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Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

A top-notch article, and a solid addition to Unherd’s lineup. My thanks to the author. May I add that an unserious church, flitting and floating this way and that depending on errant breezes and currents will not offer anything for those seeking the rock of stability in a world where the land itself shifts shape and position. As someone wise once said, “On this Rock will I build my church.”

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Giles has done numerous articles on UnHerd, many on here often attack him for being too left wing.
I agree though I always enjoy his articles, even though I personally don’t believe in religion. Like the author I’m a firm believer in place, community and tradition, any even though I don’t believe in it I can appreciate the morals in the bible have been very important in shaping society for the better

Jane Hewland
Jane Hewland
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If you believe this – and who could not – then you are a Christian. Love life. Love others.
Matthew 22:37-40 KJVJesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

Despite his acknowledgment of the goodness of biblical morals, that doesn’t make him a Christian. Many good people live honorable lives, adhering to the principle of loving your neighbor, but do not believe they need to be redeemed from sin and therefore do not seek the redemption found in Jesus. Christianity is the only religion that picks you vs. you picking it.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

Incorrect, that is the behaviour of a Christian, not what ‘makes’ someone a Christian.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

Despite his acknowledgment of the goodness of biblical morals, that doesn’t make him a Christian. Many good people live honorable lives, adhering to the principle of loving your neighbor, but do not believe they need to be redeemed from sin and therefore do not seek the redemption found in Jesus. Christianity is the only religion that picks you vs. you picking it.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

Incorrect, that is the behaviour of a Christian, not what ‘makes’ someone a Christian.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I appreciate your honesty and your wisdom to know that our common shared morals come from the Bible.
It’s not for everyone, for it is said in Matthew 7:13-14 that the gate is narrow.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Whatever your beliefs, there is something about a church
..I read this somewhere years ago 
.

Church- Not Only For Religious Contemplation

A church can be a peaceful place to sit, reflect on life, feel calm or to light a candle and think about other people. No deity, no prayer, just communing with a memory. There is a lot to be said for thinking about other people.

If a church does nothing else, it offers a place of calm in a mad, mad world. Jesus would approve of filling a church with the needy and the unwashed – in fact, he would get out his bowl of water and bathe their feet!

Jane Hewland
Jane Hewland
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If you believe this – and who could not – then you are a Christian. Love life. Love others.
Matthew 22:37-40 KJVJesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I appreciate your honesty and your wisdom to know that our common shared morals come from the Bible.
It’s not for everyone, for it is said in Matthew 7:13-14 that the gate is narrow.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Whatever your beliefs, there is something about a church
..I read this somewhere years ago 
.

Church- Not Only For Religious Contemplation

A church can be a peaceful place to sit, reflect on life, feel calm or to light a candle and think about other people. No deity, no prayer, just communing with a memory. There is a lot to be said for thinking about other people.

If a church does nothing else, it offers a place of calm in a mad, mad world. Jesus would approve of filling a church with the needy and the unwashed – in fact, he would get out his bowl of water and bathe their feet!

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

I happen to believe that there is a Christian revival going on in this country driven by the growth of dynamic evangelical churches and projects, such as the Alpha course.In Swansea there’s a church in a run-down gospel hall, called Zac’s Place. It describes itself as a church for Rrgamuffins, it clearly believes that the church is the people not the building.
The vicar, the Rev. Sean Stillman arrives on a Harley Davidson. Leather-clad bikers usually make up at least part of the congregation. And alongside them are many men and women grappling with problems, the walking wounded drug addicts, the homeless, those on the margins of society.
Step inside and you won’t find an altar, stained glass windows and orderly rows of pews, just scruffy tables and mismatched chairs. The church also operates as a coffee bar and a soup kitchen, providing a daily breakfast for the city’s rough sleepers. The major attraction on offer is warmth and tolerance for people who might rarely find it elsewhere.
Speaking in a television interview, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who was born in Swansea, said: “The work at Zac’s Place is, in every way, innovative, courageous and important for the community in general, as well as the Christian community.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

How ghastly.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago

The down and outs, junkies winos who are put of from entering a traditional church are made welcome and receive Jesus’ love. How can you say that’s ghastly? Have you not read the Sermon on the Mount? Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
And did not Jesus command us to “love thy neighbour”?
I’m sure Christ would have approved of Zac’s Place.
A building is not a church. The congregation forms a church.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

“The major attraction on offer is warmth and tolerance for people who might rarely find it elsewhere”
Commendable, but I doubt that christianity is central to its attraction. I suspect that this is why Caroline shouted “ghastly” – Harsh but fair.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I read about a man who only attended church services in prison because you got tea and chocolate biscuits. He wasn’t a Christian, but something must have sunk in, because eventually he became one.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

Given that it is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that makes someone a Christian, ‘sinking in’ isn’t the point one way or another.

Maeve Barnes
Maeve Barnes
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic S

But the Holy Spirit drew him to the tea and biscuits. Small steps. Not all conversions are wham bam road to Damascus moments. It’s still the Holy Spirit at work.

Maeve Barnes
Maeve Barnes
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic S

But the Holy Spirit drew him to the tea and biscuits. Small steps. Not all conversions are wham bam road to Damascus moments. It’s still the Holy Spirit at work.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

Given that it is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that makes someone a Christian, ‘sinking in’ isn’t the point one way or another.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I read about a man who only attended church services in prison because you got tea and chocolate biscuits. He wasn’t a Christian, but something must have sunk in, because eventually he became one.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

“The major attraction on offer is warmth and tolerance for people who might rarely find it elsewhere”
Commendable, but I doubt that christianity is central to its attraction. I suspect that this is why Caroline shouted “ghastly” – Harsh but fair.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago

The down and outs, junkies winos who are put of from entering a traditional church are made welcome and receive Jesus’ love. How can you say that’s ghastly? Have you not read the Sermon on the Mount? Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
And did not Jesus command us to “love thy neighbour”?
I’m sure Christ would have approved of Zac’s Place.
A building is not a church. The congregation forms a church.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

How is that a church ?
It sounds sooo inclusive.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stoater D
Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

“If you want your church to grow, plant it in the gutter.” Jackie Pullinger.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

“If you want your church to grow, plant it in the gutter.” Jackie Pullinger.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

That church is the essence of true Christianity. It’s a shame that mankind has created all sorts of rules and regulations that are not proscribed in the Bible, which alienates so many would-be believers.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Prescribed?

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Quite! As a Civil Celebrant I follow the family’s wishes for either a bespoke, completely secular ceremony, or one with some religious content. A high proportion choose the latter, usually always including The Lords’s Prayer, but the dec’d remains the focus and their life is both celebrated and mourned
..
Not a few retired vicars offer such ceremonies
..

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Prescribed?

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Quite! As a Civil Celebrant I follow the family’s wishes for either a bespoke, completely secular ceremony, or one with some religious content. A high proportion choose the latter, usually always including The Lords’s Prayer, but the dec’d remains the focus and their life is both celebrated and mourned
..
Not a few retired vicars offer such ceremonies
..

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

Alpha does not teach faithful Christianity, as exposited in the Bible.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic S

How so? From what I know about Alpha, it quite close follow the Mere Christianity of CS Lewis (not follow the book, but it’s theological content)

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic S

How so? From what I know about Alpha, it quite close follow the Mere Christianity of CS Lewis (not follow the book, but it’s theological content)

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

How ghastly.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

How is that a church ?
It sounds sooo inclusive.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stoater D
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

That church is the essence of true Christianity. It’s a shame that mankind has created all sorts of rules and regulations that are not proscribed in the Bible, which alienates so many would-be believers.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

Alpha does not teach faithful Christianity, as exposited in the Bible.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Christianity is far from being extinct
“Although some Anglican, Roman Catholic and Methodist church buildings have closed in recent years, this loss has been outweighed by the growth of new Evangelical and Pentecostal church congregations.” The Evangelical Alliance.
Many of these Evangelical churches were planted in deprived areas. Due to religious immigrants, many of whom are evangelical Christians, church attendance in Greater London grew by 16% between 2005 and 2012.
“If you want your church to grow, plant it in the gutter.” Jackie Pullinger.
http://www.urc-eastern.org.uk â€ș church-growth-and-evangelism â€ș 180-church-growth-and-evangelism

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Tuite
neville austin
neville austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

You are presumably aware of the fact that “Evangelical and Pentecostal church congregations” were and are headline supporters of Donald Trump?

Mark Woods
Mark Woods
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

In America evangelicals disproportionately supported Trump. In the UK, evangelical political allegiance is evenly divided between left and right, and they are notably reluctant – with the exception of a few fringe groups – to comment on politics.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

So what ?

