Monday, 8 September 2008

They've started up again...

For the past few weeks things have been pretty quite on the Sydney Anglican diocese front: it's been as if they've been letting the world catch up to them in the pompous hypocrite stakes.

Unfortunately the calm has well and truly ended: Archbishop Jensen has issued a statement so breath-taking that I can't even bring myself to link to it. Off-Topic Allowed provide a link and a critique that helps fend off the inevitable depression which follows reading it. Personally I don't know which is more disturbing: that someone proclaiming themselves to be a Christian can come out with such idiocy - or that he obviously actually believes his own drivel.

Hot on his heels comes the Archbishop's little brother and Dean, Phillip who's been working hard to show the media he's just as crazy: today's Sydney Morning Herald features a front page article detailing his latest efforts at side-lining the Cathedral's internationally recognised choir and organist.

In an attempt to defend the Family Firm, an unnamed Cathedral spokesman is reported as telling the paper "The wide range of music being heard at the cathedral is in keeping with a wider range of people now coming through the cathedral doors." What forgets to mention is that while the range may be wider (something friends of mine who've been involved with the Cathedral congregation for a great many years strongly dispute) it's also smaller. and many of those now attending followed Jensen from his previous parish. Perhaps this isn't mentioned because somewhere in the Bible it says any drop in congregation size is only relevant if it occurs in "liberal" churches?

It's not all bad news, though. The spokesman (it's always a man with these clowns - the sky could fall down if they let a mere woman speak on their behalf) continued by citing as proof of the Jensen regime's relevance "the appointment of the cathedral's first 'jazz catechist'." So despite more than a quarter of Sydney's youth having no dedicated outreach workers, we've now got someone "working to reach out to Sydney's jazz community".

Of course this couldn't have anything to do with fact that most of the kids studying jazz at the conservatorium come from Sydney's white-bread Anglican heartland, could it? And please tell me it's just coincidence that a large part of this "outreach" involves presenting "Bible studies" to that same group of kids? Many of whom also come from some of the diocese's most doctrinaire parishes?

No of course it doesn't. Sure countless more kids are into hip-hop and dance, and we're doing everything in our power to ignore and/or alienate them - but hey: it's not as if they're white or anything. And isn't jazz the first thing that comes to everybody's mind when they think of Sydney?

Excuse me: I've got to go and change my son's nappy. At least what's in there isn't pretending to be something else.


Robert said...

Welcome back dear Caliban. I have missed your blog presence!

Brian R said...

Yes good to see you blogging again. Hard to keep up the Aussie presence alone, where is Boaz?
I would have written to the Herald yesterday if I had not been leaving home early for my Monday hike. Something about walking 4 or 5 city blocks to an Anglican church where there is good organ and choral music and the Gospel of God's Love is preached rather than the hatred spewed in the cathedral. However others did write. I liked
They will not rest until every vestige of what makes the Anglican Church Anglican is replaced by a dumbed-down, one-size-fits-all, mindless, soulless and Godless "worship facility" devoted to the delivery of a sermon. But common sense will prevail. The Puritans got their comeuppance in the Restoration and a golden age of Anglican music returned. It will happen here, too.
Given the anti-intellectual stance of most modern evangelicals, I don't think it's the organists' fault that parishioners of St Andrew's are having trouble thinking.
Of course there was also a letter from a noted Matthian
At St James we have a period of silence after each reading and the sermon. At the end of the service the organist does play wonderfully. One can either sit or kneel and be inspired to consider the wonders of God found in music or leave and engage in conversation outside.
I have had trouble understanding ++Jensen's words, a bit like reading some of my student essays in the past. I will try again later and may return to comment.

Lapinbizarre said...

It was only when I saw the scan of the broadly smiling Archbishop Jensen ("and welcome little fishes in ....") at the diocesan page linked by Off Topic, that I realized just how good he would look in Dame Edna's hair and specs.

