The Cone of Shame

There’s a silver lining to every cloud.

Authored by Chris Hall

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The Three Self Church of England

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

It seems that the democratic vote by the Church of England Synod on the creation of women Bishops in the Church of England didn’t go the right way. At least it seems to read like that when looking at the frenzy of activity following the unexpected vote. Gnashing of teeth anyone?

I mean, we have the Prime Minister David Cameron warning the Church of England to think again about its ‘very sad’ rejection of women bishops. In a strongly worded rebuke, the Prime Minister said it was time for the Church to ‘get with the programme’ or risk looking dangerously out of touch with modern society. He said: ‘I’m very clear, the time is right for women bishops, it was right many years ago, they need to get on with it as it were and get with the programme, but you do have to respect the individual institutions and the way they work, while giving them a sharp prod.

In the Commons the MPs couldn’t wait to flex their muscles and bring the uppity church under their control.

Labour’s Frank Field was calling for the Church of England to face the full weight of equality law to force through the changes. But as Sir Tony Baldry, Second Church Estates Commissioner said to Parliament:

May I correct a point that seems to be getting some coinage? The Church of England does not enjoy any particular exemption from sex equality legislation. Obviously, equalities legislation is entirely a matter for this House, but the legislation that applies to the Church of England applies to all faith groups in this country. If Parliament were to seek to change the legislation, it would apply to every faith group. That is clearly a matter for the House.

Which is a bit of a bummer for the control freaks as this would mean that any such move would mean the same requirements applying to other faiths. And we know that isn’t going to happen.

Labour’s Chris Bryant also called for equality legislation to be imposed whilst blocking the appointment of any male Bishops while this ‘anomaly’ remained, summing it up with the phrase ‘no nomination without feminisation‘. Quite what that means I really don’t know.

Labour’s Ben Bradshaw weighed in with a call for an emergency meeting of the Ecclesiastical Committee, ‘so that we can take legal advice as to what Parliament can do to help the Church to achieve the will of the people in the Church?’ Did Bradshaw ever work for the EU? Sounds much the same thing as when the Irish voted against the Lisbon Treaty. Didn’t get it right first time so given another chance to repent with another vote.

I could go on but it’s really quite comical listening to the parade of MPs whose faith is at the best ‘flaky’ or even antagonistic to Christianity. It’s also quite shocking to realise just how much control Parliament has over the theology of the established Church of England, even Parliamentarians who are atheistic, humanistic or even antagonistic to Christianity.

Hence the title of this post, the Church of England seems to me to be much like the Three Self Church in China.

Authored by Chris Hall

Women Bishops and the Church of England

Listening to LBC radio this morning on the way into work and also scanning the news websites I’m struck by the outpouring of bitterness and anger by some of the supporters of the vote for women bishops. Very little of what I hear has centred around theology or church tradition.

Most of it seems to be related to very secular terms such as equality, diversity, empowerment, misogyny, dinosaurs, evolution, going forward and others. Together with the apparent inability of those who find the vote impossible to accept to display humbleness and good grace I fear for the future of the Church of England.

 As someone who was once baptised into the Church of England I’m oft glad I’ve jumped ship.

Authored by Chris Hall

The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople

The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of ConstantinopleThe Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople by Jonathan Phillips
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jonathan Phillips has authored a fantastic book in The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople. It’s been immensely enjoyable to read and extremely informative.

Phillips’ book tries to be non-partisan and objective in delving into the political, commercial and theological roots for the Fourth Crusade and the story around why it went astray. He brings comment from both the Western nations and the Roman Catholic church as well as from the Byzantine Empire side, although I would have wanted to read more from the point of view of the Orthodox church.

I’d put this almost on the same level as Herrin’s magnificent book Byzantium: The Surprising Life Of A Medieval Empire.

If you have any interest in the Crusades or this era then this book is a must read.

View all my reviews

Authored by Chris Hall