Sunday, August 12, 2018

Perceiving Hate

Apparently, according to the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, a hate crime is "any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person's disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity".

Of course, we must remember that in the UK at least, we operate to the spirit of the law and not merely the written word. We also have to interpret law in a way that is reasonable to a general, indifferent and rational member of the public thus eliminating as much bias as possible.

Using these ideas, it ought to be straightforward to identify a hate crime through perceiving motives based on hostility and prejudice. Most of the time this is reasonable. We can identify hatred through the visceral reactions of those who meet the object of their hatred. We hear name-calling, see houses covered in graffiti, businesses set alight - all because of an unreasoned hatred of people whose skin has a hue that is darker than pale or whose voice contains an accent that does not originate from these isles.

We have to understand that hatred of people is always unreasoned, or at least poorly reasoned. In Psalm cxxxix, after proclaiming the utter transcendence of God coming into contact with little humanity, the Psalmist shockingly cries upon God to slay the wicked whom he hates right sore. This might suggest that we must necessarily hate wicked people whom we them should go out and eradicate in some kind of Biblical extermination. But that is not the way forward. We need to read the psalm carefully.

 19 Wilt thou not slay the wicked, O God? Depart from me, ye blood-thirsty men.
 20 For they speak unrighteously against thee, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
 21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

Who is to slay the wicked? The Psalmist recognises that the prerogative to slay the wicked is God alone, not him. It's as if he knows that he is incompetent to judge what is wicked. Clearly, he knows that Evil exists and he hates it because where Evil is, God is not. Of course, the Old Testament is filled with instances of men and women being the instruments of God's judgement and slaying wicked folk like Eglon, Sisera, Haman and Jezebel. Even then, we cannot possibly comment with any certainty on their Eternal condition because that decision lies with the Almighty. Death is not a barrier for God's judgement. However, Death is no barrier for God's mercy nor for His Love.

The Psalmist wants the end of Evil and the cause of Evil. I would have thought that this would be common to every human being, really. We should not tolerate Evil in any form. However while human beings possess the faculty to tell Good from Evil, they have the tendency to allow this faculty to be corrupted by their desire to define what is Good and Evil based on their their false perceptions. This perception is now critical when it comes to defining what a hate crime is.

Of course, an accusation of hate crime needs to take into account three perceptions:

The perception of the accused as to the alleged hated characteristic of the victim;

The perception of the alleged victim as to whether the action of the accused arises from hatred;

The perception of the indifferent observer as to whether the perceptions of those involved are reasonable and accurate.

For example, in Ruritania, extending a hand has long been associated with stabbing someone and is thus a gross insult communicating the message "I wish you were dead!". On a state visit to Ruritania, Donald Trump offers his hand to the Grand Duchess for a handshake. Has a hate crime been committed?

You can see the headlines, can't you?

Trump declares war on Ruritania! 
Trump calls fake news on reports of insult to Ruritanian Royals 
Trump gaffe cools Ruritanian relations 
Archaic Etiquette to blame for Ruritanian crisis

Is there a hate crime? Surely there are lots of different perceptions here. The only thing that is objective is that Trump extended his hand to the Grand Duchess. What needs to follow is not a frenzy of media speculation muddying the waters and thus muddying the eyes of perception, but rather an immediate clearing of the air and a search for mutual understanding.

If Trump intended a friendly gesture which, to be honest, comes quite naturally in the West, then the perception of hatred is quite unfounded. However, how do we know what is truly intended? Actions speak louder than words, don't they?

The  foundation of Western justice is the assumption that we are innocent until proven guilty. It's an extension of the principle of Charity in which we assume the best of our brothers and sisters until they demonstrate otherwise, and even then beyond reasonable doubt. This is a Christian principle in which we afford in our neighbours the same generosity that we would wish for ourselves. Of course, in this age we tend to divorce the second commandment "love thy neighbour as thyself" from the first, "thou shalt love the Lord thy God." The second commandment is not something we can base our morality on alone because we can choose not only how to love, but also what "love" means.

In the Ruritanian Crisis above, the principle of Charity allows us to defuse a situation.

Yet, we know full well that this is not going to be allowed to happen. Instead, Trump will be tried by media, like Boris Johnson, Sir Cliff Richard and Bishop George Bell rather than in the proper places of the law courts and debating chambers of informed and unbiased democracy.

