In his 2003 Book “Fire and Ice”, Michael Adams reported his research into the changes in social values in North America over recent decades. He reported that Canada in general and Quebec in particular were moving in the direction of post-modernism, while the United States was moving in a different direction. Among the values he charted in the post-modern sector were adaptability to complexity, global consciousness, flexible gender identity, flexible families, and à la carte religion. The popular vote in the recent election in Quebec suggests that the trend tracked by Adams may be somewhat in reverse. There is certainly a move to the right politically, and the campaign had included references to homosexuality, immigration and “reasonable accommodation”.
Although our key concern in Anglicans Really Alive connects to questions around inclusiveness and diversity in the church, together with the place of scholarship and learning in the process of interpreting our scriptures, I believe we must widen that concern to include diversity and inclusiveness in society. We need to bear witness to the possibility of a different way of being society as well as to a different way of being the church.
A recent article in the Globe and Mail:
suggests that the shift in values is also to be seen in the field of intellectual endeavor. It is interesting to note that what is hinted at here is a cause common to Roman Catholicism, Christian fundamentalism and similar sentiments within the diversity if Islam. When I was ordained to the ministry nearly fourty years ago, I assumed that the battle for a Christianity which could take on board scientific knowledge had been largely won. All that was needed were a few mopping up operations. I guess I was way too optimistic. The struggle of the Church to embrace what Marcus Borg calls the new paradigm needs all our effort to support it. The success of the struggle for a new paradigm in society needs even more effort.