17 October 2007

What People Said Today

I paraphrase two things that were said to me today:

At a Funeral Visit Mum was a good person. We don't believe you have to go to church to believe. Church people aren't any better than anyone else and a lot of times they are worse. (Female, estimated age 40)

At a Communion Service in a Residential Home All this business about 'inclusion' is something you didn't hear 30 years ago or even 15 years ago. I wish I could say that it's Christians who are promoting 'inclusion' but it isn't. Christians, by and large, are still promoting 'exclusion' and 'inclusion' is being promoted by the government and the world at large. (Female, estimated age 80+, staunch church-goer)

These remarks reminded me of a comment on
this blog post on the ‘Preaching Peace’ blog:
I can't seem to go to worship any longer or be anything but a fringe participant in my semi-former faith community because of exactly what you say here, that institutional religion is designed to contain violence; and, I'd add, from my observation and experience, it often (maybe always?) does so by mandating and maintaining circles of exclusion and inclusion. I don't want to scapegoat 'church' and yet I don't see how I can be part of it, either, because of the way it operates and its intention in so operating.
I see that a separate blog entry on the 'Preaching Peace' blog is attempting to address this question.

As a minister, this is an important question for me and one which I find that I don't have a coherent answer to. I know why a faith community is important to me, but it's hard to answer the question as to 'Why church if it is an excluding institution?

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