Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mere Trinitarians?

In his celebrated essay on The Trinity, Karl Rahner laments that,
“despite their orthodox confession of the Trinity, Christians are, in their practical life, almost mere ‘monotheists.’ We must be willing to admit that, should the doctrine of the Trinity have to be dropped as false, the major part of religious literature could well remain virtually unchanged.”

Even those who harbor qualms about particular aspects of Rahner’s theology (and I am one of them) should consider themselves indebted to him on this count, at least. He tirelessly worked to identify areas where renewal was necessary in Christian theological reflection, and was one of the main inspirations for the Trinitarian revival in dogmatic theology over the last few decades. Amidst this revival and because of it, the following comments I make may be unsavory, but I believe they’re in the spirit of Rahner’s intentions. They are certainly intended to encourage work in Trinitarian doctrine rather than diminish it.

Much as in contemporary work on pneumatology, it is rather fashionable to preface a study on Trinitarian doctrine with a brief gesture to the fact that “the Trinity has been woefully neglected by theologians for some time now,” with perhaps an added jab at “Western” theologians in particular. Following this preface is, of course, a long line of citations of recent and contemporary work on the very topic that is supposedly being ignored! These days I think it is safe to say that if a theologian talks about someone “inadequately focusing on the Trinity”, what she really means is probably that “I don’t like what they do say about the Trinity.” Anyone who is taken seriously in Christian theological circles these days is most certainly a robust Trinitarian.

But are we mere Trinitarians?

Presumably Rahner wouldn’t say that it’s bad to be a monotheist. After all, “We believe in one God…” when we believe in “the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” What is problematic is mere monotheism, the kind that does not recognize the one true God as triune and fails to comprehend the dynamism of the drama of redemption played out in the majesty of the Godhead. When this is the case, as Rahner says, the doctrine of the Trinity can be dropped without much change occurring in the life of faith or dogmatic reflection upon it.

What I fear has happened is that many theologians have become overly excited about the trinitarian revival in theology. These revivalists, much like those in great evangelistic awakenings of the past, have in their zeal failed to retain perspective on the work of the Spirit that is occurring. Dropping the doctrine of the Trinity will certainly not leave things unchanged anymore, but are we so infatuated with the Trinity as a theological concept that practically anything else could fall out of our theological purview without our noticing?

Too often the discussion is thought to be concluded with a sophomoric deconstruction of the God of the philosophers and savants followed by a pious trinitarian doxology. But to leave it at “Our God is the TRIUNE one!” is to be content with a slogan if it is not accompanied by more serious and sustained reflection on the truth of the Gospel.

I think that we are past the point where we need to be concerned about the place of the Trinity in theological reflection, and there is (thankfully) not much need to be on the lookout for those we deem “inadequately trinitarian” (the trinity is altogether too trendy these days to allow anyone to get away with that crime for very long). What I would suggest is a re-engagement with other aspects of dogmatic concern that might unfold in a way that is seemingly peripheral to any Trinitarian fixation. Why not mine the neo-scholastic manuals for ideas about the attributes of God? Or the neoplatonists for thoughts about metaphysical hierarchy? Why not engage with Islamic theologians the way that our medieval counterparts did to such fruitful end?

Of course we won’t find the robust trinitarianism that we’ve come to expect from trustworthy dogmaticians, but aren’t we mature enough to wander a bit from mere trinitarianism and explore other avenues of theological reflection without worrying about whether we come across as mere monotheists by guilt of association? I feel as if the theological growth of some in the Church has been stunted by a childish adoration of the Trinity, and I think we can do better than that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a few items...

  • Ipsum Esse offers two charming anecdotes about Henri de Lubac.
  • The authorship of the Serenity Prayer is being questioned, ironically in a spirit quite contrary to the sentiments of the prayer itself.
  • Brian Howell has a piece up on The Immanent Frame about "The Global Evangelical", where he offers an interesting discussion of short-term missions and the increased global experiences of evangelicals. There's a bit about political affiliation and Obama at the beginning and end, but these topical bookends make odd transitions and don't seem as related to the bulk of his commentary. I'd advise reading the piece as one about Evangelicals themselves rather than the ubiquitous (but rather boring) topic of "Evangelicals and American politics."
  • Martin Marty has a new post up on Sightings about "Fundamentalism in Europe". Among his comments on fundamentalism is the following:
    "...more and more commentators are stretching the meaning of the word. They apply it wherever staunch conservatism links with political power and threatens liberal polities and policies. So one will read that causes and governments which oppose feminism and women's or homosexuals' rights in the name of God and citing sacred texts, get labeled "fundamentalist." ...confusion results... if the term is always used pejoratively and polemically to cluster everyone, especially the religious, whom one does not like. There are real threats out there, without question, but we do societies no service if we lump all movements to the Right together, homogenize them, and mis-label some of them."

