Doug Chaplin does a Mark Brewer …

… except that he actually managed to delete what he calls a libel, but is in fact the truth, because it was in a comment on his blog. And the alleged libel wasn’t even against himself, but against a bishop, and not even one who has authority over him.

Here is part of what I wrote, which I also posted as a comment at The Ugley Vicar:

It is all very well for Hooker to say things about how a bishop must behave, but that is empty if there are no sanctions on bishops who misbehave. And there have always been bishops and archbishops who set themselves up as mini-popes and persecute presbyters under them who are faithful to the gospel, from William Laud right up to Katharine Jefferts Schori. Hooker’s system may be an ideal one, but it is not a stable and workable one.

This was in response to this comment on Doug’s blog from “Mark B”, who I assume is not Mark Brewer:

magistra: moreover, Hooker, the father of Anglican ecclesiastical polity, says in his ‘Laws’ that bishops must not ignore the counsel of their presbyters. They must not set themselves over them, like mini-popes. No Cyprianism here! See the website of the English cleric John Richardson ‘The Ugley Vicar’ on this point.

Now I accept that this comment thread had got well off its original topic. But that is not the reason Doug deleted my comment, for he writes:

In my view it bought into rhetoric I regard as libellous to TEC’s Presiding Bishop. I’m sure you can find a way to make your point in other words.

But he doesn’t allow me to make my point in other words, by closing the thread to comments – although he had no problem with others taking the thread well off topic as long as they toed his pro-bishop line. I would have been happy to withdraw “mini-pope” as a comment about Schori, although not about Laud, if I had been given the chance, but I was given no chance to edit and re-post my comment. But I would not have withdrawn “persecute presbyters under them who are faithful to the gospel” as this is just what Schori is doing – and I could add that she is also persecuting bishops and lay people under her who seek to remain faithful to an understanding of the gospel which does not include inclusivity without repentance from sin.

There have always been many bishops of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion who have persecuted believers in the true gospel of Christ. They have consistently been supported by priests within the “Catholic” wing of this same Church. Doug has put himself well within this tradition. In John Richardson’s words, in the Church of England

You can disbelieve the fundamentals of the faith, but if you will acknowledge the bishop you can remain. But if you will not acknowledge the bishop, then the stricter your adherence to the faith the more you are a threat, rather than a benefit, to the institution. So the institution will obviously sacrifice believers who rebel rather than discipline unbelievers who conform.

But I wonder if Doug is really more upset about what I say about Laud, an Anglo-Catholic hero, than about Schori.

Doug, do you want to “sacrifice believers who rebel” by driving me out of the Church of England? I am not at all sure that I can stay in it, although I have put off making any decisions until after the Lambeth Conference. If the Church of England shows a gentleness and generosity towards those who have serious disagreements with it, in the way shown by many of its leaders, I just might be persuaded to stay. But if it displays the attitude of demanding adherence to the bishops’ party line, the line taken by Laud and Schori and now by you, then I will probably go. And I will not go quietly.

Plant churches that are shaped by their culture, but reflect Christ

David Keen, a Church of England vicar, has some interesting quotes from Graham Cray, Bishop of Maidstone and lead author of the Church of England report “The Mission Shaped Church”. These quotes are specifically about church planting but also relevant to strategies for an existing church. The emphasis is probably David’s.

You will need to go where they are, you will not get them to come to you. Plant churches that are shaped by their culture, but reflect Christ. The Christian distinctive stays, but otherwise the shape of the church is substantially decided by the actual lifestyle and circumstances of the people you are trying to reach. The very shape of church we are used to can be a stumbling block to the gospel. No one expression or shape of church life will fit the whole of our diverse culture. I suggest that to have in mind what a church plant will look like probably won’t work. We need a baptised imagination in the practice of mission, not just dreaming up what we think we are going to do under God as we begin. …

The first stage of our strategy is to reach people where they are, in the form of community they actually live in, and not the ones we believe they ought to live in. You plant churches in networks, communities of people who do have a relationship with one another, not in streets of people who ought to have a relationship with one another.

