Comments: Drenched in Grace opens

There appears to be no e-mail address on the site for Simon Sarmiento. I'd like to be able to send him occasional pieces that have been overlooked, like the impressive note of 18 November by Andrew Goddard of Wycliffe Hall on Rowan Williams: decision making & Bonhoeffer.

Posted by John Ballard at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 2:19am GMT

The statement:
"Te Paa is Principal of the College of St John the Evangelist in Auckland"

is correct, but misleading. The College of St Johns has three Deans (which I think is what is meant by Prinicipal here) which are appointed, in line with the New Zealand Anglican Church's policy of apartheid, she was appointed on the basis of race. Dr Te Paa is the Te Ahorangi, of Te Rau Kahikatea, or in more plain English, the Maori part of the racially divided college. There are two other deans, Rev David Jeans (for the Pakeha or white part) and Right Rev'd Dr Winston Halapua (for the Polynesian part).

So it would be more accurate to describe Dr Te Paa as one of three Principals of the St Johns College.

For completeness, I should add that Dr Te Paa teaches Te Kaupapa Tikanga Rua, Maori Perspectives, Cross Cultural Studies, Cross Cultural Issues in Pastoral Care, Maori Perspectives Research, Social Justice & Theology.

Posted by Margaret at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 4:02am GMT

"not the good behaviour of the few, but the bad behaviour of the many"

Surely.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 5:53am GMT

Margaret

You seem to be making a sharp point about racial division, and I wonder how fair that is - one of the features of New Zealand is an attempt to protect the cultural identity of different groups, based on the Treaty of Waitangi (admittedly abused by the white colonists for many years). The Haka we see in Rugby matches is one cultural feature which has a positive evaluation.

So for racial stereotyping, read cultural protection - perhaps. I know this formed part of the apologetics of South African Apartheid, but I do think that describing the NZ situation as you have, you appear to me to have imposed a particular 'western' cultural interpretation of the phenomena of the NZ church. And this seems to ignore the range of views internal to the cultural strands concerned, including the evaluations of such leaders as Dr Te Paa (unless you are suggesting that she is an indigenous apologist for a racist polity).

For my part I find in New Zealand a fascinating interplay between faith and culture - not perfect by any means, but from which I may learn.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 8:36am GMT

So the accusation is, a supposedly liberal church is actually a haven for racial segregationism? Nice try, Margaret.

Of course you didn't say it, I did. ;) But such an allegation reminds me of the more right-wing elements in New Zealand who say that the Maori are getting too many privileges.

As someone else said, why is this site called Thinking Anglicans anyway when we get this kind of sniping?

Posted by Ren Aguila at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 8:43am GMT

As I found the conference price sadly exclusive I'm grateful to IC for making this speech available on audio. Thank you!

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 9:47am GMT

So it would be more accurate to describe Dr Te Paa as one of three Principals of the St Johns College.

For completeness, I should add that Dr Te Paa teaches Te Kaupapa Tikanga Rua, Maori Perspectives, Cross Cultural Studies, Cross Cultural Issues in Pastoral Care, Maori Perspectives Research, Social Justice & Theology.

Posted by: Margaret on Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 4:02am GMT

This is good to know. She seems to have her work cut out ! But sounds like she thrives on offering her creativity to the Church.

Also I find it very encouraging to know that the hegemony of English language does not go completely unchallenged in New Zealand, any more than it does in the British isles.

Posted by L Roberts at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 1:04pm GMT

Am I the only one who finds Margaret's comment to be, in itself, a racialist one? It suggests an attempt to belittle or minimize Te Paa's status as a leader in church and academia, with the implication that were it not for the policies in place in New Zealand she would have no position. Why not address what she says rather than quibble about her post? The prophetic tradition allows for those who are mere dressers of sycamores.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 3:30pm GMT

What interests me is that the (unmentioned) third strand of NZ/Aotearoa Anglicanism is the Polynesian one; it's a small matter of pride because the institution with which I am affiliated claims (Arch)bishop Jabez Bryce as one of its most prominent alumni.
So it's not really apartheid--it is, as Mark said, a way both of letting both Western and indigenous cultures coexist, not to mention giving a former dependent church a full partnership role. Which is why Bishop Bryce is also called an archbishop under recent constitutional changes, if I recall correctly.

