The upside-down debate on assisted dying

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’.

Read more ...

Liberal values in an illiberal age

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.

Read more ...

New directions for the Church 8: Admit the contradictions

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.

Read more ...

With unaffected love

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.

Read more ...

New directions for the Church 7: Decentralise

This post continues my series looking for new ways to conceive of the Church and its role. Here I focus on the management of the Church of England. I have no significant expertise in this matter but I think the direction of travel is clear. We should plan to do it well rather than trying to hold onto a failing system.

The failing system is the idea of having a full-time stipendiary priest in every parish. For 50 years it has been whittled away. As each vicar departed a neighbouring vicar would be asked to take over an extra parish, thus reducing the number of clergy. We wouldn’t have the money to pay as many as we did.

Read more ...