Thread: Is there a future for any church in the UK? Board: Oblivion / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
This thought is triggered by a number of things:


There are other thoughts, but this is going to be long enough as an opening post without adding them.

Does the church, any church, not just the Church of England, have a future in Britain when anti-religious views are being expressed as mainstream?

* I suspect the name will have to change if/when goes to broadcast, as this title is already being used.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Religion is politics.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
But religion can't be politics if it is perceived to be something to be rightly sceptical about and rubbished.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
But that in itself is surely the 'political' debate? If you consider politics to be about the collection of viewpoints and their debates then you cannot remove something from the realm of politics simply because you don't like it as an idea. That would be a dis-service to politics, and it wouldn't be true politics either, but manipulative governance.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
I've noticed that the 'Independent' is bashing religion recently; I take it with a pinch of salt. It is cool and trendy amongst some people to bash religion, but I find them rather pompous often. Also they are often rather ignorant about what religion - or Christianity - is.

The 'public square' issue is a case in point, as to me it sounds a very confused message. Do they mean that religious people should stay silent about politics? Why?
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
It is perfectly right to be sceptical about religious claims. A couple of points.

1. There are loads of mutually exclusive religious claims; indeed, in many cases the claims explicitly insist that nearly all other claims are false. So if say 90% of religious claims have to be false, because of mutual incompatibilities, it follows that scepticism is a rational default position on any given claim;

2. Ignorance about the minutiae of religion amongst its opponents doesn't really matter much; if the fundamental point - the reality of supernatural divine entities - is deemed preposterous, or at least unevidenced, then the precise nature of these entities is completely moot. It's a bit like arguing that I'm wrong to be sceptical of the Loch Ness Monster because my default image of the beast is of some kind of plesiosaur, whilst you happen to believe it's an ichthyosaur.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
I really don't know where people get this idea that Christianity can be practised as a private spirituality. It's never been that. Part of Christianity is about building the kingdom of God, imposing the kingdom of God on the kingdoms of the world, whether the kingdoms of the world like it or not. Whenever I hear someone say that religion is fine as long as it's practised behind closed doors, it sounds to me like, "Wanna fight?"
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
But in a society when 6.3% of the population attended (a Christian) church on Census Sunday in 2005 how much weight is going to be given to voices trying to sway opinion from among those church leaders?

I do think religion should have a place. A return of Christian values to Government (helping the sick, poor, prisoner, immigrant) and banking would not be a bad thing. "There's no such thing as society" has worked really well so far for the rich, but the divides are getting deeper and wider.

I am really asking what when this anti-religion commentary is mainstream and growing, what chance of those religious values keeping any foothold.
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
"That bishops still sit in the House of Lords is an anachronism that makes a mockery of British democracy."

I'd agree with this sentiment 100%, but not that religion should be a purely private matter. Those with religious belief should have just the same rights and methods by which to express their views as those with no religious views. As others have already said, there's simply no way religious belief (at least not Christian belief) can be kept private.
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
It is perfectly right to be sceptical about religious claims... [Arguing otherwise is] a bit like arguing that I'm wrong to be sceptical of the Loch Ness Monster because my default image of the beast is of some kind of plesiosaur, whilst you happen to believe it's an ichthyosaur.

Ha ha, that's a great analogy! Bang on the mark, IMO.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I really don't know where people get this idea that Christianity can be practised as a private spirituality. It's never been that. Part of Christianity is about building the kingdom of God, imposing the kingdom of God on the kingdoms of the world, whether the kingdoms of the world like it or not.

Might be worth qualifying what you mean by that Ads, as there are certainly some people within Christianity of whom I'm very wary when they say that sort of thing.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
But in a society when 6.3% of the population attended (a Christian) church on Census Sunday in 2005 how much weight is going to be given to voices trying to sway opinion from among those church leaders?

I do think religion should have a place. A return of Christian values to Government (helping the sick, poor, prisoner, immigrant) and banking would not be a bad thing. "There's no such thing as society" has worked really well so far for the rich, but the divides are getting deeper and wider.

I am really asking what when this anti-religion commentary is mainstream and growing, what chance of those religious values keeping any foothold.

I think that the "anti-religion commentary" is rather concerned (as would I be) that "a return to Christian values in government" means restricting gay rights, censorship, officially endorsed indoctrination and general stigmatisation of those whose sexual morality conservative Christians do not approve of.
 
Posted by Yorick (# 12169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Also they are often rather ignorant about what religion - or Christianity - is.

I've seen you make this observation quite often, along with other Shipmates. I can understand how annoying it must be for theists to be asked to defend straw men, but I wonder if you've considered how much it actually matters whether people are technically correct in whatever they think religion or Christianity is. In this case, as per the OP, people are questioning in principle the role religion should play in our modern civic lives. Does it actually matter if they don't understand exactly what religion is, technically speaking?

[crossposted with KLB, who put it beautifully]

[ 29. July 2013, 10:10: Message edited by: Yorick ]
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Yorick

I'm not sure how 'technical' some anti-theists' ignorance about religion is!

However, yes, it is a bit off-topic.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I think that the "anti-religion commentary" is rather concerned (as would I be) that "a return to Christian values in government" means restricting gay rights, censorship, officially endorsed indoctrination and general stigmatisation of those whose sexual morality conservative Christians do not approve of.

That's a problem, yes. But what if a return to Christian values meant putting down the mighty from their thrones and exalting the humble and meek? What if it mean scattering the proud, sending the rich away empty and filling the hungry with good things? What if it meant doing justly, and loving mercy? I'd say it should be the rich and powerful who should be afraid of Christians, not those who have already suffered oppression and injustice.

As for the numbers that Curiosity killed... mentioned, well so what? There was a time when Christians accounted for about 0.00001% of the Roman Empire. The kingdom of God is not a democracy, it's a revolution.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
One thing I find curious is how right-wing the UK has become, or is becoming. The Labour Party is pretty much a centre-right party, newspapers like the Independent and Guardian strike me as having moved to the right.

There is therefore ample space for radical Christians to oppose the excesses of capitalism. Talk about 'the public square', where religious people should not tread, just seems pompous and censorious to me.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Yorick

I'm not sure how 'technical' some anti-theists' ignorance about religion is!

However, yes, it is a bit off-topic.

It doesn't need to be technical. If it's about the existence of a supernatural deity they want to see evidence of the existence of said deity before they're interested in what you think said deity is like.
 
Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
Make that "was a revolution". There's nothing revolutionary about the "comfortable pew" Christianity of the moment.

Why was St. Paul's the focus of the Occupy crowd?
 
Posted by Sergius-Melli (# 17462) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
In this case, as per the OP, people are questioning in principle the role religion should play in our modern civic lives. Does it actually matter if they don't understand exactly what religion is, technically speaking?

You can't build up an argument against a principle if you do not understand the technicality of what you are speaking on.

If as a technicality being a Christian is about living one's faith, and acting in the world, then you cannot have a discussion based on the fact that Christianity should be a personal matter (manifested internally and without manifesting itself in acts of social action) since that stands in contradiction to the technical basis of being a Christian.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
posted by CK:
quote:

I am really asking what when this anti-religion commentary is mainstream and growing, what chance of those religious values keeping any foothold.

I think that's also a question about the way that politics is moving in this part of the world too. There is an alarming desire to be exclusivist in politics - something the church mirrors too, sadly.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sergius-Melli:
quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
In this case, as per the OP, people are questioning in principle the role religion should play in our modern civic lives. Does it actually matter if they don't understand exactly what religion is, technically speaking?

You can't build up an argument against a principle if you do not understand the technicality of what you are speaking on.

If as a technicality being a Christian is about living one's faith, and acting in the world, then you cannot have a discussion based on the fact that Christianity should be a personal matter (manifested internally and without manifesting itself in acts of social action) since that stands in contradiction to the technical basis of being a Christian.

Yes, good point. All this talk of the private sphere and public sphere, and that religion belongs to the former and not the latter, seems bizarre to me, and also censorious (and quite pompous). Obviously, there is a strand of Christian thought which opposes injustice and oppression and cruelty in social existence - why should it be silent?
 
Posted by Yorick (# 12169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sergius-Melli:
quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
In this case, as per the OP, people are questioning in principle the role religion should play in our modern civic lives. Does it actually matter if they don't understand exactly what religion is, technically speaking?

You can't build up an argument against a principle if you do not understand the technicality of what you are speaking on.
So what? You're right of course, but that's irrelevant here.

Religions inevitably decline and fall into redundancy as their power to draw followers wanes. I don't see how the cult of Minerva should rightly claim a mandate for policy change in a modern democratic government, given its current demographic status in the electorate. Irrespective of whatever they might actually be to technical experts, religions are apparently becoming less popular in the developed (Western) world, and so their role diminishes accordingly. Rightly so, I'm sure you'd agree.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
All this talk of the private sphere and public sphere, and that religion belongs to the former and not the latter, seems bizarre to me, and also censorious (and quite pompous). Obviously, there is a strand of Christian thought which opposes injustice and oppression and cruelty in social existence - why should it be silent?

It shouldn't.

But I think the objections to "religion in politics" aren't about religious people contributing their (religion-inspired) views to the conversation, they're about religious people trying to use their concept of God to force their views on everyone else.

There's nothing wrong with a Christian saying "I think we should do [x]", and arguing that point in the political arena. There is everything wrong with a Christian saying "God demands that we do [x]" and refusing to countenance any other view.

Christians in politics too often tend, as Adeodatus commented, to be all about imposing the kingdom of God on the kingdoms of the world whether the kingdoms of the world like it or not. Is it any surprise then that the kingdoms of the world (read: anyyone who isn't Christian) really aren't interested in allowing Christianity to have political power?
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
posted by Yorick:
quote:

...religions are apparently becoming less popular in the developed (Western) world, and so their role diminishes accordingly.

Is it not that the whole of western 'developed' society is on the wane? Personally I think it has happened already - we now live in the shadow of the East, and it will be that way for many decades to come, it's just that most of us haven't woken up to that yet.
 
Posted by Vade Mecum (# 17688) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
Make that "was a revolution". There's nothing revolutionary about the "comfortable pew" Christianity of the moment.

Why was St. Paul's the focus of the Occupy crowd?

It wasn't. The object was the exchange, and Paternoster Square, from which, it being private property, the protesters were excluded, forcing them to the adjacent churchyard.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
OK, so should the question be:

How do the Christian churches believably promote the Christian (and Jewish) values of support for the weak, the poor, the immigrant, the prisoner, and an ethos that says it's wrong to exploit those weaker than ourselves in our society?

Particularly when far too many religious leaders are espousing stances that are demonstrably oppressive to women and LGBTs. And doing so with invidious comparisons to the Holocaust when they meet criticism.

And how can any church maintain credibility, so a future, in this climate?
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
I think the majority need to find their voice. It's the minority that hold the hard line views that bring shame to Christianity, yet they always manage to shout the loudest. The flip side is that for those pushing the 'secular agenda' they will always want to highlight and point to the right wing and extremist stuff because it suits their agenda, and they will want to present it and point to it as being mainstream. I'm not so sure how you tackle this problem.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
quetzalcoatl: It is cool and trendy amongst some people to bash religion, but I find them rather pompous often. Also they are often rather ignorant about what religion - or Christianity - is.
Oddly, I sometimes (not on SoF, of course) meet pompous Christians and sometimes they seem rather ignorant of the world in which most of us live. Some years ago I attended a service at Durham Cathedral. One of the prayers was for farmers who were, as so often, struggling to survive. The priest asked God to 'particularly remember' (does God do degrees of remembrance?) the tenant farmers of the Cathedral, some of whom were finding it hard to pay their rent. The priest implored God to help them to find a way to pay so they could stay on their farms. I doubt any shipmate would defend such a prayer (please don't prove me wrong) but Christians do sometimes make it easy for their detractors.