Posted by Ren Aguila at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 3:38pm GMT

Mark - could you explain a little more about the Treaty of Waitangi?

And Haka at rugby matches? [Don't try and explain rugby! I actually do get that!]

I was somewhat taken aback by Margaret's reference to apartheit [which I may have just misspelled]. What policy of the church in NZ is she calling that?

Thanks.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 3:51pm GMT

I'm curious to know what exactly Margaret's point is. In particular, the fact that "Dr Te Paa teaches Te Kaupapa Tikanga Rua, Maori Perspectives, Cross Cultural Studies, Cross Cultural Issues in Pastoral Care, Maori Perspectives Research, Social Justice & Theology."

Is Margaret saying that we should not listen to this poor benighted woman because she is Maori? That is the impression I get. I pray I am wrong

Is Margaret saying that we should not listen to this poor benighted woman because she isn't really qualified for the job she has and was selected only by racial quota? That is the impression I get. I pray I am wrong.

Is Maragret saying we should not listen to this poor benighted woman because her academic focus is not valid since it includes "phony" areas of study like cross-cultural issues and social justice? That is the impression I get. I pray I am wrong.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 4:23pm GMT

I personally (because we in the Global North are such naturally Good and Sweet and Honourable persons ;=) found this Margaret person's reference / accusation / projection of apartheid most overt and readable...

(maybe it is not so much for you, ex Colonials that you all are)

... and thought of it no more than any other Godwin-in-the-blogs thing.

To wit: He (or she, as it might be) who first ATTACKS somebody or something (not seldom tangential) with a Nazi/Adolph & c demonization IS one.

(because it is Evil persons who Attack)

Why are you amazed?

A German, in a film or something, is always 110 kgs, crew cut and answering to the name Kurt...

Shame on you and us and everyone because we demoize and pretend EVIL has nothing do do with Us...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 4:48pm GMT

The Treaty of Waitangi is explained in more detail than I can manage here:

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/category/tid/133

Posted by Mark Bennet at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 5:06pm GMT

Is it rugby to go for the (wo)man rather than the ball? Not Anglican though, I hope.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 5:12pm GMT

If the conservative believers have anything at all to say to any modern era cultural phenomenon that is not presumptively condemning ahead of time, and high-nosed to boot - aside from enjoining various rightwing cultural causes whose character defects of thought, feeling, or action are gracefully overlooked or ignored? - I for one would like to hear how they get there.

We would probably be a whole lot better off if Dr. Jenny Te Paa were the public face of worldwide Anglicanism, instead of hot button reactivist thinkers whose realignment campaigning owes more to Christian Reconstructionism, Creationism, and Dominionist Believer-hoods (aka Rushdooney the prophet) than they ever acknowledge.

I give thanks for Dr. TP's apostolic witness and ministry; surely here discipleship does not depend on trash talking anybody else as she calls us all to that cornerstone of real holiness, Justice, Prophetic Justice. I will pledge that over counting and policing orgasms any day of the Anglican week.

If Maori folks need some cultural and linguistic distinctiveness in order not to be assimilated into blended invisibility, the same might be said of almost any statistical minority group, including various rightwing believer communities who much prefer to talk among themselves, and keep to themselves. But the Maori are not leading church life raids on the Polynesians, nor the Anglos as I recall, so the Home Invasion model of the current conservative realignment campaign is yet to be pledged.

Posted by drdanfee at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 6:07pm GMT

I have only met Jenny Te Paa once, at a General Synod I happened to be attending, which involved delegates from all three of the tikanga that make up the diocese of Aoteoroa-New Zealand and Polynesia. There were certainly differences of opinion between the three strands of NZ Anglicanism represented there, but the spirit of collegiality and warmth at the synod, and the importance of non-European traditions in mainstream Anglican worship in New Zealand, belies Margaret's bizarre suggestion that ACANZP practices 'apartheid'. On the contrary, the tikanga-structure seems to me to be very healthy, though I have no doubt it will develop further over time. As for Dr Te Paa, she struck me as intelligent and humane; an excellent listener and an incisive speaker. We need more of her kind at all evels in the Church.

