The historical basis for policy of ‘radical inclusion’ in the Church of England

Melvin Tinker explores the interfaith and ecumenical implications of “radical inclusion”.

The much vaunted ‘radical inclusion’ vision of the two Archbishops as an attempt to enable those who seem to be implacably opposed to each other in the Church of England does, it seems, have historical precedent according to a recently discovered Near Eastern scroll dating from the 9th century BC. Entitled, ‘Baal and Yahweh a creative inclusion’ the document appears to be a genuine attempt to hold together what was an increasing fragmentation of the northern Kingdom of Israel due to the recent introduction of popular Sidonian worship from beyond its borders.

The document reads:

‘Baal and Yahweh offer complimentary insights into the oneness of worship we are all seeking. Both faiths believe in a supreme god in whose image we are made and which excludes no one. We celebrate our common origin, as indicated by the names themselves (‘Lord’). It is acknowledged that Baal worship involves the use of images which traditional Yahwism forbids. But it must be remembered that such images are not crude primitive idols or manifestations of deity, but aids in devotion. It has long been recognised that different people have different entry points into the numinous and that it is too restrictive to insist that the logocentric approach of the Yahwist faith should be determinative (there is also an increasing awareness that logocentricism tends to be abusive and manipulative, an instrument of the politics of power).

Much has been made in the past of the’ problems’ regarding the differences in the area of ethics between the two faiths. We do not see problems but only people who wish to be true to themselves as people of integrity. We would call upon our Yahwist sisters and brothers to recognise the common ground we share, not least in the supreme value of love as setting our moral compass. This provides us with an ideal opportunity to witness to an increasingly divided world of the possibility of unity in diversity, agreement in disagreement, walking together in different directions. We are heartened by the recognition by some leading members in the Yahwist sect that the informality and sensuality in Baal religion is a much needed corrective to the rather austere and repressive ‘holiness’ aspects of traditional Yahwism. Indeed, some of their own have made the enlightened claim that it is possible that within the intimacy of same sex relations Baal/Yahweh herself can be encountered.

It is now time to move on in love and joy as we celebrate our common humanity without exception and without exclusion, leaving the hermeneutics of suspicion behind us. We are thankful to the reactionary-progressive policies of His Majesty King Ahab and Her Eminence Queen Jezebel and their advisors (admittedly most of them of the Baal cult). There undoubtedly lies ahead a new era of the mutual enrichment of our shared, albeit apparently contradictory, traditions which is universally recognised as the genius of the new Israel.’


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