Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 15 September 2018

Neil Patterson ViaMedia.News Sex, Lies & Voting Records
and in response
Jeremy Pemberton From the Choir Stalls Sex, hypocrisy and the body

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Tales of Unhappiness in Anglican Parishes

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of the future and Archbishop Justin’s potential legacy

The Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the Trades Union Congress earlier this week. You can watch or read his speech here.
For a summary read Hattie Williams in Church TimesFive years ago, Welby shamed Wonga. Now he names Amazon…
“Archbishop of Canterbury launches a scathing attack on the tax system in the UK”

The Archbishop’s speech provoked a lot of comment. Here is a very small sample.
Archbishop Cranmer Curate’s egg or Archbishop’s omelette? Welby tells TUC: gig economy is “reincarnation of an ancient evil”
Anoosh Chakelian New Statesman No, Archbishop Justin Welby isn’t “parroting” Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour
Nick Spencer Theos Arguments against Archbishops
Leader comment The Telegraph The Archbishop of Canterbury should stick to religion and stay out of politics
Tom Harris The Telegraph The church thinks dabbling in politics is cool, but it only hastens its decline

And here’s something the Archbishop wrote earlier this year for Huffington PostIs Mixing Faith And Politics Worth The Risk?

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Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

In a nation with an established church, how, exactly, does one NOT mix religion and politics?

The Revd Dr John Bunyan
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The Revd Dr John Bunyan

And also if one is a Christian or Jew, and reader of the Hebrew Prophets, how does one NOT mix religion and politics ! I am not a member of any political party here in Australia (except the middle-of-the road, population concerned, Sustainable Australia) but bravo, Pat, and bravo, Archbishop.

David Rowett
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David Rowett

Ah, Pat, how you reveal yourself not to be native English:-) Otherwise you would know that in England (and I do mean ‘England’) we are only ‘being political’ when we fail to support the Conservative Party…..

Revd Father John Harris-White
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Revd Father John Harris-White

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader of the Church of England, and by consent leader of the Anglican Communion.. In my opinion he is sadly lacking in such leadership, and constantly returns to his previous occupation in the business world. In my opinion he should not be so partisan in his politics. Christians come from all political parties.

Fr John Emlyn

Kate
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Kate

The Archbishop of Canterbury should speak more on economic and social issues – as should the rest of the bishops. The only trouble is that he sounds like a socialist politician and not like a bishop because he didn’t talk from the Bible. That undermined his message and gifted opponents an opportunity to attack him, and failed to articulate the especial Christian component of the message.

The trouble is, even if he got the message right, the Church of England would still be holding Amazon shares which makes it all see somewhat hypocritical.

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

I think it might just be possible to give a fully Christian message without mentioning the Bible. Indeed, usually when someone is proclaiming how Bible-based their opinions are, the less likely those opinions are to be anywhere approaching Christian. If Welby sounds (on this occasion) like a socialist, that’s because socialism and Christianity are indistinguishable in so many ways.

Kate
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Kate

“Christianity and socialism are indistinguishable in so many ways”

In the first draft of my comment, I nearly said something similar. And for me, I probably see it that way too, but many Christians see Capitalism and some fairly right wing policies as Christian, so I refrained. But I do think it is important to speak from the Bible – for instance it is hard to see a Biblical basis to his objection about how much tax Amazon pays.

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

“….for instance it is hard to see a Biblical basis to his objection about how much tax Amazon pays.” Depends what is meant by ‘biblical basis’. On the one hand if one is relying on proof texts, or so called ‘command ethics’ and the like, it is hard to imagine the bible making any substantive contribution to most complex contemporary social issues–certainly not in any progressive sense. On the other hand, if one is looking for a ground for Christian values, it is hard to imagine how the ability of global corporations to avoid taxes and social equity is not… Read more »

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

Compare The Telegraph caption with the view of the Catholic or evangelical right. Patriarchal personal morality about ( usually someone else’s ) sexual activity is deemed “religious” while Catholic Social teaching is written off as dilettante politics. The monied classes want to keep people from raising moral issues around the economy. For them religion should be about pie in the sky when you die, which is to say, largely irrelevant, especially with regard to the poignant justice questions regarding austerity, tax fairness, war making (which is largely an extension of economic interest), unemployment/underemployment, minimum wage, arbitrary corporate capital withdrawal, and… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Interesting how differently we read and see things. It seems to me that you see Jesus very much as the Messiah expected by the Jews, the saviour of the Chosen People as a whole. In practice, Jesus was, for me, very much more human and was a personal saviour to those he met, rather than a Messianic savior. So we get references to “the Discipline Jesus loved” which highlight the personal nature of the relationship.

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

It’s probably just a matter of focus but I would say yes, our relationship is personal, salvation is for the individual but salvation is not private. The Kingdom is collective, Jesus always seems to conceive of it that way, which is what you would expect if it is truly of God and reflects the triune God who is a community of beings. When Jesus meets people in the gospels, by and large he doesn’t send them home to work on their own personal holiness: he heals broken relationships and communities and sends people out for the benefit of others. So… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
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I’d suggest that membership, citizenship, of the kingdom, of the new age, the age to come, is necessarily corporate. The prayer that Jesus taught his disciples is a corporate prayer that the kingdom may come among us, here on earth, where God’s will is done — where the hungry are fed, and people are reconciled to each other. I understand that as a corporate prayer for a corporate kingdom in which the citizens interact with each other, and in doing so they are favoured by God, sitting figuratively at his right hand and figuratively feasting at his table; “figuratively” because… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

An excellent explanation Fr Andrew

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

Thank you Kate. Just in case any real theologians come along and read my earlier post I did of course mean ‘God who is a community of *persons*’ not beings. One being, three persons. The theological perils of typing quickly: one wrong keystroke and you’re a heretic!

