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Janet Henderson

Peter Sedgwick's essay Theology and Society in David Ford's Modern Theologians examines pluralism and the concept of society. He discusses the fact the church now inhabits a very different place within society from the one it held in recent generations and from the one it is sometimes still assumed to inhabit.    

[William] Temple assumed that Christianity had a central role in society, but had to demonstrate its concern for social change. Contemporary ethicists may take the concept of reform as inherent to Christianity, but they have to ensure that the Christian faith has any credibility at all in modern British society and politics. In a pragmatic, pluralist, technologically driven world, that is a very considerable challenge.

In this blog, I try to explore the connections - I wanted to call it 'Only Connect', but that blog title has already been taken - between social justice, community development and theology. My husband, who works in an industry that spends most of its time thinking about the future, once asked me why the church spends so much time thinking and talking about the past. This is a blog that sets out to call into play the imagination to help us think about the the future. If we explore concepts of community and justice and we relate them to aspects of the Christian tradition such as the imperative to live as brothers and sisters and the expectation that Christ will return and is therefore as concerned with the future as the past, we can expect to discover insight and energy for new shapes of social being.

The old saying, 'We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children,' is attributed variously to Indian and Amish sources and to Ralph Waldo Emerson. It rings true in most cultures and is at the heart of what I am about. The way we think about society today and the decisions we make are our gifts or burdens to pass on and we should be as motivated by what we make possible as by what we have achieved.


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