Monday, 16 November 2015

Discursive terrorism!

I have some sympathy with the lovely British comedian Jason Manford who got caned by Facebook (shame on them) for declaring that these 'idealists'  are in actual fact cowards.
To be fair he said a bit more than that but I don't think his observations were misplaced

To open fire on unarmed civilians, is not bravery and idealism.
It is total and utter cowardice

It is bullying and thuggery.

I imagine the prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him, would be deeply ashamed of the evil that is perpetrated in his name. 
I have been interested about my own reflections, and those who live hand-in-glove with me about what this means.
As I drove into Adelaide yesterday (quietly on Sunday at about 8 a.m.)  I thought about how we might feel about such awfulness. Then cast my mind back 24 hours....the Christmas Pageant.
My granddaughter (10 months old ) was present....and loved it. 
200-300K people present just celebrating their community life....what if a bomb? or a gunman..?  it doesn't bear thinking about.   But my conversations led me to believe I was not the only one who thought this thought!

So I don't emir from J Manford's sentiment

Equally well, as my eldest daughter and I were practising speaking French, we spoke about the Tour Eiffel.   How it had been evacuated; and how easily three or four well-placed bombers could have taken it out.....shudder!

Surely these mad boys ( for such they are...BOYS....will blog about this shortly) don't want to live in a world in which families cannot have lunch together, or friends laugh with each other....

Having been a boy, I know that boys are not that bright!   They get enthused. But we are a bit thick!

Easy targets for unscrupulous propagandists who convert their stupidity to misguided 'enthusiasm'...which is a most dangerous thing!

Sunday, 15 November 2015


The last time I went to Europe I came back and said....I don't need to go to Rome again (don't let me fool you...if you'll pay I'll go!) and I don't need to go to London again (see above) 
BUT if I never go to  Paris again then I will feel diminished 
This last attack threatens that.
I do not want to never be able to go to Musee D'Orsay, to the Picasso Museum, the Rodin Gallery...and to Notre Dame.
Mind you (going back to Rome) I love the Lateran Basilica and assisted at Exposition for a week!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Traversing the eternal web

It is always difficult to traverse late October to early November for a Christian.
The focal feast is November 1 which is All Saints Day the derivative celebration is Halloween (Oct 31) when for some reason we seem to focus on "ghosties and ghoulies and long legged beasties and things that go bump in the night" but here's a go.
Personally I think that Hollywood etc can lionise  ghosts, and demons.
But the Christian reality is that they don't hold sway.
There is no doubt lots of stuff that can be said about demons, dibbocks, and personal devils.
The truth is that Christian theology says Jesus says this stuff is powerless.
In reality ....were OLJC less sophisticated  he would say it is bu&&s&^t!
So, I am confident in a couple of things(from my pastoral ministry)
1. Jesus has won!
2. The forces of evil and deception will try to convince us that they still hold sway

As OLJC might say this is  bu&&s&^t!

Evil has NOT won. Demons have no power!  Tell them to nick off, and turn away.

In return do good. Seek to do charity. Care for the poor. And talk to Jesus

(you lovely friends who are not Christians...won't get this...but bear with me!)

Friday, 23 October 2015

Have you got round to reading this great novel

This is sometimes said to be both a Chinese curse or a blessing.. may you live in Interesting Times.. personally I am inclined to think it is better to live in interesting times.
It was an interesting week earlier in the year.
A funeral of a friend who died quite quickly. 
I was called to bless a dog that was going to be put down.
Australia is besotted by the centenary of ANZAC at Gallipoli.
The Dr told me my "blood" was OK but I have a B12 deficiency (reading the Wiki entry it seems to describe me to a T)
I read The Narrow Road to the Deep North  an amazing read for Australians intent  on misunderstanding the involvement we had in WW1 & WW2 :Thom Keneally's review here)
I attended one of the many Parish Nomination Committee meetings [I have become  a "professional Diocesan nominator"...and the level of vacancy makes it rather taxing... I take this role very seriously, and I am glad that His Grace seem to do so also] The church is changing, morphing, declining, growing....those things may seem contradictory...but church is rather like that

Interesting times!
In the meantime...I live with an interesting person (my daughter!....lest you forget!) , I married my niece. I visited a jail. And greatest of joys...I went to fix my daughter's shower....and was able to hold the most precious member of our family in my arms. I like that better than anything else (even better than the sound of my own voice!)

