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CI News: 21 September 2018

Anglican Mainstream UK - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 03:44

from The Christian Institute:

In the news this week: The sharp rise in girls questioning their biological sex prompts a Government inquiry, radical new divorce plans are outlined by the Justice Secretary and a BBC investigation raises concerns over sex-selective abortion.

You can download the video via this link.

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The new political correctness: not a fad, but a deep cultural shift

Anglican Mainstream UK - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 03:42

by Peter Franklin, UnHerd:


Trigger warnings.


The language of political correctness can appear as baffling as the underlying ideology but it matters. Just one unguarded comment, unintended insult or unpopular opinion and your career in academia, politics or the media can be severely damaged – if not terminated altogether.

If you’re a member of one of the Twitter-using professions, watch your mouth – because it won’t take much for you to be lumped in with the real bigots and abusers (of which there are quite enough already). And don’t think that having the ‘correct’ politics or being a member of a minority will protect you – as Clive Lewis, a hard left, ethnic minority British MP found out last week.

So, what’s going on? Why do minor infringements of social codes (real or perceived) attract such a disproportionate reaction. Is it just an internet-enabled mob-effect, or is there something much deeper going on?

On his Righteous Mind blog, Jonathan Haidt highlights an important new analysis:

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Concern about girls wanting to be ‘boys’ is a matter of fundamental human dignity

Anglican Mainstream UK - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 03:38

by Carys Moseley, Christian Concern:

Carys Moseley looks into how the issues of transgender and abortion are intrinsically linked and argues that the Church must speak up to protect the dignity of those affected and defend the fact that we are all created in God’s image.

This week, Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for Women and Equalities, ordered an investigation into why so many teenage girls want to undergo gender reassignment to become ‘boys’. On one level, this move is welcome and would certainly prove popular given the public outcry over this problem. On a deeper level, it may be too limited a move to properly address the problems. The debate over ‘Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria’ is inadequate, and a comparison with earlier evidence on gender disassociation is distinctly lacking.

There are two problems here. The first is the desire to ring-fence the notion of ‘truly transgender’ (previously ‘true transsexualism’). The second is to look only at girls who want to be male and ignore boys who want to be female – until very recently, they were the great majority of patients at gender identity clinics. The concept of Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria leaves untouched any investigation into the development of gender dysphoria among adolescents before the rise of social media. It also leaves out any consideration of gender dysphoria in children. Merely inquiring about teaching in schools and social media – both topics closely linked to adolescence – conveniently avoids the question of whether there are more parents nowadays who secretly treat their children as members of the opposite sex, out of disappointment at not having a child of the desired sex.

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How the powerful are perverting the truth

Anglican Mainstream UK - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 03:35

by Graeme Archer, UnHerd:

[…]  This tweet from the South Yorkshire constabulary – to which we’ll return – reminded me of something I wrote for a scientific journal in 1996:

“Most of us are critical realists, in that we believe the Universe exists and that we can learn something about its mechanisms by measuring observable phenomena.”

At the time that felt uncontroversial; now it makes me laugh aloud. Not because I no longer believe in the Universe, or the importance of using language as precisely as possible to describe it, in order to produce valid conclusions about the laws that govern (biological, psychological, cultural) existence. I laugh because I no longer believe that “most of us” think any such thing.

“Most of us” – most of those with power, anyway, about whom I’m most concerned – “most of us” seem to believe that the Universe exists only as an extension of our own desires, and that its reality is nothing more than anything we care to assert at any given moment in time.

To such pathologically subjective people – path-subs, let’s call them – simply to declare “This is a fact” is sufficient to turn “this” into a fact; no more evidence about the nature of “this” is required, and any evidence that is produced, which appears to contradict the claim, can – and must – be dismissed out of hand.

