A lot has happened in the world recently.
President Trump has visited the UK, and been off to see President Putin. Our government has been shedding ministers like a snake sheds its skin. Our European friends look at us in disbelief as self-serving politicians, well, serve themselves and seem to not to care very much about the future of the country. Brutal war continues in Syria; homophobia continues its reign in many of our churches; the poor keep getting poorer. Underneath it all, behind all the headlines and the tripe, injustice grows in leaps and bounds.
Logically it ought to be the other way round. As David Seymour’s proposed assisted dying bill divides New Zealand, Jonathan Rees describes the debate between Anglican bishops.
Two retired and one assistant bishop think assisted dying is ‘a good and moral choice’ but eight currently serving diocesan bishops, in leadership positions, think ‘the protection of human life is a fundamental cornerstone of society’.
Liberals have something very valuable at the heart of their political conviction, for which they often pay a price.
The word ‘liberal’ embodies both freedom and generosity so that, theologically, it is bound up with the very nature of God, with God’s love and mercy. I am a liberal in the context of both Church and society because I believe that the liberal vision for a just society and a just Church is closely bound to these two essentially divine attributes.
This post continues my series about future directions for the Church. Here I argue that ministers and church leaders need to be more open and honest about the contradictions contained within the Christian beliefs we have inherited.
In an earlier post post I argued that we need to accept more readily that Christians believe different things. Church leaders often give the impression that there is one thing called ‘the Christian message’, so that everyone who engages in mission and evangelism is promoting the same thing. As long as they offer this sterilised fantasy to people who can see the contradictions perfectly well, Christianity is being discredited.
When a nine-year-old girl, whom you’ve never met before, gives you one of those fierce hugs that only children give, you know it as a life-defining moment (one that you’ll probably remember as you’re dying), and even more so when the hug comes with the words ‘You’re such a nice lady’.
I wonder if this is the form of greeting given by angels to heaven’s new arrivals.