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Monday, May 2, 2016

Dumb dumber dumbest

The Church of England has been accused of ¿dumbing down¿ after drawing up a new service in which worshippers use Post-it notes, clap like football fans and move their fingers like ¿twinkling stars¿
The Church of England has been accused of ‘dumbing down’ after drawing up a new service in which
worshippers use Post-it notes, clap like football fans and move their fingers like ‘twinkling stars’ -
Source: Mail Online

Informality has become the watchword in the Anglican Church in England and Wales. 

From the Free Dictionary: Dumb (adj), informal 

a. slow to understand; dim-witted
b. foolish; stupid. See also dumb down
  dumb down
    to make or become less intellectually demanding or sophisticated.

The Church in Wales has introduced little boxes, snakes and ladders, balloons and all manner of gimmickry as worshippers make for the exit, reducing regular attendance to less that 1% of the population. 

The Church of England (CofE) is following suit. Yesterday was Godparents' Sunday. Probably the best Archbishop the CofE never had, the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, sums up the feelings of more traditional Anglicans in his new book 'Faith, Freedom And The Future', when he said: ‘When they come into a church, worshippers should sense the presence of a holy God, not the bonhomie they may experience at bingo.’

In his own inimitable style the Rev Dr Peter Mullen takes Bishop Nazir-Ali to task in No dumbing down in the Cof E. Brilliant!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Christianity erased from history and memory

(ANSAmed) - ROME, APRIL 27 - Rome's iconic Trevi Fountain will be lit up red on April 29 to
 highlight the plight of Christian martyrs  and victims of persecution in many parts
 of the world, including the Middle East, west Africa and Pakistan.

An event in Rome tomorrow highlights the plight of Christian martyrs and victims of persecution around the world. More here.  Subsequent report here.

While Christians are being persecuted and martyred today, all traces of Christianity are being "erased from the Middle East and expunged from memory".

Christian minorities throughout the Middle East have long maintained that "the history taught in public classrooms habitually suppresses the region's Christian heritage while magnifying (including by lying about) Islam".

"It sounds absurd, but Muslims more or less know nothing about Christians, even though they make up a large part of the population and are in fact the original Egyptians," said Kamal Mougheeth, a retired teacher in Egypt. "Egypt was Christian for six or seven centuries [before the Muslim invasion around 640]. The sad thing is that for many years the history books skipped from Cleopatra to the Muslim conquest of Egypt. The Christian era was gone. Disappeared. An enormous black whole."

"One of Islam's bitterest ironies: a great many of today's Middle East Christians are being persecuted by Muslims — including of the ISIS variety — whose own ancestors were persecuted Christians who converted to Islam to end their suffering. In other words, Muslim descendants of persecuted Christians are today slaughtering their Christian cousins. Christians are seen as "foreign traitors" in part because many Muslims do not know of their own Christian ancestry".

The article can be found in 'Middle East Forum' here.

An ISIS video released last month shows members of its religious police
in Mosul, Iraq, burning hundreds of Christian books it deems blasphemous.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Whatever happened to Auntie?

In a statement on the BBC's website, Tunde Ogungbesan (pictured), head of diversity, inclusion and succession at the BBC, said: 'The BBC is a diverse organisation, whichever way you look at it'
In a statement on the BBC's website, Tunde Ogungbesan (pictured), head of diversity,
inclusion  and 
succession at the BBC, said: 'The BBC is a diverse organisation,
whichever way you look at it'. Source: Mail Online

From the Mail Online: "One in six BBC stars 'must be gay or lesbian or disabled' by 2020 says new staff-hiring guidelines at the corporation".

Long gone are the days of 'Auntie knew best' when every fad, fiction and fantasy takes precedence over journalistic excellence and quality of production.

"A statement from a BBC spokesperson said: 'We are making good progress in our work to make the BBC a truly diverse organisation, but there's more to do and we're always keen to improve. 'Almost half of our workforce is made up of women and the proportion of our workforce who are black, Asian and other ethnic minorities is at an all-time high. 'We'll continue doing what works but also develop new and innovative ideas to do even better, and we'll set this out in our new diversity strategy shortly'."

So that is what is happening to BBC programmes. Instead of concentrating excellence in production no matter what colour, race or gender, first priority is given to a politically correct ticking box mix.

How does this work in practice? If all are treated equal, how do the staff-hiring guidelines work? While a disability may be obvious on interview, it would appear to defeat equality objectives if one has to declare one's sexuality on an application form.

How many future 'straight' stars may we be deprived of because the BBC insists on a quota of 'gay, lesbian or disabled' folk. How long before someone like the Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Succession decides that all manner of minorities must be represented to ensure the Corporation appeals to the diverse BBC audience?

The British public would be better served if the Beeb looks to content regardless of gender and ethnicity. Come back Auntie, we need you.

Postscript [28.04.2016]

From BBC News under Arts and Entertainment: BBC to quiz recruits on family background.

Staff joining the BBC will be asked about their socio-economic background, as part of a bid to increase diversity at the corporation.

Candidates will be asked if they were entitled to free school meals, and if their parents attended university.

Anonymised job applications will also be extended for core roles.

The plans come after the BBC faced pressure from ministers to increase numbers of staff from under-represented backgrounds.

