Monday, April 20, 2009

Ministers who live by the smear

Cranmer is more than a little intrigued that ministers of state should view the smearing their political opponents as a shameful and clandestine pursuit of the darkness, while ministers of religion regard it as an honourable and edifying pursuit of the light. While the hunt goes on for Labour’s smearer-in-chief (who may or may not be Ed Balls [right]), those within the Church of England (ie Colin Slee [left]) are rather more open about their identities. And they seem to pursue their theological enmities with all the spite and malicious intent of those who pursue their political vendettas.

The Not-So-Very Reverend Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark, has publicly attacked the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, accusing him of snorting cocaine preaching the gospel, shagging prostitutes being faithful to Scripture, and being mentally imbalanced adhering to Anglican traditions and orthodoxy. Following the Bishop’s boycott of the Lambeth Conference last year and the views he has expressed on such matters as shari’a law, ‘gay blessings’ and the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals, the Dean said that the Bishop’s position is ‘open to some debate’.

Well, the Increasingly-Less Reverend Colin ought to heed the warnings of the Exceedingly Reverend Michael, because the Bishop is supported not only by Evangelicals and orthodox Anglicans, but also by a good many Roman Catholics and quite a few of no professed religious adherence at all. But this is not a question of democratic majorities, but of obedience to Scripture, adherence to Church tradition, and the pursuit of the common good. There is, of course, nothing new in the unvarnished tensions between the traditional and liberal wings of the Church of England, but the Dean’s broadside was inappropriately launched on Easter Sunday in Southwark Cathedral. While worshippers thought they were gathering to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus they witnessed instead the crucifixion of Bishop Michael.

The Not-Remotely Reverend Colin chose the occasion to deride Bishop Michael for being a member of the ‘Puritan fringe’, for establishing a ‘bullying’ and ‘sectarian alternative church’, and for living ‘like a cuckoo' in the 'nest of a generous and accommodating Anglican tradition'. These are precisely the sorts of smears and innuendos favoured by Labour’s attack dogs and deployed to destroy some of the most able people within the Labour Party. And while this testosterone-soaked approach worked for Gordon Brown for 12 years, it now shows his party to be riddled with scandal, corruption and division.

One expects no mercy in political assassination. Whenever Gordon Brown’s orthodoxy was challenged or his character crossed, rumours were planted in various gossipy diary columns which questioned the ‘mental stability’ of the offender. It is a dark pursuit, and the human cost is concealed. The victim has no chance of a riposte, for to do so would be to manifest the precise delusional paranoia from which one is rumoured to suffer.

Accusations of ‘sectarianism’, ‘extremism’ or ‘bigotry’ are the favoured insults of those who wish to dismiss Anglican orthodoxy but have neither the intellectual capacity nor the theological learning to engage with the issues. And neither do they appear to possess the spiritual integrity nor the Christian generosity to express their views with humility and love.

The Bishop of Rochester declined to be drawn on the Dean’s comments. He said: "I have said what I want to do and they have nothing to do with these issues at all. The Dean has a right to say what he feels, I am sure about that."

Is it not interesting that professing Christians who seek to silence views with which they happen to disagree by hurling puerile insults are invariably the ones who manifest the very ‘sectarianism’ ‘bigotry’ and ‘intolerance’ they project upon their supposed adversaries?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace, I almost pulled a muscle in my back laughing at your fisking of the one I call the Reverend Slees.

Did you know he almost became a bishop in New Zealand (Christchurch) last year?

20 April 2009 at 07:44  
Blogger OldSouth said...

And, your Grace, if we are puzzled by declining church attendance, this should give us pause.

Why, many ask, would I wish to go to church and be subjected to THIS? I think my Christianity may fare better if not caught in the ecclesiastical crossfire!

Just a thought...


20 April 2009 at 07:48  
Anonymous Fran said...

'While worshippers thought they were gathering to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus they witnessed instead the crucifixion of Bishop Michael.'


And, Your Grace, did I hear the dread rattle of blackened pots and kettles as Fr Colin condemns the "bullying conformity" of GAFCon; for no section of the Church - or society for that matter - is more guilty of attempting to bully 'heretics' into conformity than the liberal wing.

