Monday, 13 July 2009

Retreats and hornets’ nests

There have been no posts for a month due to a really valuable week’s retreat in Worcestershire, an emergency trip across the channel to the Vendee to deal with a hornets’ nest (for once literal and not metaphorical) and family health problems.
Meanwhile back in the Church in Wales, rumours abound as to differences of opinion among the bishops as to how best to deal with traditionalists – the consensus among them, though, would seem to be: do nothing and traditionalists will just fail to agree amongst themselves and just fade way - it's been a remarkably sucessful strategy up to now. Most alarming by far, though, are the reports that the Archbishop is to consider deferring his retirement in order to shepherd through (perhaps that’s the wrong expression) a new bill to permit the ordination of women as bishops – the final nail in the coffin as far as Anglo-Catholics in Wales are concerned, and another step in cementing the Archbishop’s own special relationship with the U.S.A., or at least with his soulmates in the TEC (prop. Mrs K Schori.)

Blogging is perhaps the ultimate expression of 21st Century cultural ephemera; it’s meant to be instant, up to the mark and essentially disposable. Blogs of all kinds tend to come and go, largely unmourned, although many of us will very much miss Anglican Wanderings, the latest Anglican Catholic blog to shut up shop. It always had something valid to say, even if we disagreed with it on some points and it provided a valuable record of the historical riches of Anglo–Catholic parish life, destined all too soon, I fear, to become just a footnote in our country’s religious history.

But blogging has its hazards, too, and we are all aware of them. The internet, apart from being a incredibly useful means of communication and research, is also the easiest way ever invented of wasting time. More seriously, it can also be highly dangerous to our spiritual health. Sometimes, reading the religious news and comment on the web puts me in mind of Denethor in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, looking into his palantir and seeing only evidence of the overwhelming forces of the enemy. Readers of Tolkien know what happened to Denethor; we should be constantly on our guard lest our own Enemy, "the prince of this world," leads us into a similar despair.

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