Notepad on Life

August 4, 2013

Condescension to Church shows sad state of Independent

English: User box for Separation of Church vs....

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sure MPs at least, will be delighted with the Independent‘s recent leader column purporting to send those naughty Christians to their room without any supper.

It used to be left to the Right Honourable Members to reveal their breathtaking ignorance of the Christian faith by trotting out the patronising old canard about the Church of England sticking to preaching the Gospel and leaving politics to the politicians; you know, the experts…

Now the media are doing their job for them.

I knew there might be a secularist backlash when new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, showed early promise that he could be streets ahead of his predecessor when it came to being in touch with life beyond the cathedral cloisters.

I heard him handle with great aplomb an interrogation about the Wonga embarrassment, the highlight of which was interviewer John Humphrys‘ inability (or refusal) to see that this admittedly hilarious, if inadvertent, gaffe was fixable and posed no fatal threat to Welby’s proposals to provide hard-up people with a better alternative to payday loan firms and their eye-watering interest rates.

The Independent‘s nauseating arrogance and double-speak that same day, mind, makes Humphrys look the very model of perception.

Nick Baines has beautifully eviscerated the person responsible for it on his blog, so I merely pick over the carcass:

  • I defy even their greatest critic to read the four Gospels and not see a Man as engaged with the world around Him as He was with the world He claimed is to come, whether you see Him as deluded or not
  • If Christianity was indeed a ship sailing nowhere and all about just hiding yourself away and mulling over scripture without ever putting it to work in the world around us, I suspect its membership numbers past and present would be on a par with that of the Tufty Club.
  • “His efforts to…make the Church relevant…” Ah, so even you acknowledge that his approach has something going for it.
  • “[They] have no business in mainstream politics…” Everyone has business in mainstream politics. This is a democracy, where everyone gets at least a say, not some oligarchy where the only opinions that matter come from a self-regarding elite  in Westminster and the media. How many times, I wonder, have Independent commentators lamented the woeful turn-out at elections, and cried out for more ‘engagement’? Just not Christian engagement, apparently.
  • And once again, in a leader on this theme, no mention of the secular hypocrisy at the heart of it. Politicians want the Church of England to stay out of politics, while politicians continue to have a say in whom the Church appoints as its bishops. When it comes to clamouring for the separation of Church and State, atheists may be surprised at just how many Anglicans are egging them on.
  • “This is no swipe at religion”. This is like Ron Jeremy holding a postage stamp over his manhood in the hope that he’s covered himself. Of course it’s a swipe at religion. How old do you think your average reader is? Six? You think religion’s stupid, its practitioners belong in a soundproofed cell whose key has gone missing and you only wish you could say so in a national newspaper. You know what? So do I. Your transparent sincerity, at least, I could respect.

December 16, 2009

Dear Archbishop of Canterbury…

Filed under: Church — - @ 1:24 pm
Tags: , , ,
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams
Image by chrisjohnbeckett via Flickr

I was pleased to note your censure of Government attempts to marginalise Christians last week. It suggests you are feeling quite bullish as Christmas approaches and I trust you will therefore be receptive to my suggestion for slapping down another form of anti-Christian behaviour that I feel has been marginalising us for years.

I decided during a particularly grim encounter at my own church last Sunday morning that I can no longer keep silent on the scourge of the limp clergy handshake.

So sadly familiar have I become with this peculiarly Church of England trait that I can now see it coming a mile off and so it was with Sunday’s celebrant – fingers slithering towards my hand like a tentative brood of vipers, grasping the tips of my index, third and fourth fingers and administering not so much a shake as a tremor, before slithering back from where there they came.

Repulsive doesn’t begin to cover it. Peter Mandelson can probably do better than this.

Is this how John Wesley greeted the faithful, I ask myself? St Paul? Martin Luther King?

If a battle-hardened Anglican like me can finally be driven to despair by such awful PR, what do you suppose it does for the ‘floating voters’ out there: to encounter a man of God who clearly equates shaking the hands of his flock with picking up a dog turd?

Such social ineptitude has no place on the front line of evangelism and I believe the Church has to address it. The whole gay clergy thing is a massive red herring: effeminate handshakes are the real enemy in our midst (and the two are by no means always the same thing).

“Treat each handshake as if you’re grasping the very gate of heaven itself” – introduce that as an article of faith at theology college and we may finally start to get somewhere. And a purely backroom job for anyone not up to it.

My best wishes for Christmas and 2010.

Yours faithfully,

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]NP Liffe

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: