Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 13 December 2023

Surviving Church The Catastrophic Failure of Governance

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love What kind of God?

Neil Elliot NumbersMatters Who’s coming for Christmas?

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Bob
Bob
6 months ago

Neil Elliot’s article is a timely reminder of the gospel opportunity Christmas services present. An opportunity to break through the tinsel, presents, parties and Santa and to focus on the Saviour, born in Bethlehem, crucified outside a city wall, raised by the Father, risen and seated at the Father’s right hand, and coming again. Hallelujah.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Bob
6 months ago

Or just maybe, an opportunity to proclaim the infancy narratives as a wry counter myth to Roman imperialism and the emperor cult , a presentation of the mythological kingdom of God as antidote to the collaborative farce that was the kingdom of Herod. One might then segue into an application of the hopeful legend of the birth of Jesus as a metaphor for Christian community–a community that is a way station for the poor and marginalized, one in solidarity with, for example, migrants at the border as victims of neo-liberal economics at home and abroad. On the other hand probably… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Rod Gillis
6 months ago

Thankfully Jesus is not just in the ‘long ago and far away’, but very present and active in the now. Where? In all the outward looking churches engaged in Warm Welcomes, running the food and clothing banks and caring for the needy and underprivileged, as well as (here in Birmingham) the Sikh temples and Muslim ‘Bearded Brothers’ who undertake similar work as part of their living acts of worship. If all the Christian organisations who give debt councelling, famine and emergency relief and self-help projects to those who need them were taken away, this world would be a very much… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  John Davies
6 months ago

“This country needs a major change in its moral and social outlook.” The same could be said about my country and indeed about western neo-liberal economies in general. The desired change would impact socio-economic priorities. We have people living in tent encampments outdoors in the Canadian winter in the park across the square from our Cathedral. Meanwhile expensive high end housing ‘development’ is going up on every available piece of land. So how may proclamation of the powerful texts from the advent-Christmas lectionary provide a lens on the values that inform change? Is proclamation that is limited to encouraging charitable… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Rod Gillis
6 months ago

I have to confess, I don’t know the song; indeed have never even heard of Jackson Browne! (Anne Murray or Hank Snow, yes.) The big problem is that the existing church structures don’t like that ‘radical Jesus’ who folks such as Juan Carlos Ortiz or Tony Campolo talk about – he’s too uncomfortable and shakes too many of their pet applecarts. Back in the 1970’s Ortiz was a shooting star in English charismatic circles with his ‘liberation theology’, and he came over here on a speaking tour organised by Fountain Trust. His message was rather too much of a red… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  John Davies
6 months ago

PS The correct term I was groping for is ‘enlightened self interest’.

Its the source of that enlightenment that matters – depends on how wide an influence you believe God has in society beyond the church’s boundaries. As a clerical friend of mine remarked on the women’s ordination issues, “When the world is more righteous than the church – the church is in serious trouble.”

Hope it makes sense anyway.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  John Davies
6 months ago

“Try talking about it, even with ‘born again’ believers who are still grounded in conservative evangelical individualism…” Indeed. The question is put: Do you accept Jesus as your personal lord and saviour? I don’t think Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom had any thing to do with that. His message was to corporate Israel. For a view I share on these matters see the linked article: Fallen Idol: A Catholic Alternative to Neoliberalism by Anthony Annett (Commonweal). The question Neil Elliot is asking above is: Who is coming for Christmas? I suspect my preferences for socially viable proclamation would not make… Read more »

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
6 months ago

The juxtaposition of the announcement regarding the Prayers of Love and Faith and the publication of Sarah Wilkinson’s report is very interesting.
The article above from Surviving Church and its comments are very telling but do not seem to have attracted much attention here- after all, it is Christmas next week…which is presumably what was hoped.
It is vital that this does not get forgotten by January 2024
Also apologies to Colin Coward ( I hope you are recovering well) as his article too seems to have fallen into a very quiet place

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
6 months ago

Don’t worry Susanna, these matters will not go away until there is proper resolution.

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Martin Sewell
6 months ago

Martin, Thank- you for replying.
Coming from you, that is very reassuring.
The official C of E press release about ‘learning lessons’ was the usual AC’s exercise in not listening so I’m afraid you will have a lot of work to continue …
Happy Christmas in the meantime!

Susan Hunt
Susan Hunt
Reply to  Susanna ( no ‘h’)
6 months ago

I echo that and if it reassures you further, Susanna, January 2024 marks the fourth New Year that has seen me continuing to suppport ‘Kenneth’ in his wrongful allegation and now using his case to support others similarly placed. As Martin so rightly says, ‘these matters will not go away until there is a proper resolution’.

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