Sunday, 7 November 2010

Creative Covenant Conclusions...

Richard Twiss (above) of Wiconi International was one of the speakers at the recent Emergent Village Theological Conversation which evoked an incredible blog post from Julie Clawson. This paragraph jumped out at, giving me a gentle sense of joy with its resonance to my concerns for the church, particularly all the turmoil over the Anglican Covenant:
The speakers had led us to see how the Bible is used as a colonizing text and how the rituals and trapping of the Western church have colonized the minds of indigenous peoples. Their dream is to find ways to do distinctly indigenous theology and develop spiritual practices that are native to who they are. They pleaded with us to stop seeing Western theology, philosophy, academia, and liturgy as the norm that all others must aspire to or at least subjugate their spiritual language to. And above all to not just allow native peoples space to pursue those paths, but to join in with them valuing their voices just as much as we value Western voices.
Let's face it, The Anglican Covenant is simply an ecclesiastical straight-jacket, therefore I support and endorse the #nocovenant campaign.

It will be interesting to see what 'action' comes out of the Emergent Village Theological Conversation... At Greenbelt 2100 Richard Rohr said 'The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better'.



Sam Charles Norton said...

Hmm. Two thoughts: one is that there is also a way of "indigenising" the gospel in a western context, and it is self-destructive to deny autonomy to it. The other is, have you read this post by John Richardson:

Philip Ritchie said...

Thanks for the post Peter, have you read Vincent Donovan's Christianity Rediscovered which covers similar ground about Christianity and indigenous communities.

shlottie said...

Sam, please expand on your first thought?! Thanks

Peter Banks said...

Thanks Phil, have placed in my wish list!

Sam, my answer is a long one so contemplating a post to respond. Suffice to say, as an example, the church has been primarily responsible for destroying or sidelining English musical culture as in SoH's 'Roots'.

This has been because of various reasons including composer patronage, music in schools, Victorian influence and adopting European music to be the only 'sanctified' music allowed.

Now the whole process of 'exlusivity' is repeating itself with so called modern worship music.

You've nearly got me started!!!

Hope that helps you too, Shlottie, thanks for the question?!

Sam Charles Norton said...

Shlottie - the first bit was sparked by Julie's post, and my thinking that singing 'How great thou art' - even given the context she describes - is not a bad thing; it would count, for me, as a 'song of Zion'. I get a bit twitchy when I suspect cultural self-hatred, ie every culture has things of wonder in it, except for ours, so everything Western must be repudiated.

What's needed, of course, is to apply the Vincent Donovan stuff in our own context (which is why I linked to the Ugley Vicar article, which pushes it back even further) - which means using indigenous English cultural forms and contexts in which to express the gospel.

Which then raises the question: how on earth can it be done in an established church, with all the weight of history associated with it. I don't know the answer to that one. Not yet, anyway.

James and Maggie said...

An interesting post Peter, it seems to me that the Christian church is in a really awkward position of its own making here. With little regard for the insights & spiritual knowledge that other (indigenous) faiths could offer to it, it steamrollered in, 'converting' and 'educating' peoples, who, in fact were already spiritually equipped with their own traditions and narratives. I remember learning as a teenager about the native Americans refering to God as 'The Great Spirit', not a typecast, gender specific idea of a deity that we'd been told about in sunday school, and thinking to myself, yes, these people have it. They also embraced gays in their society, which I reckon to be pretty advanced by comparison too.

I don't know much about this anglican covenant, but, in business it's a really bad idea to argue amongst yourselves in front of a customer!