Odin Jackdaw
Odin Jackdaw
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

And that’s bad? But being headline supporter of Biden/TRudeau….WEF…Chinese lockdowns..covid authoritarians….transgender drag shows for kids……is all perfectly respectable? Trump is an ass…..but the Dem agenda in schools is positively demonic.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Odin Jackdaw

Well said. I’d pick a patriotic, God-fearing, loud mouthed ass over a demonic cult every time.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Odin Jackdaw

Well said. I’d pick a patriotic, God-fearing, loud mouthed ass over a demonic cult every time.

GW Epema
GW Epema
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

I believe that Christians of many denominations voted for H.Clinton, and more recently, J.Biden. I find that hard to understand.
The 2016 vote produced three conservative judges for the USSC. Bad men do God’s will too.

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

Of course–he was the least bad alternative.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

How silly – Trump had supporters from all religions and walks of life. In my immediate circle, Jews, Episcopalians, Catholics, Protests of many sects and yes even Muslims supported Trump. Even my Ecuadoran housecleaner surprised me when she piped up and said she voted for Trump…74 million Americans did in the last Presidential election.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

In America, we don’t vote for a priest or pastor, we vote for a president.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

Many members of the Democrat Party are keen to link Christianity with Far Right extremism. Indeed, this is becoming a fixed point in the liberal narrative at the moment as activist groups seek to force religious organizations to be ‘accepting’ of LGBQT lifestyles and trans ideology e.g. Catholic adoption agencies forced to provide gay couples with children. As a Brit living in the US with no beef in the game, I can honestly say that I see more intolerance coming from Never-Trumpers than I do Trump-supporters. Unlike the vast majority of politicians in DC who are all too quick to excoriate evangelists, Trump made parishioners feel good about themselves again.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

Oh so they do have something going for them .

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

Since the subject wasn’t USian Christianity, isn’t your dragging in Trump a total derailing of the conversation. What is true about US “evangelicals” (often more of a sociological description than theological) is not true about evangelicals in the rest of the world.

Mark Woods
Mark Woods
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

In America evangelicals disproportionately supported Trump. In the UK, evangelical political allegiance is evenly divided between left and right, and they are notably reluctant – with the exception of a few fringe groups – to comment on politics.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

So what ?

Odin Jackdaw
Odin Jackdaw
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

And that’s bad? But being headline supporter of Biden/TRudeau….WEF…Chinese lockdowns..covid authoritarians….transgender drag shows for kids……is all perfectly respectable? Trump is an ass…..but the Dem agenda in schools is positively demonic.

GW Epema
GW Epema
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

I believe that Christians of many denominations voted for H.Clinton, and more recently, J.Biden. I find that hard to understand.
The 2016 vote produced three conservative judges for the USSC. Bad men do God’s will too.

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

Of course–he was the least bad alternative.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

How silly – Trump had supporters from all religions and walks of life. In my immediate circle, Jews, Episcopalians, Catholics, Protests of many sects and yes even Muslims supported Trump. Even my Ecuadoran housecleaner surprised me when she piped up and said she voted for Trump…74 million Americans did in the last Presidential election.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

In America, we don’t vote for a priest or pastor, we vote for a president.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

Many members of the Democrat Party are keen to link Christianity with Far Right extremism. Indeed, this is becoming a fixed point in the liberal narrative at the moment as activist groups seek to force religious organizations to be ‘accepting’ of LGBQT lifestyles and trans ideology e.g. Catholic adoption agencies forced to provide gay couples with children. As a Brit living in the US with no beef in the game, I can honestly say that I see more intolerance coming from Never-Trumpers than I do Trump-supporters. Unlike the vast majority of politicians in DC who are all too quick to excoriate evangelists, Trump made parishioners feel good about themselves again.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

Oh so they do have something going for them .

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 year ago
Reply to  neville austin

Since the subject wasn’t USian Christianity, isn’t your dragging in Trump a total derailing of the conversation. What is true about US “evangelicals” (often more of a sociological description than theological) is not true about evangelicals in the rest of the world.

neville austin
neville austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

You are presumably aware of the fact that “Evangelical and Pentecostal church congregations” were and are headline supporters of Donald Trump?

Mark Woods
Mark Woods
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

I don’t think Giles is fully representing the content of the Census, actually. It asks people to self-identify in answer to the question, ‘What is your religion?’ That might draw the answer ‘Christian’ both from someone like him, and from someone whose parents were married in a Methodist church 60 years ago but who have never been themselves. Practising Christianity, measured by church attendance, is not in fact in decline according to robust research. From a Bible Society release based on a YouGov survey: ‘Our research in 2018 found that around 10 per cent of the population of England and Wales said they attend church at least monthly, with seven per cent attending weekly. When the survey was repeated in 2022 it found similar results. This runs completely counter to the generally accepted idea that the Church is in serious decline …’ Parts of it are, certainly, including Giles’ part; others are growing.
ï»ż 

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Woods

Giles Exemplifies the decline of the Anglican Church, he lives it, he is it. From Welby down the CofE are missionaries of Secularism, managing to convert the believers to unbelieving. He is a nice guy, I like reading his stuff, but how can he be so un-selfaware?

I have read Giles for many years – in the Guardian approaching 2 decades now he has been on Unherd and this article is one bridge too far

”A smaller church is not a failed church”

”Generally speaking, however, the leadership of the Church of England is still gripped by the debilitating fear of numerical decline.”

What you see in the CofE is Failure. a shrinking Church is a failed Church – It is Nuts to say otherwise.

If the Church’s job is to stop people being turned to Satan, and every year you lost more and more to him – it is no good saying that all that matters is the individual who still believes, that the majority are lost to god is fine, just something that happens – or even more nutty – Giles basically saying God himself must be the one doing it as he is god, so it is not the Clergy’s fault…

The Anglican Church is like the Missionary sent to convert the Headhunters (very horrid picture from Mary’s article – that is appalling to show that picture) becoming one himself instead.

That is Nuts. It is the Church’s Fault. It is by definition of the very concept of failure.

If the Anglicans ran a business……….

Welby and his predecessors back to Victoria took God out of Christianity, and the clergy fallowed the example. It is their fault. They failed at their job of making and keeping people Christians.

Have Welby look in a mirror and ask why people are turning to evil and away from Good – and he should see the reason. That he is not fired, or resign in his disastrous FAILURE shows he is in it for some reason other than for god – or he would step aside and let someone else try, because he is losing more every day.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Woods

Attending church doesn’t make someone a Christian – as evidenced by the garbage spoken by many CofE ministers.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Woods

Giles Exemplifies the decline of the Anglican Church, he lives it, he is it. From Welby down the CofE are missionaries of Secularism, managing to convert the believers to unbelieving. He is a nice guy, I like reading his stuff, but how can he be so un-selfaware?

I have read Giles for many years – in the Guardian approaching 2 decades now he has been on Unherd and this article is one bridge too far

”A smaller church is not a failed church”

”Generally speaking, however, the leadership of the Church of England is still gripped by the debilitating fear of numerical decline.”

What you see in the CofE is Failure. a shrinking Church is a failed Church – It is Nuts to say otherwise.

If the Church’s job is to stop people being turned to Satan, and every year you lost more and more to him – it is no good saying that all that matters is the individual who still believes, that the majority are lost to god is fine, just something that happens – or even more nutty – Giles basically saying God himself must be the one doing it as he is god, so it is not the Clergy’s fault…

The Anglican Church is like the Missionary sent to convert the Headhunters (very horrid picture from Mary’s article – that is appalling to show that picture) becoming one himself instead.

That is Nuts. It is the Church’s Fault. It is by definition of the very concept of failure.

If the Anglicans ran a business……….

Welby and his predecessors back to Victoria took God out of Christianity, and the clergy fallowed the example. It is their fault. They failed at their job of making and keeping people Christians.

Have Welby look in a mirror and ask why people are turning to evil and away from Good – and he should see the reason. That he is not fired, or resign in his disastrous FAILURE shows he is in it for some reason other than for god – or he would step aside and let someone else try, because he is losing more every day.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Woods

Attending church doesn’t make someone a Christian – as evidenced by the garbage spoken by many CofE ministers.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

For once I agree almost entirely with Mr Fraser.
I remember when I was aged about 6 or 7 the church changed the words of he Lord’s prayer, to some fan fair, to make it, what they would called to day, more accessible.
At the time I thought why would they want to do this when it has been this way for centuries, why does the church think God needs to be more accessible when he is, well, God and why did they think that dumbing down was key to getting more people into church when all that it does is suggest what you have is not worthwhile.
The way the religious office holders and my teachers lapped it up was probably the beginning if my loss of respect for my elders and authority.
I diverge from the author on one point. He says “When that worldview disappears from sight, secular culture will be walking on little but thin air. Without a meaningful moral story to underpin it, might will be right and power supreme.” 
It is not a moral story. God is the whole foundation of morality. Without God all that’s left is semantics and rules for good order.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

I completely agree with your last two sentences. I just wish more people would realize what happens when Christianity, and God in general, is pushed aside. The vacuum always gets filled with whoever is the fiercest, mightiest and deadliest of men.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

You are not entirely wrong, but what you overlook is that within organised religion the ‘fiercest, mightiest and deadliest of men’ tend to join the clergy.