Interesting times! Interesting times?
A curse, but most likely,
a blessing

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Bullying of women....

I rather agree with an early February comment in The Australian that the report of the Human Rights Commission into asylum-seeker children in detention is two years too late. Gillian Triggs, the chair admitted this herself.
But to witness the attempted humiliation of  Dr Triggs before the Senate Estimates' Committee earlier in the year  is outrageous.It is to her credit that she has not been cowed by the bully-boy (I use that term advisedly, almost always it is "boys" who don't like it when women stand up to them)

Her reputation as an international lawyer is impeccable but the findings she released did not suit the narrow political agenda of the Abbott government.
It does not seem to me  that she was in any way partisan. By and large she says that Australia (not any particular party) should be ashamed of its treatment of children seeking asylum.

Yet the Government of the day (very much under siege on all sorts of fronts) chose to demand her resignation. Some of them deny this but the evidence would seem to contradict this.
What I find offensive is the patronising behaviour  of certain members of the commitee with some of the male Senators constantly referring to female witnesses as "my dear" and the, what would seem like, bullying tactics by some of the elderly male Senators who seem to think that women should be seen and not heard!
"I thought you might like to hear a man's voice!"   says coalition Senator Barry O'Sullivan after he thought women had been speaking too long
I would assure Sen O'Sullivan that there is a lot of catching up to do. Men have been allowed to out -talk women for decades in the political arena.
Well done Dr Triggs!

She has continued to speak out, and may she long do so!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The change in my life- The Popstar

This first week of 2015 was a monumental week for me 
A couple of years ago, probably when I was feeling a bit down, 
I prayed the prayer of a patriarch (look up Abraham, Isaac and Jacob if you need to understand the Jewish Christian heritage.)...but there are plenty of other Patriarchs & Matriarchs....
I think of Henry  & Lillian Clark for example, 
who would never have thought of  themselves as such 
and yet parented 4 daughters, 2 sons, 9 granddaughters,  4 grandsons who in turn have parented  8 daughters & 7 sons...
this will at least give L something to check and tell me I have got the numbers wrong
I prayed as Abraham and Sarah had prayed...

or tried to... that I too would be the father of a generation.
She's looking pretty good so far, 

more than one person has commented that she would appear to have her eye on me....
and those long curly baby fingers...
well I am pretty well wrapped around them!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Knowing then what you know now

I am actually quite fortunate in that I went to two "quite good"  secondary schools.
When we moved to Australia I went to Whyalla Technical High School
But in those days country schools had no conception that  "country students" might do more than work on the land, or at the steelworks, or in the shipyard.

Let's face it ...this was never going to be my fate!
I came from England with two other languages in tow....French and German....but could only pursue French.  ( I can just get by in both...,.this is a case of how 'education' may well have destroyed a native talent!)
The Science and Maths was Ok and the English was OK.  Music was virtually non-existent,  

as a mediocre cellist there was no-one who could take me to the next step. 
As a quite reasonable singer, there was no one to train my voice.
I didn't even really realise this was happening....I was too busy learning how to smoke!
I lament these things. But life's like that
Whitehaven Grammar School was a classic school of the English Grammar School tradition.
My French and German would have been cemented and I would probably have got a grounding in Russian.
I learnt only later in  life that I have  a bit of flair for languages.
I can now struggle by in Hebrew, NT Greek ...and my German and French are still OK.
I lament the lack of Russian!, as you do,
I have had a little contact on Facebook 

with former school contacts.
I remember that  

I played the Cello in the orchestra for Trial by Jury in 1967, 
that I was a policeman & a pirate of Penzance
That I had been H. Higgins in Pygmalion along with Lynn Breuer (formerly Raymond...and speaker of the Legislative Assembly....who was much better than me !) 
That I had been a Duke both in Merchant of Venice,  and in Twelfth Night
That I had conducted  B.Britten's Let's Make an Opera! I can't complain.
Just sort of wish I'd known then what I know now!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Oh Dear!...looking back

