Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fishers of Men? Rescuing Mission from the Fundamentalists


From Brother Ivo:

Brother Ivo recently visited Dublin, and on the morning of his return decided to pass the waiting time with a brief walk around Trinity College. His eye was caught by a notice of forthcoming services on the chaplaincy noticeboard, and he was disappointed to discover that as he left to catch his flight, he would be missing a sermon with the intriguing title of this piece.

Fortunately, a suspicion that a modern teaching institution might publish its sermons online proved to be well-founded and it is now available.

The Rev'd Darren McCallig ministers in a college environment where those of different views, experience, and churchmanship live and worship in close proximity. Despite their differences they are able to gather in the same space to worship and praise the same Lord. In this regard there is a similarity between the college mission and that of the Church of England: both admit all-comers. In the college, the congregation perhaps presents itself to the chaplaincy team in a more changing stream as students come and go. The team becomes habituated to working with humanity in all its varied and flawed forms.

They set out their Mission Statement on their website:
Everyone is welcome at all our services. We are committed to a faith that is generous and resists the instinct to exclude on the basis of disagreement and difference.
I believe we can be Christians without laying aside any of our convictions about the equality and dignity of all people, whether men or women, gay or straight, young or old. College chaplaincy and state church alike are intentionally inclusive; diverse by design.

The sermon title caught Brother Ivo's attention at a time when he has been having the same conversations with two distinct and separate groups of people who were consistently using exactly the same argument to support polar opposite conclusions.

"Look at your Bible," would say the Bible-believing fundamentalist, quoting from his latest spoils from a smash-and-grab raid on the scriptures which point towards his being unquestionably right. These favourite passages always seemed unremittingly grim.

Immediately afterwards, in a conversation with a militant secularist, the conversation would follow the same pattern: "Look at your Bible," would cry the atheist triumphantly, before advancing the same passages in support of the precisely opposite conclusion.

The God of Wrath featured prominently.

It seemed puzzling that those who seek to draw people to God would enjoy such congruence with those who demean and reject Him.

Brother Ivo continues to resist such readings of the scriptures in the same spirit as Leonard Cohen who remarked: "I've studied deeply in the philosophies and religions - but cheerfulness kept breaking through."

It seems that the Rev'd Darren McCallig is of similar mind to Brother Ivo, and the essence of his sermon is the need to confront the forms of evangelisation founded on fear which are too often presented to the unbeliever, and to replace them with something altogether more attractive.

"The point of Mission is to tell people that they are loved," says Rev'd Darren. He makes his point by emphasising that 'Jesus didn't destroy His enemies; He forgave his enemies... Jesus didn't root out societies notorious sinners in order to humiliate them and belittle them; He shared His meals with them and He loved them into wholeness'.

I love that approach - 'loving into wholeness'.

We cannot hear this kind of Mission advice too much.

The narrow approach has its superficial attraction. With a mobile population you can fill a building by drawing those of like mind from further afield, but that is not the same as growing the Kingdom. As someone recently remarked, the Church needs to decide whether it wishes to become fishers of men, or keepers of the aquarium.

Mission needs to reconnect with the Jesus who drew the crowds; the Jesus to whom the rejected, the disillusioned, the disapproved, the sick and the dispirited came and responded when presented with a new vision of what it is to be God. In their encounter with Him, they miraculously discovered a better way to be human.

If we are to recapture some of the excitement and encouragement of those early followers, we can do a lot worse than refocusing our mission in the way proposed in Rev'd Darren McCallig's sermon, to which you are invited to listen.

(Posted by Brother Ivo)

262 Comments:

Blogger Kinderling said...

"Mission needs to reconnect with the Jesus who drew the crowds; the Jesus to whom the rejected, the disillusioned, the disapproved, the sick and the dispirited came and responded when presented with a new vision of what it is to be God. In their encounter with Him, they miraculously discovered a better way to be human.

Mission needs to reconnect with yourself to draw lost souls as crowds; the person to whom the rejected, the disillusioned, the disapproved, the sick and the dispirited come and respond when presented with a new vision of what it is to be one with god. In their encounter with you, they non-miraculously discover a better way to be human.

17 February 2013 10:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Brother Ivo

With every additional post, you sound increasingly Fulcrum-esque to my ears. And, no, that's not a compliment. Might I impose on you to answer two questions?

1. What is your definition of 'fundamentalist?'

2. What is your definition of the "Gospel?"

carl

17 February 2013 11:58  
Blogger Kinderling said...

"Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith."

People know your baggage and have made judgements that separate them from taking any value you may have to give.

Could happen to anyone.

Sending out his discipes preaching repentance, they were able to drive out demons and blessed many sick people who naturally healed.

Those who hold a faux New Identity of themselves are divided from conscience, so that their subconcious brain will not function to repair their body nor fight disease. The truth sets them free, to regain their natural appetites and make them sane.

However, the Golden Calf Worshippers haven't changed, and only win Conversions and Conformists, and expand with their ever-hopeful tithe-paying sick in their congregations.

17 February 2013 12:16  
Blogger Flossie said...

My granny used to say that you cannot make a pact with the devil, because you will ALWAYS end up dancing to his tune.

17 February 2013 12:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Article: "Immediately afterwards, in a conversation with a militant secularist, the conversation would follow the same pattern: "Look at your Bible," would cry the atheist triumphantly, before advancing the same passages in support of the precisely opposite conclusion."

One doesn't need to be an atheist in order to be a secularist, you know. One can just as easily be a Christian too. In fact, I wish Christians in the UK would accept the reality of diversity here and advocate State secularism while things are still malleable.

17 February 2013 12:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

For the interested reader:

Rev'd Darren McCallig

carl

17 February 2013 12:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

I say Ivo, the Inspector is warming to you - well done that man !

And you have a particularly tasty cherry today – Carl’s indignation, and what better signpost in matters religious do you need ?

The Roman Catholic perspective is that we are pleased a brother in Christ has indeed found Christ. If he did through Roman Catholicism, well, first rate. If through one of the lesser Christian churches, the main thing is he has found Christ. We won’t dwell too much on the circumstances.

One waits with schoolgirl enthusiasm for the finger pointers Len and Blofeld to arrive. For thou has spoileth their day, what !


17 February 2013 12:41  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Carl

Thank you for asking.

First, let us be clear that Brother Ivo' s first concern in contributing to His Grace's August blog is to offer a separate voice but second to challenge readers to look at questions.

I hope you have listened to the sermon via the link.

Many texts, legal, poetic, religious, can be read by different people in different ways. There are different ways -even schools- schools of interpretation.

Some look only at the bare text, others seek the writer's intention, some interpret from other related texts/ commentaries. Yet another suggests that one reads as closely to the text as possible, but if one approaches ambiguity or even absurdity then one introduces discretionary critical choices as to which conclusion to reach.

These various schools of interpretation represent a range of approaches on a spectrum.

Read with that understanding, the fundamentalist stands at the narrower, more literal end of that spectrum.

Let me offer an illustrative example from the recent obituary of the American Jurist Ronald Dworkin.

Imagine an 1880 Bye Law prohibiting vehicular access to a park. Should one prosecute the park keeper if he introduces a motor mower? The literalist
(fundamentalist) will say "of course"; the more liberal might say " This really isn't what the Bye-Law is about; look to the obvious underlying intention".

"Gospel" is much less problematic but their is still
(interestingly) a dual meaning. I sometimes mean the four books Matthew Mark Luke and John. Sometimes I simply mean the earlier more general sense of the
"Good News" of Jesus Christ.

In my phrase "Gospel Gracious" I seek to capture/ encapsulate the sense of "Christ like love" that permeates the whole story contained in those four books. It is what we have received and how we should emulate.

17 February 2013 12:58  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Some think me Fulcrum/Evangelical, others Crypto-Catholic and no doubt I shall soon be a dangerous liberal.

What better confirmation of Anglicanism might one hope for?

17 February 2013 13:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Hah ! Prepare to be savaged by the plain texters Ivo, and Len will be demanding you be ‘born again’...


17 February 2013 13:13  
Blogger David B said...

I do wish people would use terminology appropriately.

It is hard to understand what a 'militant secularist' could be, since secularism is the best and only guarantee of both freedom of and freedom from religion.

Perhaps Bro Ivo is using the term as a synonym for a militant anti-theist, which it ain't.

I suppose that some people might be confused by the fact that it is possible for someone to be both a secularist and a militant anti-theist.

That would be someone who defends the right of people to believe what they like (though not necessarily to act on their beliefs) but at the same time defends their own right to assert that many people - in this context particularly those who believe in the supernatural - believe utter tosh.

David

17 February 2013 13:53  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

David B

If by 'secular' you mean that religious leaders should not participate in gov't ex officio then we agree. If on the other hand you mean that religious ideas should play no role in gov't, then I do not agree. I will never agree that the admission price for entrance into the public square is the adoption of a materialist worldview.

carl

17 February 2013 14:09  
Blogger Galant said...

Fundamentalists like Jackie Pullinger, or Hudson Taylor, or maybe William Carey, or Gladys Aylward? Or maybe fundamentalist organisations like OM or Teen Challenge?

17 February 2013 14:14  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Brother Ivo

What better confirmation of Anglicanism might one hope for?

You mean an incoherent collection of disparate and mutually exclusive religious doctrines devoid of any actual center that unites the pieces into a whole? Yes, I think you are right.

Anglicanism: The Church of the Unknown God with Many Faces. Where Christian and Unitarian and Gnostic and Buddhist and Atheist can find unity in diversity.

carl

17 February 2013 14:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Oh look, it's anti cult champion David B, and here he is with believe utter tosh

Our friendly secularist displaying some critical words. And that’s just a short distance from intolerance and then we are well on the road to prohibition and persecution.

You see, he HATES cults. And to him Christianity is a cult. If he could put an end to Christianity he would.

You fool no one David, unless of course the deception is the idea that you yourself are fair minded. So we’ll say you are fooling just one then, you.


17 February 2013 14:17  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

"Mission needs to reconnect with the Jesus who drew the crowds; the Jesus to whom the rejected, the disillusioned, the disapproved, the sick and the dispirited came and responded when presented with a new vision of what it is to be God. In their encounter with Him, they miraculously discovered a better way to be human."

Who could disagree? And yet Jesus asked people to reform, to repent, to turn their lives around. He accepted the sinner, he never accepted sin.

Have a church with an open door - not a church with an open mind. Invite people to be converted - not to simply feel comfortable and welcome.

Amidst His love Christ also warned of the consequences of not turning and focusing one's life on God. One does not have to be a fundamentalist to understand there is a Heaven and a Hell. Or can this be interpreted non-literally too?

" ... the fundamentalist stands at the narrower, more literal end of that spectrum ....

This really isn't what the Bye-Law (Gospel) is about; look to the obvious underlying intention".


Well, I read the underlying intention as being the saving love of God through the death and ressurrection of Jesus Christ. The offer of forgiveness for sin and eternal salvation if we turn to Him, reform our lives and walk in His light.

But who's to say I'm correct? The Church, based on the authority invested by Christ? Or an individual, or body of individuals? Our God loves unconditionally the homosexual, the murderer, the adulterer. He waits on them and draws them to Him. Maybe He also accepts they can carry on living life styles contrary to His will reinforced by the feeling of "love" from a diverse and open church.

17 February 2013 14:18  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

carl

Tough words - and very necessary!

Care to join the CSG? We are in need of a Oberst.

17 February 2013 14:20  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."

17 February 2013 14:23  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Carl,

I think I was fairly specific in answering your questions but does it not make my point that the same text ( my answer) has you interpreting it as " Evangelical/ Fulcrumesque whilst
OIG is pleased by its implicit Catholic nature.

QED?

17 February 2013 14:26  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

David B,

In your particular version of the 'secular state' is a country I wouldn't (and more to point, couldn't live in). I cannot see how your ideas,as you tell us in these threads, would actually protect religions at all. More likely persecute them.

17 February 2013 14:37  
Blogger OldJim said...

Danj0 and David B

In 1687, James II issued a Declaration of Indulgence, granting freedom of religious belief and worship to Catholics and Protestant Dissenters outside the established Church of England. The Church of England remained established, laws expressly justified by reference to Christian religion remained on the books, action in the public square grounded in the Christian tradition was expected. Was this an instance of secularism?

In 1689, William and Mary passed an Act of Toleration, providing freedom of worship to nonconformists but not to Catholics. The Church of England remained established etc etc. Was this an instance of secularism?

In 1829, Wellington passed the Catholic Relief Act, which freed Catholics from most of the remaining effects of State discrimination. The Church of England remained established etc etc. Was this an instance of secularism?