Posted by MRG at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 6:38pm GMT

I have been listening to what Dr Te Paa had to say. Doesn't it make sense of the genealogies of scripture - how else would you read them?

Posted by Mark Bennet at Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 9:26pm GMT

I agree with Goran that there is a sense in which we pretend evil has nothing to do with us. Even with my personal views on the Anglican question, my worry is that it is sometimes the arrogance of certain people, the kind of pride in themselves that is destructive of right relations, that has caused this problem.

Maybe it is about time we should get rid of the crusading that characterizes the more extreme tendencies of the Anglican Communion, dare I say even the so-called "liberal" ones, and get on with the work of mission.

Dr. Te Paa I think correctly describes the attitude of a good number of Anglicans on the ground, especially where I am (the Philippines). As far as I know, only one or two clergy love to make public noise about the crisis, often on the more conservative side of things. But while such awareness-building is necessary, I sense that for most of us, it can sometimes be needless distraction from what we ought to be doing.

As for John's very first comment, links to that piece have already been posted elsewhere in the comments section just recently. The trouble is, the one who posted it did so in the heat of a fight with everyone else.

Posted by Ren Aguila at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 12:32am GMT

I am sorry my post was so unclear. I have re-read it and I suspect many of you are reading into it more than I wrote.

My point was a very minor one -- she is not the principal but rather one of three principals. In other words, her status and role had been portrayed correctly but inaccurately.

My second comment was a more major one and related to the fact that in the Anglican church in New Zealand, people are not just Anglican -- they are first sorted by race ie if you want to join an Anglican church, by joining you will be placed in one of the tikanga from which you cannot escape because you are placed there because of the race that you are born. This is sometimes lauded because it is supposed to mean that each tikanga has its independent development -- ie exactly the same argument that was the South African position on apartheid -- hence my use of the word.

Now this means that in the New Zealand church it is "in Christ there is no male nor female, Jew nor Greek, etc but there is Pakeha, Polynesian and Maori and you don't get a choice which you are because it is the way you are born that counts."

It seems to me you are "Thinking Anglicans" and on average you vocally support equal rights for all. I would have thought that this meant you should be thinking about what this means, and in particular what it means in terms of having as a headline speaker at this conference a person who is a leader with a powerful position and who supports discrimination within their organization on the basis of race.

I apologize though if I raised something that you do not want to think about -- and in saying that I want to add (since my motives seem to be misread so often on this site) that I am of course assuming that your reluctance to do so is NOT because you support racial discrimination within your own churches.

Posted by Margaret at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 2:42am GMT

Pluralist wrote: "Is it rugby to go for the (wo)man rather than the ball? Not Anglican though, I hope."

It certainly is rugger.

(un-fond memories of 1969-ish attitudinal problems)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 5:28am GMT

Margaret

The "Pakeha" churches I visited when I was in New Zealand were not closed to Maori or Polynesian people - they weren't turned away and sent to their own place when they arrived. And I attended a service at a "Polynesian" church at which Pakeha and Maori were invited to share. The language was a mix of Tongan, Maori and English. This phenomenon is rather different from other kinds of separation. To use a word like apartheid invites an emotional response rather than a thoughtful analysis.

Dr Te Paa points out in what she says how the western individualist identity is flawed - thank goodness for that witness to what scripture means by personhood as relational (see previous note on genealogy).

Posted by Mark Bennet at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 8:38am GMT

I do think things would be easier Margaret, if you s t a t e d whatever it is...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 9:56am GMT

Given that you are clearly not in sympathy with this site's perspective,k you cannot be surprised that your words are regarded with some suspicion, Margaret?

What is the view of the Maori community on this matter - could someone from the non-fundamentalist wing of Anglicanism provide a perspective? Do they agree with this approach as a way of ensuring representation?

