Saturday, 13 March 2010

Empty pews

A thought provoking video for anyone who will go to a church tomorrow and just see too many empty spaces - and I guess that describes quite a few of us.

( This is not necessarily an endorsement of Buckhead Church!)

11 comments:

  1. Over here in Uganda, no empty seat in sight on Sunday service. In fact there's a dash to get the best seats or one'll have to make due with those uncomfortable stools at the back of the church for those unlucky not to get a spot on the pews. I myself have taken to attending the early morning service at 6:45 am, although the church is still full, there's always a spot or two in the pews and rarely does the need arise for those damn stools!

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  2. So I have heard, Icearc. Maybe some people like you should come over and help us out.

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  3. Well, the thing is, why do people go? I don't want to be insulting, but from what I've seen of the Ugandan Church, I would rather the seats were empty.
    You can fill seats in England if you put on bingo, homophobic biblical fundamentalism, topless darts, free shots of vodka, lapdancing...... It's not how many people turn up that matters but whether there's anything worth turning up for. Then there's the question of whether they turn up a second or third time. In England it looks as though a lot of people get their fill of bad religion in their 20s at Christian Unions and the 'approved' churches, and then they never touch it again, not even to sample a more mature variety.

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  4. I'd have to let Icearc comment on that, Poppy. I have to say that I do know he has spoken out against homophobic attitudes in Uganda and continues to do so, at a cost to himself as straight Ugandan man.

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  5. That's good, Sue, but it doesn't affect my main point which was not about him as an individual.

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  6. Sure, I appreciate that.
    I think most of what liberal Christians here in the UK know and hear about the Church of Uganda is that it is a homophobic, hateful institution. That is probably accurate in respect of attitudes to sexuality - but it does not automatically mean that there are not many good and faithful Ugandan Christians, nor that there is not true faith in that Church.

    I guess very few gay people in Uganda "come out". Many Ugandans will be unaware that they know and love gay people among their friends, colleagues, family. I have noticed, even in the UK, that when people see a human face to "others" it is much harder for them to hold on to their prejudices - and we all have prejudices.

    I do agree that I would rather see a few true believers than a horde who just go because it is a social convention to do so, but I hestiate to comment on the Ugandan church because I know so little really about it or about ordinary Ugandan Christians.

    Maybe Icearc will read this and comment!

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  7. God forbid that Churches would be filled with people who think that, of all things, that the Bible might be fundamentally true!
    It does nobody any good to simply label people as being homophobic it is not only insulting to them, but also to the bible.

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  8. There is a huge difference between biblical fundamentalism and believing that the Bible is fundamentally true.

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  9. I agree here with Poppy. I do not bandy any terms around lightly, including the term homophobic. However, when people advocate the death sentence for homosexuality then it is worse than "homophobic" (fear of homosexuality), it is barbaric and murderous. I think that when the bible is used to justify atrocity that insults the bible and crucifies Christ afresh.

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  10. The thing about Africans we are full on patrimony. The respect and reverence we pay to cultural and religious leaders has no bounds. So what the Arch Bishop or Traditional ruler says carries a lot of weight. The Arch Bishop of the Anglican province of Uganda, has a disproportionate amount of power concentrated in HIS hands relative to his fellow bishops. As a result all the "in house" opposition has come from retired bishops, those currently serving don't tend to have the freedom to disagree, at least not publicly! If that goes for the episcopate, imagine what goes for the flock. But if a secret ballot were taken on this issue, the results would be eye-opening! The Ugandan church is a melting pot, a broad spectrum abounds, some evangelical, some traditional, others in between, all calling themselves Anglican. Whichever ideology and tradition the Arch Bishop is predisposed to, so goes the Church, for the most part.......at least during his tenure! But I am glad that as a result of pressure, The Most Reverend Dr.Luke Orombi has finally backed away from calling for legislation against, or incarceration of gays.......his position became untenable when the Catholics, and some prominent retired Bishops came out publicly in opposition to the bill. And how things operate in this country dictates that the big two (Roman catholic and Anglican) ALWAYS speak in unison. Now I can safely say the extremists, Dr. Ssempa et al have been left to carry the can, and now are isolated. Considering that the bill has not come up for mention in 3 months in parliament, yet being on the order paper of a select committee speaks volumes, I think it will be allowed to die a slow death at committee level.

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  11. Thanks Icearc. There have been some interesting articles linked to on Thinking Anglicans about responses to the bill. I may post them.

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