Last chance for Blogflux Commentful, and for TTLB

I find Blogflux Commentful to be a useful tool for keeping track of comments on posts which I am interested in. That is, I do when it is working properly. But, sadly, that is quite often not the case. I wrote here in January of serious problems which I was having with Commentful, and of the company’s failure to respond to support tickets. Indeed at that time I couldn’t even submit support tickets to them. I came very close to abandoning Commentful for another tool like co.mments (despite the unhelpful requirement at its main site to register even to find out what it is, circumvented by going straight to its wiki). But Jacob, one of the Commentful team, noticed my post and, despite not giving a working e-mail address, quickly sorted out my immediate main problem. So I decided to persist.

But Commentful has continued not to work well. It has never been properly able to track Blogger blogs. On my watclist page it is suppose to list WordPress blogs something like “MetaCatholic » Kirk and Bentley, dog and bone” or “An Open Letter to An Open Theist « New Leaven“, but instead of “»” or “«” I see the symbol “�”, which is a “replacement character” for an invalid character code. (Tip to Commentful staff: you need to copy this text from WordPress as Unicode and not read blog names with a specific code page.) And I would judge that over the last few months at least 10% of the time, often for several hours on end, the service has been down, meaning that I am unable to add new posts to my watchlist or read the watchlist.

More serious problems started about two weeks ago, when Commentful suddenly stopped checking my watchlist for updates. This is something which it is supposed to do every 15 minutes, but it has not done so for at least 15 days. Probably at the same time it stopped updating my personal RSS feed, and I can date this by the time of the last update on that feed according to Bloglines: “Thu, Jul 10 2008 3:47 AM”. I can still add new posts to my watchlist. But the only way I can tell which of them have new comments on them is by opening each of them from the link in the watchlist, which gets very time-consuming.

I reported this latest problem to Blogflux over a week ago, using their online support form, but have had no response and the problem has not been fixed.

Since last time the only way I could get any response from Blogflux was to blog about how full of bugs their product is, I will do this again, in the hope that in this way I can get a response from them. But if this doesn’t get fixed very soon now I will shift to a different product.

Another blogging product which I am getting fed up with is TTLB. I have had their “ecosystem” in my sidebar on and off for some time with the caveat “(but expecting to evolve to something larger when full statistics are picked up for this blog)”. But I have failed to evolve beyond “Crawly Amphibian”, and have recently slipped back to “Flippery Fish”, largely because of a persistent failure of TTLB to pick up more than a handful of the incoming links to my blog. This should be a nice humorous tool, but it is useless if it doesn’t work properly. If my incoming links are not listed soon I will drop it from my sidebar.

God the Blogger

While commenting on TC Robinson’s Open Letter to an Open Theist, I realised that I had found an interesting analogy which might help to explain some of the complex issues of free will and predestination. Or maybe the whole thing is just far too simplistic.

It is an old analogy to compare the relationship between God and the created world with that between an author and the fictional world of his or her novel. On this analogy God is in full control of the whole storyline, of everything which happens. The characters in the novel may have free will within that fictional world, but in the real world they have no freedom, indeed no independent existence. As I understand it this kind of model corresponds quite well with Calvinism. It is consistent with the compatibilism which Jeremy Pierce finds in Calvinism in that the characters have real free will within their own world. It is hard to argue against such a model. Yet somehow it is not a compelling one because it reduces the dignity of humanity to a set of pawns in the mind of God.

I would like to put forward a rather different model in which God is a blogger! He can post what he likes on his blog, including stories of a world he has created and the people who inhabit it. But my model differs from the one of God as novelist in that human beings, spiritual beings like God, are not just characters described on the blog but also in the same world as God, perhaps “seated in the heavenly places”, and with real free will not controlled by God. As such they are able to read the blog, and, crucially, also have some input into it.

God as a blogger could of course make his blog entirely read-only, as for example Adrian Warnock has done. By doing so he would on my understanding make it not a blog at all. In my model this would correspond with a Calvinist position in which God decides everything, at least in the real world, with human freedom restricted to the world inside the non-blog. This is equivalent to the model of God as novelist. It is perhaps not accidental that non-blogs like this are popular among Calvinists.

But on my preferred version of the model God has chosen, voluntarily, to open up the blog so that others, humans, can interact with him on it. On a real blog that interaction is typically limited to commenting. But on my model the humans can also write the main text, within limits set by God which might include that they can only write or edit posts about themselves. Indeed God might let the humans do most of the posting at least about matters which concern them, getting involved himself only when the humans ask him to or to put things right when they go seriously wrong. Thus what happens in the stories on the blog depends largely on the genuinely free decisions of the humans in God’s world, and not just on what God determines. Actually perhaps a wiki is a better analogy here than a blog.