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How Anglicans tipped the Brexit vote

Anglican Mainstream UK - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 03:30

from LSE:

Two-thirds of Anglicans voted for Brexit, a much higher proportion than in the country as a whole. Greg Smith (William Temple Foundation) and Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University) look at the reasons for the disparity and note that the divergence between the beliefs of UK evangelicals – including the Archbishop of Canterbury – and ‘normal’ Anglicans.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has been busy again attacking the markets and calling for more welfare. His views are at variance with those of ordinary Anglicans, two-thirds of whom think that welfare spending is too high.

Research we have just published reveals an equally significant ‘values gap’ when it comes to the EU. ‘In the run up to the referendum of 2016 Welby was against Brexit but in the vote Anglicans strongly supported it. Our exit poll of 3,242 UK adults, commissioned by Linda Woodhead immediately after the referendum, shows that exactly two-thirds (66%) of the Anglicans in England who cast a vote, voted to leave the EU. That’s higher than for England as a whole, where just over half of voters (53%) chose Leave.

Anglicans are more enthusiastically pro-Brexit than affiliates of other major religions. In England, 55% of Catholics voted Leave, 45% Remain. Amongst other non-Christian faiths – though sample sizes are small – the tendency was to favour Remain over Leave. The increasingly large group who report ‘no religion’ also favoured Remain: 53% Remain, 47% Leave.

Anglican support for Brexit is so high that it’s natural to think that the fact of being Church of England may be disguising other factors. For example, we know that Anglicans tend to be older than the population as a whole, and that older people were more likely to vote Leave. We tested this by correcting for all the factors that might have influenced , including age, region of residence, gender, and social class. This shows that age and social class do make a difference. Nevertheless, even when all these factors are corrected for, the ‘Anglican effect’ remains. Table 1 shows this most clearly.

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God’s Church in the World: the Gift of Catholic Mission

Anglican Mainstream UK - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 03:27

from Forward in Faith:

This week over 150 people participated in a conference on catholic mission within the Church of England co-sponsored by Forward in Faith and Anglican Catholic Future. Part of the conference took place at Lambeth Palace at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who welcomed participants and encouraged them to consider what it means to give light and salt to the world.

Keynote speakers included Rowan Williams, Alison Milbank, and Luke Miller. Focussing on mission as gift, Dr Williams spoke of the catholic tradition as offering an ‘awareness of the already-happening nature of the kingdom’, and reminded delegates that to engage in mission is to extend the invitation to creation to engage in God’s very being. Dr Milbank reminded participants that mission does not proceed from lack or scarcity, but from sharing in the inexhaustible riches of God’s abundant life; and that in mission we invite everyone to share the Trinitarian exchange of love and self-giving. Archdeacon Miller drew attention to the practical ways in which mission is already being carried out in catholic contexts, highlighted the intrinsic connection between mission and personal holiness, and reminded participants that catholic practice done well is inherently evangelistic and will lead to growth.

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British and US clergy join leadership team at the Anglican Episcopal Diocese in Jerusalem

Anglican Communion News Service - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 03:14

Archbishop Suheil Dawani has appointed a US-priest as his chaplain and a British priest as Dean of Jerusalem’s St George’s College.

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“We must create a new history of true peace” – Asian Anglican leaders on Korea peace talks

Anglican Communion News Service - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 02:35

Anglican leaders in east Asia have expressed repentance for not playing “a proper role” in the conflict between North and South Korea.

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Rainbow Church, LGBT Eucharist and intolerable utterances

Anglican Mainstream UK - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 00:47

by Archbishop Cranmer:

This picture has not been photoshopped: it is the altar of Reading Minster draped in the rainbow flag for this year’s Gay Pride festival, in order to convey to the congregation that the Eucharist is one of inclusion and acceptance. All are welcome to eat the body and drink the blood of Jesus because there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, nor is there gay and straight, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. The Minster’s website explained:


LGBT Eucharists are becoming increasingly common: Wells Cathedral is hosting one this weekend, presided over by the Bishop of Taunton, to launch something called ‘Rainbow Church’:


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Asian Churches to develop advocacy network to fight the sexual exploitation of children

Anglican Communion News Service - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 00:45

An ecumenical consultation in Asia has spoken of the need for churches to work together to tackle sexual exploitation of children.

