homepage
  roll on christmas  
click here to find out more about ship of fools click here to sign up for the ship of fools newsletter click here to support ship of fools
community the mystery worshipper gadgets for god caption competition foolishness features ship stuff
discussion boards live chat cafe avatars frequently-asked questions the ten commandments gallery private boards register for the boards
 
Ship of Fools


Post new thread  Post a reply
My profile login | | Directory | Search | FAQs | Board home
   - Printer-friendly view Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
» Ship of Fools   » Ship's Locker   » Limbo   » Eccles: Talking about things is not possible in church. Discuss. (Page 2)

 - Email this page to a friend or enemy.  
Pages in this thread: 1  2  3 
 
Source: (consider it) Thread: Eccles: Talking about things is not possible in church. Discuss.
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
...frankly I'd far rather listen to a decent lecture than a load of uninformed wittering, which is all to often what "discussion" turns out to be.

What about taking part in a discussion, rather than merely listening? ISTM that listening to a sermon / lecture and taking part in a discussion fulfil two different roles. Sermons and lectures give us new information, inspire us, challenge us about issues we hadn't considered previously. But IMO many people need to talk about what they've heard, in order to process it and integrate it into their lives.

Some churches use small groups to discuss the Sunday sermon, others have time-limited groups like Jade Constable mentioned. But I think it would be great if the discussion time was more integrated into the main church gathering, because without discussion ISTM so many sermons just get forgotten and not acted upon. Don't most people simply need that discussion in order to work out how they'll put into practice what they've just heard in the sermon?

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

 - Posted      Profile for Leorning Cniht   Email Leorning Cniht   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
What about taking part in a discussion, rather than merely listening?

"Taking part" in a discussion starts with me giving my interpretation or opinion on the subject and listening to what others have to say (in some order).

If all they have to say is witter, I'd be better off talking to the wall, and even better not talking at all, but going away and thinking (preferably with a transcript of the sermon or whatever, if such a thing were available).

Generally speaking, I find people's immediate response to videos, sermons or whatever tends to be influenced by the quality of the presentation rather than the quality of the argument. If you want reasoned, coherent thought, you do better to go away and think first.

Have a sermon, have people go away with notes and some homework and spend serious time thinking about it, and then come back and discuss it next week, and you might produce a discussion with value (assuming the members of your group think in compatible ways).

Every church discussion group I have ever been involved with has had discussion immediately after some kind of presentation, and has usually not been useful.

Posts: 5026 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:


I think in my town more theology gets talked about in the pub than in church. Well that's the excuse the vicar uses, anyway! [Biased]

Clergymen like to say this sort of thing, perhaps because it makes them seem down to earth. But it makes me wonder why Christians don't just meet in the pub rather than going to church!
Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Generally speaking, I find people's immediate response to videos, sermons or whatever tends to be influenced by the quality of the presentation rather than the quality of the argument. If you want reasoned, coherent thought, you do better to go away and think first.

Have a sermon, have people go away with notes and some homework and spend serious time thinking about it, and then come back and discuss it next week, and you might produce a discussion with value (assuming the members of your group think in compatible ways).

Every church discussion group I have ever been involved with has had discussion immediately after some kind of presentation, and has usually not been useful.

Yes, perhaps you're right. My concern, though, is that if you make room for discussion only as a separate activity some time later then many people won't access it. Whereas if the discussion is part of the main church gathering, obviously more people will take part.

One solution I'd quite like is to have far fewer sermons, maybe just one a month. Then in the other church services, have some guided discussion based on the recent teaching, some free-form sharing, a Q&A session with the church's teachers / ministers etc. Let's be more creative about how we spur one another to greater good deeds!

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
womanspeak
Shipmate
# 15394

 - Posted      Profile for womanspeak   Email womanspeak   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Leorning, I agree to valuing a good lecture or exegetical sermon.

However to be effective such a lecture or sermon needs to be directed appropriately to the audience and context. A Bible study is not such a context but aims to encourage interaction and group learning and growth.

