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And if you want a go at touching on all points re Sarah Palin – then you are more than welcome…

I’m actually not a big Sarah Palin or John McCain fan ; however , I do dislike the other pairing. It is in that setting I find myself sometimes offering opinion on the former and here I go again.

Palin has had many many things said about her in relation to her faith. Anyone that has even the worse stereotypical opinion of us Yanks know that this is an action that can backfire rather easily. Americans tend to get their “Christian” on under the weirdest circumstances and do things with it that leaves many scratching their heads.

There are stories that Palin as mayor of Wasilla Alaska banned books that were contrary to the teachings of her church. This is demonstrably untrue but that doesn’t stop certain elements from screaming it as gospel.

There are claims that Palin wants Creationism taught in the public schools. The truth is that she is a supporter of the topic not being kept from the discussion . She’s not proposed any curriculum changes and the science skills of Alaskans are the the status quo. Again those that oppose her and hers still shout it from the roof tops.

Need I weigh in on the abortion issue ? Some of the stories and comments in that arena are downright disgusting. Let’s just go with the daughter angle. Many opponents of her, and let’s face it the faithful ,state she is a failure for preaching abstinence since she has a pregnant teen daughter. Truth be told Christians I know are usually understanding of failure.

Currently there is buzz about her once receiving a prayer of protection from an African priest. The story for that one focuses on such classy stuff as witchcraft. Is it ironic that people that on one hand are against religion are stereotyped as being all about multiculturalism and understanding ?

I am one of those that have come around to wondering where is the line ,yet being convinced one definitely exists, between opposing McCain / Palin and being against religion, especially Christianity ? To think a faithful Christian or follower of any of the world’s religions is somehow a lesser human being seems rather off to me. The vigor with which her critics attack though seems explainable by that premise very well.

So will religion be an issue in the closing days of the election ? I don’t know but I think it is safe to say that Palins arrival on the scene allowed for some light to be shined in certain corners. The Evagelical Right base has been energized and the anti religion crowd showed their hand for sure. So who shows up to the polls ? Our elections are on Tuesdays so I’m thinking the church folk will show.

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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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This may seem like a vain attempt at defending the indefensible – and depending on what is assumed it is.

Before I get into this I want to decouple some issues – which will no doubt be returned to.

Evolution does not mean ‘God’ or any other ‘Higher being/s’ do not exist. Evolution provides a description of how we got to be how we are without the necessity of such beings. That however is not new – Kant in his rambling writings – some time before Dawkins [and even Darwin] was a sparkle in his father’s eye, to coin a phrase – Kant, Immanuel examined the ‘proof’ that ‘creation’ proved the existence of God and found that while it was not a ‘proof’ – it was not enough for him to loose his faith, as a christian, over. Likewise the idea that ‘God is not necessary’ is also not proof of ‘God does not exist’!

So, where are we? Well, that philosopher Bertrand Russell [at least I think it was him… the memory… the memory… ] argued that if one were to suppose that the whole of creation as we know was created only yesterday – How would we know? and further to that if someone decided to adopt this point of view they could, entirely logically, dismiss any and all arguments we make and be completely rational in their skepticism. Like Bertrand (at least I hope so) I believe the world was created some time ago, quite a bit longer than that really – but the point remains.

But before we return to ‘sensible’ arguments – Radio 4 ran a two parter called ‘Weird Science’ some time ago – captured on a mini disc – and according to quantum theory, one of the strange things that have been theorized is that once we leave a room and shut the door – if there is no other viewer – the entire contents of the room [and this is the technical phrase] ‘collapse into a wave length probability’ or to put it another way the entire contents could ‘turn’ into gasses on the molecular level leaving the room bare of all furnishings or, even milder, you could open the door to find all the furniture stacked precariously (or even in a stable manner) in a way that is new and exciting – the largest probability is that the room will ‘appear’ as it was left and so far that’s been borne out of my experience… Of course being a christian I believe that God is everywhere and therefore there is a constant ‘viewer’ – so we can all rest safely.