Of course, the public need to be kept informed and allowed to cultivate an opinion. What seems to be happening, though is that these opinions are being founded on sensationalism and popularity rather than by reason, careful consideration, and awareness of our own tendencies to confirmation bias. It is this process that needs to be taught carefully.

As a Christian, I am accused of hating Science. As a Catholic, I am accused of worshipping Mary. As a non-Roman Catholic, I am accused of not having valid orders. As an Anglican Catholic, I am accused of hating women priests, homosexual peopke and transgender folk. All of these are false assumptions that will colour people's perceptions of me.

I cannot and will not marry two people of the same sex, not because I am homophobic but rather because I believe that to do so would not be an act of love to them from me, but rather a means of pushing them away from God by giving affirmation to what is not possible and not what God wants. In not marrying such a couple, I am offering them an opportunity to see things as I believe God would have them. I am willing their good by offering them something better than the world can give. By accepting same-sex marriage, they are settling for second best which is just not good enough when the best is within reach.

Is this prejudice on my part? Given that I have reached my position through careful thought and prayer, I don't really see how I can be charged. My belief in God and my desire to worship Him necessitates my obedience to what He says is Good and Evil because Good and Evil have their definition in relation to His character. He ordains marriage between men and women as a place of protection as a family.

Likewise, I believe it to be an act of love to regard someone as they are rather than who they define themselves to be. Self-definition is an isolation from others through a restriction and control of language and communication. I don't accept that changing one's gender changes one's sex because I believe that, in rejecting God's creative capacity, one is swallowing a lie to the detriment of the good of all humanity.

I am a Christian which means that I believe it to be an issue of Eternal salvation to hold fast to Our Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God than accepting the prophecies of Mohammed. In so doing, I regard the Q'ran as being deficient in the truth and thus deceptive. Since I want everyone to be saved from Hell regardless as to who they are, I see it as a gross error of judgement to allow a deficient text to be read in Church.

Now I have said this, Society would accuse me of hate crimes on the grounds of homophobia, transphobia and islamophobia despite the fact that I hold my positions through a genuine regard for each human being on a level deeper than physical appearances and social constructions. This is because the idea of what is a reasonable perception in the definition of Hate Crime is being altered by social and political influence and is thus skewed away from seeing Good and Evil as being qualities that transcend any society.

I am not perfect and I have my biases as does everyone else. I do try to love my neighbour as myself, but I know that I fail. I pray to God that this failure is due to weakness and not malice. If it is the latter, may God show me and correct me accordingly. If I am weak, then I pray for strength in future. If I am to be judged hateful by Society on purely human understandings of Love, Hate, Good and Evil, then I must bear that judgement all the while praying for the Day of Judgement to put all things right.

In turn, I pray and urge everyone to seek the truth with reason and charity so that true hatred may be revealed and put away and that true Love may abound.

When is a Gospel not a Gospel?

Sermon for the eleventh Sunday after Trinity

Which Gospel does St Paul hand to you?

Matthew? Mark? Luke? John?

Perhaps it isn't one of those Gospels he hands to you. Perhaps it's the Gospel of St Peter? Never heard of it? Surely you have, it's the Gospel in which at the Resurrection,

"... three men come forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them. And the heads of the two reached to heaven, but the head of him who was led by them overpassed the heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, You have preached to them that sleep. And a response was heard from the cross, Yes."

You don't remember that one?

Perhaps it's the Gospel of St Philip? That's the Gospel mentioned in the Da Vinci Code which supposedly proves that Our Lord was married to St Mary Magdalene.

You don't recognize these Gospels, do you?

Why not?

[PAUSE]

Simply speaking, these are not the Gospel which St Paul received. There area whole group of Gospels none of which are The Gospel: they are either fake, corrupted, or at best unreliable.

Very early on, the Church recognises that the only reliable Gospels are the ones we know today.

Of course, that doesn't stop people from saying that they are fake or false. Many modern scholars like to tear the Gospels to shreds to show that they are historically unreliable. If that were true, the debate would be settled by now with conclusive proof. The only real reason that they have to be suspicious are the Miracles of Christ. If miracles don't happen, then the Gospels must be wrong. But then, if a miracle were to happen how is it to be reported if all reports of miracles are automatically false?

