Friday, 13 March 2015

Where unimaginable inclusivity meets crass stupidity

Here's a silly story about a clergyman who - with the best possible motives, naturally - thinks it is a jolly good idea to allow Muslim prayer in his parish church. [here] Why? Is there a startling absence of mosques or community centres in modern Britain? 
Now, 'Inclusive Mosque' - although it sounds like something dreamt up by Private Eye or Eccles is Saved - may well be a good idea in the global context of violent jihadism, the oppression of women in many parts of the Islamic world and the radicalisation of muslim youth closer to home, but it's difficult to work out just how that is the business of the Church of England.
However, while it's good to see that the Wodehousian tradition of the joke vicar is still alive and simpering, Fr Alexander Luce-Smith at the Catholic Herald explains why Islamic worship in Christian buildings might not be such a good idea after all:
"....The vicar who hosted the Muslim prayers in his church and who took part in them, is reported as saying the following: “It is the same God, we share a tradition.” This is perhaps the most worrying thing of all, and it is something that I have heard on the lips of Catholics too. It is simply not true, and to suggest that it is is misleading, to say the least. Islam’s concept of God and of revelation is radically different to the Catholic concept of either. Moreover, our tradition and their tradition, our culture and theirs, are radically (that is to say from the root up) different. In art, in literature, in law, in cookery, in domestic life, their path is markedly different from our own. The vicar’s words do no one any favours. Moreover, the vicar seems to have forgotten the central mystery of the Christain faith, the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, a mystery that penetrates all aspects of faith and life, or should.
Christians who take this, or a similar view, on the closeness of Islamic and Christian traditions, know nothing about Islam, but, shockingly, seem to know nothing about their own Christian tradition either. "  [here]
Neither know nor care, in fact ...

And another silly episode, involving overpaid media folk and an an alleged punch-up over the absence of refreshments at the end of a gruelling day's filming [here]. But, love him or loathe him (or even a strange combination of both) Jeremy Clarkson has an uncanny ability to expose the fault-lines in contemporary British society. It's General Election year, so the politicians also are prompted to give their two penn'orth about something they think might interest the plebs ..... [all kinds of comment from politicos and others here and here] - it's far easier for them, one supposes, than giving a lead about the things which really matter.

And, on an altogether different note, if not wholly uncontroversial, an essay [here] about the wider significance of the books of Rosemary Sutcliff, an author I loved as a child:
"It is this spirit of service, this dedication to a higher principle that we need to find again if our civilization is to survive. We need to rediscover a scale of values, and reconnect with the depth and richness of our religious, intellectual, cultural and political patrimony. The West has little to be ashamed of, and much of which to be proud. Self-doubt leads to self-hate, and self-hate, however subtly justified and disguised, is only a short step towards self-abasement.
This no time for self-abasement. Quite the reverse. We are called instead towards a declaration of faith in everything we believe in, stand for and hold dear, everything good, beautiful, and true, in the face of encroaching darkness from within and without."
And from Sutcliff herself:
"... The shutter banged again, and somewhere in the distance I heard a smothered burst of laughter. I said, ‘Then why don’t we yield now, and make an end? There would be fewer cities burned and fewer men slain that way. Why do we go on fighting? Why not merely lie down and let it come? They say it is easier to drown if you don’t struggle.’
‘For an idea,’ Ambrosius said, beginning again to play with the dragon arm ring, but his eyes were smiling in the firelight, and I think that mine smiled back at him. ‘Just for an idea, for a dream.’
I said, ‘A dream may be the best thing to die for.’ ..."

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