Friday 27 January 2012

Guests in Disguise at Radio Chadderbox!

Peter Levite: Well, welcome to a one off Radio Chadderbox Religion Review. Now we must be honest but we're down on our religion content broadcasting statistics, and we've taken the opportunity to invite visitors to the region and some of our old friends for a round table review of what's going on. But, apparently, I'm told some of you are not blogging any more.

Rowan Tree: I'm very pleased to hear it and whilst we may pray for people who blog I want us to pray even more for the Anglican Communion.

Graham Monarch: Excellent Archbishop: we pray for the Anglican Communion. In the name of...

Peter Levite: Not now, Bishop Monarch of somewhere I can't remember. No one remember? OK. So you, then, and I welcome our illustrious visitor to this region, Rowanov Treetri, the Archbishop of England.

Rowan Tree: No no. Apparently, the Russians as Orthodox have not exactly reviewed but we could say overviewed my standing within the identification they make of the Anglican Communion, and in such a manner have not requested but supposed that I return to a simpler name, although I must reflect upon their President Arthur Pewty and his ethical and bureaucratic standing as leader of a much larger organisation if not itself of the claim of being apparently dysfunctional.

Peter Levite: So you are now the Most Reverend Rowan Tree again.

Rowan Tree: This is the outcome of our conversations.

Peter Levite: And coming north you meet our more regular guest, Archbishop John Sendmehome, the Archbishop of the North. Have you changed your rather controversial sounding name?

John Sendmehome: What do you call a man hanging on a wall?

Peter Levite: I don't know. What do you call a man hanging on a wall?

John Sendmehome: Art. What do you call a man with a seagull on his head? Cliff.

Anthony Wedgewood Bigg: I worry about how we are going to train our faithful men to their parish ministries given the standard of leadership today.

Peter Levite: Welcome Bishop Bigg who is soon, what, a bishop of oversight of Confessing Anglicans? Is that a yes? Let me then introduce a woman who became a Unitarian minister here and then left it to marry the Anglican priest Rev. Tilgate after all and became an Anglican again, properly, Les...

Elbee: Nope. No no. I am now Elbee. I could be Eltee but for continuity I'll be Elbee. My husband is busy running the parish, our new home.

Peter Levite: Oh. And here we have er...

Pluto: Pluto.

Peter Levite: Pluto? You've changed your name as well? What's going on? You used to come here with Reverend Jade Stowaway. But this is...

Als Bells: Als Bells. I'm not wanting to say much. But we both worked with Wok Pan together and advanced clergy fashion and the all essential make up.

Peter Levite: So you now call yourself after a planetesimal, or a tiny planet, Pluto.

Pluto: I don't have much to do with Jade now, if I ever did. Jade seems to be very happy in London.

Rowan Tree: I am most impressed with the work you have been doing for the Anglican Communion in helping us to, I think, understand and work out the differences right in the dioceses by which we can put into process that which can bring us closer together in terms of identity in the much larger Catholic Church.

Pluto: Once I was really really conservative, but different about women, and I was and am really really charismatic and love it, but I'm also Anglican and that's wider than me and then there's all that abroad too so thank you yes. I'm Pluto but I might go back to, well, you know.

Harry Tickpaper: Yeah, not bad for a curate either: foreign travel, dealing with the big issues already.

Peter Levite: Local person Harry Tickpaper, who surely saw Elbee as a suitable Unitarian minister.

Elbee: Harry, I remind you that I co-ordinated the resistance to the Anglican Communion Covenant. And I promoted equality and gay inclusion in the Anglican Church. I said about honesty, being really honest and I told the world a lot about psychology.

Peter Goole: If liberals are resisting the Anglican Covenant, there must be an argument in favour of it. That's what that ugly chap said and I agree with him as he is Protestant and sound, though I'm a bit more Catholic and the Pope is a good chap really, gay in the proper ecclesiastical sense of the word.

Anthony Wedgewood Bigg: Eh? Well I don't think this gets to the heart of the problem, which is the actual need, in the churches, to maintain the narrow path of raising faithful ministers.

Rowan Tree: At this particular point I'd want to say that there is no future, corporately or individually, without the Anglican Communion Covenant coming into play; I cannot simply see what else could be suggested that would take its place. I have set out all the conclusions to which the various indaba processes must arrive.

Graham Monarch: Absolutely, Archbishop, and may I say how we receive your teaching with such humbling kneebendingness. In the great cold ice sheets of life, there is none like the Anglican Covenant. I know that people like Elbee have resisted it, and the dioceses are wobbling, but no one can resist the ice sheet that is the Anglican Covenant. And, yes, careers will depend on whether you sit on top of the ice or are consumed underneath the ice.

Anthony Wedgewood Bigg: I don't think this gets to the heart of the problem, as I repeat, which is the actual need, in the churches, to maintain the narrow path of raising faithful ministers and to do this we may need the same in overseers and have to look overseas, and I don't mean to The Episcopal Church or the Church of North India, but the Anglican Church of North America and many of the African Churches with their leadership.

Pluto: I invited Reverend Goole along. He's like with me but not with me, but he blogged too and, well, he didn't get a job after being a curate. So he now works in a bank.

Peter Goole: And I was upholding orthodoxy.

Peter Levite: Finally I invite a new local guest, the Most Reverend Doctor Barry Morgan Morgannwg Hankee, of the Arian Anglican Church, which is in a semi down the road from here? We were expecting your new associate Molly Lawyer Bakerman as well, but she hasn't come.

John Sendmehome: Semi or not, would your lot like to stop meeting in our cathedrals?

Barry Morgan Morgannwg Hankee: They are OUR cathedrals. The Anglican trinitarians and Roman Catholics before us are apostates and heretics. As for, humm, Bishop Molly, she is known for disappearing.

Rowan Tree: I wrote about the Arians and would suggest that your assertion is somewhat debatable.

Barry Morgan Morgannwg Hankee: Not only is the true faith Arian, but Jesus Christ was a Jewish first born of creation and spent most of his life here in England. And after his uncle buried him, and his spirit arose, his uncle came back here and established the first Christian church. So we should have our cathedral of Christendom at Glastonbury. You as a Unitarian attender should agree with me Harry.

Harry Tickpaper: Believe me. You have nothing to do with Unitarianism and all claims of connections are bogus. Francis William Newman is a hero of mine and he was no Arian, never mind many of the others your publicity mentions recent and past, near and far.

John Sendmehome: I just luuuuv Prog Rock. I met Phil Collins once and said do you play things on request and he said yes, so I said can you play cards instead?

Peter Levite: So what is with all this name changing then? Elbee, my researcher says you had this leading blog and fantastic statistics and then, without notice, it closed down.

Pluto: No more statistics chasing, unless I do.

Elbee: No, no more statistics chasing and women bloggers achieving more. Peter: can I call you that? I just love local ministry. Once we moved location we decided without notice that I should shut down the blog completely.

Harry Tickpaper: Without notice. Speaking generally, blogs are dangerous things. If you have a blog, and you are a minister of religion, the locals start to read it. And that way they start to question your direction. They don't necessarily understand. Also, the places where you candidate also read the blog and you can't get a job after being a curate. And if you are married, and your partner is the boss, you can't queer his or her pitch, so to speak. And if you oppose the core policies of the bureaucracy, like on the Covenant, then there are others that mark you down. There are lots of underhand things happening at the moment.

Rowan Tree: I hope you are not implying that I have anything to do with matters so called underhand.

John Sendmehome: I hope you were not implying that I have anything to do with these underhand things going on.

Graham Monarch: The disloyal oppostion should realise that there are career consequences as well as relational consequences. It's called Church order.

Elbee: I just love local ministry. I decided for the Anglican Church and that means, necessarily, of course, compromises.

Harry Tickpaper: But let's not mess about: when that Covenant comes into play, you folks in favour of inclusion will be frozen, stuck. All the things you campaigned for will be impossible.

Rowan Tree: They will not be impossible. These matters will rather be not quite subjected but invited into a process where those slow to accept potential change, yet without a particular consensus, will still be able to be heard and therefore those that go ahead with such change will simply undergo relational consequences - as mentioned - that will not happen if they opt in to the process.

Peter Levite: And Pluto, what about you? Your blogging?

Pluto: There are lots of exciting changes going on out there and in my head. I want to still have that debate that comes from that really really engaging theological discourse, the text that Gadamer drives our total world view as ministers of religion even if most people have a secular outlook or, as I have discovered, abroad, with different faiths. But, Elbee, that's not necessarily local ministry, and so I'd chosen just to converse the textual drive with the people who want to engage and stimulate...