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

I don’t disagree with much of what you say here regarding a viable reading from the NT about Jesus; but I would note one particular difference of perspective, “…our relationship is personal, salvation is for the individual but salvation is not private.” I would prefer to say that salvation is not personal but corporate. Furthermore, what is meant by salvation may include people who are outside the Christian faith. This, of course, contrasts, generally, with overtly expressed Christian insight from antiquity. However it is an expansive and deliberate development. On the other hand the contemporary ‘personal Jesus’ motif is a… Read more »

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

Yes, I think it’s perfectly feasible to argue from the New Testament (and reason and experience) that salvation will include people outside the Christian faith and there’s something to be said from both Jesus and Paul that the existence of Christians within the world effects salvation for the whole world. Jesus seems to have always envisaged a collective of followers rather than isolated individuals so in that sense then salvation is corporate. A matter of nuance and stress, perhaps? And absolutely, the notion of a personal Jesus is a nonsense entirely negated by the first line of the Lord’s Prayer.

Ian H
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Ian H

“the notion of a personal Jesus is a nonsense entirely negated by the first line of the Lord’s Prayer.” How so? I am one of two brothers…I/we speak of our Mother in Guisborough. 🙄. She’s, unsurprisingly a “personal mother”. The individual relationship isn’t negated by the “collective ” one. Why the false dichotomy? Nor do I agree that corporate is the opposite of individual. I can’t see that corporate has any susbstantive meaning with being built on individual responses. Surely that’s the flavour and actuality of Jesus in the NT? Certainly the Kingdom of God is bigger than individualism but… Read more »

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

Personal admits of several meanings surely? And although you and your brother can talk of ‘my/our’ mother in Guisborough (surely ‘our mam’ in that part of the world) I can’t, nor my brother or indeed anyone but your siblings, which, if not individual for you is still nigh on exclusive, whereas we can all talk of our Heavenly Father. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard people talk of ‘my Father in Heaven’; it sort of seems wrong, just as ‘personal Jesus’ is. Again, I don’t see any major disagreement in this thread: the point is the danger of faith becoming… Read more »

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

Re: Ian H, “Certainly the Kingdom of God is bigger than individualism but the individuals response to God’s is foundational.” As long as one is clear to distinguish between the individual as a decision maker and the community for which the individual decides. The order is metanoia, initiation, conviviality. Solidarity is one of the clearly defined elements of (C)catholic social teaching. Clearly the ABC is appealing to this notion. As you correctly note, the relationship between the individual and community is not dichotomous; but the individual chooses to live out one’s faith within the context of belonging to a people.… Read more »

David Rowett
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David Rowett

Off-the-wall comment: it’s fascinating that theories of consciousness are now transcending the ‘individualised meat computer’ model and embracing something more communal (for want of a better word).

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

Indeed, and folks ought to read more Lonergan ( :

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

“Interesting how differently we read and see things.” The question is whether one understands things correctly. One must face the question of historical plausibility. The Gospels are religious reflections on events –reflections cast largely in mythological terms. While we read them as such as a foundational part of our tradition, we cannot set aside the question of historical plausibility. To do so risks misunderstanding that foundational tradition. Human beings cannot walk on water or return to life a person who is actually dead. Knowing this, we ask what is meant by a narrative that depicts Jesus as doing so e.g.… Read more »

Jo B
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Jo B

I think any interpretation of the Gospels that takes as a given that miracles cannot and have never happened is rather assuming its conclusion. If you start by denying the existence of a God who is both able and willing to intervene directly in creation then aren’t you pretty much assuming that Christianity cannot be true?

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

I would not race to that conclusion. My point is less sweeping. I’m suggesting that the contemporary notion of Jesus as ‘personal saviour and lord’, may be distinguished from the notion in antiquity that Jesus is ‘saviour and Lord’. The latter, I would argue, is more convivial, socio-political, contextualized in a particular religio-cultural (indeed economic) milieu. The former (contemporary) version is more individualistic, more ‘in groupie’, similar to a twelve step program. This state of affairs comes about because the contemporary personal Jesus enthusiast projects his/her feelings onto a religious insight from antiquity without grasping its original meaning. The resulting… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

I have a personal relationship with God, individual to individual. Why would I conclude that those who lived in the time of Jesus didn’t also have personal relationships with Him?

As to “original meaning”, the Lord sent Jesus to deliver a message to all the ages, not just 1st century AD so why should that century be weighted more than the 21st century in understanding Jesus’s message?

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

What can I say, if that works for you Kate, carry on.

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

Yes, it’s astonishing that right-wing commentators are happy to ignore the scandal of the Church of England’s institutional homophobia and rampant heterosexist bullying, but mention the downsides of capitalism and suddenly all hell’s let loose.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Andrew Lightbown says interesting things about this Archbishop’s potential. But in addition to the ecclesiological challenge of aligning how the CofE works with what it preaches, the Archbishop has to decide whether he will continue to allow the Communion tail to wag the CofE dog. The two issues are intertwined, especially in the Archbishop’s own (conflicted) role.

Andrea Middleton
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Andrea Middleton

Bravo +Canterbury!