But back to the point of the title – christians, and others of a Creationist bent believe in the universe being created by God or other ‘Higher Being’ and some tales would lead to the inclusion of ‘Strange Beings’ ie the cosmic cattle that lick the world out of the cosmic ice… and some would argue for different times of ‘creation’ – some creationists would entirely agree with Dawkins about the age of the universe and the means of how we are, well, ourselves. Dawkins must find these folk a little confused – Do you believe in Science and God?

But most associated with this idea are those pummeled for disagreeing with the dogma of our age – having the temerity to say that the world is only thousands of years old. Well, here’s an interesting aside – in the late eighties I knew a PhD student in Astrophysics and according to him (Hello, James, wherever you are!) folk were a little shocked when the first man got his feet on the moon as they thought there’d be a heck of a lot more dust from the moon being warmed by the Sun and then being cooled rapidly once turned round to the dark side but no doubt there’s a very rational explanation…

I have been thinking about this and according to my book – history, mankind’s story does seem to begin after the 10,000BC mark – which is not that far off from when the story of Genesis picks up. And cities spring up between the 6,000BC to 2,500BC before spreading ever wider. So, in essence we can say that history began roughly when the Creationists would say.

Now there are ‘Gap’ theories and other theories put under the whole ‘Creationist’ tag and whilst I would in some ways separate the first verse of Genesis off from the rest of the creation story which gets to a very deep sense of how the universe began which I have been informed the word ‘create’ used in that verse supposes created out of nothing – which is as good a description of the Big Bang as I’ve heard – but, needless to say, my sources may have been wrong. In a sense it doesn’t matter.

The Jews have always had it better than christians in that they never supposed that the creation story is nothing more than an explanation of our nature and place in creation. And as I write I’m aware that muslims are importing the problem of a literal idea of creation as well…

The fact that we all agree on is that we are now here, and that we’ve been here for some time. I hear Dawkins snort as the idea that we’ve been here for millions of years as part of ‘Life on Earth’ and he may be completely right [apart from the atheism bit]. The thing we don’t do is examine the problems with ‘The Theory of Evolution’ – and you may be surprised to hear this, dear reader, but there are problems…

One of the books I own told a tale of a tracked flock of birds which moved from the coast to inland and then back again – well, it could have been the other way around [the memory… the memory… ] but the point is the same – in one environment the nuts they ate were softer than the other and they found that the beak changed measurably between the two environments and that once they returned to their original starting place (much like returning to ‘GO’ on the monopoly board) the beaks returned to their original shape and form – given time and some death it is more than plausible that someone might say that the evidence left shows ‘evolution’ when what happened was ‘adaptation’ – the birds adapted to the nuts they had to eat – for ‘evolution’ to have happened it would be necessary to demonstrate that the birds of that flock could not breed with those of the original place – which was not demonstrated.

A somewhat wilder, and politically charged comment, would be the observation that the amount of protein someone consumes in their first seven years is the most influential factor for how big we humans grow – King Henry the eighth or VIII apparently was a giant among men at five foot something – now, well that’s fairly normal in the rather consumer driven west but if we take a pigmy’s child [let’s not talk about the ethics of that here] and gave them lots of meat [or other source of protein] and we’d probably get someone much larger than their parents. If we have fossils that differed in place and over grand time delay – we may find some who would argue that they’d found a short precursor to homo sapiens… which would be a false conclusion…

The other main problem evolution has is that some species have ‘anti-evolutionary’ practices – the ‘higher apes’ including chimpanzees kill their offspring if they notice anything different from the norm. This means that for evolution to work, from our ‘closest relatives’ is that a series of gradual changes that couldn’t be noticed must happen before anything comes from the random mutations that evolution needs to proceed – this does also mean that they either evolve so much they forget, as a troop or tribe, the whole different thing or they’ll evolve into something else without appearing any different…

