The Love of Money.


Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple

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Mr Sentimoo, the Archfool of York, has decided to support Murdoch by allowing Murdoch to use him on the front page of his latest money machine the ‘Sun on Sunday’.

Mr Sentimoo will stop at very little to promote himself and uses the ploy of ‘promoting the church’ to achieve his own self promotion.  Don’t be fooled, the man is a self seeker and he has done well out of the system.  He has managed to climb the greasy church pole and he knows how to enjoy his status.  How many of us insist on being given smoked salmon for breakfast every day and woe betides if it isn’t served up (he is known for this in many circles).  This man is living the good life and thoroughly enjoys wagging his finger at General Synod when they ‘misbehave’ as well as being the arch-knobbler when the secret voting for a new Bishop needs to be changed.

Following on from the tomfoolery of the Sun on Sunday first edition we have further revelations of Murdoch’s news empire and stories of its corruption and indeed its corruption of others.  People who have been close to the Murdoch Empire and the journalists are telling us that there is a conspiracy of silence and a cover up of the truth of how far the corruption went.

We have heard of the big names, the celebrities and the bereaved parents who have been mistreated by the press and we have seen the hundreds of thousands of pounds that are being paid to settle things out of court, but we are also aware of countless more people, the little people, who have also suffered cruelly at the hands of this wicked giant.

And into this vipers brood walks the buffoon, Mr Sentimoo.  Jesus overturned the tables of the unscrupulous traders. Sentimoo wants to get a piece of the action.  Sentimoo has decided to attach his face to first edition of the ‘Sun on Sunday’ only by virtue of the important post he occupies in the church hierarchy and therebye he can enjoy the press exposure he craves.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that he has done this for some great religious cause.  He has attached his name, and the name of the church, to an organisation that very many thinking people loath.  He has stood behind the tables of the money changers in the temple of publicity and shouted loudly, “Read all about it” as he jingles his money bag.

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Two Baptism In the Bible? A Greater Baptism and a Lesser Baptism?


English: Baptism of Christ

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In mark’s gospel he talks about St John the Baptist baptising people with water, ad St John himself speaks about Jesus baptising people with the Holy Spirit.  The distinction in my edition suggests that the baptism of John, with water, is a lesser baptism than the one to come.  “I baptise you with water; but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mk 1:8)

This outward sign of inward grace, Baptism, is clearly not a one-time event, at least in one sense.  Baptism by John, with water was not seen as being the only baptism that one might experience, for Jesus might also baptise, and according to the other three Gospels, this time with fire.

Whilst there is a tradition generally held in most Christian denominations in the church of having one Baptism only, I do wonder what has happened to the Baptism by fire.

The use of the imagery of fire, flame for example, as a symbol for the Holy Spirit is a use we are familiar with in Christian literature and art.  It is used in the description of the appearance of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. (Acts 2)

Whether this second baptism is done with the use of fire, rushing wind or anything else, it is a fascinating consideration that there is, somewhere in the totality of creation, a second Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

One might think that this ‘Baptism with the Holy spirit’ happens at the time of ‘Baptism with water’, or at a time when the individual declares, for them self, Jesus as Lord and Saviour.  My concern here isn’t with that, but rather with the notion that there is a second baptism at all.

I realise that there are many historic, theological, cultural and denominational perspectives that bear down on this subject.  I can hear the clamouring voices of the Theological antiquarian and I admire you all.  However, I am wondering if this focus, this resolution of baptism into two, is a helpful revelation for us ordinary Christians.

Please comment.

MrC

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Parishoners come first, except on Fridays.


Deutsch: Georgisch-orthodoxer Priester in Mzch...

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A long time ago, in the misty region of another life, I remember a new priest, about 28 he was, having served in his parish of a year meeting me and telling me that he really didn’t like the people he served.  Now that would be sad and bad enough, but his other mates who were in the same position sat down for sherry and each one of them proceeded to make the same complaint about their parishes.

