Monday, August 30, 2004


The word “judgement” itself has slid down the semantic scale towards “judgementalism”. We don’t like the caricature, so we reject the reality, losing the plot, and the party, along with it. We alter our texts and adjust our lectionaries. We tiptoe around lest we upset someone by saying something definite that they might disagree with. Is it a coincidence that that last sentence describes the Dome as well as the mainstream Church — and what happened when the two got uneasily together?

At the heart of it is the lie that saps the moral and theological energy of the Church, the pseudo-gospel from which judgement has been carefully excluded. “God accepts us as we are.” Yes, but God’s acceptance does not leave us where we are. I heard the other day of a church in America (soft target, I know, but that’s where it was) which, reading the story of the woman caught in adultery, omitted the clause “and sin no more” from Jesus’s words of forgiveness. There is all the difference in the world between acceptance and forgiveness.

The former means learning to embrace a prejudice-free tolerance-for-all; the latter means recognising and confronting evil, dealing with it, and making a fresh start.

N.T. Wright, "The Grinch Who Stole Advent," in The Church Times

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