Monday, July 07, 2014

Bishop of Buckingham: His Grace 'the troll'

When one blogs, as a Christian, one is subject to all manner of competing authorities, tempted by a raft of confusing motives and buffeted by a legion of conflicting spirits. No matter how much one hopes to glorify God or speak prophetically the gospel of Christ to those who are being lost, all that is uttered is ultimately imperfect, and all that is done is a filthy rag.

His Grace's blog has plodded along now for more than eight years. Sometimes it has brought great pleasure, and occasionally it has done some considerable good. But for the most part it has been a daily drudge and an utterly thankless task.

One does not do this for the money or the approbation of man.

To be accused of 'trolling' by a bishop is a serious matter.

One expects occasionally to receive reasoned rebuke, and some of the chat-thread contributions over the years have been more than forthright in their condemnation of His Grace's homilies .

But to be accused of 'trolling' by a bishop gives pause for thought.

And profound heart-searching.

And deep spiritual reflection.

It appears that a chaplain may, with impunity, urge upon the nation a culture of death; preach against the official teaching of the Church of England; and insult her Christian brothers and sisters in the sovereign legislature of Parliament. But for His Grace to seek to expose this and reason against it is 'trolling'.

Blogging is a strange medium, and Twitter is stranger. When one has thousands of followers over multiple time-zones, the only way of reaching them is to tweet out the same message numerous times, as His Grace routinely does. And even then, on average, one reaches only about two per cent of one's followership. If one follows say 50 people, each of their tweets will remain in your timeline for an entire day or longer, and the content will be there to read each time you log in. If one follows say 5000 people, it is highly unlikely that you 'follow' them at all. Even when they tweet the same message multiple times.

His Grace sought clarification from the Bishop of Buckingham. Is it his view that His Grace is:
a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
"Yes," came the unequivocal reply.

Doubtless the writing of this blog post and tweeting it out constitutes further 'trolling'.

To be so accused by a bishop is a serious matter, especially when that bishop is one's own temporal overseer whom one has met half-a-dozen times over the years and with whom shares a number of passions, if not theo-political concerns. His Grace has also met the Bishop's Chaplain twice. Not, of course, that either would have been aware.

But, to both, His Grace is a troll, and, by definition, trolls are malevolent and sow discontent.
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren (Prov 6:16-19).
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom 16:17f).
This blog will now fall silent for a period of voluntary reflection, if not permanent purgation.


Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Your Grace.

One does one's best, and fails. But one reflects, receives, revives and returns refreshed.

The truth will always divide.

'I have reserved unto myself seven thousand that have not bowed the knee to Baal'

'Know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain'

Keep going please.

You migh

7 July 2014 at 08:03  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Your Grace

"When one blogs, as a Christian, one is subject to all manner of competing authorities, tempted by a raft of confusing motives and buffeted by a legion of conflicting spirits."

So it seems. Perhaps the good Bishop would care to elaborate his position? He is not a stranger to this Blog.

7 July 2014 at 08:26  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...


I also feel somewhat confused by the good Bisshop's definition of "trolling" - does that now mean that any expressing of an alternate opinion to the one stated is now "trolling"?

If so, I think I trolled six blogs yesterday. Oh dear.

7 July 2014 at 08:29  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

For me, the essence of internet trolling is essentially bad manners, raising one's voice, and smashing across a train of coversation with one's pet subject.

Think of the CGI trolls in Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films-they burst into the room and start swinging their club in all directions. I'm not saying I never do this, but I try not to.

A contrary opinion concerning the matter under discussion expressed politely is never trolling. Endlessly introducing extraneous subjects (I will refrain from offering my fellow commicants a list) into threads about unrelated subjects is at least verging on trolling.

Thr price of free speech is eternal b******t.

7 July 2014 at 08:46  
Blogger Martin said...

Seems to me that it is the bishops duty to ensure that his 'chaplain' behaves in a way suited to a ministerial office. Since she has clearly not so behaved and since the bishop has taken no action it seems that the bishop should address his own position and consider whether he should not resign.

As you say, in order for your blog to be read it is necessary for you to advertise it to your audience, whose timeline can get very congested.

I shouldn't worry about what the bishop says, he clearly wishes to sweep something under the carpet which should be exposed. Perhaps he's worried at the effect it will have on the (entirely unscriptural) appointment of women bishops.

7 July 2014 at 08:46  
Blogger Neill said...

Your Grace,

Please don't leave us - and please know that, even when your blogging may seem a 'thankless task' to you, it is read, appreciated and reflected upon by many, many of us.

We may not comment on each individual post but you are a regular part of our understanding and interpretation of the politico-religious.

Keep going! Be of good cheer!

7 July 2014 at 08:51  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Unfortunately, I'm not at all sure that the opinion of a bishop DOES need to be taken seriously.

'Troll' seems in danger of becoming as meaningless an epithet as 'racist' and 'fascist'.

HG's definition given above seems a good one: and on that basis HG is defintely not a troll. (I speak as one who has himself been called a troll.)

7 July 2014 at 08:51  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Chin up Cranmer !

What we have here is “Leave my monkey alone” says organ grinder. “If she deserves to have her neck wrung, it will be done by me in camera”

7 July 2014 at 08:54  
Blogger gentlemind said...

Two points:

First, on being accused of "trolling". We live in strange strange times. Explaining simple truths such as "marriage is between a man and a woman" and "murder is wrong" now provoke astonishment and outrage, because we have forgotten how to think. In a world where we cannot think for ourselves, how can we reason with others? What intellectual tools do we have to counter "outrage"? None. So we instead use an accusation - "troll": "Your views are beyond my comprehension. Therefore they are extreme. Therefore they cannot be right. Therefore you yourself cannot believe what you are saying".

Second, being accused of trolling by a bishop: where a bishop has legitimate authority, take pause for thought. Where a bishop is actively denying the will of God, there is no authority but God's.

7 July 2014 at 08:58  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

If you go on stage in the public domain you take what's coming to you, which will sometimes be disagreement. Only children and the mentally disabled have "hold back" written invisibly over them. That is just the way it is, and it is wiser not to spout forth in public unless you are willing to take a bit of heckling. The oversensitive should count themselves out, I am afraid. Whilst one or two comments went too far, His Grace did not, and to allow comment differs substantially from making it. Even those that went too far were, in internet terms, mild fare, and not to know that suggests a remarkably sheltered existence, "a fugitive and cloistered existence" which would garner Miltonic censure.

Those who do not wish to play tennis should not take up position on the tennis court and lob some balls about. If your opponents smash a few back you stand your ground, and possibly lob a few back with some spin on and some spirit, or you admit to being in the wrong place but you don't appeal to your trainer and support crew to complain on your behalf that you don't like the balls coming back.

Your grace is completely right, and nothing remotely akin to a troll.

Keep it up!

7 July 2014 at 08:58  
Blogger Simon Cooke said...

I trust that reflection reveals the honesty of your position. It is, I find, common for people to use the accusation "troll" or even "vile troll" (for 'vile' is the chosen adjective for the term) to attempt either rebuke or else to close off a debate.

I am unusual as a pretty secular person to find our society's travel townards euthanasia deeply disturbing. Not just because it requires one human to kill another or even because it takes us across the boundary from 'deliberately killing another human is unlawful' to 'sometimes it is lawful to deliberately kill another human'. Although both these arguments are valid.

No my opposition comes from my Mum - unlike me, a good Anglican - who worked with and cared for thousands of old people over 25 years. I wrote how she heard depressed old folk wish for death every day.

7 July 2014 at 09:20  
Blogger Martin Marprelate said...

'Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight' (Proverbs 26:2).

As for this loose canon, verse 3 of the same chapter seems appropriate. Carry on, YG.

7 July 2014 at 09:24  
Blogger DeeDee99 said...

I'm not a practicing Christian and I don't always agree with Your Grace ..... but I generally find your blog interesting and though-provoking.

Disagreeing with another person's viewpoint and saying so is not trolling: it is giving an alternative opinion.

Please don't stop doing it

7 July 2014 at 09:28  
Blogger Martin said...

Like others here I have been called a troll for, like your Grace, pointing out what the Bible says on matters. So be of good cheer, it is a meaningless term.

Perhaps the bishop would like to come on here to justify himself & his chaplain.

7 July 2014 at 09:29  
Blogger Albert said...

This blog will now fall silent for a period of voluntary reflection, if not permanent purgation.

Please don't do that. To do that, would be to give them what they want: control of the debate. Whenever I've protested against so-called euthanasia, I've always noticed that the majority of the people in the protest are sick, disabled and generally vulnerable. For their sake, Dr C, don't let your voice be silenced, by those who wish to withdraw their legal protections.

You are simply defending the position of the CofE, and the commandments of God. If the Bishop of Buckingham objects to that, then whence comes his authority? You should consider whether you should obey God or men. I have no doubt that you will know exactly where your duty lies.

7 July 2014 at 09:34  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

How uncharacteristic of YG to exhibit such a degree of sensitivity that causes Him to doubt his commitment and efficacy as a champion of free speech.

Obviously, yon Bishop feels the need to use his rank in her defence which suggests to me that he is attempting to smokescreen the matter - while considering no doubt how to chasten his wayward child in the manner of the Bishop of Lancaster and his turbulent Priest.

Being accused of 'trolling' by a Bishop Al means that not only are you being read, taken seriously but most importantly hitting the target dead centre.

Nil Desperandum.

7 July 2014 at 09:38  
Blogger David Illing said...

Please don't let one silly man spoil things for the great majority who enjoy and appreciate your efforts, Your Grace. Keep going!!

7 July 2014 at 09:42  
Blogger Flossie said...

What a disgrace! This woman, as a representative of the Church of England, stands up in front of a group of peers and expounds doctrine which is contrary to the Church of England's stated position.

Her bishop, instead of reprimanding her and publicly clarifying the Church's teaching,(which is what Bishops are for, after all) says not a word until someone else says it is not right.

I am not remotely surprised by this, knowing the Bishop of Buckingham's unscriptural views on other issues, but for him to inflict totally undeserved wounds on our beloved Crannie is beyond the pale.

It is he who should retire, Your Grace, not you. You speak for many of us who have very little voice. It would be tragic if you were to leave us to the mercy of the Bishop Alan Wilsons of this world.

7 July 2014 at 09:43  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Your Grace,

You do a splendid job, and daily too, and those skilled and thoughtful exertions are much appreciated by the thousands globally who visit your site. You are much appreciated by little old me and many others, including crowds of thoughtful people plus some genuinely erudite ones.

To call you a troll represents both a poor selection of words and maybe a poor grasp of reality. It smacks of trying to silence you. Maybe he is embarrassed by selecting a chaplain who opposes so publicly the position of the Church, and one with such a shallow and decidedly non-Christian series of reasons for rejecting one of the Ten Commandments ? Maybe he finds it more comfortable to hit out at distant you than manage effectively someone close to him ? Either option, if true, suggests weakness. Who knows ? Maybe he just dislikes your conservative views and has been presented with an opportunity to smack out at you ? Who can say ? Certainly one is only required to obey ones Bishop "in all things lawful", as in accordance with the the ways of God.

Nowadays the pressures to acquiesce into the universal, muzzled, amorphous "niceness" comes in many shapes and sizes. Thinking things through using reasoned arguments and appealing to moral absolutes has, probably, never been less popular in our recently deeply confused society. But Christ's exemplar showed us that he expects us to speak out against wrong doing, unjust social institutions and arrangements, and never to stop pointing to the truths contained in the Gospels and Scripture generally.