Als Bells: And we can talk about fashion and make up too, without being told we are letting us girls down.

Pluto: But then that might not be enough fresh air and I want the fresh air. Let's just do it regardless.

Rowan Tree: I empathise with this desire for theological dialogue, and indeed away from my direct governance responsibilities I can discuss the exegesis of the Qur'an or the Bhagavad Gita in lectures, or tackle matters of the economy and motivation. I recommend Juan de Mariana's A Treatise on the Alteration of Money which is all about a Spanish perspective on Kings and altering the coinage: low on theory but a practical early modern theological economics. And of course there is the theology of the faithful relationship between pairing individuals that we can negotiate. I have every sympathy with the Gadamerian view derived from Heideggar that Being is dynamic and action-based through time and indeed I work upon this in some narrative detail.

Peter Goole: But is this orthodoxy?

Barry Morgan Morgannwg Hankee: The sooner we re-establish orthodoxy the better, and properly scriptural. Arius was right.

Peter Goole: You telling me I'm not scriptural?

Barry Morgan Morgannwg Hankee: Jesus walks around the earth, and yet 1 John can say no one has seen God? That's one against the Trinity is it not? You're extra-biblical.

Elbee: Oh come on. The Trinity says that God is social and Christ is the headline figure one follows, right, in the Spirit - I think.

Peter Goole: Is this orthodoxy?

Barry Morgan Morgannwg Hankee: It's clear that Christ is the first born of all creation and that is clear from the opening words in John's gospel which is far more Gnostic than the faithful direct words of the Gospel of Thomas.

Pluto: The Trinity and our faithfulness to the threefold God is part of our necessary standard of performance as Christians, delivered in revelation in total, as a whole textual encounter, and in any case I feel it as experience when I'm in the right kind of worship group. Though I'm committed to all the more mundane Anglican traditions and see more in them than I did. Do people understand this?

Peter Goole: But is it orthodoxy?

Harry Tickpaper: It looks like orthodoxy. It should appear like orthodoxy, and of course it sounds great, but when the untrained eye goes beyond first impressions it becomes a confusion. But the world view we have is technological; ours is about what works; paradigms are subject to shifts of course but need better foundations than 'expectations of performance' or story telling, and I'm saying there is a place for a return to history and what is possible and not possible in history, just as we must have science and not the make-believe of miracles or supernatural endtimes. I'm postpostmodern now, but I always was a soft postmodernist.

Elbee: I'm postmodern, I really believe in postmodernity.

Pluto: I'm postmodern - as in postliberal and poststructural. Not that I was liberal, in the past anyway. See, I understand English and grammar and I love theology when it is all about grammar!

Elbee: I'm still liberal. It's just that Harold Wilson is no longer my blogging bishop and I have other responsibilties and constraints.

Als Bells: I'm postmodern when it comes to fashion. Imagine stuffy clergy and the most fantastic things to wear - that must be postmodern because they clash.

Peter Goole: I'm orthodox. I blogged and even I couldn't get a job. People kept saying, 'You're a banker, you're a banker' on Skype and so I became a banker instead.

Peter Levite: I find interviewing via Skype very unclear with picture and sound. So then we have blogs shutting down and one going private and even an orthodox chap - he says - has paid the price. What about progress on ordaining women bishops? That's in the news.

Harry Tickpaper: You have a woman bishop now, Mr Arius.

Barry Morgan Morgannwg Hankee: Arians do not ordain women presbyters, but as Archbishop I will ordain women in exceptional circumstances when I feel like it.

Rowan Tree: I think that the dioceses have demonstrated well their acceptance for ordaining women as bishops, but have however failed to demonstrate their acceptance of necessary safeguards for those who are not able to be ordaining women as bishops, or find problematic the apostolic succession of women as bishops within Catholicism; and so both of us as archbishops will want to see that we can retain the relevance of the ordinal that does not accept women as bishops as well as that which does accept women as bishops, and members of the Synod should read the ordinal and take its cue accordingly - or I will get very angry.

Graham Monarch: We crave your leadership, Archbishop Tree.

John Sendmehome: You know I agree with you; I always do. A bishop walks along and sees a woman trip over on a bad pavement. He leans over to help her up and says it's the first time he's rescued a fallen woman and she says it's the first time she's been picked up by a bishop.

Elbee: I think ordaining women bishops is a vital first step in inclusion that will help the Church in England and...

