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Blogday 2018: Oh! Grow up!

Friday, December 28, 2018

I don’t really celebrate my birthday. I am grateful for those who know it and who wish me well, but a birthday is not something I get excited over and I don’t usually tell people when it is because I want to keep the fuss to a minimum.

So why do I celebrate blogday?

Blogday helps me to reflect on what I have been thinking about over the course of the year. As this little blogling enters its teenage years, I am reminded of the turbulence of adolescence and the trauma it causes as we approach adulthood. Much of that adolescence is about self-discovery. It is also about learning to take responsibility for oneself and actions.

The past year has seen greater responsibility being given to me which explains why the number of posts is somewhat lower than in previous years. The next year will be the same. I will need to continue to take on responsibility as the need arises. We have to. That is part of true adulthood.

One of the things that has troubled me most over the course of the year is just how reluctant people are to take responsibility but rather push it onto those who will. There is an underlying childishness within certain groups which is both caused by and leads to a Nanny State. This can be seen very much in the disposable nature of society. If things get too hard, people are encouraged to walk away and give their problems to someone else, or apply for assistance to help them.

I was Examinations Officer in my last school and I had to apply for Access Arrangements – special measures for those with special educational needs such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and physical disabilities. Of course, this is vitally important for those who do suffer from such needs and who spend their time working out just how to live and authentic, self-motivated life with the faculties that they do and do not possess. Yet, I have encountered those who have just given an educational psychologist £500 just for a diagnosis of dyslexia: I have found such students to be bone-idle rather than true dyslexics.

The same is true for autism. Autism is not really a disability, though it does render one disadvantaged in a neurotypical society and therefore has to be regarded as a disability on these grounds. Effectively, Autism has a different coat-hanger on which the personality is built from the “normal” population. It differs markedly from person to person though there is a family of symptoms that allow a diagnosis to be made. It takes a lot for the autist to function in society. While there are, however, certain concessions which can be made, the autist still has to take responsibility for all his actions rather than hide behind his “condition”.
Adolescence may indeed be about self-discovery, however, as I say, it is also about taking responsibility for one’s life rather allowing someone else to live it for you. The Welfare state cannot be the arbiters of one’s true identity, and this leads us to an important point: one cannot allow oneself to be defined exclusively by what one can and cannot do.

I do hear it said that, as a Christian, I am part of the ultimate Nanny State. According to many people, we shouldn’t worry. God will take responsibility for our lives, Himself.

If that’s true, then why does God in Christ speak of Hell for those who never seek to know God?

We tread a fine balance between Pelagianism which thinks that we can somehow earn our way into Heaven just by being good and thereby failing to recognise the cracks in the fabric of our Human nature, and hyper-Calvinism in which each individual is a sinner from birth and automatically subject to God’s condemnation to Damnation thereby denying that there is true goodness in human nature which God wants to save. This hyper-Calvinism says that the individual is saved no matter what she does; Pelagianism says that the individual can only be saved by doing good. The hyper-Calvinist bears no responsibility for her actions; the Pelagian is effectively defined by her actions.

The progressive element in the CofE believes that the mission of the Church is to make heaven on earth, to iron out all injustice. It believes that it can do that just through the teaching of Our Lord. This progressive element says that Jesus has shown us how to be good, and now we can be good. The trouble is that, Our Lord’s words are first enshrined in the Old Testament and He is restating them. If the progressives are right, then there is no need for the crucifixion whatsoever! They just need someone to point out what is already there. This sort of progressive element needs a prophet and not a saviour which does call the Christianity of this progressive element into question.

One thing that I have noticed in teenagers is that they think that they can do anything. They have the energy of youth and an ever-increasing physical capability. Yet, too often, I have seen youngsters become brittle through a narrow definition of success and break at the first failure. I have seen youngsters become overconfident, stretch out too far and come crashing down because they have not weighed the truth of their situation.

Of course, failures are lessons from which we can learn but, too often the lesson learned is that the subject must be dropped, or the system changed to turn the failure into success. Or alternatively, there is the blame game.

In the beginning, Adam blames Eve for the Fall, and Eve blames the serpent. Likewise, the youngster who fails seeks a reason for that failure and projects that failure onto someone else. In many cases, this projection is justified but often, the seat of failure must lie in the individual. Too often, I have seen my colleagues berated for the exam results of a dilatory few. These few left the school in bad blood, breathing out threats and badmouthing the school whenever they got the opportunity. That’s not grown-up behaviour.

