Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hui to change to the world?

On Monday I participated in a hui of local Christians, called by our local ecumenical network Te Raranga. Our focus was on bicultural relations. It was an absorbing day through powhiri, mihi and korero (personal welcome, personal speeches introducing ourselves, discussion). (A highlight was the mihi of our local Destiny Church pastor, who powerfully reminded us that, whatever we think of the recent Brian Tamaki statement connecting quakes with God's judgment, Destiny is having a powerful impact on the lives of Maori men.)

Our witness to the world as a city was a powerful theme of the day in the context of Maori and Pakeha speaking about what has broken in our Treaty-founded relationships in the past and what can be repaired. Christians in Christchurch are relating well together. Churches are working together. (Not perfectly, room for improvement!) Unity between churches and across cultures is a witness to the gospel of reconciliation.

Is this our time to speak to the heart of Aotearoa NZ in order to foster unity over division? Is this our nation's time to speak to the Trump/Brexit world about human unity rather than division?

Someone observed that we are not in an era of change but in a time of change of era. Will our world divide and fracture or reunite and heal? The gospel drives us in only one of those directions!

As a group we do not know what our next step will be but we are listening to Wairua Tapu (Holy Spirit).

A plea, to local Anglicans reading this. There was only one Anglican present at this hui ... could we find a little bit more energy for ecumenical engagement?

12 comments:

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Peter

“Is this our time to speak to the heart of Aotearoa NZ in order to foster unity over division? Is this our nation's time to speak to the Trump/Brexit world about human unity rather than division?”

As we have canvased previously on your blog, Trump/Brexit are manifestations of people’s desire to retain their cultural solidarity, their sense of nationhood, and not have their identity, their laws, their culture diluted and determined by a faceless political elite in Brussels or elsewhere. In short, both are healthy expressions of democracy at work and should not be viewed negatively as your text implies.

The idea of ‘human unity’ that you allude to is a political illusion. We would do much better to accept our differences and learn to relate on the basis of mutual self-interest. This is the very best we can hope for this side of eternity.

Paul implicitly acknowledges this in Romans 12:18

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Sometimes it’s not possible to live peacefully with others, particularly when they choose not to live peacefully with you.

“Will our world divide and fracture or reunite and heal?”

The world has never been united since Genesis 11, and apparently God didn’t think that was a great idea at the time. The challenge for us as believers is not to seek outcomes that are an expression of utopian idealism, but to rather to engage in acts of love and obedience.

It’s much better to live with actual diversity and genuine difference than to have a political (or Church) elite impose a unity of thought and expression to which all must subscribe.

Father Ron said...

Peter, if there was only one Anglican priest present, I guess that must have been yourself. As this was obviously marae-based, where were the local Maori Anglican clergy, and were there any Roman Catholic clergy present. We need to know the extent and content of its 'ecumenical' base.

Father Ron said...

Brendan, in your desire to promote national isolationism you are obviously forgetting the Gospel call to facilitate 'hospitality to strangers'. This is a call to greater unity than either Brexit or Trump-style isolationism.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron re Brendan's comment
I myself do not read Brendan as promoting "national isolationism."
A nation can be nationalistic without being isolationist.
North Korea is not the same as Norway!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
The question always arises with such events how widely the notices were circulated.
I also recognise that for clergy with Monday as a Day Off it would not have been easy to get to the event; nor for laypersons working in their jobs.
There were Roman Catholics present (though not a priest) and there were Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Grace Vineyard, North City, etc.

Father Ron said...

But, Peter, in that Marae context, were there no Maori Anglicans, lay or clergy?

Peter Carrell said...

No, Ron.
We were working with kaumatua from other churches.

Brian Kelly said...

"Is this our nation's time to speak to the Trump/Brexit world about human unity rather than division?"

Hilarious. You could always apply to become the seventh state - though they wouldn't have us.
Anyway, what does "division" mean? I think of those scolding sorts (usually old leftists) who call other people "disagreeable" - because they disagree with them!
Or the mother who complained that all the soldiers on the parade ground were out of time except her son Jack.

