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Out of the question: Passing on the tradition

19 January 2010

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.

Why do other faiths (and maybe other denominations) seem so much better at passing on their beliefs and traditions to the next generation than the Church of England is? Have we given up on church teaching in the home?

I was not aware that the Church of England was finding it any more difficult to pass on its beliefs than other Christian denominations or other faiths — or political parties, for that matter. We live in an age when it is extremely difficult to en­courage new people to commit themselves or to belong to an organisation that requires a per­sonal response to a particular philo­sophy or religion.

I think we could safely generalise and say, “Yes, we have given up on ‘church teaching’ in the home.” The exciting aspect of all this is that beliefs and traditions change be­cause of fresh expressions, new per­spectives on so-called religious language, and the discovery that there is more to Christian faith than “church teaching”, which always has the potential for staying in a rut, and not responding to the world around it. There is also more to life than the Church.

What is needed is the courage to examine more closely the life and teachings of the Christ of the Gospels, in the context of the world in which we live and vice versa, in order to create a Church that can be more sensitive to the spiritual, social, and political needs of the people who live around our many parish churches.
David Redrobe
Barton upon Humber
North Lincolnshire

Yes, some have given up on passing the Christian message within their homes, but a bigger problem relates to Anglican churches and schools.

Many churches have watered down their teaching and practice in a futile attempt to try to “make people feel comfortable” and pro­vide “consumer choice”, even to the extent of regularly replacing the Christ-given eucharist with worship that resembles a school assembly.

The situation in church schools is similar. It is now possible in many places for a child to spend years at a C of E school and never be taught about the sacraments, and maybe never even say the Lord’s Prayer. Anglican teaching and practice is now often watered down on the grounds that “we are a community school and it may offend the Muslims” or whomever.

I believe, therefore, that the root problem is secularism, not so much that from without the Church as that from within.
(The Revd) Geoffrey Squire SSC
Goodleigh, Barnstaple, Devon

Yes, our C of E is losing out through lukewarmness. It is imperative that Christian parents expound the Christian faith to their families; but the task has been made more dif­ficult by an overlooked side-effect of the sidelining of the Prayer Book.

No longer to be found in all sorts of homes as a devotional manual, since the custom of presenting it to brides and newly christened babies has lapsed, its marginalising leaves mothers, fathers, and siblings short of a great resource. One can hardly present a library of Common Worship material.
Frank McManus

Your questions

Do other readers share my concern at the disuse of the Creed in the eucharist on Sunday mornings? D. R.

Some cathedrals have canons; others have prebendaries. What influences the choice for any cathedral? D. H.

How did Kant influence Christian thought? Was he a Christian (and, if so, of which denomination)? Why did the Vatican condemn his writings? Are Roman Catholics now allowed to read his work? J. W.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 13-17 Long Lane, London EC1A 9PN.





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