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Abortion Activists Argue Infanticide Does Not Violate a Person’s Right to Life

Anglican Mainstream UK - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 00:32

by John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera, Life News:

Among the pagan practices vanquished by early Christians was infanticide. As Christianity fades in the West, so do our defenses against infanticide in all its grisly forms.

Since its beginning, the pro-life movement has argued that the logic that justified abortion-on-demand could, at some point, be also used to justify infanticide.

And for just as long, defenders of abortion rights have rolled their eyes, literally and figuratively, regarding our concerns about the slippery slope of killing innocents as “kooky” and “alarmist.”

But then in 1997, Steven Pinker, one of the leading lights of what’s known as “evolutionary psychology,” published a piece in the New York Times that argued for the “naturalness” of infanticide. While not denying that under modern conditions, “Killing a baby is an immoral act,” it was a kind of triage for our not-so-distant relatives to separate those likely to survive from those unlikely to survive.

More importantly, as Pinker memorably put it, the genes that shaped that behavior are still present within the human race today. “A new mother . . .” he said, “will first coolly assess the infant and her situation and only in the next few days begin to see it as a unique and wonderful individual.”

To which the late Michael Kelly, who had previously dismissed any link between abortion and infanticide, replied “Yes, that was my wife all over: cool as a cucumber as she assessed whether to keep her first-born child or toss him out the window.”

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Fulcrum - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 23:05

This is a revised version of an address given originally to a women's group in the Diocese of Salisbury in 2011, then to the Ordinands Conference at Lee Abbey, Devon, in 2012 and the Diocese of Clogher, Church of Ireland clergy conference in 2013.


Have you ever noticed a smell triggering a memory in you? Hyacinths, new carpets, salt in the sea air, autumn leaves, and the perfume Cristalle are scents I love. What about you? Sitting at a local café in Dorset, I experienced a strong memory of my grandmother, who had died over 40 years earlier. Someone had walked by who smelt like her. What was this sweet fragrance composed of? Cheap soap, stale cigarettes, and love.

I started going to church as a 16 year old, joining the choir soon afterwards. I chose this church, like the good Anglican I was yet to become, because it was there. I find it very moving that here in Britain there is always a church to which you belong even if you are not in the slightest bit interested. Someone has the “cure of souls” in the parish in which you live. I loved the symbolism of the incense which was a regular part of Sunday worship. To me it represented the prayers of the people ascending to God, pervading the atmosphere of the entire building. Imagining the smell now, I think of it as an amazing image of how, if you bring yourself to a holy place, you cannot help but breathe God in, whatever the state of your mind or will.

‘Fragrance’ has multiple, and not always positive, meanings. It is not all Chanel No 5.

To develop this further, I will be exploring the concept of ‘Fragrance’ in six themes: Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians; Good Friday and Easter; Brokenness and Renewal; Odour of Sanctity; Senses and Sensing; Children and Animals.

2 Corinthians Chapter 2

Paul mentions ‘fragrance’ in his second letter to the church he founded at Corinth:

But thanks be to God, who continually leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession, and uses us to spread abroad the fragrance of the knowledge of himself! We are indeed the incense offered by Christ to God, both among those who are on the way to salvation, and among those who are on the way to destruction: to the latter it is a deadly fume that kills, to the former a vital fragrance that brings life. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16, REB)

In looking at earlier verses in this chapter to get a sense of context, I was struck by a message about someone who had done wrong and been in trouble with the community, but who has now suffered enough:

The penalty on which the general meeting has agreed has met the offence well enough. (verse 6)

Even more than a public penalty, a major part of our punishment is so often our own shame and remorse. Paul writes that it is time for forgiveness and the reaffirmation of love which follows on:

Something very different is called for now: you must forgive the offender and put heart into him; the man’s distress must not be made so severe as to overwhelm him. (verse 7)

Hear these words of comfort, if you have worries and troubles of your own, or things you are feeling guilty about.

