Tag Archives: Conservative Woman

March 4 2018 – “Discombobulated by Welby? You will be!” – The Conservative Woman – Rev Jules Gomes

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/discombobulated-welby-will/

Discombobulated by Welby? You will be!

 

My pianist friend described himself as feeling discombobulated at the end of a day at the school where he taught music. He could smash a keyboard playing Rachmaninoff, but couldn’t face parents who insisted their snotty progenies were child prodigies. I envied my friend the luxury of a six-syllabled experience.

My longing for the LSD-like experience of discombobulation was satiated over the weekend when Justin Welby kept popping out of the newspapers like a Jack-in-the-box on steroids.

When the Archbishop of Canterbury’s media machine goes into overdrive it can mean two things. One, there’s a rodent rotting in a Lambeth suite and Welby’s media bellhops are using air-fresheners to mask the stench. The pong this time is Welby’s denunciation of Bishop George Bell that won’t go away until he apologises. Or, perhaps, it is a pre-emptive media strike before Welby is hauled before the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse this month.

Two, Welby is selling something – a second book. His first didn’t soar to the top of Amazon’s charts. It didn’t feature in the London Review of Books. If you type ‘Welby’ in the LRB search engine the first article on Dog-Collared Lucre Brokersmocks the archbishop who ‘has got his crozier stuck in a cowpat’.

My discombobulation erupted like the measles when I read the title of Welby’s tome –Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope. I confess I’m allergic to certain words beginning with ‘Re’. It was a fad among students at my Left-wing university to submit dissertations with titles prefixed with oily words such as reimagining, revisiting, rethinking, re-visioning, rewriting or redefining.

If you’re a Leftie, you bloody well can’t leave things as they are because everything is damned oppressive and the blighter before you (and before him ad infinitum) got it all wrong until St Marx parachuted down from heaven with the solution. Now all you’ve got to do is discombobulate the evils of patriarchy, capitalism and racism and reimagine, rethink, redo society and state and, abracadabra, you will create Utopia with a wave of Comrade Corbyn’s magic wand. Get the idea?

For Welby, the diabolical evil that prevents this reimagination is inequality. ‘As we look around, we see divisions and inequalities that are already damaging our way of life . . . There are inequalities in our healthcare system . . . education is marked by cuts and inequalities,’ he writes. Welby illustrates his rant against inequality by shaming people who buy second or third homes as investments.

‘How do you solve the problem of inequality?’ sings the Archdrone of Canterbury in a flamboyant imitation of Mother Superior in The Sound of Music. ‘How do you solve the problem of poverty?’ is the question he should be asking. Hasn’t he noticed that some of the poorest countries in the world are also the most equal?

In the 19th century, Italian polymath Vilfredo Pareto noticed that 20 per cent of people owned 80 per cent of the wealth – this rule was true for every society ever studied, regardless of governmental form. Does Welby know that the only way to dismantle inequality is to take the Ten Commandments and contravene the first, eighth and tenth?

The first commandment states: ‘You shall have no other gods but me.’ To enforce equality, government would have to take the place of God. The state would then have to violate the eighth commandment: ‘You shall not steal.’ It would steal from some and redistribute the loot to others. The tenth commandment states: ‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house, etc . . . or anything that is your neighbour’s.’ Does Welby not believe in the Ten Commandments or the right to private property, which includes second homes?

Welby bellyaches that second home ownership and Brexit has divided society. But wasn’t it Quantitative Easing (QE) that divided society, since the government went on a money-printing binge, pumping out easy money that favoured Britain’s richest 5 per cent? QE hammered ordinary savers and condemned retirees to low pensions while an asset boom saw stock and property owners get much richer. ‘In Britain the market distortions have been eye-watering. The average house now costs eight times average earnings,’ notes Liam Halligan. The Exodus plague of frogs triggered by Moses in Egypt was hardly solved by Pharaoh’s magicians producing even more frogs!

