"William Cooke rejected my claim (Letters, 'What unconditional love ?', Feb. 2016, p. 5) that Jesus taught and exemplified the 'unconditional love of God'. He cited three supporting texts, but failed to note that the New Testament was the product of an infant church strongly influenced by contemporary Hebrew images of Yahweh as warrior, lawgiver and covenanter. Yahweh punishes the unrepentant sinner and bargains with those who desire his blessing. During the past 150 years, critical thinking biblical scholarship has sifted the gospel texts and exposed the influence of traditional Hebrew theology. We now see a prophetic Jesus, an alternative, radical image of the Holy One as unqualified compassion. In the crucifixion scenes there is no punitive deity -- Jesus reaches out equally to friend and foe with grief and compassion; a long-standing Hebrew theological tradition was successfully challenged (but not eliminated) by this inspired itinerant teacher and healer. This was Jesus of Nazareth's fundamental achievement: to reveal the Holy One as unconditionally loving". [Text of entire article.]
"The commentary on Essentials contains an important and revealing statement. Acknowledging that 'Schism is now a reality' in our church, the authors contend that the 'Essentials (Network) did not start this chain of events .. Their action has been, every step of the way, a response to actions of the Anglican Church of Canada, its General Synod, its dioceses and its bishops, actions that they believe to be wrong'. One clear implication of this statement is that when parts of the church 'move on', believing they are led on by the Spirit, they can be held responsible for creating the possibility of schism. Is the church, then, never to change ? Is it not possible that present movements in the church to give gay and lesbian people equal and full rights in the church are Spirit led ? To occasion the possibility of schism cannot be in itself wrong. The Apostle Paul by his teaching an practice precipitated the 'circumcision controversy', which for decades rocked the early church. Yet those Christians came to understand that his stand was Spirit led and 'essential' for the church to be faithful. I submit that the central issue we face is not schism. It is: 'What is the Spirit saying to the church ?'" [Text of entire article.]
"It is now clear that Canadian Anglicans sincerely regret the role our church played in the tragedy of the residential school system, which injured so many Aboriginal children and their subsequent social life. I wonder, though, if we are sufficiently aware of the role that our theology played in those events, a theology that, to my knowledge, we have not yet officially repudiated". "But perhaps a more radical revision of our theology is needed -- one that helps to locate our faith in Jesus, and in the presence of the sacred, within the context of a tiny planet in an ever-expanding universe".