The ethical values of Christianity, including giving, community, inclusiveness, focussing on the needy appeal to many of us but we feel no urge to discuss or petition beings we don't believe in, especially using metaphors which seem redolent of the sycophantic court of some petty tyrant. And many Christians make it clear that belief is ultimately what counts, saying (and believing) the right words is the most important thing there is. So we don't join because we'd have to lie. To me it seems a loss to all of us.
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
quote:
quetzalcoatl: It is cool and trendy amongst some people to bash religion, but I find them rather pompous often. Also they are often rather ignorant about what religion - or Christianity - is.
Oddly, I sometimes (not on SoF, of course) meet pompous Christians and sometimes they seem rather ignorant of the world in which most of us live. Some years ago I attended a service at Durham Cathedral. One of the prayers was for farmers who were, as so often, struggling to survive. The priest asked God to 'particularly remember' (does God do degrees of remembrance?) the tenant farmers of the Cathedral, some of whom were finding it hard to pay their rent. The priest implored God to help them to find a way to pay so they could stay on their farms. I doubt any shipmate would defend such a prayer (please don't prove me wrong) but Christians do sometimes make it easy for their detractors.

The ethical values of Christianity, including giving, community, inclusiveness, focussing on the needy appeal to many of us but we feel no urge to discuss or petition beings we don't believe in, especially using metaphors which seem redolent of the sycophantic court of some petty tyrant. And many Christians make it clear that belief is ultimately what counts, saying (and believing) the right words is the most important thing there is. So we don't join because we'd have to lie. To me it seems a loss to all of us.

Could I ask why you found the prayer for the farmers objectionable? I agree with your post, I'm just puzzled as to why praying for struggling farmers shows that the church is out of touch? Wealthy farmers do exist of course, but most farmers are just ordinary people who really struggle to make enough to survive. Or did you mean that the priest should have prayed for the farmers in a different way, like their rent should have decreased? I'm just a bit confused here.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
Could I ask why you found the prayer for the farmers objectionable? I agree with your post, I'm just puzzled as to why praying for struggling farmers shows that the church is out of touch?

They were tenant farmers of the cathedral, meaning that the prayer was esentially saying "grant them the ability to pay what I'm demanding of them, so that I'm not forced to kick them off their farms and onto the street".

One might say that a more authentically Christian response to the farmers' hardship might have been to not worry about collecting the rent for a few months...
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
I think the majority need to find their voice. It's the minority that hold the hard line views that bring shame to Christianity, yet they always manage to shout the loudest. The flip side is that for those pushing the 'secular agenda' they will always want to highlight and point to the right wing and extremist stuff because it suits their agenda, and they will want to present it and point to it as being mainstream. I'm not so sure how you tackle this problem.

Is there a majority voice that says something different any more? Or is it that the way the churches are changing is leaving a dedicated rump of Christians who are convinced of their rightness?

When we are being pushed further and further into lay ministry (Transforming Presence from Chelmsford Diocese) as a way of tackling the reduction in clergy then what I am seeing here is those lay people with the energy and dedication to take on these roles have a deep commitment and faith that does follow those Bible based values - or certainly those are the ones who shout the loudest - and I, for one, do not want to put my name to what is being said, so have walked away. From reading the Ship, I'm not the only one.
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
I think the majority need to find their voice. It's the minority that hold the hard line views that bring shame to Christianity, yet they always manage to shout the loudest. The flip side is that for those pushing the 'secular agenda' they will always want to highlight and point to the right wing and extremist stuff because it suits their agenda, and they will want to present it and point to it as being mainstream. I'm not so sure how you tackle this problem.

Of course, the majority needing to find their voice to counter the overly loud voice of the extreme minority works on both sides. Those most vocally pushing the 'secular agenda' are also from a vocal minority. They probably don't represent the majority of the non-religious population any more than Christian Voice represents the majority of the Christian population.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
Jade: What Marvin said plus why was the plight of the cathedral farmers to be particularly remembered: is God supposed to give them special treatment over the tenants of the un-Godly?
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
Could I ask why you found the prayer for the farmers objectionable? I agree with your post, I'm just puzzled as to why praying for struggling farmers shows that the church is out of touch?

They were tenant farmers of the cathedral, meaning that the prayer was esentially saying "grant them the ability to pay what I'm demanding of them, so that I'm not forced to kick them off their farms and onto the street".

One might say that a more authentically Christian response to the farmers' hardship might have been to not worry about collecting the rent for a few months...

But the cathedral still needs to make ends meet - letting them off the rent for a few months is a nice idea but not very practical. OK, perhaps especially praying for the tenant farmers was a bit tasteless but something like 'we pray for farmers struggling to make ends, including the cathedral tenant farmers' would have been perfectly appropriate.

I agree that the church is often out of touch with people but I'm not sure this is an example of it.
 
Posted by Yorick (# 12169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
How do the Christian churches believably promote the Christian (and Jewish) values of support for the weak, the poor, the immigrant, the prisoner, and an ethos that says it's wrong to exploit those weaker than ourselves in our society?

I don't think the Christian church has a particular problem promoting those values- the issue here is that it has no exclusive claim to them contingent on belief. There are many people like me who care strongly about oppressed minorities, but we don't believe in god. We don't need religion (which is presumably why its popularity declines, and, along with this, its relevance in politics).

Your problem is to convince the secular electorate that the rather arcane question of whether or not a kind bloke who got executed two thousand years ago subsequently came back to life again matters in how our government should legislate.
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
Jade: What Marvin said plus why was the plight of the cathedral farmers to be particularly remembered: is God supposed to give them special treatment over the tenants of the un-Godly?

No, but particularly remembering those known to you in your prayers (or those in the care of the cathedral, in this case) is just normal. It's about the priest particularly remembering them, not God. Obviously a cathedral will remember cathedral workers prominently in their prayers, since they know them personally. It doesn't mean that other people don't matter.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
Make that "was a revolution". There's nothing revolutionary about the "comfortable pew" Christianity of the moment.

Why was St. Paul's the focus of the Occupy crowd?

If we're not revolutionaries, then perhaps the question becomes, why is contemporary Christianity such a pathetic shadow of what it's supposed to be? And why were prophetic voices not raised to denounce the St Paul's / Occupy business as a disgusting siding of the Church with worldly values? And after so shamelessly advertising is as a temple for the moneylenders, can St Paul's even properly be called a church any more?
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
How do the Christian churches believably promote the Christian (and Jewish) values of support for the weak, the poor, the immigrant, the prisoner, and an ethos that says it's wrong to exploit those weaker than ourselves in our society?

I don't think the Christian church has a particular problem promoting those values- the issue here is that it has no exclusive claim to them contingent on belief. There are many people like me who care strongly about oppressed minorities, but we don't believe in god. We don't need religion (which is presumably why its popularity declines, and, along with this, its relevance in politics).

Your problem is to convince the secular electorate that the rather arcane question of whether or not a kind bloke who got executed two thousand years ago subsequently came back to life again matters in how our government should legislate.

That's not quite what the OP addresses, is it? It suggests that 'religion is a totally private matter, and should be kept so'.

I don't really understand what that means, but it sounds very repressive. What is 'totally private'?

I've been an active campaigner for 50 years, on anti-racism, gay rights, women's rights, unionization, blah blah blah.

I don't get up at meetings and say that baby Jesus will cry if they don't agree with me, but I don't hide the fact that I'm a Christian. Generally, people are not hostile to that, as I guess they grasp the idea of a coalition of people who agree on something. And some people are interested in the idea of a Christian view which is anti-capitalist.

I suppose if I got up and tried to convert them, that would arouse some ire. I do that in the pub afterwards!
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
If we're not revolutionaries, then perhaps the question becomes, why is contemporary Christianity such a pathetic shadow of what it's supposed to be? And why were prophetic voices not raised to denounce the St Paul's / Occupy business as a disgusting siding of the Church with worldly values?

What was the fate of most of the prophets? There are such voices but they tend to be - by the very nature of things - a small minority.

The church grew by being revolutionary - but having got power it stays there by kow-towing to the PTB.
 
Posted by iamchristianhearmeroar (# 15483) on :
 
quote:
Jade Constable originally posted:
But the cathedral still needs to make ends meet - letting them off the rent for a few months is a nice idea but not very practical.

I think the point, though, is that Jesus had more than one story to tell about people forgiving other's debts, and no stories to tell about how to operate to ensure your cathedral's books balance.

quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
And why were prophetic voices not raised to denounce the St Paul's / Occupy business as a disgusting siding of the Church with worldly values?

Well, there were voices who spoke out, and one prominent resignation. However, as the priest involved is of known left-wing tendencies it was all too easy for conservatives (both politicians and clergy) to write off the protest and actions as political rather than theological. I don't agree with that rejection at all, BTW. Giles was quite clear that he acted for reasons of the Gospel.
 
Posted by Vade Mecum (# 17688) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
why were prophetic voices not raised to denounce the St Paul's / Occupy business as a disgusting siding of the Church with worldly values?

Because it wasn't?

quote:
And after so shamelessly advertising is as a temple for the moneylenders, can St Paul's even properly be called a church any more?
As far as I'm aware, it remains consecrated, still contains the Bishop's cathedra, and the Holy Sacrifice is still offered in it. So yes.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
No, but particularly remembering those known to you in your prayers (or those in the care of the cathedral, in this case) is just normal. It's about the priest particularly remembering them, not God. Obviously a cathedral will remember cathedral workers prominently in their prayers, since they know them personally. It doesn't mean that other people don't matter.

Fair enough, I agree.

But is the ethos of Christianity "We feel sorry for you, but we've got a Cathedral to run here. Nasty old world but capitalism's the name of the game". What about going the extra mile, giving you coat as well as your shirt. Sell some bit of silver plate, whatever.

But, maybe I misunderstood. Mine was a small point which sprang to mind as a counterpoint to quetzalcoatl's pompous and ignorant non-Christians. I don't think the church is out of touch.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
Sorry, forgot to add this. You might keep Christianity without religion.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
que sais-je

Would you mind showing me where I talked about pompous non-Christians? I would just like to find that quote.

My memory is that I talked about pompous religion-bashers, not implying of course, that all religion-bashers are pompous; some of them are very amusing.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I've noticed that the 'Independent' is bashing religion recently; I take it with a pinch of salt. It is cool and trendy amongst some people to bash religion, but I find them rather pompous often. Also they are often rather ignorant about what religion - or Christianity - is.

Looking at it again, I realise you might have meant that the Independent was pompous. And I also made the assumption that people bashing religion were probably not Christians. Though there is undoubtedly a strand of self-flagellation in some.

But my apologies if I misunderstood or misread what you wrote. My only point was that all of us are sometimes pompous and all of us sometimes fail to fully research what we disagree with.

I think the OP topic is important and interesting. Sorry to everyone if I temporarily strayed off it.

[ 29. July 2013, 14:08: Message edited by: que sais-je ]
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed...:
Does the church, any church, not just the Church of England, have a future in Britain when anti-religious views are being expressed as mainstream?

I'm not sure why churches need to be well-spoken of by mainstream society in order have a future. That seems like a rather Anglican idea. Plenty of other denominations have a history of being persecuted or discriminated against. Indeed, some of them grew faster during that period of their history than they did once all of the obvious obstacles facing them were removed.

quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:

But is the ethos of Christianity "We feel sorry for you, but we've got a Cathedral to run here. Nasty old world but capitalism's the name of the game". What about going the extra mile, giving you coat as well as your shirt. Sell some bit of silver plate, whatever.