There are three kinds of clergy in the christian church : the well-meaning but insignificant; those who absolutely know what God is thinking; and those who like to imply that God phones them up for advice.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

You are not entirely wrong, but what you overlook is that within organised religion the ‘fiercest, mightiest and deadliest of men’ tend to join the clergy.

There are three kinds of clergy in the christian church : the well-meaning but insignificant; those who absolutely know what God is thinking; and those who like to imply that God phones them up for advice.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

I completely agree with your last two sentences. I just wish more people would realize what happens when Christianity, and God in general, is pushed aside. The vacuum always gets filled with whoever is the fiercest, mightiest and deadliest of men.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Giles is surely right. As Pope (St) John Paul II said, the Church should be a Sign of Contradiction. But I was puzzled by:
The central image of the Christian faith is of a man being strung up on a cross, mocked for his claims to royal authority. Whatever the outcome of this cosmic interruption, whatever its meaning, triumphalism has little place amongst the detritus of spears and spit that attended His gruesome end. 
Does the Rev Giles not believe in the triumph of the Resurrection?

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew D
Anthony Reader-Moore
Anthony Reader-Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Of course he does (I think), but the Cross has to come before the Resurrection.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Yes, and the Resurrection afterwards. Otherwise it’s all empty and meaningless

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

No, not meaningless, but the triumph over death that the sacrifice of Jesus was would never be understood without it.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

No, not meaningless, but the triumph over death that the sacrifice of Jesus was would never be understood without it.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Yes, and the Resurrection afterwards. Otherwise it’s all empty and meaningless

Anthony Reader-Moore
Anthony Reader-Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Of course he does (I think), but the Cross has to come before the Resurrection.

Jules Jules
Jules Jules
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

An embarrassing article trotting out the well worn line that our moral foundations, including such modern notions as human rights, rest on Christianity.
The idea that our moral foundations such as human right rest on Christianity ignores the fact that for much of Christian life there was no such thing as human rights, countless people were persecuted and cruelly punished for their beliefs. It ignores the fact that Christians are equally capable of championing the abolishing of human rights via support for right wing parties as well as their re-instatement despite both holding onto the same magical stories. Though contradictions never seem to have much weight in religious thinking
Anyone familiar with the history of morality will realise that moral beliefs evolve over time with changes to our culture and remain regardless of whether there are supersitious foundations or not.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Giles has done numerous articles on UnHerd, many on here often attack him for being too left wing.
I agree though I always enjoy his articles, even though I personally don’t believe in religion. Like the author I’m a firm believer in place, community and tradition, any even though I don’t believe in it I can appreciate the morals in the bible have been very important in shaping society for the better

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

I happen to believe that there is a Christian revival going on in this country driven by the growth of dynamic evangelical churches and projects, such as the Alpha course.In Swansea there’s a church in a run-down gospel hall, called Zac’s Place. It describes itself as a church for Rrgamuffins, it clearly believes that the church is the people not the building.
The vicar, the Rev. Sean Stillman arrives on a Harley Davidson. Leather-clad bikers usually make up at least part of the congregation. And alongside them are many men and women grappling with problems, the walking wounded drug addicts, the homeless, those on the margins of society.
Step inside and you won’t find an altar, stained glass windows and orderly rows of pews, just scruffy tables and mismatched chairs. The church also operates as a coffee bar and a soup kitchen, providing a daily breakfast for the city’s rough sleepers. The major attraction on offer is warmth and tolerance for people who might rarely find it elsewhere.
Speaking in a television interview, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who was born in Swansea, said: “The work at Zac’s Place is, in every way, innovative, courageous and important for the community in general, as well as the Christian community.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Christianity is far from being extinct
“Although some Anglican, Roman Catholic and Methodist church buildings have closed in recent years, this loss has been outweighed by the growth of new Evangelical and Pentecostal church congregations.” The Evangelical Alliance.
Many of these Evangelical churches were planted in deprived areas. Due to religious immigrants, many of whom are evangelical Christians, church attendance in Greater London grew by 16% between 2005 and 2012.
“If you want your church to grow, plant it in the gutter.” Jackie Pullinger.
http://www.urc-eastern.org.uk â€ș church-growth-and-evangelism â€ș 180-church-growth-and-evangelism

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Tuite
Mark Woods
Mark Woods
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

I don’t think Giles is fully representing the content of the Census, actually. It asks people to self-identify in answer to the question, ‘What is your religion?’ That might draw the answer ‘Christian’ both from someone like him, and from someone whose parents were married in a Methodist church 60 years ago but who have never been themselves. Practising Christianity, measured by church attendance, is not in fact in decline according to robust research. From a Bible Society release based on a YouGov survey: ‘Our research in 2018 found that around 10 per cent of the population of England and Wales said they attend church at least monthly, with seven per cent attending weekly. When the survey was repeated in 2022 it found similar results. This runs completely counter to the generally accepted idea that the Church is in serious decline …’ Parts of it are, certainly, including Giles’ part; others are growing.
ï»ż 

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

For once I agree almost entirely with Mr Fraser.
I remember when I was aged about 6 or 7 the church changed the words of he Lord’s prayer, to some fan fair, to make it, what they would called to day, more accessible.
At the time I thought why would they want to do this when it has been this way for centuries, why does the church think God needs to be more accessible when he is, well, God and why did they think that dumbing down was key to getting more people into church when all that it does is suggest what you have is not worthwhile.
The way the religious office holders and my teachers lapped it up was probably the beginning if my loss of respect for my elders and authority.
I diverge from the author on one point. He says “When that worldview disappears from sight, secular culture will be walking on little but thin air. Without a meaningful moral story to underpin it, might will be right and power supreme.” 
It is not a moral story. God is the whole foundation of morality. Without God all that’s left is semantics and rules for good order.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Giles is surely right. As Pope (St) John Paul II said, the Church should be a Sign of Contradiction. But I was puzzled by:
The central image of the Christian faith is of a man being strung up on a cross, mocked for his claims to royal authority. Whatever the outcome of this cosmic interruption, whatever its meaning, triumphalism has little place amongst the detritus of spears and spit that attended His gruesome end. 
Does the Rev Giles not believe in the triumph of the Resurrection?

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew D
Jules Jules
Jules Jules
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

An embarrassing article trotting out the well worn line that our moral foundations, including such modern notions as human rights, rest on Christianity.
The idea that our moral foundations such as human right rest on Christianity ignores the fact that for much of Christian life there was no such thing as human rights, countless people were persecuted and cruelly punished for their beliefs. It ignores the fact that Christians are equally capable of championing the abolishing of human rights via support for right wing parties as well as their re-instatement despite both holding onto the same magical stories. Though contradictions never seem to have much weight in religious thinking
Anyone familiar with the history of morality will realise that moral beliefs evolve over time with changes to our culture and remain regardless of whether there are supersitious foundations or not.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

A top-notch article, and a solid addition to Unherd’s lineup. My thanks to the author. May I add that an unserious church, flitting and floating this way and that depending on errant breezes and currents will not offer anything for those seeking the rock of stability in a world where the land itself shifts shape and position. As someone wise once said, “On this Rock will I build my church.”

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago

It really is a bit rich of Giles to write this article. He has sided with every attempt to modernise the church and make it ‘cool’ for the best part – if not all – of his ordained life.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

My thoughts exactly. Despite which, i thought it was well-written and gets to the nub of the problem. That is, to paraphrase, the church will deserve to fail if god doesn’t exist.

I love both cathedrals and small, ancient country churches, but because they’re a testament to man’s ingenuity and desire for communal purpose, though the building and upkeep of them over centuries was undertaken with a different purpose.

I also hold spiritual values dear, though not religious ones. The former don’t need “underpinning”, and therefore can’t be undermined. Giles might wish to take greater heed of that particular wellspring in our nature and build upon it with his congregation. At least It seems he’s realised his previous pandering to left-liberalism has done more harm than good.