Onward Cranmer, and chin up !

7 July 2014 at 09:51  
Blogger bluedog said...

Don't take it too hard, Your Grace. Your post and your tweeting were entirely reasonable, to the point and clearly effective.

One can understand that the bishop's accusation of trolling hurts, carrying as it does the slight innuendo of stalking. Having followed your excellent blog for at least five years, your communicant is happy to testify that any such allegation is completely out of character and unjustified.

We can see from the transcript of Canon Harper's speech how she uses a personal experience both to support her position and to muzzle criticism. Now the tactic of silencing opposition has been taken to the next level, with an unwarranted slur.

There's something really special about the Left, isn't there?

Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent.

7 July 2014 at 09:53  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

Your Grace,
Inside every Liberal lurks a totalitarian itching to get their own way. You are called a troll instead of a bigot because the “offence” was caused via Twitter but the intention is the same. To silence debate. This is - if I may be so bold - evidence of “Cranmers Law” in action.

There are some who would be only too happy to see you disappear into the ether. It would conveniently silence an influential dissenter. One whose dissertations they fear, because they are more than a trifle difficult to refute. One whose new and vastly superior cyber-pulpit might descend upon their heads like “a thief in the night”.

Lay this matter before the Lord who knows the hearts and intentions of all involved.

A period of silent reflection is one thing. But permanent purgation - we can't be having that now can we.

Every blessing,

7 July 2014 at 09:53  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


I agree with what others have said here; stay on the blogsphere. You can't retire now that you have the funds to do a wordpress blog and editors to help & for those of us looking forward to is launch. I am unable to see the accusations of trolling here and I believe that Bishop Wilson should be reminded of the words of CP Scott:

'The voice of opponents, no less than that of friends has a right to be heard'

7 July 2014 at 09:58  
Blogger Stuart James said...

A Christian approached me some time ago and asked for advise on blogging and I duly responded, but my concluding remarks were: "Blogging from a conservative orthodox Christian vantage is a thankless task".

And so it is.

Disliked and ridiculed by the world and 'Christians' alike.

The liberal Christian has won out online, which is no surprise given they are cheered on and loved by the world as their own.

You pour your heart, soul, personality, strength and spirit into this endeavour and it truly is thankless. Yes, there are 'successes' however we define such things, but they are few and far between. Not that we're expecting a hearty slap on the back, but to receive ad hom and unmerited slurs from your own is especially disheartening.

And then one day, the wind goes out of your sails, the unction vanishes, it all seems like chasing after the wind, you realise your best efforts are a dirty rag, and the season closes.

7 July 2014 at 10:04  
Blogger Jim McLean said...

I think this highlights the ridiculous importance we have given to "social" media and the consequences are that our X-Factor generation see an accusation of trolling as something which is as serious as being accused of child molesting in the real world.

Clearly, YG does not preach VIA twitter or facebook. You simply use these media to draw attention to something you have written elsewhere, in a more mature format and medium.

It is your blog that counts. No one has suggested that what you have written in your blog is bigoted, defamatory or incites hatred.

Just because some bishop thinks he is cool by using "social" media and using terminology that he doesn't understand, it doesn't mean that there is anything to worry about or even reflect on.

The biggest offence is that the bishop does not publicly condemn the Canon for the deeply offensive remarks she has made to the Christian fellowship.

But I wouldn't get all worked up just because you have found out there is more than one idiot in the CofE.

7 July 2014 at 10:08  
Blogger Len said...

I created a twitter account and before I could utter as much as a single tweet I was suspended for 'spamming' this annoyed me so much I told 'twitter what they could do with their account...
On another site I have had my identity stolen and used to insult the host who then rebuked me..
And that just for starters!. .Insults just seem par for the course for any Christian and Jesus promised us that we would be hated as He was hated so one just accepts this with as much Grace as one can muster...Not always easy I will say!
It is very easy to get tired of the fight and to feel like just giving up but there is something inside which urges us to go on and to finish the race we have started...
The last battle on earth will be for the truth of the Gospel and there are many spiritual forces lined up to take down anyone who dares to presume to preach the Gospel but He who is in us is greater than any who would oppose us..
If we could see as Elisha`s servant saw when his eyes were opened we would have the courage and the confidence to continue ....

And Elisha prayed, "Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

I pray for all Christians that they might see the Heavenly Host urging us on.....

7 July 2014 at 10:17  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Down the years you've been long suffering with one or two of your regulars. You've defended your Anglican faith with loyalty and conviction in all its muddle and through all the difficulties it has faced.

You will recall, there was a time you were considering closing this weblog because of the nuisance being caused by a 'Cyber Swiss Guard'. Now, one or two of those probably did meet the criteria of 'Troll'. You will let the unjustifiable words of a Bishop of the Church of England silence you? You are made of sterner stuff.

You know you are not acting with malice. We know you are not. Your followers know you are not. Your objections were reasoned and well presented. This accusation is akin to that word 'bigot' you rightly detest. It is intended to silence debate. The truth often hurts and this is a bit too close to home for the Bishop.

I've often wondered why Adam ate the fruit offered by Eve once she had succumbed to Satan's deception. Did he feel a misplaced sense of loyalty to her? Or some sense of responsibility for not instructing her correctly? A similar question comes to mind over the actions of this Bishop in defending his personal chaplain in such a clumsy fashion. The Bishop of Buckingham should chastise and rebuke Canon Harper - not defend her.

7 July 2014 at 10:18  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Your Grace

Those communicants who are old enough to remember the nineteen sixties will be familiar with the Peter Principle, which states:

"In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. In time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties.”

The Anglican hierarchy is clearly no exception to the rule.

Your Grace’s self-imposed silence “for reflection” has now lasted nearly the whole morning. That’s enough reflecting for the time being!


7 July 2014 at 10:25  
Blogger John Thomas said...

I upset a bishop, a few years' ago, with my writing; my editor was rather concerned, and wrote back apologetically. I did not know anything about the bishop in question - but (unfazed) I had learned that my words could indeed have an effect.

7 July 2014 at 10:45  
Blogger Daniel1979 said...


There seem to be self evident truths apparent here, not least that the Bishops rebuff is clearly a cynical attempt to play the man not the ball.

You raised legitimate concerns, in a direct but not inappropriate manner. Nothing wrong with that.

Funny how Establishment types are quick to defend the indefensible - more worried about preserving their institutions than concerning themselves with (potential or real) misdeeds.


7 July 2014 at 10:50  
Blogger meema said...

Are we not grateful that Jesus didn’t retreat when the establishment called him names, blasphemer, heretic? To be on the receiving end of rebuke from the highest source nowadays is the best witness that you are rightly on track.

Fret not, good and faithful servant, the only opinion that matters is His.

For Him,

7 July 2014 at 10:51  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

In the good old days John Hunwicke would often pillory the Barmy Bishop of Bux in his blog, but has recently given up such activities as a waste of effort.

7 July 2014 at 10:58  
Blogger Mark Rivers said...

Your Grace, I'm reminded of the verses from Matt 10 where Jesus tells us that He came to bring division into the world - and he reminds us that our enemies will be right in [our] own household v35. In my analysis of what you have written over the years - you have not failed to take up your cross and follow Him. What you write on a regular basis resonates with me and all that I hold dear. The task may seem utterly thankless - but thanks to you over the last several years - I have been able to stand that little bit taller as a Christian - understanding better how faith does not have to be cloistered in the private sphere but should inform the public sphere. A time of reflection may be no bad thing - especially if it leads to renewal. Many of us here wish we could do what you do in the way that do it - but alas we can't. I'm probably of the school of thought that believes we are involved in a cultural war - in the short term we are on the losing side - but this does not mean that we should be silent. you have been in the frontline for sometime now. Maybe a little R&R will do no harm..but I do hope that you can return with renewed vigour in due course - you have my prayerful good wishes .

7 July 2014 at 11:11  
Blogger MattNotts said...

Your Grace,

As one who regularly reads, but rarely comments - one, I presume, of a great many such - I sincerely hope to be able to continue reading your sane and careful, bold and honest reflections in their new format. I am certain that you reach a wider sphere than you know. 'A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how' (Mk4).

Trolling is an utterly inappropriate description of any of your activity that I have seen, as so many others here are affirming.

Rebukes, fair and unfair, can be God's tools to assist us in better performing his service. I will pray for your period of reflection - that the Lord will render you still wiser, and sharper for your task: 'that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith... so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ'.

In Christ


7 July 2014 at 11:24  
Blogger Johnnyrvf said...

In my understanding a Bishop is as one of the 12 Disciples. Our Lord rebuked them on occasion when they strayed and St. Paul exhorts us to point out our failures gently. It seems like pride is involved here and in my opinion, some less than Christian machinations. Prhaps the Bishop and his Chaplain should learn some humility or is this state of enlghtenment too sombre for the new Anglican lite Christianity? As a serious and honest Christian I really do not think you should be perturbed by what the Bishop tweets although I can sense your greif in his betrayal of what you considered a solid aquaintence for little more than a bimbo.

7 July 2014 at 11:35  
Blogger Philip Walling said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7 July 2014 at 11:36  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

My heart goes out to the Bishop of Buckingham's flock. They are being led by a false shepherd who is not following Jesus. Who knows where they might end up? This false shepherd has clearly believed the lies promoted by Satan rather than the Truth of God's word found in Scripture. One day he will have to give account.

But thank God that YG has had the courage and stamina to point out to these sheep that they are being led astray and to point them to the true Shepherd.

Remember the words first of Jesus (John 15:20)'The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.' And then of Paul in his second letter to Timothy. 'All that will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL suffer persecution.' Keep on YG. The sheep of Buckingham and elsewhere need your direction.

Rest and allow the Lord to refresh you - but please don't give up.

And if this false shepherd should choose to mock me and call me a troll I shall be pleased. It will be evidence that Jesus is coming soon. 'In the last days' said Peter 'mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts.' (2Peter 3:4) Isn't this what this false shepherd is doing.

Take courage and dont't give up. Jesus is with you.

7 July 2014 at 11:40  
Blogger scitman said...

Your Grace,

First a confession- I am only a very occasional reader but your reaction to this interests me, and I think your decision to take a time for reflection is right.

Two things come to mind: The difficulty of having any sort of proper conversation via Twitter. 140 characters is not enough to show the necessary humility or good manners. Mind you, to start any conversation with the phrase "Keep Your Hair On" was probably unwise.

The more fundamental point is how we resolve disagreements as Christians. You are right to say that the phrase at the end of the reported speech is unwise and unhelpful. However, who are you (or anyone) to decide unilaterally what point of view is Christian and what isn't?

Of course, the nature of blogging is the instant reaction, and those who moderate their language and nuance their opinions tend to get ignored and not read. It's why I stopped doing it a few years ago.

Were you trolling? Compared to some of the material you see online, certainly not. But surely the point is we as Christians should be better. Matthew 7:1 should be our watchword.

7 July 2014 at 11:43  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

A few comments:

First off, the woman is clearly daft! If she thinks that she can declare that a view that is the direct opposite to her de facto employer can be declared without criticism then she has lost the plot. If she expected criticism then she clearly underestimated her ability to deal with it. Given how mild your criticism of her was (other women have been abused for much less controversial views in far more harsh terms) she was clearly wrong. Either way she is daft.

Secondly, why is it that people declare you a troll or a ***phobe if you disagree with their view these days? It's almost like Godwin's law needs to be given a second and third element to cover these anomalies.