‘How do you solve the problem of austerity?’ is Welby’s next chorus. But why should austerity be a problem? When bloated government has fattened itself by borrowing beyond its means and spending like there’s no tomorrow, you don’t need Milton Friedman telling you to cut your coat according to your cloth. If Welby trusted Moses more than John Maynard Keynes, he would recognise the burden of debt as a curse.

In the Torah, God promises to bless Israel economically if she remains obedient. ‘You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.’ But if Israel is disobedient, God will curse her with debt. The foreign nation ‘shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him,’ Moses warns Israel.

As Theodore Dalrymple observes, Britain has been living on borrowed money ‘consuming today what it would have to pay for tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after that; the national debt increased at a rate unmatched in peacetime; and when the music stopped, the state found itself holding unprecedented obligations, with no means of paying them’. But when it decides to tighten its belt and go on an austerity diet, Welby cries foul!

For Welby, austerity ‘almost invariably conceals the crushing of the weak, the unlucky, the ill, and a million others’. Austerity is like putting a heroin addict in rehab. Because Welby feels sorry for the heroin addict suffering withdrawal symptoms, he wants to give him another fix. Shouldn’t he be chastising incontinent government spending and immense waste in the public sector instead of attacking austerity?

‘How do you solve a problem like sharia?’ is another line in the Welby chorus. Sharia should not win official status, he writes, because ‘it comes from a very different background of jurisprudence to the one from which British law has developed over the past 500 years’.

The blogger Archbishop Cranmer (aka Adrian Hilton) is ecstatic. ‘Why aren’t some of those Christians who have long sounded the alarm about cultural relativism and creeping sharia thanking God for the clarity of Justin Welby’s declaration?’ Bishop Ashenden tweets back, ‘For the same reason he would not need congratulating if he observed today was Monday. It’s simply obvious.’

Welby’s declaration on sharia is actually a good example of cultural relativism. Is Welby implying that sharia is fine for other cultures but bad for Britain? If sharia orders the execution of apostates and homosexuals and favours men over women in courtroom and bedroom, why should it be good for any culture, especially in places such as Nigeria and Sudan where Anglicans and other Christians suffer the scourge of sharia and are discriminated against because of a primitive and barbaric form of jurisprudence that is biased towards Muslims?

By now, I’m reeling under a discombobulation of Welbyian proportions. I go to duckduckgo.com to ferret out the root of the word. It comes from the Italian scombussolato, which means ‘someone who has lost his compass’. Bussola is the word for compass in Italian. ‘How do you solve a problem like Welby?’ I ask myself. Is he so discombobulated that he doesn’t know if he is chief pastor to his flock or pretend economist to the nation? Or, like Little Bo Peep, has the Archbishop lost his sheep and his compass and doesn’t know where to find them?

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February 4 2018 – “The Bridge on the River Chaos” – ‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes – Conservative Woman

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/rebel-priest-rev-jules-gomes-bridge-river-chaos/

The Bridge on the River Chaos

 

Last Thursday our very own ‘Rebel Priest’, the Rev Dr Jules Gomes, delivered the keynote speech on behalf of the George Bell Group at Church House. It was an impassioned plea for justice for the still-impugned Bishop Bell. But more than that, it was a plea for bridge-building with a Church of England that has entrapped itself in the morally relative world of victim politics and orthodoxies. This, Jules argued, citing biblical, philosophical and legal sources, has been at the expense of truth, right and justice. ‘Right’, not the modern ‘rights’ culture, must guide the Church and Christian faith.

You can listen to his full address here. An edited version is posted below.

By Rev Jules Gomes

The human compulsion to build bridges is deep-rooted; it is archetypal. Jacob in Genesis dreams of a ladder bridging earth to heaven. This archetypal story is immortalised by William Blake’s painting and by Francis Thompson’s poem situating Jacob’s ladder in London.

Paradoxically, bridge building is fiercely contested. The compulsion to blow up bridges is also deep-rooted in human nature. The monumental clash between these conflicting compulsions is what makes Sir David Lean’s World War II movie The Bridge on the River Kwai one of most gripping of the 20th century.