#stephenclark In the way of these things I have worried a little about my personal blog
Does it still connect?
I have been less than diligent, once upon a time I blogged every day...second thing I did after prayers .....but it has been more spasmodic of late
I have just gone back  through the last 6 or more months and realised that maybe I have made more significant comment than I had thought.
So let me just review some of this over the next few days:
I am thankful that I had a modest education (  I wish it had been more rigorous. Particularly from the arts and music standpoint...but it was OK ! (just!)

Friday, 4 September 2015

Not just a pic

The beautiful young boy, and do not forget his sister and mother who also drowned actually has a name:

This fine soldier whose heart must break
He too is  a father!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Bumping into a scholar

As I was crossing the road in North Adelaide this afternoon, I saw  Doktor Erich Renner.   He is 90+. I said  "good afternoon Dr Renner". He was, as usual, totally distracted....not knowing for a moment who I was. But he waved and continued on his  way.

He is one of THE great Australian scholars of the Hebrew Scriptures. Even though I now guess he is 93+!   I was a bit shocked that he is still with us!

_....I met him on the first SA Council of Christians and the 80s  and particularly remember sitting in an excruciating meeting when a 20 + American Rabbi lectured this great Scholar about the book of Ezra.
I was thinking...Renner knows more about the exegesis of the Scriptures than you will ever know
Renner, ever the gentleman,(even today as he crossed the road he was wearing jacket and tie), sat quietly and waited to make his measured, polite and respectful response.

The young American rabbi, who had never for a moment considered  that a Lutheran may actually know more about the Scriptures than he did....despite a 50 year age difference, continued to lecture us unaware that he knew less than most of us sitting around the table. . I was just embarrassed!

It is of course difficult for Christians in Christian-Jewish dialogue to advocate for our scholarship and insight into the Hebrew Scriptures.  And particularly difficult if you happen to be of German background....despite the fact that the good doctor was born in or around Dimboola in the Wimmera.
The best Jewish scholars, of course, fully understand that Christians take the Hebrew Scriptures seriously...and indeed have been responsible for most of the serious scholarship of the last century.

Erich, today,  waved...and continued on his way

Marriage equality

You can contact the Senate about their committee on Marriage Equality

I have recently written to them

I am an Anglican priest of a city parish in Adelaide and write to support the cause of Marriage Equality.

I would make 3 points:

1. The assumption that all church people and their ministers and priests are opposed to the marriage of people who are of the same gender is incorrect. I am quite clear from personal support I have received, that many Anglican priests would be privileged to 
I myself believe that there is no scriptural or theological impediment to the same.  
"Church rules" are another matter; I am sad to say that it will take my particular denomination an interminable time to work through this issue ( as it did through the issue of ordination of women)   

2.I have in my congregation a number of gay people. At times I wonder why people bother with the Church; which is  often uncaring and unsupportive. I am proud to say that we are not!  One couple has been in a stable relationship for over 40 years, they are well-accepted, normal and fine men. In fact their support of their wider family is exemplary.

3.I believe that the call for a Constitutional Referendum is a delaying tactic.  
Even the plebiscite would not seem to be much better, since it is neither binding nor indicative of intention.

This issue should not be derided because it is one of "equal rights". Surely all Australians should have equal rights.

Respectfully and sincerely yours

Parish Priest
St Mary Magdalene's Church
26 Moore Street
SA 5000

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Holding the Man

There is an adequate review of the soon-to-be-released film (of the biog) Holding the Man here on Eureka Street

The film is about to be released.
I must admit that I found Tim Conigrave's slim volume deeply moving when I read it many years ago.

I do make the additional comment on ES's page

"Feel a little bit sorry about the crassness of some of the comments above eg. "Please advise: How did John get AIDS in the first place? Is the movie frank about this? ....." 