Finally, to be called a troll by "Bishop" Alan Wilson (I say "Bishop" because I hardly recognise him as such, given his theological views) is laughable at best. The "bishop" is himself a well-known troll, constantly challenging people's views and then back-pedalling (, so his accusation is rich indeed!

7 July 2014 at 11:49  
Blogger Peter W said...

So glad a bishop has intervened! I thought I was out on a limb having the opinion that your last blog went over the limits of Christian and even human decency and inspired a lot of unpleasant shouting from the sidelines.
Peter W

7 July 2014 at 11:49  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Apparently the Bishop thinks this is "a stream of shocking saloon bar misogynistic sneering". (see Twitter)

Maybe Flossie, Meema, Sister Tibs & Lucy should be ashamed of themselves.

Maybe my tiny little unreferenced quote of Job's response to his wife's suggestion of just giving up & dying is seen as misogynistic. I'm sorry if so. To give balance, men can clearly be just as foolish as the women there mentioned, and the bulk of that book is of course taken up with their varied follies.

All the best to those who live under the bishop's authority, any of his immoral and unchristian parishioners who object to his chaplain's use of her position to split the church. He doesn't want to talk about it anymore, so quiet please.

Now, how is that acceptable?

7 July 2014 at 11:51  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Your Grace a troll? Stuff and nonsense! Why, Your Grace's writing is a light unto the Gentiles, a beacon of reasoned thought in a time of untrammelled political correctness and justified eugenics. Unlike my own dear husband, many latter-day bishops seem to have abandoned not only the 39 Articles (practically obligatory - perhaps now there's a 40th Article which reads 'Now forget everything you have just read') but common sense and decency too. I had no idea that the LSE had become a training college for go-ahead clergy, but clearly they have. No Your Grace, you are no Troll, but the Bishop of Buckingham is no gentleman, either.

7 July 2014 at 11:53  
Blogger IanCad said...


You have faithfully dispensed enlightenment and encouragement to your fractious flock on an almost daily basis for a number of years.

A rest is overdue. Batteries need recharging.

The immense amount of time and energy that you devote to the cause is, I'm sure, appreciated by all.

There is no other blog like it.
Now, what is it? Six years at least?

O Dear! You're not contemplating a sabbatical?

That would be far too long.

7 July 2014 at 12:04  
Blogger RetiredPaul said...

Your grace, attempts to silence those who speak God's words are not new. Perhaps you remind yourself of Acts 4:18-20 for encouragement!

7 July 2014 at 12:17  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dr Cranmer.
If you're not being shot at, it's because you are not worth the price of a bullet.
I know that you are made of sterner stuff & you will not back down when you are in the right, as do all the other contributors that have posted in your support.

Perhaps Canon Rosie should replace Andrew White & Andrew should replace Alan Wilson. Apart from having the same initials, they are chalk & cheese.
But on reflection the Christian brothers & sisters in Baghdad have enough to put up with without the problem of Rosie Harper.

Keep the flag flying Dr Cranmer. Damn the flack, those that go to war must expect opposition.

Blessings. Preacher.

7 July 2014 at 12:19  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I think that the IG in O went a bit far last night. It is I think, even within his jesting persona, OTT and inappropriate to comment on a lady's level of make up and congratulate her for not putting a bit more on lest she look like a tart. If the ladies on the blog commented on senior churchmen "good to see his x was not more y or he could have looked like a gigolo" it would be instantly seen as inappropriate. I do feel parity is appropriate there, if not indeed parity improved upon with a little gentlemanliness even. His Grace is loathe to over curtail free speech, and I do sympathise, but think the limits were broached a bit. But it was late at night!!

However it could have slipped by those few late night readers because he might have had the odd tipple so people would have taken that into account and also because he often attitudinizes within persona in a way which is not taken altogether seriously, and represents an RC not an Anglican set of anxieties.

I didn't say this before as I have only just seen that post. As for the criticism of arguments and of her saying her opponents were uncompassionate that is entirely fair game. As to her gender and her make up not fair game at all.

7 July 2014 at 12:23  
Blogger John Wrake said...

Peter W at 11.49:

You were right in your thought! You were out on a limb, and busily sawing away at what you were sitting on.

The question of whether it is right to kill another, whatever the motive, is hardly a sideline matter.

I suggest that the questions that we should be addressing relate as much to the policy of appointments within the Church of England as our attitude toward aberrant views of Scripture.

There is a saying that it is better to be a live dog than a dead lion.
In this case, I would rather believe a dead lion than a live dog!

John Wrake.

7 July 2014 at 12:25  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Scitman @ 11:43

Two questions:

1. How would you define a Christian?

2. Can one definition be better than another; if so, on what basis?

7 July 2014 at 12:44  
Blogger scitman said...

Definition of a Christian? Romans 10:9 "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.".

As with so many biblical phrases, so simple and yet immensely complicated. I have my interpretation of what that means, and you have yours. Who's right and who's wrong? Who knows? Christ alone. The ones to watch out for are those who claim that they alone have the answer, and everyone else is either misguided at best, or the agents of the evil one at worst.

Btw, your grace, watching the comments here has changed my mind. I definitely think you should stop. Some of the comments on both sides of the debate are not godly in my view, and some of the reactions merely heap wood on the pyre (image deliberately chosen). Not your fault, but that's what I think.

7 July 2014 at 12:56  
Blogger Len said...

I see the vultures are circling already?

7 July 2014 at 12:58  
Blogger WindsorBloke said...

My experience of the Oxford Diocese informs me that it's a top-heavy overly bureaucratic organisation which is being lead by a man patently out of his depth.

Apart from that it's perfect.

7 July 2014 at 12:58  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Seriously, Your Grace? You would consider withdrawing because +Wilson felt it was necessary or expedient to play the angry gentleman knight and spring to the defense of a mendacious emotional manipulator with a collar? Not appropriate and not allowed, as you can see from the comments of your community here. Gosh, YG, such odd things you get into when I'm away on urgent business...I'm back now and looks like I'll have to keep an eye on you.

7 July 2014 at 13:01  
Blogger scitman said...

And comments like the one above is why you should stop. Christians do not call other Christians "mendacious emotional manipulators" whether they agree with them or not.
And any church should be led by definition by someone out of their depth.

7 July 2014 at 13:05  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I'm not a Christian, scitman and I call it as I see it. On that not, it's not His Grace who needs quit, it's you. Clearly you you're too fragile and precious for the daily fare here.

7 July 2014 at 13:15  
Blogger Preacher said...

Welcome back Avi.
Scoring goals like the one above, you should have been playing in the World Cup.

7 July 2014 at 13:19  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ scitman

And why exactly would you expect all the comments to be godly? This is a blog which will attract all sorts of people at all stages in their Christian development. And "if we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us". That is written of disciples, so if all the ungodly comments are taken out (your judgement of "ungodly"?) then what would be left?

Is your own last comment perfectly godly? You take aim at "those who claim that they alone have the answer" but presumably you are sure you know who are the "ungodly"? But do you? Do you find John the Baptist's harsh criticisms and descriptions of those he considered immoral a godly way to go about it? Or not? It is all a bit complex is it not? At what stage does criticism of ungodliness become ungodly? It just is not an easy question.

Furthermore person x may conquer envy and greed first through Christ while person y gets to grips with pride and fear. We progress in different areas at different times and need to be patient with one another trusting that the transforming work is being done bit by bit but not the same bits first. So let the sinners (all of us) debate and learn from one another through and within debate, patient with the process of sanctification, which takes a lifetime plus.

As far as I can see God more often answers passionate questioning angry prayers than he does anodyne and formulaic ones, because above all he wants us to be real and not fake in our communications. This blog is real, which means it gets a bit heated at times. You learn you can take the heat, and at least people are being real. And you learn far from it than from anodyne PC mush which is neither thought through nor wrestled over.

I am strongly in favour of HG continuing the good fight. Onwards and upwards!

Oh and if Rosie is searching for "The Mouse and Wheel" in Gloucester to convert the IG in O to better ways of thinking she may find it a strangely elusive destination.

7 July 2014 at 13:20  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Greetings, Preacher, no, not scoring goals; just cranky from two weeks without a drop of proper single malt, a plate of salt herring and onions...or even a decent tea. Now, your, "if you're not being shot at, it's because you are not worth the price of a bullet," that's a score.

7 July 2014 at 13:24  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Welcome back, Mrs Proudie,


Welcome back, Avi Barzel.

7 July 2014 at 13:24  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Does the good Bishop know what a Troll is? For a Wikipedia essay on the topic, see meta:What is a troll?
In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. As the owner of the blog and setter of the topic, by definition YG can't be a Troll!

7 July 2014 at 13:27  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


Now if you are saying because comments here are upsetting you, this is a reason to shut down this blog, it isn't. We have Christians of all stripes here; have you been round for the Catholic-Proddy debates??, atheists, Orthodox Jews, gays, Anglicans, Calvinists, Roman Catholics, Seven day Adventers, born again believers, Evangelicals, gay Jews, you name it they all contribute here. They all have different views and it gets robust here, but that can be useful in sharpening one's own debating skills.

Comments on a blog aren't a good reason to shut one down. I get stupid comments on my blog, so the thing is to call them out, delete them or ignore them. Take your pick, but poor comments or comments you disagree with are not a reason to shut down a blog.

On more than one blog I've been called a "right winger hawk", "count Dooku", "a heretic", "he with the Sephardi 'mentality' ", "an uneducated Embarrassment to Judaism", that when I support my sister I'm saying "to hell with Halacha".

The list goes on, but I simply don't care. If someone makes a shitty argument then they should be called for it. I'd except no less from others here and welcome the chance to refine an argument.

7 July 2014 at 13:27  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Thank you David. Just for the record, Mrs Proudie and I were not together in our absence. No matter what she may hint at.

7 July 2014 at 13:29  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dr Cranmer.
The troops are gathering & await your instructions.
Looks like the old guard are back in action! A serried ring of Blog steel & ready for the fray.

7 July 2014 at 13:30  
Blogger William Lewis said...


This is pretty much a free speech forum. Have you read His Graces's bottom line? He even allows non-Christians to comment! :O Occasionally the odd Catholic gets a lifetime ban (they can go a bit crazy sometimes), but His Grace usually relents and welcomes them back with open arms.

If you think that His Grace is somehow encouraging or condoning unchristian behaviour then I think it is you who is out of his depth.
Perhaps you would prefer a moderated blog where everyone toes a politically correct party line?

7 July 2014 at 13:33  
Blogger Len said...

The thing that strikes me here is the assumption that if you disagree with Canon Rosy Harper and the dispatching of our relatives once they have passed their' sell by date( 'accompanied by nice music and and a glass of the house claret) you are a 'troll' and not a Christian!.
How quaint.
This letter by Rosie Harper is nothing less than emotional blackmail to manipulate its readers to obey her advice..
I suppose that makes me' a troll' too , oh dear....

7 July 2014 at 13:38  
Blogger Nicodemus said...

Please continue.

I was accused by a senior churchman of being 'unworthy of a disciple of Christ' - which was reason for considerable pain and reflection. I had to conclude the accusation was true, but nevertheless grateful the Lord He has called one so unworthy to follow Him.

I also concluded I am walking a different path to that of my accuser, a narrower way if you like, and although I maintain respect, I can no longer consider myself as ploughing the same farrow.

But plough we must.