--------------------
from the bush

Posts: 62 | From: rural australia | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:


I think in my town more theology gets talked about in the pub than in church. Well that's the excuse the vicar uses, anyway! [Biased]

Clergymen like to say this sort of thing, perhaps because it makes them seem down to earth. But it makes me wonder why Christians don't just meet in the pub rather than going to church!
That's a very good question. I sometimes wonder whether we wouldn't be better off doing just that.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:


I think in my town more theology gets talked about in the pub than in church. Well that's the excuse the vicar uses, anyway! [Biased]

Clergymen like to say this sort of thing, perhaps because it makes them seem down to earth. But it makes me wonder why Christians don't just meet in the pub rather than going to church!
That's a very good question. I sometimes wonder whether we wouldn't be better off doing just that.
If discussion of theology is what church is all about, you're dead right. If it is about worship of the transcendent God, then no. But why not both?

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Which means we need to ensure that what we do in church meets that second intention. Or we might as well just go where the drinks are better. Perhaps a pint down the pub if we've been relatively virtuous over the last week and Anglican Coffee(TM) for the more egregious sinners.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Angloid

Actually, I know a minister who said that the singing was also better down the pub! Worship through singing clearly wouldn't be a problem.

There are lots of unused pubs round the place these days. Maybe they should be used as churches, especially since it's quite the fashion to use old churches as pubs and clubs.

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Which means we need to ensure that what we do in church meets that second intention.

Exactly. So less apologetic faffing around and just get on with celebrating the liturgy, please. (Oh, and mine's an espresso followed by a pint of real ale, thanks.)

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
*Leon*
Shipmate
# 3377

 - Posted      Profile for *Leon*   Email *Leon*   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I was going to say that another argument in favor of a time to discuss the sermon would be that it would be helpful to the preacher. It would let them know how much of the sermon actually sank in, allowing them to learn from mistakes and get their message across more effectively.

But I wonder whether the reason preachers and congregations don't like opportunities for discussion is precisely because they will provide helpful feedback on the sermon. The preacher will have extra work in order to act on the feedback, and the congregation will find it harder to sleep through subsequent sermons.

Posts: 831 | From: london | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
*Leon*
Shipmate
# 3377

 - Posted      Profile for *Leon*   Email *Leon*   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Oh, and here's William Blake's view on the relative merits of churches and pubs
Posts: 831 | From: london | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Which means we need to ensure that what we do in church meets that second intention.

Exactly. So less apologetic faffing around and just get on with celebrating the liturgy, please. (Oh, and mine's an espresso followed by a pint of real ale, thanks.)
Except of course that that manifestly and frequently Does Not Work, unless your definition of "worship of the transcendent God" includes wishing the organist would speed up, hoping that this week they use one of the shorter Eucharistic Prayers, trying to hush the kids a bit and promising them that it won't go on for much longer, honest.

My definition doesn't.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Maybe we are too hung up on trying not to be bored/ trying to follow every word/ making the liturgy in our own image. As long as we are there, and the liturgy is being performed, does it matter if our attention/participation isn't 100%?

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
As long as we are there, and the liturgy is being performed, does it matter if our attention/participation isn't 100%?

I think it matters very much. We don't gather together to watch others perform some rituals that we follow along with if we can be bothered. That sounds awfully like the sort of religious practice condemned a few times throughout the Bible.

ISTM we gather to praise God together and to strengthen and encourage one another in the practising of our faith. How can that happen if we're just going along to watch the 'liturgy... being performed'?

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

 - Posted      Profile for Leorning Cniht   Email Leorning Cniht   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by womanspeak:

However to be effective such a lecture or sermon needs to be directed appropriately to the audience and context. A Bible study is not such a context but aims to encourage interaction and group learning and growth.

I have never seen "interaction" as a goal of Bible study. It's a means to an end - discussing the interpretation or application of a particular passage can certainly be a good thing for your own learning.

If you treat "interaction" as the goal rather than the process, I'm rather afraid that that's when you're most likely to end up with witter.

Posts: 5026 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Maybe we are too hung up on trying not to be bored/ trying to follow every word/ making the liturgy in our own image. As long as we are there, and the liturgy is being performed, does it matter if our attention/participation isn't 100%?

I can't quite square "worship of the transcendent God" with tedious boredom. I mean I'm not talking about wanting things perfect, but when the main feeling that one has at the end is "thank God that's over" there's something wrong.

