"What with Global Warming, the War on Terror and the Global Financial Crisis, we may well think that we live in apocalyptic times."So began Archbishop Peter Jensen's presidential address to Synod. The bulk of the speech concerned the particular financial and organisational issues that have arisen as the result of very significant losses in Diocesan wealth over the last twelve months, but his opening sought to say something about living with the perception of being in apocalyptic times.
Jensen affirmed that "we are always in apocalyptic times", that elements of crisis and threat are a perennial feature of human experience and that "we are always only one step away from the end of all things". And so the lessons to be learned include the ubiquity of human folly (and hence the folly of utopianism), the necessity of hard work in facing contemporary challenges (while relativising the importance of all human projects) and accepting that "the ordinary human feeling that we are powerful creatures who live in a stable world and a stable universe, is deluded." In short, our response ought to be "neither paralysis nor pain, [but] persistent active faith".
The full address can be found here. H/T to John Shorter for sending me the link.
For those unfamiliar with the peculiar flavour(s) of Sydney Anglicanism, Archbishop Jensen and evangelical Anglicanism in Sydney were the subjects of the latest episode of Compass, the ABC's religious affairs program. Of course there will always be more to say and this is a brief snapshot, but it is not entirely inaccurate.