Wednesday, 9 January 2013

(K)navish tricks

Atheist Sunday 'worship' is now available from time to time at the Nave, the former St Paul's church, Islington (off the Balls Pond Road if you're curious) says a report from the Huffington Post [here]
The building has, in fact, belonged to the Steiner Project since the 1990s, and is described as an 'education, arts and performance space,' but it's a warning of what could happen to many  redundant churches in the future. Still, to some in the Church of England it could be far worse; St Paul's could have fallen into the hands of the Ordinariate.
As for 'atheist Sunday worship,' it seems entirely logical for an ideology which is essentially parasitic upon the organism it purports to loathe.

Speaking of negativity, the exact opposite of the compassion and care of the Hospice movement, the worrying practice of the Liverpool Care Pathway, is at long last, after protests by senior churchmen and others, undergoing serious questioning, Christina Odone writes in The Telegraph [here]  As Christianity retreats and society can no longer live off the spiritual and moral capital of the past, something else will emerge from the shadows to fill the vacuum. 

And we may not like the resulting culture.
Bishop Mark Davies, the (Roman Catholic) Bishop of Shrewsbury, and the model of a modern Christian leader, expresses his all-too-realistic fears for the future in an interview for the Catholic Herald:
"..It is always difficult to foresee the future. As a young person, I used to pray for those Christians suffering under totalitarian regimes. It would have been quite unthinkable to believe that in Britain, during the gentle reign of Queen Elizabeth II, Christians would be brought before the courts for giving witness to their faith. I remember the words of Blessed John Henry Newman when he foresaw a time coming, a time of infidelity which, he said, would leave such courageous hearts as St Athanasius and St Gregory aghast and dizzy. But – and I think this is something which we must never, never forget – he also said that, though this trial for the Church would be different from all those preceding it, it would be overcome. I think that that is something that we must clearly see: that if we are called upon in our generation, our time, to give such witness, even being brought before courts, even facing the prospect of imprisonment, as you have mentioned, that this is our opportunity to give witness, as the Gospel reminds us, not just for our contemporaries but for generations who will follow us..."  
Read it all here 
And, lastly, illustrative of the resurgence of that strange topsy-turvy world of the fashionable left from which we thought, with some relief, we had moved on since the 1980s (except, alas, in Anglican establishment circles), Toby Young on the great George Orwell and the journalistic prize now awarded in his name to those supporting restrictions on press freedom [here]
"...My second reason for saying Orwell would have been opposed to a Leveson Act is his dislike of the “Europeanized intelligentsia”. Is there a better phrase to sum up the leading lights of the Hacked Off Campaign – men such as Professor Brian Cathcart, Dr Evan Harris and Hugh Tomlinson QC? In "The Lion and the Unicorn", Orwell wrote that the most salient fact about England’s liberal elite was “their severance from the common culture of the country”. He goes on: “In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings.” When I read this, I immediately thought of the films of Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant, with their sniggering superiority to everything that is quintessentially English, from the simple country vicar to Horse and Hound.
Few can doubt that the main target of Hacked Off – and Brian Leveson himself – is the tabloid press. It’s not just Page 3 they have in their sights, but kiss-and-tell stories, celebrity exposés – anything that offends against their over-developed sense of propriety. And there’s more than a pinch of snobbery in their antipathy to “the common culture of the country”, a snobbery that was repeatedly on display during the Leveson hearings. Robert Jay QC did everything but hold his nose when cross-examining Paul Dacre and Leveson himself occasionally let his disdain for the tabloids and their defenders show, such as the moment he snapped at Michael Gove, telling him he needed no lessons from the likes of him, thank you very much..."
As a 'simple country vicar,' I sympathise with what he says. There's a fine line between affectionate parody and 'sniggering superiority,' and it's one which in the largely politically and culturally monochrome world of movie-making is often crossed. 

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