Celebrating a pastoral and prophetic voice

Published November 1, 2002

Dear editor, While reading the letters to the editor, I often feel like the rubber-neckers who slow to peruse a car crash. It continues to astonish me how many people are willing parade their ignorance publicly. I prefer to keep mine hidden. But let me now risk adding my name to their number as I write my first ever letter to the editor. The letter ?Disturbed by Rowan? (October 2002) is a rather harmless example of my concern. Its author was disturbed by the nomination of Roman Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury after reading that he had taken part in a pagan Druid festival. The author concludes that Williams ?obviously does not reflect true Christian values.? I offer to send the author of that letter something Archbishop Williams has written, so that he may base his conclusions on something more than a caption in the news. I happen to celebrate this appointment, primarily because I have been moved by a deeply pastoral, prophetic voice found in these publications. I recommend them highly! Todd Townshend London, Ont.

Ritual was not pagan

Dear editor,

Re: Don Hughes? letter in the October issue of the Journal, lambasting Archbishop Rowan Williams for taking part in a pagan festival.

With a good Welsh name like Hughes, Don should know better. The Gorsedd of Druids, into which the archbishop was inducted, is no more pagan than Don Hughes and probably has fewer rituals than the Masons or the Boy Scouts. The society was founded in the 19th century and its members are appointed because of their contributions to or support of the arts in Wales – literature, music, and poetry.

It might interest Don to know that the late Queen Mother was a member of the Gorsedd.

The most pagan thing you?ll hear at a meeting of the Gorsedd is Onward, Christian Soldiers (okay, that?s my personal bias showing.)

Perhaps before taking someone to task for paganism, one should investigate the situation, Don?

Rene Jamieson


Young are brainwashed

Dear editor,

Before television, violent videos and games, pornography, speed advertisements, and availability of guns, there was never the very high level of violence and bullying we see today. Young people are being brainwashed by all the horror they view daily and are unable to assess in their immaturity, what affect this has on their behaviour.

Where is the power of the church and other organizations that strive for good over evil? They should be lobbying the government to bar the import and production in Canada of this sensational material (mostly from the United States). These films, etc., are made solely for greed. A law should be passed on this issue. If some say that censorship and human rights are compromised, then set aside one theatre per area under strict security for adult viewing only.

Parents now have little time to supervise all the hours their children watch television. Unhappy children exhibit aggressive behaviour by bullying and acting out ideas seen in the media.

Now again we hear of young children killing their siblings. Why? Lack of family love, and constant media baby-sitting? Is killing a game like the cartoons, where the characters come to life again? Television has great potential for good so let us not continually bombard and harm young minds who are most susceptible.

The governing bodies must take action to stop this madness, and for the protection of the innocent, whose well being is our responsibility.

Valerie McCombie


Eucharist incognito

Dear editor,

I cannot let John Matthews? letter in your October issue go unchallenged. As someone who has occasionally received the Eucharist incognito at a Roman church, I am surprised to see that action described as a sin. If we accept Bonhoeffer?s definition of sin as following our own will rather than God?s, then this suggests that it is God?s will that God be only available to Roman Catholics in a Eucharist in a Roman Catholic church. Do we, as Protestants, believe that that is so? If so, why are we not Roman Catholics?

I do not believe that this exclusivity is anything other than an example of a particular religion or branch of a religion claiming exclusive access to God and demanding that for salvation the brand of faith they claim to have patented as the only genuine article. Surely we, as Anglicans, do not support that claim. Neither should we make it for our own variety of liturgy. Indeed, we do welcome other baptized persons to God?s table. God is available, in the Anglican Eucharist, to all who profess themselves Christian.

I have on a number of occasions received the Eucharist at a Roman celebration, while on retreat at a Roman Catholic retreat centre, where all Christians are welcomed to the table. How does a specific invitation change things? How does the absence of a specific invitation turn it into a sin?

Malcolm McLachlan

Guelph, Ont.

Missing the point

Dear editor,

Just when Vianney Carriere was getting it right in his editorial he veered aside and missed the point, the turn in the road, everything. He wrote that Anglicans at the local level ?cared tremendously about… the potential financial impact of the hundreds of lawsuits now before the courts. They cared considerably less, if at all, about… the impact of church run schools on Canada?s native population.? Agreed.

And he continues: ?The thunderclap for General Synod should be that these positions are the exact opposite of those it has been presenting both to church members and to government.? OK? Right on?

Now here?s the stunner: ?General Synod has either failed to get itself heard or failed to persuade rank-and-file…?. What the editor leaves out is the obvious cause for these opposite position. General Synod has failed to listen to the rank-and-file.

The right action for General Synod is not to improve its persuasive powers, but to start listening! That?s why the church, locally, thinks it can get along without you very well. I am not hopeful that this survey will make any difference. No listening: more persuading. I am surprised that your editorial doesn?t grasp the nettle. Whose stories must be told more aggressively?

Harold Macdonald

Matlock, Man.

?Sin theology?

Dear editor,

The letter ?No point in obtaining Eucharist by deceit? crystallized for me the existence of a medieval concept of ?sin theology? being alive and well in our society. By inference it also expressed a somewhat bigoted approach to other branches of the Christian community.

Can anyone in their right mind honestly imagine an educated, intelligent Anglican creating acute embarrassment or disrupting the celebration of the Eucharist in a Prague church… or for that matter anywhere else… in a Baptist, United or Greek Orthodox? To do so would be idiotic, impolite, totally pointless and yes, sinful.

The writer?s naive concept of sin exemplifies part of the reasoning for the dramatic decline in the number of younger Anglicans and church attendance in general over the last few decades. Our young people rate sin on a more substantial global scale.

William J. Dicker


Church spineless

Dear editor,

Recently a man who attends church only on special occasions asked why the people who want to change the Anglican church out of all recognition don?t just start their own church?

That won?t happen. People such as myself will just turn away from a church, which spinelessly bends over backwards to special interest groups.

When I remained a staunch Book of Common Prayer person, some clergy treated me badly. Apparen-tly, a church cleaner, lawn mower, youth leader, choir leader, collection plate contributor wasn?t as important as a new book.

Perhaps the days are hastening on to when the Anglican Church in Africa will have to send missionaries to darkest Canada.

The day that all bishops proclaim same sex marriages, I will walk away from the Anglican church.

Christine Pike

Waseca, Sask.

Cynical claim

Dear editor,

To back her cynical claim that Palestinians are more interested in destroying Israel than in having a state of their own, Janice Sentara (October, 2002) rhetorically asks ?Why is it that every opportunity given to them (to have a Palestinian state) has been adamantly rejected??

I am assuming she is referring to the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan that divided Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state, and to the more recent offer by Ehud Barak at Camp David that offered Palestinians chunks of the West Bank.

Palestinians rejected the Partition Plan because it was grossly unfair, and Zionist leaders who accepted it did so only as a tactical move towards their stated objective of conquering all of Palestine.

As for the ?generous offer? at Camp David, Palestinians would have received Bantustan-style truncated enclaves crisscrossed with roads for Jews only. Palestinians naturally refused, just like the blacks in South Africa rejected the various ?autonomy? plans under apartheid.

John Dirlik

Montreal, Que.


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