May 122009

rev.maxAccording to this report on the BBC, ministers are going virtual.

Using video links, ministers will be able to contribute to services in vacant charges or be able to be seen simultaneously in a linked charge. The minister can rotate their visits so that they are there in person sometimes, but they can be seen and heard every Sunday.

I guess the idea has some merit – I have visions of rolling out of bed five minutes before the service, popping on a dog collar and switching on the webcam in the study. But I wonder when computer geeks will get round to creating a true virtual minister, and of course they could be pre-programmed to suit the theological temperament of the congregation.

How do you ordain software though?

Nov 242008

BBC News headlineMaybe the headline editor wasn’t quite awake when they wrote this BBC News headline and summary, but I can’t help but think how awful it reads. There’s an implicit sense of shock that anyone would continue with the pregnancy of a Down’s syndrome baby. To be fair the article is much more positive and I suspect that the headline may well change. Nevertheless, it still shows, I think, an underlying problem of attitudes towards anything or anyone who might be considered ‘less than perfect’ by some arbitrary personal or societal standard.

Unfortunately the church isn’t immune from this. I still hear, all too often, about how bad and horrible and corrupt this world is. That, in my opinion, sends out the entirely wrong message. It implies (or even overtly states) that this world is worthless and shouldn’t be bothered with. There is the implicit “but we’re alright; we’re going to heaven”. Gnosticism is alive and well in the church today it would seem and will only reinforce attitudes such as the one found in the headline writer of that article.

Creation may well be far from ‘perfect’ but it is not worthless. Regardless of how you would read the Genesis creation narratives, there is no escaping God’s pronouncement that creation was ‘very good’. So, rather than be in a rush to get away from it then maybe we need to look for the worth in it. To see the value that God saw in it. To love it through God’s perspective and not our own. Maybe then the life of a vulnerable baby will be respected and there will be joy that more babies are being born rather than an implied regret that they are.