Wednesday, November 19, 2014

'If you disagree with me, I have to love you more'

from Justin Welbys address to Synod this week:

....the future of the Communion requires sacrifice.  The biggest sacrifice is that we cannot only work with those we like, and hang out with those whose views are also ours.  Groups of like-minded individuals meeting to support and encourage each other may be necessary, indeed often are very necessary, but they are never sufficient.  Sufficiency is in loving those with whom we disagree.  What may be necessary in the way of party politics, is not sufficient in what might be called the polity of the Church.

In this Church of England we must learn to hold in the right order our calling to be one and our calling to advance our own particular position and seek our own particular views to prevail in the Church generally, whether in England or around the world. We must speak the truth in love.

In practice that has to mean the discipline of meeting with those with whom we disagree and listening to each other carefully and lovingly. It means doing that as much as when we meet with those with whom we do agree, whether it is during sessions of General Synod or at other times. It means celebrating our salvation together and praying together to the God who is the sole source of our hope and future, together. It means that even when we feel a group is beyond the pale for its doctrine, or for its language about others or us, we must love. Love one another, love your neighbour, love your enemy. Who in the world is in none of those categories?

the title of this blog post is a saying of the great George Bebawi, one of my tutors at vicar college. It's a reminder that following Jesus means we make more effort, not less, with those whom we don't see eye to eye with. It may be that one of them is Jesus (Matthew 25:31-end)


  1. Yea, the problem however is that, as far as the current unpleasantness is concerned, conservatives and liberals, pros and antis, define 'love' differently, and different attitudes to their opponents as loving, whereas they are received as thoroughly hateful.

  2. Yes, exactly, that should be the starting point for discussion. How do we live, worship and work together as brothers and sisters in God's family when each group sees the other's behaviour as wicked or hateful and claims Divine mandate?