Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Archbishop Justin on the tragic death of his daughter

In an age of political superficiality, spiritual relativism, economic depression and cultural fragmentation, it is sometimes difficult holding things together. In some ways, the task of the Church in this country has never been harder - at least pastorally. The cure of souls - the cura animarum - has always been the task of Christian leaders, from archbishops to lay readers: the calling is to be a shepherd who cares for his individual flock as the Good Shepherd cares for His universal Church. But the old certainties - those rooted in the Judæo-Christian tradition - have gone: we do not merely dispute the integrity of the shepherd, but the Truth of the Shepherd. We inhabit a different country, one in which theology, public worship and human fellowship have been replaced by psychology, counselling theory and Facebook. Community reality has given way to individual isolation; communities of faith to the Twitter hordes of secularism, mysticism, intuition and unbridled emotion.

We are much wealthier in the West than we were 50 years ago, but hope has diminished. And so has happiness, if statistics on mental health and social breakdown are taken as measures of a society at ease with itself. The pervasive sense of fragmentation and despair has a profound effect upon the task of pastoral care; of how we integrate our faith and praxis, and how the transcendent power of God may be communicated to the self-confident, self-governing, self-mediating homo autonomous.

Into this crisis God raises up a man called Justin. He has no substantial experience of church leadership, no great insights in anthropology or political science, and no impressive doctorates in theology or philosophy. All he knows is Christ and Him crucified. He understands the twisted power of sin and the joy of a salvation that releases people into a new relationship of dependence upon God. He has grieved deeply in his suffering and profound loss, and the memory still chokes him.

What more could God have given to His Church at this time than an archbishop who is relational, rational and authentic? What better gift of leadership could He have bestowed than one who seeks to understand, mediate and reconcile? What greater shepherd could He have raised up than one who knows the Truth and how to express it in analogies of movement in space; in certainty and speculation; in declaration and dance?

Archbishop Justin has come to build, teach, preach, train, supervise, maintain and act. And the task is urgent, for we are sinking in a morass of cant, hypocrisy, double standards, cold formality and the denial of reality - not only outside the Church but within it. No wonder those who are being lost reject the Faith of love, and the One who died in agony in order that they might live with joy, hope and peace.


Blogger Saved by Grace said...

Thank you for posting this video. I find it hugely encouraging to see the heart of the man who is to lead the Anglican church.

This is no dry academic Archbishop. He appears as a man who has been tested through the most desperate of human tragedies and has come through trusting the sovereignty of God. He speaks of knowing the presence of Jesus in his darkest hour, and I find that hugely encouraging. It reminds me of Isaiah 43;

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

It's challenging also in reminding us that God is not a puppet. Prayer is not us pulling God's strings, it is more aligning our will with his. That doesn't mean that God doesn't care - He manifestly does as Easter testifies, but we must acknowledge His ways are above our ways.

As alluded to in the clip the Archbishop talks about praying the Gethsemane prayer...not my will, but your will be done. I find that prayer one of the most striking examples of the humanity of the Son of God. On a cold night (we know it was cold because later Peter is huddled around a fire), we see the Lord in absolute anguish of soul sweating drops of blood because of the terror of what lay ahead - the pain of the cross and the coming separation from His Father as 'he who had no sin, became sin'.

It is a wonderful reminder at Easter, that 'we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses....'

27 March 2013 at 11:50  
Blogger Roger Pearse said...

"What more could God have given to His Church at this time than an archbishop who is relational, rational and authentic?" (etc etc endlessly).

The degree of flattery that junior clergy bestow on senior clergy is extraordinary to normal people. Rather sickening to find this crap here, day after day.

Pass the sick bag, Alice.

27 March 2013 at 12:11  
Blogger Ian G said...

As someone who is not a member of the clergy, I was impressed by the interview. The ArchDruid may have been many good things but it was all buried under a morrass of verbose intellectuallism which had the effect of sending even the most intelligent to sleep. We certainly have a new ABC who can communicate in plain language and shows every sign of understanding the heart of the gospel. rather than sniping at each other, let us pray for the Archbishop. We all know that he is going to need every last prayer offered on his behalf.

