Strengthening the centre

I’m more and more convinced that the most urgent political task of our time is to strengthen the centre against extremes. Which means people of good will coming together, not just affirming where they agree but also clarifying where they disagree, and the nature of that disagreement, and the bounds within which that disagreement functions.

In other words, a process to ‘de-demonise the Other’.

An example – I sometimes refer to myself as a ‘deep green climate sceptic’. The latter two words tend to trigger extreme responses, that eclipse the weight of the first two – which is why I’m persuaded that the argument is basically a religious one (recently bought this, but haven’t read it yet). Yet there is so much that might be agreed upon, and worked towards (eg around transport). Same applies to Brexit of course.

It’s as if we need to re-establish good disagreement (a nod towards Psybertron here, who has been saying this for quite some time) and the rules of civilised discourse. It’s OK to disagree. Of course I could be wrong. And so on.

Just today’s thoughts. I’ll do my best to work towards it.

MC roundup 2/24

It has been a busy week, so only two things to share:
The Tourist (season one) which I watched last weekend. Really enjoyed this, especially all the call-outs to other movies like True Romance and Pulp Fiction, and it was interesting to see an area of the world that I do not know very well at all (but very much want to visit – I’ve never been south of the Equator). 4/5 I’ll watch s2 in a couple of weeks.
Padre Pio (Abel Ferrara) – I’ve only watched one other Ferrara film (Bad Lieutenant) and that must have been about thirty years ago and, I must confess, I was watching this with, and at the request of, my eldest, so I went in with a completely open mind, not knowing the director or anything else. It is less of a biographical story, more of a theological argument, with the key theme established right at the beginning, of sharing in the suffering of Christ, culminating in a union of priest and people via stigmata. Some tremendous visuals (which have apparently become memes) and good performances – it is stretching things a bit but I think I’m going to give this 5/5. It has made me think.

MC roundup 1/24

Many years ago I regularly blogged about the media that I consumed, principally films, but also books and video games and so on. There was a point when this occasioned comment in my then parish – and by comment I mean criticism – so I stopped doing it (writing about it, not consuming the media!). However, much water has passed under the bridge since that time, I am different and my situation is different, so I want to get back into the habit of making notes on the media I consume, all as part of the process of living more mindfully. So this is what I have consumed since Christmas…

Books
Following a tip-off at a blog I follow here (and yes I watched that Netflix film just before Christmas) I purchased John Birmingham’s End of Days trilogy. I really liked this, a good story with believable characters that was well paced and laugh-out-loud funny at times. So I’d happily recommend it. The one qualm I have is a qualm that applies to a lot of dystopian fiction, which is that the collapse is presented as sudden and all-encompassing, whereas I tend to see the collapse as proceeding in a more ‘rolling down the staircase’ mode, ie a drop, then stasis, then another drop (the first was 2008, the second was 2020, there will be another along soon).
As part of my research into Islam (for my series on the public-facing blog) I read Jayne Senior’s ‘Broken and Betrayed’. Senior was a youth worker in Rotherham and the principal whistle-blower about the systematic abuse taking place there. This was a really good and easy read (although I skimmed some of the darker details) and you find out much more about her as a person. You also end up despising the bureaucracy that let the abuse continue for so long. There is a lot in common with the Post Office scandal that is receiving attention at the moment; at some point I may write something substantial on that aspect, using McGilchrist’s hemisphere’s to unpack what went wrong (I use the phrase ‘left hemisphere capture’ to describe it). In any case, if you want to understand what happened in Rotherham, this is strongly recommended. I’m delighted that she was honoured for her work.

Film
Saltburn – four out of five (film ratings explained here). This was a highly polished turd; I don’t think I have disliked a film quite so much in a very long time. The thing is, in so many ways it was an extremely good film – visually stunning, excellent acting – but it lacked integrity in two really important senses, a) it was incoherent as a plot and b) it had no moral centre. I think you can get away with one of those, but not with both. I’m glad I’ve seen it – I can take part in the conversation – but I shall not be watching it again. I do love Rosamund Pike though!
Chariots of Fire – watched with my eldest as he hadn’t seen it, and it must have been at least 20 years since I had last seen it. A real palate-cleanser after Saltburn. Just superb. 5/5

Also:
When on my own I am rewatching the new Dr Who, and have reached the end of season 4 (oh Donna!). Midnight was an excellent bottle-episode that could be used to teach Girardian anthropology! And River Song… sigh.

