else on their backs… So, the problem is that the panelists are unquestionably right and therefore Palin is wrong. And the only way those panelists can square that circle is to denigrate Palin and those who, like her, disagree with them. So much for open debate – more a moblike mentality of a witch hunt by, oddly enough – rationalists. This, make no mistake, is another attempt at thought control – whether or not you agree with Liz or Bea.

Is there any hope?

Well, oddly there is still the possibility of ‘cheating’ the system. In this post the ‘hero’ is a prisoner who is desperate not to be repatriated and as his last stab at not going home – he’s kept his mouth shut. Not only did prison make him a criminal it’s also proved better than the prospect of ‘going home.’ In a reverse of The Prisoner who rebels against his number this one has decided that keeping his number is the best way to hi-jack the system for his own ends. If only the thought of what terror he is avoiding did not cloud his stance.

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speaks loudly. I had, for a moment compared Giles Fraser to Charles Dawkins to think, perhaps Fraser was more childish and petulant than Dawkins, but no – he’s really not that bad. Which is a ways to go though so no room for complacency…

Once again his voice broke through the radio but not a reasonable sound, not the sound of last time when he was appealing for calm and celebrating love (whatever the origins or consequences…) as I noted earlier. Not even the fairly jubilant sound he makes when some organisation has come out for shark infested capitalism and thus against ‘fairtrade’ – such are his tones over the radio BUT today was different – he was glum, you could sense he was just pissed off and wanted to have a go at all the traditionalists who are ruining his ego driven drive to push the Church of England to conform to his ideals… but couldn’t say anything forthright – or could he?

In the end he used a convoluted argument and the ability to read between the lines was deployed by the brain in the vat as it idled away through the argument…

Giles starts with an interesting comment –

To be honest, it’s been a pretty bad week to be a Priest in the Church of England, what with all our shameful internal bickering.

[Bold mine] Not that he’s above this as he threw in his tuppence on the 18th and also saying that he was in ‘the belly of the beast’ during his ‘tour’ of North America when visiting Pittsburgh. [See here for my post to this comment.] So it comes down to some extent – if you don’t like it then don’t do it. He seems blind sided from his own part in this sorry play. And so – what did he have to say this morning, well, bluntly –

Traditionalists (ie those who see the bible as the source of their moral code in a black and white sense) are junkies. They take the opium of their own religion to paraphrase Giles reworking of Marx. He does admit that he finds his opium in the world of sport and that he’s been forced to it to get through these hard days.

And it’s down to the ‘gay issue’ – well, I don’t think it’s quite that simple I have a feeling that those traditionalists who turn their unjust eyes away from crimes against homosexuals in parts of the far flung anglican fold can see their ‘fellow’ traditionalists being backed against the wall of their convictions by liberals and other lesser spotted radicals. It is worth remembering how far they have come in North America, the traditionalists had stomached an openly gay and happily partnered Bishop but had asked for a break in the ever widening fold so they could try to come to terms with where they were… and then came Shapiro and ‘Mother Jesus’ amongst the fact that she was the figure head for the liberal drive – not a conciliatory gesture. The traditionalists in North America would speak out over injustices to homosexuals and other groups that their ‘fellows’ ignore… So – ask yourself, dear Reader, How desperate have they been driven to seek such ‘help’? to justify folk how ignore injustice in their own countries.

But it is these folk who see faith in terms ‘a religion designed to be free from the anxiety of ambiguity or doubt’ who are running away from the world unlike those who genuinely seek a religious retreat in a monastery who are ‘plunging them deeper into the nature of things rather than as a form of escape’ not that there are rules about how you act in a monastery. So the difference is how Giles perceives those who accept rules or norms – or rather whether or not they agree with him.

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two Anglican clergymwen celebrated their civil partnership at a service in a famous London church.”

Thus started Giles Fraser this morning on his mis-placed slot for Thought for the Day. Well, just as a messy barometer about how sharp his mind is – today is the 18th of June and the service was on the 31st of May, not really what I’d call ‘a few weeks ago’. True he wasn’t as nearly barking as I think he is but then again he wasn’t talking about money. I still found his semi-biblical exegisis of some note however.

Another view is expressed here, which includes some words from the Bishop of London – possibly the bishop of both Martin Dudley [who performed the service] and Giles Fraser, vicar extraordinaire…

Oddly enough, I find myself agreeing with most of what Giles argues but the fact remains that he is a clergyman himself within the denomination we know as the Church of England. Whilst it might be possible for services like this to have been carried out in a very british ‘hush-hush’ fashion this one went out to the media in a big way and the Church of England has Views On This… it went out to the media so much that for a fortnight Martin told the BBC and Papers ie Mr Media what he had done and why but no note to the Bishop…

If I was the bishop I wouldn’t be happy about that and it seems he isn’t – here’s a quote from the Bishop –

I read in the press that you had been planning this event since November. I find it astonishing that you did not take the opportunity to consult your Bishop.

But reading between the lines – he had – Martin asked for guidance and then when he wasn’t told in black and white in a response, just chose to ignore the rules and carry on regardless. Towards the end of Giles piece he argued that “…gay marriage isn’t about culture wars or church politics…” but then consider if this was not about culture wars or church politics, surely this would have been carried out either quietly or with a quick sprint to lay your head on the block in front of the bishop and ask for understanding and mercy – not to drum up as much high profile coverage as possible or of course seeking to dissuade certain friends who have easy access to the media to desist from trumpeting the issue as a clarion call to all possible friends/allies that could gather around…

So – is it likely that Martin Dudley would have tried to stay Giles Fraser from openning his opinionated jowls? Given his knee-jerk reaction towards the secular world for aide and succour: probably not. And it is this which I find so disturbing for the future of the Church of England – those at Gafcon will, as Rowan Williams the archbishop will be aware, be watching this space.

In the end though Giles Fraser comes to the very heart of the matter –

It’s not as if there’s so much real love in the world that we can afford to be dismissive of what little we do find. Which is why my view is we ought to celebrate real love however and wherever we find it.

He finds the idea of love, true love, to be a rare and precious thing – I have no doubt of its preciousness but if we take his final words then any who find themselves in that position are justified in whatever they do to follow that – including those folk who are married and decide that a friend outside the marriage is who they really love and that is clearly not what marriage or commitment is about. Indeed it is about a different culture – one that holds that LOVE is the most important thing and another which holds that COMMITMENT is.

Commitment that holds a view of tradition and it’s strange, interesting and historic values and rules should be adhered to until those rules are changed by presenting arguments and debating the issue and those who think that they don’t matter even though they belong to a denomination that does.

I said here that I thought the fight would get messy – I just didn’t think it would be this quick.

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At the moment the old Radio 4 is running The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists as it’s classic serial.

This is just a note to recommend it (or even the book itself) and to forewarn you, dear reader, that I’ll be coming back to this masterpiece later – for there is much to dwell therein.

For the moment however – if you haven’t heard of this work you could listen to the radio play…

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