The Telegraph misleads us, but much of my comment on the status of the Church remains undiminshed

I have now read more widely on the story of the five-year-old and have to put my hands up and admit that I was wrong. I was wrong to take the word of a single (although otherwise respectable) newspaper and reacted without checking my facts properly. I now have a wider perspective. Jumping to conclusions is a sin, and I have sinned.

To prevent a child speaking of God is, as I have said before, unacceptable; but to prevent a child speaking of Hell is perhaps another thing. To evangelise through Love is one thing, to evangelise through Fear and Exclusion is another thing entirely.

It says a lot about someone’s faith that they emphasise the negative over the positive. The faith of STE is more about what God does (love, build up, support & bless) than what he does not (and whom he therefore condemns). I don’t have much fear in my faith, or the Gospel I proclaim, so I am not that worried about the negative. The God of Love is enough for me.

This is yet another example of a political agenda being applied to faith, and a spin put on facts to serve a distinct sort of Church perspective, and yesterday, I was taken in.

For example, the diocesan office forwarded a letter to our bishop yesterday. It speaks of the sense of persecution that many are feeling, but this letter just makes me depressed about the state of Christendom, which seeks to return to some golden age which in reality does not exist.

12th . February 2009

Dear Bishop Kenneth.

May we beg your personal attention for a moment to convey our sorrow and great fear that this land which for many centuries has been known as a Christian country will very soon cease to be so.

This letter will be sent to all leaders of Christian denominations throughout the UK asking to support our call on the Prime Minister and the Government to restore the Christian Faith to our schools and to the fabric of our society

We have watched our children be denied the wearing of the Christian cross, prayers are no longer a part of the curriculum, Easter has been turned into a public holiday where one and all get a long weekend that can be spent in shopping, holidaying etc. without any holy association whatsoever. We hear lately that Christmas is to be renamed when for centuries it has been an occasion to celebrate the Lord’s birth, it will now be a seasonal festival. . How sad and oh what an insult to Christ Jesus.

We are a prayer group sadly watching the discarding of God in society, and now we feel the need for all Christians to stand up and be counted.

On Sunday 26th. April 2009 – time -3 pm. We are hoping that all churches will join us in a walk of witness as many already do on Good Friday, but instead of carrying the cross, to carry banners and placards calling on Parliament, both Houses, to stop making us change our beliefs, to stop denying us the rights to teach what we believe to be right in our schools and above all to stop people making a mockery of our religious celebrations.

We are not suggesting that we have a huge demonstration together, just all at the same time, each in our own cities, towns and villages, thus hoping to get the attention of all those who lead and guide the country. We want them to remember that Christianity has for so long been the bedrock of the United Kingdom and since the turning away of Christian morals, beliefs and values, we have become a nation in decline. So we have to try to make the Government take account of this.

We started by writing to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, to tell him of our plans and to ask for his prayers and support. We have also written to Her Majesty the Queen as the head of the Church of England, her Majesty asked her secretary to forward it on to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and as already stated we are now writing to all relevant Christian leaders and politicians. We will be taking this to the media at a later date. We realize this will take effort and hard work for everyone but with the help of the Holy Spirit it will be worth it.

We have thought of some of the following statements to hold aloft as;

Return to Family Values.// Bring back Christian Teaching into our Schools.// Our Nation is in moral Decline. Mend the broken society we are living in. // Remove foul language and filth from radio and TV

These are just a few of our ideas for banners but we are open to all suggestions, but would urge everyone not to refer to any other religions.

Please will you support us by copying this message to all the parishes in your diocese to get them interested and motivated.

We then need them to contact and get together with other local Christian Denominations to join with us for this “Walk of Witness”, as many communities do on Good Friday.

It would be good to get a response from you, and we pray for your support in this venture.

May God bless you,

Yours sincerely in Christ Jesus, etc

Return to Family Values.// Bring back Christian Teaching into our Schools.// Our Nation is in moral Decline. Mend the broken society we are living in. // Remove foul language and filth from radio and TV

Note the banners above. What exactly are “family values” – because the examples I see in Scripture are not very inspiring (especially the Old Testament), and whether we challenge “foul language and filth” or the mindset that is behind it. The concern with outward signs and morality rather than inward spirituality strikes me as Pharisaical – “Man looks on the outside while God looks on the inside” and distracts us from the true task of prayerfully working for the Conversion of England through love not by coersion.

The circulated letter is more interested in a show than with the change of hearts and minds, and further supports my belief that we should eschew power and influence in order to proclaim the Gospel which does not dominate society or influence through power, but prayerfully, sacramentally and in a Christ-focussed manner builds the Kingdom.

It feels like we need another Francis of Assisi. We need another return to basics, to fundamentals (recognising the loaded nature of phrases like that) and return to a Christianity denuded of power and greed for power: the exact opposite in fact of what this “walk of witness” calls for.