Also: have been slowly replaying the Dragon Age sequence, in preparation for the release of Dreadwolf. I still think the way demons are presented in DA is the most theologically sound that I’ve come across!
Also: I think I’m addicted to Civ 6 – but I won’t mention that much πŸ™‚

The only mercies in war

In the context of present crises I keep coming back to the thought that there are only two mercies in war: speed and clarity. In other words, a decisive victory for one side or the other. The worst thing in war is a conflict that never resolves, like a wound that never heals, that continues bleeding and suppurating for years.

So – however barbaric and detestable it might be – the removal of Armenians from the Karabakh region due to the swift military victory of Azerbaijan back in September, that was merciful. There are people alive now who would not have remained alive without the swiftness and certainty of that military victory. Life will carry on.

The opposite end of the spectrum is, of course, Israel. I wonder what would have happened if – at various points – the Israeli government had simply said ‘sod it’ and genuinely carried out some ethnic cleansing, in the way that Azerbaijan has. I rather suspect that the overall suffering would have been less in recent decades, for all sides. Instead, in an attempt to be ‘good’ and to win the good graces of all interlocutors, the great un-endable conflict increases and immiserates all involved.

Perhaps Israel needs a bit more of the Old Testament Heart…

Inner turmoil

I am in a weird place at the moment.

I haven’t been well – and am still not right – I suspect that after three years of avoiding it I have finally had a dose of Covid. My immune system seems to be ‘cycling’ several times a day, which is why at first I thought it was allergic (gluten or dust or feathers or what-have-you) but it has been nearly three weeks now. I seem to only have about half of my normal energy.

Also, though, and what is taking up much of my attention at the moment, is the situation in Israel and, even more, the protests in London celebrating Hamas (and I think that is a fair description). I’ve thought a lot about Islam in the last couple of decades. I did some academic study of it in Cambridge, and then in my curacy I was in a Muslim majority area at the time of 9/11, and that was rather formative for me. There is a heart of darkness there, and when I ponder it I start to worry that I’m Islamophobic. “What can men do against such reckless hate?”

We are facing a fundamentally spiritual crisis and – channelling MacIntyre – it is our unawareness of the nature of the problem that is the most important part of the problem. Secular thinking has run aground, the only question is what will take its place.

Such horror.

We need to be Reformed from our new works-righteousness

I enjoyed Paul Hackwood’s two articles critiquing the centralising tendencies of the Church of England, but amidst much agreement there was one element that I vigorously disagreed with. Hackwood writes:

β€œThis idea of general welfare is gaining traction as our culture changes; β€œwell-being” is increasingly spoken of in the workplace and in civil society. Not coincidentally, this is what most clergy in the Church of England see as their purpose, and the horizon of their mission, and it gives meaning to what they deal with every day. Well-being and welfare are a strong foundation for evangelism and growth.”

I do not see well-being or the idea of general welfare as my purpose, or the horizon of my mission, and I suspect – I hope – that I am not alone in this. To me, this comment encapsulates all that has gone wrong with the Church of England, and it is why Hackwood’s recommendations, commendable though they are, will not ultimately bear the necessary good fruit of evangelism and growth.

For me, the principal purpose of ordained ministry is to feed the faithful through word and sacrament. There are other purposes too, of course, but that is the beating heart of the ministry. Mission, in so far as it falls specifically to the ordained in distinction to the purpose of the whole body of Christ, is fulfilled when new believers are enabled to share in the worship of the Body of Christ. This is what it means to love God with all that we have and all that we are, which is the most important commandment that we are given to obey.

The second commandment comes second – to love our neighbours as ourselves. All that can be considered as general welfare is an expression of that second commandment. Important, yes, but less important than the first commandment. We must insist upon the priority of worship in our self-understanding of who we are; we are most truly ourselves when we can come together in the presence of Christ.

To set aside the priority of the first commandment is a product of the unacknowledged materialism that so conditions the public language of our church. There is a story to be told of how and why the Church of England has come to be seen as lacking in faith, but a component of that must be the reluctance to talk about matters of faith. What we must surely do at this moment is talk about the priority of worship, and that means not trying to justify our worship in terms that the wider culture finds acceptable. We need to declare the priority of worship for its own sake.

