Touching the hem of Christ’s Vestments.


English: Logo of the Church of England

English: Logo of the Church of England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MrC’s comments of ‘SAFEGUARDING: FOLLOW-UP TO THE CHICHESTER COMMISSARIES’ REPORTS FOREWORD BY THE ARCHBISHOPS OF CANTERBURY AND YORK’

Tomorrow there will be a discussion concerning the safeguarding procedures in relation to the abuse of children and vulnerable adults as it applies to the Church of England.  It seems however to be concerned, not only with prevention but also with punishment.

Whilst I fully accept the rightness of ensuring that people who are considered to be a risk to children and vulnerable adults are not allowed to have unsupervised access to children and vulnerable adults in church, I cannot see anywhere acknowledgement that such people may wish to repent and may wish to continue to have a sacramental relationship with God via the church.

The document fails to provide any guidance on how such people might be integrated into the Church.

The preoccupation about wearing vestments or clerical dress in this document is perhaps warranted, but the lack of pastoral guidance for the wicked is lamentable.  The demonising of such people is a sad reflection on the church and the dehumanisation of perpetrators is unhelpful.  They are reduced to the scathing reference; ‘these people’.

“The sexual and physical abuse that has been inflicted by these people on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame for years to come.” (my emphasis)

Be assured, I am not condoning any form of abuse, simply asking for a less vehement response in dealing with those who are responsible for ‘individual wickedness’.  We have a responsibility to ‘deal’ with them in their entirety, as sinners and as penitents.

It is good to hear the Archbishops citing Christ in their letter…

“All contemporary safeguarding policies and procedures in the Church should be a response to what we learn and see in Jesus himself… In witness to this faith and to our sense of obligation to children who are brought to Jesus through the care of the Christian community, the Church should set for itself the highest standards of care available to our society today”

Yet we also know that ‘what we learn and see in Jesus himself’ includes the grace of forgiveness and a responsibility to care for all who are outcast.

I also feel that the Archbishops should acknowledge that some abusers are themselves victims of abuse and may need special care by the church and church authorities for that very reason.  To cast them out may be to compound the very real harm they also live with.  I say this without any intention whatsoever of diminishing the guilt of the sinner nor seeking any action that would jeopardise a child or vulnerable adult.. or anyone else for that matter.  The daily rape by my Uncle and the chilling threats over many weeks when I was aged 7 haunt me every day.  I feel utterly desolate without the fellowship of my church and some acknowledgement of my repentance and desire to make some reperation.  My voice is the voice of a sinner, yes and i will always have that before me, but there is also the voice of the child within me, a voice that today I recognise more clearly thanks to my friends, both in Synod and online.  I could not cry out then, but i can today.

I would like the Archbishops to listen to me also when they say…

“It is right, therefore, that the General Synod should receive an account of the actions that the House and the Council have put in hand, have an opportunity to comment on the next steps, and be able to identify with the apology that we wish to offer unreservedly for the failure of the Church of England’s systems to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by its clergy and others and for the failure to listen properly to those so abused.” (my emphasis)

I shall not be at Synod this year but I hope that the brave may find something here to speak about.

In His service  MrC

The cat napping on the Fence.


emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘ENCYCLICAL LETTER LUMEN FIDEI, ON FAITH’

MrC  has a bit of a funny position in the great scheme of things, balancing on the edge of Catholicism and liberalism and extremists on both sides take pot shots at the cat on the fence!

So I always try to read stuff with a mind of acceptance, and then analysis.

I read the above letter with some devotion and hopefully with a critical mind.

What is missing in this piece, imho, is an acknowledgement that the revelation of truth through ‘rational’ thought is not contradictory to faith.  Only if that faith is pickled in some preservative can the Pope(s) uphold a view that the light of reason is dimmed by the light of faith.

“that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim.”

This view can be challenged by liberal thought, (liberal insofar as it accepts the light of reason as being valid in argument, theological and spiritual) because one can believe that science and reason illuminate the nature of God.

Two things come to mind.

The first affirms this belief.  That all light points to God and that these ‘lights’ cannot be contradictory because that would imply a house that is divided.  Mark 3:25 “… if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

The second is that in Christ we have the full revelation of the nature of God.  One might infer from this statement that truth reached through modern reason somehow stands in opposition to the truth revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

However one can argue that the full revelation that we have been given in the person of Jesus Christ is all that is needed for salvation.  This belief does not automatically preclude new revelations about the nature of creation or the physics of the cosmos, the workings of the human mind or the human body, and everything else that modern rational investigation has shown to us being acceptable to us as truth.

One is about salvation whilst the others are about the fruits of the tree of knowledge.  For MrC they both exist in unity and they are both part of that same light that we see in Him and through the workings of the Holy Spirit.

