Author Topic: Dr Fraser and Christianity at St Pauls  (Read 5093 times)

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David Pinnegar

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Dr Fraser and Christianity at St Pauls
« on: October 28, 2011, 12:19:47 PM »
I have written elsewhere here about the matrix of circumstances in which we follow treads through our lives, and circumstances of good either coming towards us or giving us a wide berth, like a shoal of fish, depending on what we do and how the circumstances know we will respond to them.

It's in this way that  Christian, setting out to do the work of God, can have a faith that God will look after him, as another square in the matrix is always there to greet him.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8852681/The-Rev-Dr-Giles-Fraser-resigns-from-St-Pauls-over-violence-in-the-name-of-the-Church.html

Dr Fraser clearly has Matthew 6 in his mind:
Quote
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
and is acting on it.

My son was in London yesterday and for diversional amusement went to see the protest at St Pauls. He said that he could see no Health and Safety risk of the protesters being there and no reason why the cathedral was closed. Certainly the second world war which spared St Pauls was not won by a nation who would have taken a few tents at the bottom of some steps to be a sufficient reason or excuse, or an unsuperable difficulty to the opening of a place of worship.

Dr Fraser's view and way of life as a Christian will be remembered long after the Cathedral's Tea Shop Managers in clerical clothes have been dead and gone. Dr Fraser is where Christianity is, not St Pauls in its current incarnation.

Some years ago upon visiting London for a dinner, I was passing St Pauls at around evensong time and thinking that it would be inspirational to enjoy 10 minutes inside the cathedral during a service I went there to be turned away - I was late for the service and would have to pay as a tourist. A few yards away to the north of St Pauls are the ruins of a church bombed in the Blitz: I entered there for a quiet moment and found more Christianity there than I had at St Pauls.

A couple of years ago a friend who was a member of the Cornwall Organists' Association from Penzance invited me to join them on a visit to St Pauls: they had organised an Association event to come to play the organ. We arrived for evensong but after evensong the organist with whom arrangements had been made forgot to turn up. He had disappeared. Rumour had it that he frequented the Cock Pit pub in Blackfriars, to where we adjourned, but was not to be found there either. Numerous members of the Association, having travelled up from Cornwall and booked London hotels were understandably furious, not merely disappointed, having been put to a great deal of expense for nothing. This was a terrible knock to my friend's spirit and he has been understandably very backseat ever since.

The St Paul's administration appears to think that it is justified by its existence rather than its actions.

It is therefore entirely appropriate that the current protesters, in having chosen a place of Christian refuge, should actually be challenging the institution of St Pauls to examine whether it is a temple of Mammon or a Temple of God.

Best wishes

David P

revtonynewnham

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Re: Dr Fraser and Christianity at St Pauls
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 04:54:29 PM »
I agree David.  I refuse to pay to visit cathedrals as a tourist - it's not what the church should be about.  As to the closure of St Paul's - words fail me.  It's absolutely ridiculous - and if the West doors really are thought to be unsafe at present, there are other ways in!  I wonder what the real reason is?

Every Blessing

Tony

David Pinnegar

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Re: Dr Fraser and Christianity at St Pauls
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 06:50:16 PM »
I wonder what the real reason is?

:-) !!!! :-) - What else can one say!

Today Hugo Rifkind wrote very interestingly in The Times and in the extract and quote below I'm putting in bold the real raison d'etre for my insistance, no matter how unpopular it is, on having a section for faith on an organ forum - specifically because it is related hand in hand to the decline of appreciation of organs and organ music:

Quote
. . . Just because I'm not religious, though, that doesn't mean I don't value religion. There's a worth to it, and the thing that vexes me most about your contemporary sort of atheist is their inability to see this. Drone on about suicide bombers and child abuse all you like, but you'll only ever be missing the point. I have benefitted from Christian kindness more than once in my life, through Christians who have helped me in a manner in which I'd never have bothered to help them. I know orthodox Jews who give up their free time to wash the dead. Religion pressures you to behave well even when you don't feel like it.

What an open goal this was to miss. Religion is not supposed to be the middle ground. That's where everybody else is. We need it on the one side so we don't get too caught up by things like porn and iPhones on the other . . .

