22 February 2007

"The love of God is broader ..."

Thanks to Karin for blogging this Thought for the Day from Giles Fraser.

It closes with a quotation from one of my very favouite hymns:

"For the love of God is broader than the measure of man's mind
And the heart of the eternal is most wonderfully kind
But we make his love too narrow with false limits of our own
And we magnify his strictness with a zeal he will not own."

[Pity about the exclusive language - but I quibble!!]

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20 February 2007

Diversity in Faith

Father Matthew juggles the issues!

Watch him here: Diversity in Faith

For me, this is mavellously profound!

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A Costly Standard

Canon Mark Harris, an Episcopal Priest in the Diocese of Delaware, says however that "the fat is in the fire." He reminds us that the standard is not one set by the Primates, the Lambeth Conference or anyone else ...

The Standard and its costs.

He writes [my emphases]:

"Jesus is Lord as a standard makes everybody nervous, and it sure should make the Primates nervous.

"The Communiqué has many good things in it, and I can only imagine how hard the Primates had to work to cobble something together. But I am sorry to say, I am unmoved by the constant reference to Lambeth 1.10 as 'standard of teaching on human sexuality.' As far as I can tell it says nothing about human sexuality, save to dictate the proper limits of the rubbing together of body parts. I remain unmoved by that as ethics.

"In a world in which the modus operandi is death and destruction we have every reason to wish that people would form covenants between and among themselves for their common welfare and good, honoring and loving one another in ways that are respectful and supportive, and when possible with sensual delight. I am unmoved by the constant rumble that there is this STANDARD. It sits like a millstone around the necks of all of us."

Read the whole piece here.

I state the obvious: we must continue to pray.

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An early American response to the Communiqué

I thought this was a interesting and measured first response to the Communiqué from Fr Tony Clavier, an Episcopal Priest in West Virginia.

The Primates Speak

Amongst other things, Fr Tony writes:

"The House of Bishops and the Executive Council [of the Episcopal Church of the US] are being given perhaps the most difficult and most important decision in the history of Anglicanism in America. At least the Canadians have now ample warning to prepare themselves to respond to the [world-wide Anglican Communion].

"Surely if it is in God's will that gays and lesbians may marry, or bishops in same sex relationships are the thing of the future, we can all wait to see if this revelation becomes apparent more widely across the world before we break ranks with our family and tradition?

In the meantime perhaps those on the right can practice good manners and the language of Anglican diplomacy."

Do read the whole piece here.

Waiting must be especially difficult for those who feel marginalised and excluded - but there are those on all "sides" who must be feeling this way.

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Dangerous innovations!

The Primates of the Anglican Communion have concluded their meeting and issued their Communiqué. Because I am "a bear of very little brain" (especially in such matters as these!) I have not begun to digest the text or its implications, but I did notice one particular phrase.

Paragraph 10 of the Communiqué speaks of the "two threats to our common life" identified in the Windsor Report -

"certain developments in the life and ministry of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada which challenged the standard of teaching on human sexuality", and

"cross-boundary interventions" in the life of those Provinces.

It then explains that:

"the cross-boundary interventions arose from a deep concern for the welfare of Anglicans in the face of innovation." [My emphasis].

That's what got me!

Innovation in the church - whatever next?!

We now have official confirmation - at the highest level - that innovation causes deep concern for the welfare of Anglicans!

It's probably just me, but I wouldn't have thought that the outbreak of rampant innovation was all that much of a danger in the Anglican Church!

One of my favourite events in the life of the Church is when Peter is asked to go to the house of Cornelius the centurion in Acts 10. I am bound to observe that if Peter had not responded positively to God's will for innovation, then there would be no Anglican Communion!

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18 February 2007

What is truthiness?!

Here is an excellent primer from epiScope on

How to read the UK Press.

A magnificent dissection of what passes for journalism these days!

Amongst other things, it has introduced me to a new word:

truthiness noun
the quality of stating facts that you believe or want to be true, rather than stating facts that are known to be true.

I will be using it, and its associated adjective truthy at every possible opportunity!

Thanks to Dylan for bringing this to my attention in her digest of anglicana.

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Time to Listen

Reading Father Rick Lord's comments on the Anglican Primates' Meeting, I am reminded that we are supposed to be listening to each other, and particularly to the experiences of gay and lesbian Christians.

