Sunday, 25 April 2004

godslots and more

Geoffrey Rowell in The Times
Let us liberate ourselves from the dark, demonic powers of evil. Here is an extract:

If the memory of the crusades is still a distorting one in the context of Christian-Muslim relations, the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade still haunts memories and attitudes in the relationship of the Christian East to the Christian West, and colours the suspicion of many Orthodox Christians towards Christians of the West. Both Catholics and Pentecostals can be seen in very different ways as representative of the ancient aggression of the Latin West.
Eastern Christianity, which has never had the experience of either the Reformation or the Enlightenment has, at its best, a deep awareness of the cosmic dimension of redemption, and a sacramental understanding of the world. The Easter Liturgy, so central to Orthodox worship, proclaims Christ?s victory over death and His liberation of humanity from the imprisonment of the dark, demonic powers of evil. We are called into a new creation and a transfiguration of our life by the grace of Christ.
The healing of memories is necessary if the different traditions of the Christian churches are to find their true unity in Christ. We cannot ignore history, and we must learn to understand the histories of other traditions and communities. In so far as it is possible for a later generation to be penitent for what earlier generations did, Christians in the West need to remember that events can have a terrible afterlife and so be ready to acknowledge the scars and fault lines that have resulted from what happened in Constantinople 800 years ago this month.
If the risen Christ appeared to His disciples still bearing the wounds of His passion, but transfigured, we can surely believe that the wounds of history may by humility, penitence and grace be transfigured in the same way. The peace of the world and the unity of its peoples depend in the end on this Easter reality.

Judith Maltby in the Guardian
What women want reflects on the progress still to be made in the CofE:

…Officially, Anglicans continue to constrain the ministry of women clergy. Terms like “provisionality” and “in reception” are used of our orders, and the church endorses employment discrimination on the basis of sex that it would condemn in any secular employer. In the midst of all this, women priests must not, of course, give anything other than complete loyalty and commitment back to the church.
We continue to exclude women from the church’s most authoritative body, the House of Bishops, although it is clear that we are not awash with talent in the episcopate. Tellingly, Canon Jeffrey John’s welcome appointment as dean of St Albans has been characterised as “compensation” for a bishopric, whereas a deanery is the highest office to which a woman may be called in the Church of England.
Most disastrously, however, we provide “flying bishops”, with “untainted hands”, for those who cannot tolerate sacramental contact with a bishop who ordains women. What does this provision reveal about what the Church of England, as an institution, thinks of women as a source of pollution? How, too, is this model being applied to other issues of conscience? Those who object to the “bishops of choice” model as a way of dealing with disputes over sexuality must ask themselves why it is bearable, or desirable, in dealing with the debate over gender. I, for one, would like to see a bit more anger from my own “liberal side” about the treatment of women, as well as of gay men.
Why do women priests put up with it? Opponents like to see us as fuelled by something rather wicked called “secular feminism”, which, I suppose, means owning property and having the vote. But on the contrary, the vocations of the vast majority of women priests have been fed from deep within the life of the church. A doctoral study of the 1994 ordinations revealed that the single largest group defined themselves as evangelical, something worth remembering as the word has become, to many, synonymous with “reactionary”.

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph
What’s all this about Rapture?

It sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it? Indeed, a bestselling series of 10 novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins, starting with Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days (1995), has sold in almost Harry Potter-ish millions.
Yet the Left Behind publishing phenomenon reflects the remarkable fact that many - perhaps eight million - in the United States really believe The Rapture is coming, probably soon. Makes sense, they say, what with this terrible world violence and Israel surrounded by hostile nations.

Guardian For God’s sake The strong influence of the Christian right on US policy will only increase if George Bush wins a second term, says Philip James

The influence of the Christian right on the Bush White House is self-evident. As well as George Bush, cabinet members Condoleezza Rice, John Ashcroft and Don Evans all consider themselves to be born again.

The administration is acutely aware of the power of the Christian voting block in the US. Gallup surveys consistently count 46% of the population as being self-described born again Christians, the bulk of whom live in middle America.
It is a stunning statistic, and one that escapes the attention of the chattering classes who populate the much less devout coastal strips.
Many of these churchgoers voted for Bush in 2000, and Carl Rove is determined that all of them should do the same this year. The latest data should put a spring in his step - Bush’s job approval among grassroots Christian social conservatives hovers between 92% and 96%.

The Times At your service visits St Nicholas, Brighton.

Labyrinths are to be found in religious traditions all over the world. Many take the form of a large circle, with a single path leading you through the four quadrants to the centre. They became an established part of the Catholic Church during the crusades, when pilgrimage to the Holy Land was dangerous, and people needed another way of honouring their vows.

By coincidence, I just visited Amiens Cathedral, which has a genuine medieval labyrinth built into the tiling of the floor of the nave.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 25 April 2004 at 12:06 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion | St Albans

I remember seeing/hearing the Rev’d Canon Lucy Winkett (Canon Precentor at St. Paul’s Cathedral) speak at St Ann’s/Soho a few years ago. The psychological humiliations she experienced when she started there were extreme.

Posted by: Jay Vos at April 26, 2004 01:50 PM