He goes on to say "I'd be depressed if I was an Anglican. What are they playing at?" He throws an (appropriate) insult at Right Rev Graeme Knowles and the Gift Shop and comments that whilst Dr Fraser might be wrong, "but at least he's doing the right thing. That's what churches are for".

I find it hard to believe that any organist who plays an organ in church is really atheist - there must be some hint, some dark buried understanding of something more, or else they would not be playing an organ in church. I hope that in finding corners of faith posted here, any uncertainties might start to be evaporate and that playing the organ might actually be a call to action in life in its fullest as Christians such as Dr Fraser exemplify.

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 08:57:31 PM by David Pinnegar »

Holditch

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Re: Dr Fraser and Christianity at St Pauls
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2011, 10:31:22 PM »
Hi David,

Unfortunately I think Hugo Rifkind's opinions about Atheists is rather born from the media's love of labelling people and people's opinions, just as they do with people who believe in God.

Do you suppose that Hugo has never thought of helping anyone because he couldn’t be bothered, or has he just not thought of helping anyone because it hasn’t crossed his mind. Maybe he thinks that it is something that just religious people do, perhaps he is correct, maybe people just don’t stop and think? Does it take god to do this, perhaps it does, perhaps is doesn’t, it depends on the person thinking and everyone is different.

I think you are also being rather derogatory with your comments about Atheists especially as you comment that they may have some dark buried understanding of something else than just the norm (whatever that might be?? Football, Eastenders, DFS sofas?). Can a person not believe in an Atheists viewpoint and not also think beyond then end of their coffee table?

I think the incident with St Paul’s and the protestors says a lot about Christianity and the difference in opinion and thought within the members of the Church of England. Should they abstain and not get involved, should they whole heartily show hospitality to them whatever the cost and consequence? I cannot answer only they members of the Anglican Church can answer

I also understand your questioning about atheists playing the organ in the church, however strange it is, it does happen. Maybe things are not completely as people would have thought, maybe people’s reasoning is of their own doing and maybe some people like to adopt certain ideas but also reject others. This is what makes us human, and our experiences mould our thoughts and understanding of life.

Just my two pennies worth!


Best Regards

Marc

P.S. My wife says the St Paul's debacle is all the fault of Deans!  ;)
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 10:37:16 PM by Holditch »
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David Pinnegar

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Re: Dr Fraser and Christianity at St Pauls
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2011, 05:05:43 PM »
I think you are also being rather derogatory with your comments about Atheists especially as you comment that they may have some dark buried understanding of something else than just the norm (whatever that might be?? Football, Eastenders, DFS sofas?). Can a person not believe in an Atheists viewpoint and not also think beyond then end of their coffee table?

Dear Marc

You're perfectly right to pick me up on this but, as Hugo Rifkind possibly implies, there are different shades to the meaning of the words. I don't think that the sort of atheists of which Hugo Rifkind refers:
Quote
Just because I'm not religious, though, that doesn't mean I don't value religion. There's a worth to it, and the thing that vexes me most about your contemporary sort of atheist is their inability to see this. Drone on about suicide bombers and child abuse all you like, but you'll only ever be missing the point
are the sort of atheists who might possibly play the organ in a church . . .

And I have half a feeling that atheists who play the organ in church actually have something deeper within them which might be invisible on the surface. A quotation from quantum physics in relation to issues of antimatter and the nature of nothing and symmetry comes to mind questioning whether a hole in nothing is an object at all or whether a hole in nothing can be something.

On the subject of St Pauls, really the protesters are putting the matter on the agenda that the City cannot be an ethics-free place. The problem is that ethics is a matter of rules - about being regulated about what to do . . . rather than having the flexibility of working to an idea about how to think. This, of course is what Christ was saying to the Pharisees in replacing 10 commandments by 2, the way of life that those two commandments promote providing challenge to constant thought, a vibrancy to life. Perhaps that is the distinction which results in what Rifkind refers to as having been helped by Christian kindness.

Their choice of St Pauls appears to be a happistance challenging Christianity both in the City and at St Pauls. What they are really saying is that deeper Christianity has a wider part to play in modern society than currently it does.

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 07:47:49 PM by David Pinnegar »

David Pinnegar

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Re: Dr Fraser and Christianity at St Pauls
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2011, 01:45:15 AM »
[from http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,1044.msg4628.html#msg4628 ]
With regards St Paul's, I think this could be (should be!) the start of something that has been long overdue. Our society is currently so skewed and unfortunately represents the wants of those who want and think they need, and not the needs of those who really do need and do not want!