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 10:32am GMT

I" apologize though if I raised something that you do not want to think about"

Actually. Margaret, you're raising something I didn't know about, so don't go accusing me of turning a blind eye, and it shocks me to the extent that I need to learn more. Not saying you are deliberately misrepresenting things, we all have our own understanding of things, and what seems clear to me is not always nearly so transparent to others, who then think me deluded or lying. But, are you actually saying that, if I lived somewhere in New Zealand that had two Anglican congregations and a mixed population of Maori and Pakeha, then I would not be permitted to attend the Maori parish, where I would imagine the singing would be more to my liking, and I, language geek that I am, would get to hear Maori spoken and sung, and get to learn it? I would only be allowed to attend the white parish?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 1:18pm GMT

Margaret's anonymous postings here are hard to take seriously, on grounds of content as well as anonymity.

Is it really racist for people in NZ to want to worship in their mother tongues ? Not every one wants English and anglo-saxon cultures forced upon them.

Posted by L Roberts at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 1:20pm GMT

Margaret said: "exactly the same argument that was the South African position on apartheid"


Of course, in South Africa, it was the economically powerful who decided to enact the separation in order to preserve their dominance. In New Zealand / Aotearoa it was the marginalized culture that called for the organizational separation in order to assert and preserve their culture.

If Margaret can't tell the difference, it doesn't say much for Margaret.

And Ford, Margaret is trying to make it appear that a white person of European descent would not be allowed to attend a Maori or Polynesian parish. That statement bears a startling resemblance to the brown matter which descends from the north facing end of a southbound bovine both male and potent.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 8:49pm GMT

To be fair to Margaret, cultural identity is bound up with power relations, and there have been many situations where the weak have been happy with their lot and have supported structures which look from outside as if they are coercive and unequal (why did the communists work so hard at raising the consciousness of the proletariat?)

So jumping to a positive evaluation of the New Zealand situation is as potentially dangerous as giving an inadequately analysed negative one. Margaret seems to have some reasons for her view, and some knowledge of the situation, but has chosen not to disclose this.

For myself, the introduction of the 1989 New Zealand Prayer Book which announces that a prayer book for the cultural situation of New Zealand must be 'a deliberate attempt to allow a multitude of voices to speak' is inspiring, and very different from saying 'if we are all Christians we must say the same thing'. But it did raise a couple of questions when I did some work on it - 'when the voices are speaking, who is listening?' and 'how are we to understand God's voice in this?'

And as I put in my first post in this response - and having visited South Africa as well as New Zealand (I have family connections in both) - the literature and apologetic in the two places sometimes uses identical arguments to justify itself. A deeper analysis of the social setting and power structures is definitely required before any theologically nuanced analysis can be possible. I did not find it easy to identify the right questions to ask. Let's not assume that the answers are easy.

And I would say, having listened to Dr Te Paa, that Margaret could usefully listen to what she has to say about identity - because she explicitly suggests that the kind of description Margaret gives of her as a person is inadequate, and draws on her Maori roots to make a point. Dr Te Paa has given us something worth thinking about.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 9:53pm GMT

For some reason it seems to be the practice on this particular thread to attack the writer -- rather than the arguement.

A few replies to recent comments:

1.
"I do think things would be easier Margaret, if you s t a t e d whatever it is..." by Göran Koch-Swahne

I thought I had -- and clearly -- it is a puzzle to me that I am so often misinterpreted here -- when I don't have trouble making myself clear anywhere else. For the record my first post was a clarification of Jenny Te Paa's status. I thought it was useful for you to know - and that clarification required an explanation of the racially determined divisions within the NZ church. As the commentators were having trouble with it my clarification was clarified again in my second post. I didn't have any other motive -- so I don't know what you expected me to "s t a t e"

2.
"Margaret's anonymous postings here are hard to take seriously, on grounds of content as well as anonymity.." by L Roberts

You are entitled to ignore my comments if you think the content is beneath contempt -- but I am not anonymous -- my name is Margaret -- and that tells you rather more about me (ie my sex) as L Roberts tells me about you - so I don't get your point.

3.
Given that you are clearly not in sympathy with this site's perspective,k you cannot be surprised that your words are regarded with some suspicion, Margaret? by Merseymike

I hope you are not implying that someone is right or wrong on their facts just because they support or don't support your viewpoint? If so the adherence to relativism is somewhat amazing. My facts about Jenny Te Paa were correct -- and they stay correct whether I generally agree with this site or not.