How do you know they haven't helped the farmers out previously by selling off some cathedral valuables? Moreover, selling off silver plate to the highest bidder means engaging in capitalism, not escaping from it. The only way the CofE (or any other church) could escape from capitalism would be by entirely de-institutionalising itself. There would be no place for cathedrals, because these places require lots of expensive maintenance.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

How do you know they haven't helped the farmers out previously by selling off some cathedral valuables? Moreover, selling off silver plate to the highest bidder means engaging in capitalism, not escaping from it. The only way the CofE (or any other church) could escape from capitalism would be by entirely de-institutionalising itself.

OK I give in, they probably did and foolishly I didn't try and find out after the service (to be honest I did wonder if I might be hearing a reflection of some infra-cathedral wrangling).


There would be no place for cathedrals, because these places require lots of expensive maintenance.


There are Mary's and Martha's among us all. I'm not a Christian so, beautiful though they are, it wouldn't worry me if some were sold and the money used to house the homeless, protect widows and orphans, comfort the afflicted and so on. Let me come out here: if selling off all of Durham Cathedral saved a few farmers from suicide and their families from misery I'd consider it. How much is a life worth?
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
I've long wondered if we oughtn't to hand the cathedral buildings (especially the big touristy ones) over to English Heritage, since that's exactly what they are - historical monuments - and get on with the business of living the gospel.

Probably idealistic. Most of my ideas to make the world a better place apparently are.
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
Make that "was a revolution". There's nothing revolutionary about the "comfortable pew" Christianity of the moment.

Why was St. Paul's the focus of the Occupy crowd?

If we're not revolutionaries, then perhaps the question becomes, why is contemporary Christianity such a pathetic shadow of what it's supposed to be? And why were prophetic voices not raised to denounce the St Paul's / Occupy business as a disgusting siding of the Church with worldly values? And after so shamelessly advertising is as a temple for the moneylenders, can St Paul's even properly be called a church any more?
No time to explain now, but have a look at what Max Weber says about the priest/ prophet and church/ sect distinctions - there's a good summary, and sympathetic discussion fot he problems that these role raise, in (especially the early chapters of) Robin Gill's Prophecy and Praxis (1981).
 
Posted by Vade Mecum (# 17688) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I've long wondered if we oughtn't to hand the cathedral buildings (especially the big touristy ones) over to English Heritage, since that's exactly what they are - historical monuments - and get on with the business of living the gospel.

Probably idealistic. Most of my ideas to make the world a better place apparently are.

And the countless centuries of devotion which have infused them? The innumerable acts of worship which have taken place in them? The hundreds, thousands of times the Holy Sacrifice has been offered at their altars? The relentless witness they bear to the hope and soaring grandeur of the history of the Faith?

You'd sunder them from all this, from the living Church and the work of the Gospel, for the sake of economy? Or for what's sake? How would the debasement of these places further the Gospel?
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
que sais-je?

It would certainly be an astonishing gesture for the CofE to make - although some of the farmers might then become suicidal knowing that they were the cause of the CofE losing an ancient, pricelesss and much-loved property to a soulless property developer! Cathedrals are, of course, listed buildings. I shouldn't think they'd be easy to sell at all. I wonder if anyone's ever tried to sell an English cathedral?

I understand from the National Trust magazine that the CofE is leaving huge numbers of historic places of worship inadequately cared for ever year because they're too expensive to look after, and their congregations are small, if they have congregations at all. Many are unlikely be sold for whatever reason, and may simply end up crumbling away. Others will be converted or demolished.

One day the cathedrals may be the only significant physical reminder of the CofE on the national landscape, so it's unlikely that the church will let go of them for the kind of gesture that you suggest, although they might present opportunities for conversion to multi-use communitiy hubs.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I've long wondered if we oughtn't to hand the cathedral buildings (especially the big touristy ones) over to English Heritage, since that's exactly what they are - historical monuments - and get on with the business of living the gospel.

Probably idealistic. Most of my ideas to make the world a better place apparently are.

I suppose that if divesting the CoE of cathedral properties would mean that folk would get on with the "business of living the gospel" (whatever that might mean), it could be justified, but I see no link or causation. We do have a nearby example to see how that worked-- did the French church get on better with "business of living the gospel" after their buildings were secularized in 1906? Do we have any stats on this?
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Vade Mecum:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I've long wondered if we oughtn't to hand the cathedral buildings (especially the big touristy ones) over to English Heritage, since that's exactly what they are - historical monuments - and get on with the business of living the gospel.

Probably idealistic. Most of my ideas to make the world a better place apparently are.

And the countless centuries of devotion which have infused them? The innumerable acts of worship which have taken place in them? The hundreds, thousands of times the Holy Sacrifice has been offered at their altars? The relentless witness they bear to the hope and soaring grandeur of the history of the Faith?

You'd sunder them from all this, from the living Church and the work of the Gospel, for the sake of economy? Or for what's sake? How would the debasement of these places further the Gospel?

Their functions wouldn't change. The CofE would however be freed from the massive direct costs of maintaining them. They'd still be there; we'd still be using them just as we are now. You seem to think I said "turn them into museums."
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I've long wondered if we oughtn't to hand the cathedral buildings (especially the big touristy ones) over to English Heritage, since that's exactly what they are - historical monuments - and get on with the business of living the gospel.

Probably idealistic. Most of my ideas to make the world a better place apparently are.

I suppose that if divesting the CoE of cathedral properties would mean that folk would get on with the "business of living the gospel" (whatever that might mean), it could be justified, but I see no link or causation. We do have a nearby example to see how that worked-- did the French church get on better with "business of living the gospel" after their buildings were secularized in 1906? Do we have any stats on this?
Well, it's simple enough. A good definition of a Cathedral is "large gothic or mediaeval building with a large wooden thermometer outside saying 'only £3.4m to go!' outside."

Freeing the church from the constant focus on keeping the building going might at least remove excuse for not getting on with what I can't help feeling are more core issues.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Vade Mecum:
How would the debasement of these places further the Gospel?

You mean apart from allowing all the money that currently goes on their upkeep to go to the poor instead?

Durham Cathedral costs the church £60,000 a week. That's over THREE MILLION POUNDS a year. Or, if you prefer, enough to pay 250 poor families a weekly benefit of £240, every week of the year.

So which is more Christian - to spend that money on feeding and housing the poor, or to spend it on a big fancy building for the church? And if the church is allowed to choose the latter, how the hell can it preach at me if I choose to spend my cash on big fancy things for myself instead of giving it to the poor?
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
One day the cathedrals may be the only significant physical reminder of the CofE on the national landscape, so it's unlikely that the church will let go of them for the kind of gesture that you suggest, although they might present opportunities for conversion to multi-use communitiy hubs.

You don't think that cathedrals are currently multi-use community hubs now? with art exhibitions, concerts, places for talks and education? In addition to worship this is
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Vade Mecum:
How would the debasement of these places further the Gospel?

You mean apart from allowing all the money that currently goes on their upkeep to go to the poor instead?

Durham Cathedral costs the church £60,000 a week. That's over THREE MILLION POUNDS a year. Or, if you prefer, enough to pay 250 poor families a weekly benefit of £240, every week of the year.

So which is more Christian - to spend that money on feeding and housing the poor, or to spend it on a big fancy building for the church? And if the church is allowed to choose the latter, how the hell can it preach at me if I choose to spend my cash on big fancy things for myself instead of giving it to the poor?

"Let this be sold, and the money given to the poor." Now, remind me again which of the Disciples said that?
 
Posted by Vade Mecum (# 17688) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Their functions wouldn't change. The CofE would however be freed from the massive direct costs of maintaining them. They'd still be there; we'd still be using them just as we are now. You seem to think I said "turn them into museums."

Why on earth would English Heritage, or indeed anyone else, agree to such a deal though? If that were a good proposition, the cathedral churches would cover their running costs already. "Handing over" the buildings would only be worthwhile if the recipient could "turn them into museums" or, more likely, hotels/housing developments

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin:
You mean apart from allowing all the money that currently goes on their upkeep to go to the poor instead?

And the fact that you give the poor some money means they'll be more receptive to a Gospel pruned of all beauty? But then, the only Christian imperative is to feed the poor, yes? Worship and holiness and praise of God can go screw themselves?

Ye have the poor always with you...

ETA: x-posted with Albertus, who says it much more succinctly.

[ 29. July 2013, 15:18: Message edited by: Vade Mecum ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
"Let this be sold, and the money given to the poor." Now, remind me again which of the Disciples said that?

"Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor." Who said that, again?
 
Posted by Vade Mecum (# 17688) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
"Let this be sold, and the money given to the poor." Now, remind me again which of the Disciples said that?

"Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor." Who said that, again?
And to whom did He say it? And why?
 
Posted by iamchristianhearmeroar (# 15483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Vade Mecum:
And the countless centuries of devotion which have infused them? The innumerable acts of worship which have taken place in them? The hundreds, thousands of times the Holy Sacrifice has been offered at their altars? The relentless witness they bear to the hope and soaring grandeur of the history of the Faith?

You'd sunder them from all this, from the living Church and the work of the Gospel, for the sake of economy? Or for what's sake? How would the debasement of these places further the Gospel?

I think there is a question of priorities, though. A cathedral with a choice of spending X millions of pounds paying Harrison and Harrison to rebuild their organ and spending the same amount of money ensuring a local homeless shelter could stay open would be making a clear statement of its priorities by choosing to spend the money one way rather than another.

I suspect such stark choices rarely present themselves, but one can't help but wonder when one sees the cost of provision of music, new sets of cloth of gold vestments, gold leaf etc.

(says a chorister and organist, unpaid)
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Vade - how does Bolsover Castle or Clifford's Tower or Hadrian's Wall "support themselves"? They don't; EH supports them out of grants, fundraising, entrance fees, membership fees and so on.

I imagine that EH would expect to pay for the material upkeep of cathedrals in the same manner. To the extent that this turns them into museums, that has already happened; how many of the people wandering around York Minster on a given summer Saturday are there for reasons any different than why they might later go up to Clifford's Tower or the Castle Museum?

And that's all I'm talking about handing over; no-one's talking about flogging the buildings off as office accommodation.

[ 29. July 2013, 15:37: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Vade Mecum:
And to whom did He say it? And why?

And so the excuses begin. "Oh no, we don't have to sell everything, that was very specifically intended for one person and maybe the others who are like him, it doesn't apply to us". [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
Cathedral worship is one of the few areas of growth in the CoE so I can't see them changing anything yet.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Interestingly, or not, there's a discussion in Eccles about cathedral worship and dv has said:
quote:
Sometimes people characterise Cathedral worship as something for individuals who don't wish to commit and to remain anonymous but I'd say that's wrong, from my experience: the congregation is largely stable, week by week, and there's lots of opportunity for people to deepen their engagement. I'd actually see the way forward for the CofE as having a mini-Cathedral in each large town and axeing a lot of Parish churches. They're often doing more harm than good.
And that post reminded me I hadn't added food banks to my list of community activities from cathedrals.
 
Posted by Vade Mecum (# 17688) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Vade Mecum:
And to whom did He say it? And why?

And so the excuses begin. "Oh no, we don't have to sell everything, that was very specifically intended for one person and maybe the others who are like him, it doesn't apply to us". [Roll Eyes]
Right, because your 2D Jesus is the real one, right?
 
Posted by Vade Mecum (# 17688) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Vade - how does Bolsover Castle or Clifford's Tower or Hadrian's Wall "support themselves"? They don't; EH supports them out of grants, fundraising, entrance fees, membership fees and so on.

I imagine that EH would expect to pay for the material upkeep of cathedrals in the same manner. To the extent that this turns them into museums, that has already happened; how many of the people wandering around York Minster on a given summer Saturday are there for reasons any different than why they might later go up to Clifford's Tower or the Castle Museum?

And that's all I'm talking about handing over; no-one's talking about flogging the buildings off as office accommodation.