Re "Jazz catechists" (and these folks accuse us of "innovation"?), when I was at an English grammar school in the late 50's, our Greek master warned us (does this evoke a world now as dead as Queen Victoria?) that when he was an undergraduate - probably when the Dear Queen still lived - they knew well that jazz was a product of the New Orleans "Negrosexual" (a term I have heard neither before nor since - maybe Mimi, when she's back in action, can enlighten us) community. Do you suppose the Jensenites know this?

John Bassett said...


I want to know how to pronounce it.

NEE-gro-sex-u-al seems too American.

Neh-gro-SEX-u-al seems a bit more British.

But I'm hoping he said it as

Doorman-Priest said...

Don't you just love it when the lunatics are in charge of the asylum?

Lapinbizarre said...

The first pronunciation - "neegro....", John. A very strange thing to say to a class of late-50's (or any period, for that matter), 13-year-old boys. There was nothing lascivious about it - the man was a monument of straight-lacedness, seldom humorous, married with kids, Methodist lay preacher, Conservative councilor, county alderman and, for one year, mayor of the borough. The statement came out of nowhere. Odder every time I think about it. I have no idea quite what he meant, and suspect he didn't either.

Anonymous said...

Hi Al,

There is a factual error in this article. Margaret Rodgers was Archbishop Jensen's spokesperson between 2001 and 2007.

Anonymous said...

"There is a factual error in this article. Margaret Rodgers was Archbishop Jensen's spokesperson between 2001 and 2007"
Anonymous you are incorrect, Ms Rodgers was actually "Media Officer" for Abp Jensen from 2004-2007. Ms Rodgers was CEO Anglican Media Council 1994-2003, but once the antiwomen Jensenistas came to power they couldn't bear for a woman to be CEO of Anglican media. They had to get rid of her and appoint a man to the CEO role, so Ms Rodgers was sidelined to media advisor to the Abp.

Alcibiades said...

"factual error" is there Anonymous 1? Because you believe Peter Jensen's spokesperson was female until 2007?

Since the article in the Hreald is referring to the Dean's (as he’s the one responsible for Cathedral worship) the person was speaking on his behalf - not the Archbishop’s – and we both know what he’d feel about the idea of having a woman speak on his behalf. Both now, and at any time in the past to which you refer – so I can’t see the relevancy of the point you’re trying to make.

The comment above from Anonymous 2 sums up most of what else I'd like say in response: there was no secret about Margaret Rodger’s change in job description being seen by many as an obvious slap in the face, so your spin on this insult is rather sad. I also notice you've made no attempt to refute my comments regarding Cathedral attendance or the crass ethnic/demographic imbalance in allocating of funds to provide outreach workers.

Lapin: I’m still chuckling over “negrosexual”. The parallel between the Archbishop and Dame Edna is in one sense very real: Barry Humphries’ character began as a satire of conservative Australian post-war protestant society and values, and Jensen represents the last vestige of that world.

While I believe you regarding the pronunciation, I refuse to believe the man who said it was a s straight as he appeared - no one could coin a neologism like that and not have some pretty dark secrets. Consequently in my heart I’ll always be with John, hearing the man pronounce it as Neh-gro-THEK-shul. ;-)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Lapin led me here. I'm a native of New Orleans and quite fond of Jazz, but I've never heard of the term "negrosexual". Jazz originated in the black community and led to the "dirty dancing" of the times. Often the lyrics were sexually suggestive.

I Googled and found this in the Urban Dictionary.

Lapinbizarre said...

Interesting, Mimi. My teacher would have used it in '59 or '60; couldn't have been later. Maybe, even in the suppressed English Northwest of that period he might have encountered the term, but if so, he may not have quite understood it.

When I moved to the US in the early 70's it had been replaced in some circles by the rather racist expression "dinge" - as in "So-and-so's into dinge".

Lapinbizarre said...

Everything OK I hope.

PseudoPiskie said...

Echoing the crazy rabbit.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Just checking in on you, my friend---hope you, Mrs. Caliban, the littles, and the furry ones are okay.


susan s. said...

Are you ok?

Lindy said...


Hope you are doing well.

Good thoughts from me, and some licks from my dog,


PseudoPiskie said...

Where are you when we need your comments on the latest "Anglican" insanity in Sydney?