Friday, May 9, 2014

Bishop Gladwin gets it

St Paul's Cathedral, London, has a series from retired bishops on "What I want to say now". The first speaker was The Right Reverend John Gladwin, retired Bishop of Chelmsford. And Bp Gladwin clearly "gets it":
There is a crisis of faith. The outcome of our failing to address the medium and language through which we offer the faith of Jesus Christ today will be that people will connect orthodox Christian faith with outmoded ways of thinking and being. The impression is being given that if you are a scientist you cannot with intellectual integrity be a Christian. I suspect that feeling is especially strong among younger students. If you believe in human diversity and the fundamental equality of all human beings whatever their human experience and character you cannot be a Christian. If you are gay or lesbian and entering into a marriage partnership the church is not for you. It is no good blaming the strident voices of secular humanism and scientific atheism for this outcome. We Christians have vacated the field still wielding intellectual weapons that are distinctly rusty and decaying.

It is deeply serious that increasing numbers of people of real principle and integrity of life feel that their own integrity and conscience would be compromised if they came anywhere near the church. We are speaking here of the Church of England which has a duty to all the people of our country. The Archbishop is right. We are a Christian country. The formal relationship of the church to our society gives the church a duty, in partnership with everyone of good will towards it, to serve the people of this nation with the good news of Jesus Christ. That is the foundation on which our history has been built. A failure to understand the importance of this in relation to how we offer the faith and seek to enable the diverse and changing needs of our people to connect with the gospel opens the door for the voices of secularism to eat away at our historic culture.

Describing a TV program about a gay couple adopting children, he says, 'How can the local church be seen to be supportive and encouraging of their commitment to offer loving family life to these children if we spend our time nationally criticising such action? "  and goes on

....Our task is to risk the journey of faith following Jesus Christ as we engage with people and communities today. If we really believe that the mystery of the love and power of God is at work for the protection of the vulnerable, the defence of the humanity and rights of minorities, the care of the excluded, and the struggle for justice – as we see in the face of Jesus Christ – then that surely defines the mission and priorities of the church in any age and culture. ....
More about the series at Thinking Anglicans.

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