Saturday, May 11, 2013

The major anxiety of their people in their time

Kicker of a report here about the installation of Philip Richardson as our new pakeha archbishop.

Judge Sarah Reeves preached a provocative sermon.

(From the report)

"“The economist John Kenneth Galbraith said all great leaders have one characteristic in common: They are willing to confront the major anxiety of their people in their time.
“Our church is painfully and publically grappling with the issue of blessings for same-sex couples and ordination of people in same sex relationships
“So, Archbishop Philip, you have your work cut out.”
She then a brief, but broad hint at how she feels about the same sex debate:
“I can’t help thinking: Is this really the defining issue of our time?
“Will we really tear ourselves apart over this?
Surely,  this is but a sub-set of building a just and life-giving community for all?
“Society at large has taken measure, and moved on.
“Why can’t we?”"

It is pretty clear where this perspective starts from and sees the end. It is a good example of the framing of the situation of our church from this perspective. God's wisdom has been declared by 'society at large' and we should follow it. Heaven forbid that we should 'tear ourselves apart' through some demurring that there is another wisdom, the wisdom which God has declared, without consulting society. (And 'society' might be wrong, as Charles Moore muses).

Actually, as I am going to attempt to explain soon here at ADU, there will be no tearing apart. But there may be a quiet walking in different ways, as Anglicans seek to follow Jesus according to their understanding of what Jesus revealed.

If Archbishop Philip were to read this, I would encourage him to consider the Galbraith quote very carefully. I think Galbraith is right. But I do not think Judge Reeves is right about the major anxiety of our church at this time. That anxiety is whether we will remain in existence in twenty years time. I very much hope ++Philip will help us to confront that anxiety!

13 comments:

mike greenslade said...

Kia ora Peter,

I agree with you that the continuation of the institutional Anglican Church as we know it is a major issue. However, while interesting, I suspect it is not one that causes much anxiety for many Anglicans.

Peter Carrell said...

That's the problem, Mike!

Anonymous said...

"We listened to a lot of his sermons. We came to believe we had cracked his formula: soften them up with a good laugh, hit ’em with two, maybe three key points wrapped in compelling anecdote and pithy theological insight… Bang. In and out in seven minutes.”

- Desperately sad and explains a lot. Sermonettes make Chistianettes.
Yet even she goes on to recognise that the functional extinction of NZ Anglicanism within 20 years is a distinct possibility. Why is she unable to connect the dots?

Martin

Peter Carrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Carrell said...

Hi Martin
To be fair to the reputation of the late ++Sir Paul Reeves, in my opinion he was a genius of conceptual thought, and in his seven minutes he could say a lot more than nearly all other preachers can say in seventeen or twenty-seven minutes.

The problem I had with ++Sir Paul's preaching/speaking was its content not its length!

Joshua Bovis said...

When I was deaconed, I had three bishops lay hands on me. One of them was +Philip R. He was our retreat conductor.

Just thought you would like to know.

Peter Carrell said...

Excellent, Joshua!

Peter Carrell said...

Lightly moderated comment from Ron Smith:

Judge Sarah Reeves. The daughter of a truly great Archbishop of ACANZP, speaking truth to the Church. Archbishop Paul would indeed have been proud of Sarah's challenge to the Church of today's world.

...

However, patriarchalism is still one of the remaining barriers to proper understanding of the Gospel.

I have no doubt though that our new Pakeha Archbishop in ACANZP will have taken Sarah's challenge to heart. He is well aware of the problems of institutional fear of change. He had a good mentor!

Shawn Herles said...

I was never a fan of Sir Paul Reeve's political or theological views. Like the article in question he seemed to assume that God reveals Himself in society rather than through Scripture.

As soon as any issue is framed as following the fashions of the day then we are no longer working from a Biblical perspective. The fashions of the day change on a whim, God's Word is eternal.

Anonymous said...

Shawn, that pretty much sums up what I think of clergymen who mistake their transitory political opinions for the eternal Gospel, with its call to repentance, faith and holy living in Christ.

Martin

Bryden Black said...

Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next - Dean Inge

Father Ron Smith said...

And whoever ignores the 'spirit of the age' may be already dead! F.R.S.

Bryden Black said...

Ah, FRS: forget not the Speculative Good Friday ...!