What is the suggestion here?  That Caleo and Conigrave's story should not be told because they both died! [Please note it is inaccurate to say that they "died from AIDS" What's with the prurience about whether or not they had relationships 'on the side'? If that's a test then probably 75%++ of the population of Australia stands condemned]
 The book, I would suggest , is already an Australian Classic. 

The first time I read it I was in tears by the end. My impression is that the play had the same effect on people, and that the movie is likely to take the world by storm. 
Not because it is about confronting homophobia, which it is; 
nor because it is about promoting marriage equality (which it says nothing about). 
But because it is about allowing people to have the freedom to love, and to recognise that love and tragedy will go side by side. Surely that's a profoundly Christian message. Replying & writing as a Christian! Stephen ....etc.etc

Monday, 17 August 2015

Let's move on..... but doesn't look like we will

I just wrote to Warren Entsch about  marriage equality

Dear Warren

I am an Anglican priest and stand in awe of your commitment to promote the cause of marriage equality even against the strident views of the Prime Minister, which I would suggest are more in touch with conservative Roman Catholicism than the view of the people. 
I would, and do, regard myself as a conservative and orthodox  Christian; this does not preclude my agreeing with you about the justice of this issue.

And this email is really to let you know (as I am sure you already do) that not all Christians think Marriage Equality is wrong. 
I am sure that this will eventually pass into law. The Church, sadly in my opinion, will struggle with this for some what longer. I would happily marry a same-sex couple tomorrow! (even today!) but the laws of our Church are slow to catch up.
In my congregation ( a city congregation in Adelaide) there are a number of people who are same-sex attracted. One couple, much loved by us all, has been in a stable relationship for over 40 years.

My impression is that most middle of the road Anglicans, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, & Uniting Church people  and many others  even Baptists and Churches of Christ folk…..long to love and allow love to prevail.

The ‘conservatives’ in all traditions will try to tell us otherwise.

Frankly the secular community couldn’t care less about the irrelevancies of the various religious bodies' internal machinations; 

So stick in there!


Stephen Clark

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The different rule of law

I find it difficult to believe that our leaders might suggest that if they "pay back" their fraudulent claims then that is OK.
This began with the Helicopter doesn't matter that it was wrong as long as I paid back the money....equally well Opposition  MPs make the same claim....if  I am caught out  but I then pay it pay it back then that fixes it  up . To use Rhyming Slang...this is WOOL KNIT...
If a burglar ...before a court, said 'I will give the stolen goods back'...or 'I will repay those who had their goods stolen'   I am not convinced that  "paying back"actually deals with fraud

Carrots extraordinary

Did think I needed to do something with the carrots that needed to do more than just go black.

So I have peeled them!
Cut them into long segments
and am now marinating them in

brown sugar,
balsamic vinegar
& liquid (home made ) yoghourt [you could use butter or oil]

Am planning to roast the carrots for dinner....and promise to post an actual photo of what they look like!!!

Friday, 24 July 2015

#racism My theory

My theory is that Australians have always struggled with multiculturalism.
This is hilarious if it were not so serious!.

Let me however trace (inadequately)  my 40+ year experience of living in Australia
We came to live in Australia in 1967. It was MUCH more ethnically diverse than rural NW England.
There had been lots of Italians, Spaniards and Yugoslavs (as they were wrongly termed  then....see flags attached of kingdom break up)
In my High School class there were Anglo-Australians, Maltese, French & Spaniards.
In later years I went out with an Italian, my sister with a Croatian, and we ended up marrying into an Italian family; a Polish, Welsh Family; an early Yorkshire and Australian family; we have not yet married into an indigenous family, nor an African family, or an Asian family.
My daughters mock me (surprise surprise) " "Dad wants us to to marry an indigenous or Asian person". I would be more than happy
I suspect that this is the experience of most 'Australian' families.
My dearest (Welsh) friend was married to a Latvian Gentleman.  I use the term 'gentle' deliberately. He was highly intelligent. He was gentle and respectful.
Anton, I salute you!   As his extraordinary wife died, her faith; his partnership  was outstanding.

I have gone on.

