This morning I went up to Church for Morning Prayer, when I arrived the man from Wessex Water was there – come to investigate a possible leak. As I made him a coffee conversation did its thing and shortly I found myself on that familiar territory I encounter so often when talking to folk from ‘outside’ the Church.
‘of course, the CofE has loads of money….’ says the WW man.
‘well’, I respond as diplomatically as possible ‘that may have been true once, but….’
‘no, just look at all the property they got’ comes the emphatic reply.
‘yes’ say I,’but they have owned that for centuries, and they can’t sell it, so its not really wealth is it….’
but there was no reasoning. CofE is loaded, end of story.
Anyone who has been around the Church of England for any length of time will know what I am talking about.
I got to wondering after the man and his leaky logic had disappeared, why it is people are so determined to think the Church is rolling in money. Anyone who has been a part of the Church knows that it is on a knife edge financially most of the time. In fact the Church is only supported by its own members, it – despite what Richard Dawkins infers – receives no state money, no outside donations and no government bail outs. The Church of England exists to support the people that sustain it.
It says something about the nature of faith though, that no much how obvious the answers are, no matter how many times we might try to explain it, too often folk continue to believe the things they ‘know’ to be true already.
It kinda makes evangelism hard. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well we explain it, how well we model it, how well we show it, people just don’t want to see it.
Perhaps it is fear, the idea of a loving, caring God is one that is so alien to so many people that it involves such a big culture shock that people are fearful and deliberately avoid engaging in the issue.
I recently read of a plan by the British Humanist Association and Dr. Dawkins to place adverts on London buses next year that say “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life”. There is so much I could say about this. But for now I say ‘Bring it On’. This campaign is just another of those pointers that mean people have little choice but to engage with the possibility of a God. In fact Curate friend of mine was so excited by the idea he actually donated to the fund!
God exists. End of Story. The challenge is finding a way of engaging in the issue with a people who would rather not face that fact!