On mission in Britain’s most godless town

by Richard on April 25, 2006

Mark Berry, whose blogday it is today, features in this Guardian article, Going against the grain, on mission in Telford.

On the day Mark moved his wife, crucifix, child and cat into a small terraced house in the town (bought by the Church Mission Society and the local diocese), he was visited by a neighbour, who said, “Your tree is casting a shadow on my house and it’s bad for the feng shui.” “That’s the sort of spiritual dabbling that’s going on here,” says Mark, 36. “When they talk about spirituality, things like Christianity, the church and institutional religion don’t seem to enter the picture at all.” More than 99% of Telfordians are “unchurched” and Mark’s seven-year assignment, in which he answers to the Bishop of Shrewsbury, is to do something about it.

Thanks to jonny baker.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Beth 04.28.06 at 7:21 pm

It’s a bit insulting to call Feng Shui “spiritual dabbling” when we know nothing about the person involved. It may not be what we would practice, but it is a very important part of some people’s belief system. Just because it has become part of a new age picking and mixing of religious ideas, doesn’t mean that it isn’t beneficial. Neither does it mean that there is no one who practices it seriously, as part of a structured belief system, and in good faith.

And so what if institutional religion doesn’t enter the picture? It’s pretty much done more harm than good in its history (and I’m not only talking about Christianity), so if people can find a focus for their life journey somewhere else, I’d call them lucky, not misguided.

2

DH 04.28.06 at 9:43 pm

I agree with Mark Berry. Beth, Mark wasn’t attacking Feng Shui he was talking about this “When they talk about spirituality, things like Christianity, the church and institutional religion don’t seem to enter the picture at all.”

Also, this isn’t about religion but about faith vs. Faith. “Except a man be Born Again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “If you confess with your mouth the LJ and Believe in your heart that God has risen from thedead you shall besaved.” or Jesus saying if you deny Me I will deny you before My Father in heaven.”

Sounds like you are in a less harsh way “throwing the baby out with the bath water” or at least adding dirt to the bath water “thou shalt have noother gods before me.” I hope you didn’t take this harsh because that isn’t the attitude in my writing here. It is difficult sometimes to relay attitude in writing as compared with verbal. :)

3

Beth 04.29.06 at 6:22 pm

DH - he called feng shui “spiritual dabbling” - sounds like an attack to me.

I already expressed my views about MB’s wailing for the loss of institutional religion. If “things like Christianity, the church and institutional religion don’t seem to enter the picture”, we can either cry “Woe!” at the top of our voices, or we can accept that that is the way it is. People have the right to find institutional Christianity and the Church dangerous, misguided and prejudiced, as I do. They also have the right to ignore them and find them irrelevant, which in many ways they have become. They have the right not to want to “see the Kingdom” of God in whom they don’t believe, and who may not be in any way consonant with their own traditions. Finally, they have the right not to be hassled by the overly pious for these beliefs.

We should spend a bit more time dealing with the beam in our own eyes before… well, you know the rest.

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