Buildings and bad ideas

By , 3 July 2009 9:44 pm

A friend of mine from the United States who reads this blog sent me this web address . It’s basically about the problems of the Anglican Church in the UK and how some churches are considering putting advertising placards on their steeples in order to pay for the incredibly expensive upkeep of their buildings. I sympathise. What is quite interesting in Wales is that although there are a vast number of disused chapels, most of the new churches (and there are a few) are avoiding them and using schools or old cinemas for worship. The upkeep of historically important buildings is difficult enough but it is even worse when you have to abide by well meant legislation for the preservation of ancient buildings which prohibits you doing common sense things like ripping out pews or removing the organ.

As I was thinking about this I was reminded of a book idea that I almost certainly will never write called Ten Bad Ideas in the History of Christianity. Let me list some of these and you can use your intellect to guess the where and when of them.

  1. ‘ Say, I have this great idea, instead of meeting in homes, why don’t we make special buildings for our fellowship meetings? I do know, we could call them “churches”.’
  2. ‘My Lord Emperor, have you considered making Christianity the state religion? That way religion would support the state and the state would support the religion. A great idea: can’t fail. ’
  3. ‘Your Highness, we were wondering if as Pope, you have ever considered getting a lot of men together, giving them a few swords, blessing them and then having them sail over to the Holy Land and take it back from the infidel. You could call the whole thing well, a crusade.’
  4. ‘Your Highness, we are sure that, as supreme Pontiff of the church, you find the widespread presence of heresy and dissent distressing. One novel suggestion we have for ensuring the smooth running of the ecclesiastical world is to have a special body of people authorised to establish good practice throughout Christendom, by force if necessary. You could call it The Inquisition.’
  5. ‘Galileo? You need to sort him out: you don’t want these science people getting ahead of themselves. Make him recant.’
  6. ‘Witches? Bad news all round. Hard to deal with. I know! We could try burning them.’
  7. ‘Given that so many people don’t seem to want to believe in Christianity anymore perhaps we can try pushing the argument from design. After all you can’t reason your way out of that can you?’
  8. ‘Ah Bishop. There’s some chap speaking in favour of this thing called Evolution down in Oxford. I don’t suppose you’d like to go and oppose him would you? Make it plain who holds the intellectual high ground. A bit of ridicule – a spot of humiliation – that sort of thing.  That ought to sort that lot out. ’
  9. ‘ Archbishop, Number 10 here. The Prime Minister would be awfully grateful if you could call the present conflict a “holy war”. Wondered if you could point out how diabolic the enemy is and promise our boys that they are doing God’s will. You know the sort of thing.’
  10. I can’t think of a tenth but I’m sure you can.

Well, have a good week, and try to spot the bad ideas before you carry them out, not afterwards.

6 Responses to “Buildings and bad ideas”

  1. Catherine Brislee says:

    Suggestion for no. 10:

    Since you and I and our best friends are the only ones who really understand Christianity, let's turn our backs on the rest of the Christian community and start our own little church for superior people who Know The Truth. (repeated several hundred times, especially in the last 500 years)

  2. Boaz says:

    My idea for Number 10 (which would actually be number 3 and bump the rest of them by a number):

    'Hey! We're in Rome, Peter founded the church here, and Christ gave authority to Peter, so why don't we say that as Bishop of Rome, you're successor to that authority and can tell every other Christian what to do? Since you hae his authority, you can do no wrong. What's the downside?'

  3. Kirsty says:

    My brother's church rent out their steeple for a mobile phone mast. It's invisible, because it's inside.

    In Scotland we have this thing called "Ecclesiastical Exemption", which means that you can do anything you need to do to your church building, even if it is listed.(Tho' denominations may have their own restrictions). The point is that, if the state is not allowed to interfere in worship (ha ha), how can they force a church to worship in a certain way, as dictated by a building which was designed in the past?

  4. kirsty says:

    Btw, re your list:
    I think 2 was probably the worst idea ever. I think it lead to 1 (which has lead to many problems, both financial and, I suspect, spiritual), and also lead to many of the others on the list.

    How about adding as number 10:
    Let's call our country a "Christian Country" (despite the fact that many of our citizens are not Christians at all, and those who are are often very nominal, as is shown by their unChristian lifestyles). This will mean that genuine Christians who live in countries that happen to be our political enemies will be persecuted for being traitors, as it will be assumed they are politically on the side of the "Christian Country", and that they agree with the immoral lifestyles lived in that country.

  5. Seth Heijermans says:

    Mr. Walley- I read your books Heart of Stone and Rock of Refuge when I was young, and my wife and I just finished reading Heart of Stone together (I told her how good it was and she wanted to read it together). Over the years, though, my parent's copy of Rock of Refuge has disappeared, and I can't find it on Amazon. Just wondering if you know where I can get it or if you have any copies laying around. I live in Virginia, USA. Thanks! Seth Heijermans

  6. Chris says:

    Hi Seth,ANCan you email me and I will see what I can do? Thanks

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