On the other hand, in 1789, the National Assembly of France appropriated the property of the Church, dissolved religious orders, required an oath of loyalty from clergy, exiling or executing those who loudly refused as traitors. Talleyrand and Condorcet worked to hire secular teachers and to undermine the Church as a provider of schools. Religion was widely mocked as superstitious.

In 1917, the Mexican Constitution prohibited the Church from running schools and deprived clergy of political rights. During this period many priests were killed. Religion was widely mocked as superstitious.

In 1918, the USSR prohibited the teaching of religion in schools. It closed seminaries and killed priests. Religious beliefs were widely mocked as superstitious.

17 February 2013 14:40  
Blogger OldJim said...

I'm not suggesting that you are advocating the killing of priests. Nor am I saying that I should like to return to the days where certain religions were "tolerated" and others banned. I should like all "tolerated".

My point is that there was something called "religious liberty" long before there was something called "secularism", that this something called "secularism" has historically involved not merely religious liberty but the removal of religion from the public square and the mocking of religious belief, and that this "secularism" bled at its edges into the outright persecution of religious people.

The reason why the word "secularism" is identified with "atheism" and "religious liberty" is not should be evident from that potted summary. You might not believe in the killing of priests but you belong nonetheless to the latter tradition, not the former, by virtue of your attitude to public expressions of Christian belief and to freedom of religious action, which is the lowest common denominator that divides the two approaches.

And I deny that the latter tradition has been historically necessary, or in fact even useful in protecting diversity of belief. In fact, historically, it has stifled it in favour of atheism.

17 February 2013 14:41  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Old Jim,

I would agree- you don't have to be a secularist or an atheist to believe in a land of religious freedom and pluralism as opposed to a situation where there is a revival of a 'test acts' in this country or in which religion is proscribed due to whatever whims the state thinks up next. Personally I think that the US has got it right in that regard.

17 February 2013 14:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

OldJim: "You might not believe in the killing of priests but you belong nonetheless to the latter tradition, not the former, by virtue of your attitude to public expressions of Christian belief and to freedom of religious action, which is the lowest common denominator that divides the two approaches."

And what attitude would that be, exactly?

17 February 2013 14:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "If on the other hand you mean that religious ideas should play no role in gov't, then I do not agree."

Ideas such as Sharia Law? Some of the religious in the UK would be pleased to see that influencing the law of the land.

17 February 2013 14:57  
Blogger OldJim said...

So if by "secularism" all you mean is the widening and deepening of those fresh waters of religious liberty that poured into England from the seventeenth century onwards, then we are agreed. But there is no mandate or precedent there for removing religious figures from the houses of parliament, for dismissing public officials for refusing to act contrary to religious belief, for removing state funding from religious schools, or, for example, for changing laws governing the opening of businesses on a Sunday.

For those sorts of things, you must look to the other tradition.

Because you can tell a Muslim and I that there must be no Sunday laws because he is a Muslim and he does not share the holy day if you like, but both he and I know that he understands the importance of a holy day, he has one himself on a Friday. It is the atheist who wants his employees working more hours who doesn't have any holy day at all.

You can tell a Muslim and I that there must be no Anglican Bishops in the House of Lords, because we do not equally value these religious leaders. But he knows the importance of religious leaders in public affairs. It is the atheist who wants no religion at all influencing them.

Or, to use a fictional example: you can tell the Muslim and I that there should be no public observance of Lent, because it is not an observance we share. But the Muslim has Ramadan, and knows the value of fasting. You don't ban Lent with the intention of celebrating Ramadan yourself, or simply to spare the Muslim; you ban Lent so you need never fast at all.

This is what modern "secularism" is about. It's not neutral. Religious liberty was neutral, or rather was on its way towards it. Modern "secularism" is the furtherance of atheism by other means, disguised as compassion for minority religions.

17 February 2013 14:59  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Brother Ivo

does it not make my point that the same text ( my answer) has you interpreting it as " Evangelical/ Fulcrumesque whilst OIG is pleased by its implicit Catholic nature.

No, because my sample space is not yet large enough to make a definitive judgment. You haven't revealed enough of your theological understanding such that I can place you in the spectrum. I used 'Fulcrum' as a convenient reference point because that is my current best estimate, and Archbishop Cranmer is doctrinally Protestant. In the lack of sufficient information, I assumed you had a similar association. Hence, "Fulcrum." But I also know that Archbishop Cranmer will give space to ideas he thinks important despite his personal opinions. So I hold my judgments about you lightly. I will only say that my estimation of you has moved relentlessly to the Left since you started posting.

I think I was fairly specific in answering your questions

Your definition of 'Fundamentalist' needs development. The quote by Ronald Dworkin is a strawman. It's not about 'literal' readings. No one reads Scripture 'literally.' Rather it is about authority, and specifically the authority of Scripture to norm the conduct of men. Generally speaking, a 'fundamentalist' in modern (pejorative) parlance means 'one who
asserts the existence of a knowable revealed divine truth to which all men are always and everywhere accountable.' It refers to one who denies the modernist doctrine that truth is unknowable. The undertones of your answer left me with the distinct impression that you agree with this assertion - that truth is fundamentally unknowable.

The definition of the Gospel also requires development. You refer only to the "Good News." I know from experience that this statement is not sufficient - that different people use it to mean different things. When combined with your assertion about "too much of the God of wrath" it makes me wonder. The wrath of God is the beginning of the Gospel. There is no gospel without it, because there would have been no need for the Cross without it. Jesus isn't a life coach who has a wonderful plan for your life. He is the Redeemer from wrath of God against sin. Men who have no knowledge of their own sin and their concomitant need for redemption from the wrath of God because of that sin have no knowledge of the Gospel.

I haven't listened to that link yet. That website reveals Darren McCallig to be rather liberal in doctrine. All the tells are present in his statement. I have no doubt the link will confirm my judgment.

carl

17 February 2013 15:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's not compassion for religious minorities that is the primary driver for me, it a recognition of social diversity and a belief in freedom of the individual. People should be able to do this as a matter of course and not just because we can see in retrospect that it was the right thing to do.

17 February 2013 15:04  
Blogger David B said...

Carl - insofar as the idea that a good society ought to succour the poor and the sick is a religious idea, and other sorts of ideas of that ilk, then I have no objection to them.

That is the sort of idea that I think many hold on religious grounds, though of course such ideas are not confined to the religious.

Inspector - actually I don't think that there is any sort of identity between religion and cults, as the many apparent non cultist decent religious people I have met IRL, and on various internet fora, including this one.

There do seem to me to be cultic elements within many of the mainstream religions, and the sects of them, but I am not so foolish as to equate the decent people who are catholic because they were brought up as such with the members of Maciel's mob, or Opus Dei. Or indeed to confuse the bulk of Anglicans with those who founded the Anglican Benedictine order on Caldey Island in 1906.

David

17 February 2013 15:06  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Brother Ivo:

I'm not sure that your QED is as obvious as you think it is - mainly because you have imputed to both Carl and OIG the same capacity of interpretation to speak for the respective denominations which they identify with. But that rather assumes that that identification is enough to ensure accuracy: because OIG identifies as Catholic he sees your post as being commensurate with Catholicism and even Catholicity; because Carl identifies as a Calvinist Protestant he sees the potential for Fulcrum-esque theology.

Yet looking at the comments, and not the language, the analysis offered by both is largely similar. Rather than two different interpretations, we have two largely commensurate analyses using different language - language which, confusingly, also bears the burden of expressing multiple specific theological and ecclesial positions. Might not the positions outlined as Fulcrum-esque by Carl, and catholic/Catholic by OIG in fact be consubstantial?

Putting it simply: your adoption of being accused of being a Fulcrum Evangelical and a Crypto-Catholic in this context is not a sign of the difference of interpretation, but a sign of the difference of language.

And that's rather what I suspect much of this ends up as - a kind of oleaginous linguistic film that gives all the appearances of depth and difference, but essentially masks a contiguous concept; so that what is revealed is not in fact diversity of substance where difference coexists, but the multivalency of language masquerading as difference.

The theology which is at the heart of Christianity is one of Salvation and forgiveness; yet neither of these concepts can stand without definitive positions. We can use whatever words we like to describe them, but the minute we put our trust in the ability of words to gloss over the chasm between the sinner and God, instead of the salvific power of Christ's death on the Cross, we have erred.

Really though, the key to this is in the seemingly innocuous phrase you use in the article:

"Jesus didn't destroy His enemies; He forgave his enemies... He loved them into wholeness."

There's a way of using these phrases that in seeking to emphasis God's Love downplays God's Wrath as if the latter somehow embarasses the former. Yet, when one looks at these phrases it is apparent that Jesus loved His enemies where He might have destroyed them - and, more elementally than even that: He loved His enemies.

How shall we know the nature of God's Love expressed in that statement if we know nothing about what it means to be God's enemy? This is no mere theological quibble: it goes to the heart of forgiveness and Salvation. We are saved despite having been God's enemy - but if we know nothing of that enmity, or are embarassed to think on being so, how can we even begin to approach the magnitude and depth of His Grace?

17 February 2013 15:21  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Ideas such as Sharia Law?

The advocacy of a Muslim says no more about me than the advocacy of a Stalinist says about you. In any case, the principle remains. I will bring my intact worldview into the public square. I will not check it at the door simply because other people would prefer not to be subjected to religious concepts. I do not wish to be subjected to materialist understandings any more than you wish to be subjected to theistic understandings. You want freedom from religion. I want freedom from irreligion. So to speak.

carl

17 February 2013 15:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 February 2013 15:31  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

David B

insofar as the idea that a good society ought to succour the poor and the sick is a religious idea, and other sorts of ideas of that ilk, then I have no objection to them.

No, that is not sufficient. I won't be pigeon-holed into temporal provision of human needs. The church is not primarily a cheap social service agency. I will bring my worldview to bear on the question "How should we then live?" I will never agree to answer that question by saying "Of course, we must first discard all our theistic notions and begin with the idea that God does not exist." That is the modern notion of the secular state - where religion is completely privatized and hermetically sealed away. That condition can only be achieved by force.

carl

17 February 2013 15:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "The advocacy of a Muslim says no more about me than the advocacy of a Stalinist says about you."

That wasn't the point of it. There's no more reason to deny an Islamic requirement in law than a Christian one, or to give a privileged place to a bishop rather than an imam in the House of Lords simply because they're representatives of a religion. At one point, one might have argued that we have a Christian tradition and that we're a Christian country but tradition is of limited value and we're a diverse country now where Islam and the CofE are competing religions in terms of numbers. The justification for special privilege has almost gone and other religions and sects want the same level of special privilege rather than the removal it.

17 February 2013 15:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

If you are arguing for dis-establishment of the CoE, then I am in your camp. I don't believe a bishop (or any religious leader for that matter) should serve in the government by virtue of the fact that he is a religious leader. Religions don't deserve special privilege. You are correct.

But if I can persuade the electorate of the rightness of my cause, then I will do so without guilt. I will shape the law accordingly. Just like secularists have been doing in the West for decades as the systematically strip Christian conceptions from the law.

carl

17 February 2013 15:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's all very well trying to label a secular State as one operating on a worldview based on materialism but that's not what it's really about. It's about pluralism. We need laws and rules based on ethics, not morality. This is particularly important given that we have competing moralities now, with some of the more prominent ones claiming backing by a jealous god responsible for all creation and brooking no others. That's not going to end well.

17 February 2013 15:40  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Care to join the CSG?

Well, sure, but you are going to have to rename it the Roundheads, and you are going to have to learn the Westminster Confession, and our first task will be to tear RCism out of the Vatican root and branch.

Agreed?

carl

17 February 2013 15:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "I will shape the law accordingly."

That's fine. Trying (say) to ban alcohol using the law of the land because Allah doesn't like it is unlikely to gain much ground. As long as people realise that's the reason why some beardy chaps, to borrow a stereotype, are arguing for it then I'm sure it will be fine. People like me just need to point and say loudly what's going on if they try to claim it's just because alcohol causes many more deaths each year than controlled drugs.

17 February 2013 15:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

We need laws and rules based on ethics, not morality.

As if the two can be separated. I cannot (for example) privately assert a Christian understanding of the nature of man and then cast it aside upon entering the public square to deal with a matter like (say) abortion. Theology has consequences. It penetrates deep. I must and will be consistent.

carl

17 February 2013 15:48  
Blogger OldJim said...

Danj0,

I don't quite know what you mean by the image. It captures a person refusing to give a sieg heil. So I suppose you are saying that a person must be free to disobey an unjust law, as he did. But people are always free to disobey an unjust law, so it cannot be that. Maybe you mean that there must never be unjust laws. But that presupposes a standard by which to judge what unjust laws would look like.

Maybe the intended meaning is a broader one about conformity. But conformity is essential in many things. We depend, when we queue at a post office, that others will also queue. We depend, when we stand in a lift, that no-one will pull down their trousers and start urinating.