But why would EH (or anyone else) do that? i.e. take on an huge liability for unknown future costs in return for no ability for development to increase revenue? EH doesn't just exist to support any and all old buildings which come their way, especially when said buildings currently belong to an organisation which can support them just as well as EH. Your dream is lodged thoroughly in a pipe, I fear.
 
Posted by Bax (# 16572) on :
 
To address the question posed at the beginning of this debate:

"Does the church, any church, not just the Church of England, have a future in Britain when anti-religious views are being expressed as mainstream?"

(1) Christianity itself may be said to be (in some ways) "anti-religious", so although Christianity has looked "religious" for a long time, the anti-religion may in fact be a sign that the gospel is changing and has changed things. (This of course depends on how you define the word "religion")

(2) If we believe the gospel to be true, the persecution should never dis-hearten us (if articles in the independent can be described as "persecution", but given that this is where the discussion started I won't enter into debate on this point)

As Gamaliel said in the book of Acts, if Jesus's message is true, then no action of humanity is ever going to be able to countermand this.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Vade Mecum:
Right, because your 2D Jesus is the real one, right?

Who knows? Maybe He would prefer to let people starve to death while the money that could buy them food goes to pay for the renovation of a couple of hanging buttresses or a new organ pipe. After all, having a really impressive building in the middle of every town so that you can show off how important you are is what Christianity is all about, right?
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
If someone went public with this idea of selling off cathedrals I imagine there'd be a national outcry. It's not going to happen. Or rather, it'll only happen if the CofE runs clean out of money and has become so marginal that the country no longer pays any notice.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bax:
To address the question posed at the beginning of this debate:

Than you Bax. I wish I'd never opened my silly mouth (keyboard).

Christianity itself may be said to be (in some ways) "anti-religious", so although Christianity has looked "religious" for a long time, the anti-religion may in fact be a sign that the gospel is changing and has changed things.

I had wondered if someone would pick up on that issue. I have no comment (I've learnt my lesson) except to point to Dietrich Bonhoeffer's letters.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bax:
To address the question posed at the beginning of this debate:

"Does the church, any church, not just the Church of England, have a future in Britain when anti-religious views are being expressed as mainstream?"

(1) Christianity itself may be said to be (in some ways) "anti-religious", so although Christianity has looked "religious" for a long time, the anti-religion may in fact be a sign that the gospel is changing and has changed things. (This of course depends on how you define the word "religion")

(2) If we believe the gospel to be true, the persecution should never dis-hearten us (if articles in the independent can be described as "persecution", but given that this is where the discussion started I won't enter into debate on this point)

I'm not sure that arguing the Church of England shouldn't have a role in government different than any other faith is anti-religious per se. If that were the case, the fact that no Muslim or Jewish clergy gets an automatic seat in the House of Lords could be considered "anti-Muslim/Jewish". An article arguing "you should abide by the same rules as everyone else" seems to be pretty weak tea as far as persecution goes. Heck, even having to abide by the same rule as everyone else doesn't really qualify as "persecution" in most cases.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
A female Anglican priest once told me that most cathedrals are pretty 'loaded' and could spare a few bob for worthy causes ...

I think there's a balance here, as CK has said, cathedrals often function as arts/events/civic hubs of one form or other ... and they do act as the 'public face' of the CofE and Christianity more broadly for tourists and others. I don't have an issue with any of that.

I've been to a few cathedral services where I've felt a bit like I've been worshipping in a goldfish bowl - as people have been wandering past and watching what was going on. You could argue that some of these people wouldn't have many other opportunities to see 'live# Christian worship in any other context. I'm not saying that would necesarily be 'evangelistic' but I'm sure the cathedrals have a role ...

Part of that role might be scooping up people who would otherwise fall out of church life altogether ...

If what we're told is true, that the growth in attendance at cathedral worship is partly due to people fleeing the expectations put upon them at their local parish churches or to escape drum'n'bass and action-songs ...

Karl Liberal-Backslider of all people ought to have some sympathy for those who find some kind of conducive church setting ...

As ever, I think there's a both/and rather than either/or thing going on.

I suspect we're headed for some pretty dark days as far as Christian faith and witness is concerned, with enemies both within an without ... various duff forms of fundamentalism on the one hand, a kind of loosely 'whatever' form of liberalism on the other ... overseas, the worrying rise of nationalisms and xenophobia in some Orthodox circles and here at home the gradual erosion of choice so that one either has to hang out with the happy-clappy crowd or opt to worship in an unaffordable building with a dwindling handful of stalwarts ...

But there could equally be opportunities ...

Opportunities for the more 'get involved', serve the poor, the marginalised type activities that many of us would like to see ... even if we don't get involved ourselves as much as we ought.

Opportunities for neo-monastic networks, people working behind the scenes to be salt and light.

Opportunities for bold and imaginative ecumenical ventures.

I know one swallow doesn't make a summer, but at a sizeable town to the north of here, the town-centre manager observed in a meeting I attended to find out about how to organise arts festivals and so on, that that town's arts/cultural festivals only really took off once the churches became involved.

She was impressed at how they offered their buildings as venues - sometimes for some quite challenging material - at how they used their networks to drum up support and how, in supporting the town's arts festival they'd all began to 'find' each other and collaborate in various ways that they'd not been doing previously.

All this takes effort, though, and it's hard to see how we can avoid burn-out with dwindling numbers.

We no longer have the 'right' to be heard as perhaps we were back in full-on Christendom times. In a post-Christendom setting we have to earn that right.

We have to be seen as those who aren't pointing the finger and condemning everything, but for actually making a practical difference and helping build community and help where we can.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
One thing I find curious is how right-wing the UK has become, or is becoming. The Labour Party is pretty much a centre-right party, newspapers like the Independent and Guardian strike me as having moved to the right.

Pretty clearly true, and its been true for thirty years or more.

I think public discourse tends to be to the right of majority opinion (though not as far to the right of it as it is in the USA) but even then majority opinion has shifted rightwards on pretty much every issue - the only significant exceptions I think being a shift towards more liberal views on racism (which has been going on slowly for a century at least) and also towards more liberal views on homosexuality. We've got a conservative government pushing ahrd for gay marriage, which would have been unimaginable here even twenty years ago (and might still be unimaginable in lots of rich countries).

But on pretty much all the big political conflicts other than race there seems to have been a shift rightwards.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Pretty much permanent Thatcherism, I suppose. Ah well, it's nice when I go to sleep.
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
What I can't understand (serious question, this) is why do churches and cathedrals, which say they have no money left, go and do expensive projects on the building like putting in a glass door (c. £30,000) or take out pews and put in sturdily-built upholstered fabric chairs (similar amount, plus regular cleaning costs), toilets, serving hatches, etc.? Either they DO have money, or are using money which should be used for other purposes - repairing the roof, feeding the poor, or whatever your preference. I really struggle to see what the point is of a glass door, fancy chairs or a coffee bar, if the building itself is going to fall down in a generation's time. If it gets that far.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
Chorister

Some of those things may be covered by fundraising, or by grants from various bodies.

My experience of city churches, mostly Methodist, is that congregations and church leaders often think that making their churches more attractive will bring in new worshippers and/or new tenants. Removing pews, for example, isn't just about encouraging charismatic worship; it enables a church sanctuary to be let to various groups who need a more flexible space. And letting out your church building brings in the cash.

I do think the emphasis on the surroundings can sometimes overtake reflection on the spiritual life or the quality/style of worship of a particular congregation. But it can't be denied that some churches are a bit shabby. The regulars don't always notice, but as a visitor I notice the cast-off sofas, the custard-coloured, peeling paint, the dirty windows that don't close properly, etc.

Spending money to make money sounds rather capitalistic, but churches that are structured in the traditional way can't 'serve the community' very effectively unless they're generating enough income to do so. They do that by attracting new members or new tenants.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
This may amuse SvitlanaV2. Wesley's Chapel in Bristol (1739) has some shabby old pews in it. In Wesley's time they weren't there but people nowadays expect a chapel to have pews so some old ones were bought and installed for the benefit of the tourists. Authenticity eh!

And before anyone gets cross with me, this has nothing to do with the thread, but it amuses me amidst all this talk of updating chaples.

[ 29. July 2013, 20:53: Message edited by: que sais-je ]
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
que sais-je - I found the Bonhoeffer quotes interesting and it's sort of what I was trying to get at.

Something that is somewhat linked to those ideas comes from this current discussion on Radio 4 - The Bishop and the Bankers - how can you persuade organisations to be moral?

edited to the name right

[ 29. July 2013, 21:02: Message edited by: Curiosity killed ... ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
I don't see how the cult of Minerva should rightly claim a mandate for policy change in a modern democratic government, given its current demographic status in the electorate.

If the cult of Minerva were followed by 5% of the population it could claim a mandate commensurate with that. If it were able to build a coalition via issue raising, debate, or horse-trading, to support it the coalition would then have a mandate to implement that policy.
Now you might believe that no democratic majority has the right to overrule other people's human rights. That's a separate question. If it's wrong for a democracy to overrule human rights for religious reasons it's wrong for it to do so for any reason. The Independent is not objecting to Welby condemning child poverty on the grounds that human rights would be violated.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Something that is somewhat linked to those ideas comes from this current discussion on Radio 4 - The Bishop and the Bankers - how can you persuade organisations to be moral?

Thanks, I'll follow it up.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
There will be a future for the Christian Church in the UK for as long as people there follow Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Where people are running 'their' churches as if they were businesses, putting money before Christ, they won't thrive as Christian Churches although they might become or remain as meeting places.

The Church buildings are our inheritance, to be maintained and passed on to the next generation, not to be sold or given away. Where people leave money in their wills to the Church so that buildings may be maintained, the money should not be used for any other purpose.
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:


Where people are running 'their' churches as if they were businesses, putting money before Christ, they won't thrive as Christian Churches although they might become or remain as meeting places.

The Church buildings are our inheritance, to be maintained and passed on to the next generation, not to be sold or given away. Where people leave money in their wills to the Church so that buildings may be maintained, the money should not be used for any other purpose.

Have we had this link already? [Big Grin]
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
Raptor Eye

But unless churches have a business-like approach to maintaining and raising their income, or can encourage the wider to society to contribute, where is the money to look after these buildings - and to do all the community work and send money abroad - to come from?

This is what the National Trust says:
quote:

'The estimated cost of repairing all England's 14,500 listed places of worship is almost a billion pounds over the next decade [from 2007] - and that doesn't include thousands more unlisted ecclesiastical buildings. The bill is almost three times what the parishes, by the most optimistic calculations, could possibly raise. Over the same period the trickle of churches becoming redundant is becoming a torrent, and the statutory charity, the Churches Conservation Trust, will be able to save no more than a handful of the most important.'

Maybe among some congregations the power of prayer alone carries them forward. But that means so many more will have to end up closed.

[ 29. July 2013, 22:11: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I've long wondered if we oughtn't to hand the cathedral buildings (especially the big touristy ones) over to English Heritage, since that's exactly what they are - historical monuments - and get on with the business of living the gospel.

Probably idealistic. Most of my ideas to make the world a better place apparently are.

I suppose that if divesting the CoE of cathedral properties would mean that folk would get on with the "business of living the gospel" (whatever that might mean), it could be justified, but I see no link or causation. We do have a nearby example to see how that worked-- did the French church get on better with "business of living the gospel" after their buildings were secularized in 1906? Do we have any stats on this?
Well, it's simple enough. A good definition of a Cathedral is "large gothic or mediaeval building with a large wooden thermometer outside saying 'only £3.4m to go!' outside."

Freeing the church from the constant focus on keeping the building going might at least remove excuse for not getting on with what I can't help feeling are more core issues.

I was trying to make serious point. Folk in the UK have an example, just right next door and over the Channel, of a church which was freed of its building obligations a century ago. How did that go? Tell us how the core issues went in France. And tell us how that will be better, or worse, in the UK. We need a bit more than that this "might at least remove an excuse."