7 July 2014 at 13:42  
Blogger scitman said...

Thanks for that Lucy. A thoughtprovoking response. You're right of course, and by all means hold me to account for anything I say.

You imply quite a fundamental question: What is this blog for? Is it any different from any other outlet? Should it be different? And to what extent is His Grace responsible for what people say on the website bearing his/her name?

Ultimately, only His Grace can answer that question. For me as a Christian of some thirty years standing, and as someone who realises that he understands less as he gets older, I accept that people have different points of view, and enjoy debating those views with passion.

I draw the line at personal abuse, and have seen too much of that in the blogosphere over the years. To attack or impugn different views by attacking the integrity or character of your opponent is unacceptable to me, and as I said before that's why I closed my blog the best part of a decade ago.

We have perfect freedom in Christ, but that is not a blank cheque.

I just think we should be better , that's all.

7 July 2014 at 13:45  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Avi @ 13:29

I know you weren't.

7 July 2014 at 13:45  
Blogger Galant said...

All the other issues aside, it's clear that the Bishop misunderstands trolling. That's fair enough, unless one spends a decent amount of time online it isn't going to be obvious.

I don't know whether the Bishop might be interested/find it useful to see some examples of real trolling?

Perhaps -


Whilst trolling can be varied in its approach, manner and intention (for humour, to make fun, or to cause havok/stir things up), the essential ingredient is an insincere interaction with someone designed to provoke a response. Often trolls participate only minimally in an discussion, preferring to 'sit back and watch the fireworks', except where further input is necessary to complete the disturbance or where it can increase or improve it.

Often people consider abusive content as 'trolling'. I think, though, that such abusive onslaughts are more accurately termed 'flaming'. Some might consider that a subset of trolling, although personally I think it's distinct. Flaming is usually far more emotional in its inspiration and is almost always abusive.

In this instance, the Bishop would have to believe that Cranmer was insincere in his comments, that he was simply trying to provoke a response and had no desire to truly engage in the discussion or exchange of information or opinion. Or, if one considers flaming to be trolling, the Bishop would have to see Cranmer's comments as purely abusive and emotive and not actually engaging in reasoned and moderate debate.

Of course, digital commentary is notorious for the difficult in interpreting its intent, and people from different 'cultures of exchange' can find certain manners of communication offensive or inflammatory where nothing of the sort was intended.

However, I don't see any reason why such details can't be discussed and resolved between reasonable individuals.

Should the Bishop wish it I'm sure I could try to throw together a few samples for reference showing how trolling and flaming might really look in the context of that discussion - and I mean that sincerely.

7 July 2014 at 13:46  
Blogger The Explorer said...

scitman @ !2:56

So if some one (a bishop, say)doesn't believe that Jesus is Lord, and does not believe that God raised him from the dead, is it fair to say that that person is not a Christian?

Such a person would argue that Romans 10:9 is to be understood in a quixotic sense, and should, on no account, be taken literally. (To do so, after all, would be to risk one's chances of preferment.)

7 July 2014 at 13:52  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Avi and David

Welcome back. Refreshingly direcr common sense!!

Avi, (much as I would like it if you were a Christian) I did get a moment of sheer enjoyment from your 13.15 post, for which thanks.

This is a blog for everyman, and everywoman.

Speaking of which maybe others on here remember that book plate:

"Everyman I will go with thee and be thy guide,
In thy most need to be by thy side".

I think it comes from a play of the same name, but am thinking that it represents how His Grace has at many times been there for us as companion on the journey.

7 July 2014 at 13:55  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


"I think that the IG in O went a bit far last night. It is I think, even within his jesting persona, OTT and inappropriate to comment on a lady's level of make up and congratulate her for not putting a bit more on lest she look like a tart."

No he didn't.

He was really funny.


Women constantly comment on levels of makeup but in your PC world for some reason men cannot?

Anytime the Inspector is in Carmarthen his beer is on me.


7 July 2014 at 14:12  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Thank you, Miss Mullen, great to see the troops rallying around...a serried ring of steel, as Preacer see it. You are right in your assessment of His Grace's blog; it's here for people like us, people who seem to have no place in these times of trendiness and correctness, emotion over reason, principle over dogma. Nicodemus' post above reminded me of what this place is for so many of us, while scitman's woolly-headed, potroonish waffling should be a warning about where our common culture is headed to intellectually.

7 July 2014 at 14:14  
Blogger IanCad said...

Glad to see you back again Avi.

It's been quite a while.
I hope you weren't in jail.

7 July 2014 at 14:25  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Where the heck have you been? I realize Canada had no internet service beyond (say) Ottawa but surely you could have checked in from time to time. Ya know. With that phone in the picture? Canada does have phone service. Doesn't it?


7 July 2014 at 14:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

So let's look at dear Rosie and her world of Twitter to see what it reveals about the Chaplain of Bishop Wilson.

"Elton John telling us Jesus would let gay clergy marry- love it!"

Where did Rosie get that one from? Not from any Bible I've ever read. And isn't Elton John an atheist?

"The C of E is full of men-afraid of women " Thanks! Great company!"

No real man is afraid of a woman. Perhaps Rosie is mixing in the wrong circles.

"Most excellent news. MBE for Colin Coward - he has put up with so much rubbish about LGBT rights - fully deserves the recognition."

Ah; thought so.

"Christina - still a sense that the boys of the church are doing women a favour by letting them into their club."

It's about God and what He has revealed - not your feminist urges.

"Christina Rees -why has it taken so long? The challenge is that we have not won the essential question about the full equality of women."

Equal but different ladies; we're not the same and are called to different roles.

#Dignityindying Has 45,000 followers on twitter and Facebook
- impressive."

Ooooo ... you show off, you.

"BBCR4Today- seems 30% of people admit having racist attitudes. Maybe the worst effect of UKIP is to normalise racism and make it acceptable."

Not a girl of the people then, Rosie?

"Very depressing election results - lots of seemingly normal people I know must have voted UKIP- scary."

And so judgemental too.

7 July 2014 at 14:28  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

One has only to spend a short time on Alan Wilson's to realize that his condemnation is a badge of honor. In a sound church, he would not be a bishop. So what then does his opinion matter?


7 July 2014 at 14:30  
Blogger Albert said...

Dr C,

These two posts have clearly created a large response. How about inviting Canon Harper to write a blog post? On the one hand it would be a peace offering, and on other, the comments would surely convince her that it is possible to be a Christian and still believe in the commandment: Thou shalt not kill. You never know, perhaps even the Bishop of Bucks would join in!

7 July 2014 at 14:41  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack wonders if the race for a mitre is playing a part in all this publicity. Show yourself to be a darling of the liberals and all that.

God girl’s: who’ll be the first female bishop?

And to think Canon Andrew White hasn't attracted any comment from Rosie and Alan and their oh, ever so with it, gang.

7 July 2014 at 14:52  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Happy Jack

"..isn't Elton John an atheist."

Well according to Bernie Taupin Elton John's house is laden with witchcraft and Satanist paraphernalia, so he certainly isn't a Christian, or any other mainstream monotheistic belief system either...

Shame as I like some of his earlier songs...

Doubt whether this Canon has looked into these difficult truths. He also has posession of a gross picture of a little girl naked and showing a part of her anatomy which is only properly shown to strangers whilst adult and giving birth.

I doubt if Rosie is quite so cool with that.

Once people wander off the straight and narrow path they get into all kinds of nastiness of course, and yet they still smile sweetly for the cameras. This is becoming horribly apparent with the latest news and it will be very easy to get behind the curve if too busy with yesterday's cool. Ironic really, but all to the good, ultimately, especially for the children.

7 July 2014 at 14:52  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Greeting, Ian and Carl! No, not jail...although the break from worries and decisions and having hot food served thrice daily would have been almost preferable. The orange jumpsuit and the company, not so much. And Carl, there isn't much beyond Ottawa...which is why I like it there. In seriousness, an ageing father who politely asks who I am every day and refuses to be brought back to Canada because he doesn't recall being here for over 40 years, tying up one business (expensive) and starting a new one (even more expensive) have strained my already poor multi-tasking abilities.

7 July 2014 at 15:00  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


I have news for you that you might find rather troubling

I am a sinner and still regard myself as a Christian

I am a man so I don't spend my time in groups talking about how to be a nicer person.

Even so I don't advocate "Action T4" either. Even if it was thought to be the right and compassionate thing to do at the time.

Even by Church leaders. Who are we to judge, right?


7 July 2014 at 15:03  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


I have news for you that you might find rather troubling

I am a sinner and still regard myself as a Christian

I am a man so I don't spend my time in groups talking about how to be a nicer person.

Even so I don't advocate "Action T4" either. Even if it was thought to be the right and compassionate thing to do at the time.

Even by Church leaders. Who are we to judge, right?


7 July 2014 at 15:03  
Blogger Galant said...

It's hard to trace the origin of this 'twitter-trolling' charge but perhaps this tweet by a 'Ron Swanson' - - might be it? He applies the term of troll based upon a supposed repetition/persistence of tweets by Cranmer on Rosie's account?

I can't see anything like that, however, whatever the frequency, I did a quick check of some of Cranmer's other tweeting, such as Canon White, and found some repetition there.

Perhaps it might be worth pointing out that repetition doesn't equal trolling where it is either a pursuit of a response or, as is often use in active Twitter accounts, used to 'bump' an issue for visibility?

Of course, if Mr. Swanson is simply referring to the conversation itself rather than the same content re-tweeted then that doesn't fit at all.

7 July 2014 at 15:03  
Blogger Albert said...


Matthew 7:1 should be our watchword.

If Canon Harper had taken your point of view, there would not be a discussion, because she wouldn't have said what she said. The problem with your position is that she did say what she said. In practice, therefore your position allows some to speak in quite offensive ways without any reply. In practice, that will tend to mean the only people who speak are those with right on secular liberal views.

I don't see that as particularly Christian.

7 July 2014 at 15:11  
Blogger Brian West said...

Two brief comments.

[1] What a joy to see so many who read this blog but seldom or never post popping up today to encourage his grace.

[2] I don't remember seeing scitman posting here before today, but he does seem to have moved from a very frosty viewpoint(though theologically very similar to mine) to a much more generous and interactive one in a very short space of time. I particularly identify with his: "someone who realises that he understands less as he gets older" (13:45); that's me to a T.


7 July 2014 at 15:14  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Phil

It may seem funny to you, but I don't think that ever seems funny to a woman. The type of back row giggling about a woman's sexual allure or not when she is talking about serious things is just tedious, but it can also have a really nasty side. It is at root about diminishing, disempowering, and an unrooted and unrealistic sense of entitlement. It is certainly not the habit of a gentleman.

I also find it distasteful, silly and shallow when women speak in those terms of men who have serious jobs, don't you? You can have a group of serious looking men trying to avert world war three and such folk are wittering on about how tight or not their trousers are. Tedious and tasteless, boring and shallow, isn't it? So why if you can see it that way round do you persist obdurately in not seeing it the other way?

And don't refer to that pathetic trumped up Kinsey report done on sex workers cos it just won't wash.

7 July 2014 at 15:16  
Blogger Bill Kenway said...

You do a more valuable service by speaking than not.

7 July 2014 at 15:37  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Starting a new business, huh. I bet you were off somewhere writing that novel you always had in you. I bet it's called "A Tree Grows in Canada. Really. It does."

Sorry for the news about your Dad. I am sure it is both hard and painful. But remember that your children will watch you and learn from you. They will remember the love of son for father even in difficult circumstances.


