Sunday 6 April 2008

Stained, Compromised, Involved

Snow this morning, but disappointing because it was far too warm for anything to settle. It was mostly gone by lunchtime. However Stewart, Nick & Anna got in some play with it and did some snow sculptures that are sitting in our freezer. The only alternative wasn’t the one they wanted, a day’s play in a winter wonderland, but missing the lot.

I had to go to All Saints London Colney for the annual residential weekend for about 100 of our curates from the diocese. There I encountered some words from Ron Rolheiser, RC theologian, teacher, writer, General Councilor for Canada for the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Many thanks to Dr Elaine Storkey, who was leading the event:

This side of eternity, all truth incarnates itself with inadequate expression, self-interest, personal wound, historical conditioning, ideology, and invincible ignorance. It's not easy not to be put off the truth by the very persons seeking to bring it about — and the churches have no monopoly on compromise and double standards here.

What's the answer? If every concrete enfleshment of church, morality, truth, justice, politics, family and aesthetics is flawed by inadequacy, dysfunction, infidelity, self-interest, ignorance and abuse, does this give us the right to absent ourselves from commitment?

We have a choice. However, that choice is not between what's perfect (a pure church, social justice that's completely non-compromised, art without ego or arrogance, family life without dysfunction, politics without bias, morality without narrowness, feminism without imbalance, religion without flaw or bad history) and what's bad. The choice is rather between involvement with the limping, stained and compromised or no involvement at all.


David Keen said...

Thankou - great quote. And now we know who's got all the curates......!

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Oxford still seems to be a clergy magnet; a mixture of producing lots of ordinands and "Lord I will follow you anywhere... with a half decent Waitrose..."

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