Of course there is always the problem that Dawkins identified in his ‘Blind Watchmaker’ that the odds of life occurring on any one planet are 10 to the power 40 to 1 against…

In the end I’d say that I’m more comfortable with Robert Wright’s account in Non-zero but in the end I don’t have to believe in either a strict 10,000BC Creation or Evolution as I think that the important thing now is How Do We Deal WIth Each Other – and I think that’s a far more important matter than the rest of it…

As I noted somewhere in the middle of this post, I’ll close – we all agree that we’re here now, and that we’ve been here for some time…

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Just as a quick note/warning this post is going to be a medley or smorgasborg of different strands with the main theme as the title… So if you reach that which you are interested in then you can either keep reading or just plain go enjoy yourself somewhere else, dear reader…

On the cinematic front I’ve been off to watch acouple of movies recently – WALL-E and The Dark Knight

Now I’ll start with WALL-E and I have to say that I was looking forward to seeing this but if any of you, like me, don’t like musicals then it is very difficult to enjoy this film. WALL-E seems hooked on a track from ‘Hello Dolly‘ (or so the wife informs me) and that is fine – after centuries of undertaking it’s programmed task some foibles/errors in the programme will crop up – what it is is a block for those who don’t like the choice of what the droid is stuck on [and don’t get me started about ABBA!] so after the ruined start I was looking for some good hard sci-fi to kick start my interest… and it never came – true it was vaguely enjoyable but some things were glaringly either absent or wrong – starting with the pile of ‘space trash’ the rocket had to get through to escape Earth gravity. If it had got that bad how would it have left Earth still so warm? Apart from the question that it would have taken a huge amount of junk to create that barrier.

Other than that there is nothing new here for a sci-fi watcher – the dystopic society that has developed on the ‘Mother Ship’ is an old tried and tested one. Nevermind that if through the centuries they didn’t recycle the ship would be stripped of all it’s inards leaving possibly only the life support and folk left in frozen accomodation and that’s if they were lucky….

So a disappointing film from my particular musical intolerant viewpoint…

What is also disappointing is the whole thing that’s been going on around the Lambeth Conference

Apparently it has been a ‘bit dull’ for some – especially The Times as they regurgitated an article from the Archbishop of the Southern Cone [or Mexico Southwards down to the end of South America for the rest of us] a one Venables who said sometime ago that Bishop Gene Robinson should be sacked – which was also ran as a paragraphed bulletin in the Telegraph (and when we get to a point that’s worth sourcing – I will try…) But folk have been doing their best to throw a few spanners into the works if not stones…

But that’s not to say that they aren’t trying to make some important and real work on some issues – take that old nut of homosexuality – there’s this piece which tries to tackle violence and intolerance towards those who do not conform to some folks prejudicial view regarding gays and even there existence in some places on this world… and we can only hope that the relevant folk will stand up and take note – but wait, didn’t that get covered in Gafcon? Well it did, but it’s probably a good thing to reinforce the work they did here.

On the other hand there’s also the meeting they had about rape and beating – including wife beating and the whole thing about the evils of domestic violence be it physical, emotional or spiritual and it’s here that we get stuck in the old stone throwing. There was a report in the old rag Telegraph about Bishop Catherine Roskam who basically accused the bishops from the ‘third world’ of harbouring wife beaters in their midst…

And whilst I admit, somewhat to my disliking of this particular truth, that some cultures in the ‘third world’ do accept or condone domestic violence at the level of education and status of bishop – I think you have to be honest and say that it is no longer about geography. Domestic violence occurs in all societies and classes – and it’s not just by men, there are women who beat their partners (male and female). So in the end I think leveling this sort of accusation to only one part of the grand collection of bishops and archbishops is false. It’s on the same level as me going up to the Archbishop of Canterbury and asking him ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ and just to be clear, I don’t think he ever beat his wife – or anyone else for that matter.