7 July 2014 at 15:41  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Happy Jack at 14:52

You’ve put your finger on something there, Jack. That came out in the Evening Standard nearly two years ago but, considering that the debate about bishopettes has still not been brought to a conclusion, the information is probably still up to date.

So what the fire and brimstone—including the bishop’s misuse, whether deliberate or otherwise, of the term “troll”—is all about, as you have now shown us, has nothing to do with doctrine or Christian ethics or the rights and wrongs of helping the old folks to cross their one last river. It just boils down to personal ambition. Most revealing.

Your Grace, there can’t be much left now to reflect on, can there? Please come back. Your communicants need you.

7 July 2014 at 15:45  
Blogger simon said...

Your Grace

The good Bishop has clearly managed to find a new usage for the word 'troll'. I for one look forward to him responding that, on reflection, as his chaplain spoke directly against the CofE's position on Assisted Dying, that he was wrong to accuse you of trolling.

Please accept a small donation of alms to His Grace's Revamp & renovation Fund in recognition of the excellent work you continue to do. I look forward to the period of voluntary reflection being short. An hour or two should suffice.

7 July 2014 at 16:22  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Please keep going YG - to put it bluntly the more you get on the tits of people like + Wilson and Canon Harper, the better you're doing :o)

7 July 2014 at 16:23  
Blogger IanCad said...


Not amending my previous comment. Lord Knows! You deserve a break.

But, after your posts lauding the brave Canon White, is the timing perhaps not a little misjudged?

Fiery darts and holy tarts are assailing you.

Dosen't look so good for you to duck behind the parapet at this hour.

7 July 2014 at 16:24  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ah, yes, Carl, it is hard indeed, this life cycle chapter, as I'm sure many here who are dealing with their ageing parents already know. The hardest part I think is in assigning time, effort and resources to all the near and dear who need them as well.

On that thought, I wonder what percentage of life Canon Rosie would assign to disabled parents who have the gall to lose their memories and to forget what dutiful and endearing sons and daughters we are. Perhaps they cross into the half-alive category as well, with how they fritter away good money just for staying alive longer, when the kids and grand kids need it so badly? Let's not fool ourselves; all that quality-of-life and dignity bullshit doesn't correlate with the demographic bump of ageing parents and the tough times from chance alone.

7 July 2014 at 16:49  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ IanCad

I somehow doubt that HG will find your phrase "holy tarts" a happy one given that the accusation was trolling. Did you think of that?

Also despite the fact that many of us disagree with much she has written it is also blatantly unfair, inaccurate and grossly insulting. Did you mean to be those three?

7 July 2014 at 17:09  
Blogger IanCad said...

So sorry to hear of your woes Avi.

You will have a tough row to hoe.
But Hey! You guys have managed to hang on for over three thousand years.

God knew what He was doing when He chose you.
No people on earth are better equipped to deal with troubles.

Not only Dad but winding up and starting a business!

Well, I don't know much about Canadian red tape but if it is anything like the USA you have my sympathy.
Far less of it over here in that regard.

I was sent this link a while ago.
You are not alone.

7 July 2014 at 17:19  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Methinks Ian only thought of a funny rhyme and couldn't help himself.

7 July 2014 at 17:19  
Blogger The Explorer said...

"Permanent purgation," Your Grace? Surely, the point about Purgatory is its temporality?

Dante's souls, as I recall, ask for the prayers of the virtuous to speed them on their way.

Plenty of pleas from good people on this thread to speed your progress through your time of trial and enable your rapid return to us.

7 July 2014 at 17:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Scitman, Happy Jack always understood Matthew 7:1 to apply to a person an not to their conduct.

Let's look at it by adding the verse 2:

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you."

It is perfectly right and proper to critique the public words and actions of an ordained Minister of the established Church - especially when they contradict the position of that Church.

"Fiery darts and holy tarts are assailing you."


and bumptious bishops ...

7 July 2014 at 17:24  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

You will have a tough row to hoe...But Hey! You guys have managed to hang on for over three thousand years.

Ha! Put that way, who can grumble? That's a powerful cartoon by Mr Husband, Ian. Hard to read in parts.

7 July 2014 at 17:27  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Anyway, Avi, as Mrs Proudie said to me, "Wonder what's happened to that nice Canadian chap."

Now we know.

Good to see you back, and on such cracking form!

7 July 2014 at 17:30  
Blogger IanCad said...

Lucy Mullen

You know Lucy, I thought it most ungentlemanly of the Inspector to comment on her appearance.

Now here am I doing essentially the same thing.

I assure you that it was done so in the cause of euphony.

In now way did I intend it as a slur on her morals.

I apologise for any offence caused. All three.

As to your first paragraph I'm a little uncertain as to exactly what the relationship between "tarts" and "trolling" would be, if any.


7 July 2014 at 17:59  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Shalom Avi,

Welcome back. We were all wondering what had happened to you. I thought you might have got a dairy overload after Shavuot. I wish you success in your new business venture and I am sorry to hear about your father. Don't leave it so long before popping in next time.

7 July 2014 at 18:15  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


I wasn't sure if you were welcoming back I or David Hussell, but if it was either or both of us, thanks for that welcome. To avoid confusion, perhaps I should change the name to Dawi,Dafydd,Dave,Dov, Dah'ved, Daud or Dovid?

7 July 2014 at 18:23  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Lucy. This man will NOT retract one word of his criticism of the lovely Rosie’s appearance. The woman is dolled up, there can be no other word for it. What’s wrong with NO make up, with hair pulled back and tied behind her head, and plain attire. That is what is required from women in the church, nuns for example, who want to be taken seriously.

What is she trying to be – one of Christ’s vicars on this earth, or an ephemeral decoration for the gratification of an apparently off message bishop who is disturbingly silent on his silly thing’s musings, musings that could have come from Jezebel, as indeed could her artificial and tempting looks ?

And by the way, applauding the woman for not going overboard with the slap was actually a compliment, in the Inspector’s book, albeit a back handed one…

7 July 2014 at 18:38  
Blogger IanCad said...

Bad day for me today.
Now I'm going to have to say sorry to the Inspector

My apologies Sir.
You have steeled my spine.

7 July 2014 at 18:47  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Not at all IanCad, you are refreshingly honest. Do keep that streak of purity close to hand..

As for oneself, he sees nothing in his way to pull down this canons whatever while she harbours such black un-Christian thoughts in her heart...

7 July 2014 at 18:55  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ David Kavanagh

It was a welcome primarily to you as you and Avi appeared roughly at the same time. Not of course suggesting you were holed up in the back of one of his lorries careering merrily across Canada, with or without Mrs Proudie.

But it applies equally to that other excellent gentleman Mr. Hussell, whose posts are always so interesting and kind.

@ IanCad
Yes I thought it might be a euphonic slip as more in keeping with your character, but thought it worth mentioning as I have a fair idea that some might be looking for bar room slander.

@ IG in O
You been at the Viagra again? Whilst some of us eschew almost as much make up as we can get away it is not always easy, because some people find it offensive if you DON'T stick the stuff on, believe it or not. Right pain and all that. Difficult to win on this one. Use none and some men will automatically label you as a lesbian, too much and you are labelled as a tart. Some of us made the most of having sensitive skin and then the wretches brought out hypoallergenic stuff...As I said hard to win...

7 July 2014 at 19:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, Happy Jack cannot help but agree with you about an appropriate dress code for religious men and women.

This an image of the Canon at Synod. It suggests she’s into floral wear. What must Archbishop Williamson be thinking!

Then again, we’re probably being misogynistic and sexist.

This outfit is a little bit more suitable. This was her during the her speech on women bishops when she declared to Synod:”People out there don’t care enough to be angry, but they do dismiss us as weird. If we are serious about our mission, we really have to stop being weird.”

So, all in all, Happy Jack concludes we’re weird, misogynistic sexists.

7 July 2014 at 19:14  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Lucy, calm down, dear girl. As far as the Inspector is aware, he has yet to hear of any woman of the church, we are talking nuns here, suffering any admonishment arising from a lack of makeup. One is rather wondering why this has not translated to all the CoE ladies. Could it be some reject it ???

However, the Inspector does appreciate that women’s brains are wired differently to men, and what may seem the glaringly obvious to a man can leave a woman all a-dizzy.

7 July 2014 at 19:16  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

If she wore a vest, she wouldn’t need the cardigan, Jack. Too much of a fashion show about her. Suggests she shears her hair, Catholic nun style. That’s if she SERIOUSLY wants to be Christ’s representative on earth, which this man somewhat doubts...

7 July 2014 at 19:21  
Blogger Sam Vega said...

Don't give up, YG, not even for a short time. I'm not a Christian, but I value this blog and agree with your opposition to the assisted suicide nonsense. May your God strengthen you.

7 July 2014 at 19:25  
Blogger IanCad said...

Happy Jack,


A man who dislikes women as much as women dislike one another.

H. L. Mencken.

7 July 2014 at 19:41  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Your Grace is one among many.
I am confident that you will not abdicate your throne. I think you might be called more than a troll if you absconded with your communicants offering bag. It is very refreshing however to receive so many Positive Affirmations from everyone. Well, nearly everyone.

I guess I should not be surprised to see Happy Jacks info that an MBE has been given to Colin Coward for his work in promoting the LGBT community. Seems it's Par for the course that a reverend should be doing that and I bet Cameron had something to do with that.

Come on Cranmer, none of us like criticism but what do you expect when you raise your head above the parapet. You get shot at.

But for the most part it has been a daily drudge and an utterly thankless task. Somewhere out there is a man (or woman) who is stirring shit in the sewers, just to keep the air clear and the effluent moving. A thankless task indeed and similar tour job. We are all part of Gods machinations and sometimes we wonder why. God knows why and we do what he has called us to do.
By the way, we have to read them you know!
Chuckles; as Jack would say.

7 July 2014 at 19:51  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


Ah, thanks for the welcome back then. As I said above, I do hope that His Grace changes his mind. I look forward to the new blog being put up momentarily.

7 July 2014 at 19:58  
Blogger Bud said...

Your Grace
I have followed your blog for a long time. As a Catholic of the Roman kind I have not always agreed with you but have been immensely impressed with your efforts to support Christianity. You have done great work and have helped my thinking on many occasions. You are now in my prayers and please do not underestimate the good you have done and can continue to do.

7 July 2014 at 20:05  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Come on Cranmer old chap. Do you know you actually stood next to the Inspector at a function in Bournemouth, must have been March time, this year. Lord Tebbit was there too. You had a job to do, so didn’t want to spring a surprise on you by introducing ones self. But if this man does in future, it will be with a pat on the back followed by a “Well done”, and a “Make way, coming through to the bar” as the throng moves aside...

The Inspector salutes you Sir !

7 July 2014 at 20:09  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ah, hello there Explorer and Doovid K, and Jack, Inspector and others too. I see the Inspector has, as it is his duty as an inspector, confidently rendered a recommendation on proper attire...what is tzniut and what not as we would say...and Happy Jack initiated a thorough wardrobe analysis with evident joy. Things are more or less normal.

7 July 2014 at 20:17  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Anyway, is this a white leopard fur her revence is sporting? Or a imitation, not enrage the animal rights crowd. Looks like a jacket with lapels which might work as a unisex garment...I think I would look dashing in such. Perhaps once she is tired of it, I can offer a fair price....

7 July 2014 at 20:24  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Good to see you Avi, and a timely appearance too. Rum goings on in Buckingham, don’t you know. Still, nothing the Inspector’s privately introduced Bill of Attainder can’t put right...

