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Rhiannon’s Drivel

But we social revolutionaries are old hat. These hubs for digital nomads are popping up everywhere in our cities, and now the Church of England wants some of the action. The Times reports that it is to offer desks to young professionals, not to mention on-site gyms, as part of a £35m drive to attract younger congregation members. Focusing on areas with large student populations, these churches will offer a range of trendy services, with Stockton-on-Tees even appointing a “social media pastor”.

I should probably say here that I am not religious, and tend to view the attempt to modernise on the part of most religions as fatally incompatible with the whole worshipping-a-fictitious sky-god-who-tells-us-women-and-gay-people-are-inferior thing. Introduce a guitar into the proceedings, and I’m the first one calling for the last judgment. I don’t care if the whole world turns into a Hieronymus Bosch painting, I’ll even lead the procession into the demon’s cavernous, gaping mouth provided I don’t have to listen to Christian rock. And that’s before we get to the archbishop of Canterbury’s “speaking in tongues” revelation.

Then again, I grew up having my tarot cards read, several people in my family are Buddhist, and I’m pretty sure I once saw a ghost, so each to their own.

That is, I don’t believe, I don’t contribute, but everyone must do it as I wish them to.

Workspaces where people sit on their laptops, atomised and alienated from one another are 10 a penny. Why offer more of the same? Shouldn’t religious buildings be places of refuge from the treadmill? Will those kinds of people really see such a backdrop as part of their “personal brand”?

Super, go buy a church and run it as you wish.

21 thoughts on “Rhiannon’s Drivel”

  1. Churches want to be relevant and/or get prospects in through the door. In a university area nearby, a couple of churches do very cheap lunchtime soup and rolls.
    So why shouldn’t they try other stuff too?

  2. True Tim True on the other hand its a fairly self-aware piece (which ought to be encouraged), the cofe is a state institution, and Rhiannon’s bang on about guitar lead prayer.

  3. “I’m pretty sure I once saw a ghost”

    There is in fact an easy answer to the question ‘is this house haunted?’

    No, it isn’t. Grow up.

  4. To quote Steve – “Yarp”.

    Tim N had a piece yesterday which looks at organisations fatally losing their way by neglecting their core purpose and wandering off into a fantasy land of pipe-dreams and wonderfulness.

    I doubt whether many people will connect with their inner spirituality by having somewhere to plug in their ‘phone charger.

  5. @Steve

    The CoE is not very uniform. In my (fairly small) town, you can choose from several options between full works smells and bells down to the Pastor (and he’d rather be called that than Vicar) preaching in jeans and a T shirt, in a building only just recognisable as a church.

    Interestingly the largest church (as in, its congregation is probably larger than all the others put together) is the one that bothers with two things – the gospel, and being accessible enough that people will come in and hear the gospel.

    The Liberals can’t get their heads round this, and don’t understand why their churches are emptying, hence they keep resorting to gimmicks.

  6. This is orthodox straight-down-the-line mainstream atheism. Tim even if you are a believer, and I don’t think you are, what got your panties in a bunch? I can’t see where she’s commanding others to follow her mandated code of behavior? But thanks for the link which I will post in my FB atheists and sceptics group.

  7. @Southerner

    Tim’s an atheist. Of the ex Catholic school variety.

    His point is that she’s telling churchy people how to church better, or that they’re currently churching it wrong, even though she doesn’t do church (or agree with what she sees as the point of church) herself.

    Philosophically that raises issues of her “standing” to make the argument. If it was her building, or she part-contributed to running it, she’d be in a better position to say how it should be used. Personally I don’t like arguments based on someone lacking standing (at the extreme end it’s where you get to “men shouldn’t comment on abortion” or even “Israelis shouldn’t condemn terrorism because the occupation is the root cause so Israelis lack standing” – have heard a law prof making that argument). But I think Tim is taking the traditional liberal view over property – their property, their rules, they can do with it as they wish and in accordance to whatever weird beliefs or preferences they profess, so for an outsider to say they’re doing it all wrong is bit off, or at least a bit pointless.

  8. Incidental question. Can anyone name the logical fallacy where you assume (or even actively desire) that your opponent has an attribute, belief or purpose that you dislike – and then you get to act disappointed if your opponent does not fulfil your negative prejudices about them? It seems somewhat related to the “no true Scotsman” fallacy – except it’s more like “oh, you’re not a true Scotsman then – or you are acting in a way incompatible with my personal definition of Scotsmanship so you are Scotting it “wrong”, or maybe you have these nasty attributes after all and are just hiding your true Scotsmanship.”

