Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ulster’s ‘time of peace’

This photograph is truly remarkable; it is the epitome of religio-political fulfilment. There are some, like Dr Paisley, who believe it to be an occasion for Qoheleth:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

But there are others who prefer to view these developments through the lens of 1 Samuel 4:21.

Cranmer shall not bother to quote this verse, and shall leave it to communicants to discover its contents for themselves. Their complaint appears to be centred upon the decline from pure principle to impure pragmatism, and the tragedy of entering a political alliance with unrepentant terrorists.

Cranmer, however, dismisses such cynicism, and accords with Dr Paisley. That the Roman Catholic and Nationalist communities have agreed to abide by the rule of law and submit to the authority of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and that Sinn Fein has agreed to sit in a corner of the Government of the United Kingdom, under the jurisdiction of Her Majesty the Queen as Head of State, is repentance indeed. It has taken perseverance, tenacity, persistence, humility, and grace. He can’t somehow see the Lord being displeased with either these spiritual qualities or these political developments.

Cranmer exhorts therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made…for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.


Anonymous Ichabod's Ark said...

Maybe the balance of extremism will work, We shall see. However it hardly seems a basis for civil society.

9 May 2007 at 08:41  
Blogger Hanson said...

"Cranmer, however, dismisses such cynicism"

Cranmer is therfore mistaken. The Cranmer of the 1500s burned rather than betray the Gospel.

Consider the following your grace:
How good it will be to be part of the wonderful healing in our Province”.

Compare that with 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

The reference to the victims also rang hollow for me because there was no mention of the fact that the man he was sitting beside was part of the organization which killed so many of those police officers.

9 May 2007 at 09:36  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Cranmer is therefore mistaken. The Cranmer of the 1500s burned rather than betray the Gospel.

Mr Hanson,

Your reading of history is myopic, and your comprehension of the complex character that is His Grace profoundly flawed. You speak as if the events of 1556 were utterly straightforward, and that His Grace received notice of the Lord's direction in a burning bush. He did not. And neither was there a stone tablet. Where politics meets religion there are dynamics beyond the superficial, such that to state that Dr Paisley has 'betrayed the Gospel', or that His Grace is now doing the same, is to misunderstand and misrepresent the Good News of salvation, and to bring the Kingdom into disrepute.

9 May 2007 at 10:06  
Blogger botogol said...

While agreeing with His Grace's sentiments on the Northern Ireland deal, and welcoming to the progress that in undoubtedly represents, nevertheless I think there is still something very sinister about that photograph.

Was that was it was all for... in order to see two smug politicians grinning in that self-satisfied way?

The time was ripe for McGuiness and Paisley to work together, and that's right and proper now, but I would like to see them conducting themselves in a more business-like manner.

(I never thought I'd criticise a Northern Irishman for having insufficient respect for the conflicts of the past!)

9 May 2007 at 10:47  
Blogger the presby said...

I don't think Rev Paisley has insufficient respect for the past! i would say quite the opposite infact. However yesterdays pomp and ceremony i believe was just for the cameras and for mr Blairs legacy! The reality still remains the relationship between the DUP and Sinn Fein is a working one! not a friendship, so i would say that the assembly will be very "business-like".
Yet it is not for any of us to place our trust in assemblies! Rev Paisley and Martin McGuiness may be in power, but only by the Grace of God!

9 May 2007 at 11:22  
Blogger Hanson said...

Your Grace,
For someone who stood in Dr P's church and heard him say that he would never share power with SF/IRA (and believed him) yesterday's events were deeply grieving.

In 1998 his church placed an ad in the main Unionist paper in N. Ireland saying that it was "unscriptural, unethical and immoral" to share power with "those who have supported and advocated violence".

Romans 13:3 ("For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil") was cited as Biblical support for this position.

The man Dr P is laughing with in the picture is a self-confessed IRA commander and one who said yesterday that he is a "proud republican".

Yesterday was indeed a day on which the glory departed from a man used of God to point many people to Christ.

9 May 2007 at 12:19  
Blogger Cranmer said...

"unscriptural, unethical and immoral" to share power with "those who have supported and advocated violence".

Mr Hanson,

Thank you for you response.

His Grace has not seen the advertisement to which you refer, but if your quotation is accuarate, particularly in respect of the tense, then it was 'unscriptural' and 'unethical' of Dr Paisley to make such a statement, and undiscerning and unchristian of you to agree with it.

The Lord called sinners to repentance, and commanded us to forgive our enemies. That must include Sinn Fein/IRA. They are no longer advocating violence, and in that reformation lies a tacit repentance. But His Grace does not judge any man's hearts, but by their fruits...

9 May 2007 at 13:37  
Anonymous bob said...

"the Roman Catholic and Nationalist communities have agreed to abide by the rule of law and submit to the authority of the Police Service of Northern Ireland"

As someone who lives in the border region between Ireland and Northern Ireland I'm especially happy that my Church has agreed to abide by the rule of law. It now means that I no longer feel compelled t drive on the right-hand side of the road when passing through Northern Ireland, or to carry bags of refuse, so as to throw from my car in order to litter the roads of Northern Ireland. Deo Gratias! My Church now abides by the rule of law!

