Sunday, 26 September 2004

Ripon on radio

The BBC Sunday programme talked to the people of Ripon, and others…

Last Sunday in Ripon Cathedral, The Bishop, John Packer, announced the suspension of the Dean, John Methuen. The Dean has protested his innocence. Although it isn’t clear what he is being accused of, there seems to be some concern about his allegedly autocratic style.
Interviews with members of the public in Ripon and the Dean of Southwark Cathedral in London, the Very Rev Colin Slee.
Listen (5m 24s) with RealAudio.

Yesterday, the Telegraph carried Suspension of Dean fails to silence whispering which contains a lot more background detail whispers.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 26 September 2004 at 8:52 AM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

My thinking goes as follows:

(1) This story is nothing to do with the homosexuality crisis;

(2) The main qualification for any non-homosexuality story appearing here is that it is gossip-worthy;

(3) This means that the website is to an extent a gossip-website, which casts doubt on the motivation of some of the discussion of the homosexuality issue as well.

Having said that, it has to be said that the main fault lies with the press, since the site exists to report the press, and the press inevitably chooses gossip-worthy material.

However, the main reason I left the Anglicans was that gossip was the main reason for many people going, or at least the main reason for their enjoyment when they did go; if I said I did not find a big difference here from e.g. University Christian Unions, I’d be lying.

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at September 26, 2004 02:43 PM

Well, all I can say is that if this is supposed to be a gossip-website, it’s been a dismal failure. There has been a shameful lack of scandalous and titillating stories over the past few months — and as for the photographs! I mean, the nipple-count has been practically zero. It’s a disgrace to the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Andrew Conway at September 27, 2004 11:00 AM

Dr. Shell wrote:
However, the main reason I left the Anglicans was that…

So if you’re not even Anglican ? Why in the world do you keep coming back here to post ?!

Andrew wrote:
…and as for the photographs! I mean, the nipple-count has been practically zero. It’s a disgrace to the Anglican Communion.

ROTFL! Too true! Simon, time to do something about that… Why, you don’t even have any decent “page 3 girls” (as I believe they’re called in the UK ?)

Posted by: David Huff at September 27, 2004 11:57 PM

LOL@”The resulting publicity photographs showing him in his scarlet vestments holding up a pint jug caused some to whisper darkly against him.”

I love the whisper darkly bit. My ex was a PK. I’ve been at dinner parties amidst clergy and believe me, it’s a back-stabbing feast sometimes, whether it’s criticising one priest’s style of liturgy or another’s sermon delivery… I’m reminded how ‘human’ our clergy are. But I also see how lot of clergy hide use their “collar” (read: power) to get away with bad behaviour. And that’s what the Methuen story is about.

Reminds me of what happened with Bp Doss and the Diocese of New Jersey.

Posted by: Jay Vos at September 28, 2004 03:45 AM

If person A identified themselves as a Christian or a member of the Body of Christ, and person B identified themselves as an Anglican, I’d feel that Person A was the one who understood the situation. What value are party/denomination labels as opposed to existential descriptions?

That’s why it only ultimately makes sense to identify oneself as a Christian regardless of secondary labels. This being so, I’m in the same boat as all other Christians.

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at September 28, 2004 08:52 AM

Of course you are perfectly entitled to post here, Christopher, but what I think David was asking was, why on earth do you bother? If you have (in your own words) “left the Anglicans”, why do you visit this Anglican website, and why are you so fascinated by the activities of the Anglican Communion? It is flattering to be the object of your attentions (flutters eyelashes seductively), but why do you find us so interesting?

And if you find this site a useful resource, then perhaps you might consider thanking Simon for his efforts, instead of criticising him for maintaining a ‘gossip-website’?

Posted by: Andrew Conway at September 28, 2004 10:45 AM

Well, I think Andrew is being more generous than I. None of us are “entitled” to post here. The comment threads and everything in them exist at Simon’s sufferance, and can be removed anytime he wishes to invoke his demi-godlike powers as webmaster.

But he has narrowed down the question well. What motivates you to post in such an obviously inappropriate environment ? I certainly don’t frequent Southern Baptist weblogs just to enter vexing comments (as much perverted enjoyment as I might receive from doing so). Do you imagine that all of us weak-willed progressives are waiting with baited breath for your Godly correction ? Or do you simply get a charge out of being a nuisance ?

And while I do find this behavior quite annoying, I’m also very curious. There seems to be quite a few “conservatives” engaging in this pointless behavior on many progressive sites…

Posted by: David Huff at September 28, 2004 01:10 PM

There are several good reasons for posting, and none for not posting:

(1) As a non-Anglican with Anglican parents I can see both sides of the issues. In all matters the opinion of those with experience of both sides is (all things being equal) preferable to those with experience of only one side.