I was overall positive - with reservations - before I procreated. Then I was forced to see things through child eyes; through eyes not accustomed to the liturgy, and through those eyes it's pretty dull and the transcendent God seems prominent by his absence.

Interestingly, I only said to Mrs Backslider yesterday that I've always felt a misfit in church - a habitual churchgoer who doesn't much care for church. I know other Christians who don't like it either, but they resolve the problem by Not Going.

The only church I don't feel a misfit in is so left-field that most people wouldn't recognise it as a church and I've got a pretty strong feeling many denizens of Eccles would not be willing to dignify it with that name either. But it's the only place I've not felt that I'm regarded as a bleedin' nuisance, either because I Ask Questions, or Have Children.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
As long as we are there, and the liturgy is being performed, does it matter if our attention/participation isn't 100%?

I think it matters very much. We don't gather together to watch others perform some rituals that we follow along with if we can be bothered. That sounds awfully like the sort of religious practice condemned a few times throughout the Bible.

ISTM we gather to praise God together and to strengthen and encourage one another in the practising of our faith. How can that happen if we're just going along to watch the 'liturgy... being performed'?

Sorry, 'performed' has the wrong connotation. I'm not talking about a spectacle put on by a few special people for an audience; I'm talking about a drama in which we all share. Any shared experience for a mixed group is bound to have bits in which some people feel less involved. That's just the way it is. The alternative is to divide the church into little groups of like-minded individuals.

Personal experience: I went to church yesterday and listened to the scriptures being read; switched off two minutes into a deadly dull sermon which only lit up when the preacher switched from her prepared script for a personal aside; struggled with an unfamiliar (and theologically questionable) song and an over-long final hymn; stood to attention without much enthusiasm throughout a eucharistic prayer spoken woodenly and without joy. And yet; the intercessions, despite not conforming to any approved pattern, were powerful and deeply prayerful; the Lord was present in the Gospel, in the, albeit pedestrian, words of the sermon, and above all in the sacrament of his Body and Blood; and the Peace shared by everyone in the small but very mixed congregation epitomised the warmth and Christian love of that community. It's these things that keep me going.

Lots of things could be improved. Just because our worship will never be perfect does not mean we have to stop trying. But essentially the value of worship does not depend on what we put into it but on what God gives us through it. And my suggestions for improving things might (almost certainly would) be very different from those of other people. Compromise is the only way.

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Yes, but you still speak as if there are always going to be some parts of the liturgy that will resonate with a given churchgoer.

What when none of it does? When the whole thing seems strange, alien, or plain absurd? And dull.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Maybe you need to give yourself, and the kids, an extended holiday from church then Karl. (Serious suggestion).

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Maybe you need to give yourself, and the kids, an extended holiday from church then Karl. (Serious suggestion).

An uncharitable observer could take that as "well fuck off then", you know. But that's what we were close to doing. Fortunately we found somewhere else, which, as I say, many would not recognise as church.

But I do know that this place is, well, rather unusual; the option doesn't exist in many places. Isn't "if you don't like it this way don't come" a bit of a non-answer, really, if the Church is for all? Taking a step back, the church has been saying this for decades and folk have heard, taken note, and taken permanent holidays from it.

I think many people within the church are unaware of its unappealingness because they by definition belong to the tiny minority to whom it does appeal; like football fans who cannot grasp that many people don't give a flying one who won on Saturday, they can't see Church practices through unchurched eyes. Until I had kids, I was starting to lose that ability as well.

I do not know how the church can drag itself out of this minority pursuit corner into which it has painted itself. On the one hand, it can do what it does authentically to the members - lay and clergy - it currently has, but remain a fringe perculiarity. Or it can attempt to reach more broadly but look decidedly unsure of what it's doing - at the far end of which lies vicars with guitars trying to be down wiv da yoof.

One thing I've been forced to finally reject, despite a long term attachment to the concept, is the idea that a given church can be the parish church for all in the parish. Our local shack has about half a dozen congregants from within the village (pop. 2000) and as many from outside, because of the particular liberalish AC service and ethos it has. Meanwhile we're driving past it on a Sunday (after nearly 10 years of trying to make it work) to a place above some shops in the city centre because of the service and ethos it has. I used to think this shouldn't be; I now think there is no option; society is too fragmented and diverse for it to be otherwise.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Maybe you need to give yourself, and the kids, an extended holiday from church then Karl. (Serious suggestion).

