Letters: The contentious issues of religious conversion

30 October 2021

9:00 AM

30 October 2021

9:00 AM

Hard to reconcile

Sir: Although not an Anglican, I appreciate Michael Nazir-Ali’s dilemma (‘A change of mind and heart’, 23 October) and know many Anglicans whose loyalty to the C of E is being severely tested. But insofar as his theology is classically Protestant and evangelical, it is difficult to see how the former bishop can reconcile it with the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on the sacraments, the office of the Pope, the role of Mary, purgatory and justification, to name but a few contentious issues.

He speaks of how ‘what Anglicanism in its classical form has held most dear is being fulfilled in the progression of the Ordinariate’. Assuming that classical Anglicanism is summed up in the Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles of Religion of the Church of England, with their strong emphasis on the biblical and Protestant doctrine of justification through faith alone in Christ, Michael Nazir-Ali must have had a significant change of heart and mind, or be doing some remarkable theological gymnastics. There are, however, alternatives to the Roman Church for troubled Anglican evangelicals. These include Anglican jurisdictions as well as theologically conservative Presbyterian and free church connections such as the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. Whatever way is chosen it will involve sacrifice, but such is the way of faithfulness to Jesus Christ.

Kenneth Brownell

London E8

Call them publishers

Sir: In his otherwise excellent analysis of why internet and technology companies must be properly regulated in order to stem online threats of violence (Politics, 23 October), James Forsyth misses one obvious remedy. Instead of constantly referring to these unregulated titans as social media companies, we need to see them for what they are: publishers. That way, the legal system might stand a better chance of holding them to account.

Grant Feller

Fowey, Cornwall

Crumbling surfaces

Sir: Two and a half cheers for Matthew Parris for his road pricing proposal (‘An idea whose time has come – at last’, 23 October). However, the suggestion that the revenue raised will be put to ‘paying for our roads’ will be greeted with a hollow laugh by road users. Had the previous enormous revenues to which he refers been wholly expended on the roads, we would not have to put up with the crumbling surfaces we now endure. That said, I will vote the missing half cheer to him if road pricing is extracted via smartphones. Those of us who do not have mobile phones, having been immune from the pingdemic, would (it seems) drive road-tax free.

John Cane

Charlton Kings, Cheltenham

No room at the grid

Sir: The one underlying problem with increasing our green electricity generation capacity to achieve the 2050 zero target is the capacity of the National Grid to carry and distribute the electrical power needed (‘Zero strategy’, 23 October). This has been brought home to me with my farm business here in Devon. I have wanted to install 250 kVA photovoltaic arrays on the roofs of the sheds on my farm. We are a big consumer of electricity, but I’m stymied on each occasion that I apply to Western Power Distribution as I’m told that the National Grid is ‘full’, and cannot cope with any excess power that would be exported beyond our own needs.

I believe this is a common complaint throughout the country. Our nation’s aspirations for net zero will be pie in the sky if this deficiency in the National Grid’s capacity is not addressed.

Jeremy Frankpitt

Whimple, Devon

The humanity of clutter

Sir: Laura Freeman’s appreciation of cluttered museums (‘Whatnots to like’, 16 October) identifies an important divide in our culture. The humanity of these places is transmitted through the display of the accumulation of objects. Almost always, these small museums or houses are more deeply connected with their local communities — often for historic reasons — than those soulless and vast giant super-museums (characterised best by Tate Modern), which offer neutrality, sterility and a strange societal disconnection.

Rufus Bird

Shaftesbury, Dorset

Musical pyramid

Sir: Ian Pace (‘Roll over Beethoven’, 9 October) shouldn’t worry too much. Vaughan Williams once likened the world of music to a prodigious pyramid. A handful of brilliant composers at the apex, lesser composers like himself slightly lower down, then soloists, arrangers, conductors, dancers, professional musicians, amateur players, singers in choirs and so on. Everybody involved with music has an important part to play, he said, so even musicologists and local radio announcers like me can fit into his exhilarating scheme. Essential to the continuing vitality of music, however, are the millions of listeners who participate at the base of the pyramid. Using VW’s analogy, one can agree that music has elites, but they are open ones — highly skilled, meritocratic and democratic. Let musicology go hang — all music is for everybody!

Jon Geidt

Cape Town

Hip hurrah

Sir: John Sturgis’s encomium to sloe gin is merited (‘Notes on sloes’, 23 October). Every bit as good is rosehip vodka. With this drink you can also play a guessing game, as few will know what it is. It is made the same way as sloe gin and hedgerow hips or those of Rosa moyesii are fine to use.

Chris James

Llangernyw, Conwy

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