Saturday, 18 February 2012

On Fulcrum

Fulcrum is so slow at putting up posts that I can't debate with people there. They must think I'm ignoring them. So here are two waiting...

Limitations of Indaba
1 [19893] Posted by: Pluralist Saturday 18 February 2012 - 02:38am

Yes, the model of voice or exit seems reasonably straightforward. People do exit, some silently, and the voice of those with loyalty is one that gives information about those who are leaving.

I am also one who exited. My exiting is thus from the other perspective, one that was frustrated with the breadth and direction of the wider body - but I have since moved on and make no further claims other than to help out a few friends. So when Ephraim Radner pops up again with one of his styles of essay, my blog jumps in to interpret and add an opinion.

He is right to this extent - that the voices with loyalty in any indaba can only show the level of disagreement, but it then depends on where the policy changes are coming.

Now, as for the entryists, they are called so not simply because they push a Reformation theology further and farther, but because they organise it amongst themselves in advance and push parallel structures where they retain control. It is, thus, Trotskyite-like organisation. That's what makes it entryist. This is what is being presented to the Church of England - such as when Bishop Benn talks about 'our' ministers and how 'they' can be preserved from female headship and ideas he considers outside but others regard as part of the Anglican spread of believing. Thus there is talk and indeed action of overseas ordination and oversight. That's the entryism.

Evangelical and Gay
2 [19892] Posted by: Pluralist Saturday 18 February 2012 - 02:28am

I see some reference to me and a little puzzlement. So perhaps I should add some clarity for Peter and others.

I make comments here from the outside. In 2009 and 2010 I was still attending an Anglican church but participated less in terms of its core rituals, transferring again to the Unitarians and settled there exclusively when I changed home and crossed the Humber. The repetitive poster Nersen Pillay keeps associating me with revisionists, but I can be clearer that I am not a Christian and so I am not a revisionist in any sense. While I associate myself with Unitarian history and ideas, the Unitarian Church (if there is such a thing) changes with its members rather than we change to it (though I am sure there is some culturation).

Where I continue to comment is regarding loose ends - particularly the Anglican Covenant - and a reason why is because via my blog and Facebook I retain friends that overlap into the Church of England and The Episcopal Church. I would still like to see a broad and liberal Church of England. But they are the Anglican liberals and for me the Anglican Churches must choose their own futures, including issues of gay inclusion in ministry and blessings (an obvious double yes from me). I used to supply regular articles to a TEC website but they haven't received one for a very long time - it is not where I am any more. My view on Jesus (evident from my blog) is that he is no more than a culturally limited human being, like anyone else, the position that happens to be in a line from Francis William Newman, the brother of JH Newman.

I also dialogue with those who come up with forms of Yale postliberal theology - a sort of conservative non-realism, although most of its proponents seem to be quite realist and more experiential. These tend to be evangelicals. I am too dismissive of radical orthodoxy to dialogue with it because of its own collective rigidities.

Unitarianism has enjoyed slow, stable and steady growth in the United States. In the UK it still 'bumps along the bottom' it might be said, although recently some congregations have shown some considerable growth, and the questions why run through the denomination! Certainly online presence has taken away loss of sight and made for many more enquiries. Some Unitarians still regard Jesus as a significant and leading presence, and push a clearly Christian shaped (free) liturgy, but others like me do not, and there are many of eastern, pagan and humanist leanings.

Pluralist - Adrian Worsfold


Anonymous said...

'In the UK [Unitarianism] still 'bumps along the bottom' it might be said, although recently some congregations have shown some considerable growth, and the questions why run through the denomination!'

Can you please share with us some of the explanations that Unitarians have given for this growth? I've read articles about growth and decline in different denominations, but I've never seen any articles or discussions about growth in British Unitarianism. It would be interesting to compare Unitarian experiences of growth with the growth of other churches...

(This would be an interesting topic for a PhD, wouldn't it? Or has someone written about this subject already?)

Anonymous said...

US Unitarian/Universalism has had net membership losses for the past three years.

Anonymous said...

(This is the first Anon again)

Three years of decline is nothing by British standards! British Unitarians have been grumbling about decline since at least the mid-19th c.! (Even the famous Joseph Priestley of the 18th c. preached to shrinking congregations.) Many of our other historical churches have been in relative decline for over 100 years now. So what's interesting is not so much old stories about general decline, but stories about spots of renewal and growth.