Bishop David Walker on Poverty

I’ve read an excellent piece in today’s Guardian by Anglican bishop David Walker on the subject of the church’s recent head on collision with the Tories over poverty.

“Most of us would see service provision not just as an end in itself. It is equally the ground on which we stand to challenge and stimulate public sector provision, and our basis for offering a critique of dominant political narratives. Archbishop Desmond Tutu puts this latter in a typically telling phrase: “When you’ve fished enough people out of the river, it’s time to take a walk upstream and see who’s pushing them in.” And what seems to be casting people in ever increasing numbers into the waters is less a matter of specific policies and more about Britain’s scapegoat culture.”

You can read the article on the Guardian website. Obviously don’t read the comments underneath the article. Never read comments on newspaper websites.

The Whole Women Bishops Thing

Imagine for one moment that rather than being a lapsed Roman Catholic married to an Anglican priest I’m actually a member of the Anglican church. Think harder now, imagine that I’m actually the Archbishop of Canterbury and this is the speech I would give to the Anglican Synod today regarding women bishops and the future of the church.

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Cross Purposes

Once again the subject of wearing crosses in the workplace has reared its head again following the government’s decision that there is no automatic right to wear one.On this rare occasion I agree with the government.

The sort of people who get annoyed by this kind of thing have already been getting worked up about it. How can we show we are Christians, they demand of the government, if we can’t wear our execution-based jewelry?

Here of course is the irony. The sort of person who needs a bloody great cross to show that they are a Christian, the sort of person who rants and raves about their rights to wear a cross, needs a heck of a lot more than a piece of jewelry to convince anyone they have anything to do with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

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Creationists No Longer Welcome

I know it’s a bit late for talking of new year resolutions but earlier in the month I couldn’t actually think of anything I wanted to promise myself in 2012. After some thought I’ve now decided on something – partly inspired by the approach of the BBC radio show The Infinite Monkey Cage.

Over the years I’ve embroiled myself in many a complex argument with creationists and those that subscribe to the intelligent design concept. The sad fact is these people are too into their delusions and lies to admit their error. You can’t change the opinion of people this stupid. And I’ve come to realise I’m just wasting my breath.

The other problem with debating with creationists and especially intelligent design advocates is that they believe that their view is of equal value in a scientific discussion as those who offer real scientific theories. In trying to debate with these muppets we’ve given them credence, which is far from what they deserve. They peddle their “evolution is just a theory” nonsense at length – despite not understand what “theory” actually means in a scientific context. They believe that “theory” means guess, it doesn’t.

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No Sex Please – We’re a College Christian Union

Sexual morality, for want of a better phrase is something I believe is a completely private thing. Your choices on how you express your sexuality are between you, your partner and, if you’re of faith, your God. However if you’ve ever attended a university Christian union, you’ll soon discover that sex is constantly on the agenda and Pauline sexual morality and fundamentalism the order of the day. But beneath the abstinent fa├žade there’s a strange irony about the sexual dynamics of most Christian Unions. In this article I’ll take a look at the odd sexual paradox of these CUs.

Some Christians believe sex outside marriage is wrong, others do not. The rights and wrongs of both positions aren’t something I have any intention of getting into here. On the whole you’ll find CUs in the “sex before marriage is bad” camp, and it’s the hypocrisy of this position, rather than the merits of either side of the debate, I want to address…

Christian youth culture is rather bizarre. You only need to visit a University Christian Union for evidence of that. It’s not really Christianity that’s the root of the weirdness of your average CU, instead it’s down to the strange mindset folks get into when heading off to Uni. (more…)

The Church Service that Wasn’t

Well Sunday saw us manage something we’ve been aiming to do since we moved into our North London flat, get up early and go to church. Call it masochistic, but I heaved my aching body from my bed at 8am yesterday morning. We had decided to attend the 9.30am morning worship at a church fairly nearby – just a short tube journey away. The church is called St Barnabas.

Perhaps we should have taken the first part of the journey as an omen, the Tube line was flooded and there were no trains. Instead we had to walk for a while, catch a bus, then wander around Woodside Park looking for the church in question. We finally found it – quite an elegant old building. Alas it’s had the modern church treatment – so the fine architecture has been ruined by stripping out the pews and making the place more like some kind of trendy youth centre. Fine if you like that sort of thing – but it contrasted horribly with the fine architecture and exquisite ceiling.

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Being sent to church

I hated going to church as a kid. Not unusual that. Not only did I find it boring, I just didn’t believe – and realised this was odd for a pretty young kid going through the usual rites of passage such as first confession, communion and confirmation.

I think this lack of faith grew into a pretty militant and active atheism (as opposed to just not caring) precisely because every Sunday I would have to go to church with the family and at numerous times around Easter. I was bemused at Easter by Benediction, wondering if there was some correlation between the length of the service, the number of times we’d have to kneel and then stand up; and the number of alter-boys who fainted.

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