[PAUSE]

St Paul receives the Gospel from eyewitnesses and from his own experience on the Damascus road, and he preserves it as best he can. It's clear that if he were to change that Gospel then no-one would ever recognise it. It is because Matthew, Mark, Luke and John preserve the truth that the Church knows that the Gospels of Peter and Philip aren't the results of the saints, nor are they true.

We may say that there are four Gospels, but really there is only one to which these four books bear witness to us over the centuries.

[PAUSE]

We, too, are charged with passing on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and it has to be the same Gospel that has always been preached so that human beings can be saved from their sins and find Eternal Life with God. To change that Gospel in any way would be to distort the message that God has for us.

Sadly, many do. Many try to make Our Lord say things He has never said. Others try to make out that what was once described as sin has never been sinful. Others try to adapt the meaning of the Gospel to be politically correct.

[PAUSE]

We accept the true Gospel from the hands of St Paul and every single orthodox Christian who has lived and it is our job to pass it to those who come after. How can we do this if we do not read it? How can we do this if we do not understand it? Well, we just have to listen to those who have passed the Gospel onto us and be faithful.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

The difference between hopping and jumping

One thing you might observe about Continuing Anglicans is that our membership occurs largely of people who have left another jurisdiction to join us. This is also true of many priests who for one reason or another seek to jump from their ship into our coracle.
 
The trouble is, those reasons do actually matter.
 
Fr Chadwick makes no apology for his wandering through several branches of the Catholic Church, and there is no reason why he should. His has been a choppy voyage and, at each stage, he has found himself at odds with the very reasons that those branches exist. One thing I have noticed about his Odyssey is that he has been seeking the Truth of Christ in His Church – something that resonates very strongly with me and leads us both on lonely furrows surrounded by those who want to define truth on their terms as if their will is absolute. This makes Fr Chadwick and myself extroverts despite the fact that our different autisms (probable in my case as I await diagnosis) render us very introvert. We know that while Christ is indeed within us, we can only ever seek Him from without or we risk worshipping a Christ that looks like our image in a mirror. We are extrovert in our search for Christ because we must turn outwards.
 
This means that we need a North Star – that can only be Christ Himself.
 
It also means that it is not easy for us to jump. It takes effort to realise that one is in the wrong place rather than just going through a bad patch. As I reflect on my time in the CofE, I realise that I should have jumped sooner save that I was still finding God’s truth as I ministered to the dwindling few who would tolerate my “fixed views” and “strict Anglo-Catholicism”. I found the Truth in their faith and, as they died or fell away from the CofE, that truth became dark, cold and lifeless surrounded by electronic keyboards and (female) Rural Deans with an agenda for “cleansing” the Church of Conservative Catholicism. While there’s life there’s hope, and where there is Christ’s Life, there is His hope.
 
And when He leaves, we must follow. That involves a jump, a summoning up of all our energy and resolve to leave a place which we once loved and once resonated with. We do it for no other reason than to answer the beckoning call of Christ. In my case, I jumped before really knowing where I was going, though in my heart of hearts, I had hoped to find a little coracle called the ACC and be pulled out of the choppy water. Fr Chadwick we found clinging to a rock slowly submerging as the tide increased.
 
The point is, we don’t jump lightly and certainly not to further our earthly walk. We jump when Christ bids us. We get out of the boat to walk on water only when Christ tells us that it’s safe to do so.
 
And then there are those who hop.
 
I have noticed that some priests approach the ACC in order to be re-ordained. More often than not, this sort of priest does so to collect a stream of valid ordinations. This shows such lack of faith in the body that ordained us. In the ACC, we have nothing to prove: our orders are valid and they are meant for service to the laity who thirst for the Grace of Christ. As ACC priests, we have a true ministry to perform and hard work to do. Our titles are meaningless in themselves and serve only to demonstrate the nature of the work that we do. In fact our titles hold us to account. If we are an archdeacon then we will only be accepted by Christ if we have served as an archdeacon to the best of our fragile and fallible abilities. If we are a bishop, or an abbot, then we will be held to account for every single member of our Diocese. It’s not a pleasant thought.

It bothers neither me nor my bishop that Fr Anthony is technically a bishop. He doesn't see himself as such and seeks only service as a priest in our Diocese and we believe him. We know that all who like to "remind" us of the fact are trying to make trouble and are exhibiting an unkindness that is designed to hurt rather than edify.
 
