A safe space for Trumpophobics

The Diocese of New Westminster along with St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, representatives of the fastest declining denominations in North America, are banding together “to offer an antidote to the fear and despair” resulting from democracy in action in the USA.

Franklin Graham seems to have been the catalyst for this but honourable mention is given to “right-wing groups” in Europe, Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duerte. “The list goes on” as the article below notes, but it doesn’t go on to include Iran, Syria, North Korea, China, Iraq or any of the other countries that concentrate much of their national energy on persecuting Christians.

The featured speakers include an imam, a Zen Buddhist and Michael Ingham, one of the most divisive Anglican bishops of the 20th Century.  Anglicans should feel quite at home.

The event is called: Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance. Even though Franklin Graham will be in Vancouver, he hasn’t been invited to state his side of the story; liberals generally can’t cope when both sides of an argument are presented. Their brains shut down in self-defensive panic. These days, I think it’s called “triggering”.

From here:

People have been confiding in Vancouver Rev. Gary Paterson that they’re having trouble feeling hopeful.

In a political era characterized by U.S. President Donald Trump, growing immigrant-skeptic movements in Europe and the murder of six Quebec Muslims, the minister at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church wanted to offer an antidote to the fear and despair he’s hearing from members of his church and the public.

So Paterson, past moderator of the United Church of Canada, teamed up with another downtown Vancouver clergyman, Rev. Peter Elliot of Christ Church (Anglican) Cathedral, to have a multi-faith group of speakers lead a four-part series in March titled Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance.

“It’s partly a reaction to what’s happening in the United States. But the U.S. has such an influence on the world, especially Canada,” Paterson said, noting the city has been divided by the Vancouver crusade of American evangelist Franklin Graham, a major Trump supporter, to be held March 3-5.

“It’s also a reaction to reports from Europe about right-wing groups gaining traction … and to the aplomb with which (Russian President Vladimir) Putin seems to be acting these days and to (strongman Rodrigo) Duerte in the Philippines. The list goes on.”

Alberta government issues thinly veiled threat to Christian schools

Alberta’s NDP government has an anti-bullying policy in schools. To the NDP mind, a school that refuses to have gay straight alliance clubs or cross-gender lavatories is guilty of bullyingas defined by the Humpty Dumpty Theory of Language.

To discourage such defiant flouting of gender politics pieties, the Alberta government is bullying schools into compliance.

From here:

Education Minister David Eggen says he’s willing to strip two Christian schools of their public funding if they won’t abandon their Christian principles and allow clubs promoting homosexuality and/or transgender students in washrooms of the opposite sex.

These measures are part of the New Democratic government’s anti-bullying policies that single out sexual minorities for protection, though surveys indicate that physical appearance and grades are far more likely causes of school bullying.

Last month, Spruce Grove Baptist pastor Brian Coldwell, who is also chairman of an independent Christian school board with two small schools with 200 students, said neither cross-gendered washrooms nor gay straight alliances would be allowed in his schools.

Asked about Coldwell’s comments at a school opening where he was joined by Premier Rachel Notley, Eggen said, “It’s not acceptable, not just for the kids that are attending those schools, but it sends a negative message across the province, that I’m quite concerned about as well.” According to the Edmonton Journal, Eggen also said he “won’t rule out” defunding Coldwell’s schools.

Diocese of Niagara starts demolishing church, forgets to tell anyone

St._PaulsFrom here:

Some Port Robinson residents are hoping they’ll be able to save historic St. Paul’s Anglican Church, but the clock is ticking with the 170-year-old icon slated for demolition.

Some residents came to city council on Sept. 16, saying they were stunned to learn the white church, surrounded by an old cemetery, was scheduled to be knocked down.

“Most of us didn’t even know until it started to be dismantled,” said resident Kyrsten McDonald. “We’re wondering what we (can) do and how we can stop this.

“This is one of our last historical buildings that’s in great condition, and it’s being torn down.”

[….]

“It was never the desire of the Diocese to take down St. Paul’s as it has played a part in the history of the Diocese,” he said. “However, as a business decision, it was felt that we were left with no other choice.
“If the community had actually supported this parish over these many years, perhaps we would not have had to come to this unfortunate decision.”

As we can see, the problem lies with the community for not supporting the church: the diocese was forced into a Prophetic Social Justice Making ……. business decision. Perhaps the church would have garnered more support over the years if there had been more Gospel preached and less “more tea vicar? social club cliquishness punctuated by spasms of leftist propaganda.

The Church of England does believe in demons after all

The Church of England doesn’t talk that much about demons during its General Synod. Since the church is removing the devil from baptismal liturgies, it isn’t too surprising that his minions don’t get much time at Synod. Until now.

According to the Right Reverend Stephen Croft, the “great demon of our day” is climate change – what else – and the damage it will do is “unimaginable”. A couple of thousand years ago it took a whole legion of demons to throw a bunch of pigs over a cliff; such has Mephistophelian potency burgeoned since Rowan’s retirement, now all it takes is one demon to destroy the entire planet.

And people say the Church of England has lost touch with the pulse of modernity.

From here:

“The issue of climate change is real and it is happening.”

Canon Goddard pointed out the moral case from a Christian point of view: “Care for the Earth, as a gift of the Creator, is in many ways foundational for the Gospel. We have the responsibility, expressed for example in the Genesis story and in the covenant with Noah, to care for God’s creation.”

