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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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This assembly is today focusing on the gifts and needs of Asia – which means, ironically, that the imagery of bread is less apt and immediate than that of rice. That in itself reminds us that so often we try to give to the other what they do not want or need, what is not familiar or nourishing. Sharing the bread of truth means also attending to the truth of the other's actual condition. And much of what we European Christians ask forgiveness for is always going to be those moments in our history when we have offered a gift in a way that cannot be received – perhaps because it is bound to alien cultural assumptions, or more seriously because it is associated with practices of oppression and exploitation. In the Body of Christ, sooner or later, we cannot avoid the moment when we make our peace by recognising that we need each other; that we must learn to open our hands for the rice that our Asian neighbour offers.
In contrast to what the secular culture sometime seems to think, this turning to one another in recognition of mistakes and hurts is not a futile indulgence in meaningless collective guilt or an attempt to settle scores. It is rather that we come to see how our history together has often made us less and not more human, and acknowledge that the effects of that are still powerful in our lives now. So we begin to ask one another for nourishment, including the not always easy or welcome nourishment that comes from hearing the truth.
One other crucial focus today is, of course, the act of reconciliation with Christians of the Mennonite/Anabaptist tradition. It is in relation to this tradition that all the 'historic' confessional churches have perhaps most to repent, given the commitment of the Mennonite communities to non-violence....
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