In the movie, Colonel Nicholson is fixated upon building the bridge linking Bangkok to Burma, convincing himself that the bridge is a monument to British character. Unknown to him, the Allies have sent a mission to blow up the bridge. Ultimately, Nicholson, who has successfully built the bridge, is trying to prevent the Allied commandos from blowing it up. He is shot and stumbles over to the detonator plunger and falls on it, just in time to blow up the bridge and send the enemy train hurtling into the river. Major Clipton, the British medical officer who has witnessed the carnage unfold from his vantage point on the hill, says as he shakes his head incredulously: ‘Madness! Madness!’

To build, or not to build, that is the question we are posing at the George Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference.

Order and chaos are the constituent elements of this world. According to Jordan Peterson, ‘Order is where the people around you act according to well-understood social norms, and remain predictable and cooperative. It’s the world of social structure, explored territory, and familiarity.’ If the hierarchy of the Church of England had conducted its investigation into Bishop Bell on the principles of order, we would not be battling to clear the slander against his reputation. We are here because order has been overwhelmed by chaos.

The opening verses of the Bible present us with the picture of an ocean of chaos. The Hebrew text paints for us pictures of mythological sea monsters of chaos intent on devouring God’s creation. God subdues and defeats the monsters of chaos through the logos, God’s Word. Chaos is also marked by ‘darkness over the face of the deep’. God’s first act is to dispel darkness by creating light. Light is God’s first bridge-building act.

Over the last two years, the Bishop Bell group has been fighting this battle between chaos and logos. Finally, logos has triumphed. Hundreds of thousands of words written and spoken by dozens of historians, lawyers, clergy, columnists, churchgoers and choristers have prevailed. The Lord Carlile Review, a leading manifestation of ‘order’, even though restricted in its brief, has found a subtle way to pronounce Bishop Bell ‘not guilty’.

But the bridge over troubled waters is yet to be built. Justin Welby doubts the logos and rejects the light and clarity of order. He returns to the darkness and disorder of chaos in his insistence that a ‘significant cloud’ still hangs over Bishop Bell’s character.

Thus we may not be able to build this bridge with Welby, even though we are desirous of so doing. Our chief task, then, is to build the bridge between present and past. We build our most strategic bridge with history. History held Bishop Bell in the highest honour. The present zeitgeist blew the bridge of historical record to smithereens. It adopted a scorched earth policy and obliterated Bell’s name from institutions that had sought to etch his memory in stone.

Structurally speaking, the most important part of a bridge is the beams that support it. Our bridge with history should be built on the twin beams of truth and justice. The torrential waters of the River Chaos threaten both beams.

We live in a post-modern and post-truth age. Postmodernism dismantles truth as relative and perspectival. Philosopher Richard Rorty unapologetically proclaims, ‘There is no truth. We should give up the search for truth and be content with interpretations.’

In its handling of the Bell enquiry, the Church of England has revealed its first postmodern and post-truth archbishop for whom there is no truth, only interpretations, for whom the only virtue is openness, and for whom personal experiences are more influential than objective facts in shaping public opinion.

The second beam that will support our bridge across the River Chaos is justice. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre in his book Whose Justice? Which Rationality?  speaks of ‘different and incompatible conceptions of justice’ and of ‘conflicting conceptions of justice’.

Is this what is being played out in the drama of Bishop Bell? There is one school that defines justice as that which is ‘right’, and another that defines justice as ‘rights’. ‘Rights’ are the obligations society is said to have towards certain social groups and it is the status of a person in the organised hierarchy of such groups that decides what is ‘right’ according to the ‘rights’ accorded to that group. In other words, justice is now re-defined as the ‘rights’ of a victim; these rights may even trump what is ‘right’, because postmodernism defines all claims to ‘truth’ and what is ‘right’ as claims to ‘power’.

In this radical re-conceptualisation of justice, those who claim to have suffered qualify by default for privileged status. They are right because they have the right to be right irrespective of what is objectively right. This, of course, is not to dismiss Bishop Bell’s accuser ‘Carol’ and her claims, it is simply to argue that the Church of England has moved considerably in its conception of justice. It is a very different conception from those who conceive of justice as ‘right’ because it is part of the right order of the logos and its features are truth and light.

