Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Listening to others

I am listening to Nielsen's 5th symphony on Radio 3 as I type this. One of my fellow Prommers, who worked for the US Embassy in London and who has since been posted back to the States, said he would travel almost any distance to hear Nielsen's music. I've never quite shared his enthusiasm, but I'm always willing to give it another go.

Talking of listening to others, or in this case not, I am glad to see that the Lambeth Conference is off the front pages for the first time in many days. I won't say anything about the positions taken by the opposite wings of the Anglican church except to rejoice that the arguments seem to mean very little to the ordinary folk in the pews and even less to the people I meet as I walk around the village. Talk of division and schism has had its strong impact though. People might not understand, but the picture of the Church that has been painted is damaging, especially as talk of schism is hardly important where we not only don't argue about such things as the authority of Scripture, but we are constantly crossing denominational lines in our worship and meeting.

The attempts by Archbishop Rowan to concentrate on what we all agree on rather than what we disagree about is laudable, and always a good tactic when a body of people is prepared to set out battle lines. Sadly his closing remarks that we should listen more to the African churches seems unlikely to be carried into practice if the representatives of those churches are not prepared to come to the conference and be heard direct, rather than  through the media.

On the front pages today, instead of the church we have pictures of a tearful Michael Vaughan who resigned as England cricket captain. The headline is "What makes men weep?" Perhaps it is a good thing that the traditional male stiff upper lip seems increasingly weak around the tear ducts. One might want to weep for the Church sometimes.

No comments: