Monday, August 14, 2017

Dean of Christ Church in Christchurch

These past few days Dean Martyn Percy of Christ Church, Oxford (college, cathedral) has been visiting Christchurch, NZ, with his wife Emma Percy.

I was lucky to hear Martyn speak four times - two lectures, Evensong sermon last evening and a seminar following. Across these talks, Martyn displayed scholarship, theological acumen, insight into cultural change, and a general flair for putting things in such a way that made us - certainly me - think.

We do not often have theologians of such calibre in our neck of the woods, so it has been a treat.

Martyn is a Tweeter and a story of his visit, via photographs and brief comments on Twitter can be found here.


Father Ron Smith said...

I would have loved to be able to be there. However, the U.K. was a bit too far away. I wonder just how many of our Christchurch clergy were present to here this accredited theologian, Peter? You obviously enjoyed his talks.

His provenance as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, must at least have impressed someone in our City - by the reception he received.

Father Ron Smith said...

Is it possible, then that - apart from Peter our Host - no-one who normally comments on this blog actually attended Professor Martyn Percy's Christchurch presentations? If that is the case, then it would be interesting to find out why. Was it because of his modernist, liberal theological viewpoint?

Certainly, the City was prepared to welcome his presence in Christchurch.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Well at least one regular commenter here did attend at least one event.
Life is busy; two events were invitation only; one was on a Sunday evening.
Chances are some clergy would have been there who otherwise were not able to get there.
Best not to speculate!

Bryden Black said...

Dear Ron,
Just to assuage your speculative heart: I too attended a delightful session with Martyn Percy. And as instructed by the host of that gathering, the UC Chaplain, I was on my best behaviour! I learned a great deal, not least that the construction of the UC mace had inflicted real damage upon Tom Tower, with its shaft using a section of one of its beams, now replaced by wood clearly seen to be different.
As for your deeming MP to hold to a “modernist, liberal theological viewpoint”, and its seeming implications. Well; I did towards the end of our time toss a wee ‘grenade’ into the ring, one designed to seek out not only his sociological expertise but also his theological predispositions. (He’d been citing mostly social studies during our conversations.) A little naughtily, he refused to grasp the nettle and dodged the real import of the question - as he acknowledged afterwards to me. A pity! I followed it all up with an email - also unfortunately unreplied to at this time of writing ...
For what I was seeking was his appreciation of the extent to which many a sociological viewpoint has within it “theological, a-theological, or anti-theological” (John Milbank et al) presuppositions. And therefore the extent to which, as Christian theologians, we needed to discern and probably/possibly adjust just those sociological stances we were trying to use - notably and importantly when it came to ecclesiology. And the real point is this: my question is premised upon well recognized concerns ever since the discipline of sociology got underway towards the end of the 18th C.
Speculations over and out! Happy and safe travels ...

Jean said...

Enlightenment; you know I never realised sociology had it's roots in Christianity - until it wanted to become academically neutral and popular that is. Quote from recently watched film, "They always want to leave Jesus out." But it makes total sense, even studying it when I wasn't going to church at that point in my life, I couldn't escape the odd 'but Jesus is the most radical example of this' thought when in class. And of course famous sociologist/Christians like Martin Luther King/Tony Compolo etc etc... have caught my attention over the years.