Thursday, July 02, 2009

Archbishop Cranmer’s birthday statistics and celebratory pulpit

Today His Grace is 520 years old.

And he has been given two gifts – one quite magnificent, and another quite unacceptable.

He is delighted to announce that his statistics for the month of June broke all records. According to eXTReMe Tracking, he received 68,383 unique visitors (Google Analytics 39,238 absolute unique visitors; 88,410 page views from 175 countries), including his best day ever on Monday 29th with 6,503, and this week (ending 5th July) will undoubtedly be his highest ever week.

All thanks to Michael Jackson fans who are enquiring about the singer’s funeral, and instead reading that salvation is by faith through grace. That article has become the highest viewed landing page, presently with 6,343 visits. But even without that phenomenon, June would still have been a new record month.

His Grace's Top 10 referring sites were:

1 Iain Dale’s Diary 6,885
2 ConservativeHome 2,440
3 PoliticsHome 976
4 Obnoxio the Clown 893
5 Telegraph Blogs (Daniel Hannan) 585
6 Douglas Carswell 558
7 Political Betting 534
8 John Redwood’s Diary 475
9 Anglican Mainstream 391
10 Times Online (Ruth Gledhill) 279

In celebration of this record month, and in perpetual commemoration of the spiritual liberation afforded by his own pulpit experience with the Provost of Eton, Dr Henry Cole, His Grace is pleased to offer this ‘Cranmer’s Pulpit’ to his communicants for the raising of whatever religio-political or politico-religious concerns they do so wish (intelligently and eruditely, of course).

His Grace shall post again later to explain his quite unacceptable gift.


Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Congratulations! And thank you for inviting us to raise issues.

I have a question which is near to my heart.

In Heaven are there animals, for example cats, dogs and horses?

2 July 2009 at 09:29  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Singh,

Qoheleth may provide the answer, insofar as he provides the answers to anything:

"Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?" (Ecclesiastes 3:21).

If animals have spirits, these spirits must exist beyond the flesh. It is inconceivable to His Grace that the infinite variety and wonders of creation would not somehow be manifest in Heaven.

2 July 2009 at 09:41  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

There is something in what you say. It seems to me that there is something in God saving the animals through Noah; Jesus left this world by riding on a donkey (peace?) and comes back riding on a horse (war?).

In Heaven the lion lies down with the lamb. And Balaam’s ass spoke to him.

2 July 2009 at 09:50  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Congratulations Your Grace.
Ad multos annos! Rapidly becoming one of the few sane things in this world.

Rant on:

I see (Telegraph today) that David Cameron has come out at a Gay Pride march and apologised to the homosexualistas about the Tories and Clause 28 in 1980 .

'Please forgive us; I'm sooooo sorry' he pleaded, clad only in leather jockstrap and bondage gear.

With both parties about to demolish the defence budget and replace the MOD with a recorded message 'The is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet', to be activated when Al Qaeda, Iran ... turn up, is there any reason for any young intelligent, talented person to stay in this knackered country any more?

Go west young person.

End of rant

2 July 2009 at 09:53  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Congratulations Your Grace.

It is evident that Christian values are being severely eroded in Britain. Do you think Christianity will survive?What is your prediction?

Perhaps salvation does not lie in the Conservative Party. David Cameron has made a committment to promoting homosexuality in the schools!

How will this green and pleasant land be restored to Christianity?

2 July 2009 at 10:02  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

D. Singh, can I recommend this excellent teaching series to you which deals with this issue and many others of a similar ilk. It can be a bit repetitive coz he makes the same point over & over again but I highly recommend it. There are things I am not convinced about but at least it has actually got me excited about going to heaven whereas the received wisdom I had before made heaven sound incredibly dull ... like an eternal church service.

2 July 2009 at 10:10  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Your Grace, I have a very real dilemma at the moment which maybe your readers can help me with.

At the moment I am torn between two polar extremes ... do I completely "de-church" myself as an increasing number of my fellow disciples of Jesus seem to be doing, or do I throw my lot in with the Church of Rome?

2 July 2009 at 10:15  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

I'd like my questions answered as well.

2 July 2009 at 10:22  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Syndeysider,

His Grace is busy. Patience is a virtue.

In answer to your questions: Yes, of course Christianity will survive, and so will the Church of England, the end of which has been regularly predicted since its inception. The green and pleasant land will be restored when we have built Jerusalem.

Mr Rebel Saint,

Hmm... You appear to be between the devil and the deep blue sea (or the Tiber). Without knowing the context of your decision to 'de-church', it is not possible to advise (not that His Grace has become an agony aunt).

