Thursday, June 07, 2007

Truly evangelical

The link in the title is to a piece by Elaine Storkey, (posted on the blog about her evangelical faith. Storkey is a leading evangelical Anglican scholar and was on the staff of Wycliffe Hall theological college, now in the grip of conservatives. If this understanding of Christian discipleship were what the term "evangelical" referred to then I'd be happy to call myself an evangelical. As it is I eschew those categories really. I am not "an evangelical" and I am not "a liberal" or "a catholic". But I believe that to be authentically and faithfully Christian I need to be evangelical, to be liberal, and to be catholic.

Wycliffe Hall controversy

A formerly respected Anglican evangelical theological college has been captured by conservative extremists. Wycliffe Hall in Oxford now has a principal, Richard Turnbull, who believes that 95% of the British popoulation is going to hell and a vice-principal who won't allow women to teach men in church. As Giles Fraser wrote in the Guardian:

"Of course, what should really happen is that the bishops of the Church of England stop using colleges like this to train its priests. Places such as Wycliffe are turning Anglicanism into a cult. But it's a symptom of how bad things are in the C of E, and how frightened its bishops have become of the financial muscle of conservative evangelicals, that they won't find the gumption to cut Wycliffe adrift."

I agree. The Church of England has let conservative theology drive its agenda for too long. An approach to the Bible and the faith which is basically fundamentalist and anti-intellectual has gone unchallenged. The Church of England is becoming a cult - retreating from the findings of modern science and cultural development and hiding behind a wall of false certainty based on a default literalism about the Bible and faith. Most sermons I hear outside my own parish are implicitly fundamentalist. It's as if the explosion in human knowledge of the last two centuries, including all we know about the origins and history of Christianity, never happened.

Christians who care about this need to work harder to persuade and inpire others that there are ways of being faithful to Christ which can constructively value and engage with modern culture.

Richard Turnbull's reply

A letter from leaders of the student body at Wycliffe

Friday, June 01, 2007

The gadget of my life

My Palm Treo 600 is the gadget of my life. It is my combined diary,
notebook, addressbook, bible, phone, emailer, mp3 and video player, pocket
camera and instant messenger. And because it can access the internet it is
an encyclopedia, dictionary. newspaper, and train timetable. Google is
always to hand. Using instant messaging, I can communicate with my son
whilst he sits at his desk at work, or with my daughters whilst they study.
I read my favourites blogs whilst sitting on trains or waiting for late
appointments to arrive. I use it to access the online prayers and bible
readings for the Church of England morning and evening prayers.Or if really
needed I can check my work emails away from the desk. Using a nifty
cassette that slots into my car's tape player I connect the Treo to the
in-car stereo. With a 1GB SD card inserted I can drive from the south to
the north of England without hearing the same track twice! It also converts
the phone into a hands-free car phone so I can take calls whilst driving.
Everything is backed up on the desktop PC and my crucial diary is backed up
on a Yahoo! online calendar so even if both Treo and desktop fell apart at
the same time I can still find out where I am meant to be!
Needless to say this post is written on and posted from the Treo whilst
listening to some favourite music tracks playing in the background.