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Thursday, 10 July 2008

In a time of church conflict...

In a time of Anglican church conflict, the following comments by a political theorist Romand Coles and activist in grass roots radical democratic movements offers a helpful reading of the theology of Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder - a reading in favour of radical democracy. The careful attention Coles pays to Yoder in his reading demonstrates demonstrates a respect for someone from a differing faith trajectory, a respect and care that serves as a helpful model that could well be usefully practiced by some of the controversialists in the wolrd wide Anglican community.

What unity asks Coles does the church seek? According to Coles...

Yoder emphatically rejects notions of church unity based upon extant agreements that would proide a lowest -common denominator foundation for identity, direction and tolerable pluralism. Such understandings tend to construe every serious dispute as a call for division.

...
Far better Yoder argues to understand church unity as a commitment to dialogical processes of reconciliation figured by the early churchees' gathering discernment around Jesus's wisdom of the cross. This "racialises the particular relevance of Jesus, enabling dialogue through the content of his message: the love of the enemy, the dignity of the lowly, repentance, servanthood, the renunciation of coercion." (p.117 Beyond Gated Politics: Reflections for the Possibility of Democracy)

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