on Wednesday, 17 June 2020 at 11.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
Pippa White The Westcott Blog Covid-19 & the Language of War
ViaMedia.News Lockdown Testimonies – Sue from Deaf Church
Augustine Tanner-Ihm ViaMedia.News #BlackLivesMatter: Living Between Malcolm X and Uncle Tom
Excellent prophetic piece by Augustine Tanner-Ihm. “But in the Church, the Church of England, I am required to lose my cultural identity and become an ‘Uncle Tom’ in order to please my episcopal leaders.” Powerful point. “The Church has a history of open apologies, that only goes to satisfy its White guilt yet accomplishes absolutely nothing.” It is not just the church. In all sectors, including government and companies, the public relations strategy is to ‘get out in front’ with apologies and statements. Meanwhile there is little movement for actual structural change.
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.
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
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… Read more »
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 »
Perhaps some self-reflection of your own may be in order? Respectfully, your characterization of Tanner-Ihm’ position (and predicament) is something of a mischaracterization. Anger and Compassion as intentional states are not, I would suggest, mutually exclusive. In fact, the cleansing of the temple narrative (Mark) is a good example of holding these two states, compassion and anger ( violent anger as it turns out) in tension. Regarding the cleansing narratives see, for example, Ben F. Meyer’s, The Aims of Jesus: “The inherent danger of being interpreted in terms of sedition was doubtless one reason for the deliberately contrived contrast between… 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.
The article begins, ” ‘You are angry, aggressive and people are afraid of you.’
This statement is far too often used as a description or evaluation made by the White majority culture to Black and Brown people. ” Doesn’t your response appear to validate the very point Tanner-Ihm is making, or am I missing something?
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 »
“I question that it’s a good attitude in a clergyman”.I’m a cleric. I’ve been a supervisor of divinity students and the newly ordained. I’ve been on ordination screening panels and done personnel work. Far as I can tell, from reading the article and listening to the audio, Mr. Tanner-Ihm appears to have exactly the right stuff for a vocation. Continued comment here is likely counter productive. What may be productive is if you had an opportunity to meet with Tanner-Ihm, or someone like him, especially if you were able to discern what to listen for.
“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 »
Interesting comment. I grew up with a kind of working class background, what is more commonly called here ‘blue collar’. It has provided a very interesting window on church land, and the assumptions therein. It has been very interesting, for example, to engage the strong aversion to the trade union movement in the church. A lot of the current frenzied activity, described by the neologism ‘missional’ is very middle class oriented.
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 »
Attached is a link to the statement by Br. Reginald Martin Crenshaw, OHC (via AJ) for the membership and leadership of Black Anglicans of Canada.
“Our commitment is to dismantle all vestiges of racism and other inequities in our church and the larger society. …That is the mandate of the gospel. … We are no longer destined to just obey, suffer and witness—but to disrupt, heal and lead.”