Andrei said...

"Brendan, in your desire to promote national isolationism you are obviously forgetting the Gospel call to facilitate 'hospitality to strangers'. This is a call to greater unity than either Brexit or Trump-style isolationism."

It is not "isolationism" Fr Ron - it can be summed up by the phrase "charity begins at home"

Peter observed above "Someone observed that we are not in an era of change but in a time of change of era." and this is the truth

People have always moved and settled in new lands and if the numbers are small they integrate and become one with the culture - Alexander Pushkin's great grandfather was a black man from Senegal who became a famous Russian General who adopted the Russian name Abram Petrovich Gannibal (Hannibal - and Petrovich because his Godfather was Peter the Great)

It is when they arrive in large numbers and do not integrate that causes the problems - especially when they can change the prevailing culture or are used to water it down

The powers that be who rule the West are engaged in a process of Balkanisation of ancient nations to divide and rule - we are divided into "communities" and identity politics rules

But the West which has been dominant for the past 25 years is failing and the East is rising and nothing can stop this process short of a catastrophic war

As a metaphor - the great container ship CSCL Globe built in South Korea owned by China shipping lines left Shanghai on its maiden voyage in December 2014 loaded with Chinese goods to be discharged in Felixstowe Great Britain, it then loaded recyclables (i.e. rubbish that can be recycled) to be transported back to China to produce more goodies in China for the European and North American markets) - I love that but the writing is on the wall because the levels of debt in Western economies is both mind boggling and increasing.

The Western nations are lands with pampered elites working in finance and administration, unemployed steel workers, ship builders and car assemblers and immigrants who serve as maids, chauffeurs, toilet cleaners and prostitutes for the elites comfort.

The formerly Great Britain which once had the biggest merchant fleet in the world and built the great ships of the day on the Clyde and in Northern Ireland could not build a ship like CSCL Globe today, they no longer have the skills or facilities - its all gone

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Brendan, for the link to your blog, which I shall visit from time to time.

You will probably not agree with him, but you may enjoy an online acquaintance with the traditionalist Catholic Edmund Waldstein, O. Cist., a traditionalist Catholic from the River Forest strand of Thomism (eg Charles de Koninck).

https://sancrucensis.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/shiite-catholic/

Bowman Walton

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Bowman

Thanks for the link. My blog is significantly less academic but hopefully still thought provoking.

I appreciated Edmund Waldstein, O. Cist‘s analysis of modern liberalism:

https://sancrucensis.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/the-american-election-and-the-virtues-and-vices-of-liberal-politics-and-politicians/#more-5348

As to the specific link you sent through, I may also qualify as a ‘Shiite Catholic’ having been raised as one by my parents. (chuckle)…

https://sancrucensis.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/shiite-catholic/

But, I’d question the value of time spent conferencing with Shi’a scholars given that so much of the religion is ‘problematic’ to borrow a descriptor from an incoming Trump administration appointee. Friendship at an individual level is no doubt possible and even desirable, but at a theological level what fellowship does light have with (um...) darkness?

Father Ron said...

To follow on the quotations of various other commenters on this thread on matters pertaining to authority, commitment to doctrine of the Church, and earthly potentates; here is a quote from Dean David Ison's article on Christ the King, linked in the 'Thinking Anglicans' blog:

"For followers of Jesus the King, there can be no unqualified and absolute obedience to political or religious rulers. That’s why humility, dialogue, and the willingness to truly entertain the possibility that we might be wrong, are essential in tackling difficult issues. Because we live in divisive and dangerous times, we need more than ever a commitment to the even-handed, compassionate and truthful justice of God in the face of intolerant and violent language and actions. Those who claim absolute authority, whether elected politicians or dictators or caliphs, or those who troll on the internet or daub hateful slogans on churches or mosques or synagogues, or oppress people by claiming to know the mind of God, will be subject to the just and gentle rule of Jesus Christ our Judge."

'O Come, O come, Emmanuel!'