The real challenge for Christianity, and more specifically for the established Churches is accepting both and reworking superstitions and misconceptions that have over painted the light that is from God.  These are often fondly held moral views or modes of praxis that are rendered unworkable in the light of that reasoned light.

The trappings of how we do things and what we think of as being morally true are continually focussed by the gifts of reason and that should be embraced by Christians and traditions that are fondly held may have to be abandoned.  This should not shake our faith, for if we do believe that Jesus Christ is the full revelation of the nature of God’s relationship to humanity then we should also believe that this revelation will be in agreement with all truth; theological, spiritual and scientific.

Until we have the maturity of faith to appreciate the Light of Christ in all truth we are condemned to darkness, or at least to the dim shadows.

MrC

Those who are of Riper Years….. and LGBT’s


El-Greco

St James the Lesser (after El Greco) MrC

I’m sorry but I can’t find my copy of the old book of Common Prayer, but I remember bits pretty well and it is still canonical.

In it I recall a wedding service variation for ‘those who are of riper years’.  [No I don't... See Richard's comment below(many thanks)]  This was a service for older people getting married who wouldn’t expect to have children born within the marriage. I’m quite fed up with hearing the rhetoric of those who bang on about Marriage being about procreation. It is not, where that is not possible.

Therefore the Anglican Communion has long ago recognised the marriage of one person to another where children are not going to be an outcome of their comfort towards one another.

A warm welcome… at last…


Scream Cropped

Scream Cropped (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hooray.  I have found myself accepted in a small group run by MIND.  There is something quite wonderful in finding the oppeness and truy non-judgemental attitude in other people.  I have experienced it online, with my dear friends and now I have a ‘congregation’ that does not villify or hold over me my past.

Now I have come to understand that the actons that we do have consequences and that we have to accept those consequences without complaint, indeed I apologise over and over again for my sin.

But in this small group of people, mostly social outcasts, I find acceptance.  They are the limbs of Christ, the lips of Christ and the voice of Christ to me.  Along with my dear online friends who have been generous in loving me, these vulnerable compatriots are my peers; we come together, we talk, we paint, we drink tea, and we depart.

Some come by occasionally, some are regulars and faithful weekly participants, and some are seen once and maybe never again.  The staff and volunteers are kind, too kind for me, but that will improve over time.  They surround me with acceptance and touch me at my pace, they expect nothing and they offer much.

It may not be a wealthy place, it may not have fine robes or the dignity of procession and hierarchy nor the certitude of holding God’s Grace to administer to whom they deem fit…yet they have warmth and goodness and care.

Mrc

Waiting to die or to be raised? From Good Friday to Easter to Good Friday.


Waiting to die or to be raised?

"The Good Samaritan"

“The Good Samaritan” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Living in isolation, more or less, is particularly hard if memories of a previous time of abundant social contact, and happy contact often, become a constant reminder of the contrast in what was and what is.  The attempt to take an interest in other things, study, creative activity (painting, writing, reading) is difficult without any ‘end product’ being discernable.

I am made acutely aware of the situation that so many people endure in societies globally and in particular here in England, and I am especially mindful of the isolation that older people experience.    This ‘loneliness’ is perhaps harder to bear if one is living on a low income and more so if one is suffering from chronic depression.  I think it is reasonable to suggest that such isolation may contribute to increased depression if not become the actual cause of depression for many.

The desire for social interaction (and maybe the simple reason that I am writing this) is strong, but one can easily become ambivalent about the prospect of social contact.  Whether there is any real opportunity for being with others is another thing.  The needs of the socially isolated are complex and become more involved as time goes on.  The desire to be with others is opposed by the fear of being unable to successfully interact with others.  One feels out of practice, and even unworthy, though this may be more to do with my own particular case.

The failure to develop regular and meaningful relationships leaves the isolated person without the normal support that we might take for granted.  Simple activities, paying bills, dealing with authorities and even what to eat, are never shared; the only advice one has is ones own.  Easter is indeed a time for rejoicing and the resurrection from death of Jesus is a great fact that fills us with gladness and thanksgiving.   For the isolated person, though, it may also sharpen the contrast of how sparse ones existence truly is.

The Church is a vehicle for hope and it has been given a wonderful task, to declare The Resurrection of Jesus Christ anew to every generation.  One issue that today’s Church of England, and others in the Anglican Community share, is the proclamation of that Resurrection to today’s world and today’s people.

The Samaritan, the leper and the prostitute were welcomed and blessed by Jesus.  Today, we have the task of declaring welcome, on equal terms, to women, to all sexual orientations and to those whom society vilifies perpetually.

