Thursday, 19 April 2012

Theological cruelty (ii)

Following up on Leaving Alexandria by Richard Holloway. I actually read the Epilogue first after nmy two parishioners had loaned me their book.
Now, Holloway is well-known in Anglican circles, he was a great spiritual guru of the 60s, 70s and 80s. One of my kind. A convinced Anglo-Catholic!
And a Scot....ending up as the Primus of the Episcopal Church of Scotland , which is the  name of the Anglican Church north of the border!
However, regard for the good bishop went far beyond that. 
But eventually he had enough! And Leaving Alexandria traces some of that journey.
Richard, Dick...what ever you might call him (he clearly no longer answers to Bishop or Father or Rev....or what ever)  he certainly doesn't believe in the institutional church, he is diffident about the role of Holy Scripture, and occasionally he is tentative about God.
Quite frankly I applaud this openness and this attempt to be intellectually honest. Though, it's a bit confronting when a prominent leader of your party (the Anglo-Catholic party which I identify with, and indeed the Christian Church party (with which I have a loose affiliation!!!!)) much of it, possibly all of it is c*&p!
What I was profoundly moved by was Holloway's disgust at what he calls "theological cruelty"
"It was a massive issue for me, because it was from its (...theology's  and the church's....) claim to unique authority that its manifest cruelty believe that women are inferior to men, that gays are an abomination ...It refuses to negotiate"
He talks about the nature of scriptural revelation and the danger of accepting that redactional decisions are divine.
He is at the very least suggesting that we should not park our brains; but is deeply lamenting how readily religious people have done just that
"Religion is human, and like it is both a glory and a scandal. It is full of pity and full of cruelty. Just like us."
This resonates deeply with me.
Unlike Holloway...but also like him....I find that the harder this becomes the more God comes streaming through.   Not the God of my imagining, but the God who will not allow the false gods that religion so often has created...manipulative, infallible, judgmental, vengeful, angry, name it.....
but the real God who enlivens and creates ...and in whose image we are created.

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