Saturday Supplement

At the moment the ConDem Coalition are pushing for a change in the legal definition of marriage in the UK to include same-sex partnerships, which has produced a number of high profile objections by the church and has led a number of individuals and organisations, both from a faith perspective and not, to form a Coalition for Marriage arguing for the more traditional definition... Those coming from a Christian perspective on this tend to talk a lot about a "Biblical model of marriage" but as this contribution from John Byron's "Biblical World" reminds us, a Biblical perspective on marriage is a lot more complex than we might like to admit.
Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury has not been as vocal on this issue as his counterpart in York, but any suspicions that he might go quietly into his recently announced, and widely lamented, retirement were roundly refuted with a very bullish statement on the wrong-headedness of the government and secularists in relation to religion. But one of the more interesting pieces on his stepping down came from Ben Myers, the author of the Faith and Theology blog and a recently published analysis of Rowan William's theology, in the Times Higher Education Supplement. Ben himself identifies the key line as: "Williams believes in the Church more than he believes in his own opinions. All his troubles as Archbishop of Canterbury have stemmed from this fact." This may be true, and is an admirable problem to have, though I prefer the other description by a bishop reported by Giles Fraser "The problem with Rowan Williams is that he is too bloody Christian."

Meanwhile, as the UK media were focussing on the announcement of Rowan Williams' retirement, we largely overlooked the death of the Pope... Although I'm referring to the death of the Pope of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda III. The fact that this story got so little coverage in the UK is a sad indictment of the parochial nature not only of the UK press but also the UK church... and a quick read of this article will show that the Arab spring is not unalloyed joy for Christians across the Islamic world.
But over last weekend the UK media was filled with stories concerning Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton footballer who collapsed with a heart-attack in the middle of an FA Cup clash with Spurs. I commented on it myself at the beginning of the week... but a few pieces on this caught my eye... One concerned the possible prosecution of Liam Stacey for offensive tweets in the wake of Muamba's collapse, although these paled into insignificance compared with truly toxic ones from across the Atlantic by a self-proclaimed "deeply committed Christian and supporter of the GOP"  for whom I will not provide the links, because I don't think he needs any more hits. Secondly, the reflections of Scrabopower who first drew my attention to what was happening at White Hart Lane with his Tweet, and finally an interesting BBC piece on the efficacy of prayer...
But finishing on a much lighter note, here is a piece by WhyNotSmile on her successful stalking of Nick Hewer in Greyabbey Co. Down. It may be wasted on those of you who have not previously enjoyed her "Apprentice" pieces... but it is a fine reminder for those of us who have, and a taster of the joys to come with Lord Shugah's return earlier this week...



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