From the Revd Adrian Alker
Sir, — The Church of England’s Director of Communications is bewildered at the refusal of leading cinema chains to screen a film version of the Lord’s Prayer, saying that the “multi-generational cultural event offered by the release of Star Wars” was too good an opportunity to miss. A week after Star Wars: The Force Awakens is first screened, Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, a man who opposed the normality of the Roman Empire’s practice of making war to bring peace at the expense of justice.
In a world overwhelmed by violence and war, I think the Jesus who inspires me would also be bewildered that his Church today is happy to see war and violence on screen as a “cultural event” and an opportunity to promote his Kingdom prayer. If the Kingdom of God is one of righteousness and peace, may we dare to hope that the Church of England will indeed have the courage to be counter-cultural, and challenge our addiction to the enjoyment of war and violence, seen as entertainment, in a world that is suffering its reality?
Surely this is the point of praying that God’s Kingdom come on earth, and maybe this could have been the point of the communication sent out by the Church?
Chair, Progressive Christianity
Sheffield S8 7UA
From Mr Simon Sarmiento
Sir, — So, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Director of Communications, and the Chief Legal Adviser are each variously “shocked”, “astonished”, and “bewildered” by the actions of a commercial agency with whom they had been negotiating to place an advertisement in cinemas.
The agency has ended up banning the advertisement by retrospectively documenting a policy that certainly was not mentioned at the time the negotiations started. No doubt church officials feel that they have been double-crossed, and have even threatened legal action under the Equality Act 2010.
But didn’t exactly the same thing happen recently in the matter of advice produced retrospectively for the Crown Nominations Commission? Members were issued a figleaf of cover for their rejection, many months earlier, of candidates for episcopal appointments who “have publicly questioned the Church of England’s teaching on human sexuality” in a manner that was somehow considered to prevent the candidate’s becoming “a focus of unity”.
Perhaps those officials, and indeed others who are upset by this rejection, would care to ponder whether they now have a better understanding of how their own behaviour appears to other people?
18 Whincup Grove
North Yorkshire HG5 0JL