Rick begins by remarking (my emphases):

"All week long I've been struggling to write a post on this blog about events unfolding at the Anglican Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I am encouraged by every attempt the Primates are making to hold the Anglican Communion together and equally discouraged by pronouncements about 'impaired communion' and the astonishingly prideful (in my opinion) walk out of seven primates yesterday from a scheduled Eucharist. I wonder if Jesus envisioned his followers using the Eucharist as a form of protest? I have to agree with Jim Naughton [Director of Communications at the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC] who is quoted in an AP release as saying:

'Imagine if every believer, everywhere insisted on knowing the views of every other worshiper in a church on all the hot-button issues of our time before they would agree to go to Eucharist. When you don't attend a Eucharist because you disagree with the views of the people who are attending with you, you make it seem that the Eucharist is about you. It is not about you. It is about God.'

Here on the ground, in the daily grace and grind of the human condition, we are about to begin the season of Lent, a season that calls us to return, to come to grips with the genuine state of affairs within our hearts, to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. We will confront the hard truths of our pride and mortality."

Rick goes on to reflect on the Transfiguration, on who we should really be listening to, and on what it might mean if we did.

Read his article in full here.

Thanks to Kathryn for pointing me to Rick's reflection, and for her own perspective, as one who has presided at the Eucharist today.

Rick concludes:

"So I continue to pray for our leaders, our bishops and primates, that they will indeed be enlightened by God's special grace. May they listen to God's beloved Son and recognize him in one another with the eyes of faith and the eyes of love. Pray God, that I can do the same."

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17 February 2007

Grace - God's pass mark!

As usual, Dave Walker is hitting ecclesiastical nails squarely on their heads!

His comment on the "Communion Sub-Group" report on The Episcopal Church of the USA reflects a rather more generous assessment than I fear will be forthcoming from some ...

The full series of cartoons is on Dave's Cartoon blog here
Permalink: http://www.cartoonchurch.com/blog/2007/02/16/the-primates-meeting/

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Please pray for the Anglican Communion

Just to show that I am not completely obsessed by snubs to a cricketer ...

Here is a wonderful post by Kathryn urging us to pray for the Primates of the Anglican Communion, meeting in Tanzania. (Naturally, I had completely missed the typo - but a very appropriate prayer).

Is this shipwreck?

Heavenly Father, in your Son Jesus Christ
You reconcile the world to yourself.
Forgive us when our own hurt and anger drowns out your voice.
Forgive us when our divisions distort your image
and hinder the proclamation of your Gospel of freedom for all.
Give us that love that drives out fear
So that we may journey on together
In the unity which is your gift and your will
Through that same Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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16 February 2007

AABR policy no surprise to Newell

I was wondering when Nottinghamshire's Director of Cricket Mick Newell would comment on England's treatment of his wicket-keeper. Here are his comments ... I actually think he has been quite restrained!

Newell slams England selectors
(from the Notts CCC website), my emphases added.

Mick Newell has strongly criticised the England hierarchy after Chris Read was left out of the England squad for next month’s World Cup.

The 28-year-old wicketkeeper ended last season as England’s number one behind the stumps, but coach Duncan Fletcher axed him for the start of the Ashes in favour of Geraint Jones.

Jones’ lack of form eventually led to a recall for Read, only for the selectors to then call up 36-year-old Leicestershire stumper Paul Nixon for the CB Series.

Nixon has now been named as first choice for the World Cup, with Read returning home without being given a chance to prove his case for selection.

Newell said: “It is no surprise at all that Chris has not been picked when you consider the way the winter has gone for him.

His treatment has been appalling from the moment he was dropped at the start of the Ashes tour without even getting the chance to play in a warm-up game. If they didn’t want him there, then why take him?

I don’t think he will ever get back into the side under Duncan Fletcher, but if a different coach comes in, then you never know.”

The BBC has this interview with Newell, which adds a little more to the saga. Most revealing is this (my emphases):

"Chris wasn't given any chance to compete this winter. The man-management of him has been poor. ... He was told two weeks before the first Test in Australia that he wasn't going to be in the side. But if that's the case, how has he got any opportunity to compete for a place?

"Everyone would agree he's not only the best wicket-keeper in England but right up there in the top two or three in the world. But I just don't think Fletcher rates him as a cricketer and doesn't want him in the team. "

Newell's summary:

"The whole thing has been made very difficult by the way it has been handled and that has been down to Duncan Fletcher."

Maybe Fletcher is finally going to find the guts to actually exclude Chris Read from selection - or maybe the England Selectors are going to find the guts to take back responsibility for the selection of the team.

But no ... that ship sailed with the departure of Read's staunch supporter Rodney Marsh - who, after all, knows a bit about wicket-keeping! And as an Aussie, he knows a bit about winning too!

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14 February 2007

ABR policy confirmed!

This from the BBC Sport website, on England's squad:

"Paul Nixon is the only wicket-keeper in the 15. [Chair of England Cricket Selectors, David] Graveney said that if necessary Andrew Strauss or Ed Joyce could take the gloves."