We know that the odour issuing from death is different from the odour issuing from life. The one speaks of decay and corruption, the other of life and growth. So what is this about us being the incense offered by Christ to God among those who are on the way to salvation, and among those who are on the way to destruction?

It is about two perspectives on who Jesus is. Those who are “on the way to salvation” are those who know, or have an intimation, or are trying to know, that the Christ they smell through us, is alive and incorruptible. Those who are “on the way to destruction” are those who believe, or assert, or live out the implication, that Jesus is dead, and so they smell the decay of a dead body.

The difference is this: if a person hears someone talk about Jesus, they either think of Jesus as dead or living. To any given hearer (or smeller) the same person is a dead Jesus or a living one. Verse 16 puts it like this:

To the latter it is a deadly fume that kills, to the former, a vital fragrance that brings life.

We, made in the image of God, have the same scent as Jesus. If you are someone who is sure that Jesus is alive today, your fragrance should be sweet. However, our theoretical knowledge does not always reach the darkest parts of ourselves, and we may have some uncertainties about whether we do smell good.

Sometimes, if we are honest, we realise that we have done something, thought or said something, or left something undone, which leaves us thinking “that stinks!” However, remember that our God believes in doubt. Not that God wants us to be unsure or wobbly, but that God likes us to ask questions, to explore, to push the boundaries as we try to work out who God is, and who we are ourselves, and who we are in relation to so different a being as God. God is with us when we are unsure or wobbly, because God likes us to be honest. And, to be honest, who has not had moments (at least) of doubt?

Where this passage helps us in this context is the assertion that we are the incense offered by Christ to God. Paul is using sacrificial language. God smells us, and the scent is of Christ. It is the very nature of our salvation that we smell of Life, not of Death. Though our sins were as rotting flesh, Christ did not cover up the stink, but has transformed the decay into the sweetest of herbs. The fact is that we cannot be anywhere in between, even though we may think we probably smell reasonably OK, a reasonable amount of the time. To God we are just lovely. We are the younger sisters and brothers, no less delightful to the Father than the First Born.

Good Friday and Easter

The scene of death is paradoxically a scene and source of life. This is supremely so in the Christian faith, as we know through the strange name of Good Friday, which is probably the only Christian Holy Day that has not got a place in the modern world outside the Christian tradition.

Remember those women who followed Jesus to his crucifixion. The smells must have been powerful: dust, sweat, blood, fear, and death. Remember Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who prepared Jesus’ body for the grave. How sweet and bitter those smells of myrrh and aloes must have been. Remember the women preparing spices and perfumes to anoint the body. How they must have wept as the perfumes lived with them through that dark Sabbath Saturday, and as they carried them to the tomb on the Sunday morning. They would have been expecting to find a body which had begun to smell of decay.

And then – life! How disconcerting. Everything turned upside down. Like those Chagall paintings where the heads of people are the wrong way up, or their feet are not on the ground, death and new life have confused and changed everything.

We know this also in our everyday life. After bereavement, a loss of someone or of something, new opportunities open up. Out of the grief, horror, and suffering comes an imperative to find a new way of living. It seems to us an insult, to have to go on living after losing our life partner, a child, a parent, or a beloved friend. But the challenge is to find life after death. How hard that must have been when the women went to the grave expecting decay, and met only fresh dawn air, an angel (I wonder what angels smell like?) and the continuing perfume of their no-longer-needed ointments.

Brokenness and Renewal

Thomas Moore, the 18th century poet, ended his poem, ‘Farewell’:

You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will,

But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.

Brokenness is not always unequivocally a disaster.