9 May 2007 at 16:57  
Blogger Hanson said...

"The Lord called sinners to repentance"
Exactly your Grace.

I would, however, take issue with your claim that there has been "tacit repentance" on behalf of SF/IRA.

If your Grace would take time to visit the SF/IRA site ( he would find, among other things, a mug with the charming logo "Still an unrepentant fenian B" and T-shirts which glorify violence.

Does your Grace believe that forgiveness comes after or before repentance? If it is the latter could he please provide me with the scriptural evidence.

By the way, your Grace, just in case you are getting the wrong idea from this exchange I really enjoy your blog. I may not comment very often but look in most days.

9 May 2007 at 17:47  
Anonymous billy said...

That is a lovely quotation Your Grace.
Trouble is that I can never read it without The Byrds music going through my mind at the same time and that reminds me how old I am.

10 May 2007 at 09:22  
Anonymous Colin said...

Your Grace,

I am disappointed. Mr. Blair announced today his early retirement and the Pope is celebrated in Brazil without any critical article on this august blog. What about a politico-religious interpretation of these events? I don't know what to think without guidance. Maybe Mr. Voyager could substitute for His Grace if the latter has departed for the province of Northern Ireland to admire the results of Tony Blair's statemanship?

And what about the politico-religious education of children in the Islamic world by Mikey Mouse?

Here the video of Mikey Mouse talking with a approximately eight years old girl wearing a hijab. For those unable to watch the video, following are excerpts from this children's TV show , which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on April 6-13, 2007:

"Host Saraa, a young girl: Sanabel, what will you do for the sake of the Al-Aqsa Mosque? How will you sacrifice your soul for the sake of Al-Aqsa? What will you do?

Sanabel, young girl on phone: I will shoot.

Farfour, a Mickey Mouse character in a tuxedo: Sanabel, what should we do if we want to liberate...

Sanable: We want to fight.

Farfour: We got that. What else?

Saraa: We want to...

Sanabel: We will annihilate the Jews.

Saraa: We are defending Al-Aqsa with our souls and our blood, aren't we, Sanabel?

Sanabel: I will commit martyrdom.


Farfour: We've said more than once that becoming masters of the world requires the following: First, to be happy with our Arabic language, which once upon a time ruled this world.

Saraa: Of course.

Farfour: Second... or maybe that's it?

Adult host: Farfour, I heard you talking in English.

Farfour: Yes. How are you, Saraa? I hope to be good time.

Saraa: What's with you, Farfour? Why are talking this way? Didn't we agree to talk in literary Arabic?

Farfour: But Saraa, this is the language of the advanced world, the language of the world that understands and invents things, isn't it?

Saraa: No, Farfour, you are wrong, because you don't know that the Muslims are the basis of civilization. If not for the Muslims, the world wouldn't have got to where it is today.


Farfour: My dear youngsters, we're back. We always miss seeing you on your weekly program "The Pioneers of Tomorrow," in which we are placing together the cornerstone for the ruling of the world by an Islamic leadership."

10 May 2007 at 18:03  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Colin,

His Grace blogs upon whatever he wishes whenever he wishes. He is not at people's beck and call to dispense his wisdom and insight on demand.

In response to your concerns:

1) We are stuck with Mr Blair for seven more weeks. When he goes, there will be comment. Until then, the only religio-political dimension of the announcement of his departure was the televangelist manner in which it was delivered.

2) The Pope is always celebrated in Brazil, even when he is not there. His Grace sees nothing of significance here, and he refuses to become part of the Vatican's global media service.

3) Concerning indeed, but Mickey and Minnie are not about to be adopted as Islamic prophets, and there may be a few copyright issues if attempts were made.

His Grace has been rather weighed down today with issues if considerably higher importance, like the increasingly likely schism in the Church of England.

His Grace therefore thanks you for bringing these stories to the attention of communicants, and may well provide an open pulpit tomorrow for you to air your further disappointments.

10 May 2007 at 18:39  
Anonymous Colin said...

Your Grace,

I very much appreciate these wise words and comments and I shall be more patient in the future considering the issues of considerably higher importance Your Grace has to deal with. In addition, I wish Your Grace success in preventing a most unfortunate schism in the Church of England.

10 May 2007 at 18:56  
Blogger Joseph said...

The gunman and the rabble rouser. What a combination. Paisley spent 40 years undermining any attempt by mainstream unionists to reach out to nationalist Ireland. Adams and McGuinness are the product of his bigotry. It will be interesting to see who ends up winning the final struggle, but peace in Ireland! to coin a phrase "Never never"

11 May 2007 at 08:19  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

That picture is truly revolting. McGuiness should have been hanged or shot years ago.

12 May 2007 at 13:54  

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