Friday, 12 June 2015

Pulling down the pillars of the temple ....

There's a revealing story in the news which neatly illustrates contemporary western cultural attitudes - in this case, a kind of imperialism of permissiveness which believes it has the right to trample thoughtlessly over the sensitivities of other societies. Naturally (not perhaps the right word, given the terrain) it involves taking one's clothes off in public, in this case at the top of a thirteen thousand foot mountain in Malaysia, long regarded as sacred by the native inhabitants. Much more revealing was the reaction from some sections of the western media that the young woman among those arrested and charged was somehow worthy of immense sympathy, based on the supposed ignorance and superstition of the locals. 
Even given the present standards of British education, we have to assume the climbers could all read ... although they don't seem to have made a regular habit of it. [here] Getting naked on a holy mountain implies a certain failure of research, if nothing more.
One can't help thinking that, with three days' detention, they got off far more lightly than they probably deserved.

More 'liberal' imperialism here. Gender confusion-ism reigns supreme. Not for everyone, however; Pope Francis remains unconvinced [ here
Troublingly, even to question - on scientifically rigorous medical grounds - the ideology behind modern theories of 'gender' can lead to (grossly hypocritical) accusations of 'bigotry' [here]  One can have enormous sympathy with those who feel such displacement, without necessarily having to question and subjectivise the very essence of human identity and its place within the created order. Yet maybe our transgressive culture carries within it the seeds of its own destruction;  in order to be genuinely transgressive, there has to be something accepted as normative against which to transgress .... perhaps the future of Christianity in the neo-pagan West is to be a faithfully transgressive response to the intolerant relativism of the new ideologically monochromatic rainbow elites ... 
To allude to the previous story, and to mix up our fairy tales, the emperor now really does have no clothes, and has particularly big teeth, the former being especially harmful at such a high cultural altitude ...  all the better from which to despise  you, my dear.

And the seemingly now crumbling traditionalist Catholic wing of Anglicanism in the British Isles suffers yet another blow with the defection of the Bishop of Horsham [here
Again, we can have a great deal of sympathy with Bishop Mark Sowerby in his laudable search for personal theological integrity, but the true cost of his decision will be borne by those being progressively abandoned to their fate in an increasingly heterodox church.
Some of us have been desperately trying to change our minds on the issue of women's ordination for decades - it would be so much more ... 'convenient,'  but keep running into the intellectual and theological impasse that apostolicity forbids it as being neither consonant with Scripture nor demanded by Tradition ....
But one worries he may not be the last ....  


  1. Another erudite posting but one wonders how much longer can "catholic" anglicans justify staying in a protestant church. You were promised (at least in the CoE) that women's ordination would stop the decline but the opposite has happened - will the "promotion" of women to be bishops (sic) change that. Andrew Burnham was absolutely correct RITA - get out and help build up the Catholic Church. Joseph Golightly

  2. Otherwise agree, Father, but you're a bit harsh on young Eleanor Hawkins. Since she has a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in aeronautical engineering, you can safely assume that she can read. The young women didn't "get naked", they only partially undressed. The young men did undress, and then posed in the rather coy posture of dozens of rugby teams or fire brigade watches in charity calendars. Seems to me that the Malaysian gov't escaped a mauling in the British press thanks to the Hawkins family, for three main reasons: Eleanor H is a nice girl, no doubt genuinely mortified that her actions could have caused such gross offence; she is a bright and ambitious young woman, probably going to a responsible job or Ph,D. research, hence keen that she shouldn't long be remembered as the girl with the seismic boobs, and her family is reasonably well off, therefore able to pony up the fine without selling her story to the Currant Bun.

    By the way, note that the Sabahan minister making most noise about the seismic consequences is called Joseph. He's a Roman Catholic layman. If he actually believes what he says, I don't envy the catechists of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabulu.

    1. Given her subsequent conduct and apology, I can only agree with you about the young woman concerned - who I deliberately didn't name. My point, though, was directed at the unthinking, casual, nature of western attitudes to the sacred in other cultures - and the imposition of our own present lack of taboos on those who live differently.
      As to the other gentleman, we all have our agendas to pursue; although it's difficult sometimes working out what they might be ...


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