100 years ago: April 1899
Canadian Churchman reported that when we are told that public opinion tends in a certain direction, we naturally pause and ask what is the exact meaning of such a statement. Very often it means very little. Very often it is the argument of someone who wishes us to adopt a different course of action, and imagines that he has got hold of the most effective argument for that purpose. And very often we discover that the trend of thought, which we were asked to recognize as a general public opinion, is a merely a superficial current of thought which is regarded as general because it is noisy or prominent for the moment.
50 years ago: April 1949
Canadian Churchman reported that Myopia is to blame. A lot of churchman have it. Sometimes that condition affects our leaders. It is so deceptive. People may have it and not realize it. That makes it insidious. The long history of the church’s years, running and tacking, filling and backing, shows that frequently the pilots of her course have been afflicted … Calling for an epidemic of faith to overcome the epidemic of fear and mistrust rampant in the world today, the Bishop of Connecticut told his diocesan convention that persons who say it doesn’t matter what a man believes, vestrymen who don’t hold with foreign missions, and members who rarely attend the worship of the church, constitute a fifth column in the church.
25 years ago: April 1974
Canadian Churchman reported that ordination of women debates at most synods are getting to be repetitive. The same tired remarks about theology, equality, ministry and – sexuality. They cropped up again at the 25th synod of the Province of Rupert’s Land and Ms. N. Doig of Saskatoon wasn’t having that sexuality issue turned into a red herring any longer. Turning to the predominantly male house of delegates and totally male house of bishops she gently asked: “Is it the physical and biological attributes you share with the stallion, the bull and the rooster that prevent women from being ordained to the priesthood?” … It had to happen. Once God made it to the football fields of North America, it was only a short step to Madison Avenue. A Michigan parish ran a series of Madison Avenue similes: “God is like Ford, he has a better idea; God is like Coke, he is the real thing; God is like Hallmark, he cared enough to send the very best; God is like VO5 hair spray, he holds through all kinds of weather; God is like Alka-Seltzer, try him, you’ll like him; God is like Frosted Flakes, he makes you feel great.”