CTC Director Canon Dr Angus Ritchie gave this year’s annual Edward Rudolf Lecture for the Children’s Society. One of the key questions he asked the audience to consider was: “how did we make theology so boring?”
In addressing the audience, Dr Ritchie was following in the footsteps of some great thinkers and activists, including Rt Revd Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro, Most Revd John Sentamu, Archbishop of York and Camilla Batmanghelidjh, Founder and Director of children’s charity Kids Company. It was the seventh annual lecture, named after the founder of the Children’s Society, Revd Preb Edward Rudolf.
The lecture, delivered at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in central London, was titled ‘What’s theology got to do with children’s welfare?‘. Dr Ritchie set out his view that theology is not only deeply relevant to how we treat children and young people but how it should be exciting and accessible.
Angus said: ‘In his words and in his deeds, [Jesus] places the youngest and the poorest at the heart of the Kingdom. He tells his disciples that when they welcome children and when they care for those who lack food or shelter, they are welcoming and caring for him. . . But he goes further than this. He suggests that if we are to speak of God – to do theology, as it were – we must adopt their perspective.’
The lecture drew on The Heart of the Kingdom, a series of essays on Christian theology and children living in poverty that we published earlier this year. Edited by Dr Ritchie, the collection included essays from the Rt Revd Michael Ipgrave, Professor John Millbank and Krish Kandiah.
Dr Ritchie said: ‘We have heard Jesus’ own words that it is not to the wise and learned, not to the rich and powerful that God has made himself known, but to little children. The real question to ask is not how we can make theology relevant to children and their wellbeing, but how we got ourselves into a state where it seemed remote.’