My limited work in this area suggested that some churches manage to obtain considerable sums from non-believers who like the building, or who think it is an important part of the heritage of the area. Perhaps the atheists may save the bells and the organ.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
Augustine the Aleut

There are several countries in Europe where the state pays for the upkeep of certain churches, usually RC or Lutheran, depending on which has the dominant historical presence in that country. But of course, the purpose of looking after these churches isn't to encourage churchgoing or to signal that the state approves of religion; The French state, for example, sees itself as resolutely secular. France and the UK have about the same rate of churchgoing.

It would be interesting to know how this state involvement works out financially. In northern Europe several countries have a church tax that most people pay even if they don't have any interest or stake in the denomination that receives this money. I can't see British people going for this, although they'll certainly start grumbling if and when church closures start to speed up in the future.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
Indeed, Svitlana. At some point, people will likely decide that they do not want closed churches everywhere. That, perhaps, is the first time citizens will engage with how they are to be paid for. In the interim, I would like to see an examination as to how (e.g., the French, as they are close by and France is in many ways comparable to the UK) the church's losing the buildings has had an effect on religious life and the practice of mission.
 
Posted by roybart (# 17357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
In the interim, I would like to see an examination as to how (e.g., the French, as they are close by and France is in many ways comparable to the UK) the church's losing the buildings has had an effect on religious life and the practice of mission.

Excellent question. Does anyone have the beginnings of an snswer to this?
 
Posted by SusanDoris (# 12618) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
I do think religion should have a place. A return of Christian values to Government (helping the sick, poor, prisoner, immigrant) and banking would not be a bad thing.

But these are human values, and definitely not just the prerogative of Christians.
quote:
I am really asking what when this anti-religion commentary is mainstream and growing, what chance of those religious values keeping any foothold.
A secular society would be the best solution, really. Very interesting OP - I'm going to google the programme, as I'd certainly like to hear it.

[ 30. July 2013, 07:00: Message edited by: SusanDoris ]
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
<tangent>Susan Doris, you won't find this programme. It was a pilot; that means that it may never go out. If it does it will probably go out as part of a series, under a different title and after additional recording sessions.

I have seen four pilots, this one, another that was broadcast as a standalone programme and two that have disappeared, although a similar show to one of those has just finished on commercial radio many months later with a slightly different set up and different protagonists.</tangent>
 
Posted by SusanDoris (# 12618) on :
 
Curiosity Killed
Thank you for the tangent info.
Very interesting thread to read.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I've long wondered if we oughtn't to hand the cathedral buildings (especially the big touristy ones) over to English Heritage, since that's exactly what they are - historical monuments - and get on with the business of living the gospel.

Probably idealistic. Most of my ideas to make the world a better place apparently are.

I suppose that if divesting the CoE of cathedral properties would mean that folk would get on with the "business of living the gospel" (whatever that might mean), it could be justified, but I see no link or causation. We do have a nearby example to see how that worked-- did the French church get on better with "business of living the gospel" after their buildings were secularized in 1906? Do we have any stats on this?
Well, it's simple enough. A good definition of a Cathedral is "large gothic or mediaeval building with a large wooden thermometer outside saying 'only £3.4m to go!' outside."

Freeing the church from the constant focus on keeping the building going might at least remove excuse for not getting on with what I can't help feeling are more core issues.

I was trying to make serious point. Folk in the UK have an example, just right next door and over the Channel, of a church which was freed of its building obligations a century ago. How did that go? Tell us how the core issues went in France. And tell us how that will be better, or worse, in the UK. We need a bit more than that this "might at least remove an excuse."

My limited work in this area suggested that some churches manage to obtain considerable sums from non-believers who like the building, or who think it is an important part of the heritage of the area. Perhaps the atheists may save the bells and the organ.

It seems a bit ridiculous for you to expect me to have an expert knowledge of French religious and secular history in the early 20th century and imagine that by pointing to a situation I know nothing about you've somehow killed my idea stone dead. There's no point you pursuing this "what about France, eh, clever, what about France?" line because I freely admit I know absolutely nothing about France's particular situation wrt upkeep of ecclesiastical buildings.

I merely observe that the Cathedrals in particular are incredibly expensive, way larger than they actually need to be for their function, and a drain on resources. However, we do not (rightly) want to just get rid of them and have them converted into offices. I therefore think it's worth asking whether there's a case for seeking to free the church of the costs of their upkeep. I'm a bit narked that anyone puts scare quotes around "living the gospel" as if it isn't rather clear from what Jesus said - feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the prisoner, heal the sick. Not those things about which he said absolutely bugger all, such as patching up mediaeval buildings.

Those important things are made more difficult when the pressing issue is the crumbling mortar in the North Transept.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
There's no point you pursuing this "what about France, eh, clever, what about France?" line because I freely admit I know absolutely nothing about France's particular situation wrt upkeep of ecclesiastical buildings.

I merely observe that the Cathedrals in particular are incredibly expensive, way larger than they actually need to be for their function, and a drain on resources. However, we do not (rightly) want to just get rid of them and have them converted into offices. I therefore think it's worth asking whether there's a case for seeking to free the church of the costs of their upkeep.

In the distant future I think that turning some cathedrals and listed parish churches into offices will have to be one possibility on the table. There's no single organisation that has or will have the funds to take all care of all of these buildings. State involvement, charities, private donations, corporate sponsorship, etc. will all have to be encouraged.Ironically, disestablishment could make it easier for the CofE and the nation to wake up to new ways of dealing with the surplus of churches.

Re the various questions about France, Wiki has an article about how the French state's takeover of old RC churches in 1905 was and is perceived. There seems to be a certain ambiguity about it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1905_French_law_on_the_Separation_of_the_Churches_and_the_State


But it doesn't seem as though the RCC has been liberated to carry out more evangelism. Secularisation started quite early in France. Churchgoing among French Catholics has continued to decline, and many who label themselves as Catholics don't believe in God. But has the RCC done more for the poor because it doesn't have old buildings to look after? Possibly. I don't know.

Interestingly, Wiki states that old Protestant and Jewish buildings are also funded. But historical French Protestantism is tiny, and the gradual growth of evangelical Protestantism is occurring mostly in new (as well as some old) denominations, so there can't be much of an overall benefit from state funding for French Protestantism.

This is an interesting article about French Protestants today:
http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/10/59/22/PDF/Sociology_of_Religion_S.Fath.pdf

[ 30. July 2013, 11:39: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider: I merely observe that the Cathedrals in particular are incredibly expensive, way larger than they actually need to be for their function, and a drain on resources.
They'd be a drain on somebody's resources whoever looked after them. It might as well be the Church as anybody.
They are also some of the most beautiful buildings in the country.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider: I merely observe that the Cathedrals in particular are incredibly expensive, way larger than they actually need to be for their function, and a drain on resources.
They'd be a drain on somebody's resources whoever looked after them. It might as well be the Church as anybody.
They are also some of the most beautiful buildings in the country.

Exactly. Part of our heritage, Christian or otherwise. Hence my proposal that they be preserved as part of our heritage by the nation as a whole. I'm at a loss to understand why the church wants sole responsibility for these very expensive buildings.
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
[Cathedrals would] be a drain on somebody's resources whoever looked after them. It might as well be the Church as anybody.
They are also some of the most beautiful buildings in the country.

Why should the Church be devoting a significant chunk of its resources to maintaining under-used, unfit for purpose buildings? (Not that all cathedrals fall into either of these categories.) Where has God indicated that he wants his people on Earth to do this?
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
But don't the cathedrals attract people who would not normally go near a church? OK, I guess they wander round as a tourist, but possibly the staff hope that a few get more interested.

I often go to Bath, and the Abbey (OK, not a cathedral), is an absolute magnet during the holiday season. But maybe it is treated just as another holiday attraction, like Avon Gorge.

They have very simple hourly services as well, and usually a number of people sit and listen.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
But don't the cathedrals attract people who would not normally go near a church? OK, I guess they wander round as a tourist, but possibly the staff hope that a few get more interested.

I often go to Bath, and the Abbey (OK, not a cathedral), is an absolute magnet during the holiday season. But maybe it is treated just as another holiday attraction, like Avon Gorge.

They have very simple hourly services as well, and usually a number of people sit and listen.

None of that changes one iota under my proposal. It isn't "Cathedrals are bad, let's sell them" - it's "Cathedrals are expensive; how do we avoid spending so much of our money on their upkeep as a church"
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
I do think religion should have a place. A return of Christian values to Government (helping the sick, poor, prisoner, immigrant) and banking would not be a bad thing.

But these are human values, and definitely not just the prerogative of Christians.
quote:
I am really asking what when this anti-religion commentary is mainstream and growing, what chance of those religious values keeping any foothold.
A secular society would be the best solution, really. Very interesting OP - I'm going to google the programme, as I'd certainly like to hear it.

But humans also hurt the poor, the prisoner and the immigrant - evil is clearly a human value too. I never get why humanists feel able to claim that good is not the prerogative of just the religious when it's clear that evil isn't either! As a Christian, it doesn't change the fact that all the prophets of the Bible are concerned by God raising up the humble and bringing down the mighty.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
Evidence-based decision-making is usually a better idea than non-evidence-based decision-making. If nothing else, a look at a similar situation give us ideas on how to go about it better. I pushed the comparison to move us from a concept to how it could work out in reality.

Svitlana has helpfully given us some of the information which I was looking for. If someone thinks that freeing churches of the responsibility for the buildings is a magic bullet for ministry -- perhaps an oversimplification of what KLB said -- we have a case study handy. My own experience of French churches is that they are energetic, mission-oriented and (largely due to the scarcity of priests and perhaps due to a lack of synodical government to suck up energy) with a high degree of lay participation. I think that part of this owes to being free of roof-worship and buttress-balancing, but that's anecdotology, and not evidence. It doesn't seem to result in more bums on seats.

I can understand the frustration of those responsible for the very expensive keeping of buildings- they did not go in for the job of being building curators but now find it is an all-consuming and expensive job, and there is a general public blithely thinking it's someone else's problem.
 
Posted by Holy Smoke (# 14866) on :
 
Surely the real luxury these days is having paid ministers - if it were just a matter of maintaining the buildings, then I think it would be easier to find the money, even from non-churchgoers who are keen to see a beautiful and historic building preserved. It's the constant worry of having to meet the parish share which is the real problem, especially if the vicar is better paid then most of the parishioners.
 
Posted by SusanDoris (# 12618) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But humans also hurt the poor, the prisoner and the immigrant - evil is clearly a human value too. I never get why humanists feel able to claim that good is not the prerogative of just the religious when it's clear that evil isn't either!

I suppose I would not call evil a 'value'. Humans behave in all ways, ranging from the really evil to the wonderfully good, because they are human, not because a 'God' or a 'Devil' make them. The majority do not go to the extremes.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
But don't the cathedrals attract people who would not normally go near a church? OK, I guess they wander round as a tourist, but possibly the staff hope that a few get more interested.

They may, but its not exactly a cheap way to evangelise I'd guess.
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But humans also hurt the poor, the prisoner and the immigrant - evil is clearly a human value too. I never get why humanists feel able to claim that good is not the prerogative of just the religious when it's clear that evil isn't either!

I suppose I would not call evil a 'value'. Humans behave in all ways, ranging from the really evil to the wonderfully good, because they are human, not because a 'God' or a 'Devil' make them. The majority do not go to the extremes.
But why is evil not a value to you, but good is? Also, most Christians don't believe that God makes people good and the devil (not all Christians really believe in the devil!)makes people evil, but that human nature is pre-disposed to evil and that God inspires people to want to do good. The devil doesn't have nearly as much power within standard Christian theology as people think. The God-devil dichotomy is from Christian-flavoured mythology like Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno, not actual Christian theology.

