Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A bee in one's bonnet

Got rather irate over an email at work today. I do hope this isn't too dull for you all ...

Christian Aid Week mobilises somewhere in the region of 200,000 British and Irish volunteers to go out collecting money for the poorest communities in the developing world. They come, almost entirely, from churches: those who give them money and those who receive it are of all faiths and none.

My email informed me about a vicar in a certain Wiltshire town who has instructed his congregation to cease volunteering in this way because it is "such a bad witness to those who are not Christian when churchgoers knock on their door and ask for money."

Is this not crazy talk? There may well be valid reasons for objecting to house-to-house fundraising. But this 'bad witness' lark is surely not one of them.

It makes me cross because it assumes people who are not Christian somehow need mollycoddling.

It makes me cross because it puts the reputation of a local church ahead of the most vulnerable in the world.

It makes me cross because it is an example of a church leader abusing their power and the trust placed in them.

And most of all, it makes me cross because it makes a mockery of what church should be about. We cannot let ourselves get preoccupied with our image, popularity and survival. We need to stop caring whether the church as we know it means anything to the 'non Christian' and think about glorifying God and bringing in his kingdom on earth. A God whose glory may have nothing to do with our own; a God whose home will be characterised by justice for the poor.

Jesus didn't go around telling people to look at how great he was and keep him alive. He went around telling people to look out for signs of God's kingdom. Sitting rather lightly to his own survival.

Just saying. Tsk.

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