St Catherine’s Chapel is set on the hill above Abbotsbury, in Dorset. It is a beautiful ancient stone building overlooking Chesil beach and the sea. I was there a few years ago for a summer evening service, and was entranced on entering the porch to find that I was walking on sprigs of rosemary. This gave way to a scent of the lavender with which the whole chapel had been strewn for a wedding earlier that afternoon. So the participants enjoyed not only the scent of the herbs, rising to meet us as we entered for worship, but also the sweet savour of a local wedding, which had left traces of its essence on the air.

Marjoram grew in our garden in Dorset. After moving in, a year of not-so-attentive-gardening left the marjoram free to spread into the lawn. Imagine my delight at finding that, quite against expectations, not only did the lawn look fine, but when I walked on it the scent of the herbs rose to meet me. There are always new delights to be experienced.

The truth is, that our best and our worst features often emerge at the time of most stress. Think of what happens when we are ill. You may have experienced someone getting ratty and demanding. You may have experienced someone being concerned for others and full of gratitude for the care they are receiving. Both attitudes may have been present in the same person. How much more willing are we to forgive the bad times when that person apologises and thanks us? The odour of sanctity can evaporate the stink of sin.

Odour of Sanctity

You probably know the phrase “the odour of sanctity”. Part of the history of this is the myth that the bodies of the saints did not decay, and that if their tombs were opened, there would issue forth a beautiful smell, thus confirming their sainthood. This is told, amongst others, of St Margaret who hid Catholic priests from persecution towards the end of the 16th century.

In the novel Home, by Marilynne Robinson, the errant Jack Boughton comes home to his ageing father, a retired minister, where his sister, Glory, is caring for him, following sorrows of her own. The family has grappled since Jack’s childhood with the question of whether Jack is saved, and can be forgiven his persistent misdoing. Jack in his poverty is very short of clothes:

Glory thought the shirts her father had worn before he began to lose weight and height were no doubt in the attic... She found them in a cedar chest, laundered and ironed as if for some formal event, perhaps their interment. They had changed to a color milder than white, and there was about them, besides the smell of time and disuse, of starch and lavender and cedar, a hint of Old Spice that brought tears to her eyes. ...

She offers them to Jack

He stepped back and smiled. “What is that? Cedar? Starch? Lilies? Candlewax? Isn’t the phrase ‘the odor of sanctity’? I would not presume.”

She said, “I’m pretty sure the odor of sanctity will come out in the wash,” and he laughed. “I’ll try the effects of detergent and sunshine and then I’ll ask you again.”

Marilynne Robinson, Home (Virago, 2008) p.98

Jack is afraid to claim spiritual consanguinity with his holy (earthly) father, even to the extent of wearing his old shirts. How familiar that feeling is, of being undeserving alongside a more “spiritual” person, let alone alongside God. Jack is scrupulously honest in his sense of not living up to the standards set for him by himself and by his meticulously Protestant community.  He is trapped, in a way, by his culture which, however hard his father tries to forgive him, persists in its assertion of his ongoing sinfulness.

The phrase ‘odour of sanctity’ is often used disparagingly, by those who think that sanctity is about restrictive rule-keeping and rigid moralism. This attitude is a reaction to a perceived Christianity which cannot cope with questions, with doubt. Christians sometimes suffer comments that imply that their Christian standards make them prigs.

Yet there is another meaning to the ‘odour of sanctity’. We are often not expecting it when we come across it - that is the way it is with smells - but suddenly we are struck by something. It may be in the way a friend is with us, or when something someone does transforms our perception of them. A homeless person calls after us in the street, and, against our expectations, hands us the wallet we have just dropped. We see the person, the humanity, behind the stereotype. Do you remember the television advert where a “hoodie” is running up behind a businessman? The viewer imagines impending danger...but what follows is different.

We realise that the other person is, in that moment, revealing their humanity, and in that moment we sense - or scent - God.  