Finally, i sincerely hope we don’t have the old GK Chesterton chesnut quoted in Comments, for about the zillionth time. (I’m sure someone will do it now!)

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Looks likely that quote I think you are alluding to wasn’t actually made by Chesterton anyway.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

That’s no problem. Quotes are fine, whatever their source, but shouldn’t be used as a substitute for thinking for oneself.
Their proper value is in using them to illustrate a point which is then extrapolated upon.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Why the downvotes? Yours seems a perfectly reasonable point

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Why the downvotes? Yours seems a perfectly reasonable point

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

That’s no problem. Quotes are fine, whatever their source, but shouldn’t be used as a substitute for thinking for oneself.
Their proper value is in using them to illustrate a point which is then extrapolated upon.

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Please explain what you mean by ‘spiritual values’. One hears a lot of his sort of vaguery, along with ‘spirituality’, but without the sort of non-secular underpinnings which you so deride it seems empty and fluffy.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Looks likely that quote I think you are alluding to wasn’t actually made by Chesterton anyway.

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Please explain what you mean by ‘spiritual values’. One hears a lot of his sort of vaguery, along with ‘spirituality’, but without the sort of non-secular underpinnings which you so deride it seems empty and fluffy.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

When? He has written quite a few articles criticising the top brass of the church for trying to follow trends, running the church as a business closing small “unprofitable” parishes and chasing customers rather than looking after the wants and needs of its existing parishioners

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You won’t find the stuff I’m talking about here on UnHerd.

Giles Fraser has spent his career promoting all the theologically progressive stuff in the Church of England. This is no secret. A quick google will confirm.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You won’t find the stuff I’m talking about here on UnHerd.

Giles Fraser has spent his career promoting all the theologically progressive stuff in the Church of England. This is no secret. A quick google will confirm.

Jill Mans
Jill Mans
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

I was going to say something similar. One has to remember that Giles was one of the instigators of the ‘Inclusive Church’ movement, which has been responsible for a lot of the exodus. Having said that, I think this is an excellent article.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

I left my denominational church several years ago after they tried to convince me that it was perfectly fine for a proud and committed homosexual pastor to shepherd his flock. I wonder if they would feel the same about an avowed and proud adulterer becoming a pastor?

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

You mean like those Evangelicals who got caught, did public ‘penance’ (genuine repentance, of course : if you can fake sincerity you’ve got it made), and then thrived? Try Googling ‘Top ten evangelical sex scandals’ .

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

You mean like those Evangelicals who got caught, did public ‘penance’ (genuine repentance, of course : if you can fake sincerity you’ve got it made), and then thrived? Try Googling ‘Top ten evangelical sex scandals’ .

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

I left my denominational church several years ago after they tried to convince me that it was perfectly fine for a proud and committed homosexual pastor to shepherd his flock. I wonder if they would feel the same about an avowed and proud adulterer becoming a pastor?

Bruce Luffman
Bruce Luffman
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

I agree it is a good article in that it articulates a more basic wish for belief in one God. However, it is the messgae that he has had in the past about being inclusive which bothers me. Inclusive does not mean everyone whatever ilk or persuasion unless they are willing to repent.
Permitting practising homosexual Ministers to preach from the pulpit and try to absolve those that choose to misinterpret the clear teachings of the Bible is wrong and therefore should not be permitted by the Church leadership. By all means, love the sinner and hate the sin as I do, but I do not want them in spiritual leadership over me.
I am also appalled at the cowardice of the Church leadership and Ministers for agreeing to close places of worship during the Covid debacle. Where is the strength of belief and committment for their faith – sadly missing it would seem in most cases

Odin Jackdaw
Odin Jackdaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

100%

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

I had not read your post before mine above, but agree 100%

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

I was in England recently after being away for many years and was dismayed by the amount of LGBQT paraphernalia draped across many CoE churches. It’s like seeing an overly permissive and directionless parent desperately trying to act cool for a dismissive teenage child.

Odin Jackdaw
Odin Jackdaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

100%

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

I had not read your post before mine above, but agree 100%

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

I was in England recently after being away for many years and was dismayed by the amount of LGBQT paraphernalia draped across many CoE churches. It’s like seeing an overly permissive and directionless parent desperately trying to act cool for a dismissive teenage child.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Sort of like those who fought hard for “homosexual rights”, even making it prideful, then fighting for changing the definition of marriage, but suddenly laments finding themselves in a transgender dystopia.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Spot on. I keep banging on about this exact thing, to the point of being a bit of a johnny-one-note.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Spot on. I keep banging on about this exact thing, to the point of being a bit of a johnny-one-note.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

My thoughts exactly. Despite which, i thought it was well-written and gets to the nub of the problem. That is, to paraphrase, the church will deserve to fail if god doesn’t exist.

I love both cathedrals and small, ancient country churches, but because they’re a testament to man’s ingenuity and desire for communal purpose, though the building and upkeep of them over centuries was undertaken with a different purpose.

I also hold spiritual values dear, though not religious ones. The former don’t need “underpinning”, and therefore can’t be undermined. Giles might wish to take greater heed of that particular wellspring in our nature and build upon it with his congregation. At least It seems he’s realised his previous pandering to left-liberalism has done more harm than good.

Finally, i sincerely hope we don’t have the old GK Chesterton chesnut quoted in Comments, for about the zillionth time. (I’m sure someone will do it now!)

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

When? He has written quite a few articles criticising the top brass of the church for trying to follow trends, running the church as a business closing small “unprofitable” parishes and chasing customers rather than looking after the wants and needs of its existing parishioners

Jill Mans
Jill Mans
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

I was going to say something similar. One has to remember that Giles was one of the instigators of the ‘Inclusive Church’ movement, which has been responsible for a lot of the exodus. Having said that, I think this is an excellent article.

Bruce Luffman
Bruce Luffman
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

I agree it is a good article in that it articulates a more basic wish for belief in one God. However, it is the messgae that he has had in the past about being inclusive which bothers me. Inclusive does not mean everyone whatever ilk or persuasion unless they are willing to repent.
Permitting practising homosexual Ministers to preach from the pulpit and try to absolve those that choose to misinterpret the clear teachings of the Bible is wrong and therefore should not be permitted by the Church leadership. By all means, love the sinner and hate the sin as I do, but I do not want them in spiritual leadership over me.
I am also appalled at the cowardice of the Church leadership and Ministers for agreeing to close places of worship during the Covid debacle. Where is the strength of belief and committment for their faith – sadly missing it would seem in most cases

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Sort of like those who fought hard for “homosexual rights”, even making it prideful, then fighting for changing the definition of marriage, but suddenly laments finding themselves in a transgender dystopia.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago

It really is a bit rich of Giles to write this article. He has sided with every attempt to modernise the church and make it ‘cool’ for the best part – if not all – of his ordained life.

Carol Moore
Carol Moore
1 year ago

Excellent article Giles, Thankyou. I have lost heart with the CofE as it is in thrall to secular agendas. I was astounded by the ease with which the church agreed to close its doors at a time when it was needed so much. People are searching for the sacred. Where can it be found?

neville austin
neville austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Carol Moore

And your view of the CofE and Roman bishops’ and archbishops’ protection of their paedophile clergy?

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Carol Moore

It doesn’t exist.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Rather like the Tory Party, the CoEi is a figment of ‘our’ imagination.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Rather like the Tory Party, the CoEi is a figment of ‘our’ imagination.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago
Reply to  Carol Moore

The Clergy should have forced the Police to take them away in handcuffs.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Some did, just not in the media for more than 5 minutes.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Some did, just not in the media for more than 5 minutes.

neville austin
neville austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Carol Moore

And your view of the CofE and Roman bishops’ and archbishops’ protection of their paedophile clergy?

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Carol Moore

It doesn’t exist.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago
Reply to  Carol Moore

The Clergy should have forced the Police to take them away in handcuffs.

Carol Moore
Carol Moore
1 year ago

Excellent article Giles, Thankyou. I have lost heart with the CofE as it is in thrall to secular agendas. I was astounded by the ease with which the church agreed to close its doors at a time when it was needed so much. People are searching for the sacred. Where can it be found?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

“For once it has finished piggybacking on the inherited deposit of faith, it will have to work out what it believes and why.”
A very salient point. But I think we’re already there.

