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The Cross has been banned in school, a sign of the times?


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#21 Kris

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 12:48 PM

Oddly enough, in areas where there is a large Muslim or Hindu community, Schools seem happy enough to meet their spiritual needs, whilst ignoring those of the host community.


I don't find this odd at all. Muslims and Hindus actually have spiritual needs to be met, whilst the majority of those in the host community are completely secular and simply don't care.

Students I teach at University have, in most cases, no knowledge at all of Christianity or of its role in shaping their country. I find it so sad that many young people turn to 'Eastern religions' when they finally acknowledge their spiritual urges - as though Christianity originated in the West! One of the great advantages Orthodoxy has is its ability to draw such young people - if only they can be exposed to it.


I find the same thing. I have spoken to many converts (or "reverts" as they like to be called) to Islam, who claim to have left Christianity. But I have yet to meet a single such convert who had knowledge of even the most basic Christian doctrines, such as the Incarnation or the Most Holy Trinity, etc. The fact of the matter is that such people did not leave Christianity, they simply discovered Islam.

For various reasons Orthodoxy in this country has not has a strong sense of mission, but in these times it needs to acquire it. Although not (yet) Orthodox myself, I have found my life enriched by my encounter with it.


Interestingly enough, it is the ROCOR that has been at the forefront of making Orthodoxy accessible in the UK. What I find refreshing about the ROCOR's approach (as opposed to many other jurisdictions) is that, rather than trying to make itself "relevant" to potential converts by adopting various Western customs that have their origins in Catholicism and Protestantism, it is does not deviate in any way from the Orthodox traditions.

Rather, emphasis is placed on the veneration of English (and other Western) Saints, composing Akathists to them, writing icons of them, etc.; reviving old British places of pilgrimage; and other such things, as well as, of course, adopting the English language for worship.

The result: something that is authentically Orthodox, yet authentically English.

The reason why such a huge amount of British people convert to Islam and other religions is that they are fed up and disillusioned with secular British society. I therefore think the ROCOR's approach (which does not attempt to conform to society) will be the one that will prevail in the long run.

But we have a long way to go; may God help us in getting there.

In XC,
Kris

#22 John Charmley

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 02:35 PM

I have yet to meet a single such convert who had knowledge of even the most basic Christian doctrines, such as the Incarnation or the Most Holy Trinity, etc. The fact of the matter is that such people did not leave Christianity, they simply discovered Islam.


The reason why such a huge amount of British people convert to Islam and other religions is that they are fed up and disillusioned with secular British society. I therefore think the ROCOR's approach (which does not attempt to conform to society) will be the one that will prevail in the long run.


There is so much wisdom here, and its implications bear exploring I suspect.

What you say about 'converts' is so accurate; I have not met anyone who has spent as much time exploring the tradition they say they are leaving as they do investigating the one they wish to join.

But who is responsible for this ignorance? How is it that we are in a society where young people can be exposed to nothing to do with Christianity? Is this a lamentable failure by the Western Churches?

I wonder whether, in trying to become (as they see it) 'relevant', the Western (non-Orthodox) Churches have simply become part of secular society and as such, are unable to fulfil the spiritual needs of their flocks?

It is good to read that ROCOR is providing us with an example of what can be done when the Faith in all its richness is proclaimed.

Another example of the same sense of mission can be found in the British Orthodox Church, which is, of course, Oriental Orthodox, but which also dedicates itself to providing Orthodoxy with a British ethos. It has just launched the British Orthodox Fellowship to provide a forum for the discussion of Orthodoxy (http://www.britishorthodox.org/).

Perhaps ROCOR and the BOC provide rather more encouraging 'signs of the times'?

In Christ,

John

#23 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 05:05 PM

But who is responsible for this ignorance? How is it that we are in a society where young people can be exposed to nothing to do with Christianity? Is this a lamentable failure by the Western Churches?

I wonder whether, in trying to become (as they see it) 'relevant', the Western (non-Orthodox) Churches have simply become part of secular society and as such, are unable to fulfil the spiritual needs of their flocks?

...