Senses and Sensing God

Rowan Williams contributed a haiku on smell to an intriguing book, Sense Making Faith:

Not only servicing the lungs, the air

is woven, full

of needles.

Rowan Williams in Anne Richards, Sense Making Faith: Body, Spirit, Journey (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, 2007), p.42.

We have an amazing range of senses available to us, with always more to be found, if we have the desire and courage to pursue them. We sense the presence of God in a person, in a room, in a building, or in nature. We are used to acknowledging some senses more than others. We see glorious autumn colours and we hear exquisite music. We are moved by the touch of a hand, or delight in the breeze on our face. We smell the Sunday roast and then enjoy the taste of it.

We sense through our bodies, having a gut feeling we are going to get on with a new acquaintance, or having a shiver of anticipation when our lover walks through the door. I hope you remember that, and sometimes recapture it. I hope you have had that experience, even if your desire was never fulfilled.

In relationships or not, these tingles of excitement come in other contexts too. Roald Dahl’s BFG describes it in the hearing of music:

Sometimes human beans is very overcome when they is hearing wonderous music. They is getting shivers down their spindels.

Roald Dahl, The BFG (Puffin, 2007) p. 98.

Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit as a physical sensation? I had a friend whose husband commented to her that he thought they sat in a draughty part of the church. She laughed and explained to him that this was the Holy Spirit.

We also use these words metaphorically: “Oh taste and see how gracious the Lord is” (Psalm 34:8). A friend, Dan Hardy, had a powerful spiritual experience when he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land towards the end of his life. He described it to his daughter, Deborah Ford:

I found our entry into Jerusalem very powerful: the Holy Mount / Temple; the Wailing Wall and, even more so (to me), the entrance to the tunnel under the Western Wall. It’s not easy to say quite why, but what struck me as we walked down under the excavations of the old wall was the power of the place: the most ancient stones of the Temple, leading up to much later ones. It’s not the physical mass of the place in itself, but that it is alive: radiant with light. There was a Bat Mitzvah taking place down there and a steady stream of people stopping to pray. It gave me the sense of this being the repository of God’s light. One could see it phenomenologically, but it’s far more than that: it takes eyes to see it, that’s all. I just found I was embraced by the light.

It was the sum total of all this that gave me a sense of the huge power of God’s light and energy and how the divine is at work.

Daniel W. Hardy with Deborah Hardy Ford, Peter Ochs and David F. Ford, Wording a Radiance: Parting Conversations on God and the Church (SCM Press, 2010) p.28.

Dan uses the image of light. I am taking a liberty now in using some of Dan’s words but transposing them from the key of light to the key of the fragrance of God:

It’s an infinitely probing thing: not so much fragrance searching as fragrance penetrating. What is it that attracts someone to something better? The sense I have is that the Goodness simply draws them to something fuller. It’s an opening and an enabling process: an attraction and recognition of the life and source of life within. It is like a granulation of patterns, words, light, fragrance, senses: things percolating up just like the waters of the Jordan; and a whole range of things coming to the surface, with a new awareness of the simple wonder and beauty of creation and life itself; and with that, the awareness of how little we’ve ‘got it’. So with the fragrance comes sadness and loss but also a yearning to live from this source and to be oriented to it: to the life and health bubbling up deep within. The sense of sorrow is sharing in the grief of God and his longing for the best for his people and the world: longing for us not to be distracted or to waste time. It’s about recognising how much more there is than you’ve ever seen (or sensed, or smelt) before and being attracted by it and lifted up to it. This fragrance is something that’s capable of lifting you deeply from within: the word I’ve used a lot for it is simply “attraction”.

(Transposing Daniel W. Hardy’s words on pp. 28-29.)

It is about openness to the fact that you cannot contain or hold it or define it.

