25 August, 2006

Good news from the Middle East: 1

News about the British armed forces in the Middle East only seems to interest the MSM when it is bad news. So, inspired by bandit.three.six, in its small way this blog will attempt to redress the balance by reporting any good news about the British Army in the Middle East that it comes across.

First up, is a team of team of RAF policemen in Afghanistan who are bringing much needed medical aid to villagers in Khandahar province.

Some of the injuries the team see have not been treated for years because of the lack of local facilities – one man was still suffering from an injury caused by a Soviet tractor in the 1990s – and many children are suffering from severe burns and wounds caused by mines. On top of this, many bear the scars of leishmaniasis and some are suffering from malaria.
After the initial shyness, the clinic treated 264 people in one day, and has since established a good working relationship with the village elders, who appreciate the benefit to the village. Sergeant Simon Evans, normally based at RAF Henlow, Bedfordshire, is pleased with the response the team receives from local people:
"We’re welcomed with typical Afghan hospitality – their main livelihood is farming, and visitors are always invited to try the grapes and melons. Delicious!"

Schism: Battle lines

VirtueOnline analyses the opposing forces.

David Virtue's article is undoubtedly correct that the liberals have enough of the upper hand to impose their views , making full use of the law but, although the liberal bishops can sue the orthodox parishes

...for their properties, inhibit and depose the priests... they cannot stop the hemorrhaging of the church. You cannot sue individuals for leaving the church. (The first parish in Northern California left this week)
Indeed, what was once a trickle is threatening to become a flood.
...the revolution has already started with the advent of CANA - the Nigerian Anglican church in North America, now with its own bishop Martyn Minns. Events have overtaken Dr. Williams. And what about the Anglican Mission in America, it is well established as an alternative Anglican presence in the U.S. and the Diocese of Recife in Brazil dumped their Primate and sought ecclesiastical refuge under orthodox Southern Cone Primate Greg Venables. The mutiny is already underway. Dozens of other parishes now have African bishops and call themselves "Anglican" not Episcopalian. One seminary T(E)SM has even dropped the word "Episcopal" from its mast head.
Virtue points out that the controversy is in effect between two quite different views of religion. He asks,
Why can't Williams stand up and say, 'The Episcopal Church has abandoned any semblance of the Christian faith, it is done, it is over, you're not coming to Lambeth, and you will wither and die because you have no Good News to proclaim, and there is no such thing as an inclusive church because the church cannot baptize unrepentant sexual sin.' How difficult would that be to say?
For someone who has shown little, if any, signs of decisive leadership, very difficult if not impossible.

Other reports:

Dallas Episcopalians Mull Break from Denomination. The Christian Post, (24th August, 2006).

New York summit to bridge Amercian divide. The Church of England Newspaper, (25th August, 2006)

24 August, 2006

Multi-culturalism questioned.

Ruth Kelly, Communities secretary in the Blair government has been speaking on "multi-culturalism". M-C has long been an article of faith on the left and anyone challenging it is met likely to be met with ritual howls of "racist"; but Kelly, one of the few Labour MPs who can be described accurately as "intelligent", is now suggesting that it might not be such a good idea after all. In a speech marking the launch of a new Commission on Integration and Cohesion she said

...there are white Britons who do not feel comfortable with change. They see the shops and restaurants in their town centres changing. They see their neighbourhoods becoming more diverse. Detached from the benefits of those changes, they begin to believe the stories about ethnic minorities getting special treatment, and to develop a resentment, a sense of grievance.

The issues become a catalyst for a debate about who we are and what we are as a country. About what it means to live in a town where the faces you see on the way to the supermarket have changed and may be constantly changing.

I believe this is why we have moved from a period of uniform consensus on the value of multiculturalism, to one where we can encourage that debate by questioning whether it is encouraging separateness....

In our attempt to avoid imposing a single British identity and culture, have we ended up with some communities living in isolation of each other, with no common bonds between them?

I think we face the clear possibility that we are experiencing diversity no longer as a country, but as a set of local communities. Each experiencing changes in a different way, with some being affected more than others...

.... I agree with the Home Secretary: it is not racist to discuss immigration and asylum. There are challenging, legitimate issues we need to talk about and debate. That debate, however, must be based on fact, not myth. How do we establish the necessary trust and maturity to allow this? It is also clear that our ideas and policies should not be based on special treatment for minority ethnic or faith communities. That would only exacerbate division rather than help build cohesion. And as a society we have to have the confidence to say no to certain suggestions from particular ethnic groups. But at the same time, to make sure everyone can be treated equally, there are some programmes that will need to treat groups differently. We must, again, be unafraid to say this plainly when it is plainly the pragmatic truth.

It is odds-on that nothing will worthwhile come of the new Commission; in addition to wasting vast sums of public money, it will merely agree to whatever demands Muslim leaders choose to make on it. However, it is remarkable that a member of the remote government elite (RGE) has admitted publicly the existence of such social problems.

Preparing for schism.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been talking about his forthcoming meeting with the American orthodox Episcopalians. It's clear which side he is on.