The problem with grounding this beam of justice so as to build our bridge is that it is constantly threatened by chaos. In his Republic, Plato seems to think that people are pushed into the path of justice only by coercion and force of law. People choose to act in their own interest given the opportunity to commit injustice, because that is what nature deems good. Of course, Plato ultimately argues that humans submit freely to justice and law because there are rewards for those who restrain themselves in the face of temptation and make amends in the case of transgression.

But making amends requires great courage and it is ‘courage’ which Aristotle called the greatest of all virtues, because without courage it is impossible to practise any of the virtues. It is courage which will drive the building of our bridge across the River Chaos. Will Archbishop Welby have that courage?

As a tribute to Bishop George Bell I can do no better than conclude with these words from Romans 8: ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

January 28 2018 – “‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Deluded beyond belief – why Welby can’t say sorry over Bishop Bell” – ‘Conservative Woman’

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/rebel-priest-rev-jules-gomes-deluded-beyond-belief-welby-cant-say-sorry-bishop-bell/

‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Deluded beyond belief – why Welby can’t say sorry over Bishop Bell

 

‘Wobbly’ Welby has unexpectedly firmed up into the Rock of Gibraltar. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is acclaimed for apologising as prolifically as water dripping from a leaking tap, has abruptly turned off the stopcock and is refusing to apologise for the most monumental cock-up of his career.

Welby has donned sackcloth and ashes and publicly flogged himself for the ‘hurt and pain’ the Church of England has (allegedly) inflicted on LGBTI people. Welby has crawled on his knees and cried mea maxima culpa for the ‘scars’ and ‘hurt’ to the campaigners for women’s ordination and ‘for my own part in that hurt’. Welby has walked on broken glass and slept on a bed of spikes as he even apologised for the Reformation. When the steam in the Lambeth pressure cooker threatened to blow off the lid, Welby apologised to a sexual abuse survivor for his office’s failure to respond to 17 letters seeking help and redress.

So why is Archbishop Justin, who like Uriah Heep has been ‘very umble to the present moment’, refusing to apologise for defaming the reputation of Bishop George Bell? Why has ‘Wobbly’ hardened his heart like Pharaoh in the story of the Exodus even after seven senior historians wrote an open letter complaining that the archbishop had shamed his office with ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ claims that Bishop Bell may have been a paedophile?

Welby’s Taliban-like intransigence has alienated even his loyal fans. According to a well-placed source inside the C of E, ‘there is a head of steam in the Church of England that could end up in his resignation over this’. If there is a miracle and the water in Lambeth Palace turns to blood or a plague of boils erupts on the skin of every canon at Canterbury Cathedral, Welby could well apologise by the time this column is published. There will be much rejoicing, and Bishop George Bell’s 93-year-old niece Barbara Whitley, who has called for Welby’s resignation, will pass the rest of her days singing the Nunc Dimittis.

So why doesn’t the spiritual head of 80 million Anglicans say the two most gracious words in the English language? Why is a man who is supposed to model repentance – the core Christian virtue at the very heart of the gospel – refusing to repent? Why has the Archbishop issued a statement that reads like a memo from the Ministry of Circumlocution and Periphrasis?

‘I cannot with integrity rescind my statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile’s review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case,’ states Welby categorically. Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden has come close to describing the archbishop as psychologically unbalanced: ‘He has at best muddled himself. He is in the grip of what appears to be both a serious sin and a psychological distortion. At some point, he has conflated what he thinks is right with the notion of his integrity.’

I believe Welby is one hundred per cent sincere. His absolute and emphatic claim to occupy the higher moral ground and to be right beyond the faintest glimmer of doubt is not feigned. It is not a publicity stunt. Welby genuinely believes he is right and everyone else (including seven eminent historians, another group of theologians including heavyweights from the World Council of Churches, and Lord Carlile) is wrong.