And here we come to an important point.

I have managed to acquire 25% extra time for some dyslexics. The most I managed to give a couple of individuals was 40% extra time. This meant that a two-hour exam would allow some students to take two-and-a-half hours to complete. Some of my colleagues at the time would say, “will they get 25% extra time to cross a road?” The point is well made as the demands of employment will make some jobs inaccessible to those who cannot complete deadlines on time. Either the dyslexic must find a way to cope with these deadlines (and some have done so remarkably!) or they must find an employment where they can thrive as they are. What they cannot do is petition the employer to change the practice to suit their requirements for extra time and then get up in arms because they won’t.

Adulthood means that we cannot expect to be included into any community without some commitment to that community and introspection as to what adaptations we need to make to our lives in order to make that commitment. The Adolescent is concerned purely with the self: it is a narcissistic age and uncompromising in its view that it is in perfect control of its identity. Adulthood knows that to be included in Society one must sacrifice control of one's identity in order to be indentified as a member of society.

 Inclusion may mean the intention and desire to change some aspect of ourselves that we hold dear. To be included in the Catholic Church, the intention must be the unqualified desire to repent of sins in order to find salvation from those sins. The Church does not define what sin is – it has already been revealed from the first in Holy Scripture. Yet, the progressive element in the CofE seems to think that, in order to be inclusive, it must change the Church and the teaching that she has received. That’s just not how it works.

Ah! You might say, you’ve been badmouthing the CofE since you started this blog.

Not quite. Badmouthing must happen behind someone’s back. We always badmouth in secret with like-minded individuals or with those who have no prior knowledge of the facts. One reason I blog is that I make my criticisms public and state upon what basis I make those criticisms, namely according to the same formularies that the CofE once held dear: Scripture, Tradition and Reason. I stayed in the CofE for six years after I started this blog and tried to work with her despite the impairment in communion. The reason why I still get upset by the actions of the progressive element is that I still have the greatest love for the CofE and want her to get better. However, she has been turned into a free-for-all and, unless you object to this inclusion by syncretism, you are automatically included whether you repent of your true sins or not. The Catholic Church engages in inclusion by the common realisation of the need for salvation by reason of the fallenness of human nature, not be redefining sin into nonexistence. I do not believe that the Bultmannesque Jesus of the progressive element is the historical Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Many in the CofE will call me bigot, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, full of hatred and unloving. I have seen this attitude so much on liberal blogs such as Thinking Anglicans. I am persona non grata and thus cannot be included in the Church of England – forever excommunicate.

The fact of the matter is that we talk different languages now. They have changed the meanings of words and we don’t understand the necessity for doing so. Adulthood must recognise that there are divisions and seek to bridge those divisions where a compromise exists. Where a compromise does not exist, then Adults must accept the limitations of their capabilities and walk away, not engage in warfare and coercion. Adulthood means living in the tension between what is and what should be, recognising the difficulties in resolution, and taking responsibility for the part one plays in keeping the division.

Adulthood is about authentic living rather than reducing oneself to a set of labels and actions. While God is our Father, He does not shield us from suffering but He also does not lead us into temptation. While life presents us with the fact of the existence of Evil, God delivers us from that Evil. At every stage, God presents us with the truth of Good and Evil. While He seeks to look after us and tend to us as a mother hen her chicks, He does so out of love and respect for our freedom to choose. He allows us some responsibility for our ultimate fate. While predestining the Church to Eternal Life, he will allow us to reject Him and that life if we so choose. That is not the action of a Nanny State who will legislate away the freedom to reject its idea of what is good for us.

I remain in my little Anglican Catholic Church grateful for the safe haven that it provides for my soul. I worry for the precarious nature of its existence and part of me worries about what might happen were she to falter and fade. The fact is that this little Diocese offers something remarkable: it presents the Catholic Faith which it does not dare change (unlike the CofE) and yet it does not tell people what to think (unlike a certain Italian Church) and it believes that faith (unlike the generally atheist secular society). It seems that no-one has heard of us, those that do won’t join us because we’re too small, and others won’t because we’re socially unacceptable. I therefore beg my readers for their prayers and for the kindness of telling people that we exist and exist for their benefit.

Once again, I would like to thank you for your readership of this little blog with all its manifest peculiarities and pray that you may receive richly the manifold blessings of Almighty God the Holy Trinity for 2019 and beyond.

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