And yet, there are those who just want the purple, the mitre, the red buttons and the title of “Most Reverend Lord.” Well, let them have it. They will have to answer to Christ for it. They hop and it is of little energy. A hope is half-hearted in comparison with a jump because it is done without danger, without faith and without realising the importance of what the jump entails. Hopping occurs when there are queeny hissy fits between clergy with result in one of them walking out and shutting the door behind them declaring, “I am the One True Church!” God sees and will laugh them to scorn.
 
In the ACC, we have Boards of Ministry whose job it is to advise our Bishops as to the suitability of anyone who puts themselves forward to ministry in our Church. They can and will weed out all those who are “jurisdiction hopping” for their own ends because that will do nothing for the service of Our Lord Jesus Christ – indeed it is best that we do turn them down for the sake of their own souls!
 
We have a lot to do in the ACC: we need labourers for the harvest and welcome all those who have gathered themselves together in a true jump. We are tiny and far from perfect, but we are all fixed upon the glory of Christ Jesus and seek to do our best to serve Him in His people.

Episcopal Stresses


I am saddened to hear that my bishop, the Rt Rev Damien Mead, has been under the weather again, and provide a little light relief for him in the form of one of my substandard attempts at cartoonery in the hope that he will feel better soon.

I am sure he would appreciate your prayers and support.


Sunday, August 05, 2018

Tears over clutter

Sermon for the tenth Sunday after Trinity
 
We see Our Lord weeping over Jerusalem because He knows what’s coming and why. That great Old Testament City is to be completely ruined. The temple will be destroyed. All that the prophets, priests and kings of the Old Testament had worked for, lived for and died for will be obliterated until, as we see it now, we can only glimpse at what it once was.
 
And we see this happening today. Church buildings are being converted into flats or themed nightclubs. The great Cathedrals are being used for secular events and even for those of non-Christian religions. We see the clergy living “alternative lifestyles” which seems to be a phrase that means “not in keeping with the commandments of God”. We hear of the Q’ran being read from the lectern rather than the Bible.
 
Is the Lord weeping over His Church?
 
[PAUSE]
 
It’s easy to admit that the state of the Church is always somewhat distressing. We learn of the latest scandal and fear what will become of us. Will the Church, robbed of its true magnificence and authority, die right out?
 
There are those who cling to the magnificent robes and rituals. There are whole “churches” which exist so that everyone can wear bishop’s robes and be referred to as “Your Grace”. There are those which exist to keep the Church “pure” from liturgical and aesthetic abuses. There are Churches which will go on pride marches and declare that God’s love means that we can love whomsoever we want without realising that they’ve confused “love” with at best a form of friendship mixed with lust.
 
Is the Lord weeping over His Church?
 
[PAUSE]
 
We could be depressed. We could be tempted to weep. We can even try and scrape together the dust of the Church that we believed we knew just to try and keep it alive.  However, we needn’t be so depressed. There is always hope.
 
This isn’t a vain empty hope like hoping the barbecue will be a success even though the BBC has forecast rain. We have a true hope – a trust in God that the Church will always survive.
 
You see, Jerusalem is ruined because she fails to recognise the Lord at His visitation. And that’s the key here.
 
We have to be in a position to recognise the Lord when He visits us. We can only do that if we are faithful to what He teaches us in the Bible. We will recognise Him because He says what He has always said.
 
If a man dressed as William Shakespeare reads, “to be or not to be” and says, “I never wrote that!” then it’s clear that either he is not William Shakespeare, or we were wrong to think that he wrote Hamlet.
 
If a man dressed in a white robe with a beard says, “Love means whatever you want it to mean” then clearly that man is not the Lord because love means sacrifice, hardship and struggle, and no-one wants those. And we know that because Holy Church has always preached the Gospel that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to die upon the Cross that we might be saved from our sins and, to give us the certainty of True Hope, He rose again from the dead so that the Old Testament might be fulfilled and the Good News completed for all those who would enter the Church and find Salvation.
 
[PAUSE]
 
The first act that Our Lord does after weeping for Jerusalem is to clear the temple of the money-changers. And that is what we see happening.
 
When we see a Church building being converted into something non-Christian, it is because it is no longer necessary. It’s clutter and taking up room for the Church to be somewhere else, somewhere ordained by God.
 
