Saturday 29 October 2011

"Stand up, stand up for Jesus..."

Thank goodness there is at least one senior clergymen of the Church of England prepared to "Stand up for Jesus" or, more prosaicly, for what Jesus stands. The protest immediately outside St Paul's was a heaven-sent (you can take that literally or metaphorically) opportunity for the Church to demonstrate its relevance.

Rather than grasp the opportunity to show the Church as faithful to the teachings of Jesus, our leaders, with the exception of Giles Frazer, have emerged tainted with hypocrisy. The initial appeal to "health and safety", an attempt to shift responsibly reminiscent of that of Pilate, is shown to be false as the Cathedral has now opened with the "camp" still there. Subsequent official statements showed the Cathedral management's primary concern to be their loss of income.

How different would be our Church's reputation if the Frazer approach had been followed, an accommodation made with the protesters for ease of access, and the Church seen to be a willing partner in promoting a debate on the creation of an economic order based on something other than short-term greed and self aggrandisement. After all, isn't that one of the principal reasons for its existence?

Happily our current top cleric, Rowan Williams, does have the courage to wrestle " against the rulers of the dankness of this world." Unhappily there are rumours that he is contemplating jacking it in and retreating to the relative peace and calm of an Oxbridge college. I hope he will tough it out (just as I wish Ming Campbell had toughed it out), but if and when a vacancy at Canterbury arises, I'm sure Giles Frazer will now be in the frame.

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