Comments: Opinion - 30 May 2018

The Wealands Bell article highlights an important aspect of dialogical undertakings and conflict resolution.

Individuals and their culture are in a reciprocal relationship.We make our culture and our culture shapes us. The ability of communities (including religions) to resolve differences, or learn to live with them peacefully,often hinges on whether or not there is cross cultural communication.

Bell writes "...Church of England bishops preach ... in a manner markedly different from an African-American raised on the memory of Birmingham, Alabama."

Bishop Curry's sermon was not simply a text based treatise. He clearly shaped an exposition on love and justice as an incarnated countervailing message to that of racism and hate--the latter are often also supported by religious ideas and texts.

One can further understand the cultural context of PB Curry by attending to his participation in the Reclaiming Jesus campaign (see link).

I'm sure that differences in presentation aside, C of E bishops ( one thinks here of William Temple) or bishops from elsewhere in The Communion (e.g. former Canadian Primate Edward Scott) may likewise be culturally grounded gospel presentations.

Difficulty arises when one sees culture as normative and one's own culture as the norm (Lonergan). It becomes easier to attempt an imposition of one's culture.

As far as I can tell attempts to denigrate either Curry's cultural context or that of the C of E are grounded cross cultural miscommunication that lapses into chauvinism.

PS: The Simon Perfect piece is worth reading.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 30 May 2018 at 6:18pm BST

On the Wealands Bell piece, and religion on State occasions, I am reminded of one fine day a couple of decades ago at a daily session of the Colorado state legislature, which has a tradition of inviting religious leaders (predominantly, but not exclusively, Christian) to give a prayer at the opening of the day’s business. This particular day, a state legislator had invited a Pentecostal Christian preacher to give the prayer, and the preacher spoke directly about what he thought of the legislature's recent actions on abortion, same-sex marriage, and other issues.
Some members were appalled and walked out. The preacher was later asked by the media what he thought of the fuss. His response? "What did they expect from inviting a Pentecostal preacher?"
I’m not Pentecostal, but I agreed with his assessment.
From my perspective, what the upset legislators expected was hearing that a benign, laid-back God approved of their endeavors and thought of all of them as fine men and women, and the benign God thought well of them.
They wanted a pat on the head.
They got a talking to.
So, too, with Bishop Curry. Now, the Bishop's message was of love and blessing, not condemnation, but like the Pentecostal minister, Bishop Curry’s God is not some benign passive deity who pats us on the head.
And, regardless of whether other members of the royal family had their fascinators put askew, I think the bride and groom knew EXACTLY what to expect.
Traditions of religion and the State are vastly different in the USA than in England, but in both places, when religion is put to use by the State in either setting, religion is shackled, squeezed into a narrow mold. But, every once in a while, religion bursts forth anyway.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Wednesday, 30 May 2018 at 9:47pm BST
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