Our common future

Published October 31, 2014

This column first appeared in the October issue of the Anglican Journal.

Earlier this year I was invited to speak at an event 3,000 kilometres from home. The organizers wanted me to touch on themes of social inequality, a hope-filled future for young people and the church’s faith-filled response. I turned them down.

There were numerous problems with the request, but what bothered me most was the dissonance between the topic and my own invitation. The idea of inviting a guy in his mid-30s who is white, straight, able-bodied and middle-class to talk about social inequality and a hopeful future seemed stunningly off the mark. Rather than accepting, I suggested the names of several people from diverse backgrounds who could bring new and helpful perspectives to the topics at hand.

What the Anglican Church of Canada does not need are more folks like me talking about why the future is bright. I tick off far too many boxes on the privileges score chart to provide a balanced-let alone liberating-perspective on these matters.

In an increasingly multicultural country marked by multiple diversities, our church has a lot to learn. Most recently, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has taught us that we have a great deal more listening to do. I continue to struggle with this as I slowly come to grips with the reality of my various privileges and the ways in which they are not afforded to many of my friends, neighbours and fellow churchgoers.

We are living in a time where the rich continue to get richer while the poor become poorer. Young people are inheriting a world marked by our abuse of God’s good creation. Our society and our world continue to be marked by significant gender inequality. We struggle to value those who are differently abled, those whose sexual orientations we do not understand, along with those from different cultures, religions and ways of life. Young people today know these things. They experience these things. This is their world. In so many ways, they must be our teachers. We must listen.

If there is to be hope for the future, our faith-filled response will be hard-fought and costly. It will require those with power to cast it aside. But what’s more, it will require our mutual acknowledgement that our futures are bound up together, that God’s future includes one and all and that we are all reconciled in Christ.


  • Andrew Stephens-Rennie

    Andrew Stephens-Rennie is a member of the national youth initiatives team of the Anglican Church of Canada.

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