Friday, February 12, 2010

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address to the CofE General Synod

I found much to admire in ++Rowan Cantuar's Presidential Address given this Tuesday,fand typical of his subtle-minded and careful reasoning. I like the way he starts by speaking of the dangers posed by governments overriding the freedoms of communities and groups, as with the legal euthansia debate in Great Britain, and then extends that same concern to debates within the Anglican Communion which likewise would claim freedom of action while impairing or denying the freedoms and liberties of others. ++Rowan suggests a more nuanced, careful approach to other groups and ideas which he calls "three dimensionality": Seeing something in three dimensions is seeing that I can't see everything at once: what's in front of me is not just the surface I see in this particular moment. So seeing in three dimensions requires us to take time with what we see".

Here's the concluding paragraph his address, which I particularly like.

"It is only a three-dimensional vision that can save us from real betrayal of what God has given us. It will oblige us to ask not how we can win this or that conflict but what we have to give to our neighbour for sanctification in Christ's name and power. It will oblige us to think hard about freedom and mutuality and the genuine difficulty of balancing costs or restraints in order to keep life moving around the Body. It will deepen our desire to be fed and instructed by each other, so that we are all the more alarmed at the prospect of being separated in the zero-sum, self-congratulating mode that some seem to be content with. If, as Our Lord says, the blessed are those who are hungry for God's justice, perhaps we shall discover our blessedness as we hunger for what the neighbour, the stranger and the opponent has to give – and find the time for them to give it and us to receive it: 'doing justice' to them in their three-dimensional reality. And we may be able to show to the world a face rather different from that anxious, self-protective image that is so much in danger of entrenching itself in the popular mind as the typical Christian position. I deeply believe that this Church and this Synod is still capable of showing that face and pray that God will reveal such a vision in us and for us."

Thank you, Archbishop, for your words and for your example. MP+

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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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