7 July 2014 at 20:32  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Good to see you here too, Inspector. Rum goings on is veritably overwhelmed with stuff popping up relentlessly in all sectors. Which is why I think I would be cheered by a new jacket....

7 July 2014 at 20:44  
Blogger Avi Barzel said... Here Reverence's.

7 July 2014 at 20:46  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

How about a Gloucester coat made from badger. Managed to get my hands on some stinking TB infected carcasses. Have them here, next to me...


Don’t let the bullet holes put you off...

7 July 2014 at 20:56  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"Misogynist: A man who dislikes women as much as women dislike one another."

Most excellent quote and Jack must say, it has a ring of truth about it too.

"I think you might be called more than a troll if you absconded with your communicants offering bag.

Naughty - looks like Corrigan might have recovered his £10 investment just in time!

Avi, Happy Jack sends his chuckling best greetings to you and yours, friend. Sorry to hear of your woes - your reward will be great in Heaven.

You have hit on a great business idea! The trading of second hand clothes of women vicars. Super. There is sure to be a strong market.

According to 'Changing Attitude',
a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual members of the Church of England, there are many "gin, lace, and back-biting" feminine Anglo-Catholic male priests. For sure, there would be interest in this clobber.

Now - a name for said company?

7 July 2014 at 21:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, see Jack's post above.

People will talk! Think of the reputation of your family!

7 July 2014 at 21:02  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

If you're up to hanging on to them, Inspector. Spicy posies or a portyguls in a handkerchief held to the nose would help. Badgers stink without the aid of the foetor mortis, don't they?

7 July 2014 at 21:04  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hi Jack, dash it, the white in the fur came out as pink. As for reputations, I count on the hope that no one in my near or extended family has stumbled on me here.

7 July 2014 at 21:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, here she is in a full length shot.

Notice the overhead behind her? Clear evidence this is all a dastardly Jewish plot to bring down Christianity.

7 July 2014 at 21:10  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Oh, goodie; it's a full length frock...much more orthodox. Will have to grow sidelocks, Bobov-style britches with white hose and a wide-brimmed Borsolino hat like David K's to match it.

Yeah, I noticed the "Rabbinic Responses" bit too. These would be her liberal lady-friend "rabbis," I imagine. Lucky for Jews no one attends such gatherings, even for the free coffee and cake.

7 July 2014 at 21:17  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, Jack is the bearer of troubling news.

The event where this speech was made was to launch a collection of essays: "Assisted Dying- Rabbinic Responses" (£9.99) which collates arguments both for and against assisted self murder from a Jewish perspective.

Speakers for *assisted dying* were:

- Simon Bryden-Brook, Catholic Voices for Reform;
- Canon Rosie Harper, Vicar of Great Missenden and Chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham; and
- Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, Writer, broadcaster and Minister at Maidenhead Synagogue

Speakers against:

- Right Reverend Peter Forster, The Lord Bishop of Chester;
- Rabbi Dr Moshe Freedman, Minister at Northwood United Synagogue
- Madeleine Teahan, Associate Editor at the Catholic Herald

7 July 2014 at 21:31  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Good Grief !

There’s Rosie in a full length power outfit that would frighten a Thompson’s gazelle shitless, and as a bishop’s chaplain, with a canonency to boot, we have here gentlemen, a fast tracked candidate for girl bishop, when it comes...


7 July 2014 at 21:35  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness dear Avi! Of course you have not been cavorting over the Great White North with moi...the very idea! Anyway, you didn't invite me... To be honest, I have been locked away in the Palace library, mulling over the Rosie affair after re-reading Knox's First Blast against the monstrous regimen of Women, and have come to the conclusion that she is one canon who should be fired. Good to see so many old friends gathering in defence of His Grace...perhaps we happy few could be described as His Grace's Monstrous Regiment...

7 July 2014 at 21:39  
Blogger Richard said...

Your Grace, Please don't falter because the Bishop of Buckingham is momentarily infected with hubris. He is of little consequence. You are an inspiration and must continue. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

7 July 2014 at 21:40  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Good to see you're hale and hearty, Mrs Proudie, and thanks for the alibi. Would have invited you, but bouncing around in a truck, even one with a spacious and well-appointed sleeper would have been far beneath your gentle station.

His Grace's Monstrous Regiment. O, I like that one. We must commission a standard and we can all sport leopard skins as livery.

7 July 2014 at 21:53  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


Indeed I have a collection of broad rimmed black Borsolinos & Fedoras.

This is because I fancied my wife to be, a Hasidic, I got myself invited to an all night Torah study session on Shovuos, that she was attending. But I didn't have a Kippah, having left it accidentally at home, due to my rebellious nature. My wife to be had already solved the problem my knitting me a Kippah and brought me a present; a wide brimmed Fedora. She gently put it on my head and said 'that looks better Dov', kissed me on the cheek (and whispering in my ear 'sexy'). Happy memories, which I'll keep with me forever & the start of my return to the Orthodox fold.

Incidentally my second wife also likes me wearing black hats. I should have become a hat model.

7 July 2014 at 22:00  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


I do not do leopard skins.

And if we need a standard, couldn't it be the standard of Henry V? Sure, he's a little before Cranmer's time, but sorta close. And ... well, Agincourt, and "For England, Harry, and St George." Maybe Cranmer's weblog should just go conquer France. Wouldn't take much, and it would sure muck up the EU. Besides, it would get his mind off of bishops and things.


7 July 2014 at 22:04  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Avi, how kind. A crinoline is a marvellous buffer when the suspension is wonky, I do assure you. I shall ask the Barchester Mothers' Union to get cracking on the standard, but first, as Mrs. Beeton writes on page 234 of her admirable book of recipes, 'first catch your leopard, then skin it...' I shall send Mr Slope out with My Lord's butterfly net immediately.

7 July 2014 at 22:05  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, personally speaking, Happy Jack thinks she looks quite cute and approachable. He would be happy to stand her a drink or two.

Now, stung by your admonishment, poor Rosie has announced a new fashion range for herself and all women clerics. This is the first in a range of new outfits. She has yet to obtain the approval of her bishop.


7 July 2014 at 22:16  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

That must have been confusing, Dave K; a Zionist knit kippa srugah with a Hassidishe black hat. Mind you, in my shul we have baal'teshuva (newly religious) folks who happily switch back and forth as the seasons and the moods move them, oblivious to the reasons behind the livery... to the disapproval of the black-hats, who take such outfits as statements of theological position or proof of advanced scholarship. Quite amusing those interactions at times.

Now, Carl, you would stand out like a sore thumb with street clothes while rest of us are twirling in our leopard coats. I suggest a symbol of a hand to the fire, the sign of Cranmer's sinning hand which signed the confessions...and for us hoi polloi, an image of butts to the fire, for the tendency to get ourselves into trouble.

7 July 2014 at 22:30  
Blogger Jessica Hoff said...

We've had a Catholic bishop shut up a blogger, that's one too many, so please do not become the second one to fall silent. The Bishop should be disciplining Canon Rosie, not whining about your critique.

7 July 2014 at 22:31  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, you'd look grand in leopard skin!

Here is a possible design. Fine fighting men.

Researching for suitable leopard skin attire for women proved very interesting. Finally, Jack came across this one
here which may suit.

7 July 2014 at 22:35  
Blogger ukFred said...


Where would the Church be if it were not for men who have challenged heresy in high places down the generations? To slightly mis-quote Bishop Pete, "I'd have thought you'd be a bit more robust about ... heretical nonsense."

7 July 2014 at 22:55  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

To be so accused by a bishop is a serious matter (not more so than by a pope?), especially when that bishop is one's own temporal overseer whom one has met half-a-dozen times over the years and with whom shares a number of passions, if not theo-political concerns (Could not the same have been said about the reformers and their opposites in the RCC?). His Grace has also met the Bishop's Chaplain twice. Not, of course, that either would have been aware.(Look not for the praise of others but to the glory of the Saviour).

Goodness, YG.

If Luther had shown your reluctance to the tasks in hand when challenged by the 'authorities' in current establishment, he would have left his hammer and nails at home...and where would we be now???

You may have,it seems, for too long, hoped for champions in the CofE for your cause of the proclamation of the true gospel, only to find the liberal/Social Sadducees have taken control of the house of God!!

Play the man, old fella and get back into the fray!!!.

Ephesians 6:10-24

E S Blofeld

7 July 2014 at 23:09  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"If Luther had shown your reluctance to the tasks in hand when challenged by the 'authorities' in current establishment, he would have left his hammer and nails at home...and where would we be now???"

Where indeed? God alone knows. Unwise to speculate on what might have been. Jack takes the point if not the analogy.

How you doing old chap? Any start date at the new job yet?

7 July 2014 at 23:16  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...


"Where indeed? God alone knows. Unwise to speculate on what might have been. Jack takes the point if not the analogy." Old Ernstie didn't expect anything less from the spiritual leader of the Swiss Cyber-guard? *Chortles*

"How you doing old chap?" I have been caught in Satan's crosshairs for the last six weeks relentlessly an now Croydon Council have joined the fray against me? It never rains, it pours fire and brimstone ? *Sniggers*

"Any start date at the new job yet?" Nothing. It appears that by the time I get security clearance I shall get to be deemed Persona Non Grata and surplus to requirements with the coming civil service cuts from Gideon. Looking for silver linings in storm clouds can be tiring.

Hope all is well with you and your brood.


7 July 2014 at 23:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


I won't even wear shorts. And don't ask about some fabric that looks like leopard skin. I like solid colors that are dark. Blues. Black. Especially black. My daughter says they are royal tones or something. None of that includes a leopard print.

How about those Ninja outfits. Those are both cool and acceptable. Cranmer's Mutant Ninja Commenters. I like it.


8 July 2014 at 00:15  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Blowers, Jack is sorry things are dragging out for you. We must soldier old, old chap, with a song in our heart despite the travails of this short life of ours.

Jack is well and mother and baby are coming along nicely. To think, in a few short months this man will be a grandfather. What a blessing.

It is Jack's 35th wedding anniversary today. Well, his first wedding anyway. He married the same woman 10 years later. His first was in an Anglican Church and deemed illicit by Rome. Jack was even excommunicated over this without knowing and had to get a special dispensation from his Bishop. This was when he lived in Beckenham - your neck of the woods.

Carl, any man not confident enough to don the attire of the Zulu warrior falls in Jacks estimation. Our battle cry "Crannnnniiiieeee", with thumping on shields, will strike fear in the hearts of our enemy. Besides, Ninja are too covert and hidden, like the SJ of old. We need visibility. Would you still fit into a Ninja outfit?

8 July 2014 at 00:38  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Of all the posts Happy Jack thought this the best:

Bud said...
"Your Grace
I have followed your blog for a long time. As a Catholic of the Roman kind I have not always agreed with you but have been immensely impressed with your efforts to support Christianity. You have done great work and have helped my thinking on many occasions. You are now in my prayers and please do not underestimate the good you have done and can continue to do."

(@7 July 2014 20:05)

Fine words and sentiments.

8 July 2014 at 01:25  
Blogger underground pewster said...

One knows that one has won the argument when your opponent resorts to name calling. Your Grace has been paid a compliment. Keep up the good work!

8 July 2014 at 03:01  
Blogger Derek said...

I'm another regular reader and (very) infrequent commenter.

Don't shut down your blog, Your Grace. Others have fleshed out the reasons better than I can right now, but I want to add my voice to theirs.