As both Strauss and Joyce are specialist batsmen, this, in fact, represents a refinement of the "Anyone but Read" policy. The policy, enunciated by the Chair of Selectors, is now

"Absolutely anyone but Read!"

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Anyone but ...

So Paul Nixon has been selected as England's only wicket-keeper in the Cricket World Cup. I am bound to ask "Why?!"

Consider the following statistics from cricinfo.com:

England Career (one-day internationals)

Player/ Matches/Runs/Highest Score/Average

Nixon 10/ 104/ 49/11.55

Read 36/300/30*/17.64

Jones 49/815/80/24.69

The natural conclusion from this evidence is:

if you want a world-class wicketkeeper who can bat, pick Chris Read;

if you want a batsman who is a barely competent 'keeper standing back, pick Geraint Jones.

Nixon is neither Read nor Jones!

He is however Duncan Fletcher's latest choice as England wicket-keeper! As the Americans say: "Go figure!"

One would be hard pressed to figure out Fletcher's selection policy at wicket-keeper - particuarly if one were Jones or Read!

As recently as the beginning of England's disastrous tour of Australia, Fletcher was lauding Jones as the best man for the job. This at least had the virtue of consistency, since Fletcher had given Jones an extended run in the side, despite his lack of success.

Then the coach generously allowed Read his customary 2 games (in a completely demoralised team, at the end of an Ashes series which had already been lost).

Then he plucked Nixon from a career in county cricket - with the singularly underwhelming results chronicled above. And many of those innings were played from No 8 in the order, whereas Jones and Read had batted at 7.

But Nixon it is for the World Cup. Again: "Why?!"

The inescapable conclusion is the one posted by a contributor to a BBC cricket forum a few days ago: Fletcher's policy regarding the selection of England's wicket-keeper is in fact very simple:

"Anyone but Read".

Well, I now have a similar view regarding the post of England Cricket Coach:

"Anyone but Fletcher!"

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12 February 2007

Nice try, Mr Graveney!

David Graveney, the chair of England's cricket selectors, says that critics of his coach, Duncan Fletcher, should apologise after England's one-day series win over Australia and New Zealand.

Is he joking?! (Decide for yourself here)

Mr Graveney may kid himself, but he doesn't kid me!

However welcome, a win in a money-spinning one-day series in no way makes up for England's totally abject 5-0 defeat in the Ashes Tests. Messrs Graveney and Fletcher have presided over a tour in which the shortcomings of their preparation and selection policy were cruelly exposed, and in which the Ashes were not just lost, but tamely and pitifully surrendered.

If that doesn't make David Graveney and Duncan Fletcher apologetic, then nothing will!

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07 February 2007

Procrastinate, moi?

This is worrying! It's beginning to look as if Dave may have a hidden camera in my study!!

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.


06 February 2007

Save the Planet - Stop Ironing

Here's an inspired idea from Dave Walker - it could just work!

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

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Wittgenstein, Freud and wheelie bins!

What an unexpected joy to have Clive James back on our airwaves with his first contribution to BBC Radio 4's A Point of View! I normally dip out when Brian Walden finishes a stint on this programme, but now I'll try and tune in to Mr James - always providing my Sunday morning hasn't degenerated into full panic mode by 8.50 am!

This week Clive touches on environmental issues, seduction by language and male pride. I especially enjoyed this section on the wheelie bin and male/female roles. To say that I recognised myself would be ... absolutely true!

In Cambridge we divide our garbage into two wheelie bins, marked compostable and non-compostable.

The two classifications don't apply to the wheelie bins, both of which are made of heavy-duty, non-compostable plastic, but do apply to their contents.

As the dolt of the household, a mere male and therefore little more than a brain-stem with a bank account, I myself am correctly regarded as too stupid to decide what goes into each bin. My job is to substitute one bin for another in the garden shed according to which week which bin is collected.

Only women are clever enough to plan this schedule but only men can do the heavy labour involved, employing the brute force for which they have been famous since the cave, when everything was biodegradable.

... Each time I change the bins I almost subtract myself from the present total of the inhabitants of East Anglia because for evolutionary reasons I am unable to lug one bin out and push the other bin in without impacting my forehead into the top frame of the shed door.

After the first time I fell to the flagstones clutching my bisected skull, when I jokingly suggested to the three watching eco-furies [wife and 2 daughters] that if I croaked in mid-manoeuvre they could always recycle me, I was informed that this possibility was on the cards because just outside of town there is a cemetery where they will bury you in a cardboard box.

There is also a graveyard called All Souls which has two wheelie bins standing outside it, one marked "All Souls compostable" and the other marked "All Souls non-compostable".

In the terminology we use in our household, it is important to recognise which are the "blue jobs" and the "pink jobs"!

Clive's full talk is here.

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