Which is why the contentious decision to close churches during the first lockdown was so disastrous. It was the perfect embodiment of the priority given to the second commandment over the first. Love of neighbour was given priority over love of God; physically gathering for worship was optional, reducing the risk of infection was essential. As an act of prophetic drama this decision could not have more clearly communicated the theological wrong-headedness that governs our church. This is why we are dying.

What gives me hope is that there are enough church members who instinctively recognised the wrongness of that decision, both the substance of it and the way in which it was enacted. The capitulation of our leadership to the imperatives of the state, marked by an absence of theological perspective, is only to be expected from a church that has so systematically, over many decades, sought to make itself acceptable to society through accommodating itself to what it thinks the society wants. Please like us – see what good works we are doing! We no longer need to be Reformed from a works-righteousness in relation to God, we need to be reformed from a works-righteousness in relation to our wider society.

I believe that the only path towards evangelism and growth starts from unapologetic apologetics. The gospel is the truth, our primary need is to proclaim that truth – everything else will then fall into its proper place.

The sound of an idol toppling

Like most of the world around it, the Church of England is so caught up in busyness and anxious make-work that it has ceased to attend to what is truly happening in the world around it; and as attention is simply another word for prayer this is a grievous fault.

If the Church were to pay attention, I believe that it would perceive one immensely important fact in particular: the great idol of our time is toppling. The idol is science, or, more particularly, the idol is a particular form of scientific and technical expertise that has been shepherded by a priestly class of laboratory-coat wearing men (well – in the story that is told, mostly men) who have journeyed into the greater mysteries and emerged bearing gifts and blessings for the people.

This idolatry, this white coated religion, has its foundation myths (Galileo!) and rituals (the scientific method!), its seminaries and its churches just like any other faith. Walter Brueggemann, in writing about the prophetic imagination, notes that when Moses, the archetypal prophet, seeks to inspire the people of Israel with a belief that things do not have to be the way that they are, that it is not an eternal truth that the Israelites must be enslaved by the Egyptians, a crucial step comes when the technocrats of the Pharaoh contend with the technocrat of YHWH – and they come up short (see Exodus chapters 7-9). Each time Moses and Aaron take a step to demonstrate the power of YHWH the magicians of Egypt are able to match the demonstrations using their own powers – until they cannot. There comes a point when the powers of the establishment are no longer sufficient to provide for the people, when they are shown as no longer omnipotent and omniscient, all wise, all benevolent.

There comes a point when the god bleeds.

Which is where we are now in the West. We have experienced an immense crisis, whose ramifications are still rippling through our lives. Rippling? Maybe a rip-tide. Covid 19 – from whence did it come? Almost certainly from gain of function research in a scientific laboratory in Wuhan. From the place of expected blessing has come a curse. The cure for the curse? A white coated woman in a laboratory achieved something amazing (Sarah Gilbert) yet the issues with the mRNA style vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) seem to only grow with time. We have embarked upon an immense social experiment, whereby fear of a contagious virus has been deliberately stoked in order to justify unprecedented levels of social control. People in England, from where I write, have for the most part gone along with this. It’s what we tend to do, this is the land of the obedient queue. Yet there comes a point when that obedience comes to an end and the Anglo-Saxon plants their feet in the ground and says ‘No’. Then the authorities have to navigate around a new reality.

(It’s what happened with Brexit.)

So the apparatus of science and the religion of technological expertise is wobbling, it is uncertain – but why am I so sure that this wobbling is in fact an incipient toppling? Because of climate change. Not so much climate change itself but the scientific and technical apparatus that surrounds it, that has been so on display in Glasgow in the COP negotiations when we do not simply see the expected hypocrisies from the great and good who jet in from overseas in order to lecture the peons on the virtue of doing without, but also in those one might reasonably expect to know better – such as the Green politician from Brighton who flew to Glasgow rather than taking the train. The gap between the ritual intonations of ‘climate change’ and the people who are being lined up to change their patterns of life is becoming increasingly large. The people are noticing more and more, and are paying more and more attention, and some time soon the tipping point will be reached and the underlying science behind the rhetoric will be brought out blinking into the light.

At which point there will be much anger. The poor are being asked to pay for the choices of the rich; I am thinking parochially – the poor in post-industrial England are being asked to change their patterns of life (gas boilers, cars), all the things on which they rely, in order to… what exactly? The claims will be of seas rising, and nations vanishing, and mass migrations and so on and so forth – yet because the cost of the changes being demanded of the poor will be so great upon the poor, the poor will rightly say ‘prove it’, and the naked panjandrums will stand blinking and mumbling and Greta will denounce the blah blah blah and the Anglo-Saxon will say ‘No’.