The American Church has “pushed the boundaries” in terms of decision-making, stated the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion in an interview with a Dutch newspaper.
“It has made a decision that is not the decision of the wider body of Christ,” Archbishop Rowan Williams told Nederlands Dagblad.

His arguments do not seem to amount to much more than: not everyone interprets the bible in the same way, the debate must not be dominated by a radical agenda and everyone should be getting along. The subtext appears to be that the orthodox party will have to find a way to tolerate homosexual priests so that all the problems will disappear.

The problems are unlikely to vanish, however, because this is not a policy debate where compromises can be attained through careful wording of documents; it is a theological debate over issues of conscience.

On one thing the Archbishop is correct. A schism will lead to many legal battles especially over property.

Meanwhile, the Russians are coming.

23 August, 2006

Profits not going up in smoke.

In fact they are 11% down in Scottish pubs.


Forgotten Fields of Iraq and Afghanistan

The number of British Army fatalities in Afghanistan is now 20.

In Iraq the similar figure is 115.

Let us remember them.

Liberal Christianity

Charlotte Allen has some interesting observations on "liberal Christianity", especially its doctrinal eccentricities.

It is not entirely coincidental that at about the same time that Episcopalians, at their general convention in Columbus, Ohio, were thumbing their noses at a directive from the worldwide Anglican Communion that they "repent" of confirming the openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire three years ago, the Presbyterian Church USA, at its general assembly in Birmingham, Ala., was turning itself into the laughingstock of the blogosphere by tacitly approving alternative designations for the supposedly sexist Christian Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Among the suggested names were "Mother, Child and Womb" and "Rock, Redeemer and Friend." Moved by the spirit of the Presbyterian revisionists, Beliefnet blogger Rod Dreher held a "Name That Trinity" contest. Entries included "Rock, Scissors and Paper" and "Larry, Curly and Moe."
Given such nonsense from the liberal Christians, is it any wonder that congregations are voting with their feet:
.... many of the [orthodox] parishes and dioceses... that want to pull out of the Episcopal Church USA are growing instead of shrinking, have live people in the pews who pay for the upkeep of their churches and don't have to rely on [endowments from] dead rich people. The 21-year-old Christ Church Episcopal in Plano, Texas, for example, is one of the largest Episcopal churches in the country. Its 2,200 worshipers on any given Sunday are about equal to the number of active Episcopalians in ["Bishop"]Jefferts Schori's entire Nevada diocese.
Schori is the female "bishop" whose, whose appointment has stoked the fires of schism and whose inaugural sermon owed more to radical feminism than thoeolgy.

22 August, 2006

Anglican Schism: Nigeria and the USA.

Time was when the West sent missionaries to Africa. Now the Church of Nigeria is sending missionaries to America.

In a direct response to the ordination of a homosexual priest in the USA, the Nigerian Anglican church, which had already effectively seceded from Canterbury has consecrated its own bishop and is offering a haven for orthodox Anglicans in America and Canada (see previous post today) through the Convocation for Anglicans in North America.

So, orthodox US and Canadian Anglicans are being offered a viable episcopal alternative within the Anglican communion by the Church of Nigeria. That is the mess the Archbishop of Canterbury is next month going to America to try to sort out.

Anglican Schism: Canada

In 2005 the Anglican Network in Canada asked the Archbishop of Canterbury for "Adequate Episcopal Oversight", essentially a device which allows churches in doctrinal dispute with their bishop and diocese to continue within the Anglican communion but under external supervision. The basic reason behind the dispute was concerns over the appointment of homosexual priests.

In response, the Archbishop established a Panel of Reference to hear the application. To cut a very long story short, from the onset the Panel was hostile to the Network.

Now, after a convoluted controversy, the panel has decided to exclude the Anglican Network from its deliberations. So the situation will continue to be that described by the Network when announcing its decision to appeal: directly to the Archbishop.

In the diocese of New Westminster, not only have priests and elected wardens been fired and congregations locked out of their own buildings, but many parish youth have been waiting more than 5 years for confirmation from an orthodox bishop and new orthodox ministers cannot be ordained for these congregations.

21 August, 2006

Tom and Jerry censored:

No, not for violence: for smoking.

So that is what Ofcom does.

Canterbury Lamb with Yorkshire Pudding

Where better to begin chronicling contemporary liberal idiocy than at the top of the Church of England. The destruction of the Elizabethan settlement which, for five centuries, was the foundation of the CofE is a subject to which I shall turn in detail in due course. For now, what of the leadership?

The Archbishop of York has shaved his head, taken up residence in a tent, gone on a fast and called for peace in our time in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a similar call for peace in a press statement which makes no moral distinction between Hezballah and the Israeli military.

One of the major problems facing the worldwide Anglican communion today is that of homosexual priests. Dr Williams hopes to prevent schism by hosting a summit next month, at which he hopes to broker a deal between liberals and conservatives. What odds that, he will indulge in little more than typical hand-wringing. trying to appease both sides and achieving nothing.

Futile gesture politics and indecision from the top.