Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What do Pope Francis, John Key, Tony Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump have in common?

On the face of it, this particular gang of leaders does not have much in common - depending which way you cut the dice it is a list of four conservatives and one socialist, or two socialists and three conservatives or four non-Americans and one American. Etc.

But dig deeper and the list of people in the subject line above have this in common: they have each come face to face with popular sentiment, with the will of the people. In poor old Tony Abbott's case that will - reflected in opinion poll after opinion poll - has led to his downfall. He just could not cut it in the connection with the people department.

Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump have recently been connecting very well in the popular sentiment front. Despite wildly differing political and economic philosophies, political commentators say both are liked because they actually tell the truth, and for a certain block of people that truth is what they want to hear. (Neither is likely to win an election anytime soon, but that, for now, is another story).

John Key understands the will of the people and the importance of popular sentiment. That has led to three elections in a row and to continuing high poll ratings as preferred Prime Minister of NZ (which he actually is, whatever those polls say!) It is also leading him these days to say one thing one day and the reverse the next when he realises that he might be losing his touch with the people.

Which brings us to Pope Francis. Whatever is going on in the Vatican on the 'family' (i.e. divorce, remarriage, annulment, the sacraments, blessing of same sex relationships) I suggest he is trying to do as much as he can (which in fact is relatively little) to fit the church to the people rather than expect the people to fit into the church.

Which in turn brings me to our church, ACANZP, and its moves re Motion 30. Taonga publishes an extraordinary response from our General Secretary to the decision of the Christchurch synod to ask the GS to move more slowly on Motion 30. Either the General Secretary, Michael Hughes or the Christchurch Synod is in touch with popular sentiment in our church. Which will it be?

While on the matter, my colleague and friend, Les Brighton has written a stirring article on Motion 30.

What do you think?


Brendan McNeill said...


Aside from Les Brighton's article reflecting my own views, I think it's one of the best articles I have seen written on the subject both for it's breadth and depth of understanding. It is not a one sided expression, he canvases the issue sincerely both theologically and pastorally from both perspectives.

However, speaking to the wording of Motion 30 he asks: "what is this [LGBT] community to which the Church is somehow accountable?"

and again..

"The acronym LGBT is interesting in itself: the ‘B’ stands for bisexual , that is, people who feel at home in sexual activity with either the same or the opposite gender. What kind of ‘right-ordered’ relationships could we be talking about here? How is it that these alien identifications find a place in a document that otherwise speaks so clearly of Jesus Christ as the centre of all we are and all that we do?"


"the normalising narrative often seems to me to be patriarchal and patronising."

hmm. I encourage your viewers to read it in full if they have not done so already.

Father Ron Smith said...

Les Brighton's article, thought well wrought, is not necessarily the majority point of view in ACANZP, thank goodness. Anyway this point of view is obviously going to be promoted at the ABC's talk-fest for the 37 Anglican Primates in January, 2015 - by none other than the Head of a schismatic para-church (ACNA Primate, Foley Beach).

Why the ABC should have invited a foremost schismatic to an ACC Provincial Leaders meeting, I cannot begin to understand. Perhaps the invitation is the carrot that will draw the gafcon lot to the meeting. Oh to be a fly on the wall - especially when the ABC is planning to use the inequity of Lambeth 1:10 as the paradigm for discussion.