My point is.......all our lives were transformed...when we encountered people who were outside our comfort zone. But
I would suggest
truly enriched

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Journeys of life- part the second

In 1967 we set sail for Australia. I was 14. I think none of us, parents included, had any idea of what was really ahead of us.
Nevertheless we had an exotic trip aboard the SS Orsova of the P&O line. Visiting Gibraltar, then Port Said......just before the Suez Canal was closed we passed through, , bypassing Aden (where an 'incident' had occurred...a soldier I think having been shot.... ) we went to Djibouti on the horn of Africa.  I remember being quite frightened as night fell and we were far away, and quite aware, for the first time ever, that we were white people on a black continent.
We went on to the exciting city of Bombay/Mumbai....we had never seen anything like it. Encapsulating as it does both the tensions of India and the still present tensions of the Raj with its great gateway to India.
The tension that India is both British and Indian.
In the midst of all this is poverty and porn....women in cages.....I had no conception of what this meant.
From there to Penang and the Temple of a thousand Buddhas   and the Snake Temple (here). The stupid taxi driver gave my brother R a baby snake. At least we had the sense to realise that there was no way we would be bringing live reptiles into Australia.
A couple of day later we sailed into the more benign Singapore. A pleasant drive around and my father had clever photos taken of my mother sitting in his hand....I will try to find these and post them later.
Then we landed in Fremantle, sailed on to Adelaide (the Bight was rough!) and then we drove to Whyalla ......what a shock!

Journeys of life....part the first

There was a curious radio program today which suggested that young people should not travel overseas.
I think the thesis was that basically you are "too young to appreciate the experience" and, more than that, you might be ruined and never learn to settle down.
I will get to that later on (part the fourth perhaps)
But as a boy it was wonderful to grow up in West Cumberland  ( the Western Lake District) we used to go to the beach at St Bees (where my Dad had lived as a boy  and my Great Uncle and Aunt still lived ...he had been both the bank manager and a lighthouse operator....!) and then we stayed at Braystones...just a bit further down the coast. Coastally beautiful!
How we swam I don't know as it was the Irish Sea, by Australian standards it was probably colder than even the south of Tasmania.!   As I reflect, I realise that at least one of our holiday 'houses' probably did not have electricity nor running water (we used to go to the Well to fill buckets!). But I think we got up at 6 or 7 spent the day at the beach, picked mushrooms, built sandcastles, swam...caught crabs, picked cuvvins...( a sea snail which you picked and soaked and cooked...Yum! [let us not however begin to think about the discharge from the Windscales Nuclear Reactor...which meant that Sellafield was discharging waste water which may or may not have been tainted by nuclear waste....might explain why I have three brains!]...but we enjoyed them...Cumbrian escargots)
The main picture above is of the wonderful Campsite that the Scouts developed at Ennerdale. Many of my holidays as a teenage boy were as a member of that organisation. I am really happy that I had the opportunity to be both a Cub and a Scout.
The formal campsite, but also rough camping in fields and on mountainsides was very enjoyable. And is etched very deep in my memory.
For all these childhood holidays I am really grateful.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Lots of stuff going on

My head is buzzing at the moment. Quite a lot of big issues.
The Greek Economy, Marriage Equality, Terrorism....and so it goes on
I am thankful that life does not get smaller.

As we were leaving church on Sunday my dear and faithful parishioner said "What do you think about Gay Marriage?"
I suggested to her that  the 2 mins for such conversations was not going to allow me to discuss this with her on the doorstep of the church.

I also had a bit of a feeling that I was being corralled  a trendy lefty....( a descriptor I steadfastly deny) to say stuff I would almost surely entirely regret.

First of all let me say that I eschew being driven into a corner where what is not being sought is freedom of expression but the capacity to put my foot into my mouth

So surprisingly I feel a bit sorry, for Barnaby who  has been told that he will not be allowed to be on Q&A tonight. Bully boys at Government Head Office ( it goes right to the top) will be stopping national senior ministers will be allowed to be on the national broadcasters flagship program Q & A...and Barnaby is the first casualty.
Now, I am no Barnaby fan.....but at least he is usually unafraid to confront his critics.