For the IPCC itself no longer foresees disaster under the heading of climate change. The ‘consensus’ of 97% of scientists – which is itself a falling away from the true faith, for true science has no place for ‘consensus’ – will be shown as not very interesting. The climate is warming – yes – but how dangerous is the warming, what is the best way to respond to the warming, adaptation or mitigation and most of all, with Brueggemann in mind but as Rowan Williams once phrased the single most important question in Christian political thought: β€œWho pays the price?”

The rich will ask the poor to change their ways but the poor will once again vote for their own betterment, and the climate will shift, in earth as in politics, and as above so below the idols will topple. The rich will use the inherited rhetoric of the scientific and technological hegemonies and they will be rejected, and the idol of science will topple with them. No longer will science be seen as the repository of blessings and wisdom; instead the intertwining of science and technology and capitalism will be rejected as a whole, from pharmaceutical exploitations to farming interventions the fundamental wrongness of the apathistic stance will be perceived and rejected – for it will be asking people to be cold in the winter, and it will have lost its power of persuasion.

I hope that we don’t face a Butlerian Jihad, for those in white coats have indeed given many blessings to the people, but for so many reasons the thought patterns of scientific and technological rationality need to be, have to be, incorporated into a larger, wiser, deeper understanding. Theology must become the Queen of the Sciences once again. In one of those little ironies of history, if in the long run we are to ensure a safe place for the Richard Dawkins of this world, it will likely only be if a recognisably Christian culture is re-established.

Else there shall be war and famine and pestilence and death – and Hell shall follow.

The idol hasn’t toppled yet, but it is moving, and wobbling, and in another year or ten or twenty it will fall, and great will be the falling of it. Then, once again, the communities of the faithful will start to pick up the pieces and seek to preserve as much as possible of the good, whilst seeking to ensure the practice of virtues that might inhibit a return to the bad. The world will continue to turn, the tides will rise and fall, and human follies shall remain inescapable.

Kyrie Eleison.

Synod: Incarnational Integrity, or why I support the blessing of same-sex relationships

This is the second of my planned three emails unpacking the soundbites from my election address.

Our conversation around the blessing of same sex relationships (SSRs) has become increasingly fraught. I support the Living in Love and Faith process wholeheartedly – I think it is one of the most impressive things to come out of our central institutions for many years.

Most especially, the seven ‘voices’ giving different understandings of Scripture are a useful short-hand for understanding the different perspectives and assumptions about Scripture (see pp294-297 of LLF). I would place myself very much in the middle of these voices, and dependent on the issue, would be somewhere between 3 and 5. I consider myself to have a high view of Scripture; I would want to talk about the authority of Scripture, and I would want to flesh that out with some description of what it means to live under the authority of Scripture. So I would want to say that Scripture is a) the principal witness to the Incarnation – and thereby an irreplaceable source for how we know Jesus (and that not being restricted to the Gospels, or even the New Testament); b) independent of my own preferences; and c) something which has the capacity to question and interrogate me, and overthrow my own self-delusions. Yet what is often missed is that Scripture testifies about itself that it refers beyond itself. The point of Scripture isn’t that we get to know Scripture, it’s that we get to know Jesus, that we get to know the God who is revealed in Jesus – and that by believing we have life in His name.

In the Anglican tradition this insight has been captured by making Scripture our highest authority, but also, as explicitly taught by Hooker, that Scripture needs to be interpreted using the insights of the tradition (especially the early church) and the right use of reason. In saying this Hooker was not being especially innovative as the Scholastic tradition had been pursuing just such an approach for many centuries – and still does.

What this tradition means with regard to Scripture is that it is always legitimate to ask of Scripture ‘why?’ Not with a view to disregarding Scripture but with a view to seeking to journey more deeply into the mysteries of faith that Scripture can disclose to us. The prohibition on slavery is the fruit of just such a journey.

So if we take as a starting point that Scripture prohibits same-sex relationships, what is the answer to our question ‘why?’ The answer given in the tradition is essentially a ‘natural law’ argument, that has two components. The first is that same sex activity is ‘contrary to nature’; the second is that sexual activity is only licit when it is undertaken in the context of heterosexual marriage and is open to procreation – for procreation is the fundamental purpose of sexuality (here the tradition is using a framework derived from Aristotle – procreation is the telos of sexuality).