4.
Finally, a thank you to Mark Bennett -- who provided a thoughtful comment on the issues. I appreciated reading them and thinking about what he had to bring to the topic. I have never once suggested that Jenny (or Maoris or Polynesians or Pakeha) were not worth listening to, but I do think this site (and indeed the whole Anglican communion) should be thinking about the racial division in the New Zealand church.

Posted by Margaret at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 9:08am GMT

"For some reason it seems to be the practice on this particular thread to attack the writer"

Speaking solely for myself, I do not feel I attacked you in any way, in fact, I tried to be conciliatory. If that is not how it appeared, I apologize. I did ask you a question, however, to which you have not responded. Could you please do so? I asked if, in New Zealand, given the choice between a congregation that is Pakeha and one that is Maori, I, a white man, would not be permitted to attend the "Maori" church? In other words, could you explain more fully the "apartheid" you see in the Church in New Zealand? I am completely in the dark on the issue.

"I hope you are not implying that someone is right or wrong on their facts just because they support or don't support your viewpoint? "

For me, Margaret, as a gay man and seeing the kinds of thing that some conservatives say here and elsewhere, there is an innate mistrust of conservatives. It isn't that the rightness of one's position is determined by those with whom one sides, as you seem to think is the accusation levelled against you, but the fact that so many conservatives have said so much that is false and have invented such a myth concerning their own persecution that it is difficult to trust anything they say. What's more, whenever this is pointed out, I have not seen any attempt by conservatives to understand why this is, nor any desire to rectify the situation, but instead a vehement and often insulting defence of it. You do not decrease that sense by coming out all angry and aggressive at first go.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 1:54pm GMT

Dear Ford Elms

"I, a white man, would not be permitted to attend the "Maori" church? "

You may be allowed to "attend" -- but would you be able to really participate (remember the blacks in America were never officially denied the vote - it was its unofficial denial that was discrimination). I am absolutely sure for instance that if you are a white male you would never be allowed to hold the position that Jenny Te Paa holds (it is reserved for Maoris) and the rest of the leadership positions would equally be denied you.

"You do not decrease that sense by coming out all angry and aggressive at first go."

I have read, and reread and re-re-read my first post and I cannot get it to be aggressive no matter how hard I try. It was providing information -- it was providing the reason why the information was important (ie its context - remember this was a speech to a conference labeled "Inclusive") but it was not aggressive. I think, (like the other posters here) you have read something into my first post that was not there. Indeed this comment "there is an innate mistrust of conservatives" suggests that you have assumed my beliefs are conservative -- and I can find no evidence for this in my post either. Indeed in most places being against racial discrimination is a mark of a liberal mind, and being for racial discrimination is a hallmark of conservatism.

Can I suggest that it would be helpful if comments related to what a person HAD posted rather than what you WISHED they had posted?

Finally, I stand by my point on the status of facts -- and I believe it is not an insignificant point. Whether Jenny is one of three principals appointed on the basis of their race, or the principal is a matter of fact -- it is true whether I like it to be or not and whether you like me or not. Its existence as a fact is independent of you or me and our preferences.

Similarly her specialties (which I only listed as I said for completeness) are a matter of fact -- whether you or I would like to be different is irrelevant to their status.

Whether I am a conservative, a liberal, a Nazi or a Marxist will make no difference to whether my facts are correct or false. In this case they are correct -- and if you want to dispute them further, I suggest you produce some evidence that I have got them wrong.

Posted by Margaret at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 9:48am GMT

Margaret,
As I understand it, the three tikanga are three streams in the Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand. I might not get Dr. Te Paa's position, but there is an equivalent for white people, I believe, so I'm not being discriminated against. I come from a small culture, and I am quite familiar with the cultural destruction caused by modern Western mass market culture. Perhaps you don't understand what it's about. Allowing other cultures to have a voice is not oppressive of the dominant culture, Margaret. I am disturbed by the need for ethnically defined bishops. We have recently done the same in Canada. Not because I think white people are being oppressed by them, but because the need for them shows a failure of our Christianity.