Democracy is threatened when power says "You are not allowed to speak!"

We all wait with baited breath to see what Malcolm will do !  He does appear to buckle
And we had all hoped he was better than that!
Let's wait for next week

Monday, 29 June 2015

Would that I were like her!!!!!

Katharine Jefferts-Schori will finish her term as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church  USA in a few weeks
She is adored by many (me included).  Hated by (probably) many more!
I think, when history tells its story, she will be seen as one of the great Anglican Bishops, not only of the 21st Century but of the whole Anglican era!
Here is a great reflection by Diana Butler Bass on her period of office.
I compare many of my reflections on Bishop Katharine  to the career of the first female Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.  
We look back and we see that we got very tangled up  and found that we were dealing not only with the fact that this was a stunningly bright star on the horizon, but that SHE was also a woman!
The debates in the Church and in politics are so couched in masculine tradition that we are and were deeply confronted by soeone who led us in a different way.  
And, not only that, but was able to lead us with: energy, intelligence, justice, spirituality and joy!
 She was, I believe, treated appallingly  by the English Church when attending Southwark Cathedral, the Lambeth Mafia prevented her from wearing a mitre.
She may have been an Anglican Primate, but she was not allowed to be recognised as such! (This article may give you a sense of just HOW RIDICULOUS  this all is)
She has had to deal with churches which have thrown fits of pique and decided they would leave, even though they then have been told they couldn't "take the ball with them"....she has remained steadfast

Preached well and intelligently. (She is after all is not just a theologian but a scientific doctor too!)  But of course this didn't really could suggest that some gender bias was slipping in.

Anyway the Church has continued the "thorn in the side" tradition
They have elected a black guy to succeed her!.
All I can say is Hallelujah!

Bishop Michael Curry says " This the church in which I was baptised (and more importantly)  this is the Church where I learned about Jesus....Keep the faith!"

Friday, 12 June 2015

A great joy

My dear parishioner J. did tell me after last Sunday's sermon that she didn't agree with me!!!
My goodness someone actually listened!
And she and the lovely H still continue to come week by week and sit in the front pew!

#marriageequality THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS

A letter appeared through Sydney's (Roman) Catholic Diocese this week
(Offensive letter see here)
I take some exception to its purporting ( or seeking to purport) to speak on behalf of all religious people about marriage equality.

Please note it uses the pejorative terminology "same-sex marriage" ( see a previous blog) rather than the eirenic  term 'marriage equality'

This letter should at least begin " Dear Mr Abbot: As leaders IN (sic) some religious groups...." 
This is a partisan, incomplete and non-representative group of individual religious leaders! (It could not be otherwise!)
To tackle the presumption in my particular denomination for example:
The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney,  is NOT the "leader" of Australian Anglicans.  It is quite clear that though he may speak for a number, particularly Conservative Evangelicals, he does not ( and cannot presume to) speak for all / most Anglicans. 
He is NOT the Primate. And Evangelical Anglicanism does not typify the views of many, if not most Australian Anglicans in the 21st Century
I am interested to note that a number of mainstream Christian Churches  have obviously chosen to not identify with this . Equally well, moderate Jewish and Islamic traditions are not represented.  The Buddhist and Hindu traditions are not there. Where are the indigenous voices, and the Maori and South Pacific traditions
It will be the case (unfortunately) that we will continue to struggle with this in Churches, long after the rest of the world has got over it!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Queen's Birthday

Personally I don't have any animosity towards Mrs Elizabeth Mountbatten (aka The Queen).  She once smiled at me! 
But I don't think she should be our Head of State. And no matter what the Royalists tell you she is still our Head of State. 
The Governor General is the Viceroy.....[I wonder what the feminine is (and that IS an issue)  perhaps former GG Quentin Brice was a Vicereine!]
The Governor General is NOT the Head of State.

