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Quotes of the week

21 January 2022


Being a rabbi is about knowing when to serve tea and when to throw a chair

David Wolkenfield responding to the “Badass Rabbi Alert” conversation on Twitter about Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who distracted a hostage-taker, Malik Akram, in a Texas synagogue, 17 January

As the Church of England seeks to renew itself in the context of declining congregations, it should be bold in reading the signs of the times rather than rely on narrow readings of scripture. The gospels convey a message of loving inclusivity; England’s established church should reflect that

Guardian leader in favour of same-sex marriage, 13 January

There is a significant point to make about the word “significant”, which was mentioned earlier. How is it that in legislation we are able to use words that are so incapable of definition? If something is significant, it is “significant of” something. It is not just significant; that is meaningless as a definition. That is like when people write that something is incredible, which, if it was, would have no credibility; they actually mean the opposite. You can get away with it in ordinary parlance but not in legislation

Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, House of Lords debate on attempted government amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 17 January

I undertake unequivocally to break completely with those I have implicated in a practice I now accept as misguided and wrong. . . I now accept that my mission can no longer lie with boys and young men

Handwritten undertaking, presumed drafted by John Thorn, headmaster of Winchester College, for John Smyth, October 1982, appended to this week’s review of the latter’s abuse of Winchester pupils. Smyth had not signed it

Something profound is bubbling under the surface of cancel culture. There is a passion for justice driving this. It is a rejection of nihilism and the unqualified relativism of postmodernism. After all, something matters in absolute terms if injustice matters. . . Our rage at injustice points beyond itself to the sacredness of life and that possibility of eternity in our hearts

Amy Orr-Ewing, The Times, 15 January

All the fun has disappeared. He spends hours — when he could be helping with chores or homework — listening to sermons and is regularly doing “mission” work in our city centre at weekends, trying to persuade people to turn to God. . . I don’t recognise the holy bore haunting our house, and I think we’d all be happier without him

Anonymous contributor to the Daily Telegraph marriage-diaries column on how lockdown had affected her husband’s faith, 17 January

We invite readers’ contributions. Quotations have to be from the past few days (or quoted therein), and we need author, source, and date. Please send promptly to: quotes@churchtimes.co.uk


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