Saturday, September 01, 2012

Let's take a turn with Hephzibah, Sydney Anglicans, George Pell and fundies of the good old USA ...

(Above: Mr Pooter and chums catch a wild claret, a little like wild "fast" Sydney Anglicans. You can catch The Diary of a Nobody at Project Gutenberg here).

It's been an epic week for the Sydney Anglicans, with only that preening supercilious wretch Mike Carlton striking a sour note in Ah, men, all's right with the world:

Submission may take many forms, some of them quite simple. Seeking to please her husband, the dutiful wife will find satisfaction in homely tasks: the sparkling clean bathroom, his favourite shirt freshly ironed when he needs it, his golf shoes polished, the delicious evening meal ready on a neatly set table when hubby arrives home weary from daily toil. Why, my own dear wife Priscilla makes a point of abstaining from alcohol so that she may drive home if, by mistake, I have imbibed one cup too many of the claret punch at a parish function! Therein lies the recipe for a happy marriage.

Oh it's so cheap and so unfair, as Carlton makes hay with the church of St. Jensen, Lot's wife turning to salt, and a bunch of Jensens, from Dr. Nesbitt Jesen to Mrs. Hephzibah Jensen.

Carlton shows some fair knowledge in his mockery. Hephzibah turns up in only a couple of places in the bible, as a wife's name (My delight is in her) and in god allocating a name to his chosen people (take it away Rev. Carl Haak here).

Hephzibah is one of those profoundly silly words - like Mr. Pooter or a zillion Dickens character names - guaranteed to please.

Of course none of the fuss of the week penetrated the moat and walls of castle Jensen, also know as the Sydney Anglican web site.

It's September funky town, as the Anglicans get down to the urgent business of raising cash (and never mind that it might be pissed against the wall, or Prayers unanswered as Anglicans brace for more cuts).

Dear sweet absent lord, that's just so funky town. Get down wit it Anglican youffs, join John Travolta under the sparkling glitter ball and the flashy laser lighting.

Oh wait, didn't Mr Travolta go rogue scientologist?

Russell Powell turns the other cheek and puts his best face forward in relation to an ugly week, surely a loss-loss week for a losing church.

He pointedly avoids doing a lengthy diatribe against the Sydney Morning Herald, preferring to celebrate the positives as he scribbles away in Expect the unexpected:

The key thing is not to kick the media but to see the opportunities in this for talking about our faith. Whether the starting point for the discussion is marriage or people's view of Christians or the Judds or the Archbishop or whoever, my prayer is that we will engage people in conversations about Jesus. (That includes letters to the newspapers and talk on talkback)...

... Remember, its not where you start the conversation but where you finish that matters.

But what if you finish with mockery and laughter and more women (and gays it almost goes without saying) marching out the door, either to turn secularist or join a church which has yet to find a foot in the twentieth century (we'll get around to the current century later).

The only other singular achievement this week for the Sydney mob, as Michael Jensen continues to duck and weave and avoid his obligation to deliver unto the world his explanation of the seventh sin of Sydney?

Well surely it must be the hapless Kara Martin's review of Fifty Shades of Grey. The pond has very little time for the appalling writing of EL James, but after reading Kara's review, some sympathy bubbled to the surface. How's this for a synopsis?

Uni student Ana interviews Christian Grey for a student magazine, and he instantly falls for her, seeing her as a possible Submissive for his Dominant sexual practises. He pursues her and woos her with gifts of clothes, a computer and a car. She agrees to a non-disclosure contract, and an agreement to participate in his sexual practises.

That's clunkier than James, and when Kara gets on to the approved Sydney Anglican Christian view of human sexuality, it gets positively silly:

This is making mainstream, sexual practices that are fringe. It is popularising bondage and discipline practises, and legitimising sexual experimentation, without any warning about some of the psychological and physical consequences. The New York Post reported a tenfold increase in rope sales at New York hardware stores, and 30% increase in kinky sex toys.

Is that the slippery rope that the pond's heard so much about? Or merely the kinky slippery slope?

