Tuesday, 21 October 2008

fearful of faith?

I’m never going to make much comment on the social-political landscape as I feel there are plenty of folk out there doing such things much better than I shall ever aspire, or want to. However, the heading in the Times this week “There’s a God shaped hole in Westminster’ caught my eye - especially when it went on to say ‘today’s politicians – whose favourite summer reading was ‘The God Delusion’ – have never been more fearful of faith.’ A very interesting comment, but what really made me shudder was wondering to what extent this unfaithful stance is mirrored in the Church. For example, I was in a meeting this week (where and who with probably best kept quiet for obvious reasons). The group was asked to name what values we thought were appropriate to ‘Chaplaincy’. We had many of the usual suspects to which everyone continued to murmur assent – ‘incarnational’, ‘relational’, ‘where they are’, etc. I thought I’d test the group out by saying ‘Christian’. Just to say, this was the only offering to which disagreement was voiced, the only comment on the flipchart which had a question mark added to it! Now, just in case you think I’m naïve let me say I wasn’t surprised - partly why I offered the suggestion! Neither am I unaware of the difficulties and delicacies of working on the secular interface and the challenge and/or demand for such things to be presented as ‘inter-faith’.  Am I allowed, however, to say the anxiety some Christians have in saying what we want to offer might be distinctly Christian disturbs me, or is that not PC enough? Our Baptist forefathers (don’t try and guess it was one of our meetings) were great champions of the right of freedom for other persecuted minorities than themselves, even if they were of a different faith and I’m right there with that. BUT – they were distinctly Christian and if were not that, we are nothing.

Rant over – still no sign of the car!

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