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

Historic Abuse


Four Ways to Scream Your Name

Four Ways to Scream Your Name (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still….

I am a screaming child.

I am alone and in a darkness that dismantles the summer sunshine.

I am afraid.

I am terrified; his threats form raining thunderclouds in my head

I am alone; away from my family.

I am in an unfamiliar place,

I am afraid.

I am terrified as the threats pour down inside my head.

Then again…

I am old now and still alone

I am once more in an unfamiliar place

I am afraid again.

I am a rag.

The resonance of his wickedness shook my history.

The ringing of his malevolence sounds as strongly now,

The sound of it shatters my thinking as if it were this morning.

I am still in that bed,

I am a screaming seven year old boy, standing on the landing.

Without a throat, no sound possible, I am still shouting and screeching…

The scream was punched inside, my mouth gapes.

Fear succumbs to terror.

God forgive me, absolve me.

God wipe away my tears

God, give me your grace

God make me noble.

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

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.

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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Challenge to you. Explain Christianity.


Christmas ball - Christianity

Christmas ball – Christianity (Photo credit: nabeel_yoosuf)

Why should anyone be a Christian?

What is the basic message that you would put to someone enquiring about the Christian Faith?

What are the essential pieces of information that one needs to convey the Christian faith?

Or is it something that is often socially and habitually acquired, perhaps from an early age.

Answers in comments please.a

 

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The Church needs to Change


god

god (Photo credit: the|G|™)

If the church is to survive as a purposeful and positive factor in people’s lives then it is going to have to change radically.  The superstition and sectarianism that it has depended upon for generations must come to an end if it is to offer modern society a Gospel that is relevant and believable in a new age.  Essential truths about the nature of God must be decided upon with a new approach and old interpretations that are harmful, and in many scholarly places discredited, must be rooted out.

It is true that the church has moved away from much that it once taught and it no longer gives credibility to blatant discrimination of Government and economic policies; slavery, serfdom, fear and arrogance have been rejected at last.  Though not in every case, not for everyone.  We still promote traditions that are anti-gay and the church remains an establishment that holds secrets and shuns openness and truthfulness in its dealings with finance and morality.  It is flawed and often behaves in a way that Christ would condemn.

More fundamentally the attempt to include within itself a range of extreme values that are mutually opposed has resulted in a deeply divided house,  It needs to define what it holds as true and make those values known.  The church needs to be freed from the ill-conceived idea of unity and position itself clearly with the values that Christ taught.  It is time to reject the individualistic theories and interpretations that  those who are at its extreme ends hold as ‘essential to salvation’.

The church needs to be honest and admit when it is unsure, be humble and admit that it has, and continues to get things wrong.  The Church needs to confess its sinfulness and seek forgiveness, for example; when it is harsh and when it obscures the nature of God   from the eyes and ears of the people it is called to serve, when it presents instead a vision of God that lacks compassion and accessibility.

To hold on to a God, indeed a Gospel that is excluding of many and irrelevant to most is foolish and cannot be sustained, nor should it be.  To believe that access to God is reserved to itself alone is against the word of God and extremists who promote such a view are heretical and wrong.

Holding on to privilege and establishment is contrary to the way that Christ taught us and rejecting that which it believes is embarrassing or it believes is damaging to its own survival is to also reject the God who scandalised His own people by hanging on a cross, rejected and despised.

Maybe it is time for all Christians to review what the Gospel tells us about the nature of God in our world.  Perhaps it is a time for all denominations to be humbled by the story of Christ and revisit their thinking and divest themselves of fondly held beliefs that are unhelpful and contradictory.

Re thinking the Gospel is not a novel idea, it has always been part of what we are as Church and history testifies to this, as do the writings of the New Testament themselves.  Change can be threatening but seeking a true understanding of the nature of God may demand change from each and every one of us.

I am tired of hearing the pomposity of fundamentalists in the church and the certitude of so many clerics, especially the most senior of our church.  There are those who twitter without thinking and I guess they live their lives in much the same way, but feel themselves right and justified by habitually adopting narrow thinking and by holding onto personal creeds that are far from what Christ taught us.

Somewhere in the Church of England there has to be a renaissance.  It is time for change and an abandonment of the shackles of tradition.  It is time for good people to  speak out and be heard, it is time to be open to new thinking and looking at Christ with new eyes.  It is time to cast off the bonds of slavery to the past and look seriously at what is relevant to God’s relationship with His people.

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Moving on……


Moving Day (film)

Moving Day (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Faithful followers of this blog know that MrC has poked fun at a lot of people and occasionally pointed out some really bad behaviour by others.  I am not without sin either and it is not a perfect blog by any means.

Still, defending those who are oppressed by others, exposing bullying by senior clerics, these are things we are all required to do, sinners or not, and each and everyone of us will, if we submit to to following Christ and walking the way of the Cross, offering ourselves for the betterment of others, we will all be redeemed, even Bishops and Archbishops.

We are all equal, we are all created by God and we will all be judged by Him.  How far we come to know Him here on earth and live according to His will, as best we can; indeed how far we are able to forgive, may be the deciding factor in how far we are able to live with Him in heaven.

MrC

 

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