I wrote this a while ago – but it still makes a lot of sense to me. This is the first of an occasional series on the big Christian themes.
I get uneasy when we are asked to bewail our sins. I get irritated about the assumption of wretchedness and taking the blame for it. But I think the way we think about this, maybe the way it is presented, is wrong. The Bible is more nuanced. On the one hand sin is our fault, on the other it is something we cannot help. The requirement on us is that we take responsibility, not that we wallow in blame. And what is sin? It is the state of being asleep and the things we do whilst we are asleep. Continue reading
In an article on the Art and Sacred Places website (see http://www.artandsacredplaces.org/Comment.html) Bishop John Gladwin speaks of the role that art can play in adding the voice of contemporary feeling and concern to the complex story of faith and culture embodied in the church building. I would like to consider another reason why artists have a great deal to offer the church and its community.
For centuries the church was at the centre of public life. It defined it and provided both public and private meaning. In these days the church is no longer at the centre of our culture and no longer a focus of unity. (There will be many, including Christian believers, who do not regret this change reflecting a conviction, sometimes borne out in history, that political power does not bring out the best in religion.) Instead, even though the Church of England remains established and its leaders are still public figures, the experience of being in the church is often that of being part of a rather embattled minority. Continue reading