Friday, August 31, 2012

Marriage Matters

I think the whole world now knows about the latest idiocy from Jensen and the Sydney Diocese.  They want to replace the word 'obey' with 'submit' in the marriage service. As Philip Bradford, Rector of the parish of Hunters Hill wrote, the service he uses from An Australian Prayer Book even omits 'obey'.  I have checked and there are 2 forms, he apparently uses the 2nd.  I have also checked the New Zealand Prayer Book and cannot see the word 'obey' in any of the 3 forms allowed, the man and woman seem to make the same vows in all of them.

We all know the Sydney Diocese lives in medieval times but it is distressing to see them make it so obvious to the whole world. The storm of criticism which has resulted so often equates Jensen ravings with that of Christianity or Anglicanism, not recognising the Sydney Diocese has become a cult that has little relationship to Anglican belief and practice. I particularly see red when, as in a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald today, Jensen is seen as Primate.  Archbishop Aspinall of Brisbane, the Primate of the Australian Anglican Church, is unfortunately not so visble to the media but that is because he is circumspect in his pronouncements although I am glad to see he has made the following statement.

"The changes may be questionable under canon law, and may have to be discussed within a national church tribunal.
“Submit” has never been used in any version of the marriage vow since the Anglican Book of Common Prayer came into existence in 1662."

I am more concerned to read that the Sydney Diocese is actually revising the Prayer Book.
An Australian Prayer Book,  published in 1978, is a rather timid affair as the Sydney Diocese did all it could to obstruct any revision.  A New Zealand Prayer Book of 1989 is much more exciting although, being rather liturgically conservative, I wish it did not allow for so many variations. However it is praised by experts around the world. 

The thought that Sydney would devise its own version is horrifying although it would demonstrate to the world just how far the diocese is removed from Anglican structures. 
While recently looking at the webpage of St Augustine's, Neutral Bay, I read the following:

Holy Communion is a token (my bold) meal that reminds Christians to look in 3 directions:
1.To look back to Jesus’ death and resurrection for us, giving thanks to God that Jesus died so that we might be forgiven and live

2.To look forward to Jesus’ return to earth
3.To look around at our church family and celebrate the unity we share through our trust in Jesus
Holy Communion is modeled on the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples (the Last Supper), which you can read about in the Bible at Luke 22:7-22.
After a reminder is given of these things in the service, whilst you remain seated, trays of individual cups of grape juice and plates of pieces of bread are handed around the congregation. We encourage you to take this opportunity to do business with God in the quietness of your own heart.

I do not know what they use for the 'Prayer of Consecration', probably it is better I never find out.  

On a much happier note, but still related to marriage, The NZ parliament has passed the first reading of a bill to allow same sex marriage by 80 votes to 40 (1 abstention). This is only the first stage and the bill now goes to committee with public submissions. The usual attacks and scaremongering have come from the Catholic Bishops and Family First.

While I oppose the economic policies of the Prime Minister, John Key, it is pleasing to see he is in favour of this bill.
Please note this fact, Julia Gillard, PM of Australia, who is personally not in favour while her Labour Party allows a conscience vote.  Note this also the Liberal Party of Australia, more aligned to the governing National Party of NZ,  which opposes and will not allow a conscience vote.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Breaking of Eggs

On Monday I went searching in Sydney for a book to read on the plane home.  I flew home on Tuesday.  I wanted something cheap, easily thrown away and not too thick and heavy.  Looking through the bargain box, I chose a book which seemed to fit the need, 350 pages and only $4.  I was attracted by the back cover which said it was set in the 19th arrondissement in Paris.  Anyone who knows me, knows my love of Paris, although I stay in the 13th arrondissement.  
It was 'the Breaking of Eggs" by Jim Powell.

I found it to be an amazing read and will certainly not throw it away although references to Paris were incidental.  It also visits Basle, Warsaw, Berlin and Columbus, Ohio
It is about an older man who hasn't changed in 40 years until suddenly he begins examining his life and revealing secrets that challenge his intellectual and emotional foundations. I enjoyed the writing style so much that I kept thinking that it was a non-fiction memoir that I was reading. 
Feliks' life had been shaped by his perceptions, which it turns out were largely built on the mistaken beliefs of his childhood. In re-evaluating his life, Feliks find his ideas on politics were not as rational as he had once thought. I found the story compelling. I read more than half on the flight (I had nearly 4 hours wait at Christchurch airport) and found one part very emotional, others humorous but also it provided much food for thought. While set in Paris in 1991 at the time of the dissolving of Communism in eastern Europe, it deals with WW2, Fascism and Communism as well as some insights into modern American Capitalism. 

Wonderful how such a random purchase gave me so much to think about.