Tamala Ceasar presents a first-person account of how divorce has affected her and other Christians (‘The D word’, p44), Anthony Delaney explains how he and his church responded to the Manchester attack (‘How to be brave when the world is a warzone’, p30), rapper Guvna B recounts his own journey of growing up in east London (Culture, p16) and Angela Atim tells her story of incredible bravery and faith living as a child captive in Uganda (Real Life, p20). Added to this are personal reflections on the joys and challenges of life and ministry from Britain’s leading black clergywoman Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin (Profile, p24) and our regular columnists Rob Parsons (p65) and Jeff Lucas (p82).
Life is always lived from a personal perspective (how could it be otherwise?) and we relate far more to people than abstract concepts. A book is far more readable when we hear about the life of the person involved, and it’s for good reason that the Gospels give us the details of Jesus’ everyday life alongside his teachings.
But, every person’s story is unique and that means we’ll inevitably come to different conclusions about the way life should be lived and, as Christians, how our faith is to be expressed in the world.
The Church of England’s most recent Synod meeting has produced controversy over banning gay ‘conversion therapy’ and services to welcome transgender people (News, p11) and The Message translator Eugene Peterson has been the subject of much discussion after it was reported that he had switched to a position affirming gay marriage, then announced a retraction (News, p13).
Watching these disputes on social media can be a painful spectacle. Liberal and conservative protagonists on both sides are prone to throwing individuals ‘under the bus’ when they appear to disagree with their chosen orthodoxy. This is why it’s so important that we respect the humanity of every individual, remembering that whether we agree or disagree, each person is loved by God and made in his image.
As Cindy Kent reminds us in her reflection on the BBC series Broken (In My Opinion, p15), we are all frail, fallible human beings. So we would do well to treat each other with the same grace as the God who became human to share in our brokenness.