Damning Billy Graham with faint praise

In an age when Christianity and Christians are a preferred object of ridicule, it is almost unprecedented for the secular press to have nothing but good things to say about an evangelical Christian. That seems to be the case for Billy Graham, though, who died yesterday.

Criticism, as is so often the case, has come instead from an Anglican in the form of Michael Coren, an – in chronological order –  ex-Roman Catholic/ex-Evangelical/ex-Roman Catholic who has come to view the cosmos through pink tinted Anglican lenses. His main complaints about Billy Graham are that he regarded homosexual activity as sinful, his theology was not nebulous and flaccid, he held to 2000 years of tradition, he tempered experience with the Bible and was what Coren used to be: conservative.

In other words, he was too Christian.

From here:

Billy Graham brought countless people to a deep Christian faith, and to better lives; and unlike so many other high-profile evangelists, he was not financially corrupt or vainglorious. But his theology was rigid and conservative, and he was unable or unwilling to allow experience to temper his fierce resistance to the new and non-traditional. On issues of sexuality in particular, there are too many broken relationships, too much pain and suffering, too many suicide attempts, and children thrown out of parental Christian homes, for the complete man not to be exposed. He had so much influence, and knew so many world leaders, and could have done so much better. Rest in Peace sir, but let us pray that in the afterlife you think again.

The strange Anglican Parish of Gosford

Rod Bower, the rector of the Australian parish has erected this interesting sign outside the church:


The sign is in much the same spirit as the Richard Dawkins’ bus advertisement:


As of this writing, the Anglican Parish of Gosford does still believe in God, though – sort of; perhaps I should have said “god”.

In its belief statement, the church doesn’t quote the historic creeds because, I suspect, the historic creeds make definitive statements on things like Jesus’ divinity, his bodily resurrection, the virgin birth and so on. They are not inclusive in that those who don’t subscribe to what they say can’t call themselves Christian. That is the point of the creeds:  they nail down the beliefs that are necessary to Christianity.

The Anglican Parish of Gosford prefers a more mushy approach, asserting the existence of a god of two persons – Jesus isn’t included:

We believe in God, a divine presence, gentle and loving, the ground of our being.

We believe in Jesus, who demonstrated to us the love of God, and who urged his followers to express that love in their daily lives.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, as God’s continuing presence in our world, surrounding us in compassionate love.

We believe in the church where people gather to learn about and praise God, to share our concern for one another, and to bring justice and healing to all of God’s Creation. Amen.

Even though the parish is reluctant to include Jesus in the godhead, his purpose – perhaps to compensate – was one of radical inclusion:

Jesus’s central message is about radical inclusion, thus we welcome anyone to participate in our fellowship without judgment or forcing them to conform to our “likeness” or affirm our creeds in order to be accepted. We invite and offer all a place at the table – no exceptions.

Jesus didn’t die for our sins, so we are all still in them; never mind, get over it. Love, god:

Jesus came to show us the “Kingdom” not to die for our sins!

A carbon fast for Lent

The trendy faction of the Anglican Communion is suggesting a “carbon fast” for Lent:

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has invited Anglicans around the globe to join him in a Carbon Fast for Lent.

This is excellent news, as I’ve just learned that earthworms are a significant contributor to global warming.

No matter how strong the temptation to the contrary, I will be eschewing all contact with carbon spewing earthworms this Lent.


Canon Kenneth Kearon’s diagnosis of what ails the Anglican Communion

Apparently, it’s fundamentalism.

From here:

“One of the features of fundamentalism is that you begin to believe that your apprehension of God is the right one and complete one, and consequently, all others are wrong. There are far too many unreflective fundamentalisms around in our communion today – conservative fundamentalism, liberal fundamentalism, catholic fundamentalism – all characterized by a certainly in their rightness, coupled with an intolerance of the faith perspective of others with whom they differ.”

That would make John the Baptist, St. Paul, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles all fundamentalists.

Even worse, since he claimed that his “apprehension of God” was not only “the right one” but that those who apprehended him apprehended God, it would make Jesus the definitive fundamentalist: a veritable paradigm of fundamentalism.

Jesus would have made a dreadfully intolerant Anglican – according to the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Who’s on top at St. Matthew-in-the-city

The Auckland Anglican church is a progressive church and, as such, supports same-sex marriage.

St. Matthew’s has a reputation for erecting strange billboards, so it is no surprise that it is at it again with this declaration of support for same-sex marriage plastered on billboards-in-the-city – what the church should really call itself.

As St. Matthew’s says: Welcome to a church like no other: a church of vertical inclusiveness:

A revolting new word: Anglimergent

On close inspection, “Anglimergent” seems to be a combination of “Anglican” and “emergent”.

One meaning for “emergent” is rising above a surrounding medium, especially a fluid. This conjures the image – for me at least – of Anglimergent members bobbing about floating in a liquefied Anglican ether, rather like faecal matter in a tide of sewage.

That might not be what was intended; fortunately, there is a website that explains all. Anglimergent is:

A relational network of Anglicans engaging emerging church & mission.