Monday, July 28, 2008

John Rees on Common Principles of Canon Law

A document entitled The Principles of Canon Law Common to the Church of the Anglican Communion has been released as the Lambeth Conference comes to a close. There is no text available online, but a draft of the paper can be found at the Anglican Communion Legal Advisors Network. John Rees answered questions from the press after the release of the document, and has said that it is meant “to stimulate reflection on what it is to be a Communion of ordered churches seeking to live out the Anglican tradition in a world of intensely rapid communication.”

While the press seems skeptical and blogging commentators (see BabyBlue,
Matt Kennedy, etc.) have expressed some concern, I don't think there's anything out of the ordinary or surprising about this document. John Rees, as well as Norman Doe, have been talking about the idea of an Anglican common law for years, and I think that this document is simply one more in a long line of very fruitful studies. That it won't do what many people want it to do (or fear it will do) isn't the fault of the drafters.

Talk of a ius commune as a "fifth instrument" of unity in the Communion is worth consideration. I've already expressed my doubts about the venture, not because I see anything wrong with it per se, but rather because I don't see much constructive good in it. Any new structure that attempts to strengthen the bonds of unity within a communion would do better, in my opinion, to address why the bonds of unity already in place are seen as inadequate. Apart from this, I don't see the point in reinventing the wheel. Here's a snippet from my article, "Instruments of Faith and Unity in Canon Law", (The Ecclesiastical Law Journal 10 (2008), pp. 161-173, 169, emphasis added):

"The global order of a communion is not juridical, but rather a moral order. The moral interdependence of Anglican provinces has been described in terms of 'bonds of affection' or 'an implicit understanding of belonging together'. Unfortunately, the moral order of communion is often contrasted to provincial juridical structures in a way that renders it impotent. The moral order displays, 'a high level of generality' and is 'not binding' and 'unenforceable'. It is probably because of this perceived deficiency that a more coherent global structure of faith and order is being pursued, the two most prominent proposals of which are an Anglican ius commune and covenant.

Proposals for a global canonical order are understood to codify pre-existing provincial canons, or inter-provincial conventions. This being the case, however, the question is begged whether current communal structures are, in fact, inadequately suited to fulfil the needs of Anglican communion. Numerous difficulties arise when the 'bonds' of affection are described as 'non-binding', even if only a lack of legal obligation is intended, because this observation undercuts the non-legal foundation upon which communion is structured. While the instruments of unity are at most 'quasi-legal', communion ecclesiology has always retained this form and claimed its authority nonetheless."

Monday, July 21, 2008

3 theses on Augustine & politics...

I have been reading a lot on Augustine and politics/law/society lately, hoping to write a piece on the topic. But with a baby, classes starting soon, and too many other projects currently in the works, I don't know whether this paper will actually see the light of day. In any case, I thought I'd jot down a few of my thoughts from the bit of research that I have done- just a few musings about Augustine and the political rather than some grand idea. Only 3 theses worth expanding upon are coming to mind at the moment, so that's all you get. Maybe I'll add more in the comment section as they come to me:

1. Augustine and various Augustinianisms are each in their own right positively mammoth traditions to consider. A blessing (and curse) of being such an ur-figure like Augustine (or Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, etc.) is the possibility for so many permutations in readings and appropriations of an original system of insight. Just consider what large swaths of ground a label like "political Augustinianism" covers... from Orosius to Otto of Freising, Giles of Rome to Luther, to Reinhold Niebuhr and John Milbank. I think that critics of Augustine and his heirs should certainly address areas of inconsistency and disagreement, but there should also be a recognition that fruitful intellectual development results from the very different strands of interpretation that inevitably arise. At a certain point every thinker must abandon their traditio to posterity and providence, wherever that might lead. So, while I find it important to remain a student of Augustine and his own contributions, I think it is also legitimate to recognize one's commitment to a particular Augustinianism (or Marxism, or Platonism) without feeling a necessity to walk lockstep with its namesake.

2. Folks should stop talking about the "Constantinian" Church. Much as I love the Anabaptist bloggers out there, the term has become horribly over-used and applied to any situation where someone might deem church and state too intimate bedfellows. Scholars will employ the term loosely as well- I've even run across it in John Rawls. The problem isn't that there was no Constantinian legacy to deal with as a matter of political theology, but that such a blanket identification... usually meant to cover the entire period from the fourth century to the rise of the modern nation-state... is simply nonsense, a vacuous claim and a misleading characterization of the Church's history. Even between Constantine's reign and Augustine's episcopacy, there were significant changes in imperial policy and relations between Church and empire. Augustine himself deals with a Theodosian enthusiasm and its aftermath when Rome is invaded by the Visigoths- Ambrose before him deals with the Catholic zeal of Maximus, who executes a heterodox clergymen against the wishes of orthodox bishops quite in agreement with him on the charges. In neither case is the Church in collusion with Empire, Constantinian or otherwise. Constantinianism should be recognized as a watershed moment in the history of the Church, but only with a recognition of the significant vacillation in ecclesial and civil policy ever since; Constantinianism as a myth (as in the Donation of Constantine) should also be recognized as a necessary consideration for assessing the medieval period, but only with a recognition of its status as political myth and textual forgery.

3. R.A. Markus is misunderstood. The thesis of his classic study Saeculum, that Augustine introduces to the Christian theopolitical imagination a conception of "the secular", does not seem to me to argue for a bifurcation along the lines of a secular and sacred civitas. Those of the trendy "post-secular" persuasion will latch on to Augustine's famous statement from de civ 19 that "there is no republic" and interpret a theopolitical agenda that seeks to disarm any civil authority whatsoever as illegitimate insofar as it falls short of the Church's ability to foster true sociality through neighborly love. Markus' point about Augustine is not nearly so ambitious as to oppose any secular realm to a sacred ecclesial one (on the other hand, those who criticize him tend to err in overly sacralizing the ecclesial and picking a fight where there shouldn't be one). The idea of a secular age in Markus is that from Jesus' first coming to His second, the world exists in a time where no unambiguous claims to divine providence can be made... the secular is opposed to heilgeschichte, the conception of "sacred history" that is legitimate in the canonical historiography of the Scriptures but not as applied to any regime in our own day. The "secular" so understood is certainly reinterpreted to other ends in Augustine's heirs (see my thesis 1), but Markus' reading of the secular does not need to imply either ecclesial complacency before civil authority or an unholy alliance between the two "cities" for political ends.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Panegyric to Rootedness

Indiefaith responds to some recent discussions of marriage and family that have been going on in the theological blogs. Against some critiques of stereotypical approaches to marriage in evangelicalism and the culture at large, Indiefaith reminds us that,
"there is always something humorous or perhaps sinister about academics critiquing family as though their commitments to study could somehow be cleansed in the process. To dare use an overused phrase by some the above mentioned bloggers, perhaps evangelicals (and the bloggers who critique them) have not elevated marriage and family enough."
He continues:
Our critiques should not be doing away with such possible expressions of faithfulness but adding to them [...] Doing away with the theological expression of marriage is like doing away with the theological expression of land and its relationships. Through our social and economic system we have largely done away with expressions of land. We need to add and fortify this.
My impression of Halden's and Ben's critiques is that they are mounted in an effort to guard our resurrection faith by preventing an overzealous appeal to what we might consider "natural" sources of revelation and faith. Despite the fact that God declared His creation good, its original tragic finitude and even more so its corrupted state of sin disallows any ultimate provision of revelatory truth, and seeking this in nature becomes a matter of idolatry (Rom. 1:25). Indiefaith offers an alternative to crude idolatry by describing the place of marriage and family (and land, etc.) as "expressions of faithfulness". As acts of expression, institutions such as marriage and family serve their purpose in directing us to faith without compromising the priority of divine grace at work in us. We must remain rooted in these expressions, however, for God's purpose in them to be effectual. The same might be said for sacramental devotion, which roots the Christian life in liturgical expressions of faithfulness (Christ's to us... ours to our neighbor...). Indiefaith's example of our relationship to the land as an exemplar of faithfulness is also important, perhaps one of the most important social expressions outside of the immediate ties of family and community. I'm reminded of Wendell Berry's call to rootedness in and nurture of the land. A recent article on the blue crabs of the Chesapeake Bay addresses the extent to which an ignorance of naturally rooted expressions of faithfulness tear apart the life that God blesses; this crisis is close to home for me, and local concerns of many others are likewise applicable.

