Why Weren’t We Told? Compiled and edited by Rex A. E. Hunt & John H. W. Smith: P165 “What They Told Us in Seminary” by Nigel Leaves

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The full title is even more intriguing and gives a hint of the author’s intent: ‘What They Told Us in Seminary but We Never Got to Preach About’.  Leaves’ theology training in seminary included exploration of the latest thinkers, knowledge and interpretation.  Class mates included women and gay ordinands.   His vision was to contribute to a church that was “open, inclusive and life giving”.

This was not to be.  The church was light years away from such concepts, with senior clergy and most congregational members wanting to preserve the status quo.  How could contemporary ideas of inclusive language, sexual identity, liberation from patriarchy be progressed when there was an insistence on retaining the use of the 1622 Book of Common Prayer?   Leaves contents that this gap between what is taught and what the ‘Church’ wants, is still very much apparent.

This is the experience of our group as well.  Many regular church members would regard our discussion and contemplation to be way too far from the established and unchanging position of their Sunday School days.

Leaves rounds up this short essay with a plea that only ‘good theology’ will save religions and even maybe save the Church.  It was a pity that this term was not defined.  Good theology also needs to be accompanied by strong imagery, stories and emotion to communicate fully to people and encourage their participation in exploration of the ‘good news that can transform their situation and the world at large.’

Ian Harris