The biggest Anglican event of the millennium year was Christ Our Future. The newspapers did not queue up to report this traditionalist celebration but chose instead to publish a story that 80 per cent of Anglicans could scarcely wait for the arrival of women bishops!
This nicely timed bit of spoiling was the handiwork of Mrs Christina Rees, spokesperson for "wimmin", sometime member of the Archbishop's Council, and self-appointed media person. The assertion of this overwhelming support for the liberal feminist agenda - so strong, if true, that traditionalists, by implication, should shut up or shove off - has never been backed up by the publication of the research evidence on which it was supposed to be based. A year on, a hushed Church waits with bated breath for Mrs Rees to publish the research. No doubt, twelve months on, Mrs Rees is still refining and sifting the minutiae of the complex report which produced such a stunning, simple and extraordinarily convenient headline.
DYKE'S DIRECTOR OF DIVINITY ?
Much frothing at the mouth has gone on recently about the BBC's "neglect " and "marginalisation" of religion. Traditionalists have long been aware that the Beelzebub Broadcasting Corporation (prop: Greg Dyke) has little time for the faith and loves nothing better than festooning festivals with limp Laodiceans and aggressive agnostics specially selected from the liberal fringe of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The last traditionalist Christian was culled from "Thought for the Day" several years ago and it is now given over almost entirely to dreary lectures on correct social attitudes. Curiously, it turns out that listening to the usual suspects agonising about their lack of belief is not good box-office after all.
Only " Songs of Praise" apparently, bucks the trend. This time hallowed format allows armies of elderly viewers to join Thora Hird on her stair lift ("the only one I trust"-- surely a metaphor for Jesus) and sing their favourite hymns unencumbered by more of the above.
Just how little the current dispute has to do with traditional believers was underlined by recent press speculation about the future head of religious broadcasting. Not a traditionalist in sight but, lo and behold, there among the "Mamabile" was Mrs. Christina Rees!
Private surveys reveal that 80 per cent of all Christians want her to get the job. Watch this space.
DOCTRINE FOR SALE.
Full marks to the lottery board! Faced with the offensive homophobia of many Anglicans (e.g. George Carey etc.) the dispensers of Camelot's bounty have stumped up £120,000 for " Changing Attitudes" (prop: Fr. Colin Coward). CA (a charity which apparently doesn't come under the usual legal restrictions about political activities) is dedicated to convincing Anglicans that batting for the other side is still cricket. Fr. Coward, a practitioner of "bio-dynamic massage", has, since his time in seminary, been seeking a fair crack of the whip for homosexuals and was a leading campaigner at Lambeth 98.
WORLD OF WOOSTER 5
"Among those who resort to the accessible gambling of the National Lottery, with its hope held out of being free at one bound, will be those already in serious debt. The Saturday queues at lottery ticket counters (presumably fear of missing one Saturday when they were going to be winners) are a witness not so much to simple greed for more money, but to a desperation to be free of a financial system that, having offered today what you will pay ( more) for tomorrow, has in effect bound the future of all who are in debt. The lottery offers itself partly as a fairy godmother, bestowing undreamt of prizes on those who play, but also more dangerously as a liberator of those whose tomorrow is already totally constrained by the enormity of what they owe today."
Thus Bishop Peter Selby in his book, Grace and Mortgage (DLT, 1997, p.56)
Does the Bishop still hold this view now that the lottery has become a "fairy godmother" to "Changing Attitudes" - an organisation of which he is patron? Will he be encouraging Fr. Colin Coward, a fellow member of Selby's "Christian Sexuality" website, to return the£120,000 received from such a morally pernicious source?
I AM THE LABYRINTH.
Another winning wheeze from the Archbishop's Council! Tired of boring old Evensong and unimaginative Mass? The "Labyrinth" is for you!
Touring cathedrals in the next 12 months - a guide to the spiritual journey. Led by a guide, surrounded by "ambient music", "meditation" and "ritual response" you can, among other joys,
1. Offer your concerns to God by dropping a stone in a pool of water.
2. Draw your hurts on a piece of paper and put them in the rubbish bin as a sign of confession.
3. Watch a video of space, contemplate the planet earth and plant a seed to symbolise love and care for creation.
4. Take a magnet to a compass to show how distractions can give a "false North".
5. Put your foot print in a sandpit to reflect the legacy of your life.
6. Click a computer mouse to "send" up a prayer for others.
All in all a perfect day out for those whose idea of Christian spirituality is self absorption and regularly looking up their bottom to see if they've got their hat on.
STARK STARING ANGLICAN.
Readers of "Jezebel's Trumpet" were recently invited to complete a huge survey to give a picture of Anglicanism on the cusp of the third millennium. Most of the four A3 pages contained a series of predictable and therefore unremarkable questions. However, just before the end, our notable researcher, Dr Leslie Francis, inserts a section entitled, "More about You".
Does your mood often go up-and-down?
Have you ever cheated?
Are you a worrier?
Were you ever greedy?
Would you take drugs?
Would you call yourself a nervous person?
And so on and so on. The personality profile resulting may yet prove that you don't have to be mad to read The Church Times - but it obviously helps.
Just how truly liberal the National Liberal Club is was revealed by the advent of its latest and most distinguished member, Mr Richard Holloway (former Bishop of Edinburgh) . He will enjoy the company of long-standing members like Fr. Geoffrey Kirk and past President Bishop Eric Kemp.
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