If Welby sincerely believes he is right, we need to pray for him and to understand him sympathetically using the best spiritual and psychological resources at our disposal. The social psychologist Leon Festinger provides us with precisely such a vehicle of sympathetic insight into the archbishop’s mind and soul.

Rather unexpectedly, I stumbled on Festinger in an academic journal when doing research on the Hebrew prophets. What does psychology have to do with prophecy? Later, when studying apocalyptic cults I became even more interested in Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance. I also found his work invaluable in pastoral ministry when I met people who insisted that Jesus was going to return on a particular date (a house-church in a Mumbai suburb firmly believed that Jesus was coming back on November 20, 1999).

Following their research on a flying saucer cult, Festinger and his co-researchers argued that when a prophecy or strongly held belief is proved wrong, this results in intensification of belief. ‘Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, but he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: What will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervour about convincing and converting other people to his view,’ Festinger observes.

So what happens if a person is forced to do or say something contrary to the opinion he strongly holds? First, a person might change his beliefs. Welby could simply admit he made a mistake. Second, a person might change the way he perceives his actions. This is what Welby is doing by insisting on his ‘integrity’, drawing on a tenuous analogy with the real abuser Bishop Peter Ball (oddly, I wrote a column on the tale of two bishops Bell and Ball and demonstrated how the C of E ‘smears saints and shields scoundrels’) and rationalising by drawing on his personal subjective experience of ‘discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect’ as the benchmark of justice and truth.

He is trying to resolve his cognitive dissonance by standing by his slander that the heroic Bishop of Chichester, who sheltered Jewish children during the Second World War, was a child abuser who has a ‘significant cloud’ over his name, despite evidence to the contrary. The sordid saga has demonstrated that it is actually the Archbishop of Canterbury who has a ‘significant cloud’ over his name and office. It is the ‘significant cloud’ of self-delusion.

The global Anglican Communion can no longer afford the luxury of a Commander-in-Chief who has succumbed to what Friedrich Nietzsche called the ‘deplorable victory of the sanctified lie’.

  • Not so much a Christian Archbishop. More the wimpish CEO of a struggling charity wedded to the Labour party.

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    Careful Jules you will be excommunicated.

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    Agree wholeheartedly with your post, but sorry to see you adopting that awful American usage of the word ‘survivor’. Survivors are people who lived through Auschwitz or who are dug out ruins after an earthquake. Those who have suffered abuse are NOT survivors, they are victims

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    Que sera, sera, whatever Welby will be.

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    He is trying to protect the CofE Brand.

    His Brand has lost market share for a very long time and now only occupies a tiny segment of the market, due to the extreme left wing policies (theologically, socially and morally) that the self selecting hierarchy has embarked upon, regardless of the cost in membership (Or Biblical justification).

    Welby sees the future of the Cof E as being like Corbyn’s Momentum of Christian Britain and he will not condone anything that detracts from that trajectory.

    The lack of any apology is then seen as a rational act. He cannot upset what is his last significant customer base

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    Like Donald Trump, Justin Welby ought to undergo a mental examination and make the results public. Only then, we will be convinced that he is mentally fit for the job. But if the issue is moral, more than it is mental, Welby must resign. After all, he has been pointing fingers at the Donald, and the President of the US has graciously apologised for his re-tweets of a certain video. If Welby’s morality cannot match that of Trump’s (whom he has severely criticised), then Welby ought to call in the Removals. Jesus’ words about first removing the beam from your own eye before you can remove the log from your brother’s eye, are more than apt here.

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    Jesus’ words? The CofE don’t have faith in a book written by men don’t yah know. You simply behave in whatever way that “feels right”. If you are not sure then group prayer (preferably by a group of sisters, especially if you are male and always if you are female – of course, cannot ever have men having influence over women) can determine God’s will for your life.

    Where the Bible is used it is reinterpreted. Haven’t you heard about the Syrian Feminist who, singlehandedly got Jesus to change the direction of his ministry? It is one of their favourites. They have whole colleges reinterpreting the Bible to condone a Feminist, LGBTI and of course “abortion is a blessing” (actually stated by a female Principal of an Anglican Theological College)