Children and Animals

Of all our senses, I believe smell is our earliest one to develop meaning for us. Babies recognise their mothers by their smell, and can be disconcerted by a stranger for the same reason. In what may seem quite a strange, but not uncommon, perception, I loved the smell of my babies’ early nappies. People sometimes find it easier to say they love the smell of baby oil, for instance, when actually it may be something more primitive than that. We are rather prone to concealing our instinctual humanity, especially where body smells are concerned. I do not think we like to be so unsophisticated.

What is so attractive about distilling a scent from its elements? Six-year-old Tilda was very taken by the row of empty CK1 bottles on my windowsill when she visited us in Dorset. She collected flowers and herbs from the garden, and teas from my kitchen cupboard, and made up three different perfumes to “sell” at the garden gate. After she had gone, I could not bring myself to throw away her creation, so I still have them.

Our earliest memories can be reactivated by smell. Our youngest daughter, Katie, who was born and spent her first nearly five years in Kenya, still has memories triggered by the smell of wood smoke. Most people cooked on wood fires, so it was very much one of the smells of life and goodness ... and of women, working to feed their families.

Sometimes we pretend. There is a Kikuyu proverb that “the fart of a rich man is odourless” (we pretend not to notice the unsavouriness of someone of whom we feel in awe). In a more creative way, we may pretend not to notice the smell when we visit someone who is elderly or dying. Bad smells nevertheless have a message for us, which we may ignore at our peril. They warn us that something is wrong: an infection which needs treating, food which is going off and might be risky to eat.

In this strange modern world in the West, we often miss out on the basics. One of those is smell. We have the luxury of plenteous, clean, and easily-heated water. We wash our smells away, relentlessly, often several times a day. I wonder what we are afraid of? I am not objecting to cleanliness, but rather pointing out that we are inadvertently missing some of our most fundamental cues. People have deeply personal smells, which form part of who they are. Sexual attraction is stimulated and informed by our sense of smell. Maybe it disconcerts us that smell immediately takes us to bodies. The human condition is to smell, and we are always trying to change the human condition. Trying to pretend to be what we are not. We do not, in our basic humanity, usually smell of roses!

We are more likely to be assaulted by sound than by smell in our everyday life. Our ears are bombarded by music we have not chosen to listen to: the sound of vehicles on the road and of aircraft in the sky. Meanwhile what about our poor noses? We forget them and their miraculous abilities.

Ewes which have lost their own lambs can be persuaded to adopt a motherless lamb by putting the dead lamb’s fleece over the live lamb, so that it smells right.

In fact many animals have a far more advanced sense of smell than we do. Dogs can distinguish hundreds of individual dogs in their locality by the smell of their urine. God has given us an insight into his nature through the nature around us – and I bet God has a more complex sense of smell than dogs.


The Jewish commentary Deuteronomy Rabbah 1.5 reflects on a double effect much like Paul in 2 Corinthians:

As the bee reserves her honey for her owner and her sting for others, so the words of the Torah are an elixir of life for Israel, and a deadly poison to the nations of the world.

In a similar way a drug can be poisonous or healing, the quantity and the context being all important. We may be overwhelmingly grateful when a dose of morphine relieves the pain in the later stages of cancer. In contrast, we may feel quite desperately anxious when we find out that a person we love is trying out a similar drug for rather different reasons.

The key to inoculation, an astonishing life saver, is the active giving of very small doses of something deathly, in order to avoid the deathly effect of exposure to the same element in larger quantity. I am so impressed by the courage of Edward Jenner (and even more by that of his wife) in 1774. He inoculated their children with a cowpox vaccine, leading to them becoming immune to the deadly smallpox. 

The French phenomenological philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty stressed the primacy of embodiment for perception. He claimed that the senses are essential and that the body is the source of our thinking and of our processing. Perception plays a foundational role in understanding the world and in engaging with the world. As we see when we observe babies closely, the body is in a permanent condition of experience, granting us openness to the world through our perceptions. He underlined the fact of the interdependence of consciousness and the body.

Let us rejoice today in our senses, especially smell, in the access they give us to ourselves, to others, to the world, and to God.