    For example – some hardcore Remainers view Brexiteers as all inherently racist. Indeed, kinda want every Brexiteer they meet to be a racist. So a Brexiteer who professes to not be a racist is problematic. If they say “I want a colour-blind migration policy that doesn’t favour predominantly white Europeans over Asian, African or North and South American people” then either they aren’t a proper Brexiteer after all (they’re some very confused Remainer deep down, perhaps stupid and credulous and taken in by Brexit lies) or they are Brexiting “the wrong way” (“look, personally I disagree with Brexit, but lets at least think about the internal logic of Brexit – it is an inherently racist white supremacist project, so by supporting a multiracial Britain in which people of different backgrounds all rub along together, you’re incoherent and a complete failure of a Brexiteer”) or they are plain and simple a liar (“despite your claims of non-racism, the mere fact you support Brexit proves you are a racist”).

    I’ve seen the above quite often recently during the Brexit countdown and been struggling to put a name for it. But this article reminded me of it, wherein we have an atheist effectively defining the point of religion as being anti-gay and anti-women, and thereby if you find a mainstream church that allows gay marriage, or discover that few church sermons these days badger on and on relentlessly about how a woman’s place is in the home as her husband’s servant, and might be rather more likely to bang on about “inclusivity” instead, that’s just a sign they aren’t proper churches, or that the churches have “lost it”, or that they’re still anti-gay and anti-woman but are hiding it better.

  9. If the last is concerned about attitudes to women and homosexuals which are unsupported in the Bible and rarely encountered in a Christian church, I would be interested in her views on Islam where views on these matters are explicit in the scriptures and commonly preached.

  10. Replace “church” with “the State” in that article and she would love it.

    Replace “church” with “Islam” and she wouldn’t even have dared write the article.

  11. This is the broad that looks like an Alien and has no tolerance for any dissent from her own liberal nostra – the sooner she can be put on a plane to Pyongyang the better off we will all be. May even be worse than Owen Jones

  12. The teachings of Jesus are not a million miles away from Jordan Peterson’s and he pulls ’em in. Might be a hint there.

  13. When I was at university the Chaplaincy did a Thursday charity lunch which was well attended by non-religious types, who ended up generally settling there all week as a general socialising area. It got you away from the Christian Union who colonised the coffee bar.

  14. “Introduce a guitar into the proceedings, and I’m the first one calling for the last judgment”

    Yep, I’m with her on that. The one time I found prayer actually work was during a ghastly guitar Mass when, after five minutes’ earnest entreaty to the Almighty, one of the guitarist’s strings snapped.

  15. MBE, yes, there is some No True Scotsman in that she makes an assertion which is not in evidence. We have only her declaration.

    NTS often includes an appeal to purity. As in her telling the people how to run their churches.

    “some hardcore Remainers view Brexiteers as all inherently racist.”

    A strawman argument. Then the Remainers attack Brexiters’ racism, which the Remainers
    made up.

  16. “I’m no theologistician, but maybe the Church would have more luck if it preached the Gospel instead?”

    I doubt it. My pet theory on decline of the church is that people rarely randomly die at short notice any longer. When bombs were falling on London in The Blitz, they went to Church a lot. Who is still religious? Old people, the military, people with sick relatives. People who either think they’re going to meet their maker soon or hoping to be spared.

    The other churchgoing is social in villages. Nothing much else to do and it’s really just a place to meet up.

  17. @theProle January 24, 2019 at 11:28 am

    The two CofE high churches I know of here are well attended even on daily services.

    Similarly, the one that does Matins most Sundays, with Communion once a month. Cathedral well attended too.

    I dislike modern happy clappy churches.

  18. “I’m no theologistician, but maybe the Church would have more luck if it preached the Gospel instead?”

    They should do that bit in the OT with the talking donkey. It makes everything so much clearer and more obvious.

    “Replace “church” with “Islam” and she wouldn’t even have dared write the article.”

    Neither would you. As you say, the church and Islam have a lot in common.

  19. “If the last is concerned about attitudes to women and homosexuals which are unsupported in the Bible and rarely encountered in a Christian church…”


  20. Napoleon notoriously said, “The role of religion is to console the unfortunate people of the world.”

    “Yeah, your life is shitty, but keep giving to the church and your afterlife will be great!”

    The problem for the church is that people are doing too well to buy the Christian schtick anymore.

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