“Tradition is the living river…”

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No, I am not of the Roman observance. But I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Benedict XVI, and I love this statement and agree with it 100%!

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Europe’s Christian revolution – and why the UK isn’t part of it | The Conservative Woman

Secular globalism’s chickens are coming home to roost.

Source: Europe’s Christian revolution – and why the UK isn’t part of it | The Conservative Woman

“Secular globalism’s chickens are coming home to roost. Globalism’s anti-cultural, anti-traditional thrust threatens a sense of place, identity and security. Confronted by this, people instinctively tend to resist by re-asserting their traditional identity. Secular globalism’s anti-traditional dynamic has produced a counter dynamic.

“A major plank of European identity is Christianity. As people feel vulnerable and experience anxiety due to the changes surrounding them over which they feel they have no control, it is natural for them to assert their customs, traditions, ethnicity, language and above all their spiritual roots.

“There is one major exception to this European renewal of Christianity: the UK. There are signs of recovery such as an increase in numbers training for ordination, but these are little more than straws in the wind.

“Why? Culture and faith are inseparable, they interact and influence each other.

“In the UK the mainstream denominations have completely bought into the progressivist globalist vision. Instead of leading the cultural conversation, they are frantically scrambling to catch up… Aping the world, they declare themselves irrelevant, and decline in numbers and influence.”

To say that this is a saddening – and also, anger-inducing – situation for The Anglophilic Anglican is to run the risk of understatement. There is, however, a glimmer of hope, albeit a faint one:

“The main areas of church growth in the UK are in churches insisting on teaching and living traditional Christianity. This is no surprise. Research on general social groups has shown that those with a consistent, unified message and clear boundaries which define who are inside the group and who are outside are actually attractive to outsiders.”

But as the article concludes, “Whether the mainstream denominations are prepared to take the risk of teaching a consistent, unified, and biblical message is another matter.” At least there are traditional Anglican jurisdictions that are doing just that. But the complete abdication of so-called “mainstream” Christian churches to the secular culture remains disheartening and frustrating.

America doesn’t actually lead the world in mass shootings | New York Post

America doesn’t actually lead the world in mass shootings

The claim that the US has by far the most mass public shootings in the world drives much of the gun-control debate. Many argue that America’s high rate of gun possession explains the high rate of mass shootings.

Source: America doesn’t actually lead the world in mass shootings | New York Post

Indeed, many do so argue, and do so vociferously and publicly. But as this article points out, that assumption is incorrect, and grounded on inaccurate data:

“[Criminologist Adam Lankford’s]’s data [purporting to support the claim that the U.S. leads the world in mass shootings] grossly under-count foreign attacks. We found 1,423 attacks outside the United States. Looking at just a third of the time Lankford studied, we still found 15 times as many shooters.

“Even when we use coding choices that are most charitable to Lankford, such as excluding any cases of insurgencies or battles over territory, his estimate of the US share of shooters falls from 31 percent to 1.43 percent. It also accounts for 2.1 percent of murders, and 2.88 percent of their attacks. All these are much less than the United States’ 4.6 percent share of the population.

“Of the 86 countries where we have identified mass public shootings, the US ranks 56th per capita in its rate of attacks and 61st in mass public shooting murder rate. Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Russia all have at least 45 percent higher rates of murder from mass public shootings than the United States.

“When Lankford’s data is revised, the relationship between gun ownership rates and mass public shooters disappears.”

In other words, far from being the country leading the world in per-capita mass shootings, the U.S. is actually far down the list. Like the purported problem of police shootings of young black males, which pales to insignificance compared to the very real problem of black-on-black violence, the primary claim behind the gun-control mania of the Left is shown to be based in deeply erroneous data.

How much longer are we going to allow our national debates to be driven by false and misleading claims, advanced to support radical Left-wing ideologies and agendas?

The Anglican Beer Club| theoldjamestownchurch blog

Source: The Anglican Beer Club | theoldjamestownchurch blog

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
Wherever I travel I find it so,
Benedicamus Domino!

— Hilaire Belloc

While I was in Nashville, Tennessee, studying at Vanderbilt Divinity School for my Master of Theological Studies, I attended a very traditional, Anglo-Catholic Episcopal Church in, somewhat paradoxically, a very spare and somewhat modernist building. Its Rector commented at one point that Anglicans value the gifts of God in Creation, and in particular, “like a glass of good port, a pipe of good tobacco, and a good steak!”