While I appreciate the concern of Ben and Halden that we in our rootedness might fall into idolatry~ that panegyric may turn to outright doxology~ I think the faithlessness that the Church currently wrestles with is one that results from an idolatry of things other than the natural gifts in which God roots us in expression of His faithfulness. The disorder of cosmopolitan life that both distracts our worship and our relationship with land, family, and community, has (in my mind) done more to damage faithfulness than any overcommitment to marriage and family.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Notes on research & resources...

  • The Dallas Medieval Texts and Translations series is a relatively new and growing resource worth checking out; the books aren’t cheap, but there are some great titles (Roland Teske, for instance, has translated ten articles of Henry of Ghent’s Summa in two volumes). The two titles that have come out in 2008 are William of Saint-Amour’s «De periculis novissimorum temporum» (trans. G. Geltner) and Albert of Saxony’s, «Quaestiones circa logicam» (trans. M.J. Fitzgerald).

  • There has been some recent discussion of Google "using" librarians for their own purposes and then dropping any substantive collaboration once they get what they want. Steven Cohen points out that it has been over a year since Google offered any public communication with librarians on their blog, and that they didn't see fit to attend the 2008 ALA conference. Perhaps in response to Cohen and others, Google has published their first "quarterly" (emphasis on the scare-quotes) issue of Google Librarian Newsletter since May 2007... oh yeah, but now the blog is gone. Not that I've followed Google's work with libraries too closely, but while I've enjoyed the benefit of Google Scholar and Google Books, my somewhat luddite and localist concerns have always made me a bit cautious, if not actually skeptical, about Google. I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of others about Web 2.0 as it relates to research, libraries, and publishing. At some point I may comment on it more fully.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bonhoeffer's Sanctorum Communio

Halden discusses the "best Protestant ecclesiology" over at Inhabitatio Dei. Can't do much but agree wholedheartedly and lament my lack of time to reread Sanctorum Communio. Especially with the glut of ecclesiological work being done today- good, bad, and truly ugly- Halden's post has me thinking about what sort of Protestant work is in line to follow in Bonhoeffer's footsteps. Since Lumen Gentium we have seen some really great stuff coming from Roman Catholic theologians. I don't know if the same can be said regarding Protestantism... John Webster's essays in Word and Church come to mind as an exception. Often, even what is good in Protestantism is greatly indebted to Catholic or Orthodox thought these days (not that that's a bad thing, but it does demonstrate a lack in our own tradition).

Here's a link to Sanctorum Communio at Fortress Press- anyone who doesn't own it needs to get over there and remedy the situation. It's currently 20% off, so you have no excuse.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A few items...






  • Mark Cladis has offered a great response to mine on the Immanent Frame (see my original comments here). I don’t think I’ll make a response at this point, as we seem to understand each other well enough and simply approach this issue from differing commitments.It’s fair to say, I think, that we both are seeking to articulate a model of public life that is more fair for religion’s role in it.We may disagree on how far that will go (here in particular on the question of government funding of faith-based organization for the purpose of the public good), but many of the critiques we want to make are identical.While I’m at it, here’s a link to Cladis’ profile at Brown, for those who are not familiar with his work.

  • From the Martin Marty Center, the new 2008-2009 fellows have been announced; the only scholar I'm familiar with is Sarah McFarland Taylor, from her leadership role in the Midwest AAR. Lots of interesting projects to keep an eye on, even (especially, actually) the dissertation fellows. Also from the Marty Centery, Martin Marty himself has a new column up in Sightings titled, "On Patriotism".

  • Jeremy Hall is a soldier suing the Dept. and Sec. of Defense over issues of religious freedom in the military. Hall has apparently faced a significant amount of discrimination because of his atheism, to the point where he was sent home because of the harassment of other soldiers. It sounds like typical criticisms of, "This is a Christian nation and you're working against it with your godlessness!" abounded from Hall's superiors and fellow soldiers, conjuring up memories of scandal at the Air Force Academy a few years ago and raising the question again of the neo-conservative evangelicalism that has invaded military culture.
  • The Church of England has approved the admittance of women to the episcopate. It remains to be seen what the reaction will be from Anglo-Catholics, who are currently exploring options outside of the Church of England such as a return to Rome. Within Roman Catholicism itself, the decision has put a damper on ecumenical relations (as if everything that has happened since '03 hasn't already done so!). The decision has received mixed reviews from evangelicals... as we have already seen from GAFCON, there is a big tent situation where some are pushing strongly for ordination (and episcopacy) of women while others are against it. Commentary from many, such as NT Wright, has expressed doubt as to how long these "secondary" issues will remain secondary- I'm hopeful, though perhaps naively so. I'm personally of a conservative mind about ordination and don't support women's ordination, but neither is it a big deal for me... I shelve it very much in the "secondary" category and have never felt the need to resort to activism on this matter. As far as I can see, it's the most justified decision as a matter of church polity, but at the same time I find no justification for making church polity itself an issue of salvation or even communion with those who differ. If someone can find me scriptural or rational warrant for the contrary, I'd be happy to reconsider.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Two new (very different, very good) articles

  • Jared Hickman has a fascinating new article out in The New England Quarterly (LXXXI.2, pp.177-217). "The Theology of Democracy" traces American democratic theory back to its Puritan roots, particularly in John Milton and Roger Williams, and then forward to its Pragmatist refashioning, particularly in John Dewey and William James. Here is a quote from the article:

"This difference between the Puritan origin myth of democracy as a postlapsarian contract among fallen human beings in the absence of God and the pragmatist origin myth of democracy as a premortal council between divine human beings and God nicely encapsulates the paradoxical essence of our story of the theology of democracy: namely, that the theologically-based conception of democracy that emerged out of the seventeenth-century Puritanism was actually more secular in its conclusions than the sacred conceptions of democracy that subsequently emerged out of the supposedly secular philosophies of the American Enlightenment and American pragmatism. However, while the American Enlightenment sacralized its Christian republic in the patently antidemocratic terms of supernatural idealism and so made of the United States an imperial theocracy, American pragmatism managed to sacralize secular democracy uponthe premises of democratized theology. In so doing, pragmatism could finally lend ultimate credence and philosophical support to democracy as a 'way of life.'" (p.213)

  • Another impressive article by Christopher Malloy is out in the latest issue of The Thomist (72.1, pp. 1-44). "Subsistit in: Nonexclusive Identity or Full Identity?" takes on what is perhaps the most significant issue in Roman Catholic ecclesiology since Vatican II, the question of interpretiting the affirmation of Lumen Gentium 8 that "The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church." Malloy critiques Francis Sullivan's position on subsistit in and offers one of exclusive and full identity with the Catholic Church. For those who haven't read it, Sullivan's most recent in a long line of contributions to the subsistit in debate is found in Theological Studies 69.1, pp. 116-124, "The Meaning of Subsistit in as Explained by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith", where he engages with the 2007 CDF Responsa ad quaestiones.

Monday, July 7, 2008

University of Chicago purchases Chicago Theological Seminary

I was reading an old post by Halden about reasons not to support Amazon and decided that I should educate myself further about the workings of publishers and distributors of books. The obvious place for me to start was the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, a local outfit that I've enjoyed for a few years now, and that will be even more local whenever we move into Hyde Park.

Good thing I checked them out- I was surprised to learn that the University of Chicago is buying the building that houses the Chicago Theological Seminary and the co-op bookstore in its basement. It seems that the building will trade hands from the queen of the sciences to the dismal science, with plans to move the seminary to a new location and put the new Milton Friedman Institute in its place. No plans for what will happen to the bookstore, but my impression is that it's in good hands. It will remain where it is for now and may get a new location down the road.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

posts to check out...