How will the Church declare the Gospel?  To whom will it speak?  Will it be able to do God’s work? Will it speak to everyone?  If it does then how will it enact that Gospel?  How will it welcome the isolated?  Will it be generous and give the isolated bread, or will it keep it tightly locked up in the tabernacle, in its exclusive rites and laws, in its fear of popular villification?  Do we hear the cock crow thrice still?

MrC

Nothing Funny Just a picture for my friends, warts and all.


thornsNothing funny to say tonight but simply to say a massively huge thank you to all of you who have been and are being supportive spiritually and in friendship to me.  I am deeply moved and thank God that I am blessed with need, and with your kindness and love.  It may be that God is speaking to me of His love towards me through your goodness.  I am reminded of my late Step Fathers advice, which was to remember the ravens, and not to worry so much.-

-

This is not  a masterpiece, all wonky.  It is my way of saying thank you and i hope you enjoy it a bit.

MrC

Anbody want to employ me?


Among more than 1,400 adult females, childhood...

Among more than 1,400 adult females, childhood sexual abuse was associated with increased likelihood of drug dependence, alcohol dependence, and psychiatric disorders. The associations are expressed as odds ratios: for example, women who experienced nongenital sexual abuse in childhood were 2.93 times more likely to suffer drug dependence as adults than were women who were not abused. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The experience of not having a job, for whatever reason, is not a good one.  The dependancy on state support can be very debilitating, not least because of the self-image one soon aquires.  A sense of irrelevance and uselessness, especialy if you are isolated from freinds and family is sometimes quite overwhelming.  It can demand a huge effort to break out of this self-perception and even then one tends to fall back into it quickly.

In my case, I do not complain, but nonetheless the hoplessness is real and trying to face the prospect of dealing with a legacy of childhood sexual abuse by making formal allegations is hard to face.  Added to this, not being part of a christian Community (other than you good people) is a constant stress as worship and support that I have had all my life is no longer there.

I want you to pray for all who are unemployed and all who are isolated, and if you can, look at what you can do for those in your own community who are in this sort of situation.

My life has been dedicated to helping others, both as a Social Worker and as a Priest, and I believe that God has a purpose for me, and for us all.  As our country faces more job losses the need is great but we are part of a worldwide family and it is important for us to think also of those in other countries who face isolation and have no work, people who live in countries where the state does not offer support of any kind.

MrC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8a7GMR_ke0

Mr C’s Christmas Surprise (or more accurately Epiphany.)


WATCH VIDEO VIDEO HERE

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, ...

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men” (named Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar). Detail from: “Mary and Child, surrounded by angels”, mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant’Apollinare”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Script…..

In the ancient manuscript of the Peshitta there is an extensive account of the fourth wise man, and more, which the Church has suppressed.

The ancient Syrian document tells of the start of their journey beginning with a lengthy debate the night before they set out.

Gaspar.           Go we now to follow the star? (as he smoked his woodbine)

Melchior .        No Gaspar, on the morrow for tonight we have matters to sort out first, prithee.

Balthasar        Yay, verily t’is true Gaspar for we are sore vexed and all awash with dissention.

Gaspar.           How then?  Whence comes this untimely discord?

Balthaser.       You were outside round the back when this tension was revealed,

Gaspar                        oh right, sorry about that lads.

Melchior.         Philip has said he will not ride with us this night.

Gaspar.           Why not dear Philip, were we not agreed on the date?

Philip.              Yay verily we were anon, but hie thee without me, for it is a bad omen that we travel under this cloud of disunity.

Gaspar.           Disunity?  Why this is news to me, what is up Dear Philip?

Philip.              I am unsure that we will be welcome in all lands and this vexes me sore.

Balthasar.       Philip thinks we need to include a woman in our number lest the lands we travel through think us biased and unbalanced.

Melchior.         T’is true dear Gaspar, how think you on this matter my old mate?

Gaspar.           I don’t know to be honest, what do our followers believe on this matter, have we consulted with them at all?

Balthasar.       Of course we have, as on all matters that bother them, but they have been hoodwinked by a few who believe that women are somehow peculiar to God.

Gaspar.           Bathasar, you have been our voice to them, what believe you about women?

Balthasar.       I too think a woman cannot ride a camel very well and it would be awkward for us if one of us rode side saddle.  I believe that it impossible to ride side saddle on a camel and thus no woman should accompany us on this arduous journey.

Melchior.         Forgive me brothers but I am not certain that all women ride side saddle anymore, I have reports of women riding camels as we do.

Philip               This is blasphemy for surely God ordained it so, that women ride side saddle and men do not.

Gaspar.           I have heard tell of some men, in forign lands, who have taken it upon themselves to ride side saddle in secret, and more….

Melchior.         Go on Gaspar pray tell…

Gaspar.           I have heard that in the northern kingdoms some men are riding side saddle openly, and that the common people do not find this amiss.