An uncharitable observer could take that as "well fuck off then", you know.
Since you are not an uncharitable observer, I'm glad you didn't take it like that, Karl. Certainly not what I intended.

It's just that, much as I believe in the theory of 'the Lord's people at the Lord's table [or maybe just listening to the Lord's words, in some churchpersonships] on the Lord's day', there is no point in letting guilt and resentment build up if every experience of church is an ordeal. And certainly no point in subjecting young children to it unless you want them to become inoculated against Christianity.

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

 - Posted      Profile for Chorister   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Anyone would think, reading KLB's posts, that initiatives such as Messy Church (or similar) don't exist. In fact, it's a thriving alternate version of church for families with young children, available in many places.

I've been put off discussion during the sermon slot because some preachers have used it as an excuse for not preaching at all. A minute's introduction and they're immediately asking you to turn to your neighbour to talk about whatever. A fulfilling discussion can only really take place after a cracker of a sermon exploring something deeply, and well. Then, by all means, allow people to talk about it!

--------------------
Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34626 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
Anyone would think, reading KLB's posts, that initiatives such as Messy Church (or similar) don't exist. In fact, it's a thriving alternate version of church for families with young children, available in many places.

Including one otherwise extremely laced and birettaed shack that I know.

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

 - Posted      Profile for Curiosity killed ...   Email Curiosity killed ...   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:


I think in my town more theology gets talked about in the pub than in church. Well that's the excuse the vicar uses, anyway! [Biased]

Clergymen like to say this sort of thing, perhaps because it makes them seem down to earth. But it makes me wonder why Christians don't just meet in the pub rather than going to church!
You've not heard of Beer and Bible then?

--------------------
Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13794 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Olaf
Shipmate
# 11804

 - Posted      Profile for Olaf     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
It seems, Karl, that on the one hand you indict those who prefer a certain order of service, (from here):

quote:
Karl:
You're absolutely damned right, but don't expect a sympathetic hearing from the denizens of this particular part of the SoF.

...but on the other hand you do have a specific liturgical war of your own that you are fighting, in that you are advocating a certain type of service. It does seem to be a bit contradictory, as I have gotten the impression (perhaps incorrectly) that you would most likely mock a person who would do the same thing you're doing to attend a high Anglo-Catholic church for the same reason you attend your most definitively non-AC place.

quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
One thing I've been forced to finally reject, despite a long term attachment to the concept, is the idea that a given church can be the parish church for all in the parish. Our local shack has about half a dozen congregants from within the village (pop. 2000) and as many from outside, because of the particular liberalish AC service and ethos it has. Meanwhile we're driving past it on a Sunday (after nearly 10 years of trying to make it work) to a place above some shops in the city centre because of the service and ethos it has. I used to think this shouldn't be; I now think there is no option; society is too fragmented and diverse for it to be otherwise.

On one point I do think we see eye-to-eye. A proliferation of denominations has a positive effect that the message of the faith can reach people with differing worship preferences.
Posts: 8953 | From: Ad Midwestem | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
You read me wrong Olaf. I do indeed advocate a particular style of service, because I think that style is extremely rare but would work for an awful lot of people who have pretty much given up with church. But not to the exclusion of other styles, however, and that's rather the point. The portion of my post you quote from the other thread reflects the feeling I frequently get on Eccles that there is a certain amount of refusal to face the fact that our standard offerings - whether stratospheric or subterranean - do not resonate with many people and instead either bore or freak people out, or both.

Personally, just me, I function perfectly well (if sometimes with drifting attention and wishing particularly dull and/or long hymns hadn't been selected) in a fairly high Aff-Cath service. Mrs Backslider struggles; the kids are climbing the walls with the tedium, so it doesn't work for us, hence our move, but no, I have no inherent issues with high AC worship. I just struggle with the atmosphere on here sometimes that implies that oranges are indeed the only fruit, and they have to be peeled and segmented in exactly the right way, and people who aren't keen on them need to work at it until they are. That's the attitude I'd "indict", not a preference for AC worship.