  • Jason Clark has a new post at The Church and Postmodern Culture on Ecclesia as Res Publica.  I think it makes a lot of good points about how we approach ecclesiology, an aspect of theology that I've been intending to post on at some point with my own pet peeves.  Some quotes that I thought were especially insightful:

"I am beginning to wonder whether there is in fact some giveness to ecclesiology, whether the flexible ecclesiologies of emerging culture have more to do with the historicism and voluntarism that reduces organisations to cultural artefacts – not just in terms of some existential ontological priority, but also in terms of performative actions and practices."

"Yet in trying to get at and to that ‘giveness’, I want to assert that no ‘single institutional form or set of relations can claim finality of truthful expression of God’s order’, but there is a distinctiveness beyond how the Church appears and what it does that ‘lies in how God is present to and within the Church’."

Here I think are balanced the two poles with which any ecclesiology must wrestle.


  • DW Congdon has a post up at Fire and the Rose on Tabletgate: A Crisis for Christian Faith.  Israel Knohl of Hebrew University has an article out about an apocalyptic Jewish text that describes a messiah around the time of Jesus' birth who died and rose again after three days.  Knohl thinks that this "should shake our basic view of Christianity."  Congdon says yes, but only if our view of Christianity was seriously flawed to begin with.  A good read.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Public Theology or a Theology of the Res Publica?

Rick Elgendy has a thought-provoking new column at Sightings, where he discusses the theological nature of public life as it has recently been reflected in James Dobson's critique of Obama's use of Scripture. I appreciate Elgendy's comments for a number of reasons. He is eminently fair to Dobson, and I always applaud the (sometimes rare) analysis that can look past the polarized culture-war distortions of voices from the left or the right for the sake decent dialogue. He also clearly lays out the theoretical underpinnings of Obama's views on religio et res publica. As much as I like Obama, his Rawlsian commitments have been clear for some time, at least since his 2006 Call to Renewal speech. Elgendy offers a way forward from this dead-end in Charles Matthewes' A Theology of Public Life and William Cavanaugh's Theopolitical Imagination, two of the best books in political theology to come out in the past few years.

Some of my quick thoughts on Elgendy's piece? Not that Elgendy said something contrary to this, but I would want to clarify that we need to be realistic about the nature of public discourse when considering something like the Dobson-Obama exchange. Dobson has accused Obama of misusing Scripture, even willfully, to suit his own commitments. Yet too often we make the leap from this exchange of public critique to a discussion of actual political sovereignty and religion's place with regard to it. Why do we turn to these questions of normative public policy after a critique like Dobson's? The man is making normative claims, to be sure, but he is doing so from one citizen to another (citizen because they are speaking within the realm of public discourse) about religious rather than political or public normative interpretations. So Obama's question from 2006, "whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's?" really has nothing to do with Dobson's current criticism of Obama... Dobson is not concerned here with public schools or any politically normative interpretation, but rather with Obama's (mis)interpretation as a Christian in public life. I think that we are prone to make a reactionary connection with the church-state relationship in cases like this precisely because a "theology of public life" has yet to be effectively articulated to the Church or the wider public, and so we rehash old dilemmas and worries about encoachment on spheres of sovereignty when in fact what's going on is simply the dynamic of public life and the critique that it brings.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fanning the flames of hatred...

I ran across this cartoon in the Guardian this morning, and it really has me pissed off. The picture depicts Rowan Williams being burned at the stake by an angry mob carrying homophobic and other hateful slogans. I'm assuming that these characters are meant to be the GAFCON attendees, considering that FOCA (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) is mentioned on one of the signs. The cartoon, however, is completely inappropriate in how it twists the truth. It only fans the flames of hatred by suggesting that conservative Anglicans want anyone to burn in hell, or want in particular to kill Rowan Williams as punishment for heresy. Steve Bell is miles out of line for saying as much.

It has been bad enough that news reports have mischaracterized the work of GAFCON as some schismatic venture, as well as the reporting on Williams' response to GAFCON that says he has accused the movement of breaking away from the Church. These are fabrications of what is really going on, usually by people who are entirely ignorant of what we talk about. But now we have a depiction of an actual burning at the stake, and I think this image could only be intended by its author to stir up hatred. The Church doesn't need this sort of intrusion from cartoonists bent on disrupting real dialogue, and someone from the Church of England should condemn it.