Again, if a woman is having sex with a man with the understanding that were she to become pregnant, by cultural convention he would marry her, she might find it difficult to celebrate the diversity of his wonderful nonconformity were her expectations gravely frustrated.

So in that instance you must be talking about eliminating unjust or perhaps just unnecessary conformity. But by what lights are you evaluating the justice or necessity of encouraging or discouraging a particular act of conformity?

I would imagine by your moral lights, which are utilitarian. And I judge by mine, which are not. So we are agreed that sieg heiling is wrong and I should like to think I would have acted as that man did. But pointing to him gets us no further, because we judge the morality or immorality of his act by very different moral standards, and end in a tautology: "I am a secularist because secularism widens the diversity of permissible behaviours, which maximises utility, which is moral"; "I am not a secularist because I would not give two hoots about utility even if I believed that secularism widened the variety of permissible behaviours, or that widening the variety of permissible behaviours maximized utility, and I do not believe either"

17 February 2013 15:50  
Blogger David B said...

Carl, I don't have any objection to people bringing their world-view to the question of how we should live.

There are lots of diverse opinions of that, of course, within Christianity, as well as within other religious traditions, as well as within atheism.

Most of the people I know well on strictly atheist forums tend towards a liberal view on how we should live and how we should be governed. However, there are the Randites, as within Christianity - particularly in America - there are those who seem to put personal prosperity first.

People should,IMV, be able to put forward the question of how we should live, whether based upon religion or not - but the critical issue for me is that people should be able to argue with such views and put forward other ones, without any special privileges for religious as opposed to anti-religious views, and certainly not seeing people claiming insult when their personal religious views are challenged as having any special privilege like blasphemy laws, or disagreeing with someone's religious opinion being regarded as any more importantly insulting than disagreeing with someone with regards to his choice of football team.

Both you and I should not be subject to special privileges for Muslims, would you not agree?

David

17 February 2013 15:53  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

carl said ...
"Dodo
We need laws and rules based on ethics, not morality."

Eh? I never said any such thing! I think you'll find it was another blogger whose name I dare not mention for fear of reprisal. I do agree its a nonsensical dialogical contribution.

Regarding the CSG - there'll be no protestant reformation there, thank you.

17 February 2013 15:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "As if the two can be separated."

Ethics are about rules of behaviour in a particular environment. We codify our values. It doesn't particularly matter to me whether there are multiple, and possibly competing, justifications around for particular ethics as long as we collectively buy into the ethics. What I'm not at all comfortable with is encoding Christianity or Islam directly into the law, or pushing out ethics that are not compatible with Christianity or Islam. It's only been a handful of years since we got rid of our blasphemy laws so I think we need to be vigilant here in the UK.

17 February 2013 15:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "I do agree its a nonsensical dialogical contribution."

Marvellous. You're off again I see.

17 February 2013 16:01  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

David B

I could quibble a little around the edges (specifically about the commonly-employed charge of 'heresy against modernity'), but we are in substantial agreement. As long as you understand that football means this and not this.

carl

17 February 2013 16:09  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Dear Brother Carl,

I do urge you to listen to the sermon and to accept that the sermon, and my post cannot contain "all" my/his theological thought. Sufficient unto the day....

Let us also recognise that US/UK concepts may differ.

I used the Dworkin example to help those not habituated to appreciating the various ways text is approached. It is not a straw man. The call you make on that example helps one to appreciate two of the available approaches to interpretation of text.

You say nobody reads the Bible literally- well I have met them! Can we perhaps agree that they at least might meet my descriptions. 7 day creationists and young earth advocates might also qualify. Those (like me) who incline to Intelligent Design are more fundamentalist than some/ less so than others.

That tendency towards literalism is certainly recognised over here. Your definition -acceptance of a knowable eternal truth- would not guarantee the " fundamentalist" title you might value here. I think many who call themselves "liberal" here would agree that there is such a truth, though I suspect the substance of that truth might need to be talked over.

I follow your thinking that God's wrath is the sine qua non of the Redemption but I think a lot is in the presentation. The sermon encourages us to put the matter positively rather than negatively. You can tell people that God is wrathfull and scare them into compliance, but as with children, the loving father can get better results.

I and Revd Darren seem to agree that you connect better with Joe Public with the approach " God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son Jesus Christ that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life".

Can we also agree that we are all, to a degree, personally inconsistent. I might be more literalist on one issue, less so on another. Often the choice one makes is more subjective than logical, but that is a case I may have to make over a period of time.

My next post is written and develops my thinking. It may help you " place me" (insofar as that is useful). You will find it provocative, but as with this, please, look for what is useful in a missionary context rather than just a vehical for debating points.

17 February 2013 16:10  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Ivo

How was this statement from the Inspector seen by you as support for a liberal, open door church that makes no demands on its members?

"The Roman Catholic perspective is that we are pleased a brother in Christ has indeed found Christ. If he did through Roman Catholicism, well, first rate. If through one of the lesser Christian churches, the main thing is he has found Christ. We won’t dwell too much on the circumstances."

Surely, "finding Christ" means more than attendance at meetings, feeling welcomed and having your lifestlye endorsed?

17 February 2013 16:13  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Eh? I never said any such thing!

...

Oops. I knew that. Really, I meant to type 'DanJ0.'

...

It was that Microsoft Operating System they gave me! It gave me the keyboard, and I did type.

carl
who isn't quite 'dialogical' should be a word no matter what the dictionary says.

17 February 2013 16:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

He's using "dialogical" to echo one of the blog owner's comments in the lightning strike footage thead below.

17 February 2013 16:25  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Dear Anon and Dodo,

Do look at the title of the sermon and accept the context.

We are addressing a specific problem. The Church in many quarters has a real problem getting people into its buildings and into dialogue on a serious level. What is the best strategy to begin that relationship?

The route of wrath is one way: but let us not overlook that Jesus arrives because the old ways had failed, and nobody save the advocates of the anciene regime ever feared Jesus. That too needs to be considered.

To put it more simply " He loved them into wholeness"

17 February 2013 16:29  
Blogger Galant said...

Packer on interpreting Scripture 'literally':

"William Tyndale’s statement of [the Mediaeval exegetes'] position may be quoted as typical: “Thou shalt understand, therefore, that the scripture hath but one sense, which is but the literal sense. And that literal sense is the root and ground of all, and the anchor that never faileth, whereunto if thou cleave, thou canst never err or go out of the way. And if thou leave the literal sense, thou canst not but go out of the way. Nevertheless, the scripture uses proverbs, similitudes, riddles, or allegories, as all other speeches do; but that which the proverb, similitude, riddle or allegory signifieth, is ever the literal sense, which thou must seek out diligently.”

Tyndale castigates the Scholastics for misapplying 2 Corinthians iii.6 to support their thesis that “the literal sense ... is hurtful, and noisome, and killeth the soul”, and only spiritualizing does any good; and he replaces their distinction between the literal and spiritual senses by an equation which reflects Jn. vi.63: “God is a Spirit, and all his words are spiritual. His literal sense is spiritual ... if thou have eyes of God to see the right meaning of the text, and whereunto the Scripture pertaineth, and the final end and cause thereof.” Fanciful spiritualizing, so far from yielding God’s meaning, actually obscured it. The literal sense is itself the spiritual sense, coming from God and leading to Him.

This ‘literalism’ is founded on respect for the biblical forms of speech; it is essentially a protest against the arbitrary imposition of inapplicable literary categories on scriptural statements. It is this ‘literalism’ that present-day Evangelicals profess. But to read all Scripture narratives as if they were eye-witness reports in a modern newspaper, and to ignore the poetic and imaginative form in which they are sometimes couched, would be no less a violation of the canons of evangelical ‘literalism’ than the allegorizing of the Scholastics was; and this sort of ‘literalism’ Evangelicals repudiate. It would be better to call such exegesis ‘literalistic’ rather than ‘literal’, so as to avoid confusing two very different things."

17 February 2013 16:36  
Blogger David B said...

Carl, I am glad we are in substantial agreement, on this issue at least.

In my neck of the woods there are many who give primacy to rugby football, but personally I prefer the American game. Chess on legs!

I would like to add one more thing. Inspector is correct at least on the point that I really don't like cults.

I don't see cults as being exclusively religious though - when I have entered into discussions with followers of Ayn Rand I have seen a lot of what I regard as cultic emerging from them.

David

17 February 2013 16:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B, at 15:06. You appear to come across as a reasonable man here. But closer inspection reveals your position has not changed one bit. We have on one hand the religious decent as you call them who post here. And we can extrapolate from that that Opus Dei is part of the indecent. You even go so far as to separate the Anglican Benedictines of Caldey from mainstream Anglicanism. You are not at all comfortable with the idea of organised religious bands ostensibly separate from the ecclesiastical church. And yet these are for free men who can walk at any time.

Your overall approach to harmful cults does have merit, but you weaken your argument by encompassing mainstream Christian establishments with them.

Any further point this man wanted to make has been addressed by Carl. His statement that the church is not a form of cheap social services, which one suspects that’s all they will be allowed to be under state sponsored secularism was rather a good one.

DanJ0. All that is argued on the home front of this blog, in the Inspector’s opinion, starts with the fact is we live in a Christian country. That’s the back canvas, if you will. You are so keen to introduce Islam into threads that it has become your calling card. You are the only contributor to this site who does this.
Why ?


17 February 2013 16:43  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Ivo,

Telling people whatever they want to hear, validating whatever they might be doing, is not "growing the kingdom". If it were, the Church of England would be the most powerful body in the world.

17 February 2013 16:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "You are so keen to introduce Islam into threads that it has become your calling card. You are the only contributor to this site who does this.
Why ?"

I'd have thought the answer is obvious why I do it. We have something like 2.5 million Muslims in the UK, and growing. They claim a version of moral absolutism just like Christians do, only it's from a different god. By highlighting this fact, it brings out two important points: firstly, claims to moral absolutism are clearly contested, and by people who have sincere beliefs too; secondly, both Christianity and Islam are belief systems held by minorities here and our society is becoming more and more diverse. Hence, I'm making the case for a secular State to reflect society as it is and to manage its internal tensions better in future. Hope that helps.

17 February 2013 16:54  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 February 2013 16:55  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Inspector,

Well whether the atheists like it or not I think that at heart, Britain is a culturally Christian country and has been since 597 AD, but one which has toleration and respect of other faiths (such as mine). There are always services in the big cathedrals, like St Paul's whenever there is a major national event or disaster. It is also amazing during these times how many people do actually go to their religious institution.

Also, I fail to see how the likes of David B can suggest he is a person of tolerant persuasion when he calls my faith a form of "child abuse".

17 February 2013 16:57  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Danjo,

I don't actually think you need to create a 'secular state', more like 'apathetically religious, but notionally Christian, with important minority faiths, can we have a takeaway-Chinese sounds good- let's watch the x-factor/big brother, s-d that let's go down the pub state'. LOL.

17 February 2013 17:04  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Corrigan,
Many people in the UK know comparatively little of Jesus
Far from " telling them what they want to hear", they have no expectation. Inviting them to reflect on what might make life more whole does make a connection.

Getting people on "The Way" is hugely important. Once they are open to hearing the words and stories of Jesus, they tend to have no needy of shouty folk telling them they are rubbish-I think people find Jesus engages with them in His way, without the necessity of our overbearing judgmentalism -which we are specifically warned against.

17 February 2013 17:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hannah: "Well whether the atheists like it or not I think that at heart, Britain is a culturally Christian country [...]"

Whether Christians like it or not, Christianity at heart in the UK has become culturally liberal too. That started properly with Elizabeth I, I think.

17 February 2013 17:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0, you have the overview of a child. You don’t even fully appreciate that when it comes to unwanted foreign influence in their own country, the British don’t want to know. Of course they mask it, being racist these days is a bit like urinating in public – you have to be careful how you go about it. So there you have it, the British are racist and you’d better believe it.

By the way, you say Christianity is a minority interest here. The 2011 census tells us that 33 million identify as Christian. Being a gay atheist – now THAT’S a minority interest.

And what of Islam as a political force. Still trying to find their feet. When members of their community bomb London and kill 52 people, you don’t bounce back a few years later like a rubber ball, do you ? Islam in the UK on SSM – “Not a good idea”. That’s all they could muster.



17 February 2013 17:09  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Danjo,

Yeah, I don't doubt that the actual number of 'committed' Christians is relatively small, but I think in specifically 'cultural and historical terms' in the post above, in the same way that Italy, France or Spain are (majority) culturally Catholic or that Russia is (majority) Orthodox Christian...

17 February 2013 17:09  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Brother Ivo,

I thought that the 'Alpha Course' was the big Anglican response to the need to get the bums on seats?

