Back to the Future?

Today the Church of England and other mainline churches were celebrating "Back to Church Sunday" (Patrick Comerford has been preaching/blogging about it here). According to Des Bain, the Home Missions Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the churches here in Ireland have been considering an extension of the campaign to this island. He spoke about it at our leaders' event yesterday in church, as part of our Anniversary Celebrations. In effect today was a bit of a "Back to Church Sunday" for us, as former ministers, members and friends joined with us to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the opening of our current premises, and it was great to see them.

However, if we do adopt this campaign, I truly hope that we at least find a different name for it. I don't want to encourage anyone to come "Back" to anything... Indeed, I would want to encourage the church to stop looking back to some mythical golden age, and instead look forward with a sense of realism, hope and imagination.

The western world has turned its back on the church as we currently know it. Why would they want to come back to something that has a tendency to act a bit like a spiritual version of a railway preservation society? A trip on a steam train is OK for a bit of one-off nostalgia, but you wouldn't want to travel anywhere in a hurry on one.

Instead of encouraging people outside to come back to church (where they percieve they will be used as pew fodder and open wallets) we need to encourage those at church to go away... At least from Sunday to Sunday... Not so much "Back to Church" as "Go Be Church."


snauzer said…
Emma Goldman quote"

How to bring the masses back to church,the God idea, the spirit, the First Cause,etc; appears to be the most pressing question to all theists. Metaphysical as all these questions seem to be, they yet have a marked physical background. In as much as religion, "Divine Truth" rewards and punishments are the trademarks of the largest, the most corrupt and pernicious, the most powerful and lucrative industry in the world.

Baron D'Holbach "Le Bon Sens"

To discover the true principles of Morality, men have no need of theology, of revelation, or of gods: They have need only of common sense. They have no need of theology, of revelations, or of god's

They have need only of commom sense. They have only to commune with themselves, to reflect upon their own nature. to consider the objects of society, and of individuals, who compose it.

Let us persuade men to be just, beneficient, moderate, sociable not because such conduct is demanded by the gods, but, because it is pleasant to men; not because they will be punished in another world, but because they will suffer for it in this.

Why, O theologians! do you presume to inquire into the impenetrable mysteries of a being, whom you consider inconceivable to the human mind? You are blasphemers, when you imagine that a being, perfect according to you, could be guilty of such cruelty towards creatures whom he has made out of nothing. Confess your ignorance of a creating God; and cease meddling with mysteries, which are repugnant to common sense.
well that's that cleared up then!
snauzer said…
David i think this idea "virtual methodist" is briliant. although not attending church i still think "religion"/atheism.

your comments are interesting and create for me a challenge / different than a sermon because i can sit ponder and delve.

in my comments if permitted i propose to be as honest as i can, as i see things now.

i do not mean to offend and as i know you i don't think for a minute i could offend you.
not in the slightest offended... Enjoy sparking off thinking from all angles...

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