Rosemary Welsh, a member of the CA Facebook group, posted a comment which deserves to be blogged in its own right. Rosemary adds her own creative ideas to yesterday’s blog from me about the Pilling Report and the House of Bishops. Rosemary comments:
In some rose-tinted era in the past, the Church might have been looked to for guidance on the major issues of the day, but that is no longer the case, because society as a whole is more diverse, is better educated and therefore more questioning of those in authority that would tell us what to do, tell us what is right for us, and/or define morality for us.
So, the Church no longer has a ‘free pass’ in society. It has to justify itself, and its doctrines. It is judged, just as it judges others. At the moment, it’s looking stubborn, unloving and out of touch with the society in which it exists. This is because the answers it gives, and the justification for those answers, are seen by society to be at best disingenuous, at worst malignant and untrue. “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” They stand condemned by the very book they claim to be sacrosanct.
So the Church is in defensive mode, unwilling to admit it is wrong, and therefore inventing a ‘revolution’ in society, implying the secular world is in foment, bent on the destruction of morality. But of course, what we are witnessing today is simply another step forward in the process of ‘evolution’. Evolution isn’t limited to a subject taught in schools, evolution is happening now, today, in the natural world and in societies. So as our knowledge and understanding of the world around us, and of ourselves has evolved, we realise that many of the old tenets are out-dated, erroneous and indeed, damaging.
The Church should be rejoicing that we are more enlightened as to the human condition. Why does the Church devalue God? Why do they not see and appreciate the amazingly wonderfully diverse world he has given us? The skills he has given us to improve our understanding of ourselves and the world? The Church should be emulating Jesus in its response to the society in which it exists. The main thing he seemed to take exception to, was religious people rigidly sticking to rules and laws rather than loving and accepting their brothers and sisters.
The Church has to evolve along with the rest of us, or it will become increasingly irrelevant. If all it does is stand in condemnation of society, then society won’t bother to consult it for much longer. It will have been the architect of its own demise.