20 April 2009 at 08:42  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Southwark is a mess a little cauldron of Heterodoxy and Neo-Paganism. There is so much wrong with Southwark that it should be ejected from the Christian Church into The Void.

20 April 2009 at 09:17  
Blogger Gnostic said...

This is because Slee, like his boss, Williams, is a politician in a dog collar.

And we all know how contemptuous and loathsome politicians are don't we...

20 April 2009 at 09:36  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Whatever humility and love the liberal brings to the Church it degrades over time. It can be observed that as he resists the counselling of the Holy Spirit his heart waxes cold increasingly expressing sectarianism, cunning, intolearance, guile and bigotry.

His chief tactic, exercised amongst the faithful, he has learned from his father, Satan, to sow doubt: did God really say that? (Genesis 3:1)

The faithful must learn the great and awesome advantage they have against these salivating wolves in sheeps’ clothing: that to fight us they must come onto our terrain the Word of God.

As General Patton would say: now that they have come out of their fox-holes (they are in open country) we can kill ‘em all.

20 April 2009 at 09:44  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

I would urge us all to follow Dr Nazir-Ali's example and abandon ship and let it sink with just the rats aboard.

It leaves those of us with sound local parishes with something of a dilemma - how to support the local worship & mission yet show our contempt for the atrophying institution? My own solution was to remove myself from the electoral roll, and stop putting money onto the collection plate but instead offer to meet various bills etc directly.

Incidentally ... it is very good to be back after my time in the internet wilderness!

20 April 2009 at 10:11  
Anonymous Voyager said...

abandon ship and let it sink with just the rats aboard. Matt 10 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

20 April 2009 at 10:59  
Anonymous Nelson said...

Slee is simply another 'professional' churchman, Bishop Nazir Ali has treated him with the contempt he deserves i.e not deserving of debate.
I feel that Mr Slee is like Smee in Peter Pan (strange how similar the name is) toadying up to his superior in the hope of reward, better watch out though, the REAL boss might not be amused!.

20 April 2009 at 11:23  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.
The High Priest & the religous were the ones who opposed the Lord to their everlasting shame, in trying to protect their positions & their scams they howled for His death, but He was victorious over them. May the good Bishop achieve the same over his detractors, may he rise to greater heights & may they sink back into the obscurity from which they came.

20 April 2009 at 11:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What's the chaff to the wheat?

I hope Dean Slee's audience had the good sense to clear off before the collection plate came round.

20 April 2009 at 12:17  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

Excellent post Your Grace and more power to the elbow of Bishop Nazir-Ali!

20 April 2009 at 14:41  
Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

Your Grace

Aujourd'hui your WV is SPROPE

Is Mdm WV trying to suggest interesting lines most interesting for enquiry :

??? Does the (almost Rt) Rev Slee have any relationship with that other famous Diocesan Revd, Mr Slope

The way to deal with these "damn Yankees" is not to bombard Fort Sumpter or even to emigrate away from the C of E

It is to quietly "Vote with our Cheque Books" - to refuse to pay into Church Collections Plates, unless NONE of this money is diverted into the Black Holes of the local Diocese, which is so often dominated by these "Liberals"

Unless Evangelicals take this simple & easy step, they will continue to be bullied and trampled on and deservedly so

Your Grace's obedient servant etc


20 April 2009 at 14:47  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

As one licenced to preach ( as it happens by Bishop Michael)I have always made a point of ensuring that whatever I said from the pulpit was as apolitical ( in all senses ) as I could possibly achieve. Happily that is a self denying ordinance that most ordinary Priests and Readers manage to observe.

The Rev Slee is entitiled to express his views on many occasions in many ways, but his choice of venue and timing is injudicious in the extreme, and brings no credit to the cause he seeks to promote.

20 April 2009 at 16:19  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

Why are Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark, and Chris Smith, former NuLabour minister, never seen in the same room together?

20 April 2009 at 16:33  
Anonymous a methodist said...

What is it about these right-on politically-correct types that causes them to be horrified if someone attempts to propound the Gospel?

I remember Dean Slee as chaplain of King's College over 30 years ago.He was half baked then and seems fully baked now.Surely he followed the wrong vocation?

20 April 2009 at 16:57  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

20 April 2009 at 17:26  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr McKenzie,

His Grace has neither tomb nor headstone for he was reduced to ash on 21st March 1556.

