This post continues my series on possible futures for the Church. Here I argue that we need to break down barriers.
Church culture today loves its barriers. It loves to emphasise what makes Christianity different from other faith traditions, or what makes one’s own denomination different from others, or one’s own church different from the one across the road. We need to break them down.
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.