Even Giles Fraser has managed to get into throwing stones from his particular sideline – there’s a couple of posts – the more interesting one is here and the other one is there. Before I get into his particular stones I’ll just take a couple of sentences from his lesser piece –

I am sure that there are many terribly important things going on in Canterbury. But, speaking to some of the people involved in the meetings and prayer sessions, I think it sounds a dreary and draining experience. Anglicanism is all rather Calvary at the moment. But there is so much more to God than this. Christians ought to throw better parties.

Which seems to show just how tortured he had to write that particular piece, after all Lambeth is not supposed to be a PARTY – it is a serious meeting at which Rowan Williams is trying to hold the anglican communion together… and what Giles in this piece is objecting to is a motion where practices which might fracture it should be placed under a ‘moratorium’ ie an agreement to stop being disruptive, whilst bringing some folk nearer to being reconciled [Isn’t that what Giles wants?] – and while I may agree with same sex blessings [as they are called] the sharp question for Giles and his friends in the ‘Inclusive Church‘ [which means – if you agree with us – feel included.] is do they want to just have their cake and eat it locally or do they want to try to get to where they want within a still global church?

Peter Mandelson on his piece about the collapse of the latest trade talks makes some interesting views on how a deal falls apart or for the sharper eyed amongst us – hints at how to reach a deal all can sign up to –

One side insisted they would not accept any formula that did not let them protect small farmers – especially from subsidised exports from the United States.

The US complained that the measure effectively meant new restrictions on US exports of soy and cotton.

There is something to both arguments, and important principles involved.

But what seemed to get lost in Geneva was the fact that a principled argument does not have to mean an argument on which no compromise is possible.

Technical experts in Geneva spent hours hammering out a compromise that would have met the concerns of both sides.

Neither side felt able to pick it up. That is what makes failure – when we were so close to success – much more difficult to explain.

emphasis and italics mine and so back to the post…

More recently I have watched the latest Batman movie [if you wondering where this bit was coming] and I liked it – it was a gripping sequel and everyone played their parts well and I can only do it justice by reccomending it to all and sundry [who are old enough… ie 12 upwards] but the thing I want to pick out and is a bit of a spoiler if you haven’t seen it yet so rejoin the post at the emboldened start of the next paragraph –  is that at some point in the film Batman tells Commissioner Gordon to blame him for crimes he didn’t commit – nevermind the ones he did –  to save another’s reputation and it is this which sticks out in the midst of the anglican squabling – no-one wants to compromise on the reactionary front.

It is also what Mandelson was saying – both sides need to compromise but the church in the US hasn’t compromised at all despite the terrible toll that both the homosexual issue took but also over the liberal theological movement that steamed ahead – so rather than traditionalists being stuck in the muds they’ve been winched relentlessly from their positions and even offering [after the bishoping of Gene Robinson] a voluntary moratorium which would have eventually made all the sacrifices they made and the successes of the liberal movement the de facto status qou ie ‘normal’ but that wasn’t good enough for them then and they still may hold that it’s not good enough for them now.

Where is the heroic ‘Batman’ figure who is big enough to take the intransigence of the liberal movement and prepare to offer themselves up for the sake of the communion? Instead of saying

Blake would have seen the Windsor report and its children as a form of tyranny, in which legalistic religion (the “stony law”, as he called it) triumphs over the creative religion of the Spirit. And so do I.

as Giles finished his more interesting piece – he is in an unenviable position to offer himself up for the liberal movement to try to hold everything together after all Mandelson finishes his article re the Doha trade talks with this –

But we can be sure of one thing: we would all have been winners from a Doha deal. Without one, we all lose.