20 April 2009 at 17:48  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

My own solution was to remove myself from the electoral roll, and stop putting money onto the collection plate but instead offer to meet various bills etc directly.But doesn't this amount to the same thing in the end, Rebel Saint? When you pay the parish church's electricity bill out of your own pocket, aren't you thereby freeing up its income from other sources for whatever nefarious purposes the Christian Aidists, the Slees, or whoever, may have in mind? Money is fungible, as the economists say.

20 April 2009 at 18:15  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

"But doesn't this amount to the same thing in the end, Rebel Saint?"Hmmm, yes... I hadn't actually thought of that.

However, I guess it still does have some effect in that it won't show as income on the books or for calculating parish share. It also frees up slightly less money since payment-in-kind like this isn't eligible for gift-aid. If enough/all of us did it, then income would become zero ... maybe then they'll get the message.

20 April 2009 at 20:26  
OpenID jamestheless said...


The same could be said of Ed Balls and Piers Fletcher-Dervish (Rik Mayall's sidekick in the New Statesman).

20 April 2009 at 22:24  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

20 April 2009 at 23:34  
Anonymous not a machine said...

how gracefull bishop nazir allis response was , showing the limitations of the accuser !!

falling attendences may not entirely be the liberal/lefts fault , although there wish to make the gospel message have about as much moral traction as teflon , is wholly there fault.

slee is someone who sees the church of england as a failiure riddled with inconsistancies not interpreted correctly for the modern world , he sees an austere corsette and so prefers casual and loose , so much more comfy .

of course with liberal politics so much in full flow , the church may not want to appear exclusive i understand that argument .

but time and time again we lose the restorative beauty of the gospel by "turning from sin" , and if turning from sin is the salvation open for all , then the church must have the backbone to encourage those in there journey from chains to freedom.

do i want fierce bishops without any empathy for the wrongs that affect people , no !! and no again.

god works in us in very different ways , sometimes they are very difficult , the past does not go away , but we have lost the narrative of working upon our own darkness to hope and find the light of christ.

only last week i was at a social gathering and tried to avoid the crowd as i didnt feel like talking , fellow folows me into the vestry and starts talking about the subject i was trying to avoid and the situation began to change .

mr slee perhaps would have prefered to be able to close the door and send god to some one more in need than him ??

This is not the church that i love , fearfull of politics or associations , note well dr nazir allis humbleness , with that sort of chrachture the church may yet once again speak and do gods word

21 April 2009 at 01:29  
Anonymous Voyager said...

His Grace has neither tomb nor headstone for he was reduced to ash on 21st March 1556.but you do have an impressive memorial opposite The Randolph in Oxford though few of the Chinese tourists have any idea why and no doubt Oxford Council prefers it that way

21 April 2009 at 06:36  
Blogger Manfarang said...

So you have an impressive knowledge of all the memorials in China?

21 April 2009 at 10:02  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

The link below is to a paper by the C of E Reform group on the issues raised by Rebel Saint.

21 April 2009 at 15:31  
Anonymous ever anon said...

There's an Oxford in China? Gosh, things have changed.

By the by, I'm not sure that being dust and ashes guarantees immunity from the black arts of the goddess Fame. As Cranmer initially said, victims of the modern methodology have little recourse because response to a campaign only indicates paranoia; I would add that the defamers are very good at covering their tracks and withholding evidence/proof of what they're doing (they blackmail people into helping them).

Anyway, those whose mouths are stop't with dust are ideal victims. A lot less bother!!! That's why the defamers keep telling us that history writers are liars - they're busy re-writing it and only know their own kind!

21 April 2009 at 17:53  
Anonymous len said...

And the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not, John 1:5

Anyone who proclaims Gods truth will suffer persecution( even within the church)

21 April 2009 at 17:57  
Anonymous ever anon said...

P. S: I remain, of course, eternally grateful that Cranmer's Prayerbook remains extant - and that he's cleared enough dust to bring us all this Best of Blogs!!!

21 April 2009 at 18:17  
Anonymous Voyager said...

So you have an impressive knowledge of all the memorials in China?

21 April 2009 10:02
Looking down on China

21 April 2009 at 18:54  
Blogger Manfarang said...

The impressive Nestorian Monument is at Xi'an.

22 April 2009 at 06:10  

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