[ 30. July 2013, 14:29: Message edited by: Jade Constable ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
The God-devil dichotomy is from Christian-flavoured mythology like Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno, not actual Christian theology.

I wouldn't blame Dante. The devil in the Inferno is trapped in a pit of ice, and doesn't do much except flap his wings and get used by Dante as a climbing frame.
 
Posted by SusanDoris (# 12618) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But why is evil not a value to you, but good is?

I personally do not use, or even think of the word value when talking of 'evil'; nor do I talk of evil very much reallyas I'm far more likely to think something like, 'That is terrible.' I suppose that carries as much weight, but I don't really know. I know it is all part of the way humans are, and there have always been enough of the good ones to make it almost impossible that the 'bad' ones will be numerous enough to cause our extinction.
quote:
Also, most Christians don't believe that God makes people good and the devil (not all Christians really believe in the devil!)makes people evil, but that human nature is pre-disposed to evil and that God inspires people to want to do good.
Predisposed? No, I'd say have evolved systems of behavious which have resulted in the survival of the human race. I do not behave in an evil way at all an do not give any of the credit for that to God/god/s. My upbrining, my genetic makeup, the environment, education, etc etc made me into the person I am now.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But why is evil not a value to you, but good is? Also, most Christians don't believe that God makes people good and the devil (not all Christians really believe in the devil!)makes people evil, but that human nature is pre-disposed to evil and that God inspires people to want to do good.

My understanding, and as a non-Christian I may well be wrong, is that to do evil is (by definition) to oppose God's will. If there is no God, there can be no evil. Wickedness is then defined in terms of the harm we do to each other.

I've never really understood how giving us a pre-disposition to oppose God (though jolly sporting of Her) makes it all our fault.

Oh Lord, who did beset my path with Whisky and with Gin,
Do you now impute my fall to Sin?
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But why is evil not a value to you, but good is? Also, most Christians don't believe that God makes people good and the devil (not all Christians really believe in the devil!)makes people evil, but that human nature is pre-disposed to evil and that God inspires people to want to do good.

My understanding, and as a non-Christian I may well be wrong, is that to do evil is (by definition) to oppose God's will. If there is no God, there can be no evil. Wickedness is then defined in terms of the harm we do to each other.

I've never really understood how giving us a pre-disposition to oppose God (though jolly sporting of Her) makes it all our fault.

Oh Lord, who did beset my path with Whisky and with Gin,
Do you now impute my fall to Sin?

Well, then you get into pre-destination and original sin, both doctrines being ones I struggle with (even as a Christian). Re original sin, I tend to go more with the Orthodox view.

But certainly I do believe that humans are innately prone to evil - but I see that more in terms of hurting others, and therefore harming the image of God in others is the sin. I realise you weren't being literal with that rhyming couplet but I think it is a good example of actual sin and the perception of sin, which goes with actual Christianity and the perception of Christianity. Whisky and gin are not sinful. Enjoying whisky and gin is not sinful. Using whisky and gin in such a way that harms others is sinful. However for some reason, there's a perception of Christians that we never have fun and would turn our noses up at whisky and gin - I don't know why.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
there's a perception of Christians that we never have fun and would turn our noses up at whisky and gin - I don't know why.

Certainly not my intention. I know few Christians but those I do seem to enjoy life as much as the others. Nor do I think the couplet was about that. I believe it's a rewrite of a stanza of Omar Khayyam:

Oh Thou, who didst with Pitfall and with Gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou will not with Predestin'd Evil round
Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?


That does seem to suggest Gin is a Sin - but bear in mind that Fitzgerald is (perhaps too freely) putting the words in the mouth of a C11 Muslim. References to alcohol are (probably) metaphors.


But certainly I do believe that humans are innately prone to evil - but I see that more in terms of hurting others, and therefore harming the image of God in others is the sin.

I'd say we're mostly prone to cocking things up and hurting others as part of it. A great deal of the suffering we cause is due to not thinking of the consequences of our actions or placing our wants above theirs. I tend to reserve 'evil' for people who actually want to cause pain. That seems to me much more rare and I doubt all humans are 'innately' prone to it.

But that's just the way I use the words, no more.
 
Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Vade Mecum:
quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
Make that "was a revolution". There's nothing revolutionary about the "comfortable pew" Christianity of the moment.

Why was St. Paul's the focus of the Occupy crowd?

It wasn't. The object was the exchange, and Paternoster Square, from which, it being private property, the protesters were excluded, forcing them to the adjacent churchyard.
Sorry to be day late. RL gets in the way

But the hierarchy of the Church supported the bankers and then became an object of derision/attack among the protestors, who also got increased support from other people as a result. The Church did not look good on that one, except for the notable individuals who took on the establishment (and paid a price for it!)

Maybe a few more mavericks and fewer hierarchialists would help shift the Church. At least, we now seem to have the Pope on side.
 
Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
Stepping again to say that Dan Savage addresses the major issue being debated im relation to the OP.

It is no good wringing your hands and wondering what to do about the negative attitude of those "outside" the religion. If you aren't "out" living your life as the best Christian you can be, and you aren't countering some of the really negative stuff that certain people have done in the name of Christianity, then there will be no church - and that quite soon.

If the only people heard from are the nasties and the negatives, then: what is the point? Who wants to join a group that revels in idiocy?

But, just like preaching the Gospel all the time, but only using words when necessary, one has to BE a Christian all the time, only explaining oneself as needed. That is really all you can do.

It comes a cross as a bit NALT (a Savagism meaning "Not All Like That") but that is the only way to have it come to something.

Don't rely on your Bishop or the Dean and Chapter to speak for you.

You aren't the Dean and Chapter; you probably don't want to be; but you are (except for Yorick*) a Christian. BE ONE.

* And I think Yorick understands Christianity quite well, even if he does don the robe of Devil's Advocate.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Raptor Eye

But unless churches have a business-like approach to maintaining and raising their income, or can encourage the wider to society to contribute, where is the money to look after these buildings - and to do all the community work and send money abroad - to come from?

This is what the National Trust says:
quote:

'The estimated cost of repairing all England's 14,500 listed places of worship is almost a billion pounds over the next decade [from 2007] - and that doesn't include thousands more unlisted ecclesiastical buildings. The bill is almost three times what the parishes, by the most optimistic calculations, could possibly raise. Over the same period the trickle of churches becoming redundant is becoming a torrent, and the statutory charity, the Churches Conservation Trust, will be able to save no more than a handful of the most important.'

Maybe among some congregations the power of prayer alone carries them forward. But that means so many more will have to end up closed.
It's not the 'power of prayer' alone which will carry them forward, it's the guidance of the Holy Spirit which will lead Christians to carry out God's will, including being led to whatever work must be done to fund it, re the story of the coin in the mouth of the fish.

Where leaders follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, more people come to Christ. If the church congregations grew, there would be less likelihood of closures.

I'm not convinced that those who decided to import a 'heritage tourist attraction' culture into cathedrals, so that those praying feel as if they are a spectacle, and the silence is broken by tills ringing in the shop, were following God's guidance at the time.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
That does seem to suggest Gin is a Sin - but bear in mind that Fitzgerald is (perhaps too freely) putting the words in the mouth of a C11 Muslim.

'Gin' means game trap. It's got nothing to do with alcohol.
 
Posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger (# 8891) on :
 
If gin makes you sin, what does brandy make you?
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
That does seem to suggest Gin is a Sin - but bear in mind that Fitzgerald is (perhaps too freely) putting the words in the mouth of a C11 Muslim.

'Gin' means game trap. It's got nothing to do with alcohol.
That makes much more sense, going with 'pitfall'. Presumably the popularised version I first used the convenient pun with the other meaning of 'gin'

I think I probably assumed alcohol because the whole poem is, as it were, marinaded in alcohol. But of course it's always wine.

Thanks for that.

But alas

... Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:

and I must leave the Ship for a while.
 
Posted by Sergius-Melli (# 17462) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Holy Smoke:
if it were just a matter of maintaining the buildings, then I think it would be easier to find the money, even from non-churchgoers who are keen to see a beautiful and historic building preserved.

Being in a Church which has, over the last two years, faced a spate of very expensive vandalisms, thefts and desecrations we have been deeply moved by the donations from the Community, many of whom never come to Church but appreciate the historical nature of the Church.

As for selling of our Church, as a Grade I listed building (possibly inside as well as out but I would have to check our records) it would present great difficulties, especially if to be converted into anything except a museum... However, just to say, there are several historical homes that have been passed to English Heritage in the past but the residents have been allowed a set amount of the space to continue to live in the building, so I doubt that there would be an issue with Cathedrals being handed over, but services still being allowed to be held...

On the other side, the Parish in which I was born sold of their Church (a Bishop Wilson creation which was turned into offices) and moved into the old School Building and converted that into the Church, though I would have to ask my Mother about the details (ie. congregation numbers etc.) since it was before I was born and done whilst she was properly involved with that Church, but the lifting of responsibility for the upkeep of an old building which was built for a time when the town was much more important and held significant civic events seems to have been a relief from what I gleaned in conversation in the past.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
I don't fear the anti-religious animus of today's society; to my mind if the Church isn't causing at least a degree of offence to the prevailing mores of the age and encountering opposition, then it's not doing its job properly!

As to whether religion should stay out of the 'public square', try telling that to MLK, Tutu or Wilberforce...
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Well yes, but if I thought opposition to the church was because we were challenging oppressive power structures, seeking to free captives and so on I'd agree. Unfortunately, I find amongst people I know it's because we've got it in for the queers, are institutionally sexist and justify it all by reference to an invisible sky fairy whose existence we cannot demonstrate.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Third attempt at answering this while travelling

Matt, don't you think much of the animus is deserved? With scandals, child abuse, gullibility, homo phobia, doesn't the church (generally) look hypocritical when it precarious love and exhibits hate ? And then there's all the 6 impossible things before breakfast.
 
Posted by que sais-je (# 17185) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Third attempt at answering this while travelling

Matt, don't you think much of the animus is deserved? With scandals, child abuse, gullibility, homo phobia, doesn't the church (generally) look hypocritical when it precarious love and exhibits hate ? And then there's all the 6 impossible things before breakfast.

Some people, in some churches, sometimes. Unfortunately the press and a great many people argue from the particular to the general. And good news isn't news, though truth to power sometimes is (remember "Faith in the City").

I like "precarious love" though - sometimes typos are better!
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Third attempt at answering this while travelling

Matt, don't you think much of the animus is deserved? With scandals, child abuse, gullibility, homo phobia, doesn't the church (generally) look hypocritical when it precarious love and exhibits hate ? And then there's all the 6 impossible things before breakfast.
[/QUOI hate predicative text ~ preaches not precarious
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Some of it is deserved, yes. But the Church being prophetic is inevitably going to attract opposition eg: MLK and Co challenging segregation, ++Justin at least trying to take a pop at Wonga. My concern is when it fits into the prevailing ethos of the age too comfortably...

[ 31. July 2013, 10:18: Message edited by: Matt Black ]
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Apologies for failing to code earlier - posting on a mobile phone whilst travelling is harder than reading (I kept losing the connection and several attempts at posts).

Matt - how do you tell that something is of the age?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
My concern is when it fits into the prevailing ethos of the age too comfortably...

Doesn't it worry you that so many of the doctrines of the early church fit perfectly into the prevailing ethos of the age in which they were codified? Or is it something only us modern types are likely to be guilty of?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
I think the Early Church was counter-cultural rather than conformist in many ways and one of the fruits of that was persecution. How to determine whether or not we ape the prevailing social mores indiscriminately requires great discernment and a willingness to listen to the voice of God and be conformed to His Will. Rom 12;1-2 and all that....
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
My concern is when it fits into the prevailing ethos of the age too comfortably...

