Thursday, 26 April 2012

Safe as Houses?

We began a series of Safe Space Conversations in our diocese this week (I have blogged about this before). We were pretty wary of each other
It takes a while to create safety, and it may not happen in this round of four talks.
The presentation fair, by Denise Cooper-Clarke , a medical ethicist of conservative but fairly open disposition.
What became clear to me in the midst of all this is how easily we label people. Two terms, for example, conservative and revisionist, were used as though they were mutually exclusive. In particular revisionist seemed to be used to describe people who did not take the witness of scripture seriously enough. The curious thing is that i suggest most Christians are revisionist. That is we have allowed ourselves to change our understanding of the regulatory nature of scripture for over 2000 years. Indeed the early church struggled with the issue of whether or not male converts should be circumcised in order to fulfill the commandment of the Law....they concluded that was not necessary.
On a less serious issue very few, if any, modern Christians would adhere to strict biblical dietary laws such as abstaining from pork. The fasting regimes that some undertake seem more based on church or personal regulae than on holy Scripture
Personally I have a high conservative regard for the scripture. I do accept as divine revelation, authoritative, and inspired. But, and this too is conservative, they require intelligent interpretation. No one, I suggest,would say otherwise . .......if your eye offends you pluck it out is not a literal statement....and no one is casting any pedophile into the sea with a mill stone round their neck.
My principal observation the other night then, was that we should stop labeling each other so readily. Labels in the end are pejorative shorthand so often used to belittle those we disagree with, to exclude, or to bolster the weakness of our own solidarity/solidarities.
I need to resist the temptation to label others!


Picric said...

Problem with this is the obvious one - who gets to do the authoritative interpretation. Thomas Cranmer, John Calvin, Martin Luther?

stephen clark said...

I would have though she would listen to the Holy Spirit