To take the latter point first, our Anglican tradition has expanded the understanding of the purposes of marriage to three. Hence the Book of Common Prayer outlines the purposes of marriage as being 1) procreation; 2) the avoidance of fornication and 3) the mutual society and help given within the relationship. This understanding led directly to the acceptance of contraception in the 1930s – which was incredibly controversial at the time, and was a major innovation to the inherited tradition – as it recognised that there was more to our sexuality than procreation. The first thing that God says is not good in creation is that Adam is alone.

To return to the first point, what does it mean to say that same sex activity is contrary to nature? As I understand it, the framework used to understand what Scripture is saying is one that considers heterosexual desire as the universal default, and the pursuit of same sex relationships as necessarily perverse. That is, for a person to pursue a same sex relationship is a failure of integrity. It represents a collapse into sin, whereby a pursuit of a bodily pleasure undermines the harmony of body and soul and fullness of life that we are called to in Christ. There is a contradiction within the person.

The core reason why I think it is possible for the teaching of the church to change can now be simply stated: I am not persuaded that it is necessarily the case that when a person pursues a same sex relationship that it is a failure of integrity in the way understood by the tradition. On the contrary I am convinced that for some people it is a fulfilment of integrity to pursue such a relationship, an incarnational integrity – allowing something to be expressed that is inherent in the creation of that person by God.

Scripture’s prohibition of same sex relationships has a particular behaviour in view – that it is a violation of purpose and integrity for those involved in it. It sees things in this way because of an assumption about universal heterosexuality. I don’t believe that we see things in this way any more, for all sorts of reasons (see the later parts of LLF).

One way to characterise the difference that I am trying to describe here is to talk about sexuality being chosen or received as a gift (and I recognise that I am drawing two points of a much more complicated spectrum). Scripture sees same sex desire as something which is chosen by a heterosexual person for perverse reasons, and it (rightly) prohibits such behaviours. Yet what of those who do not experience their sexuality as something chosen, but as something received, something given? I am not persuaded that Scripture teaches anything specifically on this, in the same way that it does not contain any specific teaching about the internal combustion engine, to take something morally problematic that is distinctive in our own time. In other words, that which Scripture prohibits is not what those who support the blessing of SSRs are advocating.

Put simply: it is possible to have a high view of Scripture as an Anglican, yet also to support the liturgical blessing of SSRs. I emphasise here ‘as an Anglican’ because there are some views of Scripture which reject the Hookerian approach outlined above (perspective number one in the LLF list is certainly not an Anglican understanding).

If what I am describing here is true, the question then becomes – what is the legitimate context for the expression of incarnational integrity in those who are not heterosexual? Surely it is through some form of regularisation and public affirmation of a relationship, emphasising the non-procreative grounds for marriage; to enable the avoidance of fornication, and for the mutual companionship, help and support that the one offers to the other… and to do so in the sight of God.

This is why I support the liturgical blessing of same sex relationships.

A more personal postscript

In the argument above I have tried to be very precise in my language; in particular I have not entered into the conversation around non-heterosexual marriage. This is for many reasons, not least that it is a discussion that is logically distinct from the one above, is much more complex, and can only reasonably be entered into by Synod if an argument akin to the one I make here is accepted.

Yet I find this talk of linguistic precision, logical distinctions and political practicalities – however essential it might be for our common labour – I find that it draws me too close to a Pharisaical spirit, and so I would like to finish with something more personal and real:

β€œI realized that the opportunity for him and me to say any more than we already had said was limited, so when he was more or less conscious I asked to be left alone with him. I got onto the bed and held him as gently as I could, and told him I loved him and he had brought gifts and goods, and frustration and testing, that I had never imagined would come my way, and I was so grateful for him, and then I stroked his hair and sang him ‘A Case of You’. I don’t know if David heard what I said, or knew what it meant, but I did know that he loved me and that I loved him, and that nothing could have separated us apart from what was separating us, so I did not fret too much about leaving anything unsaid.”
(from The Madness of Grief, by Richard Coles)

Resist with love and laughter

My beloved Church of England is having another spasm of ambition and vision, with an aim, not just for 10,000 new church plants but 20,000 new plants! Saul has his thousands but David has his tens of thousands….

