Church & the hidden social list

The Times Tuesday November 1 2011

Ruth Gledhill on the latest from St Paul’s events and their hidden message:

“The resignation of the Dean of St Paul’s is the latest development in an unfolding disaster, not just for the cathedral, but for the entire Church.”

I have just read in the next day paper some comments from the readers saying that Ruth was to harsh or in a hurry to describe the situation this way. My comment here is that she was not. There is a time for looking coldly at the facts and reacting in a “proper” manner and there is a time when speaking louder than usual is an imperative. The present crisis is not only economical. Of course, being British may signify for some stiffening the upper lip and hoping and working toward a solution for the problem. It is that and it is not specifically a British thing but a universal sign for that there is a mature approach to crisis for mature people. To call the protesters, of whom only a fraction is camped there at St Paul’s many others having the same feelings but remotely, immature is wrong and…immature.

To expect the Church, not only the Anglican involved indirectly and by chance in the event but the whole Church, to come out with a clear message is normal. Because Church doesn’t really exists outside the community of its members therefore it should intervene in the conflicts between them.

To stick labels such as “hot-aired socialists” or “greedy capitalists” is not only counter-productive but plainly outrageous. The right for a decent life, freedom from oppression (plain or hidden) is not Marx’s invention. The protesters here and elsewhere are not led by Marats and Robespierres.

The Church is expected to just be there as Church, living the full gospel, a gospel that includes the spiritual care as well as the social one.

“The social gospel is what attracts them and keeps them there. And the things that Jesus said about rich men in their castles, about giving up worldly possessions to follow him, about prodigal sons and burying talents in the ground ring true today as they did two millennia ago.”

“John Donne, poet and 17-th century Dean of St Paul’s could give told the Chapter that no Church is an island.”

Rachel Sylvester comes with an interesting angle from which we can look into the economic and social crisis:

“The favoured guru at Downing Street at the moment is Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a former Wall Street trader turned bestselling author. His 2007 book The Black Swan argued that history is made by random high-impact events rather than day-to-day routines.”

“Expert forecasters are, in his view, little better than fraudsters they can no more predict such improbable happenings than the rest of us.

Government is based too much on the idea that “history crawls” when, in fact, “it makes jumps”

“Taleb argues: “Nothing should ever become too big to fail. Evolution in economic life helps those with the maximum amount of hidden risks become the biggest.”

“Big is ugly – and fragile.”

“He concludes: “Much more stability would be achieved by stopping governments from helping companies when they become large and by giving back advantages to the small guy.”

Perhaps what the small guy helplessly imprisoned in the present political and economical cage can do, with or without Church’s help, is no more than this guy is saying next:

The Impossible Dream

To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go;

To right the unrightable wrong.
To love, pure and chaste, from afar,
To try, when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star!

This is my Quest to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far,
To fight for the right
Without question or pause,
To be willing to march into hell
For a heavenly cause!

And I know, if I’ll only be true
To this glorious Quest,
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable, the unreachable,
The unreachable stars!

And I’ll reach the impossible dream,
And I’ll reach the unreachable,
The unreachable stars!

And I’ll reach the impossible dream,
And I’ll reach the unreachable,
The unreachable stars!

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