When we hear messages from non-Christian religions proclaimed in our pulpits, it’s clutter! Our Lord says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” We must believe that and in so doing we must believe that other religions, no matter how well meaning, gentle or benevolent are wrong somewhere along the line.
 
When we see heresy committed in the name of Jesus, it’s clutter. This is not Jesus for He is always with those who believe in Him. Let it happen and it will be shown up for what it is and weeded out. Don’t be depressed! Keep yourself turning to God! Your Faith will bring you to Him. There will always be priests ready to give you His Grace through the sacraments. You might not find them in beautiful church buildings. You might find them in village halls, cemetery chapels, or even on a boat! But they are there for you and through them God will give you something more magnificent that any Church Establishment could ever be – God’s very self!
 
[PAUSE]
 
It is the presence of God that makes a building truly beautiful. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all these things will be added unto you! And pray for all priests that they may be faithful to their calling by the Voice from Eternity!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Squandering and wandering

Sermon for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity

Interesting. When I was preparing this, I could have sworn that the Gospel Reading was that of the Prodigal Son. I find that it is the Parable of the Unjust Steward, instead. I believe that I have been gently compelled to preach the following, and crave your indulgence if this is not what you are expecting.

Update: This will teach me to mix my missals. The Prodigal Son is today's reading from the Anglican Missal, not the English Missal.

There are times when, reviewing your bank statement, you think, “I wish I hadn’t bought that. What a waste of money!” or “I’m flushing money down the drain with that utility company!” If we were truly to take stock of the money we actually waste… well, it doesn’t bear thinking about does it?

What other things do we waste?

Time, energy, even the resources of our poor planet.
Our Lord shows us the prodigal son – prodigal means wasteful – to show us how the Father treats His children. What does the Lord think that we waste?

[PAUSE]

The prodigal son asks his father for his inheritance. What is interesting that he inherits a quantity of the father’s substance – that’s the literal translation. We do talk about being men and women of substance because we often think that what we own makes us who we are. The prodigal son takes control over what he believes is his by right. And the father lets him.
Does this compare with us and God? Surely we have no right over His substance? Surely He doesn’t owe us anything, does He?

We remember that God creates us in His own image. This does mean that we are, in some way, like Him. God and human beings share characteristics. God and Man are both rational. God and Man are both capable of love. God and Man have knowledge. Of course, whatever aspects we share, God possesses them perfectly, and we don’t. God’s knowledge far outstrips human knowledge. God’s love for us is more that we can know, and sometimes more than we can bear.

We do possess something of God’s substance, but the mistake that we make is that we believe to have it by right. That’s how we fall and leave God. As soon as we think that God owes us, we have lost the idea of love and entered into a world of buying and selling and profit and loss. In talking of rights, we enter into a world of legal and illegal and right and responsibility and politics. In this world, we can waste what God makes of us. We waste our time, our thinking, our love, our lives. We even waste our very selves because we see ourselves as a thing to be bought or sold in some kind of transaction in the world.

When we come to our senses, we are still thinking in these terms. We seek to go back to the Father but only as a slave, because that’s all we’re worth. In realising our sins, we believe ourselves to be totally depraved and legally Hell-bound. Again, we are looking, believing that we have grasped and control Law which we have torn out from the Goodness of God. In all this we forget God the Father as He is and His love for us. If we are lovable, then we are not totally gone out of God’s righteousness because we still bear the image of God. We are redeemable.

This is where God’s greatest gift to us comes in. It is the gift of Himself. His very existence gives us someone to believe in the darkness of our sin as we sit and bewail our wasting of our own souls. It is that belief in God, trusting in Him when we cannot trust anyone to love us, that is Good. In remembering his father back home, the prodigal son has faith in who his father is. Likewise, our Faith is a gift of God because God is a gift of God, and believing in Him, we find a way to live that brings us back to Him. It is because we continue to have faith and we continue to build up that faith that we become ourselves again: we become Good. This building up of our faith needs to be done by working in obedience to God, just as the blind woman trusts the instructions of her mother to direct her away from the cliff.

[PAUSE]

And then, when the prodigal son is home, we see the father throwing a lavish party! How wasteful is that?
Well it isn’t wasteful at all for such extravagance has a purpose in celebrating others. It is for all!

