Delocitypvp Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope:Delocitypvp
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Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope:Delocitypvp

Justin Welby
Justin Welby Published in October 23, 2018, 2:45 am
 Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope:Delocitypvp

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope:Delocitypvp


PeterC Reply to on 8 June 2018
Why is the Archbishop of Canterbury so political, asked a friend, concerned that the CofE seemed to enjoy giving its solutions to the country's ills. Yet Christianity is political. It has something important to say to today's politicians and voters. In this book, Welby sums up what that 'something' might be.

The Archbishop calls for a 're imagining' of Britain as a nation. What's our story, our meta-narrative, what is it that drives our national and local life? He sets out family, education, health (especially mental health), housing (with community), economics and finance, as the building blocks of a healthy society.

A key strand of Welby's manifesto is the vital role of local, intermediate organisations such as churches and other faith groups, clubs and charities. These are essential for our living well at a local level and should be nurtured and encouraged, and adequately resourced by central government. Similarly, the lower levels of government at parish and district level should have powers and finance devolved to them so that they can effectively serve the people in their areas.

Parish churches,with clergy who know their areas well, can play a key part in revitalising our nation.

A good read, with much ground covered. A detailed, comprehensive 'political' manifesto for a reimagined Britain, at ease with itself, being hospitable and a beacon of hope in an uncertain world.

Food for thought for anyone with influence at any level in society.
Peter Cline
Peter Cline Reply to on 2 June 2018
This may not be the easiest book to read but it will repay the effort. Justin Welby's descriptions of the values that our future depends on should be compulsory reading for everyone who cares about the future of this country. Go out and buy it now!
J H Morris
J H Morris Reply to on 30 April 2018
A great deal of words to read to get at the basic ideas. Good in parts.
Alfred Cossey
Alfred Cossey Reply to on 8 May 2018
Full of wisdom and the book all politicians should read. Brilliant, thoroughly recommend. Alfred Cossey, age 87 but still young.
Bea Reply to on 3 September 2018
Good book
Glynn Young
Glynn Young Reply to on 7 May 2018
The Brexit vote in June of 2016 hit Great Britain like a thunderbolt, not unlike the election of Donald Trump as President hit the United States later that same year. The responses in these two deeply divided countries were also similar. The people who had supported “Remain” in Britain argued loud and strenuously for ways to undo the Brexit vote, much like their counterparts in the U.S. continue to refuse to accept the November 2016 election.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has taken a different approach to Brexit. He accepts the decision by voters and then asks the question, “Where do we go from here?” In “Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope,” he invites a conversation about the country’s future by suggesting a variety of ideas and proposals, all based on his Christian faith. And he makes no apology for that.

“This book is, unsurprisingly and unapologetically, written from a Christian perspective,” he writes. “Because of the Christian foundations of our society in Britain, it draws frequently on more or less well-known traditions and stories in the Bible.” Those Bible stories include the early church sharing in common, as recorded in the Book of Acts; Jesus’s description of the last judgment, from Matthew 25; the parable of the talents; and many others.

Welby proceeds to tackle some of the thorniest issues facing British society, which are not unlike some of the thorniest in American society. Family, education, health, housing, economics and finance, the environment, and immigration all come under what can only be called a loving scrutiny. He considers each from a Christian perspective, broadening into a larger discussion of what might be possible in a post-Brexit Britain. That’s the idea of “reimagining” a nation aspiring to its best impulses.

Welby worked in the oil industry for 11 years before entering the ministry. He became a member of the evangelical Anglican church of Holy Trinity in Brompton, in South Kensington, London, and in 1989 experienced a call to the ministry. He was first rejected for ordination by the Bishop of Kensington but later accepted by the vicar of Brompton. He served churches and cathedrals at Coventry, Liverpool, and several other cities, and was appointed Bishop of Durham in 2011 (which also made him a member of the House of Lords). He was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 2012. He has previously published “Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace” (2016).

“Reimagining Britain” is not a conservative book. Neither is it a liberal or progressive book. It slips away from political labels and asks that Britons consider a future based on the values that bind them together. Welby is making a claim for the church in the national debate about Britain’s future. And he’s well ahead of many of Brexit’s critics who are still stuck in a rejection of the decision.
Anne Rose W
Anne Rose W Reply to on 3 May 2018
Excellent service, a positive book.
David J Warden
David J Warden Reply to on 15 June 2018
Despite a privileged education (Eton and Trinity College Cambridge) Welby is not, on the basis of this book at any rate, a top flight intellectual. He is not a sharp thinker nor a good writer. He wades into economics, foreign policy, the housing crisis, climate change, education policy, the national health service and other huge topics without the depth of knowledge to offer much of substance on any of them. After the first chapter I was wondering when he was actually going to say something. By page 100 I was beginning to lose hope. Long before the end I realised, of course, that he was going to studiously avoid saying anything just in case it might cause some controversy (God forbid!). Just when you think he might say something he diverts himself into a little homily about the Prodigal Son or the Good Samaritan - surely the world's two most overworked stories, as if that's pretty much all that Jesus had to contribute to world religion. Welby finds them 'inexhaustible'.

On the plus side I agree with his emphasis on values but he makes the arbitrary claim that 'we find in our history three groups of values: community, courage, and stability' and under these headings he offers a confusing miscellany of values including the common good, solidarity, gratuity, subsidiarity, creativity, aspiration, competition, reconciliation, resilience, and sustainability. References to these values are scattered through the text like lead weights. Where are the values of liberty, democracy, reason, tolerance, knowledge, evidence, happiness, and compassion?

For an evangelical Christian, I was puzzled by his avoidance of standard evangelical doctrine which is that human beings are universally condemned to die for eternity unless they submit their rebellious intellects to belief in God and the substitionary death of Jesus. Instead, Welby recasts the gospel as 'love in action', an incarnational outworking of the original incarnation of God in Jesus. This amounts either to a dishonest rendering of the gospel or a softly spoken 'coming out' as a liberal Christian. He focuses attention on Matthew 25: 32-41 in which Jesus at the Last Judgement separates the sheep from the goats on the basis of whether those before him fed the hungry, clothed the naked, looked after the sick, visited the prisoner, welcomed the stranger and so on. This is the ethical and existential challenge of Christianity according to Welby but there's a complete absence of critical reflection of what these imperatives might mean in practice. For example, there is no discussion of moral hazard or self-sufficiency or individual responsibility or the right balance between state welfare and private charity. In Welby's hands it all sounds like an insipid 'Thought for the Day'.

It all amounts to a missed opportunity. The UK is crying out for a post-neoliberal and post-EU 'reimagining' but there are much better visionary writers such as Will Hutton on the left and Daniel Hannan on the right. Is this book ultimately a vanity project for the Archbishop, prompted by the need for his office to be publishing something 'relevant' rather than overtly religious? He claims to be 'writing for himself'. If he wasn't archbishop, surely this book would not have seen the light of day.

One last word. I liked his use of the word 'metanarrative' to categorise Christianity. Of course Welby thinks that the Christian metanarrative is the 'absolute truth'. He disdains postmodernism but surely there can be few people who still believe in 'absolute truth' except as an empty assertion of power. The metanarrative he is complaining about is neoliberalism although he doesn't name it. There are more credible alternatives to neoliberalism than Christian 'love-in-action' such as a reinvigorated social democracy which places 'the common good' centre stage as opposed to market fundamentalism. If Welby's book nudges anyone towards the post-neoliberal world we so badly need then it won't have been an entirely wasted effort.
Amazon Customer
Amazon Customer Reply to on 23 April 2018
Kevin Reply to on 4 May 2018
Very good read
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