Kathleen Burnett
Kathleen Burnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

“that dodgy old Enlightenment idea of progress”
Bypass the demand for a definition of ‘progress’, by simply asking whether you would prefer to live during the 10th century or in the world of today. Deniers of ‘progress’ will toss a coin.
People who contend that civilisation has progressed should not be confused with the followers of the ‘identitarian’ cult. Progress came from the demand that facts are more reliable than feelings and delusions. It’s an acknowledgment of a real physical world outside of ourselves; and, the foundation of a rich and fulfilling life for the short time we have on this planet.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kathleen Burnett
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

I don’t understand what you’re saying.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

I wonder if you also believe that our real and physical world simply sprouted forward out of thin air all by itself? We do still call the creation of our planet a theory for a reason. But if you have “facts” to suggest otherwise, please enlighten the rest of humankind, by all means!

Kathleen Burnett
Kathleen Burnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

If we had been living in the 10th century, you might have asked me to explain thunder and lightning. On being unable to describe electrons and currents and voltages, you would presumably have declared it to be proof of the existence of God.
Would you accept as a fact that Planet Earth is older than 6000years?

Kathleen Burnett
Kathleen Burnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

If we had been living in the 10th century, you might have asked me to explain thunder and lightning. On being unable to describe electrons and currents and voltages, you would presumably have declared it to be proof of the existence of God.
Would you accept as a fact that Planet Earth is older than 6000years?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

I don’t understand what you’re saying.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

I wonder if you also believe that our real and physical world simply sprouted forward out of thin air all by itself? We do still call the creation of our planet a theory for a reason. But if you have “facts” to suggest otherwise, please enlighten the rest of humankind, by all means!

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Absolutely – and the “new faith” demands we believe men are women and that perceived outrage is more important than the freedom to say what’s self evidently true.

Daoud Fakhri
Daoud Fakhri
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

As Peter Hitchens has observed, we are now living in the ‘afterglow of Christianity’, and when that finally fades away completely, the world will be a less pleasant place.
We forget that pre-Christian religions and societies worshipped and exalted power and often revelled in harshness and cruelty. In contrast, Christianity taught us the importance of love, compassion and mercy. Unfortunately, we now refuse to acknowledge the role of Christianity in civilising the world, and I fear what will now come to pass.

Last edited 1 year ago by Daoud Fakhri
Kathleen Burnett
Kathleen Burnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

“that dodgy old Enlightenment idea of progress”
Bypass the demand for a definition of ‘progress’, by simply asking whether you would prefer to live during the 10th century or in the world of today. Deniers of ‘progress’ will toss a coin.
People who contend that civilisation has progressed should not be confused with the followers of the ‘identitarian’ cult. Progress came from the demand that facts are more reliable than feelings and delusions. It’s an acknowledgment of a real physical world outside of ourselves; and, the foundation of a rich and fulfilling life for the short time we have on this planet.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kathleen Burnett
Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Absolutely – and the “new faith” demands we believe men are women and that perceived outrage is more important than the freedom to say what’s self evidently true.

Daoud Fakhri
Daoud Fakhri
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

As Peter Hitchens has observed, we are now living in the ‘afterglow of Christianity’, and when that finally fades away completely, the world will be a less pleasant place.
We forget that pre-Christian religions and societies worshipped and exalted power and often revelled in harshness and cruelty. In contrast, Christianity taught us the importance of love, compassion and mercy. Unfortunately, we now refuse to acknowledge the role of Christianity in civilising the world, and I fear what will now come to pass.

Last edited 1 year ago by Daoud Fakhri
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

“For once it has finished piggybacking on the inherited deposit of faith, it will have to work out what it believes and why.”
A very salient point. But I think we’re already there.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

We must fight to reclaim that particular strand of English Christianity — associated especially with the Church of England — that regards belonging as preceding believing

Make admittance to church schools dependent on weekly attendance of the local church services. Have the priest or vicar sign the child’s attendance form every Sunday.
It is extremely hard to get people that did not attend services as children to start doing it as adults. But if you are raised on weekly worship, even if you drift away or even denounce your faith in your teens, there is a strong chance you will drift back as you get older and have kids of your own. I certainly did.
It is analogous to private schooling. Many’s the parent that went to a posh school, became an anti-private school lefty in their teens and twenties and then moves heaven and earth to send their own kids private in their thirties and forties.

Odin Jackdaw
Odin Jackdaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Great idea

Odin Jackdaw
Odin Jackdaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Great idea

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

We must fight to reclaim that particular strand of English Christianity — associated especially with the Church of England — that regards belonging as preceding believing

Make admittance to church schools dependent on weekly attendance of the local church services. Have the priest or vicar sign the child’s attendance form every Sunday.
It is extremely hard to get people that did not attend services as children to start doing it as adults. But if you are raised on weekly worship, even if you drift away or even denounce your faith in your teens, there is a strong chance you will drift back as you get older and have kids of your own. I certainly did.
It is analogous to private schooling. Many’s the parent that went to a posh school, became an anti-private school lefty in their teens and twenties and then moves heaven and earth to send their own kids private in their thirties and forties.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago

Many thanks to Giles Fraser. The point about “you choose to [worship] with like-minded people, even if they gather on the other side of town” accurately describes my town, Edinburgh. (I’m a member of the Church of Scotland.) Posh people in our parish all go to posh churches in posher parts of Edinburgh and our parish church is scheduled for closure.
Ironically, the only circumstance under which the parish posh visit our parish church is to attend meetings, occasionally held in our church hall, of the local Preservation Society. Irony is lost on posherati.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago

Many thanks to Giles Fraser. The point about “you choose to [worship] with like-minded people, even if they gather on the other side of town” accurately describes my town, Edinburgh. (I’m a member of the Church of Scotland.) Posh people in our parish all go to posh churches in posher parts of Edinburgh and our parish church is scheduled for closure.
Ironically, the only circumstance under which the parish posh visit our parish church is to attend meetings, occasionally held in our church hall, of the local Preservation Society. Irony is lost on posherati.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

“People don’t want weak jokes from the pulpit — they want fire.”
So… each sermon to be preceded by a trigger warning?
From Independent.ie:

More than 30 parishioners walked out of mass at St Mary’s Church in Listowel at the weekend after Fr Sean Sheehy condemned transgenderism, same-sex couples, and supplying condoms to teenagers in his sermon. 

Shocked mass-goers were subjected to an outpouring of anger from the pulpit, which many deemed tactless, insensitive, and represented a throwback to the days of clerical authority.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Think those parishioners must have been in the “wrong” church. Sounds like fairly standard RC “fire” to me.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It sounds badass and great, so they did it ostensibly.
But how many people quietly quitted Church bored with guilt tripping platitudes about those poor refugees ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Emmanuel MARTIN
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

I think a serious church that stuck to its theology and traditions unquestioningly would be an opposite pole to the hated woke blob and would attract many new worshippers (even if they lose a few lefties in the process).

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

That is at least some part of it.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

I think a serious church that stuck to its theology and traditions unquestioningly would be an opposite pole to the hated woke blob and would attract many new worshippers (even if they lose a few lefties in the process).

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

That is at least some part of it.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

If I hadn’t been in the choir there have been many occasions recently when I wanted to walk out because of the constant references to ‘gender identity’ and ‘the climate emergency’, as well as blatantly political criticism of the government.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Many prefer “cafeteria Catholicism”. No wonder social media is so popular, followed by a metaverse, where we can completely create and live within our own realities. In other words, become our own god.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Think those parishioners must have been in the “wrong” church. Sounds like fairly standard RC “fire” to me.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It sounds badass and great, so they did it ostensibly.
But how many people quietly quitted Church bored with guilt tripping platitudes about those poor refugees ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Emmanuel MARTIN
Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

If I hadn’t been in the choir there have been many occasions recently when I wanted to walk out because of the constant references to ‘gender identity’ and ‘the climate emergency’, as well as blatantly political criticism of the government.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Many prefer “cafeteria Catholicism”. No wonder social media is so popular, followed by a metaverse, where we can completely create and live within our own realities. In other words, become our own god.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

“People don’t want weak jokes from the pulpit — they want fire.”
So… each sermon to be preceded by a trigger warning?
From Independent.ie:

More than 30 parishioners walked out of mass at St Mary’s Church in Listowel at the weekend after Fr Sean Sheehy condemned transgenderism, same-sex couples, and supplying condoms to teenagers in his sermon. 

Shocked mass-goers were subjected to an outpouring of anger from the pulpit, which many deemed tactless, insensitive, and represented a throwback to the days of clerical authority.

Gareth Rees
Gareth Rees
1 year ago

It is the cultural Christians (Anglicans in the main) who realise they were never Christian and who are swelling the no religion numbers. They were just told to believe that they were by their junior schools and by their parents. I’ve always enjoyed your prose Giles, but I would be more impressed if you had the honesty of openly admitting the broad extent of your non-belief in tenets that are central to Christianity.

