I’m drawn to Kenneth Leech because of his distinct social vision as rooted in orthodoxy along with his radical commitment to Trinitarian thought.  It does seem accurate to say, therefore, that Leech is the Anglican version of Dorothy Day.

Because of the doctrine of the Trinity and not in spite of it, Leech stresses the importance of supporting social programs, simply because the work of salvation is social:

“The biblical faith in the divine justice is rooted in a realistic optimism about the possibilities of human and social change, an optimism which is different from naïve idealism (of which it is often confused) and different also from the fatalistic pessimism which is often mistakenly identified with ‘the Christian position’. Much of the criticism of Christian concern with social justice has drawn on the insights of the late Reinhold Niebuhr who rightly insisted on the need to take human sinfulness into account in social programs. However, a naïve devotion to Niebuhr has led many to overdraw the contrast, thus making a sharp contrast between personal and social morality. It has also led to an ethical stance which pays more attention to sin than to grace, stressing the social and cosmic dimensions of the fall, yet paying less attention to the social and cosmic effects of the work of redemption. The late Martin Luther King once commented that Niebuhr was ‘so involved in diagnosing… sickness of sin that he overlooked the cure of grace’. A Christian realism does not ignore sin; indeed it is precisely because of its sense that the effects of sin are social and cosmic that it insists on the non-necessity of all imperfect structures, and the need to work towards a society which is more in accord with the divine character. It is motivated not by a theology which seeks to baptize a current social order but by a theology of dissatisfaction with all current social orders, a theology of the God-inspired future which draws future vision into present reality” (Prayer and Prophecy, 33).

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