We often sang the children’s song ‘the wise man built his house upon a rock’ with our children, and now with our grandchildren too.  The Archbishops have picked up this parable to ask  some very pertinent questions of our politicians’ economic assumptions.

‘In a direct and unapologetically “political” intervention timed for the beginning of the General Election campaign, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, warn politicians against selling a “lie” that economic growth is the answer to Britain’s social problems.

They condemn inequality between rich and poor as “evil” and the assumption that the value of communities is in their economic output as a “fundamental sin”.

Britain, they argue has been “dominated” by rampant consumerism and individualism” since the Thatcher era, while the Christian values of solidarity and selflessness have been supplanted by a new secular creed of “every person for themselves”.

And while London and the South East forge ahead, much of the rest of the country is still trapped in “trapped in apparently inevitable decline”, they argue.

In a video released by the Archbishop of York, he says that “income inequality is the biggest giant that Britain has to slay.

The challenge to politicians and voters alike is contained in a new volume of essays to be published next week, edited by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu and including lengthy contributions from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, the former Labour Cabinet minister Lord Adonis and others.

It openly questions David Cameron’s slogan “we’re all in this together” and sets out an excoriating critique of a country “ill at ease with itself” amid a widening “gulf” between rich and poor, the capital and the rest of the country and politicians and voters.

The book, entitled “On Rock or Sand?”, explicitly invites comparisons with Faith in the City, the Church of England report published 30 years ago which was attacked by Conservatives as “pure Marxist theology”.’

From http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/11344889/Archbishop-of-York-Dr-John-Sentamu-income-inequality-is-the-biggest-problem-in-Britain.html



11 thoughts on “ON ROCK OR SAND?

  1. I think people need to realise that they need less not more. There is so much waste in society, and everything seems to be disposable….so many have so little self control now, they are over eating and over shopping….the basics seem to be forgotten, and nature ignored.xxx


  2. Not just in britain is consumerism king. All over Europe it is an issue. Britain however is the only european country i know where you can shop on a sunday as if it is a normal day, and where the shops open on boxing day. And not only are they open, they are full.


      1. Well i live in a country where Sunday is still special. One visits family and friends, or take a walk in nature, or goes to Church. It is so relaxing. There is no easy fix though Gill. Our society runs on consumerism, we measure success based on status and things, not on inner values like happiness or contentment. People have to realise for themselves that this relentless drive for growth, for more and more, bigger and better is unsustainable. Maybe we need to start with the young in the schools, teach them that it is not all about capitalism, have them do voluntary work, teach meditation and mediation, etc.


      2. It was such a refreshing change to live in Romania: Sundays are still special there too, and lots of people saunter along to the churches in a very relaxed way. It’s true we run on consumerism, and most of us seem ‘indoctrinated’ into the value of having more and better as a way to happiness.


      3. There is no easy answer. How we all measure success is intertwined with wealth and consumerism. People have to realise for themselves that this constant drive for more and more, but for less and less, is unsustainable. Maybe we should start in the schools with the young. Teach them inner values, show them alternative ways, encourage compassion, teach meditation and mediation. Where churches still have influence, they too could discuss such things. I do not know how many people listen to the archbishops any longer. This is the sad reality and possibly part of the problem. God has been replaced in peoples lives with consumerism.


      4. The surprising thing for me is that all of a sudden, with this Archbishop, the media is interested in what he says and reports it with a remarkable degree of respect. He seems to have won that for his savvy contributions to the finance bill in Parliament and for his willingness to take on the loan sharks. People can see at last that the church is really engaged in the things that affect everyone, especially the poor, so for the first time in my life – that I can remember – he is getting listened to.

        It takes a bit of getting used to 😉

        I like your ideas. I wonder when our educational system will realise that when the politicians talk about teaching ‘British values’, these already include a healthy scepticism for what we are fed by successive governments? However, we need an agreed ethical understanding to disseminate in schools and I’m not sure how possible that is, given our individualistic societies.


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