Another example of the same sense of mission can be found in the British Orthodox Church, which is, of course, Oriental Orthodox, but which also dedicates itself to providing Orthodoxy with a British ethos. It has just launched the British Orthodox Fellowship to provide a forum for the discussion of Orthodoxy (http://www.britishorthodox.org/).


The struggle of how to be Orthodox in this secular culture is ongoing. For different reasons in the past there was more emphasis on assimilation. Of course society at the time though was more Christian and moral. And there was a concern about being just a church for immigrants. But I agree in all of this the pendulum swung too far on the side of assimilation to values that were destructive to an Orthodox spirit. And in some cases were an almost conscious borrowing from anti-Orthodox sources.

Anyway...not that the struggle is so easy. To 'just be traditional' our generation has also found out is as full of peril and risk. Here zeal not according to godliness is the most obvious- but often fallen into- temptation. Then there is the delicate and never ending balancing act of adjusting to the actual people before you.

But I entirely agree we need something basically traditional in the present circumstances. First off nothing else will save us. We should be able to see this in the present nightmarish conditions of society of which we come from and are affected by. Nothing else will heal us except the real and authentic medicine...of course given with discernment.

I would say though that people not converting is not only due to a failure in our approach. I would suggest that actually many, many people do get it right away that the Church is the place where Christ's Word is found. And many once they sense the intensity of this and - most important of all- the commitment Christ's Word asks of us, consciously turn away from this. I would say that in fact most people who come to the Church are very aware of Her message even if they can't quite put this into clear words.

I think we really need to grapple with this & recognise how this is in fact one of the leading issues before the Church right now. Christ and the Church imply commitment to a way of life that is increasingly selfless. Meanwhile society offers a way of life that is almost immediately gratifying & appears to address what is most fundamental about ourselves: our value as human beings & a way of life that corresponds to every aspect of what we are: spiritual, intellectual or material. How can the Church address this?

In the face of this then it seems we need to come to grips with several basic issues: i) what is it that society offers which is so powerfully appealing? ii) how can we explain why its appeal is so powerful? & iii) what is the proper response of the Church to this?

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#24 John Charmley

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 06:04 PM

I think we really need to grapple with this & recognise how this is in fact one of the leading issues before the Church right now. Christ and the Church imply commitment to a way of life that is increasingly selfless. Meanwhile society offers a way of life that is almost immediately gratifying & appears to address what is most fundamental about ourselves: our value as human beings & a way of life that corresponds to every aspect of what we are: spiritual, intellectual or material. How can the Church address this?

In the face of this then it seems we need to come to grips with several basic issues: i) what is it that society offers which is so powerfully appealing? ii) how can we explain why its appeal is so powerful? & iii) what is the proper response of the Church to this?


Father Raphael,

You have put your finger on key issues.

Western Society seeks, it seems to me, to fill the God-shaped hole in all of us with the Mammon of materialism. Western governments define basic human rights in a way which allows a right to worship, but which seems to exclude the spiritual dimension from what men and women need in order to be happy.

Western societies have elevated materialism into a way of life: science will provide all the answers, we don't need that old-fashioned and unscientific God stuff; scientific medicine will cure us, we don't need hospital chaplains; education does not require God because we have elevated human reason to be the sum of all.

This way we have created a society where the prevailing orthodoxy is a materialist philosophy, and which can, thanks to economic prosperity, provide for many a plethora of goods which, so the media tell us, will make us happy.

What is reassuring in all of this is that our hunger for God cannot be thus assuaged for long. Our young people go off on spiritual journeys towards 'Eastern' religions, but would, if they knew about Holy Orthodoxy, be attracted to its deep mystical treasures; or else they wish to save the world in other material (and worthy) ways, when they would equally be willing to save it, and themselves, in deeper ways revealed through the Church.

In that sense, I suppose I am suggesting, tentatively, that the world's materialism will always ultimately fail, it cannot give the Peace which only the Lord gives.

In a western world which is as hungry for spirituality as the third world is for food, the Church has a mission field that could keep it busy for a millenium. Was it Chesterton who said that when men stopped believing in God they did not believe in nothing, but in anything? We can see that in the popularity of 'new age' notions, spiritualism, etc., etc. There are so many signs that this society knows it lacks the answer to happiness.