I listened to this going on for about half an hour or so, out of a rare bout of politeness, and then I left the room.  I probably did tell them what I thought, but they were miserable creatures in any case who took delight in giving their opinions robustly and looking down their noses at most people.  It is no wonder they didn’t get on in the parishes.

Unfortunately it is a style of being that sticks and the moaning clergyperson is a feature of many a clergy chapter, sometimes they coagulate in a corner and it can be very difficult to get them to separate.

I know of a priest near to me who has no regard for her people whatsoever and her church is falling round her head in every sense I can imagine.  Her attitude to her few worshippers is appalling.  Her freehold status means that, unless she is offered something plumb, then they are saddled with her.  The needs of the people around her, are great and the support she has been offered is legion, but her inability to love her people leaves her, and her flock without sustenance.

I wanted to get this off my chest because I do feel that the readiness of many to complain about parishioners is often wrong.  I know what it is to have to tackle very difficult people who do their level best to undermine your good work.  I am fully conversant with the tricks and traps that are placed in the path of clergy, on occasion.  What I fail to get to grips with is the mindset that will deliberately reject the people the priests are called to serve.

I can have all the sympathy in the world for the stressed and isolated clergyperson.  I can show compassion and empathy for the priest who has lost his way.  But I find it hard to listen to people deliberately pulling down the people we serve and it is a habit that is best got out of as soon as it begins.

Apologies for the rant, and the directness of my writing, but I am miffed by some comments I have heard over the course of last week.

MrC

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Bad News Travels Furthest.


"The Sermon" from Tristram Shandy

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I am learning a valuable lesson today.  I am writing this on Ash Wednesday.  If your intention is to get loads of people viewing your blog then DON’T POST NICE STORIES.  Today the number of people looking at the happy posting was down 50% by midday and I had lost two followers.

Don’t get the wrong idea, I am not hovering at the screen waiting eagerly for updates about follower’s n stuff, but I do keep an eye on it out of interest.

One might conclude that bad news sells.  If I rip into a Bishop or have a juicy piece of news about an Archbishop’s behaviour, the graph goes up and up and up.  Today I told a nice story about a saintly priest and it seems to be struggling to break surface!  Bad news sells, and this got me thinking.

What sort of sermons do people sit up and listen to?

I wondered if people preferred a sermon that was ‘fire and brimstone’, or uplifting and affirming’.  There must be at least two views on this amongst clergy because I have heard both of these types of sermon, and more.

So in the spirit of chasing the ratings, here is today’s ‘bad news’ story.

It was coming up to Christmas and I popped along to an evangelical parlour.  It was great, a brass band and microphones, plush seats and balcony view.  The Carols were fab and the place was toasty warm.  Then came the bloody sermon.

If you wanted a sermon to cut your throat to, this was the one.  I was a terrible sinner and was going to hell.  What amazed me at the door was the fact that the doe eyed regulars were congratulating the miscreant preacher and patting the silly sod on the back.  He almost fell backwards when I asked if he was the one who preached.  He grabbed my paw and put a big grin on his face and said oh yes; then I explained to the moron that his sermon was bloody awful and had not told us what Jesus came to say.  I reminded him that Jesus came, not to condemn the world, but that, through Him, the world might be saved.  His sycophantic groupies came to his rescue and I, and my rather embarrassed friends, left the building.

Well least-ways his ‘bad news to all men’ sermon was remembered.

MrC

Can you help MrC please? Thank you.


MrC’s quick survey.  It is only ONE QUESTION

It’s the weekend and I am taking it a bit easy, but I would appreciate help from those who are tweeters and are regular, or new, readers of this Blog.

I have been experimenting with tweeting hourly over the last week, and one day I tweeted about once every two hours.  I have seen a significant increase in readers when I tweet hourly, compared to once ever two hours, but I wonder if you find the hourly tweets annoying?

Can you let me know please by taking this quick survey?  It is only ONE QUESTION

And thank you to everyone who has commented on the posts this week. :-)

Do you live here too?


 

Wagon with poster "We're a GAY and HAPPY ...

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I do wonder about clergy and the gay issue.  I was discussing the sexual orientation of a cool cat with a priest the other day and said that I have no problem one way or the other.  Setting aside the glaringly obvious curiosity about why I was having such a conversation in the first place, I am puzzled by the priest’s reaction.

If I’m truthful, I was hoping that the priest would join in with me and say that he did not have a problem either.  He said nothing.  He was quite silent and quite still.  He too is a cool cat, but I didn’t hear one hint of a purr.  The subject changed and the morning carried on.

It is odd and maybe relevant to me in a particular way because of my age and the culture I grew up in, but I do feel the need to say that I’m okay with people being gay.  It is perhaps more of a comment on me really.  I mean why do we have to make any kind of issue of it in the first place, surely it is quite silly, and maybe rude, to make something of it.  After all I don’t go around saying, I’m okay with heterosexuality.

Then I remember Jeffrey John, the gay priest: who Rowan and Mr Sentimoo are so eager to prevent being a Bishop because he is gay and that would divide the Anglican Communion, and this has happened elsewhere so they are trying to impose a set of rules to prevent it happening elsewhere without relational consequences: and I come to my senses.

I know it has all been said before, but every now and then I get a kick up the backside and remember how truly reactionary some parts of the Church are, and how interpretation of scripture, and tradition whilst were at it, can exclude and twist the human soul.  But on this occasion, the priest and I got on, as I said, with the day.

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The Modern Village Pump; Who supplies the water?


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  Members of the...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

In the debate at Derby Diocesan Synod the Bishop voted against the proposed ‘Anglican Covenant’ and I note from ‘Thinking Anglicans’ link that the rest of the synod, more or less, followed his lead.  The figures show that the majority of people voted the same way as the Bishop in the Derby synod.

I wonder how far voting is influenced by the way the Bishop votes, and how is information communicated beforehand to help people decide?

I would not wish to conclude that people are disproportionately influenced by Bishops just from the Derby result, in any case the AC has been defeated in most other diocese, so far even though the Bishops have voted for the AC.

If we can argue that voting is skewed by Bishops, then this makes the votes against the AC and the majority of Bishops all the more spectacular!

For me though, it does raise a thought, an inkling.  By what process  do the elected members of these Synod’s get their information on which to base any considered vote and are there questions to be asked about that process?

Some of you out there have been, and will be involved in voting on this, and of course many other matters.  I ask you, how did you go about being informed?

In my experience, it is not too difficult to avoid information by dodging the post (binning it) and using the delete button on emails from the diocese and other sources.  If this describes you then on what basis do you make decisions as to what information you are going to read, if any?

The message is everything in Synod, but whose message are we listening to?  I think that this is so interesting, because that is exactly how it is over differences between denominations and religions, at varying levels.  Who you listen to influences what you understand and that , in turn, influences what you believe.  It may seem obvious, but it has some fundamental implications for Church.  It has been said that we learn our faith at our mothers knee. Your Communications Officer may be your mother!

I was asked to produce a background video for those opposed to the AC, and the reason was that the campaigners against the AC wanted to get their message out to as many people as possible and in as many ways as possible.  Getting the message out to people is big business, it is part of the advertising world and money can determine success or failure.  Using a volunteer animated cat as part of your campaign does not guarantee success, but success may be coming our way.

Whilst I may seem to be rambling a little, I am wondering about how we communicate ideas, and I wonder who controls that process, and who bothers to listen anyhow.  If the AC is defeated then good, we win.  Yet that may not mean that the process was in any way balanced.  Like the voting figures in Derby Synod.

I cannot get the picture of Mr Sentimoo berating General Synod, waving his finger and shouting, saying that they had no business voting against the will of the Archbishops who knew what they were doing, and demanding that Synod vote a motion to promote the progress of the AC.  did the new members, many of whom had no idea what was going on to my certain knowledge, listen to his message and vote accordingly.

MrC

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Balancing the Books, just a little.


