Posts filed under ‘Church’
I don’t really get how this question is so difficult to answer, yet it seems a cause of much debate. I’ve heard laity and clergy alike profess to have little idea what the answer is or should be. I suppose I have a pretty strong Anglican identity – I’ve grown up in the Church, loved, loathed and followed it in great detail for years. So for those of you who are confused, let me attempt to explain.
“You write a blog, don’t you?” It was an odd response to my suggestion that I needed to get cash out of a cashpoint before I could buy Keith’s new book. The deal: I could have a copy free in return for a review. I skipped a queue of books and got on with reading it straight away. I’m glad I did; of the various books on radical Christianity I’ve picked up in recent years, few have turned out to be both as radical and as reasonable as Seeking Justice.
[Trigger Warning: Contains discussion of rape culture and attitudes to rape, but not historical or theoretical examples.]
With the sexual moralising that has gone on over the same sex marriage debate, yet again many churches are discussing the kind of relationships they think are commendable, or even acceptable, within society. Whilst same-sex relationships have been dividing the church for years, the church is often silent on the scandal of sexual violence and rape culture that characterises much of how our culture talks about different-sex relationships.
I’ve finally hammered out my over-riding thoughts on Tuesday’s twist to the on-going saga of General Synod and its interminable debate on women bishops. My conclusion is that there’s plenty that ordinary lay people can do to keep things moving forwards.
Despite certain stereotypes and even the best efforts of the media, most Western Christians today do not hold to a literalist view of creation – they believe something approximating to a divinely inspired and intended creation worked out through the processes described by modern science. In fact, science degrees are thought to be more popular than arts degrees amongst UK Christians students. But this only refers to ‘hard science’ – what of the Social Sciences? Is the Church unable to extend its understanding of divine inspiration beyond Biology, Chemistry and Physics?
For myself, a sizeable aspect of settling in to new surroundings is finding a Church I can belong to. This probably shouldn’t come as a massive surprise – Church is an important concept in my life. Starting afresh in a new place offers a challenge and a moment of opportunity: it can take some serious energy to find a church that one can fit into, rather than simply attend as a peripheral pew-filler.
British Christians are taking some time to get used to living in a post-Christendom world. Gone are the days when biblical stories are the mainstay of our common culture language. Those who surround us are often very well primed in dismissing the Christian faith, from either a faith or anti-faith perspective. I want to see the Church do something about it, and I think the answer may come from looking at the other faith communities around us.
I’ve been hearing a lot about petitions doing the rounds over coffee after Church services lately. This is not, in itself, a bad thing. But the choice of petitions often leaves a lot to be asked of a church’s priorities and a recent article on the Guardian site showed that this trend is spreading into other church-run activities, like playgroups.
After a few requests, the sermon I preached at St Lawrence’s two morning services on Sunday is now here for you to enjoy. Its about 50% longer than a regular blog post, but I don’t really want to start hacking great pieces out of it. Also, sorry for the second paragraph joke. I realise putting that on the web, where it can be read by people who aren’t actually in Yorkshire may cause issues. It was a joke. Enjoy!
A line in my last blog post, “On the Immovability of Marriage”, got an interesting response based on one line that I wrote that I’m "in support of individual churches, clergy and congregations following their consciences with” offering or denying Gay couples marriage. “ Given that you bring the example up, are you also in favour of them being able to follow their consciences in impose a ban on inter-racial marriage?” Merrick wrote. Here’s my response, which is far too long for a comment.