What should the Church do? For a start it should make itself known. Most of my friends think of Christianity as either Protestant or Roman Catholic - only when they are aware of Orthodoxy can they discover the road that will lead to real happiness.

Or is that just fatal optimism?

In Christ,

John

#25 Kris

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 11:56 PM

But who is responsible for this ignorance? How is it that we are in a society where young people can be exposed to nothing to do with Christianity? Is this a lamentable failure by the Western Churches?

I wonder whether, in trying to become (as they see it) 'relevant', the Western (non-Orthodox) Churches have simply become part of secular society and as such, are unable to fulfil the spiritual needs of their flocks?


I think the decline of Christianity in Europe, and particularly Britain has very deep roots, reaching back to the “Enlightenment” and the Age of Reason of the 17th-18th Centuries onward (even further if one wants to look at the events which led to these). I also think the Anglican Church’s relationship to the institutions and people to whom this movement can be attributed is of great importance in understanding its decline.

From a Christian perspective, Christianity is the Truth, and nothing less than this. It is not a mere philosophical concept, but divine revelation. As such, it is not something subject to change or revision. I think this is what has led to the demise of the Western churches; the reforms of Vatican II (which the current Pope has admitted did not work) are a perfect example of this.

Of course, one cannot put all blame on the Western churches for society’s secularisation. I think their failure lies in their inability to “pick up the pieces.” When people now look to the Anglican, Catholic and Lutheran churches of Europe, they see something opaque, ever changing, subjective, etc. They see, if you will, a house built on sand.

I think the churches' attemps to make themselves relevant is exactly the reason they are rejected as irrelevant by many people. If religion can offer me nothing more than the secular society, what relevance does it have for me?

I am no expert on the development of Western philosophy or society, and so what I have said above might be complete rubbish; but it is certainly the impression I get.

In XC,
Kris

#26 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 03:41 PM

John Charmley wrote:

What should the Church do? For a start it should make itself known. Most of my friends think of Christianity as either Protestant or Roman Catholic - only when they are aware of Orthodoxy can they discover the road that will lead to real happiness.

Or is that just fatal optimism?


The Church certainly has a responsibility to witness its truth to the world. But in terms of today's world- the world which Kris above describes well I think- there are both great temptations and a reality we need to take fully into account.

First off the temptation among us is to cheapen what we offer to make it more palatable.

The second however which relates to the reality of today's world is that even if God forbid, what we offer is cheapened so that the Pearl of great price is scarcely recognisable anymore, still relatively few come to the Church.

Of course it's easy to fool ourselves. As long as we have 50 or more parishioners the priest and those responsible are so busy the impression is easily given that the whole world has converted. And yet given the population on one city block (let alone a whole city) in proportion to parishioners, we can see the numbers of those within the Church is shockingly low. And this is so even among those who have devoted tremendous energy to attracting people.

I'm not rejecting optimism- or rather as Christ instructs us faith & hope- but rather am suggesting that being aroused by the reality of the situation we focus our faith and hope in the right direction. From what I can see the fact is that growth within the Church is tentative at best or not at all. It could very well be that Christ Himself has called the Church to this measure. But if so then we have a responsibility to recognise God's purpose in this. And from this we need to develop an awareness of how to live as Orthodox Christians in this present age- to develop something almost like a Survival Guide awareness.

Openess to those seeking God's truth is absolutely necessary. We must devote much thought and prayer to continually finding ways to such openess. But yet a fine line needs to be followed so that openess doesn't become an opportunity for living in an illusory world of 'if we build it they will come.' The fact is if we build it maybe few will come. But it's precisely this which we in the Church are called to understand within God's purpose so that we can learn how to properly live in such conditions.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#27 Peter Farrington

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 03:55 PM

I think the churches' attemps to make themselves relevant is exactly the reason they are rejected as irrelevant by many people. If religion can offer me nothing more than the secular society, what relevance does it have for me?


I agree entirely and this is one reason why I am no longer an Evangelical.

But I think that Orthodox communities do need to find ways of communicating which are relevant. Indeed some of the ways the ethnic communities communicate patently fails to communicate the right message.

If the only language I can worship in is Greek or Church Slavonic then this communicates something, perhaps unintended.

So the challenge is to communicate the riches of our faith in a way that really communicates, and is relevant, so that we can gain further opportunities to help people develop and grow into the depths of Orthodoxy that are not so easily grasped from a first or second or tenth encounter.

Unfortunately if our faith is presented in a way that is not relevant then we may not get a second opportunity.

Peter Theodore Farrington

#28 John Charmley

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 05:54 PM

So the challenge is to communicate the riches of our faith in a way that really communicates, and is relevant, so that we can gain further opportunities to help people develop and grow into the depths of Orthodoxy that are not so easily grasped from a first or second or tenth encounter.

Unfortunately if our faith is presented i
in a way that is not relevant then we may not get a second opportunity.


Dear Peter Theodore,

Your argument is a compelling one - provided (and I know it does) it goes with the thrust of Father Raphael's wise words about not cheapening the Faith. The problem, I suppose, is that the Western Churches have fatally devalued that useful word 'relevance', and it now conjures up 'guitar masses' and lady vicars!

Father Raphael's sombre but realistic statement that:

'Openess to those seeking God's truth is absolutely necessary. We must devote much thought and prayer to continually finding ways to such openess. But yet a fine line needs to be followed so that openess doesn't become an opportunity for living in an illusory world of 'if we build it they will come.' The fact is if we build it maybe few will come. But it's precisely this which we in the Church are called to understand within God's purpose so that we can learn how to properly live in such conditions.'

helps ground one, but we are surely commanded by Our Lord to preach His word? And if we do not do so in a language that can be understood (and that does not mean colloquial English) by the host community, we shall, indeed, be sending out the wrong message.

Still, when we reflect that the Church could once be accommodated in an upper room in Jerusalem, we can see what the Holy Ghost has accomplished.

Moreover, as your own work with the BOC shows, there are many out there who will 'come' if they know what they are coming to.

God bless your work,

In Christ,

John

#29 John Charmley

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 09:17 PM

I had not planned to post here, since Pope Benedict's speech has been taken up on another thread, and the reaction to it really is a sign of our times, but I had a conversation today that I would like to share with others on this site.

The Coptic Chaplain at my University (yes, we do have one, as we do a Greek Orthodox - and an Imam) was asked by two students whether he was Osama bin Laden, presumably because of his complexion and beard. As a monk, he was in clerical garb, which, as he pointed out to his interlocutors, included a very large silver pectoral crucifix. The students looked puzzled and very politely asked what it was. He told them, and they asked what it signified. He said 'Christ crucified', to which they seemed none the wiser. He then explained what that meant.

Being a very nice man, he confined himself to asking me how it was that in a Christian country such as the UK, two University students could be so ignorant of the Faith which, in his home country, is held at the risk of persecution.

I would like to have had a decent answer, but could only say that he was mistaken in thinking that the UK was a Christian country.:o

A depresing sign of the times, I fear.

In Christ

John

#30 Irene

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 11:16 PM

The Coptic Chaplain at my University (yes, we do have one, as we do a Greek Orthodox - and an Imam) was asked by two students whether he was Osama bin Laden, presumably because of his complexion and beard. As a monk, he was in clerical garb, which, as he pointed out to his interlocutors, included a very large silver pectoral crucifix. The students looked puzzled and very politely asked what it was. He told them, and they asked what it signified. He said 'Christ crucified', to which they seemed none the wiser. He then explained what that meant.

Being a very nice man, he confined himself to asking me how it was that in a Christian country such as the UK, two University students could be so ignorant of the Faith which, in his home country, is held at the risk of persecution.

I would like to have had a decent answer, but could only say that he was mistaken in thinking that the UK was a Christian country.:o

A depresing sign of the times, I fear.

In Christ

John


I guess Australia is the same. I had, what I thought, was a standard Australian upbringing that included "(Presbyterian) Sunday School" once a week where I learnt about my Christian faith and focused on particular parables from the Bible etc. So I have been really suprised while listening to ABC radio (like the BBC UK I think) where they have daily quizes for the listeners to find caller after caller can't answer the simplest questions about the Bible. Being the ABC, I think that most listeners would be over 40 or at least over 30 yrs.

