So, this week, the perturbations in the Christian global body include:
A lurch towards moderation
The Southern Baptist Convention cast a vote towards a modest amount of action on sexual abuse within their denomination (in the face of strident conservatives known as Pirates - let's take our church back - not wanting this to happen).
A (fairly well advance signalled) lurch towards (or reaffirmation of) conservatism
US Catholic bishops begin process which could lead to (e.g.) Joe Biden being refused communion. And simultaneously fired up the rumbling blaze between "conservative" and "liberal" Catholics in the US and beyond.
An apology from a Primate about a bishop's poor social media form in another Anglican province
Yes, The Archbishop of Canterbury, no less, has apologised for the actions of an "untrusting" Church of Wales bishop. (Her actions certainly needed an apology, but the ABC contributing an apology is somewhat bemusing).
Is there a link between Christian teaching on the subordination of women and domestic abuse of Christian wives?
Not far from here, just across the Ditch, a survey has highlighted a disproportionately high number of Anglicans, relative to the general population, experiencing domestic violence (here). Julia Baird is the leading journalist (as far as I can tell) on these matters. Six years ago she raised the question whether teaching on headship was a contributory factor to domestic violence in some Christian households (here). Six days ago, Jane, a former wife of an Anglican minister and domestic violence survivor writes in a more personal vein of her experience of hearing such teaching. She specifically questions the emphasis placed on such teaching in the Diocese of Sydney (here).
Today's gospel (as I begin writing this post) is Mark 4:35-41, the Stilling of the Storm, one reading of which is that the boat is the church, the storm is the perturbations which threaten the church as it sails through time and on the lake of the world, and the cry to Jesus to wake up highlights both the presence of Jesus in our midst and our lack of confidence in his care of the church.
We could have endless, nuanced discussions about each of these perturbations (for a brief example, note comments in the thread to the post below this re Biden. communion and abortion).
But each perturbation raises a simple question, what is the truth of the matter at hand?
This is my supplementary question: am I (are you) willing to dig deep into the matter so we do not stop at some convenient point and declare we have the truth already?
If there is - arguably - one connecting point for most of the perturbations above then it is that we reach a point of convenience when we declare that teaching X = mark of Christian tribal identity. That rather shuts down further questing for the truth because we are combining the question of whether X is true with the question of who is in or out of our Christian tribe.
I want to come back to one matter in a forthcoming post, about "headship" teaching re men and women.
OK, the question of connection between communion and commitment to doctrine is also interesting so that might come up too.
Meantime, let's remember that Tories can be trusted. They are not all untrustworthy. The untrustworthy ones dominate the headlines but aren't the majority!
And to all bishops Tweeting out there, take care :)