2 July 2009 at 10:29  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Judging by the Cluster Map it appears you have communicants around the world!

Mr Rebel Saint - thank you.

Grumpy Old Catholic - you're not the only one who has fired a broadside this morning.

It appears that the Bishop of Rochester has opened up with his artillery:

2 July 2009 at 11:09  
Anonymous no nonny said...

All very well deserved, it seems to me. So, Congratulations, Your Grace!! And thank you for your Blog.

As to the animals --- I don't care what people say. I'm firmly convinced my little Corgi was sent by God and is going back to Him! I'm trying to persuade her to be my advocate, once she gets Home!!!

2 July 2009 at 11:18  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Congratulations, Your Grace, and Happy Birthday.

It must be awfully uncomfortable this weather with that beard.

All animals can't go to heaven. Spiders and wasps and all creepy-crawlies must go to hell.

2 July 2009 at 11:24  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Could it be possible that Your Grace’s blogospheric success is also due—at least in part—to the contributions of your communicants?

In particular, let us Singh the praises of Mistress Gno-stic, the inventrix of Teflon and, thus, of the non-stick frying pan.

2 July 2009 at 11:38  
Anonymous Thriller said...

Heaven is such a place that it will not matter that all those lambs will be there, who we hung up on an overhead conveyor, slit their throats, gutted them, chopped them up into little 'chops', cooked them in mint sauce, and devoured them with new potatoes and fresh green peas.

They will simply understand, it was part of the physical make up of our balanced and beutiful created world.

2 July 2009 at 11:46  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Rottenborough,

His Grace is always appreciative of the insight and learning of the vast majority of his communicants, and values them highly.

The quality of conversation on many threads amounts to a veritable philosophical discourse. Occasionally, however, the flies swarm.

2 July 2009 at 12:14  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Congratualtions your grace , may you continue to inspire with your questions to the dark political forces that have no faith.

if your grace has time , what significance do the saints have to protestant christians and is this view shared with roman catholicism??

2 July 2009 at 12:18  
Blogger Constantine XI said...

your Grace,

What a wonderful opportunity this is to ask questions.

I was wondering what your views on the division between the Eastern and Western Chruches. Is it in the best interest for Protestantism if the rift remains, or is it in the fundamental nature of Christianity to try and heal wounds and come together as one rather large family? Is there scope for there to be further dialog between the CoE and the Church of Constantinople? Bearing in mind what has happened in the half millennium since the fall of Constantinople is it all too late for their to be a coming together of differing creeds?

2 July 2009 at 12:19  
Blogger OldSouth said...

The question on the eternal fate of animals provokes much thought. On the one hand, it is difficult to think that the wasps I must kill every summer have immortal souls. On the other hand, it is difficult to think that the bright, affectionate border collies who greet me as I come home every day won't share in the heavenly bliss.

C.S. Lewis, in his Narnia fantasies, tends to lean toward the view of certain beasts sharing immortality, and seemed to leave the question open in some of his essays. It would be worth looking through his words again, as he actually attempted to think this question through a bit.

God is good, and I'll know how He decided the question once I arrive to the mansion promised me.

I hope to meet my canine companions from the past half-century, but am mainly indifferent about the cats.

2 July 2009 at 12:34  
Blogger OldSouth said...

...and of course, congratulations on your birthday. Remarkably well-preserved, and still as insightful as ever.

The secret of your longevity?

2 July 2009 at 12:37  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Not A Machine,

All believers are saints, and all are equal in the sight of God.

Mr Constantine XI,

All schism within the Church is a tragedy, over which the Lord must grieve. What was achieved at the Protestant Reformation is being parodied by a myriad a micro-narratives. The faith was never intended to be free-for-all. As for union of East and west, ut unum sint, filioque notwithstanding.

Mr OLd South,

His Grace shares your feeling about cats.

2 July 2009 at 12:44  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

The secret of His Grace's longevity?

A good witness and a fine red.

2 July 2009 at 12:45  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Old South seems to suggest a fruitful line of inquiry.

Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the LORD.

Some of the verses below have been suggested to me for cross-referencing purposes (I am amazed at the number of animals mentioned):

Isaiah 11:6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.

Isaiah 11:7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox.

Isaiah 11:9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 65:11 "But you who forsake the LORD, Who forget My holy mountain, Who set a table for Fortune, And who fill cups with mixed wine for Destiny,

The below are also cross-references but the last seems to be full of dread for the non-and-anti-Christian:

Micah 4:3 And He will judge between many peoples And render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they train for war.