17 February 2013 17:12  
Blogger David B said...

Hannah, I regard circumcision as child abuse, whether male or female, and whether done by a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim or an atheist. Even handedly.

Destroying lots of sensitive nerves without a good medical reason can hardly be regarded as good for a child.

Surely there is more to your faith than just circumcision. IIRC Judaism does not threaten little kids with eternal torture in flames, which is something I also regard as child abuse.

David

17 February 2013 17:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hannah: "I don't actually think you need to create a 'secular state', more like 'apathetically religious, but notionally Christian, with important minority faiths, can we have a takeaway-Chinese sounds good- let's watch the x-factor/big brother, s-d that let's go down the pub state'."

I'm fairly content with a benign, non-political, constitutional entity like the CofE doing B.M.D. services for individuals and the State and putting out platitudes that people can just nod at and get on with their lives. Unfortunately, that's not the way it is turning out now. I doubt our Muslim citizens as a whole are content to be part of a second-class religion. Moreover, they're aware of their rights and some of them want to influence their environment, including their work one, along religious lines. Seeing their success, the Christian fringes are agitating for the same thing now and taking their demands to the higher courts to create rights. And seeing the agitation from both, the non-religious are becoming worried about religious incursions and demands.

17 February 2013 17:14  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Inspector,

And also the political influence of Islam is manifest in the labour party- a secular centre left party- which supports gay marriage and other stuff, but the bulk of the Islamic community will still vote for Labour.

I think this was like the discussion a few weeks ago as to why the majority of Roman Catholics- of Irish descent- still vote labour, rather than conservative. So I don't think we need to worry too much about an Islamic political party gaining too much ground in the UK.

17 February 2013 17:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "By the way, you say Christianity is a minority interest here. The 2011 census tells us that 33 million identify as Christian."

You cling to that like a drowning man to a overturned lifeboat. How many self-identifying Roman Catholic are there? 5 million? How many attend mass, a significant religious obligation, each week? 1 million? How many people attend CofE services each month? 1 million? There are most certainly not 33 million Christians in the UK. That is, people who believe Jesus was the son of god and for whom that belief is necessary for spiritual life with god after death. Even Marie here, a self-identifying Christian when it suits, was unaware what the significance of circumcision for Jews was. It's mostly an ethnic label these days, not a religious one.

17 February 2013 17:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Hannah, Islam have a political party, Respect. The Labour party know this and have to face the prospect that they can no longer count on metropolitan areas returning Labour MPs. To hang on for as long as they can, they continue this multicultural nonsense, and as a result ditched the white working class who are multi cultural suspicious and pro racist to put it mildly.

17 February 2013 17:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "You don’t even fully appreciate that when it comes to unwanted foreign influence in their own country, the British don’t want to know."

2.5 million British citizens self-identify as Muslims. They have a vote and access to our courts just like the rest of us.

17 February 2013 17:27  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Danjo,

17.14, sorry that post was meant as a facetious remark, but underlying that, you've got to admit that it is an apathetic response to matters of faith and religion that is the meme of today's Britain.

But as a qualifier I think that the apathetic majority, would label themselves as 'Christian/C of E' in a vague sense of the word. I suspect that that apathetic majority would become less so, if there was ever a major political breakthrough in your example of the imposition of Islamic practices in the UK.

I think we can see this from history- the puritans were an incredibly religious bunch of people (although I think they abolished Christmas?), but look how unpopular that regime was and how it fell. Or the lack of success of the temperance movement in the 19th century.

I personally think that most British, like religion, but like religion 'lite', a sort of diet form of cola, and for the reasons people are critical of the C of E here- that it doesn't really know what it believes, is all things to all men, eccentric, not threatening, but still gives a sense of religious gravity when people need it (weddings, funerals etc).

Hence my thought of Britain as a 'Christian' country.

17 February 2013 17:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0, there are 33 million reasons why you are wrong. You seem to believe the only true Christian attends church once a week. Well, the Inspector falls down on that, nowhere near that frequency...

Anyway, how would you feel if the only true male homosexual is a bareback practitioner ? Using your own logic against you and your chosen lifestyle...


17 February 2013 17:33  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

SisterHannah,

Thank you for referencing the Alpha course. You are of course right - it is a significant Mission tool.

I refer you back to my post on Food Banks where I said
"Food is important to God". I had thought to mention Alpha there as another modern illustration of that proposition.

It also links to the point that Jesus did not condemn the sinners -he broke bread with them.

The idea of welcome and engagement as the path to faith makes sense and it is, if I may say so, entirely consonant with Jesus' engagement with the lost.

He is the loving shepherd tending the flock not the butcher's apprentice taking them to the abattoir.

Or am I being a tad literal??

17 February 2013 17:37  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi David B,

I wouldn't doubt your consistency in the view that male circumcision to you is a form of abuse.

However, I would reject the very idea that male circumcision is abuse. Yes, there are many important facets to being Jewish, but male circumcision is a key part of our faith, as told to us by G-d to Abraham and therefore we have been doing this for several thousand years, so I fail to see why it should be stopped now, just because an atheist says so.

Now, I could appreciate your objections if Jews were forcing non-Jews to be circumcised as a national law. But we do not. It is something for Jews only as far as we are concerned.

Furthermore, I think banning male circumcision for Jews would be like you saying to Catholics here that they weren't allowed to celebrate their Mass.

I would also point out that all of my brothers and other male Jewish relatives have been circumcised and that they are well balanced people, who are successful and happy. So I cannot see this as 'child abuse' from the evidence of my own eyes.

I would also reject, from the evidence you present, that your claim that your version of secularism is somehow going to be protective of religion.

If you see a key part of my faith as 'child abuse' then, there is no toleration or protection of my religion, is there? (and of course on this one, you are with, as Danj0 points out, with Marie on this issue- a little irony of life).

17 February 2013 17:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Anyway, how would you feel if the only true male homosexual is a bareback practitioner ? Using your own logic against you and your chosen lifestyle..."

It's always homosexuality with you even when threads have nothing to do with it. Your calling card, so to speak. Homosexuals are people who are primarily sexually attracted to people of the same sex. You can call people like me heterosexuals if you like but, well, I'm a heterosexual who is exclusively attracted to other men in that case.

Christians are people who believe that Jesus is the son of god and he was crucified to death, rose from the dead and walked around, and ascended to heaven leaving no body behind. Moreover, they are people who believe that he died on the cross to remove the requirement for them to be judged according to strict justice and be damned in some way which excludes being with god when they're dead. Is any of that negiotiable for Christians? I think not.

17 February 2013 17:44  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Brother Ivo

Bit disingenuous with your texts.

Heard all Rev'd Darren McCallig's sermon spoke about and he spoke of a vague universality of love, not about Christ.

"I and Revd Darren seem to agree that you connect better with Joe Public with the approach " God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son Jesus Christ that whosoever (Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist/snake charmer/atheist etc) {loveth like him } shall not perish but have everlasting life". (new emphasis all Ernst's)"

This is the nub of it, is it not?

Blofeld

17 February 2013 17:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "You seem to believe the only true Christian attends church once a week. Well, the Inspector falls down on that, nowhere near that frequency..."

Surely you know that I think you're just a cultural Roman Catholic anyway? I wouldn't bet money on your having a belief in a Christian god though I'd perhaps have a punt on something a bit agnostic.

17 February 2013 17:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Thought as much. When the Inspector defines a homosexual in the same way you define a Christian, to wit, using narrow values, the tears run...

So 33 million who don’t self identify as Christian are wrong are they.

Hah ! Just remembered, you once had the gall to say there are fewer ACTIVE Christians, that is once a week people, than there are homosexuals, whether practicing or celibate. Parameter setting is a well established speciality of yours, lest your argument collapse...


17 February 2013 17:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

And now the Inspector isn’t a Christian at all now – DanJ0 says so.

17 February 2013 17:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Thought as much. When the Inspector defines a homosexual in the same way you define a Christian, to wit, using narrow values, the tears run..."

Reread what I wrote and argue it back if you think you can instead of trying to be patronising as a bluff. Are there any Christians who don't believe that Jesus was the son of god? Am I a heterosexual given what I've told you about my sexual attraction and the extent of it? Argue back properly or give it up.

17 February 2013 17:56  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Brother Ivo,

Perhaps this makes you a tad 'charismatic'?!*

I referenced the Alpha Course, because it is something that I was invited to go to a couple of years ago, when I went through an atheist phase and was still trying to deal with my sexuality and religion.

I enjoyed the discussions and it was part of a process which helped me with religion, although it wasn't the Christian religion which I embraced in the end, coming back to my old faith of Judaism.

Having said that, half of my family is also Anglican, so I really do like the Anglicans and understand the complexity of the different schools of thought in that faith.

*I recall one of the churches I went to prayed to cure me of my homosexuality and that satan would come out of me; to 'stop holding me back',because I wasn't falling on the floor like everyone else...

17 February 2013 17:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I don't believe in a god, or in Jesus as the son of a god. That is, I'm an atheist. If I declare that I'm a Christian in the census then am I a Christian? Afterall, I was Christened CofE and I used to write CofE as my religion on documents when I was younger simply for convenience before form writers got smarter.

17 February 2013 17:58  
Blogger OldJim said...

Danj0,

Just calling in to say I thought your definition of "Christian" at 17:44 a very reasonable one - excluding and including quite appropriately. Of course, I wouldn't have used precisely the same language that you have, and we could quibble about that all day.

But it is always worth acknowledging good work.

17 February 2013 18:00  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Ivo:

"The route of wrath is one way..."

Do try and read what I wrote. This isn't a simple case of "way of wrath" and "way of love". Just what precisely about what I wrote contradicts the following statement:

"He loved them into wholeness"

All I have done is to suggest that this statement can only be fully understood by examining not only what love and wholeness are, but a realisation that we are loved from somewhere apart from God, and that we are made whole from a state of brokenness.

God's Wrath and God's Love are not some sort of axis, with (good) Christians at the latter end. They are not directed in opposite directions either: they both are directed with full force at the intersection of Christ on the Cross.

Evil flees from the power of the Cross, because it is Evil's deathknell. It is where sin and death are destroyed, and it is the promise of Christ's impending restoration of Creation.

There's an old saying, Brother Ivo: fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. There's another that sees God's wisdom at the heart of His mercy shown on the Cross. These are not mutually exclusive but co-dependent.

17 February 2013 18:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

OldJim: "Just calling in to say I thought your definition of "Christian" at 17:44 a very reasonable one - excluding and including quite appropriately."

Thank you. It's the absolute minimum, really. Rather like the Shahada for Muslims.

17 February 2013 18:05  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Inspector,

And that is the nub of the irony, because Respect is a left of centre political party, which like labour has a different set of social values in relation to its core support.

Whilst it supports 'Palestine' and other stuff, it is a secular left wing party, trying to piggy back on the Muslim vote. A certain charismatic MP aside, it isn't really that successful.

17 February 2013 18:09  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Also Inspector,

You know that the very purpose of the post was to address the decline in attendance at Church services. So you can't really argue with Danjo about that because it is a fact.

17 February 2013 18:10  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Blofeld,

I invite you to reflect on disingenuity.

You may note that when I critique another's view ( eg when I wrote on "Headship") I scrupulously quote that view directly in full, in their own words. I shall do this in my next post.

I think it wrong to misquote as you have done. My point was to emphasise an entirely orthodox approach- nothing whatsoever to do with universalism.

Again you, as others seem to want the sermon to say more than its chosen ambit. If you have only 12 minutes to deliver a sermon you cannot say everything. You take the text from the lectionary and develop a theme. This one is on the text for the day and delivers to its brief.

If you want to hear more on other subjects "come back next week". It is unfair to imprint views on anyone to satisfy one's own desire to "defeat " an "opponent" real or imagined.

17 February 2013 18:24  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Ivo

We have an example on here of someone who 'knows' the Gospel message. He's given a clear summary of it above. So no need to evangelise there.

At the sane time he rejects the Gospel as myth. He is also leading an openly sinful life, repeatedly condemned in the Gospel, by Church Tradition and by natural reason. Indeed, he is proud of that lifestyle and advocates the normalisation of it on the grounds of 'equality' and 'diversity' in a 'secular' and 'pluralistic' society..

Would Jesus really break bread with such a person? Would He not condemn his sin and call him to repent?

"For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord."

Am I being too literal?

The Christian Churches need to stand firm on what is acceptable and unaccwptable with God.

17 February 2013 18:33  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 February 2013 18:42  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Anon,

I do not think there is much between us.

If you have listened to the sermon I commend, I think you will have seen that the proposition advanced is that in the modern context the carrot is better than the stick.

Do not overlook that in the time the saying you rightly quote was made, everybody, but everybody, had a cultural familiarity with the theological context of the saying.

That is no longer the case.