I also was very surprised a while back when a famous Australian (Marcia Hines) called (St) Mary Magdelene the Mother of God.

I am very saddened by all this. :(

In Christ
irene

ps looking at Marcia's official website, after reading Olga's post no.31, I see that she (Marcia Hines) was brought up in a Church environment singing in gospel choirs, so the comment I heard must have been just a slip of the tongue.

#31 Olga

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 06:28 AM

For those unaware, Marcia Hines is a singer and musical actress, and has performed in various musicals and "rock operas" since arriving in Australia from the US at the age of 16 in 1970. Miss Hines became the first black singer to play the part of Mary Magdalene in the 1972-74 Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

#32 John Charmley

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 04:43 PM

I have been really suprised while listening to ABC radio (like the BBC UK I think) where they have daily quizes for the listeners to find caller after caller can't answer the simplest questions about the Bible. Being the ABC, I think that most listeners would be over 40 or at least over 30 yrs.

I also was very surprised a while back when a famous Australian (Marcia Hines) called (St) Mary Magdelene the Mother of God.


Dear Irene,

The situation here is just the same. What is worrying is that this leaves teenagers wide open to so-called 'new age' practices and cults, some of which are relatively harmless, but some of which are not. Young people do not lack the need to believe in something beyond this material world. Like most of us they have an innate knowledge that this is not enough. But as Christians we have failed to let them know that they do not need to go to esoteric cults for insight and faith.

The fact that UK government ministers have criticised Pope Benedict for his comments on Islam whilst tolerating extremist Islamic preachers here for years, tells its own story.

It seems to be that the mass media are quite happy to undermine Christianity and to mock it in a way they would not dare to with Islam; in that sense the Muslims are doing a better job of defending their faith than we are.

I am not, of course, saying that we should take to streets and burn effigies, but I do wonder how we have reached this stage when, only a couple of generations ago, one could have said that Britain was a Christian country?

I have a sense, from living in the mid-West of the USA for a year, that the Americans are a little better than the British at defending Christianity; how does that seem to our American posters?

In Christ,

John

#33 Irene

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 11:12 PM

Yes John, I long to live in a truly Christian country, does one exist anymore? I have a very romanticized picture in my head where you stroll off to Church with all your neighbours and family........Irene

#34 John Charmley

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 03:10 PM

Dear Irene,

Yes, it is a wonderful vision, and was probably always a little romaticised, but I don't mind that. Unless we have a vision of what we want, a dream if you like, we shall get nowhere, for without vision the people perish - which is what now happens all too often.

On a more positive note, I went to talk last night, deep in the heart of rural Suffolk, and there were two signs of better times which I would like, with your indulgence, to share.

The talk, given by the Metropolitan of the British Orthodox Church (OO), Abba Seraphim, was in an ancient parish church which the Anglican Church sold off and left to rot. It has been restored and brought back to life as an ecumenical centre by a couple, Mark Wright and his wife Faith; it was a wonderful witness. With the help of hundreds of donations from Christians all over the world, this little Suffolk gem has been saved from destruction.

For anyone wanting to see this marvellous example of what can achieved, even in these times, the web link is:

http://www.mickfield...rg.uk/about.htm

The second 'sign' was the witness of a young couple who had come from Norwich. He was a Coptic Orthodox from Egypt and he had brought with him his English wife, and in talking to them, one got a wonderful sense of what devotion to the Faith can do to a couple; they shone as witnesses.

I came away feeling that however evil these times (as so many others have been), there were signs of hope.

In Christ,

John

#35 Irene

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 06:45 AM

I love old Churches, I just wish they'd stop taking the crosses down. Thanks for the happy news and the website :) ...Irene

#36 John Charmley

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:40 PM

Dear Irene,

Indeed, why do they keep taking crosses down? Our secular society seems to have a real problem with the Cross. Here we have had schoolgirls being told they cannot wear crucifixes to school because it 'might offend'. Who? I have never come across a believer from another faith who objected. It is hard not to believe that it is the bureaucrats and teachers themselves who cannot cope with this powerful sign.

Still, on a lighter note, I was recently told a story about a friend who wanted to buy a crucifix for his goddaughter and was asked by the shop assistant whether he wanted 'a plain one, or one of those with the little man on it?' No doubt apochryphal, but not, one suspects, far from a deeper truth.


