MADPRIEST’S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

The new style of interviewing prospective priests, common throughout most, probably all, of the Church of England dioceses (though, in practice,  different in every one) does not weed out lazy, ineffectual priests, as it was intended to do. It is, in fact, weeding out priests who do not conform to a very narrow “type” of priest, that type being what non-Christians, and also many Christians, would refer to as trendy or vague or sanctimonious or wishy washy etc. There are far less bishops in the Church of England with individuality, imagination and eccentricity, or the desire to take risks, than there ever have been in the history of the church. As like employs like the church is quickly becoming in reality a parody of itself as portrayed in so many sitcoms and comedy sketches and the priesthood has become stale and downright boring.

To put it simply, there ain’t going to be a John Henry Newman, Conrad Noel, Woodbine Willie, Bishop Bell / King / Beckett et al anytime in the near future as far as I can see and my church is going to be dashed on the rocks by a bunch of bank managers and trendy social workers. My guess is that, within the decade, Sunday services will be replaced, throughout the church, with seminars on “how to be church,” encounter groups, group bonding workshops and book launchings.

Comments

MADPRIEST’S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY — 17 Comments

  1. That’s been happening over here as well, MadPriest, for quite some time now. And it has disturbed me considerably ever since I first noticed the trend.

  2. No Risk = No Gain

    and without a ‘gain’ in membership, the church will die off! literally!

    Yes, there is a place for tradition, but if tradition is all exists, then what happens when those who remember the traditions die?

    People fear change, especially in places where there is great love & great faith. But where there is faith & love, change shouldn’t be so feared… because with faith, there should be the knowledge that God is & always will be there!

    God is always the same, even through change. It is the people of God who change, grow older & grow wiser… and the change in people needs to be reflected in changes in The Church.

    Just as we age slowly, the Church should move slowly… but if it doesn’t move or won’t move… It Will Die.

  3. Amen to that brother. I for one would ring out the bells to see a truly ‘holy’ (for want of a better word) and challenging person leading by example than the bunch of bureaucrats the CofE currently employs virtually universally.

    There seems to be very little of the spirit of the Beatitudes about them and I can’t see anyone, male or female, coming along soon to challenge this status quo. Even those women who seem likely to be among the first women bishops appear to be more interested in media soundbites and fitting in with the establishment, good people though they may be. The prophets seem to have all disappeared, dismissed from posts or have no room to lay their heads.

  4. Amen to that brother. I for one would ring out the bells to see a truly ‘holy’ (for want of a better word) and challenging person leading by example than the bunch of bureaucrats the CofE currently employs virtually universally.

    There seems to be very little of the spirit of the Beatitudes about them and I can’t see anyone, male or female, coming along soon to challenge this status quo. Even those women who seem likely to be among the first women bishops appear to be more interested in media soundbites and fitting in with the establishment, good people though they may be. The prophets seem to have all disappeared, dismissed from posts or have no room to lay their heads.

  5. I think that by worrying about being church, we neglect to be the Body of Christ.

    I’m not sure the two can be made mutually compatible any longer.

  6. That’s not to say I like the “trendy” garbage, either. It’s just another way of worrying about “being church” – a profoundly mediocre way, actually, that leaves people unmoved to anything but laughter.

    I suppose God loves MBA-types with their “proactive dynamic matrix seminars,” as he made enough of them to be the lowest common denominator, but that doesn’t mean they’re worth the effort of listening to for guidance – even in business, usually

  7. Point very well taken … which means that as The Spirit moves, other contexts, other structures (or no structures at all), other places & times, will receive and welcome that Spirit.

  8. You may well be right, Mark. What I find telling is that the non-institutional expressions of ecclesial community, both on the net and those geographically located, seem to be doing communion a lot more authentically and effectually than the congregations of the institutional churches, including independent, local churches that follow a controlled, hierarchical model of church.

  9. That’s because communion has to include community, and you can’t force community. It’s like “corporate culture,” esp. in the stereotypical Japanese fashion, in which everyone is expected to spend their social time under the company’s aegis and become friends.

    There are coworkers or community, but the two are not made of the same stuff.

  10. I agree, Mark. But I must admit this gives rise to a couple of questions. Are people like us creating communions of just likeminded people? And, is this a bad thing, a good thing or just an ambivalent thing.

  11. It’s not just priesthood..A recently advertised post in a CofE college, in which I expressed an interest, included the following question on the application form.
    “What are the strengths and weaknesses of evangelicalism?”

    Answers on a postcard please…

    Or better still, what do you think my reply was?

  12. Self-segregation already happens in housing, schools, jobs, recreation and marriage. Thinking that religion would be exempt is wishful thinking.
    After 40 years of preaching integration (on the ethnic/racial issues)95% of Mainline churches in the US are about as “diverse” as cream cheese.

  13. Some of that self-segregation concerning church membership may be associated with de facto residential race (and income) segregation, still very strong in much of the USA. Most of the self-segregation is likely due to the common tendency of people to view church as a social club and as a buffer against the larger world.

  14. Would it be too much to expect that those who preach “love thy neighbor” and “cherish diversity” should, at least sometimes, use their (relative)wealth and security to move into places, rather that waiting for the poor to become educated and wealthier to the point that they move in with them?
    Naturally, gentrification has been a problem in some places and some formerly quiet resort areas have city people pricing the former residents out of their own homes, but still.
    It’s as if a man claims to be a great lover of women yet never seems to date any of them. A disconnect between words and actions.

  15. Would it be too much to ask that a person claiming some higher knowledge and true insight into human nature actually know what the fuck he’s talking about for once?!

    What. An. Idiot.