Saturday, 18 October 2014

Lazarus - raised and reburied with the living

For reasons some readers might know about, but which I won't go into here, I was otherwise engaged last weekend so could not share this (see ), which has had me giggling like a stoned loon for days.
My immediate reaction was that when only the living dead attend such drab, parochial bun-fights, then if people really did walk out the reverend doctor may have performed the best example of a miracle since his ultimate role model supposedly brought back Lazarus. Sadly, having raised the dead, he not only reburies them but their vaguely conscious pew-mates.
Honestly! A cleric gets an open goal – a chance to preach to the only right wing throwbacks in town likely to share his warped view of humanity – misses by a mile and even turns the bigots against him. As I understand it, he was recruited (using savings made by not replacing retiring professional clergy) as a missioner priest charged with getting younger, intellectually minded locals into churches. From his record thus far, his employers may be wondering if he ever intends to start work.
More seriously, I know socially committed clergy and Manx Christians and in my experience they never get the genuine support of “management” or even their fellow punters (though the same are always ready to take the credit or opportunity of public funds). For all I know (though thus far he has shown absolutely no evidence) Dr Gomes may well be, outside his “special project”, a dutiful and conscientious priest to his flock. But if so I cannot see believe he still accepts the kind of social myths he reportedly endorses – myths disproved ad nauseum over the last 60 years.
As a salaried priest, this man has an opportunity denied to most of us to support families and individuals struggling just to get by against a wall of prejudice. A wall which gets bigger every time a Manx government minister opens his mouth in public and vomits more effluent. I respectfully suggest it is time he started doing this, not aligning himself with the kind of tabloid-reading excuseniks whose prejudice is at the root of most poverty and social problems on this island.
In addition to his Christian and professional duty to do this, he has an intellectual duty to speak truth to power. As the learned man he is, Dr Gomes should not be reducing all morality to that sub-section of ethics any genuine academic knows as religious morality. If preaching to those without the benefit of formal education in morality and ethics, surely he has a duty to be more precise rather than play to simplistic stereotypes favoured by professional tub-thumpers of no integrity.
And finally, if 21st century families do not choose the church, that is generally because, having made a reasonable effort to understand the arguments, they no longer believe in an omnipotent deity, or because even if they do they find the church itself wanting. In either case, that is not a failure of parenting or the community but a failure of the church, so it is for the church and its servants to do better.

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