Archbishop Jonathan Blake

The Most Reverend Jonathan Blake, Presiding Archbishop of the Open Episcopal Church B.A. (Hons), Dip. Pastoral Studies. Bishop's Haven, 105 Danson Crescent Welling DA16 2AS U.K. Mobile: 07767 687711 www.bishopjonathanblake.com bishopjonathanblake@ntlworld.com www.openepiscopalchurch.org www.twitter.com/bishopjonathan The Church is a member of The International Council of Community churches and the World Council of Churches. Married with 5 children.

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Location: London, Kent, United Kingdom

Tear gassed in Tehran, seized in Kabul, worked with Mother Teresa, escaped a murderer, raised £300,000, ordained 1981, 12 yrs an Anglican, slept on the streets, travelled to Auschwitz, Kenya and Pakistan to promote peace, opened the first inter-faith NHS chapel, wrote a biblical text on Parliament, arrested, relinquished his office within the CofE to pioneer independent ministry, baptised 1000's in homes, even on Mount Snowdon + in a circus ring, conducted a wedding underwater, published ‘For God’s Sake Don’t Go To Church’, nailed 95 Theses to Canterbury cathedral, arrested, co-founded the Society for Independent Ministry, was consecrated a bishop, co-founded the Open Episcopal Church, did the first gay wedding on prime time TV, sued Associated Newspapers for defamation, co-consecrated the first women bishops for England. Wales and Scotland, accommodated the homeless, took Mass to sex workers, posted it too, was elected Archbishop, arrested for taking his kids onto a roof, not charged - they were harnessed, founded ‘When No One’s Watching', became an ICV, conducted the wedding of the star Jade Goody, was invited to Downing Street, published 'That Old Devil Called God Again'.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WHIPPING YOURSELF IS NOT A MARK OF SAINTHOOD

The previous Pope, Karol Wojtyla, used to flagellate himself, we are told by Monsignor Slawomir Oder. The nuns used to hear the sounds as he beat himself with a belt that he kept tucked between his robes in his wardrobe.

This we are encouraged to believe is a sign, that will accelerate him towards sainthood.

However, research has shown the relationship between repressed sexuality and sado-masochism.

Please Christians, put away your belts and whipping paraphernalia and enter the twenty-first century. Let the path to sainthood not be tainted with violence, even if directed against oneself.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A BRIGHTER TOMORROW

Radio 5 Live asked me this evening to discuss whether optimism or despair were more appropriate for the new decade. I was sharing the discussion alongside Bishop Stephen Lowe, the fomer suffragan bishop of Hulme in the Diocese of Manchester of the Anglican Church.

I shared my view that we lived in a blessed age of achievement.

International dialogue and cooperation are on an unprecedented scale. There have been major advances in health and social care. We have been delighted with progressive and inclusive legislation. Our society has become ever more pluralist. Great developments have been made in biomedical engineering and embryonic research.

We live in an astonishing, enterprising and aspirational age.

On a personal front. It may seem to many that traditional norms of behaviour are giving way to an insolent and fragmented approach. However often those norms were straight jackets which constrained people's rights and were the symbols of a coercive and authoritarian pattern of governance.

There was a facade of respectability and order, but behind closed doors all manner of abuse and chaos reigned as research and reports have shockingly revealed.

This is the age of emancipation, of questioning and an undeniable grass root momentum towards equality, jutsice and freedom. Respect has to be earned.

We will no longer tolerate the corruption found in politicians, priests, the police and social workers. It is our coming of age.

Of course, at times we grow giddy and reckless with our new found freedoms as we press the boundaries of experience and knowledge, but this is a passing hour that will give way to a more mature, cohesive and well balanced society.

There are massive challenges ahead. The environment, the rich/poor divide, the ethics and politics of immortality and Christian/Muslim fundamentalism and terrorism to mention just a few.

The world community will not settle for platitudes, will not be fobbed off with religion and will not be patted on the head by governments. People require honesty and integrity and we expect our leaders and leading institutions to deliver.

The church used to be at the forefront of social change. Monastic communities spearheaded research and were centres of learning. Now the established churches have become often a reactionary voice more associated with prejudice and the past than with enlightenment and progressive social policies.

Yet people yearn for spiritual resources and the Open Episcopal Church and the Society for Independent Christian Ministry are among the modern expresions of new church ready to provide them.

Here's to the new decade. I'm eager and hopeful.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

TESCO'S EASTER EGGS AT NEW YEAR

The Sun asked for my reaction on New Year' Eve and such was the national interest I was on Radio 5 live the next day!

My initial thoughts were that while the public would regard it strange to be barely out of Christmas before being buffeted with Easter produce, yet such merchandising by the supermarkets allowed cash strapped families to put an egg aside each week and so spread the necessary costs.

Then it seemed a good opportunity to have the potent symbol of new life and resurrection visible throughout the early months of the year.

On further reflection, religious opposition seemed rather out of place anyway. Easter and eggs reflect more the traditions of the Zoroastrians and the Saxon goddess Eostre than the Christians.

However, my own inclusive approach celebrates the combining of all our aspirations; thus the symbol of the egg, which interweaves so many cultural and religious elements, as well as commercial and recreational ones, provides a happy item to find on the shelves, even at New Year.