Wednesday, November 02, 2011
OCCCUPY... err, Heaven!
The more one knows him the more unpredictable his actions are, I know he would not do what I would expect hi9m to do, if he did he wouldn't be God, just an interesting historical ethical teacher, which he isn't.
I've been fascinated by the shenanigans at St Paul's and the rather inarticulate ramblings of some of the CofE's leading thinkers. One of my erstwhile parishioners quoted this gobbet by ex-Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser, a BBC favourite, “I think that, in a sense what the camp does is that it challenges the church with the problem of the Incarnation – that you have God, who is grand and almighty, [who] gets born in a stable, in a tent. You know, St Paul was a tent maker. I mean, if you looked around and you tried to recreate where Jesus would be born – for me, I could imagine Jesus being born in the camp.”
What seems to be happening at St Paul's is an attempt to neither upset bankers or protestors, what we can say Jesus would have done would be to offend both groups, at the end of the day both groups would have shouted, "Crucify him", because his Kingdom is not of this world. Virtue is often found in the moderation of the via media but Christianity is always the third way, the Narrow Way.
What Christ is concerned about is our relationship with God, "rendering unto God the the things which belong to God". When Christianity starts getting too involved with Caesar it always comes of second best, just think of the Church here and its involvement with the previous government. As salt, as yeast, as light the Church has a great deal to say and perhaps having spent 2,000 years meditating on death, judgement, heaven and hellwe know what is important. To both bankers and protestors we have a most singular message: Jesus.
Fr Stephen Langridge suggests that Jesus "[h]aving already pitched his tent among us, I suspect he would be continue to call men and women to repentance. However, I think we know what St Paul would do. When he went into the Areopagus St Paul didn't say to those present, "I stand with you". He latched onto something they could relate to and used it to proclaim Christ. That's the model of the first evangelisation of Europe and I suspect it will need to be the model of the New Evangelisation as well."
Evangelisation is about listening but it is also about having something to say. The Anglicans (and Catholics) seem so anxious to listen but like Paul having heard, Christians have something to say. Our message isn't about ending greed, multinationals or world hunger, it is about occupying heaven and saving souls.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake