Thursday, July 10, 2008


Someone at the London Telegraph apparently has more time on their hands than they know what to do with.

As a result, they've come up with a "Countdown to Lambeth" list of the 50 Most Influential Anglicans ... releasing numbers 41-50 yesterday and numbers 31-40 today with more to come in the days ahead. (Oh, the suspense!)

And yes, I had the high honor (or I guess it's "honour") of being named #34 on that august list.

From today's Telegraph:

Susan Russell - Integrity, USA
Always in the eye of the storm, Susan Russell, a lesbian priest, is the consummately professional spin doctor for the gay rights organisation, Integrity. As an associate cleric at the leading liberal church All Saints, Pasadena, she is pressing ahead with gay marriages after the Californian Supreme Court decision to legalise them.

And, just for the record, I consider it a high compliment to be called a "consummately professional spin doctor."

"Spin" is, these days, an interesting concept. While for some it might infer a negative connotation of twisting or turning facts on the ground, in reality, it's nothing more or less than setting the context for the message being delivered.

Brian McLaren does a particularly brilliant and accessible job of applying this concept to theological discourse in Part 3 of his book "Everything Must Change" entitled "Reframing Jesus." I can't do him justice in this short blog ... you really should get the book and put it on the top of your summer reading list ... but, in a nutshell:

When Jesus proclaimed his central message of the kingdom of God, he was proclaiming not an esoteric religious concept but an alternative to empire: "Don't let your lives be framed by the Roman Empire, but situate yourself in aother story ... the good news that God is king, and we can live in relation to God and God's love rather than Caesar and Caesar's power." [pg 90]

That said, McLaren goes on to say that he is convinced that Jesus' good news was better news that we have been led to believe by "the conventional view" he describes as "the gospel of avoiding hell" -- and he encourages us to "reframe" the message from "a gospel about Jesus" to the "gospel of Jesus."

That's the "spin" we're taking to Lambeth. And the influence we'll be exercising at Lambeth will all be in the service of our agenda -- the Gospel Agenda of the Good News of the God who loved us enough to become one of us in order to show us how to walk in love with God and with each other.

1 comment:

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

"professional spin doctor" -- Susan, you get paid for this! Where do I sign up. Do they provide health coverage? What about vacations? I mean, I know, someone has to do it from our side, given the powerful winds spinning from the other direction (you know who I mean), but I had no idea it was a profession! I mean, I know it's a degree (I got my DSpin working at 815 in the 80s) but I never believed all that stuff about going to college to increase your earning power... ;-)

Seriously, congratulations on being on this list. It is a testimony to your having something to say and saying it with clarity and conviction. Just watch your back if they ever try to get all 50 of you in one room for an awards ceremony. ;-)