Nevertheless, God retains complete control of the blog. He can moderate and reverse any edits. He can withdraw access privileges from those who abuse them. He can also write people in and out of the story as and when he wishes. In the blog world he is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent.

Crucially for the open theism debate, if he decides to do something on the blog, nothing can stop him doing it. This does not mean that he controls everything that happens on the blog. But it does mean that if he announces a plan to do something at a certain time and in a certain way we can be sure that he actually can and will do it, even if in order to do so he has to undo some things which others have done.

I’m not sure how good a model this is of the interaction between God, his creation and humanity. It is certainly not a perfect one. But it may be closer to the truth than the model of God as novelist. And it may address some of the issues which have led to Open Theism, the idea that God doesn’t exhaustively know the future, without following that path to its false conclusion of that God is not omnipotent.

How can I know that God is telling me something?

In a post Using Reason to Judge Revelation Henry Neufeld asks an interesting question:

The problem is that if God reveals something to you that you cannot know in any other way, by what means do you determine that it is true?

The following is the main part of a comment I made on that post, addressed to Henry:

But the way you answer [this question] shows a lot about how you think. You seem to assume that the truth of a statement about God, or at least about the Bible being inerrantly inspired by God, can and should be demonstrated by human methods and reason. This is a fundamental presupposition of Enlightenment liberalism, but not of biblical Christianity. The biblical or at least pre-Enlightenment approach to such questions is rather that they should accepted by faith. I understand the objections to that approach taken on its own.

But to me there is another basic aspect to this which you do not mention, and that is the link between knowledge and relationship. If your wife tells you something, I hope that you don’t require that she demonstrates the truth of it to you, but that you accept it on trust because you know her and trust her. And if you get a message which purports to be from her, you can very often recognise whether it really is from her or not from the language and tone – and if it is not [clear] you can call her and ask. On the same basis, I have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Because of this I am in a good position to recognise whether any message purporting to be from him actually is, from whether it ties up with his character. And if I am unsure I can ask him in prayer and trust him to guide me by his Holy Spirit about whether it is true or not. So I don’t need any external demonstration of whether the message is genuine or not.

This does not completely resolve the issue of “how can one possibly tell the difference between divine and demonic?” But it does imply a consistency: either I have a genuine relationship with God and can know the truth about what he says from him; or (as some people have suggested in response to my defence of Todd Bentley) my relationship is really entirely with demons which are deceiving me. At this point I have to go back either to the Bible or to general revelation about morality, and appeal to them to argue that the good things that come out of my relationship show that it is with God and not demons.

I thought it was worth turning this into a post here because I think it illustrates a basic difference between my approach to Todd Bentley and that of most of the critics of Todd that I have been interacting with on this blog and elsewhere. No, this is not another post about Todd (and I will not allow comments here which are just about Todd and his ministry), but it is about how Christians can discern what is from God and what is not – in matters both of personal guidance and of whether to endorse or criticise ministries like Todd’s.

As I see it, the majority of the critics of Todd who claim to be applying “discernment” to him are in fact using Enlightenment principles of rationalism to reason for themselves an answer to this question. Now I don’t want to discount human reason and Enlightenment principles. They have led to major advances in understanding of this world and great scientific and technological discoveries which have mostly benefited humanity. But I do not consider Enlightenment rationalism to be helpful in discerning the ways of God.

The Enlightenment has given rise to two diverging streams of Christian thinking about God, both of which I consider to be fundamentally wrong.

The first, the more consistently based in Enlightenment thinking, rejected all kinds of appeals to authority including that of the Bible in favour of a thorough-going rationalism in enquiry about the divine, and about the events recorded in the Bible. This is basically theological liberalism. I understand this approach because I used to share its underlying worldview, but I have moved away from it.

In a second stream of theological thinking based on the Enlightenment all authorities were rejected, at least in principle, except for one, that of the Bible. The Bible was taken to be authoritative and inerrant, not really on any rational grounds (although sometimes rather weak rationalistic defences of it are put forward) but essentially as an axiom, something which cannot be proved but has to be assumed. The Bible was also read as a set of propositions about God and what he does. From these propostions were developed, using Enlightenment principles of reason, the system of theological thought labelled as “evangelical” and “fundamentalist”.

I prefer the label “fundamentalist” here because, it seems to me, all Christian fundamentalists think like this, whereas this is only one of a range of approaches taken by people who call themselves evangelical. OK, maybe it is also because I want to use a slightly pejorative label for a way of thinking I reject, rather than a label which I accept for myself. These are more or less the same people who I have called Bible deists and whose approach to studying the Bible I have previously criticised.

To be fair to at least some of the evangelicals and fundamentalists who think like this, they might be arriving at their axiom that the Bible is authoritative by the kinds of method that I outlined in my comment quoted above. This is basically the “Reformed” position as I understand it. It is also the fundamental reason why I find myself believing that the Bible is authoritative, although not inerrant on matters e.g. of science and history which it does not intend to address. But I would differ from fundamentalists in applying the principle of knowing what is true through a relationship with God much more widely than to the axiom of biblical authority.

I had written most of the above when I came across Nick Norelli’s review of what Roger Olson has to say about conservative and post-conservative evangelicalism. I think Olson is trying to make the same kinds of distinctions that I am, and he follows McGrath in showing how conservative evangelicalism, basically what I have called fundamentalism, is dependent on the Enlightenment. I’m not sure whether my own position, in Olson’s categories, is more pietistic or more post-conservative. I accept Nick’s criticisms of some directions in which post-conservatism might go, especially into anti-intellectualism, and I certainly don’t want to go there.

Some of the criticisms of Todd Bentley which I have read have come from the theologically liberal camp; I would put Doug Chaplin‘s and Jim West‘s critiques in this category. These are people who are fundamentally sceptical about claims of miraculous healing because this does not fit within their essentially rationalistic and materialistic worldview. I have some sympathy with their position because I too struggle with accepting the place of the miraculous in my worldview – but I know that I have to because I have seen with my own eyes (quite apart from Todd Bentley’s ministry) the evidence that prayers are answered and miraculous healing takes place today.

But most of the criticisms of Todd I have seen have come from people apparently following the fundamentalist way of thinking, that is, applying Enlightenment methods of reasoning, although often rather incompetently, to the Bible understood as a set of propositional truths. To this many critics add another axiom, or perhaps they claim to deduce this from the biblical text, that God cannot do anything which is not explicitly described in the Bible. So when they find Todd saying or doing things which are not exactly in line with the scheme they have deduced from the Bible text, they denounce him as a heretic and false teacher. They absolutise their own rationalistic theological system and don’t allow even God to do anything which does not fit within it.

Sometimes these people ask me how, when I defend Todd against certain charges, I can be so sure that I am correct. They expect me to answer them according to their own principles of Enlightenment rationalism. Well, sometimes I am able to do so, by appealing to the basic principle of Enlightenment scholarship that one argues from the facts – and unlike many of them I make some efforts to get the facts right, whether about what is written in the Bible or about what Todd has said or done.

But very often the only answer I can give to these critics is one which they seem unable to understand, because within their thoroughly Enlightenment worldview they have no concept of how God can communicate with people today – even while in principle believing that he did so in Bible times. My answer is that I have a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that it is because of that relationship that I am able to recognise when God is at work, even in apparently unlikely places. To that I could also add that I have a relationship with others, such as my pastor and his wife, who have a closer relationship with God than I do and help me to recognise when God is at work. In this way, and not through reasoning from Bible verses, I have been able to discern that, despite some less than perfect teaching and practices, God is indeed at work in and through Todd Bentley. And, gradually and always provisionally, I am able to discern what else God is saying to his church, and in particular to me.

NOTE: I repeat that I will not allow comments on this post which are just about Todd Bentley and his ministry without addressing the main issues of this post.

Nobody expects the Anglican Inquisition …

… that is, except for Ruth Gledhill. In a blog post which starts with

The Anglican Communion is on the rack and the torture continues

she writes that the Anglican bishops meeting at the Lambeth Conference are planning

to set up a new Faith and Order Commission.

This sounds extraordinarily like the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. … The CDF was of course formerly the Holy Office, or the Inquisition.