Gareth Rees
Gareth Rees
1 year ago

It is the cultural Christians (Anglicans in the main) who realise they were never Christian and who are swelling the no religion numbers. They were just told to believe that they were by their junior schools and by their parents. I’ve always enjoyed your prose Giles, but I would be more impressed if you had the honesty of openly admitting the broad extent of your non-belief in tenets that are central to Christianity.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago

An Evangelical survey in September 2015 revealed a worrying lack of religious literacy among the general English population. Two out of every five people in England (39 per cent) do not know Jesus was a real person who actually lived. And under-35s were more likely (25 per cent) than older people to think Jesus was a fictional character.
Ldnsouth  â€œPeople in those days were just about bonkers anyway so there’s no reason to believe any of it.” Comment on social media referring to an article about Christinity.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

OK Jesus was a real person but was he the son of God ?
Of course not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stoater D
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

We are all children of God.

Andrew Masterman
Andrew Masterman
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

OK Mr Stoater, I’ll play. To quote CS Lewis you have 3 options, was he mad (and yet the founding influence on western civilisation), bad (and yet was crucified for his claims) or who he claimed to be? There is no other satisfactory option (and save me the wise moral teacher nonsense, it doesn’t hold water). Moving to Arthur Conan Doyle “once you’ve excluded all other explanations, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. If your position that Jesus cannot be the Son of God, because God doesn’t (can’t) exist, that is dogma. Once you admit that Jesus was a real person and look at his legacy with an open mind, you back yourself into an intellectual cul-de-sac if you rule out the explanation that best fits the evidence available.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

We are all children of God.

Andrew Masterman
Andrew Masterman
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

OK Mr Stoater, I’ll play. To quote CS Lewis you have 3 options, was he mad (and yet the founding influence on western civilisation), bad (and yet was crucified for his claims) or who he claimed to be? There is no other satisfactory option (and save me the wise moral teacher nonsense, it doesn’t hold water). Moving to Arthur Conan Doyle “once you’ve excluded all other explanations, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. If your position that Jesus cannot be the Son of God, because God doesn’t (can’t) exist, that is dogma. Once you admit that Jesus was a real person and look at his legacy with an open mind, you back yourself into an intellectual cul-de-sac if you rule out the explanation that best fits the evidence available.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

OK Jesus was a real person but was he the son of God ?
Of course not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stoater D
Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago

An Evangelical survey in September 2015 revealed a worrying lack of religious literacy among the general English population. Two out of every five people in England (39 per cent) do not know Jesus was a real person who actually lived. And under-35s were more likely (25 per cent) than older people to think Jesus was a fictional character.
Ldnsouth  â€œPeople in those days were just about bonkers anyway so there’s no reason to believe any of it.” Comment on social media referring to an article about Christinity.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

what? more banjo and folksinging? no thanks

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

what? more banjo and folksinging? no thanks

Odin Jackdaw
Odin Jackdaw
1 year ago

Of course most of us reading this agree, but Anglicanism has shown itself completely unable to resist the backwash of liberal modernity. And Giles himself routinely pulls his punches. The culture war has never been starker. We either stand up for marriage, against the normalization of single parenthood, against transgenderism, against trans-humanism, against transactional sex, against the sexual revolution, in favour of a culture of civic obligation (national service, compulsory life long local service), in favour of religious education, against sexualizing education, against the logic of global integration etc…..or Giles might as well hang up his boots, take his books down to Oxfam and retire to the pub. There is no liberal middle ground. To be honest, the remaining Christians in the Anglican fold should return to Rome and hand over those once-Catholic churches back to the institution that is likely to overtake the Church of England in terms of numbers anyway. We need once again to tramp parish bounds, resurrect church mystery plays, come to rely much more on charity and participation as a condition and expectation for membership of the church…. and pull away from relationship with and dependence on the state. Giles is led astray always because he remains attached to the Keynesian welfare state – the post-war social compact….the idea that in Polanyi’s words the ‘counter movement for societal protection’ should operate primarily through the state and fiscal-welfare transfers. Both the STATE and the price setting global MARKET should be forced back to make room for a resurgence of LIVELIHOOD – families, self-regulating communities, guilds, local governments, churches, and market-places. This kind of re-embedding (cf Polanyi) is in line with the Social Catholic imperative of subsidiarity and distributism. These guys have it right
http://www.catholiclandmovement.com
Of the St Joseph College of the Worker in Steubenville, USA where boys learn a trade along side the great books and Catholic catechism ….and come out without debt https://www.collegeofstjoseph.com/
This guy gives a graphic impression of where our current path is leading
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/inebriateme/2015/02/the-sexual-reaction/
If Giles you are serious about this:”Rather than a place where you sit among your local community, with the dead of that community buried all around, church is now seen as something you choose to do with like-minded people,  ” – then you have to advance a vision of political economy which radically slows and reduces the social and spatial mobility of disembedded individuals …and rather than chucking kids into the urban cosmopolitan world at the speed of light like Freddie Mercury’s rocket men…. engenders a kind of stickiness and place-boundedness….embeddedness. This means a concerted lowering of the relative value we attach to ‘freedom’ ‘sovereignty’ and ‘autonomy’ . And this means a full on culture war….How about starting with education. https://sdp.org.uk/sdptalk/a-localist-model-for-higher-education/

Odin Jackdaw
Odin Jackdaw
1 year ago

Of course most of us reading this agree, but Anglicanism has shown itself completely unable to resist the backwash of liberal modernity. And Giles himself routinely pulls his punches. The culture war has never been starker. We either stand up for marriage, against the normalization of single parenthood, against transgenderism, against trans-humanism, against transactional sex, against the sexual revolution, in favour of a culture of civic obligation (national service, compulsory life long local service), in favour of religious education, against sexualizing education, against the logic of global integration etc…..or Giles might as well hang up his boots, take his books down to Oxfam and retire to the pub. There is no liberal middle ground. To be honest, the remaining Christians in the Anglican fold should return to Rome and hand over those once-Catholic churches back to the institution that is likely to overtake the Church of England in terms of numbers anyway. We need once again to tramp parish bounds, resurrect church mystery plays, come to rely much more on charity and participation as a condition and expectation for membership of the church…. and pull away from relationship with and dependence on the state. Giles is led astray always because he remains attached to the Keynesian welfare state – the post-war social compact….the idea that in Polanyi’s words the ‘counter movement for societal protection’ should operate primarily through the state and fiscal-welfare transfers. Both the STATE and the price setting global MARKET should be forced back to make room for a resurgence of LIVELIHOOD – families, self-regulating communities, guilds, local governments, churches, and market-places. This kind of re-embedding (cf Polanyi) is in line with the Social Catholic imperative of subsidiarity and distributism. These guys have it right
http://www.catholiclandmovement.com
Of the St Joseph College of the Worker in Steubenville, USA where boys learn a trade along side the great books and Catholic catechism ….and come out without debt https://www.collegeofstjoseph.com/
This guy gives a graphic impression of where our current path is leading
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/inebriateme/2015/02/the-sexual-reaction/
If Giles you are serious about this:”Rather than a place where you sit among your local community, with the dead of that community buried all around, church is now seen as something you choose to do with like-minded people,  ” – then you have to advance a vision of political economy which radically slows and reduces the social and spatial mobility of disembedded individuals …and rather than chucking kids into the urban cosmopolitan world at the speed of light like Freddie Mercury’s rocket men…. engenders a kind of stickiness and place-boundedness….embeddedness. This means a concerted lowering of the relative value we attach to ‘freedom’ ‘sovereignty’ and ‘autonomy’ . And this means a full on culture war….How about starting with education. https://sdp.org.uk/sdptalk/a-localist-model-for-higher-education/

Harold Carter
Harold Carter
1 year ago

Yes,but
.
I like traditional services, and where there is a BCP option I tend to drift in sometimes to my parish church (my job moves me between parishes). I love the continuity, the compromises in the historical language, the Englishness of it all. In that sense I am a cultural Church of England member, and I am not a committed believer. So I like the argument of the article.
BUT
I am 70 years old. When I attend one of these services, I lower the average age of the scant congregation by a striking amount. Lovely though they are, and welcoming though they would be, the fellow members of the congregation would inevitably seem very strange and perhaps off-putting to a young or even middle aged person who wandered in off the street. And the language would be unlikely to resonate with them as it does to me; they did not grow up with it. The anonymised space of cathedrals allows space for people of all sorts to be there, which is perhaps why they are growing in popularity while parish churches shrink.
This is all very sad, but I don’t think that the sort of Christian revival that Fraser seeks can be built around the churches that I like to go to.
Much more powerful is the enormous amount of work that some priests and churches do in local communities – ranging from food banks to after school clubs, projects for refugees, and so on. Our small trust (The Wakeham Trust) helps small community projects throughout the UK, and Church of England parishes often have a very important role in helping these micro projects, which don’t have the organisational structure or the buildings to thrive in their own.
Often, priests don’t have the time or resources to work with these groups nearly enough, because they also have a role ministering to their elderly congregations and fundraising for their lovely buildings.
I am not sure what anyone can do about this, but recognising the problem is an essential first step. Maybe there need to be more detached community priests serving a group of parishes, for example? Diocesan youth workers provide an organisational model that could be developed.