In Christ,

John

#37 John Charmley

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 01:14 PM

Here in the UK the Anglican Church has announced that in future, in any church schools it builds, at least a quarter of the places will be available to those with other beliefs, or with none.

How would people feel on this one?

On the one hand I can see the 'toleration' and 'multicultural' arguments, even if some of them are simple syncretism; on the other, if Muslims are allowed to have their own faith schools, why not Christians? Or is it simpler than this - there aren't enough Anglicans to go round?;)

I suspect it is a principled decision by the C of E, but what exercises me is the nature of the principle; does the C of E not think it should be doing all it can to spread the faith? I know of one woman who, having started going to church in order that her daughter might become eligible to go to a local church school, actually rediscovered her faith and now goes 'for real' as it were.

Is there a best way for the Church to view education in our society? Here in the UK it seems that most schools outside the church sector simply ignore it, or use it to teach secular ethics.

Any views?

In Christ,

John

#38 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 11:05 PM

I recall reading of the courage of St Luke the Blessed Surgeon. The communists removed the icon of the Mother of God from his operating theatre, so he stopped operations. When the wife of a party official needed an operation, St Luke refused unless the icon was replaced - which it was! I have icons in my office at the university where I teach - I'm expecting the day when they tell me I ought to take them down.

#39 John Charmley

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 08:59 AM

Dear Andreas,

A good story, and a heartening one.

Let us know how your icons fare. This western mania for tolerating everything except a Christian Faith that has doctrinal content will, as you suspect, probably result in the relevant authorities asking you to remove your icons.

Am I being too harsh in thinking that this sort of thing is directed at Christianity? In this country we have had local councils celebrating 'winterval' rather than 'Christmas', on the ground that the latter might 'upset' someone. Of course, the only people really liable to be offended at a civic municipality's idea of a Christmas celebration are Christians, who still persist in believing that what is being celebrated is not a consumerist orgy.

A recent survey in the UK revealed that most children think that Easter is a festival to celebrate chocolate; easy to see where they got that one!

Does any one have an explanation for the consuming dislike of Christianity by secular authority in the west?

In Christ,

John

#40 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 01:34 PM

John Charnley wrote:

Does any one have an explanation for the consuming dislike of Christianity by secular authority in the west?


My own sense of this is that this begins from at least the time of the Renaissance where it was said that 'man is the measure of all things'. Of course this effort to put man in a selfish sense at the centre of the universe has only grown through the centuries as a kind of cultural project. From the beginning of this it was understood that the Church (but not necessarily a generic 'christianity') represented a value inimical to this project.

But the values the Church taught are still very deeply woven into who we are in the west. What other explanation is there for the fact that so many secular reforms which consciously reject the active involvement of the Church are based on a humanism that also holds a kind of sacredness to man? Where else except in the west has this appeared in this way?

Putting ourselves in the centre as the measure of all things is something both potentially selfish & selfless with the balance constantly swinging back and forth between the two. Maybe this also explains the peculiar anger in our society that seems to feed on a kind of guilt. We would like to throw Christ out of our lives or at least tame Him; but every positive value we hearken to in our society recalls Him. So there's something masochistic about us in our present state.

On the immediate level of our parishes I also think this can be seen. I believe that most people who visit the Church almost immediately sense that the Church is a place of self-denial & this directs most clearly as to Who Christ is. People sense this intuitively even before they can consciously put this into words. This almost immediately confronts a person with a choice the depth & significance which perhaps they may have never faced before since much of society is dedicated to purposefully avoiding this choice. Due to this and also to how unexpected this choice is to many who come to the Church for the first time acceptance or rejection is part of an intense personal struggle someone may well have not faced before.

So in our present circumstances it would be very helpful to have more clarity about what affects these intense choices. Then we would be able to see where the essential issue is each time someone comes to the Church- for often they themselves are not able to consciously express what most deeply affects their desire to convert. We then by having some clearer idea ourselves may be of help in indicating to others where the doorways and traps are- although ultimately along every step of the way it is the person themselves who must freely choose.

In Christ- Fr Raphael




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