Doesn't it worry you that so many of the doctrines of the early church fit perfectly into the prevailing ethos of the age in which they were codified? Or is it something only us modern types are likely to be guilty of?
[Overused]
Important question. It's too easy to parrot 'giving way to the spirit of the age.' Very often, the Holy Spirit has been at work on the 'spirit of the age' a long time before the Church catches up. And very often not, of course. Wisdom is necessary to discern which.

[Crossposted, and agreeing, with Matt Black.]

[ 31. July 2013, 16:58: Message edited by: Angloid ]
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
It's not the 'power of prayer' alone which will carry them forward, it's the guidance of the Holy Spirit which will lead Christians to carry out God's will, including being led to whatever work must be done to fund it, re the story of the coin in the mouth of the fish.

Where leaders follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, more people come to Christ. If the church congregations grew, there would be less likelihood of closures.

I'm not convinced that those who decided to import a 'heritage tourist attraction' culture into cathedrals, so that those praying feel as if they are a spectacle, and the silence is broken by tills ringing in the shop, were following God's guidance at the time.

What your first two paragraphs imply is that when churches close it's because those Christians haven't been following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It's a sad thing to hear, especially for those of us who've attended churches that closed.

If you live in London or the South East (i.e. where most of the flourishing churches are) then church closure probably seems far away, but the stats aren't good for churches in many parts of the country. For them, waiting for super spiritual ministers who are also gifted at leading ageing and often demoralised congregations towards transformation will frequently mean waiting for closure. Maybe a great leader will turn up in 10 or 20 years' time, but what do you do until then if the money's running out and it's getting harder and harder to fill the offices of the church?

For many churches it'll either be closure or a revival, but even revivals don't just happen; something was already bubbling away. And has a revival ever happened in or around a cathedral? They probably benefit from revivals in other churches, but in the meantime, again, they need filthy cash.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
What your first two paragraphs imply is that when churches close it's because those Christians haven't been following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It's a sad thing to hear, especially for those of us who've attended churches that closed.

If you live in London or the South East (i.e. where most of the flourishing churches are) then church closure probably seems far away, but the stats aren't good for churches in many parts of the country. For them, waiting for super spiritual ministers who are also gifted at leading ageing and often demoralised congregations towards transformation will frequently mean waiting for closure. Maybe a great leader will turn up in 10 or 20 years' time, but what do you do until then if the money's running out and it's getting harder and harder to fill the offices of the church?

For many churches it'll either be closure or a revival, but even revivals don't just happen; something was already bubbling away. And has a revival ever happened in or around a cathedral? They probably benefit from revivals in other churches, but in the meantime, again, they need filthy cash.

I believe that if it's God's will for a church building to continue to be used by those who serve, God will provide guidance through the Holy Spirit so that funding will be sourced. Sometimes people stand in the way of God's will. Sometimes a building may lie fallow for a while, perhaps this too is God's will. I know of a church building, disused for decades, which was surrounded by a new housing estate and brought back into use with enthusiasm and funding.

The future of the Church must involve putting Christ first, not cash. He is the great leader, who is here now.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
In my city the churches are often sold and used as mosques or Sikh temples, or occasionally for other purposes. Ideally the buildings are used as churches by some of the new denominations, but that depends on the area. I can't imagine there are many circumstances where a denomination will happily leave a church building to stand empty. Maybe that's an Anglican thing.
 
Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
Our little rural congo decided to "stop worrying and love each other (and the neighbours) and God, working, oddly enough, through the Bishop, gave us a really good chance to make it work.

And it does continue to work, so long as we keep from whining about "where will the money come from?"

I wouldn't say we have too much money, but we have enough that we can give useful amounts away to those in need, while building community.

In fact, when we say that all of a particular collection will be given away, people put more in the plate.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Vade Mecum:
How would the debasement of these places further the Gospel?

You mean apart from allowing all the money that currently goes on their upkeep to go to the poor instead?

Durham Cathedral costs the church £60,000 a week. That's over THREE MILLION POUNDS a year. Or, if you prefer, enough to pay 250 poor families a weekly benefit of £240, every week of the year.

So which is more Christian - to spend that money on feeding and housing the poor, or to spend it on a big fancy building for the church? And if the church is allowed to choose the latter, how the hell can it preach at me if I choose to spend my cash on big fancy things for myself instead of giving it to the poor?

But a lot of that money will be paying people to do stuff, vergers, clerk if words & team, contractors etc, even energy bills will be paying people at the end of the day. Having been unemployed for 18 months before finding a job working in a historic church, I'm glad they pay my wages. In fact I'm paid out of investment funds as we have a good "endowment" (thank you Elisabeth I)

Carys
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
But a lot of that money will be paying people to do stuff, vergers, clerk if words & team, contractors etc, even energy bills will be paying people at the end of the day.

A lot of it? All of it, more like!

But that's also true of every single penny we choose to spend on ourselves. Christian leaders may cry out against the wastefulness of a billionaire buying himself a luxury yacht, but the workers at the shipyard that builds it will have a different opinion!
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
But a lot of that money will be paying people to do stuff, vergers, clerk if words & team, contractors etc, even energy bills will be paying people at the end of the day.

A lot of it? All of it, more like!

But that's also true of every single penny we choose to spend on ourselves. Christian leaders may cry out against the wastefulness of a billionaire buying himself a luxury yacht, but the workers at the shipyard that builds it will have a different opinion!

A basic knowledge of Keynesian economics will tell you that not all spending is equal - spending on luxury yachts is proportionally less likely to make it down into the wages of ordinary workers than, say, spending on mass produced cars. This is because luxury goods have a much higher profit margin so a big chunk of the money rolls straight back into the pockets of wealthy owners. For mass produced goods the margins are lower so more workers are likely getting paid out of every pound spent. Churches rarely pay excessive wages, so spending on Cathedrals likely puts money into a lot of pockets. I don't think that alone is a reason to do it, of course.
 
Posted by Mark Betts (# 17074) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
...Of course, the majority needing to find their voice to counter the overly loud voice of the extreme minority works on both sides. Those most vocally pushing the 'secular agenda' are also from a vocal minority. They probably don't represent the majority of the non-religious population any more than Christian Voice represents the majority of the Christian population.

Ha ha, good old Stevie-boy Green! [Smile] It might be worth pointing out that this is a programme from the good old secular BBC - which rarely has a good word to say about religion, especially christianity, yet seems to let the crackpot loony-tune fringe's views have free reign.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
And a leader from the Independent, and nearly all the live comedians in the UK, and ... That the thread was partially triggered by a show wasn't meant to suggest that this was the only place I encounter these anti-Christian sentiment. I've met it reading religious books on trains.

There's a thread in Dead Horses about anti-Christian sentiments in the LGB communities. Justinian posted this earlier, which seems to me encapsulates why churches in the UK are failing.
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mark Betts:
Ha ha, good old Stevie-boy Green! [Smile] It might be worth pointing out that this is a programme from the good old secular BBC - which rarely has a good word to say about religion, especially christianity, yet seems to let the crackpot loony-tune fringe's views have free reign.

Controversial and outrageous views make more popular reporting, don't they? Sadly, ISTM that even the more mainstream Christian, um, voices in the media are often sending the message that Christianity is about disapproving of various things. Maybe the situation is different locally but wouldn't it be great if, at all levels of society, churches and Christians were more known for what we are for (justice, care of the disadvantaged etc.) than for what we are against?
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Vade Mecum:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin:
You mean apart from allowing all the money that currently goes on their upkeep to go to the poor instead?

And the fact that you give the poor some money means they'll be more receptive to a Gospel pruned of all beauty?
If all the beauty in the Gospel is put there by it being in a large and old stone building then the Gospel isn't worth the paper it's written on. Literally.

[ 01. August 2013, 10:47: Message edited by: Justinian ]
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
There's a thread in Dead Horses about anti-Christian sentiments in the LGB communities. Justinian posted this earlier, which seems to me encapsulates why churches in the UK are failing.

Indeed. The biggest draw of the Churches should be that they point to a better world, and lead us to getting there. And the Churches should have, and maintain, moral authority - without it they have nothing non-supernatural to offer.

And right now due to various positions (mostly Dead Horses - note how on most of them almost everyone on one side is Christian) the CofE, the RCC, the Orthodox, and most evangelicals, the average person of my age and below is probably less likely to believe that someone is a decent human being if they are associated with a church than if they aren't. The various branches of the Church generally have moral authority in the secular world around that of politicians or journalists.

[ 01. August 2013, 11:01: Message edited by: Justinian ]
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
If all the beauty in the Gospel is put there by it being in a large and old stone building then the Gospel isn't worth the paper it's written on. Literally.

My thoughts exactly. Aesthetics are important (to some people more than others) but sinking millions into the repair, maintenance and ongoing running costs of ornate buildings isn't remotely what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about, IMO. The Gospel's beauty comes from God's gracious offer of salvation, wholeness, and a place in his family.

Sorry to bang on again about the New Testament church but the desire to own buildings is completely absent from the pages of the NT. So I'd say we need to examine very carefully our desire in this direction; is it enhancing the Gospel or is it consuming money that would be better used in a different way?
 
Posted by Sergius-Melli (# 17462) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
Sorry to bang on again about the New Testament church but the desire to own buildings is completely absent from the pages of the NT. So I'd say we need to examine very carefully our desire in this direction; is it enhancing the Gospel or is it consuming money that would be better used in a different way?

Unfortunately it is not that simple, nor really that practical I think...

1. Having a Church building, should, itself act as a proselytising tool for the community. I think of towns where the tallest building still remains the Church tower (for example York Minster which by local law has to be - I believe that is still the case anyhow). By having a visible sign of Christian presence people are reminded day in and day out about the presence of the Christian faith in the world. Whilst this is a more pertinent point for older Churches which have some gravitas to them, and don't just look like a modern barn or something, even modern buildings have the same ability to act as a symbol of presence, as well as a place of active, incarnational outreach to the community.

2. As a second point, especially concerning older buildings, the denominations that have them (ie. CofE, CinW) have a tough time of getting rid of them, especially the oldest, most expensive to upkeep ones at least. Even if we wanted to be rid of our church building (a point which has been raised at our PCC in the past - all congregations would use the smaller, much more 'modern' Church in the Parish for all services instead) the reality of being able to do so was bleak, so either way, we spend the money on a building that we are stuck with, of end up probably faced by a fine from CADW, and a more expensive bill for cumulative repairs, if we were to just abandon it and leave it to fall to rack and ruin...
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sergius-Melli:
Having a Church building, should, itself act as a proselytising tool for the community. I think of towns where the tallest building still remains the Church tower (for example York Minster which by local law has to be - I believe that is still the case anyhow). By having a visible sign of Christian presence people are reminded day in and day out about the presence of the Christian faith in the world.

Hmm, colour me unconvinced, sorry. Is there any evidence that this effect is at all significant? Wouldn't it be a far more productive witness if the money spent on maintaining such buildings was spent instead on providing for those in need within the local community?
quote:
Originally posted by Sergius-Melli:
As a second point, especially concerning older buildings, the denominations that have them (ie. CofE, CinW) have a tough time of getting rid of them, especially the oldest, most expensive to upkeep ones at least.

Yes, point taken! I realise there are barriers, but I was really lamenting our desire to have large, grand church buildings. If a church is at least trying to spend less money on buildings (by owning one that is more fit-for-purpose, or by hiring space as they need it) then all well and good, IMO.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
It all sounds very good, this theory about getting rid of church buildings but for the church I've seen do this, it hasn't gone well. The local Elim church sold its tin tabernacle and now hires places to meet. That congregation has reduced and the pastor and his wife are working in paid jobs because they can't ask the congregation to pay any more, that congregation used to support a paid pastor. The tin tabernacle was used as a site to build housing.

Someone asserted on the Ship a few years ago that getting rid of church buildings doesn't save the church money in the long run. There was a lot more detail to the comments, reference to somewhere which had done it, but I can't remember who and when.

And, yes, I have experience of the community choosing to support a much loved town building, even when they are not church members. It does happen.
 
Posted by Sergius-Melli (# 17462) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
quote:
Originally posted by Sergius-Melli:
Having a Church building, should, itself act as a proselytising tool for the community. I think of towns where the tallest building still remains the Church tower (for example York Minster which by local law has to be - I believe that is still the case anyhow). By having a visible sign of Christian presence people are reminded day in and day out about the presence of the Christian faith in the world.

Hmm, colour me unconvinced, sorry. Is there any evidence that this effect is at all significant? Wouldn't it be a far more productive witness if the money spent on maintaining such buildings was spent instead on providing for those in need within the local community?
Not that I can categorically point to...

I guess I don't really believe in the effect that much and would prefer it if the Church building itself were better known for what happens from there in terms of outreach and helping the local community. Unfortunately it would require a certain amount of joined up thinking (something which most denominations don't seem to be all that good at IMO) about using the space much more creatively, and allowing the space to be used much more flexibly, which unfortunately brings us back to point 2 I made above.
 
Posted by Sergius-Melli (# 17462) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
It all sounds very good, this theory about getting rid of church buildings but for the church I've seen do this, it hasn't gone well. The local Elim church sold its tin tabernacle and now hires places to meet. That congregation has reduced and the pastor and his wife are working in paid jobs because they can't ask the congregation to pay any more, that congregation used to support a paid pastor. The tin tabernacle was used as a site to build housing.

Someone asserted on the Ship a few years ago that getting rid of church buildings doesn't save the church money in the long run. There was a lot more detail to the comments, reference to somewhere which had done it, but I can't remember who and when.

And, yes, I have experience of the community choosing to support a much loved town building, even when they are not church members. It does happen.

Lack of joined up thinking...

The Church I mention up thread used to have 2 cottages as well, during the move from the Old Church building into the School building they sold of the cottages (which weren't in too bad nick, required some minor work) instead of taking the long term view of renting. By now there would have been a healthy return from the rent which would be enabling the congregation to do outreach etc. into the community, instead of worrying about raising ministry share etc.

Churches seem to have a short sighted view towards property, sell it now and never have the chance of reaping anything from it, rather than putting out a little money and gaining it back rather quickly in the housing climate. Of course I accept that some properties are best just to sell off (especially some of the older, more run down Parsonages of the Victorian era - regardless of how wonderful looking they are) but it is not a properly thought through policy and ends in missed opportunities in the future...
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
quote:
Hmm, colour me unconvinced, sorry. Is there any evidence that this effect is at all significant? Wouldn't it be a far more productive witness if the money spent on maintaining such buildings was spent instead on providing for those in need within the local community?
But a lot of the time the buildings themselves are necessary to provide for those in need in the local community. My parish holds homeless shelters, rents space to a local free school that hasn't found a permanent location, and holds children's play groups and holiday camps.

I attended a church without a building for many years - not only was the amount of money spent on rent astronomical, but it affected the sense of community too. Then there were last minute venue changes for services, a different location for Sunday service and midweek services, etc.

Something I'd like to see more of is a group of churches purchasing a building and sharing the space. For example our local community center is a joint churches initiative, and in addition to youth clubs holds both CofE and various evangelical/Pentecostal services on the weekends. It would be more cost effective and then at least there's a "church building" in a community.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
It all sounds very good, this theory about getting rid of church buildings but for the church I've seen do this, it hasn't gone well. The local Elim church sold its tin tabernacle and now hires places to meet. That congregation has reduced and the pastor and his wife are working in paid jobs because they can't ask the congregation to pay any more, that congregation used to support a paid pastor. The tin tabernacle was used as a site to build housing.


I think it depends - some churches do well in rented accommodation, and some don't. There are pros and cons to each, and far more factors at play than simply switching from an owned to a rented venue. Good planning and having an open and honest debate within the congregation must all be essential.

Congregations often have an emotional attachment to a particular building, but they need to decide what their theology is. Is the church the building or the people? My former minister used to say 'The church is not the building!' but he never explained to the whole congregation the theology behind that. The clergy need to be more forceful about this because in future Christians will have to grow less attached to buildings. The demographic reality will demand it.
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
Joined-up thinking and flexible use of space, indeed! If a building enables a particular church to more effectively serve their community then that's great. I just think there's too much emotional attachment on the part of Christians to their buildings, especially if SvitlanaV2 is right about the impending demographic reality (which I suppose she is, in the UK anyway).
 
Posted by Sergius-Melli (# 17462) on :
 
This link* is a response to the OP Indy link...

* Please note that this is a link to the Guardian newspaper for those that feel it necessary to know where all the news source comes from so they can avoid off-shore, tax dodging, hypocritical media sources [Biased]
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
Joined-up thinking and flexible use of space, indeed! If a building enables a particular church to more effectively serve their community then that's great. I just think there's too much emotional attachment on the part of Christians to their buildings, especially if SvitlanaV2 is right about the impending demographic reality (which I suppose she is, in the UK anyway).

It can be a bit more complex. I have seen situations of great turmoil in congregations where I wonder if the building did not end up bearing the brunt of ministry when the clergy and people were doing no such thing, preferring their spats and scarring. As personal, theological, and liturgical differences needed time to settle (and sometimes they didn't!), an older building served as a useful focus and as a mutually acceptable ground for common endeavour. I can think of two cases where the love of the building saved the day. Note, as well, that a culturally-significant building can be a ground for those on the fringes of the church can come in and begin to enter into activities. I'm not saying that this is inevitable and there's likely plenty of places where it won't, but wonder if hyperedificiophilia cannot work to the good.

Seekingsister's idea of a shared church building is a good one. In Canada, because of fierce religious divides, we have many small towns with a surfeit of buildings, with congregations now struggling under the burden-- the United Church of Canada was formed, in great part, by prairie farmers who could not see the point of having 3-4 churches at a crossroads. Their common sense could be examined sympathetically.
 
Posted by Truman White (# 17290) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
But in a society when 6.3% of the population attended (a Christian) church on Census Sunday in 2005 how much weight is going to be given to voices trying to sway opinion from among those church leaders?

I do think religion should have a place. A return of Christian values to Government (helping the sick, poor, prisoner, immigrant) and banking would not be a bad thing. "There's no such thing as society" has worked really well so far for the rich, but the divides are getting deeper and wider.

I am really asking what when this anti-religion commentary is mainstream and growing, what chance of those religious values keeping any foothold.

Fair question. The counterpoint is that other publications are a lot more positive about Christianity (the Mail and the Times for example). Also not just about whether or not a point is being made from a faith perspective, but the validity of the point. Justin Welby has made some canny moves in his approach to lending agencies - arguably he's been setting the political agenda on that one. The fact so many food banks are being set up is drawing attention to the impact of welfare reforms (which is a wider and multi-faceted debate), but is an example of the church getting a voice on the back of addressing a social need.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Hmmm ... yes, but having positive reviews by the Daily Mail and, less so, the Times could be counter-productive ...

[Big Grin]

I think CK's point about the prevailing current and climate of opinion being fairly anti Christianity and certainly anti-church is a fair one. I'm involved in creative writing and poetry groups and I've lost count of the number of times someone gets up at an open-mic with some kind of unoriginal and ill-informed rant against the evils of organised religion ...

[Roll Eyes]

Like as if they're the first person to have noticed ...

Similarly, I posted something mildly jokey on FB t'other week which just happened to have a religious element to it and I received snarky comments from atheists pointing out how wicked and evil religious people are and how awful it all is and yadda yadda yadda as if I was completely unaware that there were negative things that could be said about those who hold a faith position ...

[Roll Eyes]

I don't think we help ourselves much, it has to be said.
 
Posted by kankucho (# 14318) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mark Betts:
...the good old secular BBC - which rarely has a good word to say about religion, especially christianity, yet seems to let the crackpot loony-tune fringe's views have free reign.

Thank you. I'll certainly bear that opinion in mind during Songs Of Praise, or when the next BBC news producer wants a broadly 'moral' slant on something and defaults as ever to asking a CoE bishop.


Coming late to this thread, I'm wondering where the OP intended it to go...

quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:

quote:
This is no swipe at religion, but such matters are a private affair, and spiritual leaders – for all the authority they may have among their own – have no business in mainstream politics. That bishops still sit in the House of Lords is an anachronism that makes a mockery of British democracy...
...Does the church, any church, not just the Church of England, have a future in Britain when anti-religious views are being expressed as mainstream?
There doesn't seem to be much of a challenge to churches' having a future chatting among themselves. In that respect, churches will survive alongside all the other special interest groups in an increasingly diverse society. But the cited radio programme seems to be more concerned with the ongoing assumption that titled Christians should opine within secular government on behalf of What God Thinks.

Such luminaries as MLK and William Wilberforce were cited upthread in defence of religion being involved with politics. But these figures weren't assuming a right to be heard simply because they were good Christian folk with good Christian titles attached to their names. In fact, they were on 'maverick' missions to dismantle social evils that had long been endorsed by the 'Christian' establishment.

[ 03. August 2013, 15:52: Message edited by: kankucho ]
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:


Seekingsister's idea of a shared church building is a good one. In Canada, because of fierce religious divides, we have many small towns with a surfeit of buildings, with congregations now struggling under the burden-- the United Church of Canada was formed, in great part, by prairie farmers who could not see the point of having 3-4 churches at a crossroads. Their common sense could be examined sympathetically.

There are several different possibilities here. If you're talking about denominations merging, then there's a longish history of this now in England. The Methodists split into different groups in the 19th c., but then mostly came back together, over time. The Congregationalists and Presbyterians mostly joined together in the 70s and became the URC.

Secondly, you have the practice of congregations from younger denominations renting church space from older congregations, with each congregation worshipping at a different time. Caribbean congregations from mostly American denominations used to rent from the established English churches, but they generally have their own buildings now. Some of the newer African churches seem to have a strategy whereby they avoid renting a space that's still in use by other churches. Christians from other ethnic groups still mostly rent.

Thirdly, among the mainstream churches you now see a growing number of Local Ecumenical Partnerships. These involve congregations from 2 or 3 denominations merging and using only one building. The parties involved are usually Anglicans, Methodists, URC and Baptists.

I also know of cases where two congregations worship in the same building at the same time, but in a different room.

[ 03. August 2013, 22:36: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
I live in quite a rural area. In two Creamtealand villages near me, there is now only one open church building. In the first, the Methodists and Anglicans share the Methodist church, in the other the Methodists and Anglicans share the CofE church. Apparently it is working well.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kankucho:
Coming late to this thread, I'm wondering where the OP intended it to go...

The thought was the way that churches and religions (generally) are seen in the community is negatively, and because they are hypocritical and judgemental. Pretty much as Justinian was expressing here

quote:
quote:
quote:
Independent newspaper: This is no swipe at religion, but such matters are a private affair, and spiritual leaders – for all the authority they may have among their own – have no business in mainstream politics. That bishops still sit in the House of Lords is an anachronism that makes a mockery of British democracy...
clipped quotation from my response...Does the church, any church, not just the Church of England, have a future in Britain when anti-religious views are being expressed as mainstream?
part of kankucho's response: There doesn't seem to be much of a challenge to churches' having a future chatting among themselves. In that respect, churches will survive alongside all the other special interest groups in an increasingly diverse society. But the cited radio programme seems to be more concerned with the ongoing assumption that titled Christians should opine within secular government on behalf of What God Thinks.<snip>
That quotation was from The Independent not the comedy show - just to make sure I'm not putting words into the wrong peoples' mouths.
 


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