Good Disagreement – Can we Disagree without being Disagreeable?

agree-to-disagree

Today we launch a new section to the AE Website – Good Disagreement – Jayne Ozanne explains….

If there’s one thing we see modelled in Christ, it is the fact that He met His critics head on.  He seems to be in constant dialogue with those who disagreed with Him, appealing time and time again to the greater law of love revealed consistently through scripture, rather than a strict adherence to the actual letter of the law.

That said, one of the things I find quite limiting about the way the Gospels are written down is the fact that they fail to convey the tone with which I believe Jesus would have spoken.  It is often easy to imagine an exasperated voice filled with anger and frustration – which no doubt comes from our own reaction to the situation: “You are like white-washed tombs!”  Always read with such relish by the Gospel reader.  But can we really be sure of how it was uttered? How it was said?

This is our Christ, the perfect embodiment of grace and truth – the Son of Man who is able to manifest fully all the fruits of the Spirit.  I am personally convinced that His tone would always have been one of loving patience and kindness – the same voice which found the strength to cry “Father Forgive” to those who had sought to crucify Him.

As we enter this time of Shared Conversations within the Anglican Church, I believe it will be the tone of these discussions that will mark us out as either a beacon for the world to admire, or a squabbling clique that becomes even more sidelined and marginalized.

To help us reflect on the nature of “Good Disagreement”, we have commissioned the Very Revd David Ison, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral to share his thoughts on this critical matter, drawing on his wide range of experience – particularly with inter-faith dialogue.  He raises some key issues which people from all sides will want to engage.

We are keen to enable this to happen, and have set up forums both on a dedicated webpage and on FaceBook for people to leave their thoughts and comments.

Please do join in the conversation – but please do so in a tone that recognises the pain and hurt on both sides.  Thank you.

Shared Conversations go live… get involved!

CofE logoThe Church of England has announced the next stage of its ‘Shared Conversations’ on sexuality which aim to promote greater mutual understanding, reconciliation, and the possibility of developing  ‘good disagreement’ in the Church.

David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director of Reconciliation, has been preparing the ground for such conversations for the past 2 years and the House of Bishops met for 3 days last year to pilot this conversational approach.

It will now be rolled out in 13 Regions across England over the next 12 months or so before the process comes to General Synod in July 2016.  Each Shared Conversation will last 3 days and have a wide spectrum of views represented.  More importantly, there will also be 2 or 3 LGBTI people from each diocese participating.

Accepting Evangelicals welcomes this new development for the Church of England.  Benny Hazlehurst said, “This process is deeper and more wide ranging than the CofE has ever engaged in before and we pray that good will come out of it for the whole Church.”

Jayne Ozanne said to Christian Today this week that it was critical for the Church to create forums where people of different views could engage “safely” with each other.  “For me, Jesus embodied grace and truth. It is about grace, and understanding the hurt of those who hold a different point of view.  For too long this has been a hot issue, a theological debate which has been a battle of words.  When you embody these words in experience and personal testimony as we see Jesus did, I believe they take on a new meaning and authority.”

Nothing is impossibleFull details and resources for the Conversations have been published on a dedicated website  http://www.sharedconversations.org/ 

Dates for the Regional Conversations can be found here and the Resource books can be downloaded here. 

We would encourage Anglican members of Accepting Evangelicals to offer to take part in these Conversations by writing to their Diocesan Bishop.