Saturday, 5 May 2018

A Guest Sermon from Simon Jenkins

Our keynote sermon from our "Festival of the Church for the 20th Century"

"First of all I'd like to thank you for inviting me to preach on Psalm 14:1. Obviously I've not read the Bible in a while, as this would use valuable time that I could otherwise spend proving that I am, since Giles Fraser left, the Guardian's expert on religion for people of the right sort. Oh I know that Andrew Brown knows about religions and what have you. And has sympathy for those with any faith and nuns.   But my opinion is more important because I've got my finger so much on the pulse.

As a man who has spent a lot of time working with heritage bodies, I have a wide experience of people who spend their leisure time in old buildings. And I have to say they are mostly just like me. Many of those old buildings are churches, of course. Which is why I know all about English religion. And I can tell you that the future of the Church in this country looks just like its present. Buildings where you have to find the key off someone who's living in what used to be the Post Office,  which you visit in Saturdays with maybe a loveable old labrador.
A Guardian reader considers the possible uses
 as an art gallery or car park for Toyota Priuses

 But wait, Simon, you say - this view of Christianity in England you have just given is terribly lop-sided and misses out so much more!   To which I have to admit you are right. It doesn't have to be a labrador. It could be a spaniel. But, in my opinion, which  is of course  utterly correct,  this is a risk. Spaniels are excitable animals. Thrilled with the sight of a piece of stunning church architecture - a font, or something -  they might relieve themselves on the church floor. Which would be a problem potentially when the parish council of Grinton-In-Swaledale or wherever gets its act together and converts the place to a children's ball park with attached welfare society for  the widows of lead miners. You see, you didn't think it through. But don't worry. That's what I am for.

But it is really important to me that we don't just use church buildings as squash courts, velodromes, funplexes, leisuredomes or whatever else the parish council have the money and time to create. We must respect the traditional Sabbath observances of everyone that is just like me.

Sunday is a time for traditional, quiet reflection. For reading the Observer. And then going out for a lovely artisan meal, knocked up by the chef in the Manoir aux Quat' Evangélistes (formerly the Church of St James and St Oliver). There while eating our mignonette de poulet rotie petit duc a l'Anatole, we can consider the beauty of the architecture. The limpid beauties of the stained glass. We can reflect on the simple faith of those medieval worshippers, that raised these works to the glory of their non-existent God. And give thanks to ourselves for being cultured enough to know and savour all of this.

And so, to you Beaker Folk. I want you to consider the Guardian as the model for the Church of the Future. We have an outlook that is gentle, considerate. Middle class and ageing. Living on the glories of the past. And yet, in an attempt to appeal to young people - whoever they are - we have Owen Jones, as our youth worker. For churches may rise and fall. But the empowered being patronising endureth forever."

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  1. Back in the day when I was a Parish Administrator I would take my greyhound into the church on Friday morning. Vicar's day off, so I opened up. On one occasion aforementioned grey did not just relieve herself, but actually pooped! God looked down and laughed. Jesus? He loves Simon Jenkins even tho' I cannot.

  2. Never heard of Simon Jenkins, that I don't read the Guardian, why would you if you have the Mirrow available to find out what Father Jeremy is doing next and what Unite plans for future legislation as they own the Labour Party outright.

    No, the guardian is for the likes of Tony Blair and that Alistair bloke who doesn't do God and often pops up on Radio 4 to say what's wrong with Fr Jeremy.

    And if I'm having a good day, I might by a copy of the Socialist Worker (aka the Church Times) and descend into misery.

  3. Jenkins did edit the Times and the Evening Standard. So people who care about journalism have heard of him. Of course, there is no reason for normal people to care about journalism


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