Harold Carter
Harold Carter
1 year ago

Yes,but
.
I like traditional services, and where there is a BCP option I tend to drift in sometimes to my parish church (my job moves me between parishes). I love the continuity, the compromises in the historical language, the Englishness of it all. In that sense I am a cultural Church of England member, and I am not a committed believer. So I like the argument of the article.
BUT
I am 70 years old. When I attend one of these services, I lower the average age of the scant congregation by a striking amount. Lovely though they are, and welcoming though they would be, the fellow members of the congregation would inevitably seem very strange and perhaps off-putting to a young or even middle aged person who wandered in off the street. And the language would be unlikely to resonate with them as it does to me; they did not grow up with it. The anonymised space of cathedrals allows space for people of all sorts to be there, which is perhaps why they are growing in popularity while parish churches shrink.
This is all very sad, but I don’t think that the sort of Christian revival that Fraser seeks can be built around the churches that I like to go to.
Much more powerful is the enormous amount of work that some priests and churches do in local communities – ranging from food banks to after school clubs, projects for refugees, and so on. Our small trust (The Wakeham Trust) helps small community projects throughout the UK, and Church of England parishes often have a very important role in helping these micro projects, which don’t have the organisational structure or the buildings to thrive in their own.
Often, priests don’t have the time or resources to work with these groups nearly enough, because they also have a role ministering to their elderly congregations and fundraising for their lovely buildings.
I am not sure what anyone can do about this, but recognising the problem is an essential first step. Maybe there need to be more detached community priests serving a group of parishes, for example? Diocesan youth workers provide an organisational model that could be developed.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago

“Advent Calender

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.”

By Rowan Williams.

This is the first poem (for Dec 1st) in Janet Morley’s book Haphazard by Starlight, A poem a day from Advent to Epiphany.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago

“Advent Calender

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.”

By Rowan Williams.

This is the first poem (for Dec 1st) in Janet Morley’s book Haphazard by Starlight, A poem a day from Advent to Epiphany.

Simon Latham
Simon Latham
1 year ago

The church locking its doors. The church telling me to get a novel inadequately tested and non-sterilizing jab. The church banging on about the AGW theory as if it was gospel. One particular local cleric getting overly enthusiastic about the Ukraine conflict – warmongering. There are plenty of reasons why the CofE disappoints. Also, of course, there is what it often fails to do…. preach the good news of great joy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Latham
Simon Latham
Simon Latham
1 year ago

The church locking its doors. The church telling me to get a novel inadequately tested and non-sterilizing jab. The church banging on about the AGW theory as if it was gospel. One particular local cleric getting overly enthusiastic about the Ukraine conflict – warmongering. There are plenty of reasons why the CofE disappoints. Also, of course, there is what it often fails to do…. preach the good news of great joy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Latham
Marc Manley
Marc Manley
1 year ago

Most talk about “the Church,” whether in this piece or elsewhere is really about the churches, and most talk about “Christianity” in the churches has nothing to do with the true Church, being the gathering (or assembly—look at the Greek) of those who have been given new life in Jesus Christ by virtue of faith in Him, His sacrifice on the cross, His resurrection, and his promise to come again (cf. John 17 or Ephesians 4, for examples). Certainly the cultural influences arising from believing in the claims found in the New Testament have been profound throughout history, but most everything we now see relative to so-called Christianity is light years away from the centrality of the message, that heart well expressed by the apostle Paul: “For I determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”

It is difficult to find Jesus Christ, crucified (and resurrected), present—front and center—in the lives of many who claim Christianity, who by their actions worship instead a building, an institution, a cause, a dogma, a political position left, right, or center. The collapse of these institutions have come about in part because some, who do believe in and wish to follow the risen Christ but who can not find Him in those places, simply leave.

Last edited 1 year ago by Marc Manley
Marc Manley
Marc Manley
1 year ago

Most talk about “the Church,” whether in this piece or elsewhere is really about the churches, and most talk about “Christianity” in the churches has nothing to do with the true Church, being the gathering (or assembly—look at the Greek) of those who have been given new life in Jesus Christ by virtue of faith in Him, His sacrifice on the cross, His resurrection, and his promise to come again (cf. John 17 or Ephesians 4, for examples). Certainly the cultural influences arising from believing in the claims found in the New Testament have been profound throughout history, but most everything we now see relative to so-called Christianity is light years away from the centrality of the message, that heart well expressed by the apostle Paul: “For I determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”

It is difficult to find Jesus Christ, crucified (and resurrected), present—front and center—in the lives of many who claim Christianity, who by their actions worship instead a building, an institution, a cause, a dogma, a political position left, right, or center. The collapse of these institutions have come about in part because some, who do believe in and wish to follow the risen Christ but who can not find Him in those places, simply leave.

Last edited 1 year ago by Marc Manley
Peter Popham
Peter Popham
1 year ago

Stunned to see all the most atheistic bits of Britain are in Wales. What’s that about? The Methodists gone belly up? We should be told!

Peter Popham
Peter Popham
1 year ago

Stunned to see all the most atheistic bits of Britain are in Wales. What’s that about? The Methodists gone belly up? We should be told!

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago

Thank you Giles for this great article! The more the Church tries to be part of popular culture and woke politicking, the more irrelevant it will become. Sadly lots of other Christian faiths seem to go the same way.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago

Thank you Giles for this great article! The more the Church tries to be part of popular culture and woke politicking, the more irrelevant it will become. Sadly lots of other Christian faiths seem to go the same way.

Lidia Kerk
Lidia Kerk
1 year ago

A marvellous article.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago
Reply to  Lidia Kerk

The Unherd bug strikes again – I can only reply, not comment. But the only ‘marvellous thing about it, apart from the range of straws and strawmen being grasped at, is what it reveals about the author’s motives. What loss is he bemoaning? His powerbase, of course. The edifice, the money, and the supplicants’ faces turned up to hear him dispense succour and certainty. Not the salvation of men’s souls, not the jeopardy of lack of belief, not the support for his god. No, it’s the ‘thinness of the offer’. There’s a simple answer to that; go back to the ‘offer’ of the good old days. A violent painful death in this life, and eternal hellfire in the next. It worked then, and still does for those religions which haven’t undergone a ‘stale old Enlightenment’.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago
Reply to  Lidia Kerk

The Unherd bug strikes again – I can only reply, not comment. But the only ‘marvellous thing about it, apart from the range of straws and strawmen being grasped at, is what it reveals about the author’s motives. What loss is he bemoaning? His powerbase, of course. The edifice, the money, and the supplicants’ faces turned up to hear him dispense succour and certainty. Not the salvation of men’s souls, not the jeopardy of lack of belief, not the support for his god. No, it’s the ‘thinness of the offer’. There’s a simple answer to that; go back to the ‘offer’ of the good old days. A violent painful death in this life, and eternal hellfire in the next. It worked then, and still does for those religions which haven’t undergone a ‘stale old Enlightenment’.

Lidia Kerk
Lidia Kerk
1 year ago

A marvellous article.