If you stand at a Church door figuratively saying " Come on in and God/we will no longer be angry with you" the average person will say that they can do without the argument, thank you very much.

The sermon starts where people are. He actually says that most people sense that the world is improved by love; its a much shorter opening step to tell them that they are right.

I recall hearing the former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir Ali advising that Mission is best undertaken by "working with the grain". I agree.

17 February 2013 18:43  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Surely the best way to know how to use appropriate emphases in our evangelism is to look to the apostolic example given in Scripture. Examples include:

Peter's sermon at Pentecost- Peter's emphasis on the resurrection and victory of Christ, and warning the people that they have made themselves his enemies, and those of God and are thus in danger and in need of repentance (Acts 2 vv22-23, 34-36, v38, v40).

Stephen's speech before the Sanhedrin, involving a long exposition of Israel's history and a pretty unequivocal smack-down of the Jewish leaders (with implicit comparison to the villains of the past).

Paul's speech at Pisidia: He proclaims Christ's fulfillment of Jewish history at the syngagogue, showing how he fulfils God's promises. He proclaims forgiveness of sin to them, which the law could not offer. And warns them strongly not to be astounded and perish.

Paul's sermon to the Gentiles in Athens: He tells them who God is and what he is like. He rebukes their sinful practices and commands them to repent in the light of the coming judgement proven by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Now perhaps Paul and Peter were just fundamentalists, but it does seem like the coming wrath does feature prominently. I know a lot people want to airbrush this out, but without it the gospel becomes the answer to a non-existent question. "What must I do to be saved" only makes sense to people who know they are lost. And people will not turn if they do not know they are lost.

17 February 2013 18:46  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

David B,

Well, I have just finished watching the movie, 'battleship' (£6.99 from the co-op), so am in a combat mood.

[The next DVD will be 'Van Helsing', with Dodo as Cardinal Jinette and Carl Jacobs as the Monk 'Brother Carl' - as for some reason we are now calling each other 'brother' and 'sister', regardless of sibling relationships, but 'whatever' as my elder daughter is want to say].

I personally think you should be free to believe whatever it is that you believe- even to the point of calling various religions or none, being 'child abusers' for the practice of male circumcision.[I think Dawkins has said, like yourself, that religion is a form of 'child abuse'].

I would say, though, that you need to follow Danjo, in so much as you need to 'bone up' on your research on the various religions.

Just quoting texts and saying all religions take them literally is not good either as an atheist or as a believer. For the record, I have read the New Testament (at the encouragement of my business partner, a Baptist) and also the Qu'ran (in Arabic- mum's first language, after Hebrew and English, btw).

If you want to critique other faiths, then you need to have at least a basic concept of their holy books, their doctrines and their theology etc. Then and only then, do I think you have an ability (or credibility?) to engage on the substance of religion/atheism/secularism.

Now I understand that the likes of Richard Dawkins would say you don't need to know the theology of leprechauns to understand leprechaunology, but I think you do.

There was a recent debate between Dawkins and our Chief Rabbi. Needless to say Rabbi Sacks 'thrashed' Dawkins, because he equated Judaism with 'the old testament' only, because he did not understand the Jewish faith, texts, philosophy, the beliefs, nuances, history and the contemporary setting of [Orthodox or otherwise]Judaism.

In other words Dawkins was clueless as to what he was attacking, so couldn't really land any punches. Good for us; bad for you (Thank G-d).

17 February 2013 18:46  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0, you dwell on this site to undermine Christianity and to undermine the foundations of a Christian nation. And if you have any time left over, you advocate the gay agenda. Anything the Inspector has left out ?

17 February 2013 18:47  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 February 2013 18:49  
Blogger len said...

I am beginning to have a suspicion that 'Brother Ivo' might be a 'new ager' who has overpowered Cranmer and has him bound and gagged and has taken over his keyboard?.

Of course God loves people but does He leave it at that?.
People will not want or see the need for change unless the gospel is presented to them in its entirety.You present a false identity of Jesus .Jesus spoke about hell He spoke of damnation.He spoke of the need to be' born again.'To tell people that God 'loves them regardless' is a totally false picture of God and a false Gospel.
We are living in a time when 'sin' is being redefined.There is in the eyes of many the idea that there is 'no absolute morality' everything is relative.Taking this to its logical conclusion ..no sin no need for a Saviour Jesus becomes irrelevant just another' good man'.

17 February 2013 18:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Brother Ivo

I have now listened to the proffered sermon. It was everything I expected it to be. Specifically, I found it devoid of any knowledge of the Gospel, and disastrously deficient in sound Christology.

1. The purpose of mission is not to tell people that they are loved. The purpose of mission is to tell people the Gospel - which means telling people about their sin and the work of Christ on the cross and the empty tomb. The sermon specifically denies that this is the purpose of mission when this is the prime purpose of the Church.

2. The Sermon says that Jesus offers only love, but completely ignores the reaction of Jesus to (say) the Pharisees, and His repeated declarations of condemnation that occur all over the four gospels. As in "If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." It has no cognizance of the second coming when He will return not as a lamb but as a Lion. And people will most certainly fear Him then. That is also declared in the Gospels - as in "Mountain, Fall on me. Earth, cover me up." It is a scripturally truncated vision of Christ that fits the preset mold of "God is love and only love, and He isn't mad at anybody except those crazy fundamentalists."

There is nothing orthodox about it. From beginning to end, I judged it to be sub-Christian.

carl

17 February 2013 18:54  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Ivo, it’s been a bit of a “scribes and Pharisees” day for you, don’t you think ?


17 February 2013 18:58  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Inspector,

Just noticed something ghastly- what on earth is wrong with your avatar?! You've gone from being a suave and sophisticated 19th century gentleman, to some kind of silly puppet! Perhaps that explains your recent posts?

Perhaps an anecdote from the Mouse and Wheel is in order? (our family do like to share your stories of that legendary pub, on our Friday night Shabbat meal).

17 February 2013 19:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Anything the Inspector has left out ?"

Yes, your return argument. Conspicuous by its absence.

17 February 2013 19:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0, you’ve presented an argument amongst your earlier guff ?

Where !

17 February 2013 19:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Hannah, Lord Charles is in command at the moment...

17 February 2013 19:15  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi David,

Don't give Cardinal Dodo a big head. Next he'll be quoting from the film :

"We have kept mankind safe since time immemorial, we are the last defence against evil. An evil that the rest of mankind has no idea even exists."

Although perhaps that explains why he is the leader of the Swiss Cyber Guard, LOL.

17 February 2013 19:15  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Poor old Mr Inspector,

He has been taken over by some puppet master called 'lord charles'. I hope the real OIG is OK?

17 February 2013 19:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Brother Ivo

You say nobody reads the Bible literally - well I have met them!

Well, it depends on the definition of 'literally' doesn't it. I am a Six-Day Creationist. I read Genesis as history because it presents as history. I have no textual reason to do otherwise. But I don't read the Book of Revelation as history because it presents as apocalyptic literature. Not even a rock-ribbed dispensationalist reads Revelation in a totally literal manner. I have repeatedly found that complaints about "literalism" are typically disguised assertions of "I don't want that to be true."

I and Revd Darren seem to agree that you connect better with Joe Public with the approach " God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son Jesus Christ that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life".

Except that Rev McCallig never said that in the sermon. Anywhere. He seemed to deny the whole idea of perishing. And in any case, that verse is a statement of divine providence and not human volition. It is immediately followed by a declaration that those without the Son are already condemned.

The objective of evangelism is not a getting people through the door. Many evangelists get people through the door by promising entertainment or prosperity or some such nonsense. It is easy to draw a crowd. No, the objective of evangelism is to get people through the door for the right reason. It is in any case an act of God and not man. We plant the seed and God gives the increase. And all those who are appointed for eternal life will believe.

carl

17 February 2013 19:23  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Hannah,

I suspect that OIG is supping at his watering hole at the 'Mouse and wheel' with his pints of stout and cashew nuts, & has got his friend Lord Charles to 'stand in' for himself. I think that there was a Lord Charles was a big shot in the navy in the 1890s/1900s, so would be consistent with OIG profile?

17 February 2013 19:25  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Oops, I forgot, that is brother OIG and sister Hannah.

Although I am unsure as to why poor old Bro Ivo is being attacked. From what I understand of the Anglican faith, he is well within the theological safety net?

17 February 2013 19:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


And so it came to pass that Ivo confronted the keepers of the Word, and their wrath was great. Only the purest may hear the Word they said, only those who are fit to be saved are to be offered salvation. But Ivo did not wince, and smote them, in a metaphoric way, and they ran like dogs...


17 February 2013 19:30  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 February 2013 19:47  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

david kavanagh

From what I understand of the Anglican faith, he is well within the theological safety net?

Well, practically speaking, there is nothing outside the theological safety net of Anglicanism. Well, except for opposing women bishops and women's ordination. That's outside.

Now.

carl

17 February 2013 19:48  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

David,

Yes a bally good film- I especially appreciated the ending, when the veterans 'teamed up' with the modern chaps, by using the USS Missouri to defeat the alien adversary. A good example of how us old folk are not yet ready for the assisted suicide chamber just yet!

17 February 2013 19:50  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Hannah/David,

I know that picture anywhere- Lord Charles was a contemporary of the blasted bounder Flashman- his fag at Rugby! What an odious pair of rotters!

Somehow, they must have kidnapped Inspector, during one of his trips to the Mouse and Wheel- perhaps the Cashews had been secretly drugged? And did Inspector say he had only a pint and half? What self-respecting Irishman would only drink that amount?

No, for Queen and country, we must launch a rescue mission at once! To Gloucestershire, to save OIG, before it is too late!

17 February 2013 19:50  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Dash it all, I am an Anglican and will die an Anglican. I cannot see anything that is wrong with Brother Ivo's posts. I disagree with him on Women Priestesses, but that is part and parcel of being Anglican. We use the threefold clover of tradition, reason and scripture in our theology. Sounds perfectly logical to me.

17 February 2013 19:53  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Thomas.

Is it not curious that Brother Ivo is regarded as dangerously heretical for always choosing to ground his theology not on Peter or Paul, but on Jesus?!!

The Story of the Apostles is valuable however, but have you not noticed how they begin their preaching at the starting point of their audience? Confronted with Jews steeped in the Old Testament they begin from that starting point.

Paul at the Areopagus to particularly instructive. What is most striking is that Paul starts "dangerously" proximate to Universalism! He compliments them on their openness and he does not tell them of the peril of worshipping false gods but works with their theological curiosity and then explains " The unknown God".

He is " working with the grain"and what should give pause for thought to some of my critics is how LITTLE he speaks of their sins or their current risk of damnation!

He majors on the amazing good news of Christ and the resurrection. I wholeheartedly agree. I will cheerfully preach on this text orthodoxly at length any time I am invited.

We can continue other outstanding issues another time; my next post will not leave some unmoved!

I am amused that I am now an Evangelical crypto-Catholic New-Ager!

OIG IBrother Ivo shall bear this with as much fortitude as he can muster.

17 February 2013 19:54  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Lord Lavendon

Salute!!!

Watch this space you clever old stick!!!!

17 February 2013 19:56  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Inspector said...

"DanJ0, you dwell on this site to undermine Christianity and to undermine the foundations of a Christian nation. And if you have any time left over, you advocate the gay agenda. Anything the Inspector has left out?"

If I may. There are a couple of points. His diabolical exchanges are: " ... among the more reasonable, enlightened and polite ..." on this blog

17 February 2013 20:01  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Do excuse the typo.

17 February 2013 20:01  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Lord Lavendon,

No-one is going to put you into an 'assisted suicide chamber' (at least not as long as I'm alive).

I think Mr Inspector does need rescuing, but not from a fictional adversary. I think he needs a good wife to look after him. I think we need to pray that G-d will provide him with a nice lady, who likes him, is attractive and can cook (perhaps a Catholic Nigella?).

17 February 2013 20:08  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Lord Lavendon,

That is correct, Sir!

To use a different film :

Colonel Carl Jacobs (USAF) : Something you want to add to this briefing, Captain Kavanagh ?

Commander David Kavanagh (British Fleet Air Arm): No, sir, just a little anxious to get up there and whoop E.T.'s ass, that's all!

17 February 2013 20:13  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

So Ivo the strategy is one for "First Contact", is it? If so, I agree we need to start where people are at and should tell them the Good News first - that through Christ they can have eternal happiness. Work with them, fine. Then, we have an obligation to introduce the demands of the faith as full members of the Body of Christ.

Unlike Calvinists, Catholics do not believe God has predetermined who He will save and who He will withhold His Grace from and let be damned. No, Catholics believe that growth in the faith takes place over time, through our own effort, the Grace of God and with the assistance of the Church and the Holy Spirit. It requires our cooperation and membership in His Body, the Church.

