Warning: this post contains the most deeply spiritual points I have made on this blog this week, or perhaps ever.
I’ve done a bit of wandering around the internet reading what bloggers are writing about Priest Idol. It is largely negative, which doesn’t really surprise me. Some samples:
Shame it puts christians in such a bad light. The american seems pretty clueless as to how to get people to church.
Where is the carefully worked out mission plan, where the connections with the community, where the content of the gospel?
In particular the churches methods and the marketing strategy are drawing criticism.
The high church people don’t like it because ‘Church Lite’ hints at losing the mystery of worship.
The evangelicals don’t like it because they haven’t seen enough of the ‘content of the gospel’.
The emerging church people don’t like it because it doesn’t fit in with their incarnational missional paradigms.
But there again, God works in mysterious ways. In fact thinking through the Bible there are quite a number of times where God’s way of doing things is rather surprising and even shocking to the ‘orthodox’ religious people. The Messiah being born in a stable rather than a palace and dying on a cross rather than overthrowing the Romans, and the gospel being for the Gentiles as well as the Jews being examples that came to mind on the way back from the Harvester this evening.
I don’t know exactly what the profound point I’m making here is, apart from the fact that sometimes when something gets lots of Christians up in arms it makes me think that perhaps God has got something to do with it.
The other common thread in many of the various blog posts I’ve read seems to be that people (including me I must add) have also been quite down on the previous vicar, Father David. But like all these things there is another side to the story:
David Nicholson is a very dedicated, kind, spiritual and immensely hard-working priest. He had very successful ministries in Newport Docks and Abertillery, both parishes in places most people avoid, and was well liked and respected by the local community. Yes, he does wear his cassock and biretta at all times, but at least people know who the Vicar is, and that he is not ashamed or frightened of being the Vicar.
Who knows, perhaps an old fashioned vicar who doesn’t like change can still be doing the work of God in his own way.