18 to 24 November 2013
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Calendar without numbers
I have never had an Advent calendar, for various reasons, while I've been living abroad, but the one thing I have had for some time now is a Nativity. I build it up over the Advent Sundays after church in anticipation of Christmas. I strongly suspect I build it out of order, because all I can remember of the order our home minister used was that the animals began the sequence, and the Christ Child went into the crib at Christmas Eve, but I've made the order mine, and for all I've tried, I can't reimagine it into a more logical sequence; the Shepherds shall continue to appear at Gaudete Sunday until somebody finds a better solution. (If in fact, you can conceive of one, do say so, I would dearly like to rediscover the pattern I grew up with.) If I've sometimes had to fill the crib early, so it won't be empty when I'm home for Christmas Eve, I like to think it is the thought that counts. Someday I will be in one place the whole way through Advent and will manage it properly.
I am also indebted to you for pointing me towards the essay 'Making Ready.' Advent is so full of things that need doing, that it is too easy to forget to build in time for emptiness. I tried one year to pick up 'slowing down' and rushing less, one Lent. Perhaps I will try again and have better luck at Advent.
St Andrews, Fife, SCOTLAND
18 November 2013
Women bishops? Two sides of the issue?
I feel very disappointed and quite upset at what feels like a cheap shot in your news section this week when you commented on the new Bishop of Grafton. You said "We imagine that there are groups of grumpy men who have issued angry statements about her selection, but we haven't gone looking for those statements."
This lacks grace. It lacks respect. It lacks dignity. It shows bias. It made assumptions which by your own admission were not checked. (Incidentally, I've seen no public statement here in Australia against the appointment.)
Why can't Christians disagree without it becoming personal? There may well be men AND women who because of the way they understand the Bible don't feel a woman should lead a diocese. But if they have arrived at that position in good conscience, surely we may beg to differ, but not become cynical and personal in our response to their view.
I would argue that it was unnecessary and inappropriate to make such a comment when reporting news. It added nothing to the report, except perhaps to lead others astray in thinking ill of those who see things differently.
Anglican Church of Noosa
Tewantin, Queensland, AUSTRALIA
18 November 2013
(Editor: you might be right, but we don't think it is safe to assume that it is harmless to 'see things differently'.)
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