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32: Godly Church Politics?

EPISODE: 32

Godly Church Politics?

with Michael Jensen and Megan Powell du Toit

Power and personal agendas. Can you have a voice of influence without playing party politics? As a “reluctant participant” in church politics, Megan and Michael gives their reasons for being involved in the Baptist Assembly, and the Sydney Anglican Synod. Yes, the discussion does turn to women’s ordination, as well as the ‘gloves off’ approach many Christians seem to take when it comes to electing their leaders. Both sides of the coin, but with all due respect.

We kick off by diving into a satire of the Church of England – the oldie but goodie BBC series The Barchester Chronicles. According to Megan: “The drama, humour and delight of the series is the church politics. For anyone who’s been in a church, it’s very familiar.”

Can you have a voice of influence without playing party politics? As a “reluctant participant” in church politics, Megan gives her reasons for being involved in the Baptist Assembly, while Michael gives a personal perspective on the Sydney Anglican Synod. Yes, the discussion does turn to women’s ordination.

And, as the Sydney Anglican Diocese prepares to elect a new Archbishop in August 2020, our hosts address the new realm of church politics where “the gloves are off”.

Links related to this episode: 

  • Episode 1 of Barchester Chronicles, especially the conversation at 44:55 – 45:05:
    Dr Grantly: “My father in law can be a very difficult person.”
    Bishop Grantly: “He has persistent bouts of Christianity.”
  • Episode 3 of Barchester Chronicles, especially the conversation at 7:31-7:34:
    Mrs Grantly: “We could pray.”
    Dr Grantly: “There are times when I’m ashamed of my prayers.”
  • Article by Michael Jensen on Eternity: The art of godly church politics
  • Book by Michael Jensen: Sydney Anglicanism: An Apology

About Barchester Chronicles
The Chronicles of Barsetshire is a series of six novels by Anthony Trollope, set in the fictitious English county of Barsetshire and its cathedral town of Barchester. The second in the series, Barchester Towers, is the most famous. The first two novels were adapted as a TV miniseries  – The Barchester Chronicles – by the BBC in 1982, in which Alan Rickman is the “odious evangelical” Obadiah Slope, Nigel Hawthorne plays Archdeacon Grantly and Donald Pleasence as the “naive but lovely” hero, Reverend Harding.

WHAT IS WITH ALL DUE RESPECT?

Less aggro, more conversation.

Is it even possible to have a deep discussion without it descending into chaos? Michael Jensen and Megan Powell du Toit think yes, and want to show the rest of us how to do it.

There’s plenty of things they disagree on: free will, feminism, where you should send your kids to school and what type of church you should go to. But there are also plenty of other things that they have in common. They want to talk about all these things with conviction. But they also want the conversation to be constructive. Tune in to find out if that’s possible.

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