In a post on my own blog earlier this year I said that autocratic power disconnects rulers from people – from the persons for whom they are accountable.
I have yet to see the face of Vladimir Putin in the press, following the recent gunning down of a commercial airliner, in which he does not look disconnected. When pressed for an explanation, or better still for a willingness to take responsibility for the tragedy and allow himself to be held accountable, he seems remote, absent, afraid.
I’m posting this because I’m preaching on Sunday, and the lectionary readings are some short parables by Jesus on the Kingdom. What Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God has been debated endlessly. The way I was first taught it, it sounded boring and irrelevant. Now I find it challenging and important.
At what point, on their outward bound journey, does the space traveller experience real panic? On seeing planet earth recede past the point of no return, in the knowledge of limited supplies of oxygen and other life sustaining resources, perhaps. I think the Church is in danger of reaching this point.
This week, I find myself once again at Modern Church’s annual conference. Its theme, so well timed to coincide with the happy outcome of the vote on women bishops in the Church of England, is A Liberating Spirit? Exploring Spirituality for the 21st Century - and how badly that spirituality needs to be explored.
Next Friday Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill is to be debated in the House of Lords.
Today’s Daily Mail has a long article describing George Carey’s change of mind. The former archbishop, who retired in 2002, has a record of public interventions on topical issues. Unusually, this time he is on the side of public opinion: he now supports a change in the law.