Statua di Aronne

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I had a good day today, and in the spirit of balance and fairness I am going to share my delight with you.  I know a good priest.  He is an Anglo-Catholic who I feel comfortable with.  He is hard working and very intelligent.  He has a sensitive and loving frame of mind, and a hint of that firmness that I like in a priest.  He is wise and gifted, I will call him Aaron.

Aaron cannot abide bad priest’s behaviour but is very cautious, indeed gracious in his comments about them; only occasionally allowing a shimmer of mischief to move across his face when he mentions one of them, usually in passing.

Aaron knows that I blog, this blog, but he is not involved at any level.  He knows that it is important to my spiritual life and, as far as I am aware, he approves well enough.  Aaron is patient and courageously supportive towards me.  We sit and pray, we sit and talk God.  We sit and talk God and people.  I like spending time with Aaron.

I like meeting good priests.  I like meeting good people.  Now and again, and this is one of the ‘now’s’, I do mention them, in passing.

MrC

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What is in a name? Potential for a fight maybe?


Français : La tour de Babel en construction

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It is perhaps time that I was a little more honest with my readers and tell you all that MrC is a Neo-Anglican-Post-Arcic-High Catholic with trasubstatiarory megalomaniac leanings.

Ordinands may now be diving for their reference books, the rest of you will realise that I am talking a bit of nonsense.  The point of this blog is to ask a very important question; What labels (words) can we use in the Anglican Community when describing one another?

Now before you switch off because you don’t like labels or see people as individuals not as belonging to a group, which has the potential, nay the inevitable consequence of misrepresenting people; let me say that I think it is quite obvious that ‘labels’ (words) have a real usefulness.

It might be interesting to think about the list of words you could put together to describe different religious groupings in your church.  Were not allowing, mad-bunch or reactionary-b**tar*s.

In my quick list I’ve included the following; Evangelical, Anglo-Catholic, Liberal-Catholic and Charismatic.

These ‘labels’ (words) have had a usefulness that have served us quite well in the past, allowing us to talk about groupings to better understand the make-up of our churches.  I realise that these labels have been unhelpful too.  The use of such labels might allow us to make assumptions about people, assumptions that are unjustified, but labels can still be good and useful tools when used responsibly.

I think we do have a problem developing in today’s church, because definitions are changing and the clear demarcations between groups that we once used have given way to softer merging shades.  The clear edges are still  there, and hard-liners (how apt) would want to remind us of the clarity of Anglo-Catholicism or indeed Conservative Evangelism.  Nonetheless the assumptions that one was able to make in times past are not reliably viable any more.

The issue of women’s ordination to the Priesthood has posed questions about what one might assume about someone calling herself an Anglo-Catholic.  Evangelicals come n many flavours today and Charismatics are no longer dismissed as the ‘crazed creators of chaos’ as they often were, at one time.

The use of labels is helpful and perhaps we need to revisit the language we use to talk about groupings in churches.

The need to understand what beliefs, values and opinions are likely to be held by one person is important in our one to one interactions.  To understand, and be able to talk about, the way people gather together into groups who share similar beliefs, values and opinions, is of quite significant importance, for example in the General Synod of the Church of England.  Having some way of reliably and fairly easily referring to such groupings is sometimes crucial to following debate and understanding voting outcomes.

It could be that it is the ‘post-modern’ pick-n-mix that makes the usefulness of labels less reliable.  The logical cohesion of values in groups like the Catholics or the Protestants, the Evangelicals or the Broad-Church are, maybe, not as clear cut any more.

The Church of England has, for a very long time, been proud of its ability to accommodate a breadth of Churchmanship, but I think that this attribute has been thrown into question by the fragmentation of recent years.

It might be helpful for us to reconnect at a basic level, and for us to emphasis our common Christianity, to think about what unites us as one.  The usefulness of labels, though, remains and having considered what we hold in common, perhaps we can reconsider the factions within Christianity or Anglicanism and use new labels accordingly.

Here you can find an excellent description of changing ‘labels’ and much more; concerning ‘Evangelism’ DON’T MISS IT.

MrC

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