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Résumé des nouvelles hebdomadaires de l’Agence d’information de la Communion anglicane, le vendredi 21 septembre 2018

Anglican Communion News Service - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 22:42

Résumé des nouvelles hebdomadaires de l’Agence d’information de la Communion anglicane, le vendredi 21 septembre 2018

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The #MeToo movement now represents a threat to basic justice

Anglican Mainstream UK - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 20:34

by Laura Perrins, The Conservative Woman:

If you ever find yourself on a rape charge and you happen to have Jenni Russell on the jury then you should be worried. Jenni believes that ‘justice is being betrayed by society’s bias towards believing men’. In fact, as Jenni says in a Times column, she knows ‘how men with sterling reputations can behave’.

No need for evidence, ‘we just know’. Such is the prejudice displayed when discussing the Democrat takedown of Brett Kavanaugh. This is the kind of thinking that saw black men lynched in the Deep South on the say-so of the nice white lady. Sure, we just know what they are like. Those black men.

In fact, the last time the Democrats attempted a takedown of a Supreme Court nominee was indeed against that uppity black man Clarence Thomas, who was a conservative and refused to stay in his lane, aka the Democrat plantation. They failed then, but they destroyed his reputation in the eyes of many.

Jenni thinks that the default position has been: ‘Believe the men. That’s been the default position, not just for decades, but for millennia. A woman’s standing is instantly undermined by making an allegation. Women are dismissed as hysterical, or fantasists, or crazy for attention; as vengeful careerists or untrustworthy young girls.’

No. That has been the default position when Democrat men have been accused by credible women: even though it happened within memory, repeatedly to many different women and there was a course of familiar conduct displayed by the men. When these liberal men were involved, though, it was women such as Hillary Clinton who dismissed the accusers as hysterical fantasists, crazy for attention. That’s on them.

That is categorically not the case with Kavanaugh. In fact, this story is so flimsy it does not deserve the term allegation. First, we don’t really have an accuser. We have not seen or heard from Christine Blasey Ford in the flesh. Instead we have a photo of her and a letter from a liberal lawyer and a lot of Democrat politicians jumping up and down. This letter cannot state the time, place, or date of the supposed wrongdoing but we do know it was at least, at least, 36 years ago when both parties were in high school.

So no, this is not a cover-up by the Catholic Church, or Weinstein or Bill Clinton, or that other Democrat hero Ted Kennedy who left the girl to die at the bottom of the creek. This is a political takedown of a man with a sterling record for the job he is proposed to do.

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Professor in Sweden Under Investigation for Teaching Biological Differences Between Men, Women

Anglican Mainstream UK - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 20:30

by Samuel Smith, Christian Post:

A professor in Sweden who recently spoke about the biological differences between men and women says he’s now being investigated by his university.

Germund Hesslow, a professor of neurophysiology at Lund University, is speaking out about how his employer has launched a “full investigation” into his remarks about the biological realities of gender.

According to the Sweden-based Academic Rights Watch, Hesslow has taught a course for years on “Heritage and Environment” in the Lund University medical program. In that course, he has addressed such topics as biological gender differences.

The watchdog organization reports that Hesslow would sometimes be questioned by students who don’t like that his teaching is not based on “the gender scientific approach adopted in politics.”

Hesslow maintains that gender is not entirely socially constructed because empirical research has found that there are statistical gender differences in behavior that are biologically based.

Hesslow told ARW, which was founded to monitor “attempts to restrict the fundamental rights of teachers and researchers,” that he was asked by school administrators this month to apologize for his remarks on gender and LGBT people that drew the ire of feminist students who complained.

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Resumen semanal de noticias del Servicio de Noticias de la Comunión Anglicana a viernes 21 de septiembre de 2018

Anglican Communion News Service - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 19:38

Resumen semanal de noticias del Servicio de Noticias de la Comunión Anglicana a viernes 21 de septiembre de 2018

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