And then there's the usual hairy palms, stop touching yourself there girl or you'll go blind routine:

This book is disturbing and addictive. Porn works on stimulating physical desires in the reader/viewer, but cannot satisfy those desires. The reader falls into a pattern of voyeurism, yearning for the excitement, but left unable to be fulfilled. It results in feelings of guilt and shame. It begins to impact on the way the reader/viewer looks at human beings as objects of desire, things to be used.

But, but, but billy goat butt, women are there to submit and be submissive. The Jensens told the pond so ...

Anyhoo, it would be mean of the pond to do too many spoilers, when the fun is in the full read, as Kara reminded the pond that almost any kink, even EL James, is better kink than Sydney Anglican submissive kink, though if you're looking for a bit of European style, you should really start with Story of O.

But it does lead to the ultimate irony. Even the vanilla Richard Glover makes hay with For a happy marriage, try the submissionary position, along with the mandatory joke:

Sydney's Anglicans have changed the marriage ceremony so the wife agrees to ''submit'' to her husband. People criticise the Sydney Anglicans for being out of touch, so how wonderful to see the success of Fifty Shades of Grey being so rapidly reflected in the service. The only question: will fluffy handcuffs now be a mandatory part of bridalwear?

Et tu Mr Glover, joining in the Fairfax war on the hapless stupefying Sydney Anglicans?

Sadly, putting frivolity and silly marriage vows aside for a moment, the Sydney Anglicans did a grave disservice to the world by providing comedy routines that distracted from attention being paid to Cardinal George Pell.

The Pellists are still embedded in a much more serious set of wars - a nightmare of their own making, seemingly without end - which will see Pell reluctantly, and with pushing, front a Victorian government inquiry into sex abuse (Cardinal George Pell to appear at Victorian sex abuse inquiry - paywall affected).

Back in the day Pell was in the thick of it, as noted in Archbishop George Pell urged to clarify handling of Victorian abuse cases - paywall affected):

Cardinal Pell's connection to the issue is twofold: first as the archbishop of Melbourne who dealt with the church's initial response to the scandal, dubbed the Melbourne Response; and second as a younger priest who worked and lived in the same district as some of the worst offenders.
When former priest Gerard Ridsdale made his first court appearance in 1993, Cardinal Pell stood by his side, although he has steadfastly denied knowledge of his activities. Ridsdale, one of the world's worst pedophiles, has served nearly 20 years in jail.
Cardinal Pell later lamented his decision to support Ridsdale that day.
The Ballarat diocese was so riddled with pedophilia 30 and 40 years ago that attending school and mass became a form of Russian roulette for the largely young male victims.

Meanwhile, Pell came out fighting in his piece last week for the Sunday Terror about the Catholic Church.

In a dissembling way, Pell assured the world that the Catholic church, its leaders and officials, and entities can be sued. He said nothing about the difficulties of mounting cases against unincorporated associations, or working out the appropriate person or entity to sue, pausing only to note that In some well publicised cases lawyers have sued the wrong party. As if the Catholic church should step forward and settle things in an honourable way ... ya ya, got the wrong party ...

Pell also says nothing about the way the church has used its financial resources to hire top quality lawyers to befuddle and deny justice to victims of the institution.

But the real capper is this line:

There has not been a systematic failure by the Church to take action on sex abuse. The procedures were improved in 1996 and again in 2000 and 2009. The Newcastle and Armidale cases now being investigated predate these procedures. While a review of processes and conclusions is available to victims, these are very rarely requested.

That's denialism at its epic worst. The reason that there is now a Victorian inquiry independent of the church is that sufficient evidence has been led to suggest that there was a systematic failure by the Church to take action on sex abuse.

And that's why Pell has ducked and weaved and issued a four thousand word attempt to distance himself from the mess. And he's a dab hand at sharing around the blame:

While Catholic and indeed Christian organizations receive considerable and possibly disproportionate publicity for sexual abuse of minors, it would be a vain hope and badly misleading to conclude that this problem is confined to Christian institutions.

Possibly disproportionate publicity?

The problem isn't confined to Christian institutions?

Uh huh. Another variant on that old proposal sure some of our guys might have done bad things, but have you seen the bad things the other guys have done. So if the other guys do bad things, why are you so hard on, why do you focus on and publicise, the bad things our guys have done?