27 March 2013 at 12:58  
Blogger Tony B said...

I'm not really a Christian, but I CAN see that this country needs Archbishop Justin. In some senses he's the leader of the opposition.

27 March 2013 at 14:18  
Blogger Angharad said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 March 2013 at 15:58  
Blogger Angharad said...

Thank you for posting this clip Your Grace. I have never lost a child and I often wonder how parents cope, how they find the strength to go on.
In this heartfelt and very honest interview, Archbishop Welby very bravely gives us a glimpse into a very private and immensley sad time for himself and his family. Moreover, the role that faith plays when we are faced with such a heart wrenching loss.

I am a Catholic, but I warm to your Archbishop. He is beyond anything, a man of the people. He is a very fine orator, who also has the rare ability to reach out on a very human level.
I think he will do great things. It is immensely sad that people become so bitter that they feel the need to take sides and snipe at one another. We may follow different faiths, but we do worship the same God.

27 March 2013 at 16:03  
Blogger len said...

'All he knows is Christ and Him crucified.
We do not need any 'great theologian' because quite honestly theology needs to be stripped back to the basics.
Paul counted all he had known and all he had learnt as so much 'rubbish' compared to knowing the risen Christ.
It is time that we got our respective house in order so that Christ and Him alone might be preached to a lost and dying World.

IF ONLY the denominations could unite behind Christ alone then the gospel could be preached far more effectively.

27 March 2013 at 17:44  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

It seems that both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England have been blessed in the new leaders that the Holy Spirit sent to them.

Deo gratias

27 March 2013 at 18:17  
Blogger bluedog said...

Cometh the hour, cometh the man and his name is Justin.

A most moving video clip and thank you for posting it, Your Grace. The simplicity and authenticity of Justin's response to the death of his child is most impressive. By sharing this moment in both his marriage and his life, Justin has put his family's loss at the service of the Church. We should be profoundly grateful for the gift.

27 March 2013 at 22:29  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Let's remember it was men, in the case of the Pope, and men and women, in the case of the Archbishop, who chose these men - not the Holy Spirit. And let's judge them according to their ability to lead their flocks in the Christian Truth.

Thee's no "nice" way of dealing with the big issues of our times; no way of generating a "feel good" factor or remaining "politically correct". Abortion, contraception, homosexuality and divorce have to be confronted as being against God's will as revealed in scripture and nature. Yet, they are embedded in our society as aggressive atheism, secularism advances and moral relativism advances.

One prays both these leaders will have the courage to express the Truth with clarity and boldness. We need a major shift in the cultural life of the West and it must be led by Christians guided by the Holy Spirit.

I think Justin Welby might one day make a good (Anglo?)-Catholic, once he gets his theology in better order.

27 March 2013 at 22:59  
Blogger len said...

Peter Damien. 'Let's remember it was men, in the case of the Pope, and men and women, in the case of the Archbishop, who chose these men'.

You seem to be inferring that the Holy Spirit was not guiding these men/women or they did not have the ability to listen to the Holy Spirit?.Because if that is the case we really are in trouble.
The desire to make every Christian 'a Catholic'seems to be an ingrained habit that is almost impossible for those who wish to spread their [Catholic ]religion almost impossible to desist from?.

IF we continue this Catholic versus Protestant thing we shall be still arguing 2,oooyrs from now.I suggest (yet again)that we unite behind the Head of the Body Christ Himself and get on with the important business of spreading the gospel.

28 March 2013 at 00:42  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

I'm observing these men and women are human and, as such, flawed. They are not mystics in union with the Holy Spirit. They had to use judgement, reason and discernment - and, undoubtedly religio-politics came into it - as well as prayer. That's the way it is. However, we can be sure God is in ultimate control, His purposes are unfolding and His Church will never fall.