He added: “Climate Change is a moral issue because the rich world has disproportionately contributed to it and the poor world is disproportionately suffering.”

Many members of the General Synod supported this motion with the Bishop of Sheffield, the Right Reverend Stephen Croft saying: “The threat of climate change is a giant evil, a great demon of our day. The damage this great demon will do to this beautiful earth if unchecked, is unimaginable.”

The Diocese of New Westminster is running out of cash

The Dioceses of New Westminster, having alienated and driven out its conservative congregations, is hard pressed financially:

One major reason was that in 2002, when some congregations and clergy walked out of our Synod, our Diocesan budget was reduced by 28%.

Consequently, it has hired fund-raising consultants to help replenish its coffers.

Not all the parishes received the news with unmitigated rejoicing:

• A majority saw the case as a diocesan wish list without a solid business plan and for that and a variety of other reasons they did not support it.
• The proposed revenue split between parishes, diocese and national church was not supported.
• The interviewees had a variety of opinions about why they and others did not support a financial campaign at this time.
• A common view was that the church is no longer the place where churchgoers give first. There is constant competition for donor dollars.
• The church must become more efficient in using donor dollars. Regular reporting on how revenue is used and evaluation of programs and initiatives supported by those dollars must be improved. The church can no longer rest on its laurels and just expect to receive gifts.
• 18 of those interviewed believe there are still wounds from the split that happened ten years ago and it is too soon to start a campaign of this magnitude.

It tears at the hearstrings for me to report that:

It was Compton’s finding that there was not sufficient support to launch a 19 million dollar campaign over 4 or 5 years.

Still, I’m sure the consultants were paid handsomely.

The blasphemy game

The National Endowment for the Arts, an agency of the US Federal Government, helped to pay for Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, one of his creations that will be on display at the Body and Spirit exhibition at the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery on September 27th. I’ve included the link for those who would like to arrive early and beat the rush.

Andres Serrano is obsessed with putting photographs of his bodily fluids on display, along with the occasional corpse garnished with human excrement. In saner times, Serrano, would be recognised for what he is: someone who is mentally ill. In the twenty first century, however, he is an artist.

The same government that paid for Serrano to pee into a jam jar containing a crucifix, has piously intoned: “The U.S. deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” I suppose the key to understanding this is in the word “others”: denigrating the religious beliefs one’s own citizens is a federally funded obligation.

From here:

Religious groups are blasting President Obama for not condemning am anti-Christian art display set to appear in New York City and one Republican lawmaker said he is “fed up with the administration’s double standard and religious hypocrisy.

“Piss Christ,” once branded as a “deplorable, despicable display of vulgarity,” will be displayed at the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery in Manhattan on Thursday. The artwork features a “photograph of the crucifix submerged in the artist’s urine.”

The artwork debuted in 1989 and was funded through prize money provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. The art gallery hosting the retrospective salute to Andres Serrano is privately owned.

Atheism and the body/mind problem

A recent article about Christopher Hitchens quotes him saying: “I don’t have a body, I am a body.” This is a proposition that all atheists would affirm, but how rational is it?

Alvin Plantigna argues for dualism – that the mind and body are separate entities. The argument goes along these lines:

I can imagine a possible scenario where my mind exists separate from my body. I can even imagine that it is possible that my mind continues to exist if my body is destroyed.

I cannot imagine the possibility of my body existing separately from itself; if my body is destroyed, it is gone and I cannot imagine the possibility of it continuing to exist.

Therefore, my mind cannot identical to my body because I can imagine something is possible for it that I cannot imagine is possible for my body.

You can see Alvin Plantigna discussing the argument below and for a formal presentation of it go here.

Dancing with the bishops

Anglican Primate Fred Hiltz and Lutheran Bishop Susan Johnson attest that the Anglican Church of Canada and the  Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are simpatico  by giving a demonstration of ballroom dancing during the Eucharist.

I don’t know about you, but I find this Anglican-Lutheran mating ritual very moving – although, if Fred must clap, I do wish he’d learn to clap off the beat..

The Diocese of New Westminster does Godspell

And, surprise, surprise, when the production opens in Christ Church Cathedral in May, the diocese will “dare the audience to consider Christ anew” by having a female Jesus and portraying the crucifixion as a regrettable episode of school bullying taken a step too far. This article goes on to speculate that the “production of Godspell will instigate fresh thinking in those who come to see it.” Not really, it’s entirely predictable.

Was the crucifixion of Christ a supreme act of bullying? Godspell Director, Rev. Andrew Halladay and Director of Music, Rev. David Taylor believe that Jesus was bullied. Bullying is a hot topic — not just in Canada — but also around the world. In March, both the Liberals and the Conservatives introduced bills meant to influence the way that Canadian educators deal with bullies in our schools.

What does it mean to have the role of Jesus played by a woman? By casting theological student Clare Morgan as Jesus, Halladay and Taylor break from the typical Godspell formula. The role of the typical Godspell Jesus is difficult to fill. The role requires a male soprano. When Halladay and Taylor began casting their Godspell, they already considered inviting a woman to play Jesus — to honor the talent that confronted them and to dare the audience to consider Christ anew.