Read all about it here

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Catholic tales

The first Anglicans have received into the Roman Catholic Church under a scheme set up by Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI leads the New Year solemn mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Photo: EPA

A headline from The Telegraph in January 2011:

"First Anglicans are received into the Roman Catholic Church in historic service. The first Anglicans have been received into the Roman Catholic Church under a scheme set up by Pope Benedict XVI." 

After five years I am pleased for those Anglicans who have made the journey and have found contentment but there are still many Anglicans who are unable or unwilling to make the same journey for a variety of reasons even though their own church has left them.

I greatly admire Pope Benedict XVI. He showed great courage in setting up the Ordinariate. I am pleased that his vision has been a success but I feel less affection for a church which has caused so much misery to so many in the name of Christ.

Families built on 'mixed' marriages over many generations will have experienced refusal to recognise marriages, rejection of children and cruelty meted out by nuns, Christian Brothers and the like. Not having been directly on the receiving end, it is easy for me to say it is the message not the messenger but that has not prevented those who have suffered refusing to return, often leaving a gap in their lives. I find that so sad.

What amazes me is the ignorance of many cradle Catholics, not just the laity but priests too, who appear to regard non-Catholics (separated brethren) as though they are barely Christian and doomed to purgatory. Ironically many Anglo Catholics are probably more 'Roman' in their worship than many cradle RCs so I was particularly disappointed to read a well respected blogger penning  Eucharistic Miracles and Protestants? Perhaps it is simply the zeal of a Pauline convert or the perception of a former Evangelical but I do not recognise my fellow worshippers in this description as they genuflect to the Blessed Sacrament:

"Protestants deny the truth of transubstantiation... Nevertheless, when Protestants get upset that they are not admitted to communion in a Catholic Church, Eucharistic miracles remind us that Catholic do actually believe that something different is going on at Mass. Sure, we share baptism and faith in Jesus Christ with non Catholic Christians, but they themselves deny transubstantiation so I always wonder why they get upset when we affirm their denial and say they shouldn’t come to communion."

This was the Conclusion of the 1971 ARCIC declaration on Eucharistic Doctrine:

[12.] We believe that we have reached substantial agreement on the doctrine of the eucharist. Although we are all conditioned by the traditional ways in which we have expressed and practised our eucharistic faith, we are convinced that if there are any remaining points of disagreement they can be resolved on the principles here established. We acknowledge a variety of theological approaches within both our communions. But we have seen it as our task to find a way of advancing together beyond the doctrinal disagreements of the past. It is our hope that, in view of the agreement which we have reached on eucharistic faith, this doctrine will no longer constitute an obstacle to the unity we seek.

There has been more dissent born out of ignorance reported in the blogsphere. From Fr Hunwicke in Tales from the Ordinariate (2) and Twisting a Tale of the Ordinariate from Antique Richborough which thankfully offers more hope.

Amidst this squabbling it was another piece which caught my eye in the 'Catholicism Pure & Simple' blog, The Biggest News Story Never Told. - "What’s the biggest news story of our time? What has been the biggest story for the last decade and one-half? Answer: the resurgence of Islam, and, in particular, the rapid spread of Islamic jihad. But, with a few exceptions, you would never know it from reading the Catholic press."..."Catholic bloggers and journalists are still fighting yesterday’s battles without seeming to realize that we are in the midst of a new battle." [My emphasis - Ed.]

Christianity is being wiped out in the Middle East. It is frequently mocked in the West as secularism replaces faith. It does not help if people of faith opt for blind obedience out of fear. Fear God, yes, but worshippers should not be frightened into submission. That is Islam. God gave us free will. We should use it to unite in hope, not divide. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Another nice mess

As my friend Barack said to me George, "Well, here's another nice mess we've gotten ourselves into!"

The world and his wife it seems are piling on the pressure to tell us Brits that we should remain in Europe. To leave would be a catastrophe. If that is so, why in the world has Dave 'gotten' us into this mess at enormous cost financially and politically?

'Paddy Pantsdown' wagged his finger throughout BBC Question Time on Thursday as he previewed what President Barack Obama was to say about American blood being shed in Europe in the US's contribution to the 1917 - 1918 and the 1941- 1945 wars fighting for freedom in Europe. As Albert Steptoe once said, it might have been the '17 - '18 and '41 - '45 wars for them but it was the '14 - '18 and '39 - '45 wars for the rest of us. 

All in the 'IN' camp at home and abroad appear to be reading from the same news sheet prepared and circulated by No 10. That is in addition to the £9 million of tax payers money they have spent on circulating propaganda for the 'IN' campaign. So much so that it is difficult to trust anything that is said or written about the consequences of leaving Europe.

Paddy Pantsdown claims that every important world organisation and every world leader "with the exception Vladimir Putin" wants us to remain in Europe. Indeed, the President of the United States has gone so far as to threaten that the UK would be left at the back of the queue when negotiating future trade deals with the US if we left, not that Obama will be President in that eventuality. But so much for friendship and our 'special relationship'. When self-interest rears its head it is OK in the US but not in Great Britain!

For many I suspect the head says IN but the heart says OUT. The decision would be easier if the self-perpetuating bureaucracy in Brussels desisted from regulating everything they can think of plus anything else they had not thought of when it comes to light. If Turkey is allowed in that will allow another flood of economic migrants with all the dangers already apparent as they try to impose their alien ideology on their hosts. The last thing we need is more failed multiculturalism.

My feeling is that the British people have had enough of being told what to think and what to do and are inclined to vote with their hearts, sink or swim.