In a country like Australia that just seems ridiculous. 
For 'we are young and free' . And we should be free of the shackles of monarchy. Well at least that's what I think!
I have no desire to assassinate the monarch (indeed though my family is associated with the KoĹ›ciuszko Uprising there is no desire to stake any claim)

I just hope we all just have a nice day off.  Cabaret Festival,  Lunchtime concert at St Mary Magdalene's, fun with family etc. etc etc

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Misleading, subtle, or downright confusing language

There is absolutely NO DOUBT that the marriage equality discussion is duplicitous.
You might note that I, and others,  always strive to us the expression
rather than
Gay Marriage
or Same Sex Marriage.
There is quite a lot of philosophical differences that are contained in these terminologies
It might well be  added that those who oppose marriage equality, consistently and deliberately use the terminology Gay Marriage or slightly less controversially Same Sex Marriage .  Make no mistake, this is deliberate.
There is an insidious side to this, because what it is doing is appealing to homophobia.
No one, presumably objects to "equality" but people do object to Gay don't they?
Pay attention to who uses what terminology!

I was likewise aware that the so called  Islamic State...ISIS, was using the word "State" to give itself an authenticity that clearly it lacks.....but deeply desires.
It is not a State, by any reckoning of the International law. But it took the world a while to wake up that it should stop calling it "Islamic State"
The ever-heavy-handed PM of Australia insisted on referring to it as "A Death Cult". I am inclined to think that by so doing he gave it an authenticity that we could well have done without. He seems to have stopped doing it!
(Might I say I have "linked" A Abbott, above, in a way that also demonstrates how words are not neutral! Perhaps rather to make the point)
Most people don't get the import of Semiotics....the use of pictures, words and signs.  The average sociologist would suggest  it is a damn sight more important than we imagine. We believe what we read, see, and hear....sometimes in a most irrational way

Don't ask, don't tell

Marriage Equality is obviously a vibrant issue in Australia today :

I added this comment to a website today

I am a priest of the Anglican Church. I have  numbers of gay people in my congregation (St Mary Magdalene's, Adelaide)One much highly regarded couple has been in a committed relationship for 40 years (we have just celebrated the anniversary)  Their extended family is highly supportive, and they themselves are at the forefront of promoting family values in their own familiesI am aware that the Anglican Church does not officially endorse marriage equality, nor do we ordain gay people...[THIS IS ALL BESIDE THE POINT BUT:the  latter fact means for the last 100 years we have adopted the ethically dishonest policy of "Don't ask, don't tell!"My impression is that if we had not ordained people who are clearly homosexual ( some of whom married to normalise the perception of their lives) then about 50% of us would not have been ordained.I often suggest that when I was a seminarian my estimation is that more than half the students were homosexual. Many, if not most, have moved on to be excellent pastors.....the Church has chosen to play to the game!]
I do want to assert that many, if not most of the clergy of our Church, apart from the Sydney Evangelical Puritan heartland, are open to Gay couples....would be happy to marry them...and/or certainly be prepared to solemnly bless their relationships. We just need to stop being so lily-livered

You might like to add your own comment

Friday, 29 May 2015

Marriage Equality---

This is a reblog of a post from September 2014

I had a very thoughtful and charitable letter from A who "respectfully disagreed" with my views about same-sex marriage.
I think it is now better to call it "equal marriage"
I wrote in reply
Thanks for your response to my blog
I have made a number of posts over the years …you may not have tracked them all down
On my blog a link might be:

I have a high view of marriage, [ this may surprise you] and part of my discussion about equal marriage opportunity is about encouraging commitment, morality and in particular an environment in which children may be nurtured  with the assurance of love and security. This latter principle is one that is explicitly stated in the Anglican marriage services.
It does seem to me that the gender of the parents is secondary to the parents’ commitment to love each other. This is the primary environment out of which children will know that they are loved. And in that love to allow the children to know that they are loved.
We are all well aware that many homosexual people live immoral lives…..I want them to live committed, decent lives.
I could also re-write that statement :  
We are all well aware that many heterosexual people live immoral lives…..I want them to live committed, decent lives.
I have experienced a couple of extraordinary things in the last year. A homosexual couple (male) who have embraced twins into their lives. They seemed to think it was going to be a breeze, and it wasn't…my observation is that it has transformed their relationship. They are deeper people, more loving, more capable of embracing carefully the lives of the fragile.
Most gay people do not “choose to be gay”…they are born that way.
Did God want them to live a life doomed to failure? With all due respect, I don’t think God is like that. God does not make life particularly hard for 10%…!
It is not as if we have a God who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses! (Heb 4:15)

