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Media coverage of the 2008 Lambeth Conference has focused attention on divisions among Anglicans by portraying them as straightforward conflicts between ‘liberal’ Westerners and ‘traditionalists’ from other parts of the world. But the divisions are not so neat: ‘evangelicals’ and ‘Southerners’ can be found on both ‘sides’. Indeed, attempts by supposedly ‘conservative’ reformers to rid the Anglican Communion of what they regard as wrong ideas and practices hamper the quest for biblical faithfulness and undermine respect for the spiritual insights emerging from the South. This paper included a constructive critique of recent propositions from Canon Gregory Cameron, Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.
This paper, one of a series, complements the author’s contributions to the new book Fear or Freedom? Why a warring church must change, edited by Simon Barrow (Shoving Leopard / Ekklesia, 2008) – available in the UK from Metanoia Book Service, and elsewhere via Amazon.
This paper briefly sets out the religious, philosophical and political context of both the 2007 government guidelines on science teaching and the recent report and statement of the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR), explaining why 'intelligent design' (ID), popular among some religious groups, is neither sound science nor good theology. It includes notes, an overview of 2005-7 Ekklesia comments on creationism and ID, and a select bibliography.
The global media are largely interpreting the current fissures within the worldwide Anglican Communion as a struggle between ‘traditionalists’ and ‘revisionists’, ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’, ‘evangelicals’ and modernists’. In this thoughtful paper, Savitri Hensman shows that these are unhelpful caricatures, and that what is at stake is something far larger than an argument within one denomination. It is about the nature of Christianity in a fast-changing contemporary world, the dangers of simplistic readings of the Bible, the historic threat of authoritarianism, the challenge of human rights, and the tension between the establishment instincts of many Christians institutions and its radical, transformative roots in the life-changing story and flesh of Jesus. This reading of the situation within Anglicanism and in a broader context will assist commentators, researchers, journalists, concerned observers of many stances, and all who are interested in how the relationship between religion and society is changing after Christendom. The paper complements the author’s contributions to the new book Fear or Freedom? Why a warring church must change, edited by Simon Barrow (Shoving Leopard / Ekklesia, 2008) – available in the UK from Metanoia Book Service, and elsewhere via Amazon.
The full document is available as a *.PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file here:
As part of the 'listening process' in the Anglican Communion over the extensive disagreements about human sexuality, Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman has prepared a paper on Learning, Listening, Scripture and Sexuality which seeks both to take the conversation forward and to affirm the role of lesbian and gay Christians as active and baptised members in the church, in accordance with a faithful and interpretatively sensitive reading of its the texts and tradition.
In a paper carefully analysing the popular use and misuse of biblical and doctrinal language about God and Church, Savitri Hensman shows that inflexible, one-sided, naïve or ideological conceptions of God in sections of the Christian tradition can reinforce domineering models and practices in the Church – which is in fact supposed to be a creative vehicle of Jesus’ broken body in the world, not a defensive fortress. God is not confined by rules set by humans and our institutions, she argues, however powerful they may be by earthly standards. In the biblical tradition, God is at work outside as well as within institutions, including those that claim to be about God’s business. Liberation, reformation and healing will continue to happen even if, at first, they are not acknowledged by the authorities (ecclesial and otherwise); and in time truth will break through our illusions. This paper is highly relevant to issues being discussed in and beyond Anglicanism, concerning its disputed future, and in other sections of the worldwide Church. It makes specific reference to the debate about an Anglican Covenant in the run-up to the Lambeth Conference 2008. It may also give those outside the Church a better understanding of how language and tradition is being applied and misapplied within very diverse Christian communities during a time of considerable upheaval and anxiety, both inside and outside the Church.
Remembrance day: Goodbye to all that Guardian leader based on Ekklesia's 2009 report Reimagining Remembrance
Voters turn on main parties, Independent front page, reporting Ekklesia's survey results on independent politics, during the scandal over MP's expenses
Rebranding St George, The Times about Ekklesia's 2008 report on British identity
The Daily Telegraph on Ekklesia's 2007 proposals that the symbols we use to remember war, should involve those symbolising a commitment to peace
Guardian education features Ekklesia's 2006 report on alleged marginalisation of religion in universities, and proposals for addressing it
Fear or Freedom?: Why a Warring Church Must Change by Simon Barrow (Ed)
The Subversive Manifesto: Lifting the Lid on God's Political Agenda by Jonathan Bartley
Faith and Politics After Christendom: The Church as a Movement for Anarchy by Jonathan Bartley
Consuming Passion: Why the Killing of Jesus Really Matters by Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley (Eds)
Threatened with Resurrection: The Difficult Peace of Christ by Simon Barrow