17 February 2013 20:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "If I may. There are a couple of points. His diabolical exchanges are: " ... among the more reasonable, enlightened and polite ..." on this blog"

You continue to goad the blog owner with your silly Hauptmann thing and your echoing of his past words, whilst trying to cause trouble with me at the same time. You're in a Rebellious Child ego state in Transactional Analysis terms, by the look of it.

17 February 2013 20:15  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

david kavanagh

It was 31 years ago today I reported to my first duty station. Fresh out of IQT, and with a gleaming Pocket Rocket on my chest, and a great desire to become Combat Crew Certified.

carl

17 February 2013 20:18  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Hannah

An excellent quote from the good Cardinal and so true.

I enjoyed this exchange:

CARDINAL JINETTE
"Don't get me wrong. Your results are unquestionable, but your methods attract far too much attention. Wanted posters. We are not pleased."

VAN HELSING
"Do you think I like being the most wanted man in Europe? Why don't you and the order do something about it?"

CARDINAL JINETTE
"Because we do not exist."

17 February 2013 20:26  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Brother Ivo,

Forgive a question from someone coming late to this discussion and not able to listen to the sermons at present, but...

I've tried to point out on this site before that sinfulness is a condition of humanity, and that we should behave towards fellow sinners with understanding and love. If that is what you are saying, I'd be with you.

But where exactly are you drawing the line when it comes to human behaviour? Jesus does approach sinners with compassion and love, but he is also abundantly clear that the pattern of the sinner's life needs amending - i.e. that certain behaviours engaged in by human beings are sinful, cause a breach with God, and will ultimately have consequences.

There is a worrying tendency in contemporary Christianity to use God's overwhelming love for his creation as a 'Get out of Gaol Free' card - God so loves us that anything we feel to be basically alright is not something we will need to atone for; as
long as what we're doing does not directly cause physical or emotional harm to another, it's probably ok.

That is not Christianity; it is therapeutic deism, in which God only exists to rubber-stamp whatever our consciences feel is right at any given time. Jesus had an incredible love and compassion for all us sinners, but he did not shy away from pointing out that emendation of life was needed.

It seems to me that contemporary Western Christianity misses the fine line between compassion and love towards sinners (which we all are) and promoting the belief that virtually nothing is actually sinful.

Where do you stand?

17 February 2013 20:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Brer Dodo. " ... among the more reasonable, enlightened and polite ..." on this blog"

Bing ! Do you know, the Inspector can’t get enough of those wise words from the Archbishop !

{DISAPPEARS BACK DOWN CORRIDOR – THE NOISE OF ECHOEY FOOTSTEPS MIXED WITH HOWLING}

17 February 2013 20:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Brer Ivo, don’t think you’ve got away lightly from Brer Blofeld. He’s in the bath now, steaming. Once they winch him out, expect a night long tirade of biblical passages for your sin of opening up the Word to your undeserving fellows...

17 February 2013 20:42  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

"Is it not curious that Brother Ivo is regarded as dangerously heretical for always choosing to ground his theology not on Peter or Paul, but on Jesus?!!"

Now I was led to believe the totality of Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written under His guidance.

Here's what Jesus had to say about His Church and its teachings:

Luke 12:11-12:
"And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say."

John 16:13:
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."

Acts 1:8:
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

17 February 2013 20:43  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Darter Noster

Very well said @ 20:31!

It appears I may have misunderstood you during an earlier exchange and for that I apologise.

17 February 2013 20:47  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Carl Jacobs,

Congratulations sir! You are a fellow 'brother', who has served their country come what may.

Here's a toast :

To the American and British Army, Airforce and Navy and the battles they have won; here's to Britain's and America's colours, the colours that never run.

G-d Bless America!

G-d defend Israel!

G-d Save the Queen!

17 February 2013 20:50  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Carl Jacobs/David-

Of course the real reason why the sun never sets on The British Empire is because God doesn't trust the British in the dark....

And may the wings of liberty never lose a feather; here is to our grand alliance, may it never be torn asunder!

17 February 2013 21:02  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

David

"G-d Bless America!

G-d defend Israel!

G-d Save the Queen!"

Amen and a toast to that!

17 February 2013 21:04  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

And of course a salute to our kith and Kin in Her Majesty's Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India!

17 February 2013 21:08  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Thank you Dodo - that is very gentlemanly of you :o) We are basically on the same side.

Carl - I notice you have the Strategic Air Command badge as your logo here; did you make Combat Crew? If so, what did you fly? Heck, any aircraft would make me jealous, but if it was B-47 (sorry, I have no idea how old you are), B-58 or B-52, I'd love to hear about it... :o)

17 February 2013 21:16  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Inspector

What's with 'Brer'?

'Br' or, less traditionally, 'Bro' will suffice.

17 February 2013 21:21  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Carl - oops, sorry, just noticed the "31 years ago today" bit of your post, which I guess rules out the B-47 or B-58 (even though that was a fantastic aircraft, IMHO). B-1 or B-2...? :o)

17 February 2013 21:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Brer Dodo, you were not brought up with Uncle Remus ?

17 February 2013 21:25  
Blogger William said...

In my experience telling people they are loved by God isn't enough anyway. We have to show the lost that they are loved. It is only then that they may start to accept the truth of their predicament. It is our actions and how we relate that speak first of the Kingdom of God.

17 February 2013 21:29  
Blogger bluedog said...

Excellent post, Darter Noster @ 20.31. Brother Ivo's practice of introducing his own terminology into debate, as highlighted by AIB, is one way of making yourself a moving target.

Mr David B @ 17.13 says, 'Destroying lots of sensitive nerves without a good medical reason can hardly be regarded as good for a child.'

During World War2 it was observed that British troops who had been circumscised enjoyed far fewer sexual health problems than those who had not. This was particularly the case with men serving in very hot climates, either the dry heat of desert where sand got in to everything, or in wet tropical conditions. So to say that circumcision is child abuse without a medical benefit seems misconceived. You won't hear the the following argument from a Jew, because to them it's holy writ, but the whole Kosher regime and practice seems to be pre-refrigeration form of hygene. Circumcision is therefore a practice for ensuring personal health in extreme conditions where the water needed for frequent washing is simply not available.

As such, the practice of circumcision is a necessary procedure for assisting the survival of the tribe or nation.

The Left, who are currently waging unrestricted war on anything Jewish, are being culturally insensitive if not outright ignorant in failing to recognise this imperative.

Isn't cultural insensitivity a hate-crime?

17 February 2013 21:32  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Darter Noster,

It matters not what Balloon or flying craft Carl Jacobs was in, but the fact that he served as an officer and a gentleman, in a great Airforce of a country which is a key ally of Great Britain!

No more needs to be said. And I understand from the dispatches of my niece that Mrs Jacobs is also in the American military- jolly good show!- we needed lady fighters in the war so that is perfectly correct and above board.

And I also understand that his daughter is training to be a police Inspector- and the other is training Johnny Europe to speak English- two careers that takes traditional British character and pluck to achieve!

I shall certainly be raising a few brandy glasses to Mr Jacobs and his family tonight, hip-hip, hooray!

17 February 2013 21:36  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Inspector said...
"Brer Dodo, you were not brought up with Uncle Remus ?"

No indeed; way before my time and in the wrong part of the world too. So you're using a southern negro dialect, then?

Ummm ... not sure it fits with the dummy.

17 February 2013 21:45  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Ah Blue Dog,

You remind me of my loyal old faithful hound - expect that you are not a labrador - and an excellent response to David B.

What 'tolerant and enlightened' person wishes to destroy Judaism? As you note, to my Jewish kith and kin, circumcision is 'Holy Writ', so to them it is end of argument, end of story.

17 February 2013 21:47  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Lord Lavendon,

Granted, it matters not - I'm just a bit of an aircraft geek :o)

I wanted to be an airline pilot; in order to do so, one needs corrected eye sight of around 20/20, which I have (20/10 actually), but one also needs uncorrected eye sight to a minimum level, which I do not have. That means that there are people flying passenger aircraft right now whose eye sight, when wearing the glasses without which they are not allowed to fly, is worse than mine. However, because their eye sight without glasses, in which state they would not be allowed to fly, is better than mine, they can fly for a living and I cannot. I would be lying if I said that the injustice of this situation does not burn through to my soul every single day.

17 February 2013 21:54  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Darter Noster,

Oh, war is a terrible, bloody affair old chap. But in respect of your vision problems, you have my sympathy, for you were born too late. In the great battle of Britain, any man who could stand and had his senses would battle the Luftwaffe, to defend our beloved islands against the vile Nazi -Fascists and his villainous genocidal empire-building.

17 February 2013 22:01  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Brother Ivo: Is it not curious that Brother Ivo is regarded as dangerously heretical for always choosing to ground his theology not on Peter or Paul, but on Jesus?!!

I regard anyone who tries to drive a wedge between the different parts of scripture is a dangerous heretic with a deficient doctrine of scripture.

What is most striking is that Paul starts "dangerously" proximate to Universalism! He compliments them on their openness and he does not tell them of the peril of worshipping false gods but works with their theological curiosity and then explains " The unknown God".

Does he though? As I’m sure you are well aware, the word translated “religious” admits of ambiguity and may well be translated as “superstitious”. In any case, said statue was in case they’d missed out some God, not because of some religious curiosity, and Paul is proclaiming they definitely have missed something out, and he then goes on to trash their religious practices.

He is " working with the grain"and what should give pause for thought to some of my critics is how LITTLE he speaks of their sins or their current risk of damnation!

Yes no-one doubts that we need to be culturally relevant, however I very much think that what you are seeking to do is cut out the “nasty” bits. And are you kidding? He refutes their temples, he refutes their idols, he commands them to repent and then warns them to of the coming judgement should they fail to do so. Indeed, the resurrection comes not as a promise of hope of future life but as an assurance of the terrible judgement to come.

He majors on the amazing good news of Christ and the resurrection. I wholeheartedly agree. I will cheerfully preach on this text orthodoxly at length any time I am invited.

Err… No. He doesn’t. He majors on showing them how wrong their religious practices are. Christ is only mentioned in relation to his resurrection which proves he is coming as judge. In fact, the forgiveness of sins isn’t even offered. The resurrection is not here presented as good news. Are we reading the same text?

And no, you're not some bizarre mix of anything, you sound to me like an old-fashioned liberal.

17 February 2013 22:03  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Darter Noster,

I have read your post in a more thorough way. Terrible, that you have been denied your desire to be an airline pilot!

And yet I think I recall your are being called into some form of ministry into the Church? Perhaps our Lord has a greater desire for you to serve in a way that HE wants you to. Remember that Moses did not want to lead the people from slavery- yet that was what God told and called to do.

I hope that this serves as a form of encouragement to you my dear fellow.

17 February 2013 22:07  
Blogger David B said...

Dodo

"What 'tolerant and enlightened' person wishes to destroy Judaism? As you note, to my Jewish kith and kin, circumcision is 'Holy Writ', so to them it is end of argument, end of story. "

I would maintain that banning circumcision is not to destroy Judaism.

I have no problem with consenting adults being involved in circumcisions whether they are the subject of the procedure or the performer of the procedure.

Among the tolerant and enlightened people who are also against circumcision - and for infant circumcision one would have to be way over-tolerant of child abuse to not be against it - would be a group called Jews Against Circumcision

http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/

David

17 February 2013 22:08  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Sorry Lord Lavendon, but they would not even have let me into the Armed Forces (officially at least) in 1914, much as I would have tried.

However, in the military one can see the sense of it - your glasses can be knocked off in a fight, or don't fit under a fighter pilot's helmet. I wanted to join the police at one stage, but, not unreasonably, was refused - fair enough. But as a civillian airline pilot - if you are doing something to your aircraft with sufficient force to knock a well-fitted pair of glasses off your face, your aircraft is doomed anyway. Your specs will fit under the oxyegn mask. Because of the uncorrected eye sight rule, I cannot even drive a minicab - despite the fact that I have driven 50,000 miles across the country perfectly safely in the last four years.

It is just not right or fair; either you can do the job or you cannot.

17 February 2013 22:11  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Darter,

First can I remind you as I have others that this is a good sermon of limited remit.

It explores the question "How do we best start the conversation?" I am persuaded that its generous approach is best calculated to maximise our "catch".

We are not far apart in our approach. I am inclined to believe that what is asked of us is to draw people in, share the Gospel and allow the nature of Christ to transform the willing.

What happens next I leave to Him and "Judge not".

The example of the thief on the cross is a challenge to the approach of many. All he does is love Christ and put his Trust in Him. Interestingly there is not even express repentance, just last minute faith and compassion for the unjustly condemned Jesus. It confounds some more protracted explanations of what is needed to be saved. I read and simply thank God that there is such hope in response to so little from the repentant sinner.