I do not think homosexuality is a weakness, any more than heterosexuality is. We struggle with both! We are after all made in God's image. Male and female God created us, it too presumptuous to say "gay and straight" God created us!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Marriage Equality

Like all issues of substance and social change this will not go away.
What is happening at the moment is political brinkmanship and various other sorts of posturing.
I actually agree with Mr Pyne who said this morning that the issue of marriage equality would better proceed by political consensus. That of course, also, is a ploy.
Our nation's referendum history, for example, suggests that we are loath to change. Inertia! A body will  remain at rest unless acted upon to do otherwise
[Today is the anniversary of the passage of the 1967 referendum to recognise the rights of Aboriginal people. One of the few to have passed]

Or maybe it is that we are happy to change, but don't like formalising it!

Even if the Shorten/Plibersek Bill gets up ( and "smirking Tony" seems to have the nouse to recognise the above-mentioned 'inertia principle' may well work in favour of his apparent opposition) it will not ease MY problem.
The discussion in our Church has been studiously  (or is that 'stupidly') avoided.
Hijacked, I would suggest, by fundamentalist evangelicals  who in my opinion do not represent mainstream Anglicanism.   I would go further and suggest that they do not represent the compassion and humanity of the God who became human and dwelt among us....even to the point of death

None of this will go away!
Just as the refugee crisis will not go away!
The scandal of the rich continuing to grow rich at the expense of the poor!
The failure to see the marginalised!
....this will not go away while the politicians posturise
and the church men and women
mutter into their beads (as I do)

and continue to say a prayer "We do not presume...."

while we presume so much!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

An obsession

I have never for a moment doubted that I lie within the Apostolic Succession  though I don't imagine anyone else could care less.
Apostolic Successsion! [ that is: the idea that Jesus chose disciples who chose disciples, who in turn chose disciples who chose the next generation of  disciples  ( what's called in Maths a Geometric Progression!)....and so on for 2000 years!]

It is a way of keeping in touch with the idea that what we are supposed to be on about is not our business but the business of Jesus, as Jesus handed it down.

Some have interpreted this very mechanically;
in particular Jesus chose his apostles who chose other people who chose others and they chose others..........and so on.

I don't even begin to suggest that Jesus had this idea in mind!

This "choice" is signified by the laying on of hands  by  a person who has (in their turn) had hands laid upon them,  who before that had hands laid upon them..... (A Bishop)

It is not hard to imagine that all this has got out of our  imagining.
There are people who can list their succession, like a complex family tree, back to the Apostle Peter. And you can find certain sites where these are listed  with incredible detail ; detail that we must understand is more wishful than truthful!  
[But there is ultimately  no credible documentary evidence for the Bishop Martyrius (457 CE) and the subsequent transition to Peter II (464 CE).... and many more of the lines 

There is every now and then an attempt to correct the "succession" by ensuring that present at a Bishop's consecration is someone who is clearly in "the line of succession". In particular, Anglican/Episcopalian Churches have linked up with Old Catholics of the Union of Utrecht who have 'regularised' Anglican Orders. There is in my mind no real need to do this.....the objections of the Roman Church as stated in the rather shallow Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae...that Anglican Orders were "Absolutely Null and Utterly Void!" have been seriously critiqued  by prominent Romans ( eg Cardinal Basil Hume )
And the great Scholar JJ Hughes argued that it was essentially a good thing for the Roman Church to formally invalidate Anglican Orders; as it exposed the paucity of scholarship  and process, and indeed the whole idea of Apostolic Succession as a mechanistic transition of God's grace.

While there is some  sense in the ideas, in the end God is not going to be confined by the sort of legalism that mechanistic transmission conveys.

And, as I said in line 2... I don't imagine anyone else could care less. Certainly not God!