The answer of course is that churches are given a special position of power, obligation and trust in relation to children. The same applies to schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, creches, child care centres, and other places where children are clustered together.

Teachers, priests, child care workers, institutional employees are given a duty of care, and are offered an elevated level of trust. Or else there'd be a shortage of children for choirs and altar work ...

This isn't so hard to understand, unless you happen to be an institution seeking to avoid the implications of breaching that duty of care and breaking that trust.

A breach of that trust should be a major cause for concern, mortification and rectification, instead of the defiant defensiveness shown by the Pellists.

Even now the church must be dragged kicking and shrieking towards doing the right thing, and that is wrong ... and the inquiry in Victoria is but one of a number of inquiries that should have been mounted long ago.

This sickness continues in the church like a festering virus. The latest example comes from the United States and Father Benedict Groeschel, noted here, in which responsibility is lumped on children for being seducers, and in which he offers sympathy for Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Amazingly the National Catholic Register let the remarks run, only to take them down and replace them with an apology here:

Child sexual abuse is never excusable. The editors of the National Catholic Register apologize for publishing without clarification or challenge Father Benedict Groeschel's comments that seem to suggest that the child is somehow responsible for abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our publication of that comment was an editorial mistake, for which we sincerely apologize. Given Father Benedict's stellar history over many years, we released his interview without our usual screening and oversight. We have removed the story. We have sought clarification from Father Benedict.

Ah well, so it goes, it's all too sombre to contemplate the suffering and the damage done, so let's end with a comedy item from Mother Jones, noting 14 Wacky "Facts" Kids Will Learn in Louisiana's Voucher Schools.

Amongst the wacky "facts"? Humans and dinosaurs hung out together, dragons are real, the majority of slave owners were nice guys, the KKK is seriously misunderstood, the Great Depression wasn't too bad, Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson were errant, algebra is too complicated, gay people are down there with child molesters and rapists, and global environmentalists are involved in a global conspiracy. Coming in at number 14?

"But instead of this world unification ushering in an age of prosperity and peace, as most globalists believe it will, it will be a time of unimaginable human suffering as recorded in God's Word. The Anti-christ will tightly regulate who may buy and sell."—Economics: Work and Prosperity in Christian Perspective, 2nd ed., A Beka Book, 1999

And you wondered how Arizona could pass a law proposing that pregnancy begins two weeks before conception?

The point in that case is to limit access to abortion - Arizona Abortion Bill: Legislators Pass Three Bills, Including One That Redefines When Life Begins - but does anybody in the GOP begin to wonder if they might be involved in a Grand Old Peevish Perverse Patriarchy of Preposterous Pieties?

And finally, finally, thanks to a thoughtful, attentive correspondent the pond is able to draw attention to Phillip Jensen's latest exercise in devil-fearing, The Power of a Dependent Father.

Jensen starts by brooding about powerful fathers, and then weak and inadequate fathers, before haring off into Exorcist territory and demonising a powerful father:

The devil is a powerful father. Or so he seems to his children. His power lies in his lies; for he is the father of lies (John 8:44). A murderer from the beginning, he uses his deceit to accuse both God and God’s children. He accuses God of not having our interests at heart; of not being righteous and merciful; of not forgiving the sinner of his sin ...

Etc etc, yadda yadda, children of Satan, good old dad Satan, yadda yadda etc etc, with Jensen not pausing to think or contemplate the complexity involved if you remember that Satan was a son of god ...

Damn it, that father sure fucked up his son good and proper (as explained in the Book of Job and the wiki here). Surely it's time to call the long absent god a She so the blame can be properly laid at the feet of the Almighty Mother?

Next week, the Sydney Anglicans explain why children should continue to fear the cookie monster that lurks under their bed at night ...


  1. You mentioned Fifty Shades of Grey; this is the best review I have read

    It's very funny.

  2. That is a fun read and the gifs are great. What a pity Sydney Anglicans can't distinguish between a really dire crap book and fun BDSM (as the reviewer can)... Oh my, did I just say crap?

  3. Kara Martin is a heretic.
    As plain as day, in her ‘how should we respond’ section - “Mutual submission”.
    She’ll burn for this!


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