I don't actually think a range of denominations is necessary, although I have no particular issue with diversity. I think the CofE is quite capable of having a range of expressions within itself, especially with the Fresh Expressions programme - if those of us doing that can be allowed to do so without carping from the happily settled in traditional moulds.

Chorister - I'm aware of Messy Church and am given to understand that's where the kids'll be this afternoon as Mrs Backslider has just found out there's one this afternoon at the church of one of the foodbank organisers she knows. However, we've found that while it's good as far as it goes, it falls far short of being an alternative family model of church - it tends to be infrequent, only appeals to children up to around 6-7, and is often as much about cutting and sticking as it is about any actual content. As the kids grow I'm becoming more and more aware of the (to my mind) massive problem of what happens when they hit double figures where the attrition rate rivals that of the first day of the Somme.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:

I don't actually think a range of denominations is necessary, although I have no particular issue with diversity. I think the CofE is quite capable of having a range of expressions within itself, especially with the Fresh Expressions programme - if those of us doing that can be allowed to do so without carping from the happily settled in traditional moulds.

I agree entirely. However, it comes down to 'what is going to be the basic menu in your bog-standard local parish church?' Church keenies, like most Ecclesiantics and yourself included I think, Karl, will take themselves off to the nearest most congenial shack. Even that is difficult in rural areas or even some cities like this one where Anglicanism is fairly monochrome in style. But the average churchgoer, and even more the average 'would pop into church occasionally' type, is not going to do that: it is their local parish church or nothing.

So what goes on in most places on a Sunday morning has got to be something of a compromise. For me, as long as it includes Word and Sacrament, I will put up with a variety of styles and even with naff liturgy and clueless clergy. Others don't mind the lack of a eucharist. Large and well-resourced congregations can probably put on two or three services, of different types, every Sunday: most smaller parishes can't.

Perhaps it comes back to the theme of the OP: if we talked among ourselves more we might identify what our needs/preferences were among the congregation, and how we might give expression to a minority style of worship. This might mean an occasional main service done in a very different way from the norm, or it might mean a small informal group meeting at a different time. Fresh Expressions is all very well, but when that is short for 'imposing an uncongenial style of worship on a traditional congregation' it is as bad as the reverse.

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Do you know of any examples where that last definition has actually been the one in force?

I agree the "standard menu" as you put it has to be a compromise and non-offputting. However, my contention is that frequently it isn't a compromise - it's "what we keenies like doing", and nor is it non-offputting - I know that Mrs Backslider in particular found the psalm chanting to be extremely strange and dreadable. A compromise there, for example, would be to let the choir do it - which is, to be fair, often the case. Or vary it with responsorial or spoken expressions. But I'm getting into specifics here which might not be helpful if it creates another debate about the best way of doing the psalm [Biased]

[ 07. August 2013, 11:02: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I do know of traditional (evangelical) congregations used to ordered if simple liturgy where a vicar has stormed in and imposed praise bands, choruses, abandoned robes, etc etc, in a claimed attempt to 'attract the yoof.' Cathedrals and similar large traditional churches are full of refugees from such places.

I agree with your second paragraph. Parishes ought to be compelled to do a regular audit of their worship and ask searching questions about all their traditional practices, without implying that necessarily means abandoning them.

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:


I don't actually think a range of denominations is necessary, although I have no particular issue with diversity. I think the CofE is quite capable of having a range of expressions within itself, especially with the Fresh Expressions programme - if those of us doing that can be allowed to do so without carping from the happily settled in traditional moulds.

To non-Anglican ears this sounds very strange. Almost paternalistic.

From my perspective, the CofE may be a broad church, but there's no way that it could provide the diversity that would be required in large cities and conurbations - it would be overwhelmed. At the very least, CofE structures would be problematic for many Christians from other traditions. Moreover, lack of outside choice would probably cause the level of diversity within the CofE to decline, not to increase.

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
I do know of traditional (evangelical) congregations used to ordered if simple liturgy where a vicar has stormed in and imposed praise bands, choruses, abandoned robes, etc etc, in a claimed attempt to 'attract the yoof.' Cathedrals and similar large traditional churches are full of refugees from such places.

