The Vicar on Buddhist Bishops

Guest blogger, The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington, Vicar of St Hilda’s Little Snoring and All Saints’, Great Snoring weighs in on matters Anglican…

Down at the Goose and Garter the other evening one of the lads asked a bit of a sticky question about the Anglican Church. They’re just an ordinary group of hearty menfolk, but they do come up with some corkers from time to time.

“Say, Vicar, What do you make of this new Anglican bishop who is a Buddhist?” one of them called out.
Naturally I was a bit flustered. I must admit that comparative religions was not my forte at theological college. It was all I could do to play rugger, learn to sing the odd psalm and cram for a Greek exam. But I do remember one or two things old Canon Farnsworth told us about Buddhism.
So I said, “What do you lads think of it all?”
“If he wants to be a Buddhist, why don’t he move to China?” Jimmy calls out. “Yeh, we don’t want no yellow devils ‘ere.” another lad shouted out.
“Now then lads,” I said, “No need to be unkind to a fellow just because he happens to be different from you. Besides, I thought you said this chap was a bishop Stateside.”
“That’s right. He’s a Yank! They’re a daft lot. Why does he want to follow some slanty eye religion?”
“Here, here,” I smiled, “Let’s not be un kind to others!” I said, “I don’t have much time for things Oriental myself –although I must admit, Mrs. Vicar and I enjoy the odd Chinese take away of an evening–nothing like a nice portion of sweet and sour pork on a lap tray with the Benny Hill Show)
Personally, I can see nothing wrong with a parson dabbling in Buddhism if that’s what he fancies. Can’t do any harm can it? What’s all the fuss? I expect this bishop Stateside knows what he’s doing and a little bit of Eastern religion might help to attract immigrants to the Church. You never know–the fellow might have a special mission to folks in Chinatown.
What I don’t understand is why the fellow would bother. From what I understand Buddhism is a rather charming religion. It’s ancient, peaceful, has fairly pleasant customs and you don’t have to believe anything.
Why should a fellow bother to convert to Buddhism when he already has all that within the good old C of E?

  • Most Rev. Gregori


  • Saint Justin

    Father,I know that you were once an Anglican priest, but your post merely seemed cruel, drawing a satire of Anglican befuddlement which I, at least, have never met in the Church into which I was baptised and confirmed.Your post just seemed churlish and uncharitable and flavoured with a sentiment unfitting of the priesthood.

  • Fr Longenecker

    Saint Justin, have you ever seen the TV program Fr Ted? I'm just being satirical and poking fun at the English and Anglican clergy a little. If other readers think it is cruel, I'll take the post down and modify my tone.

  • Saint Justin

    Father,After being at Church for High Mass and Benediction for the Feast of the Holy Trinity to come home, begin to check my regular list of blogs and find a former Anglican satirising his previous church as "It's ancient, peaceful, has fairly pleasant customs and you don't have to believe anything" as profoundly offensive.There are those of us who still serve in Canterbury. We love God, we pray, we celebrate the sacraments and we serve as we believe God has indeed called us to do. Maybe the tone of my post was a bit sharp – I apologise.SJ

  • Fr Longenecker

    SJ, I know there are many in the Anglican Church who have not 'bowed the knee to Baal' but I'm making fun of the liberal mainstream.In the wake of Dr Jeffrey Steel's conversion I am planning a post on Anglicanism and will counter my satire here with praise for a church I still admire and love.

  • the owl of the remove

    Having been educated in Canterbury and educated from eight to eighteen in an Anglican school, I think "the Vicar" is rather amusing – don't stop!

  • Elizabeth

    The comment about "ancient,peaceful with fairly pleasant customs…" was meant to describe Buddism, wasn't it?I thought it was witty…oh well.

  • Remy Rosenhoover

    Father, The referenced news story is far more ridiculous than even your spoof. It is the referenced news story upon which I comment. A Buddhist or Christian who even remotely understood the other's teaching would laugh at the concept of a "Buddhist Christian". The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2705, 2706, 2707, 2708 defines the Christian practice of prayerful mediation. do meditate. However, the goal of Christian meditation being becoming more like Christ makes is impossible to be both Christian and Buddhist. Meditation does not make one Buddhist any more than kneeling and making the sign of the cross makes one Catholic.

  • Schrenk

    I enjoy your "Vicar" pieces, Father, and I did not think this was in poor taste. I think people have some difficulty separating the Vicar persona from your own personal viewpoints and opinions.And really, how could this particular development in the Anglican church be beyond satire?

  • torculus

    Churlish? – hardly. Rather polite, I'd say, given the state of things Anglican.Dear Fr. Longenecker,Your polite and necessary abrading of the wound is, unfortunately, getting you a few kicks in the teeth due to leaning too close to the patient. However – leave up your post.The pain attributed to the physician's gentle prodding is really the patient experiencing something of the seriousness of their wounded body = the Anglican community. The truth is, the Anglican body has been injured for a long time, injured since Henry brutally severed the English limb from Rome. Sadly, as the Anglican body slowly withers, people will persist in their denial and insist that, if let be, the infection will just go away and the body will heal. That hoped-for healing of the Anglican Communion won't happen.There is ecclesial wholeness to be found in the Church established by Christ on Saint Peter – join the rest of us converts and come home to Rome sweet Rome!

  • Romkey

    Quite amusing. He's not yet a bishop, you know. Doesn't look like he'll get the votes.

  • Remy Rosenhoover

    The bishops theology is his own creation:"Thew Forrester said he does not accept atonement theology that portrays Christ as a sacrificial lamb whose death paid the debt for humanity’s sins." He also felt the Apostles creed needed a few updates. Forrester is a false teacher.

  • Steve

    I think that the Vicar must be in line for advancement in the CofE by now as he holds such a delightfully accommodating position on all matters. When can a promotion be expected?

  • Steve

    PS Is the Vicar a mason? So many of them are I understand as was Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher who officiated at the Queen's coronation. I live in England and, although a Catholic, attended a CofE boy's school. After I left I was astonished to discover that the school had its very own Masonic Lodge for masters, ex-masters and 'old boys'. The 'supporters' on the coat of arms of the Grand Lodge are 2 demonic figures with red fur and cloven feet! I think we should be told!