Sharing Friendship Exploring Anglican Character, Vocation, Witness and Mission
Sharing Friendship represents a post-liberal approach to ecclesiology and theology generated out of the history, practices and traditions of the Anglican Church. Drawing on the theological ethics of Stanley Hauerwas, this book explores the way friendship for the stranger emerges from contextually grounded reflection and conversations with contemporary Anglican theologians within the English tradition, including John Milbank, Oliver O’Donovan, Rowan Williams, Daniel Hardy and Anthony Thiselton. Avoiding abstract definitions of character, mission or friendship, John Thomson explores how the history of the English Church reflects a theology of friendship and how discipleship in the New Testament, the performance of worship, and the shape of Anglican ecclesiology are congruent with such a theology. The book concludes by rooting the theme of sharing friendship within the self-emptying kenotic performance of Jesus’ mission, and looks at challenges to the character of contemporary Anglican ecclesiology represented by secularization and globalization as well as by arguments over appropriate new initiatives such as Fresh Expressions.
’Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, Thomson develops an account of friendship to help us better understand how to be church in the world in which we find ourselves. I am humbled by Thomson’s use of my work for shaping the argument of this book. But then, that is what friends do, that is, shape one another. I am so fortunate that Thomson claims me as a friend.’ Stanley Hauerwas, Professor Emeritus, Duke Divinity School, USA ’Thomson touches with distaste on the modern celebrity culture, but recognises that it is a culture at least offering conversation points with those of Christian conviction. Fresh Friendship entitles a discussion of the Fresh Expressions Movement. Thomson’s appraisal of this movement is cool, patient, and measured.’ Church Times