I agree the Catholic - Protestant division is a scandal and must end. There is only one Truth. Popes and Archbishops, good and bad, come and go, and make good or bad decisions, but the Truth remains exactly the same whatever they say and do. And as Pope Francis said: “There is no true peace without truth!”

The answer is not an abandonment of theology and doctrine, as you suggest. This would be an abandonment of reason in favour of emotion, and will only compound the problem.

28 March 2013 at 01:09  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I have never heard a Catholic describe him/herself as a Roman Catholic.I do not recognise the term. There are Catholics and non Catholics. There is no such thing as an Anglo Catholic or whatever Catholic. All copy cat fancy dress is never going to make it a very attractive transvestite comparing herself to a real woman. Sorry,it is just not the real thing.

28 March 2013 at 07:57  
Blogger IanCad said...

An intense video YG. Thanks for posting it.
Very moving.

"Thy Will Be Done"

28 March 2013 at 08:50  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 March 2013 at 09:15  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Cressida de Nova
The Catholic Church consists of 23 autonomous churches. What binds us together is acceptance of the final authority of the Bishop of Rome on matters of doctrine and morals.

Apart from the Latin Church (Roman) there are 22 self-governing Eastern Catholic Churches who follow the traditions and spirituality of Eastern Christianity.

My reference to 'Anglo-Catholic' was slightly tongue in cheek, as well as an acknowledgement that there may be room for some autonomy in the governance of an 'Anglo-Catholic' Church. This would not include matters of doctrine or morals. Nor could it include the Priesthood, the Sacramental system, or liturgical authenticity, as these all flow from Catholic doctrine.

28 March 2013 at 09:18  
Blogger len said...

The biggest error of the Catholic faith is that they let men decide doctrine not the Word of God.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to reveal and interpret scripture the Catholic Church has ignored this.

Whilst Catholics give 'lip service' to Christian precepts their interpretation of them is contrary and entirely different to scripture.IF any part of scripture appears unclear then we should search other scriptures to verify the scripture in question.
Foe example ..the Catholic church is based entirely on the false interpretation of one scripture(that this has been done deliberately there can be no doubt at all!)
'On this rock I will build my church'(This rock is taken by Catholics 'as Peter'.Yet 'the Rock' quite obviously is Christ there are numerous scriptures to verify this.
This is just one example where deception has been used to 'authenticate' what can only be described as a false religious system.
Catholics claim that the very existence of their Church proves its' authenticity'but I believe a different explanation may be that God tests all who claim to be Christians (as Job was tested to see if he would remain faithful to God under extreme trials)and the Catholic church may exist to see if people would choose a religion devised by man 'Catholicism'or His 'Ekklesia' initiated and guided by His Spirit.

29 March 2013 at 07:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len 00:42 “IF we continue this Catholic versus Protestant thing we shall be still arguing 2,oooyrs from now.I suggest (yet again)that we unite behind the Head of the Body Christ Himself and get on with the important business of spreading the gospel.”

Len 07:50 “The biggest error of the Catholic faith...”

# What a difference a day makes, twenty four little hours... #

29 March 2013 at 12:33  
Blogger len said...

Truth will out Inspector.

I am willing to call a truce if you will haul' Peter' back in.

29 March 2013 at 21:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Hardly – you lack the integrity to make a bargain...

29 March 2013 at 21:45  
Blogger len said...

And I doubt you or' Peter' would honour it either.

29 March 2013 at 21:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

It wasn’t even 24 hours. Just a nights sleep and you were back to your mischief. You are a snake, sir...

29 March 2013 at 21:58  
Blogger len said...

As I said the Truth will out 'Peter'initiated a response.

Snake?.I have been called far worse its all par for the course to me.

The only truly free person is the person who forgives everyone...Have the 'snake' on me.Bless you.(also Jesus said whenever someone curses a believer for His sake He will bless them ...thanks..

Have another one It will bring a blessing to me.

29 March 2013 at 22:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Has your introverted personality ever bothered you – like getting help, that kind of thing...

29 March 2013 at 22:33  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

30 March 2013 at 00:20  

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