17 February 2013 22:11  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Dash it all Darter,

I have no idea what the requirements were for pilots in 1914- but in 1940, if you were a patriotic Briton that wished to get into a spitfire for King and country, then you'd have been gladly accepted. (Says a chap, who lied about his age in 1939,to join the fight against the fascists!).

17 February 2013 22:13  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

David B,

I am sure I can find a website called 'Atheists against atheism', but would that invalidate (in your eyes at least) your atheism? Why no.

So instead, why don't you go to one of the few remaining socialist-atheist-secularist paradises on this earth, that is the few countries that still have a population left to understand the horrors of atheist socialist (be it Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia or Pol Pot's Cambodia), such as North Korea, and leave the rest of us in peace!

17 February 2013 22:17  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Darter Noster

I expended great effort to become flight qualified, but those thoroughly dishonorable flight surgeons made me take an eye test I couldn't pass. This was my girl. I was certified Mission Ready on March 22 (iirc) and pulled my first alert the next day.

carl

17 February 2013 22:29  
Blogger William said...

David B

There have often been arguments relating male circumcision to hygiene/health. Indeed my mother - a fundamentalist agnostic - went even as far as calling the local rabbi, but she decided not to go ahead in the end. Your claims of child abuse just emphasise how important it is not to let secularists get any kind of political power. Their delusions of neutrality would lead to the worst kind of abuse.

17 February 2013 22:32  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

David B,

As usual you are keen to display your ignorance of Judaism when confronted by some basic statements of fact or casual observations (both by Jews and non Jews on this thread).

Bluedog correctly says :

"The Left, who are currently waging unrestricted war on anything Jewish, are being culturally insensitive if not outright ignorant in failing to recognise this imperative.

Isn't cultural insensitivity a hate-crime?"

Please answer that. And good for you, you have found a site which is against circumcision written by Jews! I am sure I can pluck lots of stuff from the internet, numerous anti-Jew sites who twist our religion at any and every opportunity. A copy of the "Talmud Unmasked" is on its way to Tenby.

Yet that does not alter the basic premise of religious freedom and tolerance that you apparently believe in.

Perhaps the reality is that you pick and choose whatever you want to tolerate (your critique of religion) based upon some arbitrary notion of ethics and morality (or in other words whatever you think of when you wake up in the morning?).

Hence why you wish to put 'religion' into the box of 'cheap social work', as Carl Jacobs says

17 February 2013 22:36  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Brother Ivo,

The thief on the cross is being punished for his sins; Jesus tells him then, with an analysis of his soul that no one except our Lord can perform, that because of his faith he will be forgiven. That does not mean that what the thief did in life is not sinful.

Unless you are going to argue that nothing is really simful, at some point your duty as a Christian minister will require you to state what behaviours are sinful and what are not.

Loving the sinner is not the same as hating the sin; giving people the impression that no matter what they do God will forgive them and allow them into the kingdom of Heaven is not the role of a true Christian minister; they have to acknowledge their sin before they can be forgiven. We can disagree as to what that sin is, but at some point you as a Christian Minister will have to say that things they do are sinful.

All I am asking you is where that point will be...

17 February 2013 22:44  
Blogger David B said...

William - there have indeed been arguments regarding both health and the degree to which damage is done to sexual sensitivity, and these arguments will not, as far as I can see, go away.

Personally I'm persuaded that many of the arguments regarding health are over-stated and come from those with a vested interest in the practice continuing, and the argument that substantial damage is done is something I am also persuaded about.

Further, there are matters of principle involved, and they involve conflicting goods. The rights of parents to do the best they can for their child on one hand, the rights of children not to have bits of living flesh with many nerve endings in them without a strong medical reason being another.

I hope and believe that in a generation or so circumcision - male and female - will be viewed rather as I hope the Chinese practice of mutilating the feet of upper class girls is viewed now - that is to say barbaric.

Time, and future argument, will tell.

In the meantime it is important, I think, that people are allowed to put forward their various points of view, without a concern for the well being of the kids being confused with anti-semitism, which it - in most cases anyway - ain't.

David

17 February 2013 22:45  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Carl - sounds like you and me both hate the medics, with their arbitrary rules :o)

17 February 2013 22:47  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Darter Noster,

Don't get too hung up about your eyesight, mine has gone south for a couple of years, so I have to wear glasses now, most of the time, although that wouldn't stop me from defending my family if they were in mortal danger (a little tip I got from our Lord Lav, is how to immobilise some-one with your finger).

You have to use the assets you have, not the assets you want to have.

As Lord Lav has suggested, perhaps you are meant for something else? Who knows.

It is a bit like Donald Rumsfeld and his 'known, knowns and his unknown knowns'. I think G-d does, but who knows, if he's going to tell you he knows, that he knows you are going to a different path, but I am sure that he knows, but perhaps you don't know that he knows, why G-d doesn't tell you that he knows, is one of life's little mysteries, if you know what I mean.

17 February 2013 22:51  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

A vision of a future *open* church:

"In the Social Justice Catholic Church, there will be no more of this nonsense over contraception. Once we've put that non-issue to rest, we'll be freed up to tackle other non-issues, too -- like marriage and gender equality.

In the Social Justice Catholic Church, everyone will be treated equally -- men, women, gay or straight. And everyone will be allowed to marry, even priests. And speaking of priests, no one will be disqualified from being one based on gender or sexual orientation. Priest shortage? What priest shortage?

So, what makes the Social Justice Catholic Church different from any other inclusive and reasonable church, like the Unitarian Church, for example? Two thousand years' worth of rituals and a treasure trove of accessories, that's what. We're keeping all of the cool incense burners, water-sprinkler thingies, holy days, saints and sacraments. Oh, and the wine. We're definitely keeping the wine."
(Christina Pesoli)

17 February 2013 22:53  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr David B @ 22.08, your arguments against childhood circumcision are evolving into the same arguments as used by those opposing childhood innoculation against smallpox etc - equally misguided.

It is surely the right of every parent, Jew or Gentile, to do what they think is best for their child's health and survival.

If the parents' chosen procedures include the practice of circumcision, who are you, a non-parent, to demand adherence to your own particular prejudices?

17 February 2013 22:55  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

David B,

"I hope and believe that in a generation or so circumcision - male and female - will be viewed rather as I hope the Chinese practice of mutilating the feet of upper class girls is viewed now - that is to say barbaric".

Well my friend Judaism has survived for the past 4,000 years- pogroms, expulsions, discrimination, hatred, anti -language laws and even the plans of a genocidal maniac who wanted to enslave the earth. So, given our history, I think that we will survive in the future, regardless of your ridiculous atheist, anti- religious freedom, dogma.

17 February 2013 22:56  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

David B SAID ...

"I hope and believe that in a generation or so circumcision - male and female - will be viewed rather as I hope the Chinese practice of mutilating the feet of upper class girls is viewed now - that is to say barbaric."

How the h*ll can you seriously equate female genital mutilation and Chinese foot binding with male circumcision?!! What a riduliulous comparison.

17 February 2013 23:00  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Hang on, Dodo...

Married priests would not be the end of the world. There is nothing whatsoever in the theology to stop a married man from becoming a priest; it is a discipline which could be revoked at any time.

I agree entirely that there is a huge value in a celibate ministry, but married men could also serve God as parish clergy. When the Church is crying out for new priests, and there are married men ready and able to serve, it seems foolish to prevent them.

17 February 2013 23:02  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

David K

I digress but do you know of any Jewish writings on the significance of God's decision to require the circumcision of men as a sign of their Covenant with Him?

Given the importance attached to human sexuality and sex throughout Scripture, I do think God was also conveying a message about the proper place of sex in His plan and how man should conduct himself.

17 February 2013 23:06  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Darter Nosta

I don't disagree, neither do I agree. Let's wait on Rome and the Holy Spirit, eh?

Read the rest of the post. Do you agree with women priests, with homosexual marriage and with homosexual married priests or priestesses? Do you agree with contraception and, as a follow on, abortion?

That was the point of my post.

17 February 2013 23:11  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 February 2013 23:16  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Dodo,

Ah, are you sure you are OK? I can help you with the first part, but I am unsure of the inference of the second. As I deal with the first part, can you clarify the second part of your post?

17 February 2013 23:17  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Dodo,

I agree with none of those things.

I am simply as fed up with being told by Catholic Bishops "There is no reason why you cannot be a priest, we just won't let you" as I am being told by the Civil Aviation Authority "We know you are capable of flying a plane, we're just not going to let you do it."

17 February 2013 23:21  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Darter,

As I say we are not at serious odds.

You have caught my point precisely- there is an analysis of his soul that none but Christ can perform. That is exactly it. Mystery - schematic theology does not explain it.

If we read in our Churches the Bible lessons, the text/challenge is laid down. I have never suggested we ignore or sanitise the texts. Having done that we can help, discuss, point the way but what happens in the depths of the soul is"above our pay grade."

I resist trying to draw a route through the Biblical Text to over explain and overlay with theorising. Somehow, the thief is put right with God- thanks be to God. I am content to behold that mystery and hope.

The only salvation more improbable than the thief's -is Paul's ( and the Bible does not actually say that happened!) (Though I have faith it did)

17 February 2013 23:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Darter Noster

When the Church is crying out for new priests, and there are married men ready and able to serve, it seems foolish to prevent them.

A friend of mine who became a RC Priest once told me that the difficulty with allowing married priests is that the decision would have to be made by those who took and kept a vow of celibacy. The immediate question would become "Then what did I make the sacrifice for?" That's a hard question to answer.

carl

17 February 2013 23:35  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Brother Ivo,

I dispute nothing you say about the need to translate Christian compassion and love into everyday life.

However, there is a great deal of difference between condemning someone for committing a certain sin, and acknkwledging that a certain action is sinful.

At even the most basic level, Christian theology means that certain actions are sinful. His Grace states thus: who made there, for his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

I ask you again, Brother Ivo, what do you believe those sins to be, and at what point do you draw a distinction between pointng out those sins and condemnatory behaviour?

17 February 2013 23:39  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 February 2013 23:51  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi David,

Jews don't need to justify male circumcision to either Dodo or David B. It is quite simply an important part of our religion and if they both claim that they genuinely believe that religious freedom is important to them, then that is all that needs to be noted. If however, that is not the case then they are the ones who should justify themselves, not Jews. I would think that Dodo won't have such a problem with his inquiries if it were his faith under attack- oh no, it would be a whole battalion of Cyber Swiss Guards to the attack. Likewise David B, would have a lot of support if his atheism was going to be persecuted by the state.

So why do us Jews need to cower on all fours because atheists have suddenly thought that our faith, a faith which you rightly say has survived, despite thousands of years of horrid abuse, persecution and even genocide- is now 'child abuse'?

17 February 2013 23:51  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Darter Nosta
Please don't listen to carl. He'll justvex your soul more than is necessary with his human (and anti-Catholic) *insight* into the workings of the Holy Spirit. You chose marriage over the Priesthood - suggesting God called you to this.

One day the Church may change its requirements. Until this time you have to accept in obedience.

David K
If you don't understand the question you will not be able to provide an answer.

That may sound a bit Kinderlingesque but I believe God operates at many levels and circumcision of the male penis has a meaning beyond the obvious sign of the Covenant.

17 February 2013 23:52  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Hannah

As usual, yet again you have misunderstood my question to your brother. This, I think, is ample evidence why deeper questions of faith and doctrine are best left to men without women jumping in or interfering.

17 February 2013 23:55  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Brother Ivo:

I'm curious:

"If you stand at a Church door figuratively saying " Come on in and God/we will no longer be angry with you" the average person will say that they can do without the argument, thank you very much."

Have you actually tried telling people that Christ can save them from their sins? Has Dallig?

It's the "God/we" that makes me ask. The undercurrent to the sermon, and indeed to many of your comments in this thread has been the implication that pointing to God the Judge is somehow an act of supressed judgement by the individual. Which of course is the classic middle-road Anglican take (that's not an insult, just an observation from many years of experience in the Anglican Church).

Now don't get me wrong, Christianity can be sold in a self-righteous and judgemental fashion. The thing is, though, it's more than an evangelical faux pas - it's to misunderstand the nature of God's Grace. We can't justify ourselves; self-righteousness (whether done aggressively or via bien pensant self-congratulation) is always fundamentally a delusion (1 John 1:8). So it's an error which we should always be on our guard against, especially within our own conduct.

