Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Church, State and Culture

A further episode in the conversation between Ben Myers and me following Tony Abbot's Thatcher Lecture: "The Welfare of the City: Re-thinking Church and State". Prompted to think a bit more about a theological understanding of the state and its relationship to culture, I conclude the article with these suggestions:

I suggest that rather than repeat received theologies of the state, or even develop new ones, for this new context, Christian theological energy could be invested in theologies of citizenship in the midst of cultural diversity. For much of the Western theological tradition, cultural diversity has been a problem to be solved. Might it be that it is itself a good of creation, and one that invites a level of theological engagement which would match that which has previously been devoted to theologies of the state? Power and authority will weave their way through such diversity in ways that both help and hinder human flourishing. 
For that reason, and many others, Christians are called to learn to live, think and imagine in ways that will allow them, in the words of Jeremiah, to "seek the welfare of the city" - this strange and unfamiliar "city" in which God has presently placed the Western church.

The earlier pieces can be found as follows:

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