Harry Tickpaper: So if it doesn't happen you would have to consider the future.

Elbee: Oh no.

Harry Tickpaper: So if the Church is unethical in some of its fundamentals in how it treats people, it matters not what you do...

Elbee: Stop sniping from the outside.

Rowan Tree: But in examining this the position for us has rather to be seen from the perspective of the Church not pursuing human rights as in a secular agenda but the ethics that are ecclesiologically and theologically derived, so that in wishing to retain a modicum of Catholicity of Church order and and the fellowship of belief the importance we attach is that of the process of retaining these as we struggle with the issues that seem to be simpler from the perspective of secular human rights. And therefore we ask those who are affected, seemingly on the one side discriminated against, to involve themselves in Catholic order and Reformed belief by self-sacrifice to these and to do so with a certain willingness against the wider project of retaining the Mind of the Communion as a whole.

Peter Goole: It's much simpler. We are all capable of conforming to the Bible, so if you are a Hindu man and love another man you can become a Christian man and love a woman.

Pluto: I need to think, er blog, about that.

Anthony Wedgewood Bigg: The narrow route certainly makes things quite simple to follow.

Elbee: I love the fact that our Archbishop is an intellectual. I really fancy him for that.

Harry Tickpaper: In your dreams.

Elbee: Yes, in my dreams. What's wrong with that? Why do you come across as so hostile? I'm a liberal like you are.

Harry Tickpaper: I'm not hostile; it is an unfortunate effect of being liberal to liberal and the difference when you do not want to cut the rope no matter what is on it.

Elbee: Why should I cut the rope? Relationships with institutions and people in them are complicated.

Harry Tickpaper: I agree. No one should cut the rope they need. If you need to sit on the branch, don't saw.

Pluto: Gosh, I know there are liberals but being liberal in the Church is really scary. I think Oh, liberal in the Church and then I put the brakes on. But if I go private, the brakes might go on and be warmer enclosed like in the garage with a green door and I won't press the pedal hard enough but if I keep in the fresh air and lots of evangelicals are looking too then I might bang the brake pedal down harder and sooner and let the heat go off away as it can. This is a Dickens of a business to decide.

Rowan Tree: 1978 I think was the zenith or nadir year for liberalism in the Church, at least that which arrived at quite an intellectual confusion regarding myth it and needed, I think, a different approach of narrative and world view and one that is more secure in the Church.

Harry Tickpaper: Not so, with clarity. Because...

Peter Levite: I wonder whether we have an intellectual weatherman or whether he is just the region's climactic joker. Hah! Where are you?

George Hudson: I left Leeds station for a tourist runaround, presently heading towards the attraction of Mill Chill church with its mosaic inside and the gothic in and out.

Barry Morgan Morgannwg Hankee: Consistent with the true Arian view to be expanded I am sure.

John Sendmehome: Ah but Leeds Parish Church, now that's the real deal for a cathedral that is not a cathedral, with an oversight that has no oversight, you know. The vicar asks a parishioner there why he gasped and then gave a large sigh of relief when he read out the Ten Commandments. Because, he said, he'd lost his wallet and 'Thou shalt not steal' made him think it was stolen but then 'Thou shalt not commit adultery' reminded him of where it would be. Don't forget to come to the real cathedral though, and that doesn't mean you Mr Morgannwg Hankee.

Pluto: Hey everyone I'm Rachel Marsovenus and I am going to carry on blogging in public! Hooray!

George Hudson: The rain will run off the pitched rooves quite rapidly and down the gothic window when it comes later today. Like everything else, it'll take longer to get to the east coast and so it's back to the behind the times Peter.

Peter Levite: Haven't they got the gothic window in yet and why is a window coming to the east coast?

George Hudson: The rain later today, etcetera.

Peter Levite: Yes so come here for the up to the minute news. Thanks to my guests for their variably anonymous appearances.

1 comment:

Rev R Marszalek said...

...nicely capturing what I am starting to refer to as a methodolgical approach of "ambivalence." I continue to blog notes on my awareness and research tensions, I suppose. I have been reading how this was the approach taken by another writer, ordained but also investigative by nature. You have captured me suitably puzzled-looking at the end. I am just praying that the church has room for people like me who have actually embraced the idea of Indaba very really and like to continue the conversation about faith, life and Anglican theology virtually as well.