Alerted by a friend I have visited an intriguing Kiwi blog, That is Logical!. Joshua Taylor (another Joshua Taylor, not our diocesan youth worker) has decided to visit ministers in Auckland to interview them about what they believe. His first interview is with Glynn Cardy, Vicar of St Matthew's in the City, Auckland who occasionally features on this blog. The interview is a great opportunity to attend to what Glynn believes. Or is it?
I found as I read the interview that I was often agreeing with Glynn! Yet I think there is a huge gulf in belief between us. What is going on?
I think it is this. There is always agreement between people. Even the most divided of groups agree that the sun will rise tomorrow but one day hence will run out of energy and rise no longer. Further, agreements may mask big differences. All sorts of agreements about the sun are possible in a divided group (a year is 365.25 days, red sky at night shepherds delight, the light of the moon is a reflection of the sun's light, etc) but a group could be wracked by fundamental division over whether the sun is the centre of the universe.
Thus I find myself in agreement with a number of Glynn's answers as they are worded yet I think the tendency in his answers betrays the gulf between us. For example on the authority of the Bible I agree that "It has the authority that the communities have given to it." I also agree broadly that "it is a human document it wasn't written down by, you know, a god with, you know, an anthropomorphic god that had a pen and paper and wrote it down or dictated it like "Moses write what I tell you". This was written by human beings and of course it is open to the fallibility of human beings. But it has a spiritual power, in the sense of when people live out some of that love and compassion that comes through in stories. It also has horrible killings and rapes and other things in there that aren't of course not meant to be emulated." (Just before you hit the comment button, I think the dictation element which Glynn denies is too quickly denied. Parts of the Bible are dictated by God (e.g. parts of Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation). 'Open to the fallibility' is not the same as 'fallible'.)
The tendency inherent in the answer given re the Bible is something else. The tendency is towards a liberal approach to the Bible in the sense that what is believed about the Bible fits with a liberal theology and bits of the Bible which do not fit with that theology are denied. Thus,
"Me: OK. So you would drift from the conservative christian position that it is the inspired infallible word of God?
Vicar Glynn Cardy: Absolutely. You have probably guessed that I am not a conservative christian!"
Anyway, one could go on exploring all the interesting answers given in the post. Today's available minutes are too short. But I am grateful to Joshua Taylor for offering this extended record of what one of our most controversial vicars Down Under believes.