Friday, 3 February 2012
Church of England holds firm
I have been hearing and reading quite a lot about how the Church of England is falling apart; how all the differences over wonen bishops, gay priests and gay marriage will tear it apart. I've also been told that those of us who blog our views (sometimes referred to as dissenters) are driving a further wedge into the institution. Oh and we're the worst form of PR the church has got.
Of course these opinions have all come from outside the church, so let me share my thoughts.
1. The Church of England is tearing itself apart
I don't think so.
That's not my experience of the CofE at a local, regional or national level.
The Church of England is good at holding together a wide range of views, styles, histories, experiences, ages, worship styles and backgrounds. It is this very tolerance amongst the individuals that make up the church which makes it firm and real.
Sure the organisation and institution itself can be shook and can at times appear in trouble, but that's more to do with our modern human obsession with contracts and absolutes in everything.
Day to day, week to week we are a church of people, of believers and followers of Christ; we are the ones who hold the church together through our desire to do so.
2. Bloggers expressing views are driving a wedge into the CofE
First let me point you back to #1.
Now let me reassure you that we in the CofE are great at stating our opinions, sharing our views and agreeing to disagree. We can do this, even when it's hard, whilst remaining as one. We take being the hands and feet of Christ seriously, and this includes tolerance and forgiveness. Where would we be if a load of gobby dissenters (if that is what you care to see us as) could so easily destroy us?
I have no desire at all to drive a wedge into the CofE; I love the church and all it stands for and is for be and those it works for and with. I merely wish to share my own views and in so doing help those who read understand how it is for me and how it can be for them.
3. Bloggers are the worst PR the church has ever had.
I would hate to blog my own trumpet; but I actually think that down to earth bloggers are possibly the best PR the CofE has ever had. We make it real, worts and all; just like any family. When we open ourselves up as we are it is so much easier to be liked. After all, who likes the model of perfection? That is boring and threatening. But the normal; now that's intriguing and accessible and interesting.
I have faith, unwaivering faith, that the Church of England will hold firm. It will go through it's hard times, like those right now, but it will find a way and will be stronger and more real because of it.