Micah 7:17 They will lick the dust like a serpent, Like reptiles of the earth. They will come trembling out of their fortresses; To the LORD our God they will come in dread And they will be afraid before You.

2 July 2009 at 12:50  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

CS Lewis reckoned that if he didn't have his dog in heaven it wouldn't be worth going.

But of course Lewis, alongside many Christians, did not have a very developed biblical view of the resurrection. Will there be animals on the renewed earth? It seems pretty likely, given that there are animals here in the world that suffers from the bodage of corruption. The whole creation groans (in childbirth) for the forthcoming deliverance. Why should not animals, which are included in the groaning, also be included in the deliverance?

2 July 2009 at 12:56  
Blogger John Woolman said...

Your Grace;

How far do you think the medical profession and those who are members of what used to be called the professions supplementary to medicine should be compelled by their registering authorities to ignore their religious convictions in the practice of their professions?

For example, if a christian pharmacist were to decline to provide a female patient with post coital contraception, should that be a professional offence?

Is it right that a moslem dentist is currently subject to disciplinary proceedings in front of the GDC for insisting that female moslem patients wear traditional dress when consulting him and placing composite fillings rather than the silver filling that might otherwise have been used in the treatment of an 11 year old moslem boy?

Finally, should it be a professional offence for a "health care practitioner" to engage in a healing ministry or prayer of intercession for a particular patient without obtaining the proper consent for that from the patient?

2 July 2009 at 12:56  
Blogger Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

Your Grace,

If one has not been exposed to the teachings of Christianity, for instance being born in a remote place, would one still be eligible for a place in heaven?

2 July 2009 at 13:15  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Your Grace, once again, warmest congratulations for your well-deserved triumph.

@ oiznop, the spider is a much maligned animal. I have known human beings who were both more dangerous and more repulsive than any tarantula.

2 July 2009 at 13:21  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Waht an interesting question posed by the Greek.

I have often wondered about this question in the context of 13th century Red Indians who knew not the Good News. We can infer that they had some sort of morality.

St Paul answers the question in Romans 2 14-15:

14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

2 July 2009 at 13:28  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Singh,

His Grace thanks you for addressing the question posed by Mr Beware Geeks bearing GIFs.

Mr Woolman,

Hitherto (that is, until the advent of New Labour), there has been a space in the public sphere for the accommodation of religious sensitivities which are matters of conscience. Matters of life and death should remain under that sacred canopy.

The dentist, however, is guilty not only of sex discrimination, but of a fixation with external matters of dress. In the UK (unlike France), we have developed a tolerance of such matters as dietary laws, prayer and dress where there is no compulsion or imposition. This dentist is plainly ignorant of that culture of tolerance.

On your final question, it cannot be a requirement of prayer that one must procure the permission of the one to be interceded for if that prayer is private. It would, however, be an unacceptable imposition if one were to pray in the presence of one's patient without consent.

2 July 2009 at 13:39  
Blogger Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

Your Grace and Mr Singh,

Thank you kindly for your replies. It leaves me a bit puzzled in the fact that regardless of whether one has been exposed to the Christian teachings or not, it is ultimately down to the actions of one's self during this lifetime that matters.

Without wishing to be antagonistic, as I genuinely find this a curious preamble to the many mysteries of life, why do I get the feeling that if one were to live one’s life without the knowledge of the Scriptures one would feel slightly less judged and from a certain perspective, less constrained, from the outset. If one were to know the teachings of the Scriptures, one would immediately feel like every moment of one’s life were being recorded, assessed and judged. The sort of feeling I get whenever I have to fill in a tax form.

Once again your Grace, congratulations on your blog's increasing readership.

2 July 2009 at 14:27  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Happy birthday, Your Grace. I trust that you have performed a risk assessment on all those birthday cake candles. Can't let 'Elf and Safety wallahs get their knickers in a twist over the potential blaze.

In March Rowan Williams made a speech about anthropogenic global warming (AGW). He quoted the government chapter and verse on this issue and said some very interesting things about God. He also believes that the way people celebrate the birth of Christ is killing the planet.

It is obvious that the Archbish is taking AGW on faith without once craning his neck out of his shell to actually check some inconvenient facts such as empirical evidence rather than computer models. He shows an awful lot of faith in the outrageous carbon capture and trade scheme (CO2 is NOT a pollutant). Strangely, he shows less faith in God.

