Sunday, 9 August 2009

Beyond Logic and a Dig

Stephen Platten is the Bishop of Wakefield, who uses the welcoming attitude of Jesus to justify baptising infants at about the same time a couple marry, a sort of all-in-one package. It is a pastoral response, a reality check, and a welcome, says he. People rightly have questioned its logic given its association with the one that lies behind Rowan Williams's attack on gay 'lifestyle choices' and the rest.

I just want to look at other aspects of this typical article that came from Stephen Platten in the Church Times.

The first is the clerical aspect:

...many have been doing this for a number of years. The possibility has always been there, but some clergy have been ner­vous about how one might bring to­gether the two rites.

A lot of this is indeed clerical, as well as seeing more people reject churches as the normative place to marry. It is this notion of clergy being nervous - nervous of what? Their bishop? Nervous of gossip, opinion, propriety? Not sure how to do it? This article is an example of "hand me down permission" and the sort of hierarchy that corrupts. It corrupts precisely because of the illogicality that is evident when it comes to inconsistencies. But everyone has to wait for hand me down permissions, and I bet Stephen Platten will follow his Archbishop and vote for the Covenant too, to underline inconsistency in the levels of welcome given to social groups.

The next is the rubbishing of liberal theology as part of trying to get his argument through:

T. S. Eliot wrote: "Christianity is always adapting itself into something which may be believed." By that, he did not mean that the Church was selling out to contem­porary values. Eliot was no theological modernist. He meant that the gospel must be translated and accessible within each developing culture.

Perhaps if more attention was paid to liberal theology, and used it, there might be more consistency, and people would not regard the Anglican corporate value as backward, except when it wants to arrest decline by looking in two directions at once. There is no theology in the package deal, just straightforward duplicity.


Doorman-Priest said...

Well said!

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

When I put my attention this way, I am likely to be sharper because I have less time for this. Duplicity should not be extended into the wider social space.

Erika Baker said...

"There is no theology in the package deal, just straightforward duplicity."

Do you not think that many of those who support it genuinely believe that there is theolgoy? They cannot all be duplicitous.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Don't know. I'm not them.

Erika Baker said...

So you're saying you're not them, you don't really know about them, but you know that they're duplicitous?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

You're beginning to sound like Bea Hamill, Erika.

Erika Baker said...

Who is she?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

All is revealed for you.

Erika Baker said...

Ah, I'm metamorphosing into Macchiavelli!

Believer said...

First did this years ago. Didn't feel nervous, just welcoming.

If I felt nervous about this I'd never have baptised a child of unmarried parents (surely far 'worse') but have managed that a fair few times too.

But then I could be wrong, and am probably going to hell (not that it exists, but still...)