Dear Marc

I think you've hit the nail on the head here: some time ago the Delai Lama wrote a book in which was the memorable complaint that our materialist society relies on people virtually drunken in a cycle of buying stuff that they don't need in order to impress people who they don't really like. There seem to be a lot of quotations about this and in searching that one I found another:
Quote
“Man…sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” ~The Dalai Lama (when asked what surprises him the most about humanity)

In many ways the Delai Lama says things which are an idea - but a profound idea which is potentially life changing. Returning to a former subject about atheism, potentially one can look at the whole of all that exists and say that as an inevitable consequence of mathematics, all exists and there is no God - but therein contains God. Perhaps "God" doesn't "exist" - because "God" may be nothing other than an "idea" - but that "idea" and its consequences, especially when summed up in Jesus' two commandments, are life changing. In his book "Music of the Spheres" (which includes sections on mathematics in music especially by Bach and by Mozart), Guy Murchie examines Pythagorean mathematics in terms of quantum physics and gives an intriguing example of "the idea" . . .
Quote
In about every sense . . .the world is profoundly abstract. And not only the world but also the world's beings are made substantially of abstraction. A being is something like an idea or a song or an organised system. Where was the telephone in A.D.1800? Where were you and I? None of us had yet been born. All the elements of our future compositions were in the world but not organised into integral systems. And just as the right combination of thoughts and actions produced the telephone, so did the right combination of motivations and germ cells produce you and me. Thus an organism of life is basically much the same as an organism of systematic ideas - an abstraction, a new combination, a larger reality . . .

So it might be argued that because we can see the idea of what is good, what makes up matter and makes good things happen, and call it God, then in that same abstraction that leads from the idea of us in the arrangement of atoms which exist already to our existence, our reality, that abstraction of the idea of God leads to the "reality" of "God" in "His" existence. Because the idea is so profound, and life changing, the concept of "God" in "reality" as just an "idea" does not in any way diminish the concept of "God". This idea is supported in the concept of the Angel Gabriel's message to the Virgin Mary and the time when Jesus said (Luke 21) "And hee answered and said vnto them, My mother and my brethren are these which heare the word of God, and doe it."

Another way of looking at good and evil is possibly through the concept of entropy. In the creation of an ordered system of atoms to create life, entropy decreases, whereas when we die and our atoms go back into the earth, disorder takes over and is obvious for all to see, entropy increases. We become without the order that created us. . .

The Christian (or other believer) with a true sense or understanding of God (and bearing in mind the Delai Lama is not by definition "Christian" and that the protests and problems about which they resonate are now a global problem in a global perspective, I'm being deliberately non-denominational in suggesting an understanding of God) will have a purpose in mind that helps him or her to create a particular vision of order in their lives as they interlock with others' lives and the harmony created thereby, a decrease of entropy, whilst those without an understanding of "the idea" - the a-theist (of the sort Rifkind might have been referring to) - working against "the idea", however well meaning, without a view of the wider picture and the light which is "the idea" will wander around, some more directionless than others, in the darkness, bumping into things to a greater or lesser extent, and leading to the increase of disorder, the increase of entropy, the death of the system.

I referred elsewhere in these threads to seeing perhaps if there was a way in which one might look at the concept of God not in the usual terms and understanding of the word . . . and the thoughts above are perhaps an exploration . . . .

Such thoughts might seem abtruse, perverse or even a luxury of self indugence in contemplation, but somehow if the message of the protesters is to get through to the people whom they wish to influence, those who are to be influenced can only understand if the consequences of their actions in causing an increase in entropy and disharmony in their surroundings can be explained in a manner that is as clear as daylight and a clearer thought process becomes obvious. It's for this reason that an exploration into explanation of "reality" and "the idea" of the creation of order out of disorder (ignoring the specifics, that's the gist of the meaning of Genesis isn't it?) is worthy of refinement, if possible at all.

When above I referred to the concept of a "hole" in "nothing" being "something", again a problem posed by Guy Murchie, an intellectual atheist like Dawkins misses just that concept in ignoring the "idea" of the source of decreasing entropy. That "source" is beyond human description, which is why no one can, exactly, as it cannot be seen, but is all powerful, everywhere and all knowing . . . as to create order out of disorder it has to be . . . doesn't it?