My reference to your anger wasn't based on one post alone, Margaret. If you can't see how you have presented yourself as one of the more extreme conservatives, then I won't point it out to you. I am sick of trying to make NP see it, I really couldn't be bothered to start all over again. I'll give you a hint: one area is that you can consider the dominant culture to be somehow oppressed by a minority culture demanding respect and a voice in decisions that affect it.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 1:37pm GMT

"would you be able to really participate"

This just occurred to me, Margaret. You are a, correct me if I'm wrong, white woman complaining that you are being excluded from the Church because Maoris have certain positions of power that you are not permitted to occupy. Yet, again correct me if I'm wrong, there is a parallel structure for white people, so there is an equivalent position you COULD occupy. I feel that is deplorable because of what it says about our failure of Christianity that makes such a thing necessary. I am a gay man. You seem to side with those who would exclude me, again, correct me if I'm wrong. Yet there is no "gay tikanga" to which I can go, no parallel structure like there is for you. Do you understand how your claims of being excluded sound in light of that? Erika is not permitted to read the Scriptures aloud in her diocese because her bishop thinks her relationship is such an evil thing. There is no gay tikanga in which she might actually be able to take her turn reading the lessons. You are under no such restrictions, so when you claim to be excluded it sounds a bit much and people react accordingly. Perhaps you have a point, but you need to make it more clearly. At least there are equivalent spheres for Pakeha and Maori, there is no separate sphere for gays. You get be free in your own little sphere, I get to be free precisely nowhere, so what's your problem?

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 4:04pm GMT

“… but it was not aggressive.”

NP doesn’t think so either, Margaret.

“… and being for racial discrimination is a hallmark of conservatism.”

Not necessarily, in my experience.

Indeed, it seems most people have remarkably erroneous ideas on what the actually think and their attitudes. They seem to be strangely autonomous.

“… rather what you WISHED they had posted?”

Ah, but that one gives it away, doesn’t it?

Nice try Margaret.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 5:59pm GMT

Ford Elms said "You are a, correct me if I'm wrong, white woman complaining that you are being excluded from the Church..."

What a hoot!!!!!

wrong, wrong and wrong.

The reason I don't use my full name is because it is distinctive, and I hold a very, very senior national position in my church. I definitely don't have position envy!!!

I have raised the issue because I do not think the Christian church should appoint people because of their race. It seems to me to be the antithesis of the equal relationship we all have in Christ.
It is clear that you disagree, and are quite comfortable with the racially divided church in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Posted by Margaret at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 7:49am GMT

Quoth Margaret:
"It is clear that you disagree, and are quite comfortable with the racially divided church in Aotearoa New Zealand."

Having seemingly missed:

"I feel that is deplorable"

I think that the need for racial divisions like this in the Church is lamentable, it shows how little we, on all sides, actually love our fellow Christians. If there were trust between racial groups, we would not need this. But look what you just did! How can there be trust when you claim I believe what I clearly stated I did not? And there isn't even the overlay of racial issues between us. No broken treaties, no stolen land, no job discrimination, none of the things that blight race relations, yet you still in your anger misrepresent me. This is the kind of angry wounded, and thus unChristian attitude that makes such anomalies as racially separated Churches a necessity and such a shame for us as Christians. It also is why there is so much mistrust of oncservatives.

And do you still not see how your posting style is angry and aggressive? You have still not explained how the racial situation in New Zealand, lamentable though we both think it to be, excludes you. As I understand it, there are equivalent positions in each tikanga, so, you might not be able to be, let's say, Comptroller of the Maori tikanga, but you would still be eligilbe for the equivalent position in the Pakeha tikanga. That isn't esxclusion, Margaret, and you are not being discriminated against, if that is the case. If it isn't, then please explain. My constant use of "if" shows how little I understand, so clarify, please.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 2:26pm GMT

Margaret
It's not that we;re comfortable with racially divided churches, but that Fr Mark's contribution earlier in this thread provides a completely alternative interpretation of the situation.
Maybe we're just not convinced of your assessment?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 5:34pm GMT

Hi Erika

I am not sure if Mark Bennett is the Fr Mark you are referring to, but on the assumption that it is I think the point he is making in his posts above and the point I am making are the same -- its just he sees it as alright and I don't. He seems to be saying that any church should ensure the survival of the culture of a race as its first priority -- and if divisions are required to ensure this then it is OK. My point is that the Anglican church in New Zealand has made the survival of cultural practices its first priority -- and I do not believe that accords with the priorities set for us by God through his Son Jesus as set out repeatedly but most clearly in the "neither Jew nor Greek" etc passage

Does this mean I think we should never have cultural expressions of the faith -- far from it -- if I did I would not belong to a parish where a good third of the congregation is not of my ethnic group and does not speak my language -- but what it does mean is that our status as equal children of God comes first, and we should not be excluded from participation just because of our race.

