Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The church of God is people but are the people being separatist, even supremacist?

Michael Reddell, firing up again one of his blogs - in another blog he is one of NZ's preeminent economic commentators - reviews two books he has recently read, with the title "All one in Christ Jesus."

Book one is "... Mississippi Prayingwith the subtitle “Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975, by Carolyn Dupont a US academic. "

Book two is "Hirini Kaa’s book, Te Mahi Mihinare: The Maori Anglican ChurchKaa is both an academic and an ordained Anglican priest, and his book was a really interesting read. The evangelisation of the Maori population in the 19th century, initially by CMS missionaries and increasingly by Maori Christians themselves is an inspiring story, full of individual tales of heroism, humility, and faith. (Sadly, the decline of Christianity – including Anglicanism – in New Zealand whether among Maori or non-Maori populations is the dominant story now). And the interest in Kaa’s historical material continues well through the 20th century (he stops at about 1990 just before he himself became a member of the General Synod), including the development of Maori bishoprics."

Along the way of the review there are interesting observations which raise important questions about what is admirable and what is not so admirable in church life expressed on racial and/or cultural lines (think, for instance, Peter McGavren's "homogenous unit" principle in church growth theory re what might be admirable and note Carolyn Dupont's concerns re resistance to integration between white and black worshippers re what seems less than admirable).

But what Reddell says about Hirini Kaa's book is particularly interesting to me because I myself am in the midst of reading the book.

Thus likely I will come back to this post to add some thoughts of my own ... but if you have read Kaa's book (or Dupont's), you may wish to comment now!


Anonymous said...

Let those who speak of the "southern United States" imagine driving about 1800 miles from Baltimore, Maryland to Laredo, Texas. Along any of a few more or less direct routes, one passes through towns that nobody would place in the same region.

And why be so direct when there are byways through places as fascinating-- and distinct-- as Richmond, Virginia or Asheboro, North Carolina or Charleston, South Carolina or Miami, Florida or Birmingham, Alabama or New Orleans, Louisiana? In Richmond, legislators in Jefferson's capitol still debate before a mace bestowed by the Crown in the C17, while New Orleans follows the Code Napoleon (a French recension of Justinian's grand codification of Roman law), and irrigation from precious water of the Rio Grande is ruled by an Arab law that the Abassid caliphs left behind in Spain.

Any reader who has tried to find the common ground under Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Tennessee Williams, Anne Rice, etc may suspect that they are similar only as they are all different from another stream of literature that flows to the mouths of the Charles and the Hudson. In the same way that the Orient exists only in a mind looking eastward from European capitals, the South mainly exists in one looking down-- geographically, culturally, ethically -- from the Northeast.

I mention this to + Peter's readers down under only to alert them. Among Americans, certitude about moral questions in our politics rises directly with ignorance of our history and geography. One can nibble hors d'oeuvres with whole rooms full of charming people who cannot imagine that they would ever shoot back at an invading army. Or who think that only a perverse resistance to racial justice could inspire an attachment to cultures older than the New World. They are wise and good and sure of more than was ever true.


Unknown said...

A Pietist in Lambeth? According to Wikipedia, John Potter, ABC 1737-1747, not only priested John Wesley, but belonged to Nicholas von Zinzendorf's honorary Order of the Mustard Seed. One stereotype or the other needs some nuance.


Father Ron said...

From the wisdom of today's 3-minute retreat:

"Salvation is not reserved for the clever. God made the rules simple enough that all people might have the opportunity to be saved. Jesus makes the Ten Commandments even more concise. In response to a test posed by the intellectual elite, Jesus summarizes all of the law as love of God and love of neighbor. Living a moral life is about living in a loving way. Jesus not only spoke about love, he lived it, embracing sinners and giving his life for our salvation."

Deo gratias!

Anonymous said...

What a depressing book by Kaa - he shows no understanding that Christianity is a universal faith and he even boasts of praying to Maori gods.
How is this heresy tolerated?
Why have Maori largely abandoned Christianity in New Zealand? (I cannot speak for the many Australian Maori.)