I think this is the latest manifestation of a severely deficient theology and ecclesiology, on which I have written many times before. I have come to the point of thinking that our leadership has now jumped the shark. The level of disconnect between the people on the bridge pulling levers, and the people sweating in the boiler room trying to respond, has simply become too large.

So we need to resist, which for most of us will look like trying to ignore so far as practicable yet another central directive. We need more though – for all the activity poured into fruitless endeavours is energy wasted, and if we are creative it may be that we can open up more fruitful areas for our leadership to work in. I do believe, sincerely, that the problem is not that we have bad people in our positions of authority; no, I think the problem is not with individuals but with the institutional identity within which they serve, most especially, it is in the institutional narrative (‘panic!!’) that seems to shape all the decisions. We need to attend most of all to questions such as these: how did we get here? is this God’s will? how has our activity supported God’s will for the Church and how far has it frustrated that will? We need to get spiritually serious again.

I will write more about this as time goes on.

For now, what is most on my mind and heart is that we need to resist with love and laughter. With love for our leadership, and an absolute resolve not to scapegoat or cast blame upwards – we all share in our responsibility for the predicament we now face. We also need to resist with laughter. The emperor has no clothes, but all the courtiers have been stitched up into a false narrative, and the clothing may not be on the emperor but it is covering their eyes. Sometimes we need to laugh – it might just be that laughter brings people back to themselves, and the truth can then be realised, and the masks can be taken off and then, together, seeking the truth in love, we can work out where to go.

It is in that spirit of love and laughter that I have put together this little video. The song is Babel, words by Trevor Carter, sung by Pete Coe:

IDWTSLACP My motte-and-bailey mind

There is a bad form of argument known as the ‘motte-and-bailey’ fallacy. This is derived from the medieval castle system, where there is a motte (mound/castle) that can be defended easily, and a separate area (the bailey) which can’t be defended. In peaceful times the bailey can be used for lots of human activity; in times of conflict the people can retreat to the motte. So in an argument, a position can be advanced which is outlandish (can’t be defended) and the fallacy comes when the person advancing the argument shifts their position to say that they were only advancing a reasonable position (the motte). So it is an example of bad faith, what might be called ‘trolling’ these days.

So what do I mean when I say that I have a ‘motte-and-bailey’ mind? I mean that I will often consider things, and talk about things, without being committed to defending them – they are in the bailey. Whereas some things that I argue for I really AM committed to. I appreciate that this causes problems for other people; it has certainly caused me problems in my own life, when people have thought I was committed to a perspective (my motte) when in fact I was only exploring it (in my bailey).

In considering matters of faith, I have sometimes used the language of a doctrine being ‘weight-bearing’. That is, the Christian faith has many elements within it, and I have grown in my understanding of the faith over time. For many years I took the doctrine of the resurrection on trust – it resided in my bailey, I was still working through it. Eventually it became a part of my core understandings, it ‘took the weight’ in terms of how I live my life, and so it became a part of my motte, my most fundamental commitments. The doctrine of the Virgin Birth, by contrast, is still in the bailey, although it has moved closer to the motte over time.

This sequence of ‘I don’t want to sound like a crazy person’ is me making public those things which I am pondering which are in the bailey. I find them alarming. I don’t want them to be true. I am therefore opening them up to public scrutiny in order to bring them in to the light, to be exposed to criticism, to be tested and examined. I am grateful when people engage with what is in my bailey and say ‘Sam, that’s crap, because X, Y, Z’. I am saddened when people look at what is in the bailey and say variations of ‘you’re a moron’. It may well be true that I’m a moron, but calling me a moron doesn’t help me – and it doesn’t help those who are also considering the same questions.

I think I need to find a way of signalling the level of commitment that I hold to any viewpoints that I choose to discuss. The Less Wrong community have a useful marker – ‘epistemic status’ – which I quite like, but it’s a bit philosophically exact for this blog. Perhaps I can simply continue to use this language, putting ‘this is in my bailey’ or ‘this is part of my motte’ when putting forward an argument. Hopefully that will help to clarify things.

So, for the record – this entire sequence of IDWTSLACP is operating with my bailey. Everything I outline in it could be wrong, and my fundamental convictions would not be affected.

Whereas, when I start talking about the resurrection, and what it means for spiritual warfare and our present political crisis – that will involve a lot of ‘motte-stuff’!