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Sunday, 26 December 2010

The meaning of Wealth

The Archdruid of Canterbury delivered his usual dose of unschooled Socialist twaddle this year in saying "That confidence isn't in huge supply at the moment, given the massive crises of trust that have shaken us all in the last couple of years and the lasting sense that the most prosperous have yet to shoulder their load. If we are ready, if we are all ready, to meet the challenge represented by the language of the 'big society', we may yet restore some mutual trust."

You see, his use of the word 'prosperous' rather than the word 'wealthy' is telling. Prosperity means only financial satiety, means only gold, and this is the fallacy of the left, that everything is about money and how it should be taken from its owners and shared out by an overweaning State. The Archdruid is firmly fixed in this firmament, but perhaps some time over Christmas he may find time to look into the many 14th century works available to him at Lambeth Palace. 

Wealth doesn't mean the same thing as prosperity. The Middle English 'wele' gave us 'weal' or 'wealth' (say it wee-alth) and it means well-being, happiness, contentment, fulfilment. The Commonweal or Commonwealth doesn't mean a Socialist Statedom in which all possessions are held in common, but the well-being of all. Trust between the fractured elements of our broken society won't be healed by redistributing money, but by recognising that the bane of selfishness and self-obsession is always self-harming, that it diminishes our weal.

And the beginning of this is to recognise the 'we' in 'weal'; that we are one-nation, one sceptered isle, and must work together to defeat the twin evils of Socialism and Corporatism (oh yes, the global corporations, trans-national banks and massive impersonal conglomerates are as truly evil as any thieving Socialist). The answer lies in man, not in Mammon.  

With deep thanks for your many kind comments and wishing you all health and weal this Christmastide.


Anonymous said...

The AOC seems incapable of preaching the gospel. I have yet to hear him say anything about salvation of souls.

Anonymous said...

You're always on least safe ground when you try to do religion, R. Let's be truthful: you're not religious in any meaningful way, despite your many attempts to conflate 'British' with 'Christian', so your complaints mostly come out as petulant and hypocritical.

You don't like what the Anglicans think? You don't like that the Anglicans are too interested in their social justice schtick? Fine. Do what I do: don't go to an Anglican church. What you should not do is pretend that you're some authority on Christianity or that you have any ability to pass judgment on the religious or theological worth of what the CofE - or any other religious institution - actually believes.

I am an atheist and on the right and I believe that Rowan Williams' pronouncements are those of a political dinosaur. However I also recognise that he represents a legitimate, though rather stupid, strain of Christian thought. Even as an atheist (and, therefore, according to you, the source of all that is evil on earth), I do not stoop to calling Williams names or trying to diminish his office or his church.

It would be nice if you, as an alleged Christian, could one day aspire to showing your fellow believers the same respect that an Evil Non-Believer like me shows. Or, for the best, maybe you should leave religion alone. Religion does not come naturally to you, your attempts to draw religion into politics are deeply flawed and you generally come out of these attempts looking intellectually dishonest and not a little hypocritical.

Anonymous said...

The AOC seems incapable of preaching the gospel.

Few established churches - and that certainly includes the Catholic Church - put much weight on the gospels by themselves. In fact, the only people who fixate on the gospels alone are the recent crop of fundamentalist churches which mostly cater to people who simply aren't educated enough to understand that two thousand years of Christianity rest more on Augustine and Aquinas than on Paul and Matthew.

Further, your view that he is not preaching the gospels is deeply flawed a priori because you are starting from the assumption that the gospels have a single message (a message which, coincidentally, happens to reflect exactly what you personally think) and that you have the power first to divine that message and second to interpret whether other people are spreading it sufficiently.

I wonder if we could institute some system whereby anyone who wants to profess a religion has to take a three hour written exam on their core texts. It would certainly lead to a decline in the number of people claiming to be 'Christian'.

Raedwald said...

Well, anon, enough about me ;) what do you think of the post, then?

Edward Spalton said...

There was, of course, a strain of what would nowadays be called socialism in the very early Church. Groups of Christians "held all things in common".

They were a sort of voluntary mini welfare state amongst themselves. So, inevitably, they attracted free loaders. St. Paul's recommendation for dealing with such people was short and to the point "He that will not work, neither shall he eat".

I have yet to hear Cantuar or any of his brother C of E bishops endorse this wholesome teaching. The need for it was demonstrated when hundreds of thousands of Eastern Europeans came here and got themselves jobs which were beneath the consideration of our own feather-bedded welfariat.

Of course, many of the incomers have since grasped the opportunities offered by the system. I know one Ukrainian lady, in many ways an admirable personally hard working person, whose ambition is to get a Schengen visa. With this, through the assistance of the Ukrainian diaspora, she hopes to claim social security benefits in every single EU state simultaneously. Having a justifiably low opinion of all state authority, she sees no moral problem in ripping it off to the maximum.

The Anglican Church has always been a bit of a pick and mix affair, containing people of widely different (sometimes even atheist) outlooks. The lefty, right-on PC brigade is in the ascendancy at present, as it is in almost every national institution.

Anonymous said...

Surely the AOC is duty bound to preach the stuff he preaches. I hardly think that he is going to welcome the money lenders and chagers over the threshold and into the Church. I do, like you, think that the AOC should stay away from redistribution, other than perhaps in the old fasioned sense from centuries gone by - which brings us back to we-alth. Any religion worthy of the people it preaches to, needs to adopt this doctrine; and the receiver need not know all the scriptures to know what "good" looks and feels like.

Coney Island

Guthrum said...

There was, of course, a strain of what would nowadays be called socialism in the very early Church. Groups of Christians "held all things in common".

That old chestnut, when the Christian Church re envangalised Anglo Saxon England. It headed straight to the top, amongst the movers and shakers of the monarchy and aristocracy. There they have stayed these 1500 years.

Elizabeth Ist knew what she was talking about when talked about Hedge-Priests following the political fashions.

Edward Spalton said...


The point is surely that St Paul quickly gave firm guidance on how to deal with the abuses of such an arrangement.

I believe that some traditional Greek Orthodox village communities arranged their affairs on a mutual/ common basis and continued to do so until quite recent times (rather like a Kibbutz). Of course, that's not a reason for every Christian community to do the same or to aspire to do so.

Although no longer a member of the Church of England,, its Thirty Nine Articles of Religion give a very good common sense approach. Article XXXVII
"Of the Civil Magistrates" Is more or less the English declaration of independence and Article XXXVIII
"Of Christian men's goods which are not common" sums things up very well

"The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title and possession of the same, as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to giver to the poor, according to his ability".

That was, of course before the government saw itself as a sort of universal Robin Hood.

The Archbishop and his comrades do not like to be reminded of the Articles, to which they all give their assent as part of their conditions of appointment.