I think he would have been much in accord with the thoughts of Belloc, noted above, and also the author of theoldjamestownchurch blog entry linked above, who happens to be a (Facebook) friend of mine, as well as a fellow-priest, albeit of a different traditional Anglican jurisdiction.

I grew up in a teetotaling Methodist household (to the point that I used to tease my devoutly Methodist mother about Christ “turning the water into Welsh’s grape juice” in the Wedding at Cana), so it was something of a relief to find myself in a Church which does not frown upon imbibing, intrinsically, so long as one does so in moderation.

The fact is, Anglicans are not Puritans, nor should we mimic Puritanism. We celebrate the good gifts God has given us in His good Creation, beer, wine, and spirits included – celebrate them, not misuse or abuse them. As C.S. Lewis put it,

“Temperance is, unfortunately, one of those words that has changed its meaning. It now usually means teetotalism. But in the days when the second Cardinal virtue was christened ‘Temperance’, it meant nothing of the sort. Temperance referred not specially to drink, but to all pleasures; and it meant not abstaining, but going the right length and no further. It is a mistake to think that Christians ought all to be teetotallers; Mohammedanism, not Christianity, is the teetotal religion.

“Of course it may be the duty of a particular Christian, or of any Christian, at a particular time, to abstain from strong drink, either because he is the sort of man who cannot drink at all without drinking too much, or because he wants to give the money to the poor, or because he is with people who are inclined to drunkenness and must not encourage them by drinking himself. But the whole point is that he is abstaining, for a good reason, from something which he does not condemn and which he likes to see other people enjoying.

“One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting everyone else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons — marriage or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning…”

Those of us who are clerics, in particular, should strive to set a good example for our flock; and needless to say, if we become intoxicated to the point that we become indiscreet or lose control of our faculties, that is not setting a good example. But conviviality and good cheer are a different matter, as this blog post explains:

“The teaching of Holy Scripture on the question of alcohol consumption is pretty easy to understand. On the one hand, habitual drunkenness is condemned, but alcohol: 1) consumed in small amounts for health reasons; and 2) consumed in larger and sometimes mildly to moderately intoxicating amounts on celebratory occasions is considered a gift of God. See Prov. 20:1; Psalm 104:15; the [Wedding at Cana linked] above, I Tim. 5:23 and Eph. 5:18 for representative texts from the Old and New Testaments.”

When it comes to Anglicans – a branch of the Church Catholic, whether our neo-Calvinist party, on the one hand, or our Roman and Orthodox brethren, on the other, agree or not – our history is one in which conviviality figures largely. Both in England and America, Anglicans have not been afraid to enjoy the fruit of the vine or the barley-field, a pipe of Old Dominion leaf, or a well-laden groaning board (*).

In any case, the point is to enjoy such pleasures responsibly, in moderation: to exercise temperance, that is, in the old fashion. Some may not be able to manage this, and so, of course, should abstain entirely (no less a personage than the famous General Robert E. Lee, a model of self-discipline, temperance, and sobriety if ever there was one, once commented that “I like whiskey. I always did, and that is why I never drink it”).

But if one understands oneself and one’s limitations, and honours them appropriately, there is no intrinsic reason to deny oneself the good gifts of God’s good Creation, be one clergy or lay. And as the linked blog post points out, it may even be an opportunity for evangelism:

“I know for a fact that when we left that establishment, we had planted seeds in the minds of some – ‘Here were some Christians drinking beer, not shunning us, and friendly besides.’ Exactly what Jesus did when he attended the feasts that earned him the scorn of the Pharisees...  Those who object to collared Anglican clergymen showing up at the local pub or microbrewery need to take the matter up with Jesus, and explain to him exactly why it was inappropriate for him to do what he did at the wedding in Cana.”

To which I can only add, Amen!


* It is arguable whether “groaning board” originally referred to a “board” (trestle table) so heavy with delicious foods piled upon it that the wood itself groaned with the strain, or whether consumption of too much of said tasty victuals (usually pronounced “vittles”) resulted in groaning on the part of those partaking – possibly both – but either way, it refers to the enjoyment of good food in substantial quantity!