We should and actually need to rejoice when someone lost comes home for that is the expression of true love which is given to us and is part of us. While the son shows himself to be prodigal by taking away what he believes to be his, the father shows him how what he has is supposed to be used. In reunion with God, we don’t have profit, loss, law, politics, buying, selling – there is no such thing as possession. All these things are far too small ways of thinking, of knowing and of loving.

In reunion with God what we do have is Him as He really is and ourselves as we really are. In keeping the faith as far as we feebly can, we will be like Him for we will see Him as He really is.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Comments

Like Fr Hart, I find that I am no longer receiving email notifications for comments.

Please accept my apologies if your comment takes some time to appear. For my part, I will attempt to check carefully.

I am always happy to receive comments, though I do reserve the right not to publish those which are wilfully offensive or spammy.

Monday, July 23, 2018

SJWho?

Or Why I stopped watching Doctor Who

I will confess to having been an avid Doctor Who Fan for much of my life. It was a wonderful premise of the maverick alien pootling about the universe in a Police Box battling demonic pepper pots and mechanical men with ear protectors. I know that it was rather ramshackle at times, the sets wobbled, you could spot plasma balls being passed off as vortex manipulators, and some storylines were on the bonkers side of loony, but it was a show I grew up with. There was Good and there was Evil and sometimes it wasn’t absolutely clear which was which, even with the Doctor at times. There were explosions and drama and death and tragedy as well as comedy and mystery and science.

However, I will not be watching the series again, for much the same reason why I left the CofE: they are changing the show to indoctrinate people with the current Cultural Marxism. The catalyst for me is the fact that the Doctor, despite having been played by twelve actors, is now to be played by an actress. That’s not the cause of my disenfranchisement, it’s a symptom of it. It has only been in the last few seasons that the notion that the sex of a Time Lord is interchangeable despite it being quite fixed for the major part of the series. There are ways in which a female Doctor could have been achieved quite reasonably and in ways that made sense, but it has clearly been introduced as a norm for the Doctor that biological sex is fluid. Yes, I know that the Doctor is a “shape-shifting alien” (yet, he isn’t – the evidence of the series is regeneration, not “shape-shifting”) and thus anything can happen in science fiction, but the mechanism for this change is pure political correctness.

I didn’t watch the last episode of the series because, by then, I had had enough. Apparently, they brought back the character of the Doctor’s first incarnation and gave him lines which were deliberately sexist in order to show him as a thing of the past. This doesn’t fit in regard to the idea that Time Lord Sex is fluid, because if it is, then for the First Doctor to be sexist is completely incomprehensible. Yet it is clear that this was deliberate so that the audience could distance itself from values of the sixties when the series first aired.

Of course, that’s fine. Sexism, properly defined and properly understood, is an evil that must be eradicated. Women are not objects to make a cup of tea, wear pink, or submit to the wishes of their husbands; the fact that we have challenged that grotesque caricature and won is a true joy. But we cannot airbrush that out of history as if it never happened, nor can we demonise historical figures for attitudes that were socially acceptable then - that's not to say that by not demonising we are condoning their ideas. This demonisation of the past is, however, very short-sighted given that the same thing will happen to this milieu. All this Cultural Marxism will be looked back on with the same awkwardness and discomfort as we might encounter the phrase, “Women! Know your place!” We have to accept the facts of history as they are. I believe in objective moral standards by which all human beings and all ages will be measured. Sexism was wrong in the sixties, but that does not mean that we are any morally superior today! I think our Society is very good at virtue signalling when it comes up against attitudes of the past.

Of course, much of the motivation behind this is part of the phenomenon of the Social Pendulum that swings between the Liberal-Conservative, Socialist-Capitalist and Traditional-Progressive spectra. The physics of the Pendulum shows that the Pendulum always passes through the Equilibrium point with the highest speed. This means that just when Society has the balance right, the momentum of political swings always carries it through into political incorrectness. Why haven’t we learned this simple fact and worked out how to stop the Pendulum properly so that it balances?

You can see just how much the politics of Cultural Marxism is invading simple television shows by listening to the new producer of Doctor Who, Chris Chibnall, the man who is responsible for the sexual fluidity of Time Lords. On casting the female Doctor, he says:
“I just felt the time was right. I think if the show hadn’t done it, we would have been behind the world, and Doctor Who has got to be out front leading the world, and being a great example of all the amazing things that are in the world. So, it wasn’t even a question in my mind.”
What Mr Chibnall has just said is that he believes that a television programme is going to change the world for the better. He declares that it is his vision that everyone will subscribe to the moral values that he writes into his scripts. Mr Chibnall is a Social Justice Warrior par excellence, seeking to indoctrinate people against modern political incorrectness. What was a television programme that set out to inspire with ideas, to thrill with stories, and to pull on the heart strings has become a vehicle by which people are told what is good and bad.