My question is this: Should the Anglican church stick to what it knows (which seems to have shrunk to kissing Socialist nether-cheeks) or should the Church be advocating AGW theory and the highly questionable government agenda on carbon credits and sequestration without first having actually checked any scientific facts so it can give the faithful a balanced opinion? It's blindingly obvious that he hasn't checked anything but government "on message" boxes.

Williams is right when he says we must conserve the environment and not pollute. I'm in solid agreement with that. Perhaps we should start off with not clearing the rainforests in order to grow biofuels? How many species has this practice wiped out, is still wiping out? And all in the name of Gaia, her green followers and cynical scaremongering?

Here's a link to the article on Williams' speech.

Williams talks about stupidity. Stupidity is right. He should learn to recognise it the next time he looks in the mirror.

2 July 2009 at 14:32  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

Mr Singh, your citation of the apostle Paul has nothing to do with the problem you are trying to settle. Paul's letter to the Romans was written to a church where, like those in Galatia, there were problems between Jews and Gentiles.

Jews had a tendency to regard themselves as the only proper Christians because they were the seed of Abraham, to whom, and concerning whom God had made the promises. It was after all the Jews to whom God had given the law.

Gentiles made the counter-claim that ethnic Jews had been rejected by God because they as a race had crucified God's Messiah.

Much of Paul's argument in Romans is devoted to showing that neither Jews nor Gentiles are better than the other, and that they should all live as brethren. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything.

The passage you cite (Romans 2:14-15 -- 'Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them...') needs closer attention.

There is a slight, but crucial mistranslation here. It should read, '...Gentiles, who do not have the law by nature, do the things required by the law...'

This is simply a matter of word order and punctuation.

The reference is not to 'good' Gentiles having some natural inclination to live according to the law, but rather to Gentiles living according to the law even though it is not their natural possession, as it was of the Jews. The Gentiles referred to are Christian Gentiles, those upon whom the Christian Jews had a tendency to look down.

Those Christian Gentiles, argues Paul, have as much right to be treated as members of God's covenant as any, because the work of the law is written on their hearts, in line with Jeremiah's new covenant prophecy (Jer 31:31 ff.). When Paul uses the word 'law', he means Torah.

So Paul is not talking about noble Aztecs, or good-living Comanches. He does not touch on those interesting questions, but on others altogether. And if you read Romans with that basic approach, many of its problems simply fall away.

It isn't often I have the opportunity to mount Crannie's pulpit, so I grasp my oportunity with pleasure.

2 July 2009 at 14:37  
Blogger Gnostic said...

PS I too, hope that if there is an afterlife I will be reunited with my beautiful dogs. That, indeed, would be Heaven.

2 July 2009 at 14:41  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Geek – if one has heard the Good News and rejected it – one has rejected Jesus. He is the only way into eternal life. It is written of Him ‘I am the way and the truth and the life…’

There is no such thing as being only slightly less judged by God.

Your sentiment ‘one would immediately feel like every moment of one’s life were being recorded, assessed and judged’ was also expressed by the existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre – he died in the back of a taxi-cab screaming for Jesus (he spent his life as an atheist). Why he screamed for Him I do not know.

God loves you. He sent his only son to suffer a vicious beating, a mockery of a trial and execution so that you and I don’t have to pay the penalty for breaching the Creator’s desires.

When I first read (8 years’ old) that and without reading to the end of the account I slammed the Bible shut and shouted at God, ‘Murderer! What kind of God are you? You sent your own son die! Murderer! YOU HAD HIM EXECUTED. YOU.’

2 July 2009 at 14:46  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

What have you got against cats? I think the present Holy Father would disagree with you - and so would I.

D Singh: I think that ++ Michael's article to which you have kindly referred us is a bit too long winded. Much as I admire His Grace, it's less of a broadside, more of a rattle of pea shooters. Its power is lost because people tend to lose interest after the first page. Wasn't it Churchill who on coming into office as PM in 1940 said 'Pray inform me on one side of a piece of paper...'

2 July 2009 at 15:07  
Blogger D. Singh said...

ultramontane grumpy old catholic

It is true that Churchill insisted that his civil servants keeep briefings exceptionally short.

However, Bishop Michael's subject matter and treatment of it demands more than brevity and levity.

It is not milk for the intellect but meat.

2 July 2009 at 15:23  
Blogger D. Singh said...


'The Gentiles referred to are Christian Gentiles, those upon whom the Christian Jews had a tendency to look down.'

That is irregular. I thought that Chrsitians were first called Christians in Antioch 70AD.

Paul's letter to the Romans was written prior to that date.

