(These are my views as a woman living in England, on how the culture and spirit of my country has changed over 50 years. Why the country does not feel protected or strong any more, how it has lost, and is losing it values and decency, and how we are daily losing our free speech.)
Every month without fail, I now receive some very welcome handouts sent to me from a small church in America, who besides their usual weekly handout on the scripture from the bible that they will be reading that Sunday, take time to also highlight important controversial events which are currently taking place across the country and around the world. They are events which are politically, morally, and hence spiritually, destroying people.
With the exception of a few fellow countrymen in my own native land of England, who are acting as watchmen and warning the people of our cultural demise, I find the handouts I receive although alarming, are also really encouraging. You see, from my own experiences, it is extremely rare to come across a church in the United Kingdom who is brave enough to go against the politically correct narrative of the day to thoughtfully point out in a kind and ‘scripturally’ sound way the lies which are leading people astray on a downward spiral
Speaking of which, this very week I have wondered if the 55 foot high spiralling helter skelter which has recently been installed in the nave of Norwich Cathedral, as part of the “seeing it differently” project, will make the transition downwards more smooth and enjoyable or if, as it has been reported, get people into a church to think about the meaning of life from a much higher level.
Whilst controversial, The Very Rev Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich Cathedral has stated in a recent BBC interview,
There are a lot of people who won’t come in to a cathedral because they think it is too posh, it’s not for me. We hope that people will see that actually the cathedral is here for everyone.”
And the Rev. Canon Andy Bryant, who came up with the idea is quoted as saying,
“The helter-skelter is an opportunity for some holiday fun but we also hope it will help our visitors get closer to our wonderful medieval rood bosses, which are one of the true gems of the Cathedral and our fine city.
My own impressions were that the helter-skelter reminded me of the image of the Tower of Babel, and the foolishness of a materialistic attempt to reach God. I wondered why the people who had thought up the idea could not see the circus elephant in the room so to speak, and was I really a killjoy and taking the whole thing far too seriously?
Maybe a cup of tea or a round of crazy golf might make me lighten up and silently think on the deeper questions of life, I wonder?
The temporary mini golf course laid out in the nave of Rochester Cathedral has been explained by the Canon for Mission and Growth, the Revd Rachel Phillips as being in line with the cathedral’s mission to educate for its summer theme of “bridge building”, with each hole on the golf course featuring a miniature bridge which represents an actual bridge across Britain. It implied that not only could we learn about engineering, but also reconciliations.
“We hope that, while playing adventure golf, visitors will reflect on the bridges that need to be built in their own lives and in our world today.”
I wondered who the ringmaster was in all these shenanigans, and how the sending in of clowns in a circus is used to distract the audience from an impending disaster or mistakes that are happening.
The theme of fun and adventure has obviously been taken very seriously by both Norwich and Rochester, but then it was the Archbishop of Canterbury who at the National Cathedrals Conference held last year in Manchester who had encouraged the theme of fun in their historical buildings, informing all the delegates “If you can’t have fun in a cathedral do you really know what fun is?
One month previously The Very Reverend Stephen Hance from Derby Cathedral had also just defended his decision to allow the screening of sexually explicit films at a film festival being held in the cathedral that year to include The Wicker Man and also the thriller ‘Don’t Look Now” claiming that the cathedral belonged to ‘everyone’ to hire, and that the films won’t be showing God anything that he hasn’t seen before.
Many people do of course know that God has seen everything before, inside and outside of a church building, but many people just did not understand why a man who is meant to represent God would think God would be ‘happy’ or accepting of the showing of sexually explicit films in a cathedral where blood sweat and tears have been spilt to build it, and where holiness (not piety) should really be the priority conveyed from within its walls.
In an attempt to embrace all things worldly and draw more people into the church, people have unfortunately lost respect for those who have adopted the anything goes approach and are not impressed by an almost desperate plea for appearing to be ‘fun’ in an attempt to church people. Attendance for the Church of England has rapidly declined over the years with many divisions taking place by both clergy and parishioners based mainly on the ordination of women and also the acceptance and promotion of homosexuality in some of its churches.
Outside of the buildings, which are sometimes very beautiful, there are now many believers who, if they have not lost their faith completely, find themselves alone in preference to compromising for the sake of belonging. Outside of the buildings are people who are savvy enough to know that God does not tempt someone to come to Him through appearing fun through gimmicks or worldliness.
The broken hearted who search for Truth often find him through the rejection of all of those things knowing that the path to freedom is also the rejection of sin, which is not being spoken about. It is often an inward and silent path, and whilst helter-skelters and crazy golf are not sinful and will probably get you in a church for some brief pleasure, they cannot keep you or lead you to God, most especially if it is in a church which is embracing sin under the disguise of ‘seeing things differently’ or ‘building bridges’ which can also be a form of humanism. Who and what you join with can save you or trick you.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Revd Justin Welby who allegedly has stated that anyone who misquotes the bible on The Church of England’s social media page Face book, will have their comments deleted, also states that people should speak the ‘truth’. In a recent article in the telegraph he is quoted as saying.
“Frankly there is no such thing as an alternative fact. There is truth. There is absolute truth. There is opinion and there is truth.
Whilst it is a very honest statement, this is confusing to many people who are frustrated with the Church of England. The focus on the contributions to the churches social media page distracts from the lies, the mis-quotes from the bible, and the confusion which is being perpetrated from within its very walls.
The decline in church attendance is down to this definite fact.