The pond is over the angry Sydney Anglicans.
The very last thing the pond needs is a bunch of Christians praying for Sydney. Don't they realise they're part of the problem, and certainly not the solution?
Sydney would be a nice women's rights and gay-friendly town if it weren't for the angries:
"We pray for our city. Just as Jeremiah encouraged the exiles to pray, we pray for this great city of Sydney and the whole Diocese beyond. We pray that eternal life might be known by people and we pray for you" Dr Davies told the congregation. (here)
Says it all really. Talk about self-image.
Jeremiah and the exiles? Yes, in Jeremiah 29, you get this:
These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
This was after King Jeconiah, and the queen mother, the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.
The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It said:
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce.
Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (here)
Moral of the story?
Well clearly the angries see themselves as exiles and as captives and outcasts, trapped in a corrupt whore of Babylon, surrounded by philistines and heathens.
They're the real alienated outsiders, the genuine crazed loners, but instead of driving taxis, and doing a Travis Bickle, prayer is the way forward ... along with an extensive breeding program ...
Talk about a weird metaphor, talk about a weird view of Sydney and the world, but it gets the new archbishop off to a sprightly start, showing he might just have sipped some of the same strong kool aid that kept the Jensenist heresy alive for years.
Which is more than can be said for Michael Jensen's How does grace change me?
Usually the pond has a little fun with Jensen, but when he starts explaining how Christ is the way out of an addiction to tobacco or food or alcohol, the pond started nodding off.
The miracle is that it actually works as a psychological and practical level. The genius of the recovery programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous is that they trade on a kind of replica of the gospel of grace. They teach that you can’t change without realizing that you can’t change by yourself. And they ask you to commit to utter dependence on a higher power.
Was it an ironic satirical piece? Did Jensen fail to note that the United States, home to the most fervent Christians, is also home to the most fervent addictions?
Clearly Jensen doesn't have the first clue about addictions, since proposing utter dependence to an invisible presence long gone from the world doesn't seem like much of a solution to utter dependence to addictive substances.
Will Christ will save the United States from burgers, and cheesy pizzas, and soda, and cinnamon on doughnuts and anything else you eat and drink, and booze and so on?
Only in Jensen's dreams ...
But it did remind the pond of a recent story in the United States, a follow up to that old story of a bunch of fundamentalists proposing to their flock that they should avoid immunizations, peddling the notion that suchlike activity could be linked to autism.
Up until an outbreak of measles, as you can read in Vaccine-Fearing Texas Megachurch Urges Flock to Immunize After Measles Outbreak, with handy links to delusional thinking, as Terri Copeland Pearsons tried to explain the backflip:
"There are a lot of people that think the Bible -- we talk about walking by faith -- it leaves out things such as, I don't know, people just get strange," she said. "But when you read the Old Testament, you find that it is full of precautionary measures, and it is full of the law."
"Why did the Jewish people, why did they not die out during the plague? Because the Bible told them how to be clean, told them how to disinfect, told them there was something contagious," Pearsons continued. "And the interesting thing of it, it wasn't a medical doctor per se who took care of those things, it was the priesthood. It was the ministers, it was those who knew how to take the promises of God as well as the commandments of God to take care of things like disinfection and so forth."
Yes, even when realising they'd done a measles muck-up, and choosing science to save the day, it's the priesthood which knows better.
Well Pearsons surely knows what side her bread is buttered on - the same side as her daddy, Kenneth Copeland, one of those prosperity hot gospelling television hustlers who make out like bandits, and live in luxury ...
It's not much of a step to jump from thinking the long absent lord will cure your addictions to thinking Christ will lead you to riches, and next thing you know you're losing a fortune on a stock exchange crash ...
Oh wait, the pond promised not to talk about the angries.
Truly if the long absent lord hadn't wandered off, not to be heard from again in a few thousand years, he'd be rolling in his grave ...
Speaking of addiction, this just in:
Anglican church a 'drunk man' staggering ever closer to the edge of a cliff, Archbishop says.
Despite everything Michael Jensen proposes? Yes indeed, and you can't get a more schismatic drunken mob than the Sydney Anglicans, but the pond just loves the frock worn by the most rev Justin Welby:
Speaking of frocks, that's a natural throw to the Pellist heresy, and happily, with the week old thoughts of Cardinal Pell in the Sunday Terror in short supply, the ABC has stepped into the breach, and published the thoughts of Pell in The meaning of religious freedom and the future of human rights.
Now you might find it extraordinarily comical and hypocritical to read a Pellist blathering on about freedom and human rights, and this from a mob that right up until recent times - within the lifetime of the pond - ran an Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
And that's before we get on to the way the Church has routinely oppressed - whenever it had the chance, or the power, or the influence - to oppress victims as wide-ranging as Galileo and gays and women ...
But now the shoe is on the other foot, and secularism is let loose on the world, all the fundies - the Pellists, and the Islamics - are always yammering on about human rights and religious freedom, and asserting the right to control contraception and women's bodies and so on and so forth ...
Oh yes, it truly is a marvellous way to spend a Sunday, meditating on the way the Murdochians find space for the mendacity of the Catholic church's most high profile campaigner for the maintenance of oppression ... and so does the ABC ...
There's no need for a rebuttal, just a hint of the flavour:
1. Freedom of religion is not just freedom to go to church on Sundays or pray at home. It also means being free to act on your beliefs in the public square, to speak about them and seek to persuade others. It means not being coerced or bullied into silence by speech-control and equality laws or by accusations of "Homophobe!" "Discrimination!" "Anti-Choice!" or "I'm offended!"
Yes, it's the freedom to be an arrogant, abusive prick in the Pellist manner, carrying on about climate science, gays, same sex marriage, abortion, and contraception, and making sure that nonsense like tolerance for minorities and equality laws should be labelled as bullying and coercion ...
The pond always wondered how the Catholic church should have been able to make such a comfortable bed with the fascists during the Mussolini and Franco days, but if you read Pell's arguments, you get a very good idea ...
What else in relation to matters religious?
Well devout followers of Amanda Vanstone, another ABC personality comedian, will recall her joining with David Burchell last week to bash Richard Dawkins for a mischievous tweet about Islamics. (here)
Oh they were shocked and horrified by the angry atheist.
And yet sadly there wasn't a word about Rupert Murdoch's tweet of the week, because it broke a day too late.
But it'll still be fresh by Monday, so here's the text for Vanstone's show tomorrow.
Compare and contrast this Murdochian tweet ...
... with Dawkins' tweets ...
The goose should get as good as the gander?
Is Vanstone up to the challenge?
In your ABC dreaming she is ...
Is Burchell, or is he too busy flogging his book?
Why do you ask?