I am pleased that this discussion has at least got to the point where there seems to be general agreement that the current situation in New Zealand is -- well we probably wouldn't agree on the word "wrong" -- so lets go for "sub-optimal"

Posted by Margaret at Sunday, 2 December 2007 at 7:02pm GMT

I think the discussion has overlooked the question of "cultural imperialism". It has forgotten the attempts at cultural genocide e.g. in Australia stealing children from Aboriginal families and placing them in suitable white families so they became part of the "White Australia".

Internationally, there were families and communities as fragmented and traumatized as there were in Europe after the two world wars.

There then were the extremes of apartheid or "peace corps" that would help Guatemalan women have babies and sterilize them at the same time without their knowledge and consent. That has left a legacy in many Latin American nations where indigenous souls don't go to hospital because they don't want it done to them again, and they no longer trust "the authorities".

New Zealand is interesting because they acknowledged the indigenous peoples when they colonized (which was better than Australia who declared it Terris Nullis).

Nor do the Maori cultures purport to be without their problems or issues; they admit they are working on things e.g. domestic abuse.

They do have a right to a communion that reflects their local culture, which is good church practices, the Catholics for centuries have been integrating Christianity into the local communities existing culture, encouraging the best and beautiful and working to mitigate against the worst e.g. physical abuse.

Jenny Te Paa's contributions demonstrate the benefit of allowing souls to integrate the best of Christianity within their original paradigms. As someone who has consistently sought for souls to build a relationship with God that they can understand and trust in Jesus' binding nature, then I don't have a problem with different ethnic communion practices, the same as I don't have a problem having misogynistic homophobics in one communion and compassionate inclusionists in another.

We should not be surprised that those who seek “solo scriptural authority” have the same intolerance for cultural diversity as they have towards other forms of diversity. After all, there are some who claim that Catholics are condemned because they belief in intercessionary prayers from Mother Mary.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Sunday, 2 December 2007 at 7:46pm GMT

Margaret
thank you for engaging with my comments.
You're right, I seem to have got Fr Mark and Mark Bennett muddled up, and not for the first time! Apologies to both!

But reading Mark's comments it strikes me that the separation into different cultures in the churches is voluntary. Apartheid implies that it is involuntary, negative and that those who wish to go to churches other than their own have no way of doing so.

Jenny Te Paa's own comments were entirely positive, pointing as they do to a deep identification with the local families and villages because of the depth of belonging they provide. This is not the same as not being allowed to venture into another community.

So what I meant is that while Mark Bennett and Jenny Te Paa have given positive reasons for the way the churches are set up, you have called them segregationalist without providing any additional evidence for it.

If you have any information that turns the positive evaluation of Jenny Te Paa into something we ought to be opposing I would be grateful to hear it.

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 2 December 2007 at 9:12pm GMT

"we should not be excluded from participation just because of our race."

I agree entirely with what you say about ethnic divisions becoming a part of Church organization. You still have not shown how you are excluded from participation because of your race, though. You also don't seem to have much grasp of the pain of having one's culture destroyed by those who think themselves better and who just assume it to be natural that their culture is right, yours is somehow corrupt or inferior, if not out and out evil, and indeed ought to be destroyed. In this country, native children were taken from their homes, often by force or trickery, and placed in residential schools where they were beaten if they spoke their language, because their language and culture were from the Devil. As a result, many native languages and cultures are either extinct or on the verge. The Church did that because they fully believed their culture, which was white European, was God given and proper and those other cultures were indeed evil and ought to be eradicated for the good of society. Do you not think they have some responsibilty now to help preserve what little has survived their depradations? We can't look at native people now and claim the Gospel says cultural differences don't matter when we once thought those cultural differences to matter so much that we needed to destroy whatever culture wasn't like our own.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 3 December 2007 at 4:02pm GMT
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