That would not be a Fresh Expression. I know that all sorts of things get given that label, but I'm talking about the official initiative of that name, which certainly wouldn't include or own anything of that ilk. FEs are new congregations - whether attached to an existing church, a plant, or new from the ground up. I'd not be surprised to find we've got refugees from that sort of thing at our FE place; we've got a lot of refugees from charismatic style congregations generally.

quote:
I agree with your second paragraph. Parishes ought to be compelled to do a regular audit of their worship and ask searching questions about all their traditional practices, without implying that necessarily means abandoning them.
Aye. The problem is that churches can be amazingly blind to things that are obvious to a newcomer within ten minutes. On a slightly different issue - our welcome to newcomers - we did a bit of an audit in the PCC at my last place, and my assessment was completely at odds with everyone elses', which generally said "things are generally great." Well of course, because anyone who didn't think that had stopped coming long ago and definitely wasn't on the PCC, except extreme awkward sods like me who'd been seconded on.

[ 07. August 2013, 11:56: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Sorry Svitlana. As too often on Ecclesiantics, we tend to exist in an Anglican bubble. Of course the real Fresh Expressions are in the other denominations, especially, in my experience, the Methodists.

But I'm not sure if diversity in the C of E would be less if other churches didn't exist. The Episcopal Church in the US is much less liturgically (and theologically) diverse than the C of E, and that is largely because if you are evangelical, for example, it makes more sense to join one of the many evangelical churches than compromise with the mainstream Episcopalians.

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

 - Posted      Profile for Chorister   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
As the kids grow I'm becoming more and more aware of the (to my mind) massive problem of what happens when they hit double figures where the attrition rate rivals that of the first day of the Somme.

Don't worry too much in advance about what happens next. Most towns have a church with a thriving youth group, in fact they are often for the whole area as many churches don't have the resources to run their own individual programme. The trick is to introduce your kids to them at just the right age when they are ready for such a step. They will get to know a much wider range of young people than they could possibly know just in their own church and, funnily enough given the intention of the OP, find themselves discussing the challenges of faith in their new group far more than adults usually get to do.

--------------------
Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34626 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:


I don't actually think a range of denominations is necessary, although I have no particular issue with diversity. I think the CofE is quite capable of having a range of expressions within itself, especially with the Fresh Expressions programme - if those of us doing that can be allowed to do so without carping from the happily settled in traditional moulds.

To non-Anglican ears this sounds very strange. Almost paternalistic.

From my perspective, the CofE may be a broad church, but there's no way that it could provide the diversity that would be required in large cities and conurbations - it would be overwhelmed. At the very least, CofE structures would be problematic for many Christians from other traditions. Moreover, lack of outside choice would probably cause the level of diversity within the CofE to decline, not to increase.

I wasn't suggesting that the other denominations are unnecessary per se - just that I don't think that it's necessary for Anglicans to "jump ship" in order to innovate and plant new initiatives.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
As the kids grow I'm becoming more and more aware of the (to my mind) massive problem of what happens when they hit double figures where the attrition rate rivals that of the first day of the Somme.

Don't worry too much in advance about what happens next. Most towns have a church with a thriving youth group, in fact they are often for the whole area as many churches don't have the resources to run their own individual programme. The trick is to introduce your kids to them at just the right age when they are ready for such a step. They will get to know a much wider range of young people than they could possibly know just in their own church and, funnily enough given the intention of the OP, find themselves discussing the challenges of faith in their new group far more than adults usually get to do.
I'm not aware of where this might be in our area. Certainly not at the main parish church where on the one occasion we visited our three doubled the size of the children's group.

Actually, to be fair, I do know in general where they are having been on a diocesan children's work conference once. Big evangelical churches. We'd end up with a sane church I can cope with for me and a big place I can't stand for the kids.

[ 07. August 2013, 12:02: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Actually, to be fair, I do know in general where they are having been on a diocesan children's work conference once. Big evangelical churches. We'd end up with a sane church I can cope with for me and a big place I can't stand for the kids.

Caught between a rock and a hard place... Is there any secular youth work provision round your way? If there is, maybe that would be worth investigating, alongside your own parental input and more informal friendships with Christian young people (church holiday clubs? activity-based groups? Christian families you already know?)

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Actually, to be fair, I do know in general where they are having been on a diocesan children's work conference once. Big evangelical churches. We'd end up with a sane church I can cope with for me and a big place I can't stand for the kids.