But the question remains open of who will be investigated, and who will do the investigating.

One of the battles being fought, apparently, is over which way the [US Episcopal Church] Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori will jump.

In other words, will she be accepted as an inquisitor or become a victim? Will this Faith and Order Commission be tasked with enforcing the decisions of past Lambeth Conferences, including the one against homosexual practice? This would please the GAFCON conservatives but will surely lead to the North American churches and liberals in other countries leaving the Anglican Communion. Or will the plan be put together in such a way as to bring the North American churches on board? I can’t see how that could be done, at least if the moderate conservatives are also on board, without making the Commission powerless and meaningless. The plan seems so unlikely to be helpful that I suspect it is no more than someone’s half-baked proposal, leaked to the press and built up into something more than it really is.

So I don’t expect the Anglican Inquisition. Anyway, even if it does turn up, I’m sure it will be no more cruel than Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition whose most horrific torture was forcing its victim to sit in the “comfy chair”.

Lambeth: the Secret Plan

Dave Walker has clearly been working hard as cartoonist in residence at the Lambeth conference. In this cartoon (part of his Lambeth series) he seems to have uncovered and portrayed Archbishop Rowan’s secret strategy for getting the bishops to talk to one another.

UPDATE: Ruth Gledhill confirms the story with real pictures of bishops queuing, not for dinner but for a bus.

But there have been no new cartoons since this one which was Monday’s. I hope that Dave hasn’t been so distracted by his legal issues that he has been unable to do any new drawing. He has at least managed to post direct from his mobile phone a picture of bishops marching in London this morning, with Rowan in the front row and the slogan “Keep the Promise – Halve Poverty by 2015”.

Who was St Stephen the Great?

The story of how the SPCK bookshops were taken over by St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust, recently in the news, prompts me to this purely historical study of who this St Stephen the Great might be. I remembered only one thing, that he is not the biblical Stephen, the first Christian martyr. I thought I had remembered another fact, that he was a Serb like Radovan Karadzic, but it turns out that my memory was faulty.

It was hard to find good information about this St Stephen. I did manage to find the following transcription of Mark Brewer’s words from a video, but only courtesy of a Google cache as this is from one of the posts by Dave Walker whose deletion Mark Brewer seems to have demanded.

I’m Mark Brewer, Chairman of the Saint Stephen the Great charitable trust. Who was Saint Stephen the great? He was a man who lived in the fifteenth century who fought some forty seven battles against the Muslim Turks who were invading Eastern Europe at that time. During his lifetime, after every battle he commemorated a church, built a new church to the glory of God throughout eastern Romania. He restored churches that had been destroyed by the Ottoman Turks. He is therefore a very fitting patron saint for this trust. We want to aspire to do the very same thing that Saint Stephen did, we want to rescue restore and re-energise the churches of this great country to the glory of God and to the salvation of the people.

I also found with some difficulty a Wikipedia article about St Stephen the Great, who in fact seems to have been a 15th century ruler of Moldavia (Moldova). He does indeed seem to have been a great defender of the cause of state-controlled Christianity in eastern Romania. So it is not surprising that he was canonised by the Romanian Orthodox Church, and is even now considered in Romania to be the greatest Romanian of all time.

But there is another side to this man at least in his associates. The details are sketchy, but Stephen seems to have been a close relative of Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula, Stephen’s contemporary as ruler of Wallachia (southern Romania). The name “Dracula” comes from the Order of the Dragon (dracul, a stange symbol for a supposedly Christian order) into which he had been initiated as a child. The two rulers were close associates. As young man Stephen fled to Vlad’s court for protection from his enemies; he sent troops to help Vlad regain his throne; and later he married Vlad’s niece. Vlad also defended Romania from Turkish invaders, and on one occasion managed to impale 20,000 Turkish prisoners. He probably avoided being canonised by the Orthodox by later converting to Catholicism.

Stephen doesn’t seem to have been the same kind of cruel character as Vlad. But, despite the claim that “He was victorious in 34 of his 36 battles”, he ended up losing the war and having to cede sovereignty over his lands to the Muslim invaders:

Finally on 20 August 1503 he concluded a treaty with Sultan Beyazid II that preserved Moldavia’s self rule, at the cost of an annual tribute to the Turks. From the 16th century on, the Principality of Moldavia would spend three hundred years as an Ottoman vassal.