There have been quotes in the series that are not so much Feminist (in the best and proper sense of standing up for women's equal humanity with men) but rather anti-Men. At one point, one female character says that she will hit the Doctor so hard he’ll regenerate. If a male character were to say that to a woman, there would be many moral questions asked. Yet, if the Doctor’s sex is fluid, then this horrible threat has already been said to a female character! But then, if sex is fluid, what is female and what is male? The attitude of many SJW activists is based on whether you feel male or female and thereby render language captive to the sensibilities of social groupings.

Of course, I am not allowed to voice my opinion on any official site because I will be shouted down. Apparently, my privilege as a white Englishman will be showing. Because "I" have been the oppressor, I must now take my turn to be oppressed. Apparently, this is socially just. It doesn't matter that two wrongs don't make a right, everyone needs to fit into the correct stratification according to privilege. Thus, stories which surround an itinerant Time Lord which have entertained me and inspired my thinking for much of my life must be taken away in order to teach me a lesson in how to be part of Society.

But the thing is, I have my imagination, my memories and an "off" button on my remote control. No amount of attempted Social Justice Indoctrination is going to prevent me from using them all.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

How to recognise a bishop

Sermon for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity

You'd have thought it would be easy to spot a bishop. You just need to look for the pointy hat and fancy robes, and then you're done. However, the fact is that many real bishops have never worn a pointy hat and many pointy hat wearers are not real bishops.

Given that God has given us bishops as a gift to the Church so that we can be encouraged in His Grace, knowing real bishops from fake bishops is important.

[PAUSE]

Now we can get technical over the rules of consecrating bishops and talk about the Apostolic Succession, but it's always best to go back to the Source and the words of Our Lord and Saviour Who is the true Bishop of our souls. And it is simple: by their fruits ye shall know them.

[PAUSE]

Of course, bishops are human beings and just as fallible as we are, but one thing will be true: a bishop will be dedicated to the working out in the Grace of God of his own holiness and that of every single individual in his diocese.

A true bishop will not deceive you about the state of the church. There are bishops out there who will pretend to be Roman Catholic in order to ride on the backs of a large group of Catholics. However, if you look hard, you will see that the Roman Catholic Church does not know who they are. A true bishop will be like Cuprinol and do exactly what it says on the tin.

A true bishop will exercise humility. He has an important office and it is a good thing to see a bishop dressed in full regalia as he becomes a living ikon of Christ the High Priest at the sacrifice in Heaven. However, a true bishop will remember that he is an ikon painted on his own being which is flawed and broken by the effects of sin. He will seek to serve his diocese, just as Christ served his disciples in the washing of their feet.

A true bishop will be active, not just appearing to be a bishop in a painting. When the cassock comes off, a true bishop will continue to preach the Gospel in his life outside the sanctuary. He will not be a machine for ordinations and confirmations, but his activity will be for God's glory in the whole world. He is not a statue in the sanctuary, but a man sentenced by his own love for God to hard labour.

A true bishop will laugh at himself because he knows his unworthiness to bear the mitre but rejoices in the love and mercy of God at using him in such a quintessentially important way for the Church. He will laugh with people; he will cry with people but he will keep himself under guard so that God in him may increase in the world.

A true bishop will live out the traditional Gospel, changing nothing to suit the world's sensitivities. He (and a true bishop is male) will not allow his diocese to follow the fashionable philosophies or temporary ideas of social justice, but will seek only to bring God's justice into the world which will always be rejected by the world. He will be a controversial figure to secular society and the Devil will groan when he stands up to speak for he will speak the words of God confessing at all times the reality of Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, God Crucified, God risen, and God saving.

[PAUSE]

That's how you recognise a true bishop. Now you know, perhaps you wonder why anyone would want to be one.

This is why every bishop needs respect, love and prayers for he has devoted his life to hardship for the sake of God and for the love of God's children.

Make sure, then, that you pray hard for your bishop. Whether you like him or not, he is God's gift to you, so pray that he may be so.