Storm in a Teacup?

More like a hurricane in an eye bath.

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Should she have gone to Spec Savers?

This is Ruth Davidson. She is leader of the Scottish Conservatives and therefore an important and influential person. Her words carry a lot of weight. This is what she says:

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Daily Telegraph headline

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This is the sort of cross Christians can choose to wear if they so wish. This is the cross – not a crucifix – I normally wear around my neck. It is a symbol of my religion and, apart from occasionally getting entangled in bushes when I am gardening, it doesn’t impede me physically in any way at all.

 

 

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This is a burqa.

 

It is not a symbol of religion, according to Taj Hargey, Imam at Oxford Islamic Congregation. In a letter sent to The Times, Dr Hargey said there was “no Koranic legitimacy” for the burka, adding it was “a nefarious component of a trendy gateway theology for religious extremism and militant Islam”.

 

 

I would think it would certainly be a serious impediment to almost everything that one does in the normal course of outdoor life — which is when it is worn. Walking must be difficult and running impossible. Sight must be severely restricted. Hearing must surely be impaired. Imagine never feeling the sun on your face or the breeze in your hair. Inevitably, hidden inside something more nearly resembling a tent, the wearer must feel isolated, invisible and yet conspicuous in equal measure.

Several  countries around the world have already decided that this particular garment is an affront to human dignity and have banned its use in public. Boris Johnson hasn’t suggested banning the burqa — quite the reverse. He doesn’t think we should. Given how very few there are in Britain there doesn’t seem much point. All he did was make a very British funny comment likening a person in a burqa to a letter box. But Boris got one thing wrong.  You couldn’t post a letter in a burqa – it doesn’t have a slit. He meant the niqab.

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Fortunately, it’s August and the Silly Season in the media, otherwise I would be seriously worried about the sanity, to say nothing of the sight, of many of our leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

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SHAME

This is an unhappy follow up on my last post.

In Glasgow’s St Mary’s Cathedral a woman recites from the Quran denying the divinity of Christ during an Epiphany Eucharist.

I’ll pause while you think about that.

In Gloucester Cathedral there is a Multi Faith event in which all religions are welcome to take part, including Witches, Druids and Pagans.

Stop again and have another think about the incomprehensibility of that.

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Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth 

After the Glasgow gaffe, by Kelvin Holdsworth, the Provost, several theologians, beginning with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who knows a bit of which he speaks, commented on the inappropriateness (to put it mildly) of this. In particular, Revd Canon Gavin Ashenden, wrote about this and spoke in a video interview with an American cleric. (YouTube Anglican Unscripted #262)  It’s well worth watching. He spoke clearly, thoughtfully and with authority, using words that were simple and direct. No theological jargon; no modern media-speak. He just explained why it was wrong.

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Revd Ruth Fitter 

Meanwhile, down in Gloucester, one of the facilitators of the multi-faith shenanigans, Revd Ruth Fitter, was interviewed by Gloucester Live. She talked a lot of muddled mindlessness but included one statement that horrified me. An event like this encourages “Christians to embrace all religions rather than spread the gospel in any way.”

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Revd Dr Gavin Ashenden

To the Church’s shame it is Gavin Ashenden who has been muzzled. Forced to resign as a Chaplain to the Queen, Defender of the Faith, for speaking the truth.

First Glasgow. Now Gloucester.

 

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St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow where a major restoration on 2002 seems a great example of hope over experience

Glasgow seemed not to know, or didn’t think it mattered, that verses from the Quran, which specifically deny the divinity of Christ, were recited during an Epiphany Eucharist.

Now, an Imam has opened an Exhibition in Gloucester Cathedral with an Islamic call to prayer.

This interfaith event included Buddhist chanting, Rasta drumming, and a Pagan rock band, as well as input from Zoroastrians, Druids, Witches, Pagans, and Baha’i. Fine, on neutral ground, but not in a cathedral which has been dedicated to Christianity since the 11th century. The Reverend Ruth Fitter, vicar of St. Paul and Stephen Church, who helped to arrange the event, thought the call to prayer was “absolutely beautiful.”

