Radio 5 Live asked me this evening to discuss whether optimism or despair were more appropriate for the new decade. I was sharing the discussion alongside Bishop Stephen Lowe, the fomer suffragan bishop of Hulme in the Diocese of Manchester of the Anglican Church.
I shared my view that we lived in a blessed age of achievement.
International dialogue and cooperation are on an unprecedented scale. There have been major advances in health and social care. We have been delighted with progressive and inclusive legislation. Our society has become ever more pluralist. Great developments have been made in biomedical engineering and embryonic research.
We live in an astonishing, enterprising and aspirational age.
On a personal front. It may seem to many that traditional norms of behaviour are giving way to an insolent and fragmented approach. However often those norms were straight jackets which constrained people's rights and were the symbols of a coercive and authoritarian pattern of governance.
There was a facade of respectability and order, but behind closed doors all manner of abuse and chaos reigned as research and reports have shockingly revealed.
This is the age of emancipation, of questioning and an undeniable grass root momentum towards equality, jutsice and freedom. Respect has to be earned.
We will no longer tolerate the corruption found in politicians, priests, the police and social workers. It is our coming of age.
Of course, at times we grow giddy and reckless with our new found freedoms as we press the boundaries of experience and knowledge, but this is a passing hour that will give way to a more mature, cohesive and well balanced society.
There are massive challenges ahead. The environment, the rich/poor divide, the ethics and politics of immortality and Christian/Muslim fundamentalism and terrorism to mention just a few.
The world community will not settle for platitudes, will not be fobbed off with religion and will not be patted on the head by governments. People require honesty and integrity and we expect our leaders and leading institutions to deliver.
The church used to be at the forefront of social change. Monastic communities spearheaded research and were centres of learning. Now the established churches have become often a reactionary voice more associated with prejudice and the past than with enlightenment and progressive social policies.
Yet people yearn for spiritual resources and the Open Episcopal Church and the Society for Independent Christian Ministry are among the modern expresions of new church ready to provide them.
Here's to the new decade. I'm eager and hopeful.