Thursday, December 01, 2005

+Sentamu Ebor

Posted while being unsure that doing so is a good thing...

knocking on my local church door!A lot of people, especially Anglicans, are happy about the inauguration of the first black Archbishop of York yesterday (e.g Andrew Jones). I knew quite a few people who went, and most were very exited about the choice. Of the two hour service I was only able to see a little bit while eating lunch, but thankfully this included his sermon. Preaching on what it means to be disciples he was very challenging to the church and myself. I was especially happy when he emphased how life-changing the gospel should be and how the church should be radically different, not just do different things:

The scandal of the church is that the Christ-event is no longer life-changing, it has become life-enhancing. We’ve lost the power and joy that makes real disciples, and we’ve become consumers of religion and not disciples of Jesus Christ (in The Times)

However just as I was thinking about how he had not yet brought in the Christ event, and its implications for the final day, I found real cause for dismay. He advocated constructive conversations with other faiths/no faith (I'm all for that) but without each conversation partner trying to convert the other. Instead (!) the church should concentrate on preaching to the 72% in Britain claimed to be Christian in surveys. Firstly this seems contrary to the praise he had for Britain (which he admires) for bringing the Gospel to his birth place of Uganda. Having tasted how good the Gospel is I cannot comprehend how he would deny it to others. Secondly, I cannot help but think that the underplaying of the Christ's historical death and resurection has a role in his lack of concern to convert people. Thirdly, I am sad about my beloved CofE tieing its hands and underplaying the the magnificance of the life/world/history-changing nature of the Gospel, while focusing so much on the church as we see it without the filter of Christ's work.

I'm depressed...although I know I shouldn't be. He will no doubt be a great Archbishop, and bring much glory to God... encourage the good.

Random Observations

  • Illustrating what discipleship looked like in the first century, he quoted a funny story from the Jewish Talmud. Of the group of bishops I could only see Tom Wright laughing... He does like his Jewish litrature.
  • Happy he quoted from York's own (I like to think of him that way anyway) late great David Watson:

    Christians in the West, have largely neglected what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The vast majority of Western Christians are church-members, pew-fillers, hymn-singers, sermon-tasters, Bible-readers, even born-again believers or Spirit-filled Charismatics – and we have got some those here this morning - but aren’t true disciples of Jesus Christ.

    If we were willing to learn the meaning of real discipleship and actually to become disciples, the Church in the West would be transformed, and the resultant impact on society would be staggering.

    I have this niggling doubt that this whole post is the mark of a 'sermon-taster'...hmm.
  • Having had recent heated conversations about whether the CofEs buildings are a net disadvantage, to proclaiming the gospel. I could not help but wonder if (i) all the pomp and ceremony was helpful in anyway (n.b I think not despite being a big fan of liturgy/sacrament; because I think they succeed in communicating even today) (ii) any Archbishop, however good or bad, would ever have that much effect on the inertia that controls so much of the CofE.
  • Read the whole sermon here and make up your own mind.


Post a Comment

<< Home