And we can be sure that if there is no deal or agreement from Lambeth the same is true for the anglican community as a global entity [and if we are thinking What does that matter? then think about Desmond Tutu – when the South African government was thinking of trying to gag him Archbishop Robert Runcie told ‘them’ that if they touched Desmond Tutu then they would be touching all anglicans, and Desmond Tutu was allowed (for whatever reasons) to continue unabated…]

But of course who would be likely to take the sins of others on their shoulders? It rather reminds me of Calvary and the sacrifice Jesus made for all of us – perhaps the failure of any within the anglican fold {so far} to be able to make this step shows in sharp relief just how much we need to accept Jesus’ sacrifice…

and that his admonishment that the first person to throw a stone should be without sin doesn’t excuse the rest being flung once someone has decided that they are good enough…

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or tipped off by an anonymous commentator.

I don’t know quite when Giles Fraser’s attempts to bring the Church of England up to his standards began but he does seem to reduce the issues to their basest levels. Over women he talks about misogyny and to an extent he’s probably right, about gay couples or priests he says it’s all about gay sex and when the news of the episcopal church’s attempts (starting with a strange co-ownership) to take parish churches as if it had built and paid for them manage to get over the pond – it’ll be about money, no doubt – something he’s quite keen on [for the gospel of Capitalism please see The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists].

According to this article Gile’s believes that this fuss is about gay sex –

Liberals were horrified to discover that some Anglicans were little more than fundamentalists in vestments; conservatives were horrified to discover that some Anglicans had gone native with secular humanism. Gay sex started it all. And the more the headlines rolled in, the more the cracks widened.

Of course he’s talking about the current row that started in the Episcopal Church which is the North American branch of anglicanism and how it is now finding a wider brief – one which does threaten the communion if folk can’t actually decide to respect different points of view (in the teeth of believing their counterparts are wrong).

The problem is that the ‘culture war’ between the conservatives – be they evangelical or anglo-catholic and the liberals goes back some way before all this and the tension has never been released.

Bishop Pike went off on a theological review and found that he didn’t really believe all that much and what shocked the conservatives was that he wasn’t censored for his views in any way [I think if you stop believing in some things that are central to a tradition you should give up that tradition – like, say the trinity? NB – I think his view of Jesus as breakthrough and saviour is enough, if only just, to be a christian – not perhaps a member of a denomination founded on the 39 Articles…] That was back in 1966 – so hardly current but here’s the rub – this is about the squeeze placed on the conservatives by the somewhat interesting liberals… through the decades.

I’ll be coming back to today but first – let’s continue the journey…

After 1966 and whatever storm that caused came the ‘Philadelphia 11‘ in 1974, eleven woman ordained ‘irregularly’ by ‘retired or resigned bishops‘ which were, in the end rubber stamped, as were the four irregularly ordained in 1975 by George W. Barret in 1976. The factor that makes this slightly more curious is that in 1971 the church of england had granted that there were no theological grounds for which women couldn’t be ordained. Women have been ordained over the years after that in the episcopal church and a good thing too.

But to say that Gene’s ‘elevation’ [ok – I’m against the whole bishop thing anyway] to Bishop wasn’t what broke the peace – I remember reading stuff around this time and what those hatefilled conservatives said then was that they wanted the liberal drive to at least pause so they could assimilate where they were – which would have meant a status quo where Gene was, generally accepted or tolerated. The vote for the next archbishop then went to Jefferts Schori a known liberal mover and the back broke… but before Bishop Robinson was the problem for conservatives is to ignore another Bishop – John Shelby Spong with his twelve theses

In fact there are those who think that the split goes back to the 1920’s – such as Fairfield.

All I remember was over the controversy surrounding David Jenkins as he prepared to be the Bishop of Durham in 1984 – no irregular ordination of women… some think it went back further to the 1960’s and then there was the ‘Sea of Faith’ of which I was oblivious – to be honest…

My point is that over here in Blighty we have no real understanding of the continuous drive of the liberals who were prepared to do ‘irregular’ ordinations to have their own way. To say that all these folk are just loonies is, in my view, unfair and damaging. What they are are desperate after being up against ‘the wall’ of their convictions and are seeking help from whoever will give it – despite the fact that they probably would prefer help from places which don’t seem to be so homophobic. The irony here is that during GAFCon these folk were able to move the African bishops into a more gay friendly stance…

The church is moving and in some good directions but the background of the relentless liberal drive in north america is not going to comfort anybody of a conservative nature anywhere… It might be best that there is a split and no-one throws stones [not even the second and third one – and legal action against a parish counts in my book] in an attempt to let folk go with as much love as possible. Those who wish to move on would then not be opposed and those who wanted to stay where they are (or in the past depending on your point of view) could stay there.