Balthasar.       I don’t believe it, say it is not so Gaspar…

Gaspar.           T’is true, I have letters from one of my cousins saying as much.

Philip.              I cannot condone this behaviour but our journey must succeed.  What are we to do?

After more deliberation and much puzzling Melchior spoke out.

Melchior.         I have it.  Let us take into our number a fifth, a woman.

Balthasar.       A Woman!

Melchior.         Hear me out friends.  If we compromise we can take a woman with us who would not ride side saddle and if we come to a kingdom that gives women equality we would be able to show her to them and appease them.  In our journal, however we will make no mention of her and our own followers will not be scandalised.  I know of such a woman who may fit the bill.

Philip.              If we are found out, we would be a focus for disunity, I cannot agree.

Gaspar.           Sounds like a good idea to me.

Balthasar thought and then spoke.  It is a good compromise and we might get away with it if were careful.

Melchior.         Philip, I entreat thee to reconsider.

Philip.              No my mind is made up, I will remain here and tend the followers as before.

Baltasar.         Than so be it.  Take our blessing dear Philip and go back to your former work.  Melchior, who is this woman?

Melchior.         Her name is  Katharine, a woman of clear vision and well versed in the use of the astrolabe and knows the powers of the Pebbles, shells, twigs and feathers.

Balthasar.       Fetch her and be quick.  We have no time to loose.

Whatever happened to the excrement in Jerusalem in the time of ‘Our Lord’?


Roman toilets! There were some better conditio...

Roman toilets! There were some better condition ones that looked so usable that they had to put a rope around them to stop people from using them, That would be my dream! (Photo credit: William Bereza)

 

The Romans were very advanced in their dealing with the effluence of humanity and presumably in the time of Pontius Pilate the Roman’s, at least had adequate sanitation.  But what of the excrement of the generic population?

Sure, many would have access to the pristine system advanced by the Roman’s but is it possible that most of the indigenous populace relieved themselves in a less than hygienic way?

Jesus was brought up in the Decapolis and it is probable that He was aware, and maybe familiar with, the Roman system.   But when He began His work in the more plebeian south ,including Jerusalem, then it is possible that the arrangements for the dealing of evacuation of faeces was not the ‘Rolls Royce’ of his time, and the stink may have influenced his irritation with the morals of the Jewish system in the temple.

Whatever the Historical truth of the matter it is unfortunate that the theologians of the last two hundred years have ignored this most basic of needs of every human being.

True religion must say something to us and touch every point of our lives.  The exclusion of defecation and its implications in the New Testament is a worrying concern for serious academics and until this is radically and adequately addressed then the certitude and indeed the acceptance of Christianity as a serious religion in the History of Humanity remains in question.

Mr C

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Noah, The Koala and Fundamentalist Evangelicalism


English: Noah's Ark in Iğdır

English: Noah’s Ark in Iğdır (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To what extent is evangelistic ‘Christianity’ allied to the literal interpretation of the writings of the Bible?  The abandonment of reason in favour of rejection of science in order to adhere to literal interpretation is worrying.  Koalas and Kangaroos are clearly not animals that would be occupants of the Ark, and their demise would be assured in a world wide flood.

Whilst I personally believe that God can, has, and does, intervene in this world; I do not believe that God inspires stories as stumbling blocks to true understanding in His existence, yet millions, of various faiths, and fundamentalist evangelicalists appear to belong to them, adhere fanatically to stories in the Bible that are incomprehensible in reality.

How far the Church of England is influenced by such people is deeply worrying, for such blind faith leads to strange and dysfunctional thinking about the nature of God.  It should be of serious concern to all Christians that we may be governed by and influenced by such people.  General synod, priests and Churches allied to the World Council of Churches are infiltrated by people whose beliefs reject reason and common sense.

Whilst irrational stories, recorded in the Bible may have emerged from stories based on past social memories of ancient societies, and may hold truths about humanity and God, to accept them as literal, in the face of scientific revelations that show them as wrong, is to hold on to a mindset that is unsure of itself, a mindset that is insecure in its belief in the true God and an insecurity about God’s interaction with humanity throughout history, thoughout time.

The Church of today must abandon such literal understanding and accept the revelation of reason, accept the fruits of human discovery and revel in the gift of truth that God has given us.

The right of each individual to believe what they will, might be a reasonable aspiration, but to allow irrational fundamentalism to influence the growth of the church is to allow the church to appeal to the irrational and superstitious inclination of humanity.  Such an appeal is not honest, is not sustainable and is not worthwhile.

If Christ is to live in our hearts then our hearts must also be open to the truth and reject the irrational and the superstitious.  Our Church must do the same.

MrC

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