on Wednesday, 17 June 2020 at 11.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
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Augustine Tanner-Ihm ViaMedia.News #BlackLivesMatter: Living Between Malcolm X and Uncle Tom
Yes indeed, a coruscating paper, as was that of Catherine Nancekievill in last week’s Church Times. We need more prophets like Augustine Tanner-Ihm who refuse to be silenced or moulded into amenable saccharine mediocrity. My experience as an ADDO of Bishops Advisory Panels confirms what these two authors write in the contexts not only of race and ethnicity, but also education and, in shorthand, knowing how to manage the cutlery. As an observer I raised my concerns but was peremptorily silenced.
BBC News – Black Durham trainee vicar denied job at ‘white’ church
BBC news reports that the Rt Revd Chris Goldsmith, the Church of England’s director of ministry, said that a member of his team had “reached out” to Mr Tanner-Ihm to learn about his experiences. I propose that we drop the term ”reach out”. It is patronising. It sounds as if the reachers think themselves superior to the reached to. It sounds as if the reachers know what the reached to need. It sounds as if the reachers have nothing to learn, unwilling to listen, and everything to impose. It is peculiarly churchy.
Couldn’t agree more Stanley, a hideous term, but not at all churchy. BBC, Barclays, Nowtv, car insurance, even the local pharmacy, have all ‘reached out’ to me in the last few weeks. I don’t mind if they just ‘contact’ me. It’s our emotive age, the most basic transactions have to be weighed down with deep feelings!
I hope that someone in Goldsmith’s “team” might “reach out” to whomever it was that sent the email reproduced (partly redacted) in the BBC article. I would then hope that the individual in question would not be “reaching out” to any candidate for any position for a very long time (paraphrasing Dixon of Dock Green, for those who might remember.)
The BBC says that the Church of England has “apologised”. Unless it has demonstrably done a lot more than apologise, the apology is worth very little. Indeed there’s an argument that the email is almost criminal in its racist content.
And it’s not helped along by the legitimisation of ‘separate development’ (inflammatory term deliberately chosen) in ‘Mission-Shaped Church.’ ‘Oh, a white, working-class monoculture will respond most naturally to a white, university-educated (irony intended) male leader.’ The imagining of a church which exists in homogenous bubbles really does leave us vulnerable to pretty blatant discriminatory practices, don’t you think?
David, while I agree, it is a little rich that they used “white working class” as an issue. As someone with such a parish, it is just as voiceless as BAME folk
In re: Augustine Tanner-Ihm’s article If your constant, continuous demeanor is such that it can honestly be said that “You are angry, aggressive and people are afraid of you,” I’m not sure the problem is with the other people. Tanner-Ihm uses the example of Jesus’ anger in the temple…but most of the people Jesus met weren’t confronted with his anger, but with his compassion. You don’t have to be constantly angry to avoid being an “Uncle Tom”. You are entitled to respect no matter how you present yourself…but if everyone you meet comes away with the impression you… Read more »
Of course, Tanner-Ihm has every right to be angry about systemic oppression. But if that anger overwhelms everything else, so that those who meet him see only the anger, then he is letting that emotion rule him in all situations, even those where it is surely inappropriate.
Rod, you are not missing anything.
Yes, I think you’re missing something. My response is predicated on the idea that this evaluation of Tanner-Ihm’s personality is valid, but valid only to him. And it is based on the tone and content of his article. He comes across as angry and aggressive. He may have valid reasons for those feelings, but constant anger is a poor way for anyone to approach life, let alone a prospective clergyman. I am certainly not saying that all people of color can be described this way…but that it seems to me to be a legitimate description of this one man.… Read more »
“He comes across as angry and aggressive. He may have valid reasons for those feelings, but constant anger is a poor way for anyone to approach life, let alone a prospective clergyman.” You may have missed JK Rowling’s appalling anti-trans statements. You may not be aware that the Government seems to be suggesting that “trans women” should be excluded from women-only spaces so we won’t be able to shop for clothes, use the toilet (no more pubs and restaurants for us) or changing rooms and showers in gyms and swimming pools. You might not have read many people describing how… Read more »
I often read the posts on this site but have never commented before. I am resonding to the comments made by Tanner -Ihn. The attitude is the same towards anyone who doesnt fit the mould. If you are like me and from a working class background you are too often patronised in the church particularly by other clergy. When it happens too often you can often feel angry and aggressive and defensive because we are supposedly all equal before God. I am a member of the clergy and understand his comments as it can be very difficult at times. Much… Read more »
I’m deeply shocked by the racism Augustine encountered with my former diocese. I retired six months ago but I hope I’m not being naive in saying I’m confident any of my former colleagues in my Bedfordshire deanery would have made Augustine welcome. He’s been brave to expose the hypocrisy of the institution, not to mention the racism itself. I pray he finds a post where he will be loved and valued.
Shades of black and white elephants in the room. As I write this there are 12 comments on this thread and 27 regarding Lord Carey! Folk here debate whether it is appropriate to be ‘eaten up with zeal’ (Augustine). On the ‘Carey’ thread, there is concern expressed that he is 84, so should be shown sympathy. He did wrong, and so did other bishops and archbishops whther by omission or commission. Meanwhile victims are left to moulder. Dear CofE- ‘get a grip’; why wonder that the people relate better to caring footballers than ‘the church’. Wake up: Pay up, pay… Read more »
The issue on the Archbishop Carey thread (admittedly some of the correspondents there have deviated from the core topic) is the apparent injustice of serious allegations being made against a respondent (who happens to be elderly and deserving consideration on that ground alone), those allegations not even being communicated to him, his PTO being revoked, and his not being afforded representation on the body sitting in judgement – a hat trick of breaches of natural justice which you seem to dismiss as unimportant. Do you not feel shame that the Church is behaving in this way? The merits of the… Read more »
Just to illustrate the wider picture which Augustine’s article opens up: Some years ago, a friend who was incumbent of two black majority churches interviewed a potential curate. At least, they tried to. The candidate phoned up to express concerns about coming to meet my friend in the parishes as it was ‘a rough area’ – though they came from another parish in the deanery which was just as challenging and challenged in terms of deprivation and crime. They agreed to meet in a cafe in yet a third part of the deanery – in the suburbs. The candidate (training… Read more »