Tuesday, 16 March 2010

It's not November is it?

Thought it was only November that Ekklsia's Jonathan Bartley (or more accurately perhaps, Jonathan Bratley's Ekklesia) made the press with his witterings about remembrance Day. Poor soul neither offers anything new or  (obviously) Christian. Mind you the petulant, pointy-toes radio performances make for great entertainment before the 08:30 communion! That said, Ekklesia seeing itself at the "cutting edge of culture, spirituality and politics," has to bring forth a smile. Mind you, self-recommendation no recommendation is it?

I've had a couple of people asking me about this 'Christian' group and I have to say to them, via the pages of this blog, that they appear to be (on the whole) well educated (they're generally Oxbridge with the odd LSE (Lower Source of Education?) graduate chucked in) and bear many credentials that confirm their inclusive acceptance of all things other than orthodox Christianity. Still, as my dear old dad used to say intelligent is rarely clever is it?

Generally they appear to make whatever size they choose fit whatever space is available and if the bleatings that occur on the nearest Sunday to Remembrance Day are anything to go by they aren't really worth the space they occupy in terms of airtime or much else come to that! If I were to sum it up in a nutshell for you, they appear to start with their final thought and then seeks ways to make their position look legitimate and I would therefore, most excellent Theophilus (it's not real name of the person this post is aimed at by the way) give them a very wide berth.

If you visit Peter Ould's excellent blog on Ekklesia and Christian marriage this will undoubtedly fill in the blanks for you.

Bottom line - stick to real thinking and orthodox Christianity - sadly you'll find little of either at Ekklesia who perhaps should consider a name change to Agnosia as it appears more fitting.

Hope this helps,



Jonathan Bartley said...

Yes, some day you must teach me to really love Jesus and show his love to others like you do.

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

I'd love to! I'd probably start with the so many veterans you offend every year with your same old same old - and then move on to the rest.

Thanks for visiting - never managed to get a response when I tried to contact via your 'think tank' - so this post has been worthwhile.


Simon Fallowes said...

Rev Vic, here's an extract from Damian Thompson's Telegraph blog:

Ekklesia is generally recognised as the smuggest think tank in Christendom, possibly the world. Note how it spells its name with “k”s, to denote trendy New Testament Greek rather than fusty Latin. Jonathan Bartley, co-director of Ekkklesia, proved too smug even for Thought for the Day: much to his annoyance, he’s been dropped from the slot.

Thank you for your comments and the obvious compassion and thinking you show in your blog

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Thank you for the comments Simon.

I am sorry to have offended Jonathan but at least it will (hopefully) give him something to think about.

Sadly never heard him on the R4 TFTD and hopefully this will continue if my 'Sunday' experiences are anything to go by!


andy said...

The other problem with Ekklesia is that you can't comment on the articles posted on the website without actually being a partner of the group. In other words, it is the similar to something like Anglican Mainstream or Soulspace where debate is only allowed if you are in agreement with the aims of the group in the first place - hence making sure that real debate doesn't occur.

Simon Barrow said...

OK Vic (and others), so you disagree with us. Fine. Make reasoned arguments about particular issues if you will. But what exactly do the dismissals, traducings, aspersions and sarcastic quotation marks achieve? A bit of tribal solidarity against nasty old us, maybe? I confess that I find this kind of stuff baffling... and I struggle to find it honouring to what it purports to stand for.

Sure, it's easy to caricature our work on re-thinking Remembrance, for instance. But if you *read* our report, you'll find that it absolutely does not seek to "offend veterans". On the contrary, it seeks to show respect and concern amidst disagreement. We've received moving letters from veterans themselves - sometimes agreeing and sometimes disagreeing with what we are saying, but recognising the spirit of peace and reconciliation from which it comes. This, of course, is something people like DT, who seems to revel in abusing those he disagrees with, may choose to dismiss as "smug". But how depressing is that? At least a couple of our angry correspondents have also subsequently said that what they were reacting against turned out to be a substantial misrepresentation of what we were actually saying - and the way we were saying it. I take criticism seriously. But the name calling and bile I simply find sad - and will generally not respond to, since that only encourages its perpetrators.

We on Ekklesia (and it is we, not one person) may be far from perfect... but we try hard to argue with what Kenneth Cracknell terms "love, courtesy and justice," and urge those who dislike what we are saying (or what they think we are saying) to do likewise. It's desperately sad that much of the Christian blogsophere is so spiteful and such an un-testimony to the Christian message, regardless of the "correctness" or otherwise claimed for the views expressed.

As to opening up Ekklesia articles for comment - well, people do comment on them all over the place! We are, however, a think-tank and news briefing organisation, not a blog (though we do have a staff and associates blog on the site). We have the question of more interactivity under review at the moment, actually. We did have an active discussion forum for a few years, but it drifted way off the goal of policy and theological exploration and we just didn't have time to moderate it, so we had to let it go. The limits and prioritising of resources is a big factor here. We do engage with friends and critics in all kinds of places, public and private, as well. (I realise that isn't likely to satisfy the "drive-by-abusers" who wish to have the "right" to scrawl rude and dismissive comments on our articles, but I don't feel any obligation to fund that kind of thing, given the widespread availability of free blogging elsewhere.)

Best wishes, S.

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Thanks for the engagement Simon - will take a look at it when I return from meeting (just rushed in from communions and rushing out again). I do appreciate the post (although not having read it yet I might not of course) though - didn't realise that I just needed to blog to get a response.



Ted Travis said...

General rule:

Look at what eklesia suggest - do the opposite!

This way you will be doing the Christian thing

Good blog - shameful response from Barley

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Not at all Ted, he's merely acknowledging his deficiencies and asking for help to become a Christian.

At least that's what his words say and I'm sure there's no hidden meaning in what he's saying!