But there's a reason why we should avoid being judgemental, and it's got very little to do with judgement itself being somehow wrong. You half-cite "Do not judge":

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." (Matthew 7:1-2)

I don't honestly know whether you fall into this camp or not, but there is growing trend in the Church to avoid judgementalism not through any self-awareness of their sinfulness before God the Merciful Judge, but out of a kind of fashionable refusal to make any kind of distinction between good and bad (i.e. normative behaviour). Overwhelmingly, the more I discuss and engage with such people the more I discover that their "non-judgementalism" is not rooted in any sense of gratitude for being saved from their sin, but rather a sense that they are alright (thank you very much), and that consequently others probably are too. They have understood nothing of God's Judgement, and so understand nothing of God's Love. Man is not to be Saved, he is merely to be encouraged, and perhaps reformed if he starts exhibiting undesirable behaviour.

This is precisely the kind of issue in which language is perilous: we all talk of God's Love as being His defining virtue. If we cling to this language, we might congratulate ourselves that we are all in fact the same "deep down". The danger is, as I outlined above, it is not "deep down" but merely on the surface - the very nature of what God's Love means is not shared in substance, despite a shared language and a shared source in the Bible. However, it must be said that on the latter point, one has but to read the Bible in detail - rather than the linguistically apposite verses in isolation - to realise just how incompatible the modern notion of a love that has no essential relationship with man's sin really is with the Love unveiled and revealed in God's Word.

Nowhere better exemplified than if one continues on from Matthew 7:1a to Matthew 7:13-14:

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

The Way is open to all men and all women, regardless of their identity, regardless of their sin. But it is not wide, and one cannot pass within it and remain disparate in identity and disunited with God in sin. To enter the Way is to be one with Jesus Christ, to share in perfect unity with His identity, and His alone.

The choice is not between a carrot and a stick: the calling is to preach Christ crucified for the salvation of man.

17 February 2013 23:56  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo wrote:

He'll just vex your soul more than is necessary with his human (and anti-Catholic) *insight*

Yeah, it wasn't like I was told this by a conservative RC priest serving in the RC diocese in which I live. Oh, wait. I was.

carl

17 February 2013 23:57  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dodo,

"ample evidence why deeper questions of faith and doctrine are best left to men without women jumping in or interfering".

Sexist dinosaur.

18 February 2013 00:00  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

The Newer Vainglory”:

Two men went up to pray; and one gave thanks,
Not with himself—aloud,
With proclamation, calling on the ranks
Of an attentive crowd.

"Thank God, I clap not my own humble breast,
But other ruffians’ backs,
Imputing crime—such is my tolerant haste —
To any man that lacks.

"For I am tolerant, generous, keep no rules,
And the age honours me.
Thank God, I am not as these rigid fools,
Even as this Pharisee."

How times change.

18 February 2013 00:08  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

There is a very simple question to be asked of Brother Ivo; what does he believe to be sinful?

What? According to the beliefs of the Church of England, which were and are very well known at time of ordination? And which he was asked to swear to at the point of ordination?

18 February 2013 00:11  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Hannah

Why thank you; how kind. By the way, it is an Orthodox Judaic position - not a personal opinion.

18 February 2013 00:11  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

carl said ...
"Yeah, it wasn't like I was told this by a conservative RC priest serving in the RC diocese in which I live. Oh, wait. I was."

You *insight*, whether or not passed on from a "conservative" Priest, whatever that means, was a dig at the Canon Laws of the Catholic Church. You suggested a 'political' rather than a spiritual basis existed for maintaing celibacy. You know it, I know it and others know it.

Do stop the protesting.

18 February 2013 00:20  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Dodo,

Ah well, my sister is right in her defence of our faith and who rightly lashes out with every limb, like the octopus who plays the drums.

"If you don't understand the question you will not be able to provide an answer. That may sound a bit Kinderlingesque".

Oh well if I don't understand the question and if I cannot answer it then I cannot give you the answer you want to know. Even if I do know the question, and the answer to the question. But you know, that I might know, but you refuse to agree that I might know, what you know. So how can I answer your answer, if we both know that the question is a known, unknown.

Which leads me delightfully to...

"Kinderlingesque". Indeed. When you care what is outside, what is inside cares for you. And also, I would say to understand Judaism ,I must first teach you how to understand.

18 February 2013 00:25  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dodo,

"it is an Orthodox Judaic position - not a personal opinion."

#Says a Catholic#

Poor old Doodles,if I'm going to be celibate for the rest of my life, I'm going to know everything I can about G-d, through reading the Torah and the Talumd.

Better, perhaps to be a well read gay Jew, than an atheist, gay Jew?

18 February 2013 00:27  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

David K

A good whiskey, I trust?

My question relates to the importance of the sexual act in Scripture and it being the point where our divine and animal natures meet.

Circumcision, it seems, has an effect on the male's 'performance' in the act of making love with his partner. Specifically, he takes longer to climax. Judaic laws, as you've said in earlier posts, require the male to be other-centered in this sacred act of intimacy. We are not animals and are called to a higher purpose. Is it possible that circumcision serves a bigger purpose and reminds us of this? That is what I was enquiring about.

The 'Song of Songs' was a book we studied at school with an an occassional teenage giggle!

18 February 2013 00:37  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Hannah


I wish you well on your journey and in coming to know our God. Truthfully, I do.

A question.

Why label yourself "gay"? Is it really necessary to publically state your same sex attraction when you have no intention to express this? Why define yourself in this way when you could simply say you a faithful Jew?

18 February 2013 00:44  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Dodo,

Brandy actually; it is a bit of a bore, when you see through my poor attempts at witty humour.

And yes, I did 'get' your references at the first reply to me, but I am weary (as Avi B was- what has happened to him?) of engaging in specifics about our faith, hence my request for clarity. Regardless , as promised I will attempt to answer your original post.

PS- don't be too critical of sister Hannah, she is giving up a lot, more than I think we can imagine, to follow her-our - faith.

[Personally I respect atheists who would decided that they don't believe in a deity, but I get annoyed when they 'cross the line' to outright hostility to religions and call mine 'child abuse', sorry can't express how angry I am with that inference].

18 February 2013 00:46  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

You suggested a 'political' rather than a spiritual basis existed for maintaining celibacy.

You aren't actually so naive that you believe such concerns won't be a factor, are you? Do you really think the Vatican wouldn't consider the fact that a married priesthood would increase the cost of the priesthood by a factor of four? Do really think someone wouldn't notice that a married priest is going to be much more demanding and much less flexible in his service? Do you actually think that people who made the sacrifice of celibacy wouldn't stop to consider the implication of a married priesthood for their own lives? You know better than that.

a "conservative" Priest, whatever that means

I try to be very precise in my use of language. I mean he is a celibate RC priest who upholds the doctrines and practices and moral structures of Rome. You specifically would be quite pleased with him.

carl

18 February 2013 00:52  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

DSavid K

You need not answer my question. There was no gratuitous atempt on my part to query you beliefs. I understand them.

I have a deep respect for the path you sister has chosen to walk and I genuinely wish her God's help in this. Sometimes, just sometimes, she launches her rockets too early.

18 February 2013 00:53  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

carl
First and foremost I believe the Church considers what is consistent with Scripture. Then what will best facilitate the teaching and ministry of the messsage of salvation.

There are many very sound reasons why celibacy is right for those who dedicate their lives exclusively to God and His flock.

18 February 2013 00:57  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Ps
What is such a person doing being "a friend" of a die hard Calvinist?

18 February 2013 00:59  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Dodo,

Hannah and her brothers and sisters are to me sons and daughters, for the responsibility of looking after 6 of 7 of my brother's children fell to me and my wife, when their parents passed away.

Yes they all fire 'rockets' and perhaps too early; but that is a recognisable family trait which shows, passion and conviction, if not conventional wisdom.

So for Hannah, that is the nature and consequence of being young; for David that is the consequence of being a passionate Kavanagh (they wouldn't be in existence otherwise).

It is for us ancient old folks and family and friends to guide or at least be a lighthouse- for our young people- the next generation as it were.

18 February 2013 01:08  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Lavendon

I hear what you're saying, friend. Still, you'll understand I have to 'fight back' when certain lines are crossed and trust you understand I do this with no malice in my heart.

We Irish, Roman Catholic, Dodo's know something about passion and conviction too! We see it and respect it in others.

18 February 2013 01:38  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Dodo,

Of course Lavendon understands. You need to defend your interests and faith and of course others will do the same. So how can there be malicious feelings? None as far as I- or my family- are concerned.

18 February 2013 01:46  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Dodo - you love women. Stop pretending to be a misogynist..

On the subject of priests. Pope Benedict stated that he was concerned about the calibre of priests and the Church needs to adopt a much higher standardof
candidature.
Celibacy is an exceptional position to maintain throughout life and a very unhealthy one. Only a few exceptional priests are cut out for this. The Church should appoint Catholic married men who have retired and whose families have grown up to fill the priest shortage gap. Someone financially secure like yourself perhaps..to a nice middle class parish where the sins confessed are not too shocking (eg Bless me Father I have not paid my parking fines and I am taking the pill because we want to have the inground pool put in before we start a family) No heart attack stuff!

18 February 2013 02:06  
Blogger Kinderling said...

Dom-Kavanagh: "I'm going to know everything I can about G-d, through reading the Torah and the Talumd."

Yeh, and I'd know everything about The God-Son by reading the New Testament, and everything about sex from Kinsey; and I'd too get a rise to an overwhelming sense of purpose to hide my inadquacy.

Sub-Kavanagh: "When you care what is outside, what is inside cares for you. And also, I would say to understand Judaism ,I must first teach you how to understand".

When you care what is inside, what is outside is cared for. And also, I would say to understand humanity I must first teach you how to understand there are no Anointed Ones.

18 February 2013 02:36  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 February 2013 05:52  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 February 2013 06:01  
Blogger non mouse said...

Outstanding posts today, AiB; thank you.
Among others also I agree with much from Mr. Jacobs, Len, and Old Jim.

Beyond that, a memory springs to mind:
In a village I know, there’s a church. It looks lovely on the outside ... it’s housed in a beautiful old building. So a group of us decided to visit for a service. When we got to the door, they were playing happy-clappy-clappytrap and strumming the guitars; and if we could make out some of the words, we didn’t understand them anyway.

And, if they suspected our disgust, they didn’t mind a bit. They were glad, really, because they’ve lots of lovely euro-labels to stick on us undesirables. They label themselves too, of course - naming each other ‘Brothers’ and ‘Sisters.’

They’re unaware that their faux family reeks of PR: bait and propaganda for lefty-libruls and non-natives. Rather, they delight in re-inscribing the category of family while they modernise “communication.” For though they’ve read neither His Grace’s rhetoric, nor Longinus’s definition of the Sublime, they know their approach transcends all that has gone before. The Bros are brainwashed: into the immanence of Hegel and the franco-germans. That’s why they think they know how to “catch men in nets.” Lovely.

So there they all are in God’s House, bickering away. They’ve neither eyes to see, nor ears to hear: but there’s so much noise they know they’ve enforced some “thinking.”

We walked out. And we shook the dust from our feet.

18 February 2013 06:05  
Blogger non mouse said...

...And yet, Ivo. Despite misgivings – I turned to your .mp3. Thank you, for I found something wonderful there: Mr. McCallig speaks good, solid, plain, genuine, English.

Why, I even learned what “y’all” mean by “Mission.” Thanks be to God! And yet, and yet... McCallig’s mastery of language is set amid post-colonial detritus, and one major problem results: he doesn’t define “love.”

Now maybe he rejects those old colonisers Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton, though all illuminate the subject. And maybe the McCallig’s generation hasn’t much empirical evidence to analyze on the topic. Still, I do know some young people who’ve just read “The Iliad” and “The Oddyssey.” Furthermore, they’ve also watched the film Troy (2004): their objective being to compare the ancient and modern narratives regarding influence of deities. I’m still waiting for them to notice the difference in plot “outcomes” about the love theme— You’ll know that the modern Paris and Helen disappear happily into the wilds; about which, the children tell me: “You don’t understand; love is very powerful!” But what will say they of Homer’s Helen->Menelaus, or the wanderings of Aeneas and Odysseus ...?

Ah well. Suffice it to know:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing
(KJV I Cor. 12.1-3). Then, Paul goes on to describe something of Caritas.
Oh, indeed he is right - For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known. (Ibid. 12).

18 February 2013 06:14  
Blogger non mouse said...

All of which serves to recall, of course:

Radix malorum est Cupiditas (1 Tim 6.10).

18 February 2013 06:40  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Non mouse,

Thank you for commenting.

I take your point that love may not be defined but please keep in mind that the Preacher was not consciously preaching to the Internet!

He was preaching to his congregation as part of a Mission process; he may have preached on it last monthly maybe will do so next month. Heavens, Jesus did not exactly reveal all when he first called Peter!

So many here want to act like a hyena pack dragging down their victim at the first sign of perceived weakness.
Criticism is necessary and valued but ought to proceed positively.

First to ask, " What does this add to my understanding? Second do I need to adjust my thinking?

18 February 2013 07:01  

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