Monday, 13 August 2012


One of the unfortunate fruits of the rise of the charismatic movement has been the wholesale devaluing of religious vocabulary. (Yes, I know that the phenomena is now widespread. But if you want to trace back to where it came from and where it is most marked, honesty would require you to say what I just did). Where once believers valued care and precision, now it is a rare thing. Case in point: an email arrived from a UK Christian radio station.

Opening line:
We thank God for the performance of Team GB at the Olympics, believing the medals are a prophetic sign that this is the time for Britain to arise and shine.
Now tell me - what does that mean? They believe it is a prophetic sign... why do they believe that? Is there a reason to do so? Did God reveal that to you, or to someone else? Is this a nice platitude on a level with "have a nice day, I hope everything is great" or are we meant to take it seriously? "Arise and shine" - pardon? Again, what does that mean? This is the time to do so - why is that? What particular planets have been aligning that lead to this conclusion? Who knows? The medals are a prophetic sign... so, are our athletes now prophets? Of which religion? The same as ours or a different one? Who can say?
"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax; Of cabbages and kings; And why the sea is boiling hot; And whether pigs have wings."
When religious proclamations are becoming difficult to distinguish from the rantings of the walrus, it's not a great sign of spiritual health.

1 comment:

Ned Kelly said...

Now tell me - what does that mean? Why do you think it is supposed to mean anything? Perhaps you have been in Kenya too long, David, but in this age of instant communications, everybody has the opportunity to communicate even when they have nothing useful to say. The most popular form today is Twitter, with all of 140 characters to twit, which is really all they are able to do. Just consider the email a sign of the times, and resign yourself to the fact that there is nothing you can do about it. Also understand that the email is no more personal than signing up "friends" on Facebook. It's just what people do today, rather than writing letters, sewing, knitting, reading, or playing the piano. Enjoy the banality - it could be worse.