Speaking Life to each other

July 29, 2008 at 10:25 pm 1 comment

Two major themes have emerged from today’s work at the conference. The first has been the full plenary session this morning in the Big Top bringing together the bishops and the spouses conferences on the subject of the abuse of power. This proved to be a long and demanding session studying the story in 2 Samuel 13 of the abuse of Tamar by King David’s son Amnon. Its a story not often read in church on Sunday Services because it tells of the rape of Absalom’s sister by her half brother. It is therefore a very delicate passage bringing to the surface in any discussion many sensitive issues about the way in which in many cultures around the world there is systematic exploitation of women by men. The Big Top was arranged so that men and women were separated for the discussion from each other.

What did this extended Bible Study reveal? First that many women were cautious about talking about these subjects in  front of men. Secondly that in many parts of our Communion the culture permits systematic exploitation by men of women. Thirdly, that the fixation on the subject of gay sex is a way of avoiding the big issues around the way in which men abuse women  in many different cultures around the world.

So the second big event of the day has been the presidential address by the Arcbishop of Canterbury at the midpoint of the Conference. Archbishop Rowan reminded us all of the differing positions adopted by the traditionalists and by the progressives in this conference. He took care to hold up to the conference an accurate picture of the different and conflicting voices we have heard here without taking sides. And he invited us to talk to each other in ways that give life to each other – recognising the differences but respecting the need for those differences to be accomodated if possible within the greater vision of the worldwide communion.

 

Over the next four days we shall see if the Archbishop’s pleas have been heard.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Christianity and Other Faiths A new kind of parliament?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ruth Lambert  |  July 30, 2008 at 12:50 am

    Hello +Tim
    Just discovered your blog – sounds as though you are having a thought-provoking and demanding time! But hopefully very rewarding. I too found Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ address very moving and inspiring, especially for our situation out here. It’s good that the conference received him so warmly. What a gift!

    We are praying for the conference over here in Belize and I wonder if you have managed to find Bp Philip Wright yet? In the meantime all the best with the challenges of the final few days.
    Every blessing from myself and Malcolm.

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