Friday, 8 February 2013

The Spiritual Death of the Church of England

My own position in the Church of England was a long declining one, of realising I could never repeat the promises clergy make (I believe in a unity of membership - laity should not be a sort of second-class hang-on to a clericalised Church). I then flipped back to the Unitarians and it is as much a permanent outcome as it can be. There are many grumbles, but the overall ethical situation is sound. It is not good enough to be in a friendly congregation when the Church has beliefs and policies that I cannot accept. In any congregation one tries to be friendly - it's a spiritual discipline - but a church is not the place of one's main friends, necessarily.
It is not as bad, potentially, surely, as a workplace, where you do what you don't want to do, and the politicking is based on that compulsion. Volunteer, and you ought to be in overall ideological agreement on what is significant.

So what do I make of this, a chap's withdrawal from some public writing?

...his [Archbishop Justin Welby's] moral opposition to homosexuality remains a massive problem for me - as was that of his predecessor. I do not want to spend my time getting angry with him, or continually being ashamed at the Church of which I am, and will always try to remain, a part.

But the C of E is travelling in a different direction now. And there is something spiritually deadening about being in a state of permanent opposition to all of this.

... I go on, I find myself having less and less respect for the leadership (for want of a better word) of an organisation that often seems to do little more than seek its own perpetuation.

Well, why are you still there then, Giles Fraser? Is it the pay? There are other Christian denominations, like the United Reformed Church, and it may be the one to cross the line to inclusion first. Presumably as a known person Giles Fraser will continue to write for other newspapers. Perhaps the secular world only sees the Church of England (I'm as guilty of that over-focus as anyone) and he gets asked to write.

The answer to exclusivity and prejudice is not to disappear and keep quiet. That seems to have been the liberal strategy for far too long - Carry On and Don't Be Noticed.

Coffee morning this morning, and an important social congregation, and the issue that really matters came up in chat. The stress, someone said to me, being caused by the coming Bedroom Tax. Now that is something to write about. The Church of England, I note, has said bugger all, but then so have all the other Churches including the one I'm in. This matter is what is really concerning far too many people, and those right at the bottom. One (he) said the government does not think it through. She mentioned riots; I said we hope not but London's big estates have erupted over far less. This is where religious leaders need to be: talking about the people at the bottom getting a clobbering. These folks deserve a co-ordinating voice. People need a spare bedroom for a visiting family life, for carers, he said for adults who can no longer sleep in the same room (for all sorts of reasons).

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