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About Anglocatholic

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    Iconography. People. Theology. Education. History.

    Actually, a combination of all five, all mixed up into one.

    My work is here:
  1. So, I have been here for just a short time, and have been interested to see what other people's approaches are, and in particular whether the tolerance levels of this place are rather more broad than those of other faith message boards. They are, but not for the right reasons. I agree with the general content of the 8 points of PC, but nonetheless I am now at the position of concluding that I am not a progressive. The reason for this is that my understanding of the Church, by which I do not mean any one denomination, but the church as a whole, is that it is a body of believers, each of whom has a part to play, and each of whom is equally valued and equally valid. We each have a time to speak and a time to listen; a time to love and a time to be loved. This is, sadly, not what I have found here. What I have found is a collection of people behaving in a very narcissistic fashion, each of whom is gazing fondly into his or her own navel, and expecting the rest to stand in awe of their unique revelation of the world. This would be fine - there are lots of narcissists all over the world doing very nicely. The problem is, nobody is providing support to anyone else. It is 'look at me', 'no, look at me', 'no, look at me', everywhere. "By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus." Very narcissistic of 'us'. Who cares, in the end, what we call ourselves? What matters is what God calls us; the focus is totally and completely 100% the wrong way round. Look for yourself. Lots of people with very valid things to say, but nobody bothers to respond and give them love and support, because they are too busy saying their own valid things. And if you do happen to respond with a comment, and sometimes even when you offer support, you mostly get ignored, but might occassionally get comments such as, 'this is my view and I am not changing it for anyone'. Or worse. Therefore, this kind of self indulgence is not what I am looking for, and I am not staying. I would wish you all well, but quite frankly, I am not sure anyone would want that. What you want is adulation. Not surprisingly, you don't get mine. Bye. Cathy
  2. 'Terrorist' is a modern construct, anachronistic in the context of first century Judea. A more appropriate term would be zealot or even anti-imperialist freedom fighter. More French Resistance than Al Quaeda, in other words. However, in the possible universe where this is true, there would be a different gospel emerging as a result of the teaching of this particular variant of messiah. In other words, the tree is known by its fruit. The gospels are the fruit, and they cannot come from a Zealot tree. There is no evidence in the gospels that the Lord acted against the occupying power in Judea in any way, nor that he supported their occupation. He accepted the world he lived in, as he found it, and sought to change hearts, not powers.
  3. Call my an old cynic, but this kind of book is pointless from an academic pov, and seems calculated only to generate the soundbyte type of publicity that will sell copies to the overcredulous. What is the point of suggesting that Paul did not exist otherwise? What would be the point of doing the same with any other historical figure; Pompey was not really Pompey, but Pliny the Younger in disguise; Cicero was really Caligula; Boudica never really existed, because we don't have a photograph of her, or any document signed by her. Part of understanding history is understanding that evidence for historical figures is never going to be the same as evidence for Queen Victoria. Writing books of this kind is not evidence of erudition, but of very little short of ignorance, imo. If Michael Wood can find evidence for a historical basis for the myths of King Arthur, buried in our early history, then I have no doubt whatever about the dear Paul.
  4. Thanks for the story of your journey, T. It sounds a very challenging one. I am glad you have found peace with your wife. She sounds a very special person, and I am sure you fully deserve one another. Personally, I don't think it matters what label we prefer to use for our own faith. What matters is how God sees us, and to be true to ourselves. Gratitude is good; I don't think I have got that far as yet. I am at times still full of resentment about what could have been, if only. I try to be grateful for the many blessings that I have, but somehow can't help looking to see what others have as well. However, I am working on understanding what 'enough' means, and on accepting it. Many years ago my doctor told me to stop aiming for the top of the mountain, and settle for living in the foothills. I did not settle, and I never have; I have always striven to do what I can, when I can, and I have never quite given up the journey. But I have learned that it is not always our decision, what path our lives lead us in.
  5. Hiya Valerie I always find it helps to remember two things about dear Paul. The first is that he was a hot head, often speaking from the heart but not always putting his mind in gear first. The second is that when people are speaking generally to others, chances are the person they are actually addressing is their own self (always fun to remember this one on a Sunday, when listening to those interminable sermons). Therefore, in reading of Paul's salvific message, very often what we have is his description of his own experiences, in moving from a very strident, very antagonistic pov towards the followers of the Way, and into a more accepting, more loving position. In other words, it is Paul who is saved, from his own zealotry. His whole mission from that point on is one of giving thanks for that salvation, and trying to live up to the expectations the Lord has of him. As with all of us, sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he fails. But always he tries to express his love for the Lord. And this love is the single most important key to understanding Paul; read his words without it and they are meaningless, as he says himself. Read them with the love, and they make sense. Nice to meet you.
  6. Hiya Z The beautiful irony of this whole question is that 'Bible Believers' are actually not doing that. When you find the bit that says that the Bible was dictated, word for word by God, and is intended to be used as The Way, the Truth and The Life, then you are welcome to believe it, and I will happily join you. It would make God rather a bizarre character, but at least there would be grounds for believing Scripture to be of equal status with him. Fortunately, there are no such grounds. Until then, none of us is under any obligation to believe anything that cannot be proven from Scripture (see 39 articles). Such as Sola Scriptura; such as the assertion that the Bible was written as a factual text book, encompassing every branch of knowledge, past, present and future, and that, therefore, Moses had a vocabulary capable of dealing with all that there is to say of quantum physics, the origin of the universe or the composition of the earth and all that lives on it. All of this is additional to, and cannot be proven from, Scripture. It is inferred, but it is not written. If you allow Scripture to be what it is, and look at what is actually written, rather than what is assumed, interpreted, glossed and added by the evangelicals, then you will be fine. The Bible is intended as a collection of books, which either individually or collectively point the way to God. As such, it is true in the only meaningful sense of the term; true about the gradual and ongoing process of revelation of God to mankind, made perfect in the coming of Christ. And if you are feeling playful (and relatively robust), you can point this out to your friends, together with the very clear Scriptural warning about adding to the gospel, which actually IS in the Bible. Nice to meet you.
