Been reading Walking on the Moon by the Rev Canon Wallace Brown..not your regular CofE Canon. Spent years working in Quinton housing estate in Birmingham…he really established a great work of grace in Quinton among the poor…made Christianity real to people that religion is on par with Walking on the Moon.
I think about the folk religion that was prevelant in the community I ws brough up in where even the ‘vilest offender’ becomes a saint upon death and floats up to heaven in an ice cream cart. You turn to the church to marry you, baptise your children (!) and put you in the ground. Ever person has “their” church…you ask my mother what church she belongs to and she will say “Dreghorn and Springside Parish.” Ask her if she is a Christian and she will swear and then say “not me!” My dad, an Orangeman and a member of the Royal Blacks, signs his name and sits in meetings that are supposed to be able defending the glorious protestant faith and involves all sorts of complicated rituals supposedly based on scripture. But does he confess Jesus as Lord? Perhaps with his mouth because he has to for the ‘club’ but not in his heart of hearts. How do we communicate Jesus to people who have been immunised, innoculated by the established church and its systems?
I think to our own community and whislt I wouldn’t want to say anything against our local churches, I have to wonder if we portray the glorious gospel as we should. The barriers of folk religion are huge ones we have to pray against and have enough integrity to make the right choices.
In two years in Dennistoun I dedicated 25 children to God. Each and every time I used the phrase “nothin I can do can make this child go to heaven…I can only pray that God will bless his/her life.” God really honoured that and we had countless opportunities to share the gospel.
Openess and intgrity…the best way to go. We need to pray for those in ministry, however, who feel trapped by the system.
It takes a lot of work to beat an immunisation against something. I think it is just as difficult to conquer people’s immunisations against Christianity than for a disease to beat a jab.