Thursday, March 08, 2007

Life is good

David Vance has a nice post on A Tangled Web regarding the Sexual Orientation Regulations which makes a number of very pertinent points - most of which I agree with, but I do take issue with one thing that DV does say.

It concerns the profound impact that the Parliamentary Report on "Sexual Orientation Regulations" will have on ALL of us, and in particular those who try our best to follow the Christian faith. If you think it's tough being a Christian NOW, check this out.

Actually, I don't think it's particularly tough being a Christian in Britain today - certainly not an Anglican and certainly not when compared to being a Christian in, for instance, Saudi Arabia or Bethlehem.

There are 10 basic rules to follow, none of which are particularly challenging. There are no requirements for us to mutilate the genitals of our children, we can eat and drink pretty much anything, we don't have to dress in a certain way, we don't have to cover our faces with hair or fabric, there's no compulsion to go to church regularly and it's OK to dance, sing and generally have a bit of fun. It's really not that hard at all.

To help you stick to these 10 basic rules, Christianity supplies a comprehensive guide book to life which contains countless tips and advice on all sorts of issues - dealing with bereavement, coping with illness, managing debt, establishing trust and maintaining relationships - anything and everything is covered. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard someone say something along the lines of "there's no instruction manual for life". There is, and it's jolly good.

I'm lucky in a way, though. I'm not a regular, weekly church goer - I manage a couple of times a month at best - but there are three churches in my locality for me to divide my visits between depending on what mood I'm in. If I want a more traditional, solemn service I go to one particular church, but it's a bit plain. If I want to enjoy more classical church architecture with more of an aesthetic impact (and better acoustics) I go to another, but it's a bit further away. If I just want something I can walk to I go to the closest, but it's a bit happy-clappy.

All three churches have good congregations though. Not full to overflowing, but certainly well occupied with a good mix of age groups and social classes. I'm fortunate to have several very good friends who I've met through being a Christian - and a fair number of more casual acquaintances - which means my family and I enjoy a healthy social life.

All in all, being a Anglican Christian in Britain today is a doddle - in fact, I'm surprised more people don't try it. I often watch TV programmes where some poor soul is living a miserable, lonely existence and think to myself - get your arse down to your church, mate. Sing a couple of hymns, listen to a sermon - which generally tend not to be particularly preachy these days - and then have a chat with a few of the congregation. Maybe even a cup of coffee. You never know, you might actually make some friends and realise that life ain't so bad after all.

3 comments:

DV said...

Stan,

Let me clarify my position! I suppose it is a bit pompous of me saying that being a Christian is tough, but I was really meaning as reagards following God's commandments, and how they increasingly conflict with UK law. So, for example, if a Christian who owns a B&B does refuse accommodations to two homosexuals -expect a visit to Court! I fully understand the nightmare that faces Christians in Saudi, or Pali-land, or Darfur, or southern Thailand and in that regard you make a great point.

Stan said...

I don't think it was pompous, David, and I completely agree with the view that their is an increasing tension between Christianity and law. A tension which I believe is purposeful - albeit unconscious.

However, Christian's have always faced challenges for following their faith and these increasingly conflicting laws will probably bring about new martyrs - but also new victories for Christianity. The row over the BA/cross situation was a case in point where Nadia Eweida was initially "martyred", but Christianity fought back and eventually won. That the fight was unorganised and yet still effective was quite telling. Imagine what could be done if Christianity started defending itself in an organised manner?

That's not happening with Williams at the helm of the C of E , but I can imagine Sentamu would be a whole different ball game.

Even so, for the most part, I still believe that being a Christian is pretty simple these days and there is always the words of our Saviour to fall back on. In the example you cite, I like to think of the phrase "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's" - which, to me, means, obey the law of the land you live in and if there is a conflict between that and your faith then reconcile that conflict privately between you and God.

That doesn't mean I think this law is right - I do not - but not because of my faith, just on common-sense. It should be the right of any business owner to choose who they do business with for whatever reason they wish - just as it is the right of the customer to withdraw that custom if they so wish for whatever reason they wish.

DV said...

Stan,

Yes, agree with you. I often feel that if Christianity did mobilise better, we could push back a lot of the things that besit us!