The Economist has published an article titled Hot and bothered: The rise of evangelicalism is shaking up the established church. It’s evenly reported and balanced yet still begs the question: “um, why now?”, because not a single thing in it is new or in any way newsworthy.
But still, as it’s here …
For all the impression it gives that the reporter might have picked up an old Alpha leaflet and decided to write the story as though it’s breaking news, it is absolutely not a scare-mongering “look out, the Christian Right are coming!” article. Nor is it the kind of Radio 4 report you get, warning that our dearly beloved traditional CofE that no one actually believes in but everyone values as part of our national heritage will wither away and die in the face of these horrible people who actually believe what they preach and want to make it accessible and relevant to everyone else. You know, the kind of thinking that goes “We may gain souls but we’ll lose the Book of Common Prayer, and that’s not a trade-off worth making”.
No, it’s not like that at all. I say, well done The Economist for actually presenting a balanced article on this topic. Albeit one that’s a few years behind the times.
What I have issues with are some of the facts reported in it, which sadly I have no reason to doubt.
1. “Of the 515 people accepted as candidates for ordination in 2010, fully 108 were under 30, up from 74 the previous year.” No doubt true, but I’m agin it. I don’t want children being ordained. I want a clergy who have been soured and stained by real life and can bring some real-world thinking to their job. Not that clergy under the age of 30 can’t do this, of course, and of course they can always get soured and stained on the job, as it were. But. Still.
2. “Many of the rising generation of keen young clerics already make it clear they wish to work in large evangelical churches, ripe for American-style mission, rather than in slums or charming villages where social views are relaxed and doctrinal purity is not prized.” Oh, now here is where I just give a big T.S. to the whinging brats. You go where you’re needed, mate, and it may be you’re needed just as much in Dibley or St Mary Mead as in St Shiny’s Church Plant, Newtown. In fact, probably more so. Get used to it.
Okay, rant over, get on with your lives.