8 July 2014 at 03:59  
Blogger Ivan said...

Your Grace, there must be thousands out there like me who depend on your erudition and humane sympathies to sort out the complex issues of the day. Then too we would be deprived of the services of your many able commentators if you go off on a hiatus. Methinks your detractors are merely jealous. I urge you to keep your chin up like St Paul and carry on.

8 July 2014 at 05:05  
Blogger C.Law said...

As a long-time reader and very rare commenter, I would like to add my voice to the calls for YG to continue with your good work on this blog. There are many reasons for you to continue, which have been put forward by others and do not need repeating, but the main one is that you were right in your post and the bishop is dead wrong to respond with his criticism in that format.

On the question of assisted suicide I am as conflicted as many others on here have indicated they are. Nevertheless, I am against this proposed legislation in the same way that after, 32 years as a Police Officer, I am against the death penalty - I support it in principle but am completely against it in practice: the decisions are made by social systems run by fallible humans who can, and do, end up making incorrect judgements. In this case there is also the very persuasive argument that it would be the slippery slope to involuntary euthanasia.

Thank you for your blog, YG, please keep going.

8 July 2014 at 05:33  
Blogger Papaman said...

I would urge Your Grace, by all means to take time for a period of reflection in order to return to the battle refreshed for the fight for truth and justice. I for one would sorely miss your daily offerings. God bless you and strengthen your hand for war.

8 July 2014 at 06:39  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ IG in O

Well really the accusation of barrack room brawling mysogyny didn't arise from His Grace's blogging but more from your self-confessed back-handed compliments late at night and possibly after a snifter or two.

Which seemed to me, and no doubt to many, not to be the apogee of gentlemanly behaviour that one might expect. Presumably an Inspector General is of officer status and therefore aware of the expectations of gentlemanly behaviour.

I would think that people's opinions, attitudes and presentation are within fair range, but comments on personal appearance usually not, or to be done with some restraint and laying right off those of a sexual tone.

I am a bit confused as these were all standard expectations when I was growing up and for quite a while after, and yet here we are on a seemingly conservative blog and yet some seem to want to question what to me are basic building blocks of politeness.

8 July 2014 at 09:35  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Lucy Mullen, come now dear thing, perhaps we ladies can allow the gentlemen some latitude in the case of Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper, don't you think? *sniggers*

8 July 2014 at 10:08  
Blogger Albert said...

Here's an interesting story:

Now it would be a pity if Dr C did not comment on that, just because His Lord of Buckingham (who of course supports same-sex "marriage") had intimidated him on a different matter.

8 July 2014 at 10:10  
Blogger William Lewis said...


FWIW I also think that they are the basic building blocks of politeness.

I also think that derogatory comments on the Canon's appearance are an unnecessary and unhelpful distraction from her disgraceful attack on the integrity and Christianity of those who would oppose state sanctioned suicide. An attack that His Grace was quite correct to republish. I hope that His Grace is not in any doubt about that. I rather think that he is contemplating his position within the church where his Bishop is bearing misguided (at best) witness against him.

8 July 2014 at 10:19  
Blogger Flossie said...

Albert - what a good idea! Let's all strew His Grace's path with juicy carrots in the hope that one of them will make his ears prick up and his nostrils twitch, and put the silly remarks of a silly bishop in their rightful place - out of his mind.

8 July 2014 at 10:25  
Blogger Patrick Cox said...

Methinks, Your Grace, that the lady hath compounded her error, and realising it, has appealled to the Bishop for succour. Her closing statement is driven by her emotions, not by any reasonable argument and therein, I believe. lies the error.

As a Christian - indeed a member of the same Church Your Grace played so great a part in shaping - I find her appeal disquieting. After all, are we not taught that the seek to end one's own life is an evil thing? Unless, of course, one offers it in the attempt to save another's. Having several friends who suffer from a variety of ultimately terminal ailments (some would say that life itself is a terminal ailment) I would be loathe to be party to any 'assisted suicide' particularly if the person requesting it might be judged 'of unsound mind'. It would concern me deeply to see those suffering from dementia being ushered into the next world by well-intentioned siblings or offspring. It would trouble me even more if there were to be some 'adjudication panel' of strangers making these decisions.

I can appreciate the suffering that might tempt someone to seek a termination, but I am also convinced that in making it a law, one would open doors (and boxes) one would clearly not wish to open, and give opportunity to all manner of abuses. It may be acceptable to allow the individual concerned to choice 'in extremis', but the introduction of the third party ...

8 July 2014 at 11:09  
Blogger Chiff said...

The loose Canon wrote a Grauniad piece below the strapline "The tribal factions of the General Synod aren't hard to spot – but they're supposed to work out God's agenda, not their own". (

So what was she doing when she spoke out at the HoL book launch? Was she claiming knowledge of "God's agenda"?

Do not give in to the intolerance of the self-styled tolerant brigade.

8 July 2014 at 11:15  
Blogger Nick said...

Your Grace, I confess to being a little surprised at your reaction to the Bishop of Buckingham's tweets. I don't think the Bishop even understands what the word "troll" means. It certainly does not seem worth taking his half-baked comments to heart.

I put it to you also that Christians everywhere are gradually being silenced. This blog is therefore an essential vehicle for maintaining freedom of speech, and should not be silenced by the good bishop talking out of his arse.

Does the bishop have a blog where the public can openly discuss abortion, sexuality, Islamic extremism, and the apostasy of the CofE? I doubt it.

Thankless though it may be, keeping the debate alive is essential to keeping these issues in the spotlight. To cease posting would be a disservice to everyone

8 July 2014 at 11:27  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I recall a situation similar to this one last year, when HG enteres a period of sustained introspection after adverse comments from Bishop Pete.

The good thing about it was that loyal communicants kept the thread alive during HG's time of silence: over 400 comments, as I remember.

The bad thing about it was having to look at the same photo for nearly a week!

At least we don't have that problem here; although Bishop Alan's avatar reminds me of something out of voodoo.

8 July 2014 at 11:51  
Blogger Len said...

It would be interesting to record exactly how many' new words' have entered our vocabulary with the express purpose of controlling speech and thereby thoughts and actions.
George Orwell had it right about how future generations would be controlled shaped and manipulated to comply with the wishes of a small group within our society who have the express purpose of destroying our society from within so that they can rebuilt it 'in their image'.
Rosie Harper may have thought she was using a legitimate means to insure that her letter had the desired effect upon her readers and she may be totally aware she was attempting to manipulate them?.
Manipulation by speech control has become a very affective means to ensure that one gets ones desires pushed to the forefront and has probably become so commonplace that it has now become accepted practice by many inside and outside of the church.

The accusation of being a' troll' is clearly an attempt to bring condemnation upon a person and to invalidate their argument...

8 July 2014 at 12:04  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Explorer @ 11.51, one wrestles with possible titles and/or descriptors of Canon Harper.

The 'Angel of Death' springs to mind but may be deemed a culturally insensitive exercise in trolling, so will not be mentioned again.

However, the recent declaration by Dr Dawkins that he regarded himself as a 'Secular Christian' seems to contain some valuable pointers. After all, if one is a Christian minister and advocates flagrant breach of the foundational tenets of the religion such as 'Thou shalt not kill', it may even be prudent to retreat to a position of Secular Christianity, in order to avoid public ridicule.

His Grace's blog is one thing, but a derisory article in a leading daily could present even greater risks to Canon Harper's career.

8 July 2014 at 12:33  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ William Lewis
Thanks. I agree with every word of with your post.

@ Albert. Good point about the Ashers cake issue. The difficulty might be that the story is so absurd that what is there to do other than have somewhere between dark grey and black humorous fun sending it up, plus say many of us predicted it would go this far and get this silly.

Some folk really have no sense of proportion at all and think their own slightly grazed knee is more important than crowds of people with their limbs in danger of needing amputation unless seen to rapidly. This is the equivalent of the lady who rang 999 because she was having a disagreement with the ice cream man over whether she should pay for an ice cream where the sprinkles were not exactly to her liking.

The awful thing is that no one is sure that the Equality Commission will not go ahead with this. Of course it would create so much ill feeling and backlash that there would be real danger of increased anti-gay violence. But I have little confidence in their abilities ever to take a nuanced or restrained or commonsensical approach, and they show little evidence that that might happen. Instead they will probably crash on regardless, especially as this looks like people deliberately seeking offence in an almost SM way. But then many gay adverts specify SM, don't they, if we look at it objectively and rationally? So some actively like and seek out violence and punishment. Complicated, isn't it?

8 July 2014 at 12:39  
Blogger The Explorer said...

bludog @ 12:33

Secular Christian, eh. I love it.

We could start a trend here. How about these for startes:

God-worshipping atheist

coconut-free coconut ice

honest politician.

8 July 2014 at 12:54  
Blogger The Explorer said...

How about this for another improbability: bible-believing bishop?

8 July 2014 at 13:01  
Blogger bluedog said...

Explorer @ 13.01, now that really would be the way to euthanase one's career in a progressive church.

8 July 2014 at 13:06  
Blogger MFH said...

YG - this is not the first time you have had such thoughts but
Luke 9:52
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Perhaps dear reader we should encourage HG with further tokens of our appreciation as we make his thermometer rise to the top..

8 July 2014 at 13:12  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Explorer

"bible-believing bishop"

Not entirely fair!! I could name some. Not enough, for sure.

How about non-paedophile BBC kids' entertainer...

Imagine, there you are in the 70s, watching "It's a Knockout" then "Jim'll fix it" then something with Rolf Harris then "Top of the Pops" where they all come out....Jonathan King, Gary Glitter, and several still unmentionable...

Well I guess those archive shelves at the BBC have been freed up substantially, and in a few years time they will have even more space... to look on the bright side.

8 July 2014 at 13:15  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Your Grace

A few select quotes from JC Ryle in warnings to the churches.


“Your minister may be a man of God indeed, and worthy of all honor for his preaching and practice; but do not make a pope of him. Do not place his word side by side with the Word of God. Do not spoil him by flattery. Do not let him suppose he can make no mistakes. Do not lean your whole weight on his opinion, or you may find to your cost that he can err. It is written of Joash, King of Judah, that he ‘did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.’ (2 Chronicles 24:2) Jehoiada died, and then died the religion of Joash.

Just so your minister may die, and then your religion may die too; – may change, and your religion may change; – may go away, and your religion may go. Oh, be not satisfied with a religion built upon man!

Be not content with saying, ‘I have hope, because my own minister has told me such and such things.’ Seek to be able to say, ‘I have hope, because I find it thus and thus written in the Word of God.’ If your peace is to be solid, you must go yourself to the fountain of all truth. If your comforts are to be lasting, you must visit the well of life yourself, and draw fresh water for your own soul.

Ministers may depart from the faith. The visible Church may be broken up. But he who has the Word of God written in his heart, has a foundation beneath his feet which will never fail him.

Honor your minister as a faithful ambassador of Christ. Esteem him very highly in love for his work’s sake. But never forget that infallibility is not to be found in godly ministers, but in the Bible.”



“Controversy is an odious thing; but there are days when it is a positive duty. Peace is an excellent thing; but, like gold, it may be bought too dear. Unity is a mighty blessing; but it is worthless if it is purchased at the cost of truth. Once more I say, Open your eyes and be on your guard.”

Come on that Cranmer. Back into blog battle and contend for the truth I say.

