Resilience is not an even-handed idea

Independent community theologian, Ann Morisy, will be presenting this year’s Micah Lecture: ‘Resilience and the risk of lopsided justice’ on 18 June at Liverpool Cathedral. Known to for her well researched yet down to earth presentations her audiences find both engaging and practical, she is an internationally-acclaimed lecturer.

Ahead of the lecture, we spoke to Ann to find out more about her life as a community theologian and author. We also wanted to find out a little more about the lecture’s title: ‘Resilience and the risk of lopsided justice’. She told us,

“I wouldn’t actually call it a career as such, it just sort of happened, nothing planned. I’d say how my ‘career’ happened it was a typical combination of Scouse luck and opportunity, but I’ve always been involved in social responsibility. While I’m a Church Warden in local Streatham parish now, I have worked for Dioceses of Derby and London and was the Director of the Commission for Urban Faith and Justice which followed on from the major report ‘Faith in the City’.

“In my work in Derbyshire and London, I’ve been privileged to get a helicopter view of what was happening across parishes. And this helicopter view meant I could see patterns. From those patterns, it became possible to see a map which highlighted possible next steps that churches could take to develop their community involvement – without over professionalising or secularising their project. My first book  ‘Beyond the first Samaritan’ outlines this map.

“I’m in the fortunate position to be part of the baby boomer generation – with a pension or two to give independence. That means I can work hard in Streatham especially in relation to older people. Independence means I can say things that might rock the boat – and I do, and will in the Micah Lecture! 

“I will be exploring the notion of resilience, in part because there is a growing amount of research that shows how doing business with God contributes to resilience. But I also smell a rat in relation to the increasing emphasis on resilience, for example, resilient neighbourhoods, resilient regions as well as personal resilience. The reality is that when you are in poverty often you also experience repeated setbacks and traumas which means that resilience is not an even-handed idea. Some people have to be far more resilient than others – that’s why I describe resilience as a lop-sided expression of justice. I will explore how  faith does indeed help people get up again after they have been flattened by circumstances and I will also venture into the politically charged terrain of character.”

Based on the verse from Micah 6.8, “God has shown you what is good…and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God;” The Micah Lecture was formerly known as the Urban Lecture. The sixth social justice lecture in the series, previous speakers include Bishop Steven Croft, Bishop David Walker, Bishop Pete Wilcox, Bishop Paul Bayes and Canon Lucy Winkett.