After all – it’s not very liberal to drag folk kicking and screaming, Giles.

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has been made by, yes that’s right, Giles Fraser…

Giles Fraser starts out by picking up on a detail out from the comments made by George Carey – his old boss by simply stating that he, one of the former Archbishops of Canterbury, thought that ‘gay people undermine marriage’ as argued by Giles…

What I remember from that Radio 4 programme ‘From Calvary to Lambeth‘ of George Carey was that he did think from the bible, as he understands it, only supports heterosexual couplings – thus he argues for compassion for those of differing persuasions whilst not wanting to ‘marry’ those of an, erm, unorthodox persuasion…

What came out of those interviewed, either Desmond Tutu, who argued for accepting those of all sexual persuasions (except, of course, for those who wished to be promiscuous) and his critics who had a more ‘traditional’ view (ie only heterosexuals could happily and guilt free get married…) were both compassionate and principled. Of course there are homophobes hiding behind their cassocks but the interviews showed that to view all of the differing points of view as merely phobic/hate fueled or so liberal the bible matters not is wrong.

As I’ve said in former posts (ie this) and some comments the main problem we have is that our everyday translations of the bible cheat and lie to us. And in more ways than one. So what should we say/do in respect of fellow believers with whom we disagree?

Well, with out being part of an ‘Inclusive‘ movement like Giles Fraser, I think we should remember that we disagree with folk over all sorts of things – yet the only point I draw is that of Fascism – telling folk what they should think, do or even more pointedly – what not to do… It is not an inclusive point but it is principled. So, whilst agreeing that within the New Testament we can find good argument for getting over our preconceptions by remembering Peter’s dream which he interpreted as allowing for all foods to be eaten (and lets face it here – if we have better memories Jesus said that it was not what you ate that made you unclean but what comes out of us, ie hate, jealousy or even hypocrisy…) which if we looked at it may have wider implications and then there is the list of no-nos by Paul which included paying for rent-boys (even now translated as merely ‘homosexual practice’ or some such) .

So, back to Giles Fraser, what do I think of his childish angst that if ‘They’re going to use the old argument again then they must be wrong…’ Well I think he’s just plain miffed that folk don’t automatically agree with him and it is at this point he comes dangerously close to fascism (if not just plainly sailing over it) in the sense that he drags up any fact to make his point…

This week, in that rag called Church Times (7 December 2007), Giles argues that the evangelicals are a bunch of folk so screwed up they don’t know the meaning of marriage… Well, as a divorced guy I can assure you, dear reader, and Giles that divorce is not something anyone would like to go through but I have to say that if two folk get together and agree on a few common grounds that the relationship will get tested if one of them decides that they no longer matter and that should be obvious…

To get to Giles Fraser’s argument, in a nutshell, if some can’t change their mind then it’s their fault that the relationship breaks down – on the other hand he ignores that some willfully change their view to provoke their partner… [I know this can happen – see above] the idea that you can use statistics to say that evangelicals get divorced more than anyone else is a two-edged sword – as you are more liberal aren’t you impressed with the way that they are accepting of the idea that they don’t think God wants them to suffer a broken down relationship for the rest of their lives or those who are of a disposition not to settle down with one partner in their life obviously needs to be accepted…

To use childish arguments is to ignore the principled and deeply rooted beliefs of folk that hold differing points of view. The way forward is to calmly argue from the bible and point out where those darn translators have gone astray – which could mean that we could all live with each other despite being part of that unbiblical institution known as the ‘Church of England’ …

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