2 July 2009 at 15:48  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

Well, we don't know either the date of Romans or the date referred to regarding Antioch. But that is neither here nor there. Had I said 'disciples of Jesus' or 'followers of Jesus' or 'God's people' it would have amounted to the same. Your objection is, I'm afraid, simply playing with words and does not address the substance of my point.

And while we are playing with words, you should perhaps have written 'anachronistic' rather than 'irregular'.

2 July 2009 at 16:08  
OpenID bpdt said...

Congratulations on having the chutzpah, Your Grace, on choosing as a picture of your celebratory pulpit "The description of Doctor Cranmer, how he was plucked downe from the stage by Friers and Papistes, for the true confession of hys fayth" Oxford 21.3.1556 as reported by Foxe p.2065
+ David Huntingdon

2 July 2009 at 16:28  
Blogger Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

Mr Singh,

Once again, thank you for your gracious reply.

I am left in a quandary and here is my reason why - to be shown the Scriptures one is forced to make a decision: to accept and be saved, to reject and not have eternal life.

Whereas when one goes about one’s life without having to make this decision through blissful ignorance, one doesn’t feel the burden of the consequences of one’s actions and lives one’s life through free will.

Ultimately, we are to be judged at some point according to the Scriptures for our actions. So if we are all to be judged, is it not better for the man, who will at some stage in his life stray from the path of good, not to be aware of the Scriptures than the man who is aware, and will stray and knows he will feel he will be damned?

And if there is forgiveness, then why the need for a decision to accept or reject?

In the gambling fraternity, one would consider that a slight edge on the house odds.

2 July 2009 at 16:31  
Blogger Tachybaptus said...

Muslim tradition allows just ten animals into paradise:

Abraham’s ram
Balaam’s ass
Balkis’ lapwing
Barak, Muhammad’s horse
Jonah’s whale
Kratim, the dog of the seven sleepers of Ephesus
Moses’ ox
Noah’s dove
Saleh’s camel
Solomon’s ant

Not a very inspiring selection. I cannot imagine any blessed place without plenty of birds.

2 July 2009 at 18:21  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

Your Grace -

It's fairly obvious that given the 10 fold increase in muslim population every 20 years in the UK, within the next few decades there will indeed shortly be a muslim majority, and hence an islamic state, in the UK

This isn't mere statistics. I've muslim friends, a very nice couple who moved here 20 years ago. Good people. They have 4 kids. Fair enough. But the 4 kids all married under age 20, and had spouses parachuted in from Pakistan. And 3 of the 4 kids now have 4 kids each, the 4th has only 3.

That's 2 original immigrants, four kids, 4 spouses and 15 grandkids.

Makes 25 from 2 over 20 years. A tenfold muslim increase over 20 years is actually on the low side.

When the islamic state arrives, the infidel will promptly be given their marching orders....or it's the chop.

Your Grace - Have you got your seat booked on the last white Christian refugee boat out?

2 July 2009 at 18:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never underestimate war, pestilence and disease.

2 July 2009 at 20:11  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Talking about hypocritical and inconsistent I found this to be unbelievable...almost.

2 July 2009 at 23:20  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Dammit, I'm using the html tags correctly why won't my links work?

2 July 2009 at 23:21  
Blogger King Athelstan said...

Many happy returns Your Grace, It seems we share a birthday.

3 July 2009 at 00:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace:
Felicitations! To mark his happy occasion I have ordered a Te Deum to be sung in my virtual cathedral by a penitent Miguel Serveto, who understands what you endured. As you know (we know EVERYTHING where we are!), it is my owm humble 500th Birthday on the 11th of this month, and I regret that I have not yet thanked you (since we departed the earthly vale of tears) for incorporating my theology into your most excellent Articles of Religion. A series on which would be an excellent gift to the benighted nation of the English. (Alas, I have given up on the son of the manse.)

John Calvin,
The Heavenly Geneva

3 July 2009 at 05:49  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

His Grace
What is the procedure of having the Archbishop of Canterbury replaced with another Bishop?Has this ever happened before? Or is this an impossibility?

3 July 2009 at 06:19  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Sydneysider,

There is, of course, a mechanism within Canon Law for removing a bishop. It can be a long and drawn-out affair. The quickest way is to haul them from their pulpit and burn them at the stake. And yes, this has happened before.

3 July 2009 at 07:07  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

You never disappoint Your Grace!

However Mr.D Singh I never expected to have the same response to any of your posts.
The vision of Sartre dying in the back seat of a cab screaming for Jesus has strong overtones of Monty Python. Where on earth did you get this information? I'm still laughing.

3 July 2009 at 11:23  

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