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago

I am very sad about the state of Anglicanism in the white Anglosphere. In the “global South” the Anglican communion is still making a good attempt at preaching the Gospel and holding to the Faith once delivered to the Saints. In the UK, US, Canada,… not so much, too much attempt to be “the church of what’s happening”, which is why a lot of us have either “swum the Tiber” or “swum the Bosphorus”. When the time came for me to leave Anglicanism back in early 1994, I attended one novo ordo Mass and concluded that Rome was running on the same tracks, just about 30 years behind (a view I questioned during the Papacy of Benedict XVI, but feel confirmed in since Francis ascended the Papal Throne), and chose the East.
I’ve been extremely happy as an Orthodox Christian these 28 plus years and am convinced that the Orthodox Church is, as it claims, the True Church — once you’re inside, you realize if it isn’t the Holy Spirit holding it together, it makes no sense at all, and in merely human terms should have come apart centuries ago. A lot of Englishmen have gone the same route — there is a lovely Orthodox community in York I worshipped with when visiting my daughter’s family the five year she and her husband had posts at the University of York — a mix of English converts (including both the priests, Fr. Michael and Fr. Aethelstan, back when I was visiting) and folks who came to England from traditionally Orthodox countries. If you wonder about the priest’s very English name, he took the advice of one of our recent saints, St. John Maximovitch, who said, “the West will not become Orthodox until we Orthodox venerate the saints the West had before the schism,” in choosing his patron saint (and name) when he converted — I did the same, chosing St. David of Wales, which was convenient, as my Presbyterian parents has named me David.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Yetter
David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago

I am very sad about the state of Anglicanism in the white Anglosphere. In the “global South” the Anglican communion is still making a good attempt at preaching the Gospel and holding to the Faith once delivered to the Saints. In the UK, US, Canada,… not so much, too much attempt to be “the church of what’s happening”, which is why a lot of us have either “swum the Tiber” or “swum the Bosphorus”. When the time came for me to leave Anglicanism back in early 1994, I attended one novo ordo Mass and concluded that Rome was running on the same tracks, just about 30 years behind (a view I questioned during the Papacy of Benedict XVI, but feel confirmed in since Francis ascended the Papal Throne), and chose the East.
I’ve been extremely happy as an Orthodox Christian these 28 plus years and am convinced that the Orthodox Church is, as it claims, the True Church — once you’re inside, you realize if it isn’t the Holy Spirit holding it together, it makes no sense at all, and in merely human terms should have come apart centuries ago. A lot of Englishmen have gone the same route — there is a lovely Orthodox community in York I worshipped with when visiting my daughter’s family the five year she and her husband had posts at the University of York — a mix of English converts (including both the priests, Fr. Michael and Fr. Aethelstan, back when I was visiting) and folks who came to England from traditionally Orthodox countries. If you wonder about the priest’s very English name, he took the advice of one of our recent saints, St. John Maximovitch, who said, “the West will not become Orthodox until we Orthodox venerate the saints the West had before the schism,” in choosing his patron saint (and name) when he converted — I did the same, chosing St. David of Wales, which was convenient, as my Presbyterian parents has named me David.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Yetter
Madas A. Hatter
Madas A. Hatter
1 year ago

Bang on. In fact the best thing that could possibly happen to the English church would be disestablishment. It’s absurd and repellent that politicians, even the sleazy Tories, should hold any standing or authority in Christ’s church. And then be free to move back into the Catholic mainstream. It doesn’t matter what happens to the buildings. Actually pews and pulpits were the worst thing that ever happened to the church. Gather round the table of the Lord. That’s what He told us and we should do just that.

Madas A. Hatter
Madas A. Hatter
1 year ago

Bang on. In fact the best thing that could possibly happen to the English church would be disestablishment. It’s absurd and repellent that politicians, even the sleazy Tories, should hold any standing or authority in Christ’s church. And then be free to move back into the Catholic mainstream. It doesn’t matter what happens to the buildings. Actually pews and pulpits were the worst thing that ever happened to the church. Gather round the table of the Lord. That’s what He told us and we should do just that.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago

The Church of England is institutionally apostate. Which answers some of the issues.

Also, just because someone calls themselves Christian doesn’t mean that they are. There are probably only about 3% of the population truly Christian, and this has been the case for many, many decades.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago

The Church of England is institutionally apostate. Which answers some of the issues.

Also, just because someone calls themselves Christian doesn’t mean that they are. There are probably only about 3% of the population truly Christian, and this has been the case for many, many decades.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago

Postmodernism is the last stop on the road to the end of reason. As a Roman Catholic I was much taken by a comment from a priest, a Fr. Most who wrote. First they lost Christ (the Reformation), then they lost God (the false materialism of the Enlightenment), and then they lost their minds.
Unavoidable. Words and meaning are teleological things in a teleological universe of the Alpha and the Omega. So truth is a Person .

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago

Postmodernism is the last stop on the road to the end of reason. As a Roman Catholic I was much taken by a comment from a priest, a Fr. Most who wrote. First they lost Christ (the Reformation), then they lost God (the false materialism of the Enlightenment), and then they lost their minds.
Unavoidable. Words and meaning are teleological things in a teleological universe of the Alpha and the Omega. So truth is a Person .

Tony Reardon
Tony Reardon
1 year ago

“If God is in charge then, ultimately, we cannot fail. If God is not in charge, or does not exist, then we deserve to.”
We deserve to fail! Wow.

Mike Robinson
Mike Robinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Reardon

Ridiculous thing for Giles to say. Among many, I must say. To assume people want ‘fire’ from the pulpit? Asinine.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Robinson

Fire from the pulpit is what many Muslims like to hear. I think that Frazer might be right in saying that many Christians might also like a bit of the same. This is one reason why I do not subscribe to any religion, and think that they are perhaps counterproductive in today’s world.

A person truly comfortable in their own skin finds that contentment from within. It is not dependent on outside factors, or in “off the peg” belief systems – frequently preached by a man in an ornate frock.

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Robinson

Fire from the pulpit is what many Muslims like to hear. I think that Frazer might be right in saying that many Christians might also like a bit of the same. This is one reason why I do not subscribe to any religion, and think that they are perhaps counterproductive in today’s world.

A person truly comfortable in their own skin finds that contentment from within. It is not dependent on outside factors, or in “off the peg” belief systems – frequently preached by a man in an ornate frock.

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Mike Robinson
Mike Robinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Reardon

Ridiculous thing for Giles to say. Among many, I must say. To assume people want ‘fire’ from the pulpit? Asinine.

Tony Reardon
Tony Reardon
1 year ago

“If God is in charge then, ultimately, we cannot fail. If God is not in charge, or does not exist, then we deserve to.”
We deserve to fail! Wow.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

As I have said before, whereas, for example in Italy Jesus is plain ” mister” here he is a peer, and as Lord Jesus Christ, God is a Duke, Marquess or Earl, hence why Jesus went to Eden College and was an Officer in The Household Calvary.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

As I have said before, whereas, for example in Italy Jesus is plain ” mister” here he is a peer, and as Lord Jesus Christ, God is a Duke, Marquess or Earl, hence why Jesus went to Eden College and was an Officer in The Household Calvary.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago

Giles says “human rights […] borrow substantially from a Christian worldview“. Maybe you need to re-read Revelation. What would the ECHR court in Strasbourg make of the judicial process of the Day of Judgement? There is no separation of power between the legislature and the executive (it is all God) and the head of the executive appoints his own son as the judge. The entire world (8 billion) are all judged in one day (that’s 90,000 judgements per second; that is almost as bad as courts in Egypt!), without any legal representation and with no right of appeal. To make matters even worse, the head of the executive claims already to have decided the outcomes before humanity has its day in court.
Far from being a model of human rights, it is a farrago of despotism and nepotism.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Francis
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Enough to make Giles swear on the Holy Bible, perhaps?

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Given that there have been (per a quick Google search) 117 billion humans, it will need to go a lot faster. Having said that, personally I am looking forward to judgenment day.

Larry Jay
Larry Jay
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

A lack of understanding shown by someone who is incapable of thinking of God as infinitely greater than human beings. In the preface to the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) the expert in the Law asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asks him to quote the Law. He does, saying: “Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” (quoting from Deut 6:5) and “Love your neighbour as yourself” (quoting from Lev 19:18).
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
It should be pretty clear to everyone that cutting ethics loose from its Judeo-Christian roots that both Giles and Tom Holland warn against, weakens the relationship between human beings by turning “Love your neighbour as yourself” from an absolute command to some sort of transactional basis.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry Jay

There is irony in Christ’s admonition: we cannot “do this and live” since such is beyond our fallen nature. It is for this that we need Our Saviour as an intercessor with The Father.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry Jay

A lack of understanding shown by someone who is incapable of thinking of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Larry Jay
Larry Jay
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

A lack of understanding by someone who does not realise that the EHCR is based on Judeo-Christian ethics.

Larry Jay
Larry Jay
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

A lack of understanding by someone who does not realise that the EHCR is based on Judeo-Christian ethics.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry Jay

There is irony in Christ’s admonition: we cannot “do this and live” since such is beyond our fallen nature. It is for this that we need Our Saviour as an intercessor with The Father.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry Jay

A lack of understanding shown by someone who is incapable of thinking of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Enough to make Giles swear on the Holy Bible, perhaps?

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Given that there have been (per a quick Google search) 117 billion humans, it will need to go a lot faster. Having said that, personally I am looking forward to judgenment day.

Larry Jay
Larry Jay
1 year ago