Is this man a fitting patron saint for today? I would not presume to comment.

Telmarines seize Narnia domain name

C.S. Lewis must be turning in his grave. His estate seems to have been taken over by the Telmarines, King Miraz and his people who in the novel and film “Prince Caspian” had taken over Narnia by force and banished all the little people and talking animals.

According to this news report, a little person, a child rather than a dwarf, and his father had perfectly legally acquired, by purchase, the domain name, for use by the boy on his mobile phone. But “C.S. Lewis (Pte) Ltd.”, which owns the rights to Lewis’ work, objected to this as a breach of trademark. Now the purchasers have been stripped of by force, by the “World Intellectual Property Organization”, which, according to the reports, failed even to examine the purchasers’ evidence proving that they had not been using the domain for commercial purposes.

What we need now is a new Prince Caspian, new High Kings and High Queens, and a new Aslan, to put this injustice right, set free the Internet Narnia, and restore it to the little people who are its rightful owners.

Dave Walker capitulates on ex-SPCK bookshops

Dave Walker, cartoonist and blogger extraordinaire, blogger for the Church Times, friend of bishops (he’s the one on the right) and hanger-on (when they let him in) at the Lambeth conference, has shown what he is made of – that it is the typical spineless stuff of British Anglicans, who typically give in to every demand from Americans. (Well, the same is true of British politicians.) For in his fight to save the former SPCK bookshops, sold off for a song to the American Eastern Orthodox group St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (SSGCT, or just SSG), Dave has capitulated at the first shot from his American opponents.

Dave writes today:

This morning I was sent a ‘cease and desist’ demand from Mark Brewer relating to the posts I have made about the former SPCK bookshops. The demand says ‘Confidential – not to be redistributed or posted’, so I am not posting the text.

The demand says that if I do not remove all SSG-related material by noon today, July 22, 2008, an injunction will be sought against me and legal action taken for damages for libel.

I have therefore removed all of the SPCK/SSG posts on this blog, as, although I believe I have not done anything wrong I do not have the money to face a legal battle. The removal of these posts is in no way an admission of guilt.

To say I am not happy about the decision I have been forced to take here is an understatement. I feel as if I have let many people down who have relied on this site over the last year or more.

Mark Brewer is an American lawyer and chairman of SSGCT.

But, Dave, you have not been forced to make this decision. Mark Brewer is making an empty threat. I am not a lawyer, but it is quite clear even to me that the material you posted about the bookshops is at least for the most part perfectly legal. There can be no question of libel concerning the matters of fact in the public domain which make up the great majority of what you have written, and of the comments which you have allowed. You have routinely removed comments which might be considered defamatory. There may be minor specific matters which could be judged defamatory and so which you should remove. But in demanding a general removal of all material Mark Brewer does not have a leg to stand on. This is a basic issue of your freedom of expression, which is protected under national and international law. As bloggers we need to stand up against threats of this kind.

British courts do not take kindly to clever American lawyers trying to take out injunctions against ordinary people to stop them doing what they have a perfect right to do. If Brewer actually brings this to court, which is unlikely, he will be sent packing.

My advice, as a non-lawyer, to you would be to reinstate the posts and write back to Mark Brewer. You should say that you will not remove all the material because at least the majority of it is factual and therefore not defamatory, and you have a legal right to post it as a matter of freedom of expression. I suggest you also offer to remove any specific sections of posts or comments which they can demonstrate to you as being defamatory. The very least that will do is gain you some time as they will be forced to read all of your material to select some of it. If they send back a short list of items they would like removed, then comply or at least edit out what is truly defamatory. If they insist again on a blanket removal, offer to see them in court.

If you need legal advice but can’t afford to pay for it, I am sure there are people around who will offer this as part of their work to protect human rights in this country. Newspapers of course have legal teams to protect the rights of expression of their correspondents. I’m sure that even the Church Times has, and they may help you, but then they are British Anglicans.

Phil Groom’s blog about the former SPCK bookshops is still accessible, at least as I write. I wonder how long it will last. Probably at least until Phil returns from his holiday, as if he has been sent a similar letter to Dave’s he will not receive it until he returns. But I hope Phil is made of sterner stuff than Dave and does not capitulate to empty threats from the Brewers.