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Gloucester Cathedral – Christian since the 11th century, but for how much longer?

I long ago reached the stage when, if I didn’t laugh, I’d cry and it’s certainly easy to laugh.  One blogger mentioned Ruth Fitter’s pink hair. The incomparable Mrs Proudie, on Archbishop Cramner’s blog had her Archdeacon describe Ms Fitter as a “muddle-headed yoghurt-knitting kumbaya-merchant” hosting “a multi-kulti-fest, where all other faiths are exalted and our own is side-lined.”

Actually, it’s even worse than that. Ms Fitter says she thinks an event like this encourages “Christians to embrace all religions rather than spread the gospel in any way.” That’s not side-lining Christians; it’s putting us right in there with Druids and Pagans and, of course, Witches. In an interview with Gloucestershire Live she tries to explain her own faith.

“I happen to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who came to dwell with me and save me from my sins. That doesn’t mean I expect others to change their faith or believe wholeheartedly.” That seems a bit wishy-washy woolly to me, and is followed by a gloriously naïve statement. “It does mean, however, that I hope they will offer me the same respect as I seek to offer them.” Given the well documented evidence of the hideous persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East and in many parts of Africa I don’t think her expectations are going to be met any time soon.

As for her final comment—I don’t know what to make of it.

“At the end of the day, we really make God very small if we think he cares about us fighting the corner for Him. Don’t you think He can do that for himself?”

In fact it makes me wonder what on earth ordinands* are taught these days. I’m told that a group of ordinands were recently visiting a church in Cardiff, just to look around, when one woman asked the Vicar, ‘What is this Evensong they keep going on about?”

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York Minster, where the bells almost fell silent this Christmas after 650 years

*My spell-checker doesn’t recognise the word ‘ordinand’ although it knows organogram. Why doesn’t that surprise me?

 

 

How to get your knickers in a twist!

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Witch hazel — a sure sign of hope

The Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow seems to have got his knickers in a twist and his bloomers in a bundle with a vengeance. I am appalled to learn of the abuse that has been thrown at him (by Christians?). I’m glad to know that the police were completely supportive — such hatred and intolerance have no place in Scotland, nor anywhere else. The protests continue to rumble on, however, including many thoughtful articles by leading theologians, who give very cogent reasons for their dismay and doubt. Never-the-less, I’m still left puzzled.

After a lot of ‘mulling’ I have come to the conclusion that what probably happened was that the Muslim reader automatically added the last three verses of Surah 19, the verses denying the divinity of Christ, although they did not appear on the printed order of service, because that’s the way she’d learned it and she was not thoroughly aware of the significance. That seems to me the most obvious explanation. In which case, the most common-sense thing would have been for Kelvin Holdsworth to issue an immediate apology. End of story for most people.

Mind you, I still think it was not a good idea to have a reading of the Quran on that occasion. I have been to many services where there have been representatives of several other faiths, some of whom have done readings or have said prayers. But never during a Eucharist service on a special day like Epiphany.

I have now read what Kelvin himself said on his blog, and I have also read all the comments and responses, though that particular page is now closed.

In this blog the Provost tried to justify himself. That’s rarely a good idea. There were also other remarks that I found a bit strange. For one thing he said he is gay. I didn’t know that and I can’t see why I should need to know it; how can that fact be relevant? Another odd thing he said in his comments was that he recites the Nicene Creed without crossing his fingers. Could someone, please, explain what on earth that has to do with anything? And a third thing that worried me—comments about choosing the ‘wrong’ tune for “Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning” caused almost as much angst and discussion as the reading from the Quran. Perhaps it’s not just the Provost that’s got his bloomers bundled.

And now for something to raise a smile.

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This is a bag which contained a child’s fleecy jacket

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This is the tag that came attached to it!