Sunday 24 June 2018

GAFCON 2018 - NO LOVE! - NO REALLY NO 'LOVE'!

I’ve just been re-reading the final statement from GAFCON 2018 ‘Letter to the Churches’ and something occurred to me - There is no love in it - and by that I mean that in a document which extends to 8 A4 pages and 2,782 words including the glossary there is not one single instance of the word ‘LOVE’ in it!
To be sure I wasn’t mistaken I downloaded the letter into my word processor and searched for ‘love’ and the message came back ‘word not found’. There is of course predictably plenty of ‘sin’, ‘hell’, ‘judgement’ and frequent references to ‘sex’ ‘sexuality’ homosexuality’ etc. In short lots of sex but no love!
That said I cannot even begin to comprehend how any organization that claims to be rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ can produce such a comprehensive and lengthy rallying call to the churches and fail to mention LOVE! I will not insult any who read this as to why this is not just a fundamental omission but is in fact indicative of a movement that has set aside the heart of the Gospel and threatens to undermine the witness of Anglican Christianity which has always based its breadth and generosity on that of Jesus Christ rooted in God’s Love.
With Saint Paul surely any affirmation and call to faith must be explicitly about LOVE.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal 1 Cor:13:1


Thursday 25 January 2018

Good Friday Alcohol Ban Lifted - A Good Decision

I welcome the decision to rescind the Good Friday licensing laws. As a priest of the Church of Ireland I am convinced that no religion should have its devotional practices enshrined in secular law! I am all for the protection of freedom to practice a particular faith, but not to the extent that sanction is imposed on those of other dispositions. I think in time this judgment will come to be seen as a positive step both for people of religious affiliation and society at large. We are not children and as mature citizens we do not need the State telling us we can't have a drink in a pub on Good Friday.

Many including myself will aim to abstain from alcohol during this Lent, but that is my decision and it is none of my business if others prefer to do otherwise.  Those for whom this observance is important might find it all the more meaningful when it is a matter of choice not law, and calls on them to witness in the face of the prevailing culture. After all Jesus was counter-cultural so why do we Christians want our faith assimilated into the secular order?

In the context of this issue many people have repeatedly raised very valid concerns about the centrality of alcohol in Irish life and its particular association with sport. Others have pointed out that Good Friday is one of the few days in the year when pub owners and staff are guaranteed a day off with their families.
These are valid concerns but we should not use Good Friday as a flag of convenience to deal with them. If we are going to deal with the Nation’s alcoholism lets be honest and open about it and not use religion as a Trojan Horse. To do so belittles both religious faith and our democracy.