(2) As I mentioned, anyone who identifies themselves with a denomination rather than simply as a Christian is missing the point. But since this is the case, then it’s impossible to see different denominations as being in different boats in these enlightened ecumenical times. Naturally, whatever happens to one part of the Body of Christ affects all the other parts. It would be wrong if it did not (1 Cor.l 12, Rom. 12)

(3) Progress in understanding comes through dialogue, not ghettoes or cliques (I’m sure none of us is a fan of cliques). Everyone agrees that preaching to the converted is a fruitless pastime; rather, the whole point of such a website as this is to encourage open debate. If we all agreed, there’d be nothing to say.

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at September 28, 2004 01:50 PM

Also see my remarks on the ‘Andrew Brown’ item (posting no. 10) with regard to the label ‘conservative’, which (like ‘liberal’) is an ideological label that no open-minded truth-seeker critical of their own presuppositions could wish to own. :o)

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at September 28, 2004 01:53 PM

Well. Three cheers for Simon and the TA team. I try to read as much as I can here…posts, links to pertinent stories for Anglicans/Episcopalians.
Simon’s thoughtful posts help keep me abreast of what’s happening. Thanks, Simon and TA!

Posted by: Jay Vos at September 28, 2004 03:34 PM

I second that. It is a valuable resource.

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at September 28, 2004 04:24 PM

It might be helpful to recall Michael Oakeshott’s image of discourse as ‘conversation’:

In a conversation the participants are not engaged in an enquiry or a debate; there is no ‘truth’ to be discovered, no proposition to be proved, no conclusion sought. They are not concerned to inform, to persuade, or to refute one another .. they may differ without disagreeing. Of course, a conversation may have passages of argument, and a speaker is not forbidden to be demonstrative; but reasoning is neither sovereign nor alone, and the conversation itself does not compose an argument.

This idea of ‘conversation’ is particularly applicable to the Internet, where there is no one to chair the discussion or control its direction. In Oakeshott’s words: ‘there is no arbiter, not even a doorkeeper to examine credentials .. every entrant is taken at its face-value and everything is permitted which can get itself accepted into the flow of conversation’.

And at its best, this sort of conversation can be creative and rewarding in ways that no ‘argument’ can ever be. Oakeshott again:

Thoughts of different species take wing and play round one another, responding to each other’s movements and provoking one another to fresh exertions .. It is an unrehearsed intellectual adventure.

The trouble with you, Christopher, is that you aren’t prepared to join in the conversation. You are only interested in having a ‘debate’ — and your idea of a ‘debate’ is a purely confrontational one, where the argument continues until one party is proved right and the other party is forced to their knees by the power of logic.

If you would like to have a conversation, then you are most welcome to come and hang out here; your contribution would be much appreciated, and we can all have fun together in this wonderful playground that Simon has created for us. But if you insist on having an argument, then please don’t waste your time here. It is not worthwhile.

Posted by: Andrew Conway at September 28, 2004 04:41 PM

Wow: I give up on this site for a while (that figurative blood-pressure thing), and look at the progress! For the sake of quality “conversation” maybe I should stay away? ;-)

NB to Dr Shell: “one Christian is no Christian.” There is no purely idiosyncrasy-free “Christian” (or “Christian” body of believers). We all have our particular Christianitie*s* mediated by one tradition or another. The question is, do we acknowledge those particular traditions and, more than that, take responsibility for them? I acknowledge, and own, the Anglican tradition (in its USA “Episcopal” iteration). All other forms may interest me (they definitely do, as I am just insatiably curious about religion, in all its forms), and I may even feel a sense of kinship w/ some of them (as an ecumenist). But I take no responsibility for them . . . and I don’t post to their websites (w/ scarce time, they just aren’t a priority—-if for no other reason).

Posted by: J. C. Fisher at September 29, 2004 06:39 AM

I wonder whether it’s possible to quote Michael Oakeshott as an infallible source?

Let’s suppose for the sake of argument (sorry, for the sake of conversation) that he’s infallible. Is his concept of debate-free ‘conversation’ coherent? For:

(1) Any conversation must be about something.

(2) Whatever it is about, one will sometimes agree with the previous speaker and sometimes disagree.

(3) Who would pretend to agree if they disagreed, or to disagree if they agreed?

(4) Therefore, the line between argument/debate and conversation is not easily drawn. Which is why we have the useful word ‘dialogue’ which embraces them both.

(5) If one examines this website, one will see that plenty of discussion has gone on between those who don’t precisely agree. This makes it not worse not better. If all debate were eliminated, what would be left?

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at September 29, 2004 11:52 AM

Final line read: ‘not worse but better’.

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at September 29, 2004 11:53 AM

Note to Dr Fisher:

It is undeniable that we’re not all a product of our traditions and cultures.

Otherwise why would people reject one tradition in favour of another? Or why would some be more self-critical of their own cultures than others?

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at September 29, 2004 11:56 AM

Dr Shell: I don’t see how your comment responds to mine. Of course we’re free to reject one tradition in favor of another (just not a tradition-/denomination- free Christianity. I made this in response to your Point 2) above, “As I mentioned, anyone who identifies themselves with a denomination rather than simply as a Christian is missing the point.” I obviously disagree—-the Body is meant to have different members.)

Posted by: J. C. Fisher at October 15, 2004 03:43 AM
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