Thursday, December 01, 2005

More from York

Well, our favorite bongo-playing archbishop is off to a rollicking start.... From yesterday's York Minster sermon:

Che Guevara once said, “If our revolution isn’t aimed at changing people then I’m not interested.” The trouble with virtually all forms of revolution and modernising strategies is that they change everything – except the human heart.

And until that is changed corporately, nothing is significantly different in the long run.

A frog once begged a genie to turn it into a princess. The genie clicked his fingers and a gorgeous princess emerged. Later, having gone for a meal at the genie’s restaurant, the princess found nothing on the menu that she liked.

She asked the genie whether she could order her favourite dish. “Yes, of course,” the genie said. The princess turned excitedly to the waiter and said, “A large plate of flies!”

The scandal of the church is that the Christ-event is no longer life-changing, it has become life-enhancing. We’ve lost the power and joy that makes real disciples, and we’ve become consumers of religion and not disciples of Jesus Christ. You see, the call to corporate discipleship is a call to God’s promised glory. For Christ did for us that which we couldn’t do for ourselves.

God’s acceptance of us just as we are, enables us to overcome our alienation and to experience the joy and the fulfilment of personal communion with God.

Through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ there came into the world a new power that transforms human character and human communities; and liberates us from anxiety, fear, meaninglessness, transience, evil, ignorance, guilt and shame. Created humanity, in need of salvation, must realise that the culture and institutions they create are also in need of redemption, not simply of modernising.

God’s Good News isn’t for the chosen few: it is for everyone, whether they hear it or whether they don’t; and I shall regard it as the first priority of my ministry, as a ‘Watchman for the North’, to take a lead by preaching, by public address and by informal discussion, in sharing this Good News of God with the people of England.

And he's already gone about putting his own stamp on the office.
He will be Archbishop for, not of, York. He wants to be known as Sentamu, not John, and will sign his archiepiscopal name Sentamu Ebor, not John Ebor.
"Ebor" of course, refers to "Eboracen" -- the Latin for "York." In the Church of England, as bishops' see cities are also their titles in the House of Lords, the diocesan name becomes their own.... In the not-too-distant past, at least one American prelate has bizarrely dabbled in the same.
Expectations are high that this will not be all. At last month's General Synod, he denounced, Jonah style, the Church's quarrelling and bickering. 'This can not go on!' In his interview with this paper, he called for English people to rediscover pride in their Englishness. Since that article appeared, dozens of people, taxi-drivers, churchgoers, passers-by, have thanked him, as a black person of Ugandan origin, for saying what they felt needed saying. As white English-born people, they had felt equally unable to say it.
The last two cites are from the blog of Ruth Gledhill, religion correspondent for The Times of London. Now, if even a publication as tradition-bound as The Times can integrate itself and its resources into the blogosphere, there's no excuse for laggards anymore.

PHOTO: John Giles/PA