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Tony Grist

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What Would Jesus Have Done? [Oct. 26th, 2011|10:48 am]
Tony Grist
A number of tents (many of them unoccupied at night) have been pitched by anti-corporate protesters around St. Paul's (price of admission- £14.50) and the cathedral authorities have closed the building because they allege there are health and safety issues and now they're worrying about the loss of revenue and have called in the lawyers and the Bishop of London has issued a statement saying- in effect- "I've been talking to the bankers myself, so you can pack up and go home now and leave things to the big boys". 

I haven't been there myself and reckoned up the situation, but I can't help feeling that there is something inherently feeble in this response. 

I mean, what exactly is the point of the Church if when the burning issues of the day come and plonk themselves down on its front doorstep it shuts the door on them and tells them to go away?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ron_broxted
2011-10-26 11:42 am (UTC)
Jesus was not that anti-establishment (Render unto Caesar). I'd like to think he'd chase Barclay's out of the Temple. Annoyed that all plod can do is point thermal cameras at tents, obviously no crime in Laandaan!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-26 01:11 pm (UTC)
I don't expect the clergy of St. Paul's to be red revolutionaries, it would just be nice if they weren't so abject.
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2011-10-26 12:09 pm (UTC)
. . . hunh. I'm not a Christian, but I'm remembering SOMETHING about a Temple and moneylenders . . .
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-26 01:14 pm (UTC)
You can't expect senior clergy to actually believe in any of that New Testament stuff.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-10-26 12:24 pm (UTC)
I have been watching this, with some amusement. I especially liked the whinging about how much money they were losing.

Also, I can't say that I'm terribly surprised and assume that you aren't, either.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-26 01:15 pm (UTC)
No, I'm not. :)
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2011-10-26 12:41 pm (UTC)
I have been watching this, with some amusement. I especially liked all the whinging about how much money they were losing.

Also, can't say that I'm surprised that the C of E cannot or will not stand with the angels on this one and assume that you aren't, either. The socio-economic difficulties we face today are symptomatic of a more generalized collapse of Western morality. This didn't just happen overnight and if the C of E had any moral relevance left, surely we'd have heard of it by now.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-26 01:20 pm (UTC)
The C of E has always (with occasional honourable exceptions) functioned as "the Conservative party at prayer".
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2011-10-27 10:18 am (UTC)
That is consistent with what I know of the C of E, but I feared speaking out of turn. Curiously, the Episcopalians in this country tend to be one of the more liberal sects in the country.

Apologies for the partially double post. I'd upgraded my browser and it was being difficult.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-27 01:05 pm (UTC)
Things are getting interesting. A canon has resigned and the Bishop of Oxford has implicitly criticised the (very conservative) Bishop of London.

The Church of England does have a liberal wing. The Archbishop of Canterbury is personally liberal, though you wouldn't know it from the way he chooses to appease homophobes.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-10-26 03:44 pm (UTC)
In some ways the Church only really plays a role in society when it dares to engage with contemporary issues. A few years ago a church in Denmark offered sanctuary to refused asylum seekers that were due to be deported, and that seemed a powerful way of engaging in the debate. They didn't claim to be above or beyond the law, but they offered disenfranchised people a place to stay for a while - until the police entered the church and forcefully evicted the asylum seekers and handed them over to the immigration authorities for deportation.

Quite poignant to see images of police men in riot gear dragging a crouching man from his hiding place behind the altar...

But a church complaining about lost revenue? What's the point, one is tempted to ask...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-26 05:43 pm (UTC)
There have been British churches that have sheltered asylum seekers too.

If St. Paul's only exists to raise money for its own upkeep the Church authorities should consider handing it over to English Heritage. It would make a lovely ruin.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2011-10-26 06:41 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the anonymous comment; my computer had apparently forgotten my LJ...

But I completely agree. If St. Paul's is not the national cathedral any more, as Wren intended it to be, then perhaps it's better served with being a glorious monument to a not-quite forgotten past.

And as wonderful as it would look as a ruin, I still think I prefer it in a decent state of up-keep. (Perhaps for sentimental reasons; I did after all spend three years with a boyfriend who had the right to get married in St. Paul's due to his dad's OBE or something. I was keeping my fingers crossed for three years that the C of E would create some sort of civil partnership ceremony so I could get hitched in St. Paul's!)

-And I fell even more in love with St. Paul's after reading this book...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-27 08:45 am (UTC)
I knew it had to be you :)

I haven't been inside St. Paul's for decades and I'm not sure what I feel about it as a building. I prefer my churches Romanesque or- failing that- Gothic.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2011-10-26 05:24 pm (UTC)
My sentiments exactly. Although I don't think the protestors have picked the right place. It's government they should be protesting at - they allow the tax loopholes that make bankers rich, and as we own many of the banks they could stop the giant undeserved bonuses if they really wanted to. And if the protestors want to picket the City, St Paul's isn't the right spot. Try Threadneedle Street or the Lloyd's Building.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-26 05:47 pm (UTC)
I gather they wanted to camp in Paternoster Square, but couldn't because it's private property.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2011-10-27 06:56 am (UTC)
Yes, the Church all too often espouses conservative views - regardless of the denomination. And yes, too, the church often seems more interested in the money in the congregation's wallets than in the state of their immortal souls. So I guess it is appropriate for the protesters to picket the church, especially since it is the official church of England.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-27 08:51 am (UTC)
There are encouraging reports this morning about dissension within the church over this issue. The Bishop of London wants to see the protesters go, the Bishop of London wants them to stay and one of the Canons of St. Paul's has said he'll resign if the cathedral presses ahead with its current policy.
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