  7. I am an Anglo Catholic, but not a Roman. I find your suggestion rather bizarre - that any non Roman choosing to attend a Roman church in order to worship alongside Roman friends constitutes some form of disrespect. This level of hypersensitivity would seem to be rather a dysfunctional kind, and not exactly conducive to ecumenism. I will not take communion where I am not welcome to do so, but I will certainly accept a blessing from a Roman priest (as indeed I have done, many times), should I find myself attending a Roman mass. Perhaps a little less broad sweeping might be in order. Personally, I have no objection to anyone of any faith worshipping alongside me in my own church, whether they share my beliefs or not. To me, anyone - Moslem, Hindu, atheist or whatever - attending a Christian church in order to learn about us and our faith is not an act of disrespect, any more than my attending a mosque in order to learn about theirs is. Nobody sitting next to me in church can make me feel uncomfortable. I choose my own feelings, and I choose not to give anyone else power over those feelings in this way. If I happen to not want to sit next to a particular person, that says more about me than about them, and it is for me to deal with my prejudices as best I can. If I cannot, then I also cannot take communion, because I am not fit to do so.
  8. I read all my books over and over. I have read the complete works of Dickens about ten times, maybe more. Jane Austen, perhaps the same. If a book is good I read it over and over. If it is not good, it gets passed on via a charity shop. Too long ago to remember any of those. Where would you go on holiday if you could go anywhere in the world, and who would you take with you?
  9. I agree. I don't mind other people having another interpretation, but to me the historical Jesus is as real as any other historical figure; all are necessarily distorted by the passing of time and by the addition of mythologies, but that does not negate the reality of the originals; it just makes identifying the authentic realities a bit harder (and perhaps, with some figures, mostly impossible.)
  10. That is not very friendly, is it? How would your agoraphobia have responded to being on the receiving end of these particular words, do you think? Mine is struggling with them, to be honest, particularly the very unfortunate term 'loop of insanity'. The problem with being a broken person is that we often think we are the only one who is broken, in a world of whole, healthy, sound people. We are not. Everyone is broken, in a different way. I am as prone to this as anyone else, and I recognise it in you. I think, therefore, the best thing for me to do is to accept all that you say as being not for discussion, and will refrain from commenting further.
  11. You might do well to take a look at Grail mythology. This also deals with the seeker, among many other themes, and I think your story may well fit into the same tradition. Nice to meet you.
  12. I am reluctant to enter a debate which has been continuing for some time, but I wanted to comment on this one point, where I think you are somewhat mistaken in your interpretation of what being a reasoning creature entails. The ability to reason does not give the logical conclusion that we can determine all truth, any more than understanding mathematics means that we can determine the conclusive value of pie. We can learn more every day, but we will never learn all that there is to know. 'The truth' is not attainable by man until the day we stand face to face with God. Until then, we see through a glass darkly, just as every other person of every other faith does. In Christian theology, Christ himself is the Way, the Truth and the Life. To assume that, through Christ, we can attain his level of Truth for ourselves is to go beyond what the Scriptures say, and into rather dubious areas verging on blasphemy (man assuming properties or qualities that belong only to God). Man - even redeemed man - remains fallible and finite. We do not get to understand all that there is to understand, by following Christ. We get a promise that one day we will understand, and one day we will see ourselves and others as God sees. But not yet. You are correct. Afterlife is an irrelevant term in relation to eternity. Eternity is outside time, and has no relation to any term such as 'before', 'after', 'during' or whatever. There is no 'before God'; the concept is meaningless. However, 'afterlife' is a meaningful term when used by mortal creatures, to discuss concepts of immortality. God is in eternity, not in time. We are in time, not in eternity.
  13. This is an interesting distinction. Do you not think that there must have been someone, however different from the Biblical version, on whom the Bible version was based? Even Santa can be traced to a historical figure; St Nicholas of Smyrna. Similarly, mythical characters such as Zeus and Odin are postulated as being based on shamen figures in prehistory, rather than conjured out of thin air. It seems unlikely to me that such a rich, and relatively recent, Christian tradition could be fabricated out of a wholly mythical or imaginary creation. We know that Julius Caesar existed. We also know that not everything that he became in tradition or myth can be believed of an actual human being. He was a very famous, very well attested person, and for every such person there are millions who live in obscurity, and leave no 'evidence' behind them. And yet we know they must have existed, or else we ourselves would not exist. In other words, perhaps there is some kind of evidence in the church itself? As Charles Dickens says of the French Revolution, there is no such thing in history as a harvest that is reaped, which was not first sown. If the church is the harvest, then who did the sowing, if not some variant of the historical Jesus? What alternative is there? Paul? James? John the Baptist? But their existence also lacks evidence, if we discount the Scriptures. I am not intending to change your mind on this; that is really your choice, but it seems to me to require a lot more faith NOT to believe in the historical Jesus than to accept that there was such a man, just as there was the Buddha, and Mohammed, and Gandhi, for that matter, and then to try to work out we think that this actually means.
  14. Indeed it does require a spiritual gift. That of discernment.
  15. Neither is better; the two go together. 'Laborare est orare'; to work is to pray. St Benedict.
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