Saturday, 4 April 2009

Bang Your Head Against the Wall

A couple of weeks ago, the Radio 4 satirical series The Now Show had a bit of a go at Christians. 'The greatest story ever told?' asked John Holmes (I think). 'Haven't they ever heard of The Very Hungry Caterpillar?' What struck me wasn't so much the fun-poking as the whooping and cheering with which it was received; it wasn't just amusement, but approval. Predictably enough, Thursday's Feedback included two responses from Christians. I prefer not to use words like 'whining', but they are the ones that come to mind.

I have the dubious privilege of being a publicly-identifiable Christian; head-to-toe black and a dog-collar aren't exactly clothes to hide behind. I notice quite often from passers-by looks that I think include suspicion and confusion. The church in Lamford doesn't hide itself, either: you can see the spire over half the parish, so the institution is unescapable. What do the vast majority of our parishioners, who never come nearer the place than the path along the High Street, think of the place, or of the God behind it? Do they resent it? Is this a growing feeling?

The time has gone by when Christians deserved automatic deference and respect. Society no longer believes in truth, and Christians are no more than a nominal majority. By our insistence that society owes us something, that we deserve (and in fact need) to be sheltered from criticism, satire, and abuse, when nobody else is granted the same privilege, all we do is arouse more hostility from the majority - even that nominally Christian one - which regards such privileges as unjustifiable. If people want to be rude to us, that's their own business. Time to shut up.

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