The current news is all about the Protestors outside St Pauls, and the PR road crash of the St Paul’s – to be fair I don’t think Jesus bothered much about PR in his Ministry and dealings with authority, but he did seem very pre-occupied with doing what was ‘right’.
If there is one thing resonates from the ministry of Jesus it is ‘you have to make a choice’ and sitting on the fence is not an option. Personally I feel the big mistake St Paul’s made was prevarication. – Jesus never ‘considered his position he knew it, of course there is a lot riding on the decisions made by the people in charge at St Pauls, but they have a responsibility to lead. Some decisions lead to conflict and destruction, but from principle they lead to reconstruction.
Tensions between Church, State, Banks are appearing, and the dynamic tensions that keep the ‘system’ function have been strained to a point where cracks are appearing, facilitated by Protestors, inadvertently, applying the pressure between the Church and City of London – three Clergy of St Pauls resigned because they have been unable to reconcile their beliefs with actions likely to be taken.
Certain points in church history conflict has seen the emergence of the Church triumphant, a reinvention, a new incarnation.
The death of Christ and subsequent resurrection was the first time that everything the Apostles held as true was challenged and then it was born into the world with a shout; Peter’s denial of Christ was the point we see a broken follower of Christ, but from that we see Fisherman preaching to the Bishops of the day, fast forwarding we see the break from Rome and Martin Luther pinning the ’95 theses’ after the Pope sold indulgences like Bankers selling Bonds, which resulted in the split from Rome and religious wars intensifying through Europe and last year we saw the Archbishop of Canterbury taking communion with the Bishop of Rome.
The Church of England has had excellent credentials of ‘saying what needed to be said’ – recently the Archbishop of Canterbury slammed the cuts as affecting the poor In an article entitled ‘The government need to know how afraid the people are’ and back in June the Archbishop supported the ‘Robin Hood Tax’ (now publicised as ‘new’ support); previous incumbents of Lambeth Palace have had their ‘Red’ credentials enhanced – When in the 80’s Archbishop Runcie published ‘Faith in the City’ which was lambasted by Margaret Thatcher as a ‘Marxist Manifesto’ – written at time of economic crisis and riots in the UK – sound familiar?
Historically from destruction we have seen progress, from the horror of war we have seen a commitment to peace, from conflict we have seen technological progress. .
My argument is simple, isn’t there such a thing as ‘creative destruction’ and if the Occupy LSX has accelerated this process, can’t this be a good thing in the long run?
I don’t think the Church will split, though I feel very important questions have been raised and some soul searching will be undertaken; and finally a constructive dialogue being entered into. I don’t believe St Pauls wanted this mess, and I don’t think Occupy London wanted to cause this commotion.
The Church has risen to the occasion in the past, and it will again – the St Pauls debacle has been a fiasco and good men of conscience have paid the price and made a stand; mistakes have been made – move on.
Jesus never took the easy road, defended the middle ground, or accepted the non-committal answer, and rather than ask what did the Church do wrong perhaps it is time to ask what do I think, and what am I going to do?