Caught between a rock and a hard place... Is there any secular youth work provision round your way? If there is, maybe that would be worth investigating, alongside your own parental input and more informal friendships with Christian young people (church holiday clubs? activity-based groups? Christian families you already know?)
So far they're doing OK at our weird left-field geek church [Biased] There are other kids their age their and even, shock horror, some teenagers.

We don't do any specific youth work. We base our services on the whole of our congregation, and there's a general agreement on 30-40 min. max with plenty of audio-visual input to reinforce the readings and Eucharist, followed by dinner and buns.

So for now the problem is under control. But it wouldn't be if we didn't happen to live two miles from the town that happens to have this quite unusual congregation.

[ 07. August 2013, 12:23: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
So far they're doing OK at our weird left-field geek church [Biased] There are other kids their age their and even, shock horror, some teenagers.

Ah, that's good. Although, as you say, thanks mainly to a geographical coincidence / blessing (delete according to theological preference [Big Grin] ).

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Sorry Svitlana. As too often on Ecclesiantics, we tend to exist in an Anglican bubble. Of course the real Fresh Expressions are in the other denominations, especially, in my experience, the Methodists.

But I'm not sure if diversity in the C of E would be less if other churches didn't exist. The Episcopal Church in the US is much less liturgically (and theologically) diverse than the C of E, and that is largely because if you are evangelical, for example, it makes more sense to join one of the many evangelical churches than compromise with the mainstream Episcopalians.

I do approve of the idea of FE, but along with Anglican evangelicalism it doesn't seem to be very strong in big urban areas (apart from London, I suppose), which is one reason why other denominations in those areas are very important.

The USA's brand of religious equality is a special case, but some people argue that in other countries, the existence of state and quasi state churches tends to slow down the extravagant growth of other denominations. One could say that a church like the CofE has to be diverse for this very reason; it has to provide the diversity that only flourishes intermittently elsewhere. Yet it's also true that parts of the CofE have been heavily influenced by ideas, movements and music that come from elsewhere. Its diversity partly relies on Christians on the outside to generate elements that it can appropriate at will.

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
Shipmate
# 159

 - Posted      Profile for Angloid     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
along with Anglican evangelicalism it doesn't seem to be very strong in big urban areas (apart from London, I suppose)

Tangent, but I would have thought big urban areas were exactly the places Anglican evangelicalism would thrive. Especially if the 'default' form of Anglicanism was anglo-catholicism or its liberal variety, as in London (both sides of the Thames), or a sort of traditionalish Tractarian liberal-catholicism like Tyneside and maybe Leeds. Liverpool (and Manchester to a degree) have had a long history of low-church evo-lite religion so full-blooded evangelicalism is perhaps less common. But it exists.

And increasingly so, I understand, in rural areas, which used to be the stronghold of solid MOTR Prayer Book Anglicanism.

--------------------
Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

Posts: 12927 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Angloid,

I'm sure you're right about evangelicalism being found in all parts of the COfE. But outside of London the very self-aware, purposeful (or simply more conservative) type that tends to be discussed here seems to be a more suburban or small town variant, at least in my city.

With evangelicalism taking up a growing share of CofE churchgoing I'm sure its reach is spreading.

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Quinquireme
Shipmate
# 17384

 - Posted      Profile for Quinquireme   Email Quinquireme   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
i have often wondered what would happen if someone piped up with a question or an observation in the middle of a sermon at our church. I think even the most relaxed priest would find it a challenge and would fear the floodgates had been opened. Also I remember going to a Quaker meeting in a well-to-do part of S London, and after the obligatory silence, it seemed to me that what followed was just a rather polite argument about the Iraq war between a few people who liked the sound of their own voices. I'm sure the Friends are not always like that.
Posts: 56 | From: SE London | Registered: Oct 2012  |  IP: Logged
Olaf
Shipmate
# 11804

 - Posted      Profile for Olaf     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Quinquireme:
i have often wondered what would happen if someone piped up with a question or an observation in the middle of a sermon at our church.

It happens frequently at my church, when people are invited to do so.

It even happens on occasion without invitation. These situations have always been ones in which the pastor treaded a little too far into political rhetoric, being a liberal in a conservative area. In every instance of this, members are lost.

Consequently, I cringe when I hear this happening. Such interpersonal dialogue is best reserved, in my humble opinion, for a one-on-one conversation; or better yet, for an open forum/study class after the liturgy.

I think a big flaw in the plan to have dialogue is that it is invariably the same people that are the fastest to respond or the most vocal or outgoing. It is also those who take opportunity to bring their personal bugbears into it. Tread lightly, for it is difficult to reign this in once it has been started.

Posts: 8953 | From: Ad Midwestem | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Olaf:
I think a big flaw in the plan to have dialogue is that it is invariably the same people that are the fastest to respond or the most vocal or outgoing. It is also those who take opportunity to bring their personal bugbears into it. Tread lightly, for it is difficult to reign this in once it has been started.

Yeah, I agree - this is a really important point. Some of the 'simple church' theologians / pioneers would advocate for a from-a-distance support system (not unlike the 1st century apostles...) whereby each congregation seeking to meet in a more open, dialogical kind of way has the support of a person more experienced with meeting like this. The support person might lead the first few meetings, then stay for a while in a more withdrawn role, then leave the church to find their own way with regular communication (easier in our time than 2,000 years ago!) and occasional visits.

A key part of this support, so I gather from books I've read, is enabling the church to meet in a way that enables everyone to contribute; as Olaf suggests, things often don't quite work like this when meetings are opened up! I'm sure many of us have led workshop sessions, Bible studies or what-have-you where one or two opinionated, self-confident people have ended up dominating the session.

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
beatmenace
Shipmate
# 16955

 - Posted      Profile for beatmenace   Email beatmenace   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
One of our church leaders (when he was a regular speaker) used to end his Sunday Morning speaking bits with 'Any Questions?' and would take questions from the floor.

I like that - but its interesting that no other speakers are brave enough to do the same....

--------------------
"I'm the village idiot , aspiring to great things." (The Icicle Works)

Posts: 297 | From: Whitley Bay | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Olaf
Shipmate
# 11804

 - Posted      Profile for Olaf     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
I'm sure many of us have led workshop sessions, Bible studies or what-have-you where one or two opinionated, self-confident people have ended up dominating the session.

Exactly. Then one sometimes has a couple of extremely bright comments shared on a one-on-one basis by people who either couldn't get a word in edgewise, or who simply prefer not to speak out in the middle of the nave during the service.

I hear quite a lot of church leaders who, frankly, denigrate others because of their shyness or reservation. They seem to make it their mission to "fix" us. It's sad, really.

Posts: 8953 | From: Ad Midwestem | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I think small group leaders need an awareness of group dynamics the better to prevent some individuals hogging the limelight and others not saying anything. Sensitivity is necessary.

The problem with not dealing with an imbalance in meetings is that you may be reinforcing negative attitudes. The quiet ones may be thinking: 'My thoughts aren't very important/Everyone's clever than me/I don't feel safe here/I don't want to make a fuss, etc.' Conversely, the talkers might simply assume that the quiet ones are uneducated, uninspired or unspiritual. And if the quietness/noisiness overlaps with racial or socio-economic (etc.) differences in the congregation then your acquiescence could be helping to make those divisions and prejudices wider.

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Definitely, Olaf and SvitlanaV2. Doing church like this more often would certainly place greater importance on skills that are perhaps not seen as so key for ministers / priests / pastors at the moment. Conversely, academic training and knowledge would become less important if one moved away from the sermon model (where, at least to some extent, it's about the expert passing on their wisdom to those listening) towards a more discussion-based approach.

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

 - Posted      Profile for Chorister   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I would far rather listen to someone who knows what he or she is talking about, who has done the work of putting together a sermon of substance, and then discussing it, rather than one of those awfully embarrassing sessions where people who don't know anything are expected to discuss it together straight away. You do need the cud in order to be able to chew on it.

--------------------
Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34626 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



Pages in this thread: 1  2  3 
 
Post new thread  Post a reply Close thread   Feature thread   Move thread   Delete thread Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
 - Printer-friendly view
Go to:

Contact us | Ship of Fools | Privacy statement

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0

 
follow ship of fools on twitter
buy your ship of fools postcards
sip of fools mugs from your favourite nautical website
 
 
  ship of fools