E S Blofeld

8 July 2014 at 13:16  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy Mullen,

It strikes me as being an interesting test case. For it seems obvious that the bakery are not guilty of discrimination according to sexual orientation. They haven't refused to serve the customer because he is gay. They have refused to endorse same-sex "marriage" (just as they have refused to produce cakes with swearing and pornography). That isn't discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, not least because such "marriages" are not permitted in Northern Ireland. It would be totally unreasonable for the equality people to go ahead. It's seem almost inevitable that they will!

8 July 2014 at 13:17  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Even more relevant in our current times, more so than when Ryle wrote it is ...


“. . . let me entreat all who read this paper to keep a jealous watch over their own hearts in these controversial times. There is much need of this caution. In the heat of the battle we are apt to forget our own inner man. Victory in argument is not always victory over the world or victory over the devil.

Let the meekness of St. Peter in taking a reproof, be as much our example as the boldness of St. Paul in reproving. Happy is the Christian who can call the person who rebukes him faithfully, a ‘beloved brother.’ (2 Peter 3:15)

Let us strive to be holy in all manner of conversation, and not least in our tempers. Let us labor to maintain an uninterrupted communion with the Father and with the Son, and to keep up constant habits of private prayer and Bible-reading.

Thus we shall be armed for the battle of life, and have the sword of the Spirit well fitted to our hand when the day of temptation comes.”

That day has arrived for you, dear Cranmer, so start writing again and be not so easily silenced like your namesake during troubling times..The sword of the spirit in word is mightier in the hand that did not touch the flame first than the many pens of platitudes (A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, generally directed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease.)from corrupt men.

E S Blofeld

8 July 2014 at 13:30  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Albert

It also might not get to court and spare us all a pretty penny if they never sought Jim Henson's permission to use his characters and artwork.

Poor Bert and Ernie!! They'll be accusing Meryl Sheep and Placido Flamingo of inter-species perversion next!! "Where's your proof?" one might ask. No bedroom scenes in "Sesame Street" from my recall!!

I think I shall re-acquaint myself at some stage in the next few weeks with Sir Philip Sidney's work. It is lovely to think of him as he lay dying refusing the cup of water for the sake of the man several on and saying "his need is greater than mine." We seem to hear about people of the opposite inclination so much these days. But whereas he gained an immortal name in this world for himself through that, and influences people to this day, they merely gain temporary notoriety; therein lies comfort.

8 July 2014 at 13:33  
Blogger IanCad said...

You have a point there Flossie @ 10:25

Here's another:

Definitive proof that we no longer have a Conservative Party.

8 July 2014 at 13:38  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Blowers said;
I can concur with that statement.
I joined a Church 25 years ago and the Minister was amazing. His Biblical knowledge and understanding were without fault. He also taught his people that God gave him complete authority over the running of the church and it's physical matters. Biblically the only area that we could question him on was his teaching and interpretation of the scriptures.

All very well till things seemed to go wrong. And yet the word of God was preached and Miracles happened and we said to ourselves, God does not seem to mind about these issues so who are we to criticise. Big mistake. He was on a slippery slope of vanity and self belief that he could do no wrong. Unfortunately we did not have Nathan the prophet to come and sort it out.

So, respect your Minister/Pastor but they are not above getting things wrong spiritually and we should aim to avoid being dragged down with them.

Well done Blowers for your ever intuitive assessment of the situation. take care.

8 July 2014 at 13:41  
Blogger IanCad said...

Good posts Ernst

So sorry things are going so slowly for you.


8 July 2014 at 13:45  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The answer to Nick's question (today at 11:27) is Yes, the Bishop of Bucks does have a blog:

His latest post there is dated 28 Feb., over four months ago. It rather looks as though the bishop doesn't even bother to read his own blog, let alone write for it, so yes, you might perhaps get away with posting any comment you like there. Quite likely your comment wouldn't get taken down because "Bishop Alan" would never even know it was there.

8 July 2014 at 13:48  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Why does this idiot refer to himself as His Grace?

It's annoying enough that he refers to himself in the third person (you have to be a certain kind of tosser to do that, dont you) but what kind of arrogant tw*t do you have to be to call yourself that.

8 July 2014 at 13:49  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

My observations on the post of Sidney:

Coming on to someone's blog is a little like coming into someone's house. It is generally regarded as extremely rude to fling the door open and comment negatively and with swear words on the nameplate on the door and the ornaments in the front garden, especially if you throw in a sexual swear word with it.

It also predisposes others to think you are a really rude prat, and discount everything that you say.

Was that your intention? As if it was you have been very successful. Whether it was or not either way you need psychiatric help as you are either appalling at reaching your objectives in life, or successful in reaching sociopathic objectives that are not in your best interests.

8 July 2014 at 13:57  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dear Shadrach and Ian C

Thank you but they are simply J C Ryle's words written prophetically when the church was on sounder footing and only just going down the top of that fat slippery part of the wedge of compromise and sound doctrine...What on earth would he make of it now?!

Unfortunately, when His Nibs lets the 'Establishment' under his skin, he can be harder to get writing again that loading a difficult 3 yr old colt refusing to get in the stalls for the Derby with blinkers, hood, hind-straps and a 'come along' rope attached to him. *Chuckles*


8 July 2014 at 13:57  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Lucy M @ 13:15

Agreed. I can think of a couple of believing bishops myself.

Love the BBC example: beats any of mine!

8 July 2014 at 13:59  
Blogger William Lewis said...

That's not very kind of you Sidney.

8 July 2014 at 14:01  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Sidney D @ 13:49

Ever heard of humour? Especially that sub-branch, satire?

8 July 2014 at 14:03  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Incidentally, while we're on the topic of trolling...

8 July 2014 at 14:04  
Blogger IanCad said...

To remind us Sidney Deane, that our liberties enjoyed today were fought for by men like Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.

Our host is fighting to preserve them.

The moniker is certainly appropriate.

8 July 2014 at 14:07  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...


haha, bravo. The irony was not lost on all of you. :)

I am genuinely curious - the language used was so the post was in keeping with the thread.

Apologies, Lucy M.

8 July 2014 at 14:08  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Now if the Bishop of Bucks wants to know what the proper definition of trolling is he need look no further than that Sidney post above.

Maybe he should do a compare and contrast and then see that it was a grave slur on a thoughtful compassionately motivated and articulate blogger to compare him to that level of boorishness and apologise.

8 July 2014 at 14:18  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Ah ok, a spoof post...but nevertheless what a troll does look like...

Can't keep up with the wit on here!

8 July 2014 at 14:21  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Sidney Deane said...

Why does this idiot refer to himself as His Grace?

The same reason George Bernard Shaw wrote musical criticism for The Star from 1888 to 1889 under the pseudonym Corno di Bassetto and referred to himself as such when writing...or has your intellect not evolved sufficiently during your brief time here on the blue planet to ascend from crayon colouring and finger painting to meatier reading and more adult tasks?

Your body maybe at the top of the food chain by the actions of the two poor humans that produced you but your intelligence is that of a common pond skater.


Have you never encountered third person you are severely under-armed, intellectually, may Ernst suggest watching an episode of Elmo and work upwards, like little children do?

Then you can work up to Julius Caesar

Caesar, who wrote about himself in the third person in his accounts of his conquests in The Gallic Wars, was one of the first known illeists, Sidney, lad.

He had pretty much earned the right to refer to himself however he pleased as HG does.

Cicero (, for one, was a big fan of Caesar's style. "The Gallic War is splendid," he wrote. "It is bare, straight and handsome, stripped of rhetorical ornament like an athlete of his clothes."

Caesar's regular use of the third person is parodied in the Asterix comic books, which hopefully after studying Elmo, you can advance to reading??.

Toodle Pip, sidders.

E S Blofeld

8 July 2014 at 14:21  
Blogger Nick said...

"but what kind of arrogant tw*t do you have to be to call yourself that."

Sidney, when I went to school, there were some boys (not myself) who would have stolen your lunch money and kicked the cr@p out of you just for being called "Sidney"

8 July 2014 at 14:49  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Sidney's post (wittily done) does raise a very sensible question. Why, for instance, do popes take new names?

One could say Compare the Market adverts are silly because meerkats can't talk.

I'm willing to stick my neck out and say that 90% of the viewing audience probably realises that there isn't really a Russian meerkat called Aleksandr who wears a smoking jacket. His non-actual existence doesn't detract for a moment from the human reality of the depicted situations.

When Eric Blair decided to call himself George Orwell, he wanted to make a point about where he was coming from. (In his case, Englishness.)

By electing to call himself Cranmer, I imagine our host wanted to make a comparable point about perspective.

8 July 2014 at 14:51  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...


Reading your comments on His Grace's hospitable threads is an education in itself. Thank you for the word "illeist", heretofore unknown to your humble servant. I have known one or two who do that in conversation, which I find very odd. There was a character in one of the Seinfeld episodes who did it, which might have seemed absurd if I hadn't met people like that in real life.


8 July 2014 at 14:55  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Nick @ 14:49

Sidney? I was at school with someone called Beauchamp.

Fortunately, his parents were very wealthy, and he could afford to bribe his way out of trouble.

8 July 2014 at 14:59  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

The Explorer said...

Sidney's post (wittily done) does raise a very sensible question.(Seriously, Explorer?? Wittily done?? Then where has been his 'wit' in his other tirades at HG?? You really do turn the other cheek a bit easily, do you not. He is a hardened atheist that takes no prisoners here)

"Why, for instance, do popes take new names?" Easy to debunk the silliness. As Christ renamed Simon, Peter...It, RCC, tries to establish some silly non tradition in naming popes who are not apostles so there can be no succession as if there were, like St Peter, who was an apostle!!!


8 July 2014 at 15:02  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The Explorer

There is a historical precedent for popes taking new names. The first two who did it, I think -- though I no longer remember in which order -- were one whose real name was Mercurius, which he decided would be unsuitable for a pope, being the name of a pagan god, and another called Petrus, who didn't want people to think he was claiming to be equal to St Peter.

8 July 2014 at 15:03  
Blogger The Explorer said...


I am unaware of Sidney's other tirades: I spoke in the context of this one, which does illustrate what real trollishness is like, and is arguably appropriate given the topic of the thread.

There's a shortage of good atheists on this blog at the moment (the avowed kind, I mean); we need to nurture him.

Re popes, I remember when Ratzinger was appointed (I heard it on the radio) and there was BBC
speculation as to what the new name would be.

The question was raised as to why popes took new names, and the reply was that it was to indicate the stance/tradition they would be adopting.

If that's inaccurate, blame Radio 4.

8 July 2014 at 15:21  
Blogger Brian West said...

Albert and Lucy, re the Asher cake case.

The NI Equality Commission seems to want to prosecute a business for refusing to endorse a campaign slogan!

Surely they won't? Will they?


8 July 2014 at 15:29  
Blogger Albert said...

Sidney Deane,

Why does this idiot refer to himself as His Grace?

Didn't you learn from your last post down here, that if you want to be a successful troller, you need to make a much more controversial point (i.e. one others might be interested in).


All the original post and many of the comments show is that Christianity is still stuck in a bronze age sexism.

That sort of thing.

8 July 2014 at 15:34  
Blogger Albert said...


Surely they won't? Will they?

The more irrational it seems, the more I fear they will do it. Of course, they might actually get caught out on this one.

8 July 2014 at 15:35  
Blogger Shadrach said...

What odds will anyone give me that HG won't write till Friday?

How many comments will there be by then?

8 July 2014 at 15:36  
Blogger IanCad said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8 July 2014 at 15:40  

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