The absent Father:- Justin Welby v Jordan Peterson on gender & knife crime.

Dec 6, 2018 by

by Gavin Ashenden:

I was on a train to Crewe, when the BBC phoned.

I can’t go near  Crewe without the delight of the memory of GK Chesterton telegraphing his wife on one if his lecture trips around the country by train, bleating: “Am at Crewe. Where should I be?”

I was being invited to be a guest interviewee on BBC 2’s Newsnight later that evening to todiscuss the fallout from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s latest foray into gender politics. For me, Newsnight is steeped in the memory of Paxman asking Michael Howard the same question relentlessly, seventeen times. Being invited to talk on the programme was very appealing.

The Most Rev’d Justin Welby had been trying to explain the complexity of God’s gender in a question and answer session in London. It was made more complicated by the foreword he had written in a book on the virtues of transgendering. God of course is beyond gender.Gender is something that describes our biology. It doesn’t describe God. But sometimes truth comes in paradox, and the Bible is forensically clear that God is not made in our image, we are made in His, and He invites us to experience him as our Father.

But we live in a culture where we are consumed by a power struggle between the genders. So this has become a political question as well as a theological one.  Like all questions the way you ask it can determine the kind of answer you get.

The theology explores the consequences of using one form of language rather than another. So if you call God She you end up with something that resembles a fertility religion or an ecological movement, a sort of ‘Gaia’, instead of Father. If you call God ‘it, you end somewhere close to Buddhism, with an impersonal energysuffusing the universe, instead of a Being who validates our being.

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