Steve Hollinghurst, which given that the title of the conference was Celebrating Difference, working with and learning from ... started us off with some hard thinking!
I have recently returned from the Diocesan Curates Conference (about which others have already blogged here and here). As chair of the organising committee I don't want to write about the conference but about some of the ideas which struck me.
In particular Steve's challenge kept returning to me. For example is paedophilia (I have blogged on paedophilia before when I saw some statistics on the number of sex offenders in church) or murder "good" diversity? And yet while summarising the various talks for the Bishop (when he came on the Sunday to preach and preside) he reminded me of the "Circles of Support" that are active in the Diocese and this took me away from my knee jerk reaction that he was right.
Vera Hunt (profoundly deaf) quoted John Hull (blind) that she is not an 8 cylinder engine running on 6 cylinders, but a 6 cylinder engine running on 6 cylinders and I remember John Hull saying that the risen Christ had wounds. This set me wondering whether there are examples of difference which are 8 cylinder engines running on 6 cylinders. Perhaps a simple example is someone with a broken leg - this is something which is temporarily not working as intended. I wondered whether there are things which are God given (equating to the number of cylinders) and things which are "sin" (equating to firing on fewer cylinders than you have been given). I am not sure that this works perfectly - but it gave me something to chew on.