Best wishes

David P

(Note to self or anyone else interested in doing so  . . . possibly on another thread as a continuation to this explore Entropic processes paralleled to "The Idea". We note that when "The Idea" takes hold there is a localised decrease in entropy which allows creation to take place and this is we recognise as unusual as entropy always increases: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/therm/entrop.html - http://www.nous.org.uk/entropy.html - If we recognise the creation process and this decrease of entropy and call it "God" new physics http://www.entropylaw.com/ suggests that the creation of order out of disorder is the naturally expected physics - so "God" is an expected consequence (!!!). The difference between those working "with God" or "against God" is the difference between people working with the natural laws of the environment around them, or those against. It's easier for individuals and the system to work within the physical laws than against them. In the entropic process in isolated systems entropy is conserved, so creation has to be matched by destruction. This is expressed in the Ying Yang contrasts, the recognition of Apollo as the All Powerful - the Creator the Destroyer, Mithras and the Mystery Cult, Death and Rebirth, being Born Again, Death and Resurrection, Christ upturning the tables of the money changers, the nature of Yahweh in the Old Testament - destroying, punishing those who did not follow him (this is a natural consequence of people working against the physics of their environment, a punishment which they bring upon themselves, but which is caused by the rules of their environment) . . . and no doubt other examples.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_%28order_and_disorder%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_%28information_theory%29
So calling oneself an atheist but understanding the consequences of the laws of the universe is the same as being a theist. What the teachings of "The Idea" do is to translate those consequences into relational terms for people. This is not to deny that people who have not come across those teachings can have a natural understanding of the laws of the universe to a random and varying degree . . . but the people of whom the Protesters protest . . .

Relevance to organ - the instrument is an expression of order, order in sound, order in mind, and Bach and other composers especially with 18th century masonic connexions were writing music to express the Divine Order, a constant quest for the Pythagorean Music of the Spheres
)

« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 10:33:44 AM by David Pinnegar »

revtonynewnham

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Re: Dr Fraser and Christianity at St Pauls
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2011, 10:17:10 AM »

On the subject of St Pauls, really the protesters are putting the matter on the agenda that the City cannot be an ethics-free place. The problem is that ethics is a matter of rules - about being regulated about what to do . . . rather than having the flexibility of working to an idea about how to think. This, of course is what Christ was saying to the Pharisees in replacing 10 commandments by 2, the way of life that those two commandments promote providing challenge to constant thought, a vibrancy to life. Perhaps that is the distinction which results in what Rifkind refers to as having been helped by Christian kindness.


Hi

Sadly, ethics isn't just the application of rules regardless.  Apart from the basics, summarised in the Ten commandments, ethics is a minefield!  A few years ago, I did a course on Christian Ethics - the introduction included the statement that "there are no right answers".   Ethics in society are coloured largely by the norms of that society - hence in 21st century Britain, many couples find co-habitation more attractive than marriage, whilst 40 years ago, this was frowned on.  As to the ethics of banking and finance, I think the problem (and it's the same problem with many other areas of society) has two roots - firstly, greed - if I can make money, I will, regradless of the effect on anyone else or the long-term implications.  Secondly - and clearly related to this, is the over-emphasis in contemporary society on "my rights".  Although I have no issue with the rights of the individual, alongside rights should go responsibility - responsibilty for the effect on others of insisting on "my rights", responsibility for the effect on society of the ridiculous salaries of politicians and executives in industry (and lets not forget the "bonuses" in the banking industry particularly, which seem to be paid regardless of how well (or badly) the job has been done!)

It would help, maybe, if ALL members of Parliament were only paid the average living wage (plus genuine expenses - supported by receipts like everyone who claims expenses has to present!) and were not allowed to have any other income for the period that they are in office.  Then maybe, just maybe, action would be taken on some of the ethical issues in the financial sector (and it would get rid of the politicians who are in it, at least in part, for the money).

Incidentally, the basis of the ethics course I mentioned was to be able to show, from a Christian context, why you came to a particular answer to an ethical question (along with a lot of background material, of course).

Every Blessing

Tony
« Last Edit: November 07, 2011, 10:53:36 AM by organforumadmin »

 


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