I have no idea what that means but there is more:

Anglimergent is a ‘big tent’ community of diverse Anglicans…..

Once you join Anglimergent, we invite you go to the ‘GROUPS PAGE’ and join your NATIONAL CHURCH and also your DIOCESAN GROUP. – If your national church (TEC, CofE, ACC…) or your diocese does not have a group, start one! – This way our Anglimergent conversation is ‘glocal’ – across national churches and diocese (global) AND specific to work within your own Anglican church body and your own diocese (local). Cheers and welcome aboard.

As you can see, this section has managed to include two mangled words in one sentence: Anglimergent conversation is glocal. I assume this is some kind of entrance test: only Anglicans who are not acutely repulsed by words like Anglimergent and glocal should apply. Having weeded out all others, what will be left? A ‘big tent’ community of diverse Anglicans, presumably; I fear we are back to the floating feculence.

The 39 articles, Readers’ Digest version

From here:

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church issued the following message at the conclusion of its three-day meeting in Linthicum Heights, Maryland

A Message from Executive Council
January 29, 2012
Linthicum Heights, Maryland

God is awesome
The Good News is not fair
God always acts first

So there you have it: the Anglican Credo circa 2012, the 39 articles in a shrunken trivial trinity, a tertiary triteness, a bromidic banality, a diabolical dephlegmation.

Or perhaps it’s so profound, I missed the point and should repeat it:

God is awesome
The Good News is not fair
God always acts first

I might set it to music to see if that helps.

Diocese of Niagara: distributive justice is the primary message of the Bible

Forget about individual sin, eternity, Jesus dying for our sins, reconciliation with God, the cross, the Atonement, the Resurrection, glorifying God as a purpose for living. At last the true message of the Bible can be revealed, courtesy of the Niagara Anglican. It’s all about the government taking money from people whom it thinks have too much and giving it to people who have too little – in practice, government employees.

The Bible is full of examples of Jesus petitioning the Romans to take money from the wealthy and give it to the poor; I just can’t put my finger on any at the moment.

As Jesus said in Luke 6:20: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of the welfare state.”

From here (page 8):

On the weekend in mid-October when the Occupy Wall Street movement appeared in cities in Canada and around the world, a Biblical scholar explicated the timeless message of God’s will, as taught by Jesus, Paul and the Old Testament prophets, for distributive justice for all peoples. His key phrase, distributive justice, refers to a peaceful, democratic community with an economy characterized by a just distribution of the essentials of life, as opposed to the injustice that characterizes a military dictatorship claiming to bring peace through victory.


The necessary revolution in our age, as in Jesus’ time, is to create God’s kingdom of distributive justice in our earthly societies. This is also the primary message of the Bible.


Lobster loving Anglicans

From here:

Jesus looked at the book of Leviticus—a confusing tangle of ancient legal codes and taboos, mixing primitive superstitions together with enduring ethical insights—and what did he find there? He found laws in Leviticus forbidding a disabled person from being a priest, branding lepers as outcasts from the community, stigmatizing a woman as unclean during her menstrual period or after giving birth. Leviticus forbids same-sex relations, eating lobster, tattoos, wearing clothes made of two different kinds of fabric, and planting a field with two different kinds of seed.

That settles it: the fact that there are Anglicans who persist in eating lobster and no-one seems to care must mean that no-one should care if they also engage in sodomy. I had no idea it was that simple.

If only it had occurred to Rev. Dr. Gary Nicolosi to point that out before now, we could have avoided all the recent Anglican unpleasantness.

Anyway, as Rev. Nicolosi goes on to point out, all you really need is love – particularly when you love lobsters.

Welsh vicar cuts out the nasty bits of the Bible

From here:

Church in Wales inquiry after rector burns Bible pages

The Church in Wales says it is investigating after a Gwynedd rector burnt some pages from the Bible.

The Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth of St Peter ad Vincula Church, Pennal, also cut up pages from the King James Bible to create an artwork.

Unveiling it at a church event, he said it revealed a “cruel and vile God”.


He revealed his controversial piece of art at an event to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

He said: “I find it highly offensive that people would think I have given my life to serving that type of God and that I would regard the words of the King James Bible as sacred truth.

“I cut out all the nasty bits of that Bible, the language of which is being celebrated all over the place this year, because I don’t think you can separate that language from the God it is representing.

“I was gobsmacked no programmes or articles are representing the cruelty, revenge and hatred of this version of God.”


“The King James Bible should be praised for its language but not for the God it represents – the two need to be separated.”


He said he also planned to create a “wall of shame” at the church naming all of God’s “cruel actions”.

If he thinks the unmolested version of the Bible reveals a god of cruelty, revenge and hatred, one wonders why the Reverent became a Reverent in the first place.

To his credit, I suppose, is that he is open about the fact that he is sitting in judgement over the Bible and is purging it of the parts that don’t fit his particular brand of idolatry.

Many other Anglican priests and bishops secretly believe as he does but don’t have the guts to come out and admit it.