John Murawski - Religion News Service Review of this Book
Christian apologist and theologian Bishop N.T. Wright, "How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels," insists that Christianity has got heaven - a blissful realm of harp-strumming angels - all wrong, "An awful lot of ordinary church-going Christians are simply millions of miles away from understanding any of this."
"Our picture (of heaven), which we get from Dante and Michelangelo, particularly of a heaven and a hell, and perhaps of a purgatory as well, simply isn't consistent with what we find in the New Testament," Wright said. "A lot of these images of hellfire and damnation are actually pagan images which the Middle Ages picks up again and kind of wallows in."
The national Anglican newspaper 'Taonga' has a helpful article on who the new Wellington bishop is - Justin Duckworth - and some of the things he stands for. I'll leave you to read it.
I single out these two quotations from the Bishop elect's 'sayings' as striking a chord with me. “So it’s about using the skills and passion I possess, and the experiences I’ve had in the last 25 years… and bringing those to bear to help the Anglican Church to realign a little bit... to realign to be a force for transformation in society.”
I like that. Not throwing the baby out with the bath water. Recognising that there's a bit of treasure (taonga) there in the old girl. Affirming the treasure, while facing change in those areas where the church is on the wrong path; heading in the wrong direction and focusing on the less important things than on the majors like justice and compassion and practical loving action.
Justin's obvious compassion and commitment to the weak, marginalised and those on the 'edge' of society excites me. I wasn't at the electoral synod, but I want to offer a great thank you to everyone there who had the vision, faith, fortitude, courage and other commendable things to choose this man to lead the church forward in the southern North Island. I am excited too to read that it seems this man is a man of prayer who will act by seeking to discern God's will each step of the way.
Kia Kaha Justin... Stand tall and be strong.
A Prayer for this time...
"I pray for this man of peace and courage
May Justin and Jenny, their family and close community,
Be a strength for one another always on this journey.
Increase wisdom and discernment in this waiting Bishop.
Grant him and the people he will lead as Christ's shepherd
Unity, faith, renewal of hope, respectful relations and
Mobilise them as one in Christ's name to serve faithfully,
So that healing, hope and honour may abound in our land."
This message has come through this afternoon:
“I am delighted to announce that The Reverend Justin Duckworth has been chosen as the next Bishop of Wellington.
Justin was nominated by an Electoral College ably chaired by Bishop Richard Ellena, and Justin’s nomination has since been formally confirmed by the House of Bishops and members of the General Synod.
Justin, who is 44, has been at the cutting edge of mission and ministry in Wellington for 25 years.
He was a co-founder and leader of Urban Vision, which runs houses in Wellington’s grittiest neighborhoods, in which young Christians live alongside folk from the margins.
Justin and his wife Jenny also pioneered Ngatiawa, a contemporary monastery which provides a welcome to those who are struggling, those seeking prayerful retreat, and those seeking a missional lifestyle.
The Electoral College clearly identified Christian lifestyle, Christian discipleship and Christian mission in Justin – and I am confident his election will challenge, invigorate and grace the church with a deep sense of the breadth and height and depth of the love of God.
A date for the Ordination of Justin to the Episcopate will be announced as soon as it is known."
Archbishop David Moxon
Primate and Senior Bishop of the New Zealand Dioceses
This is a place where we can discuss mentoring, ministry and what we have found helpful for sustaining our inner lives and good relationships.