From the Very Revd Christopher Campling
Sir, - Simon Parke (Comment, 30 January) does not
seem to understand the nature of "praising God". Christians do not
praise God to flatter, but to affirm and, therefore, respond to and
enjoy God's glory, goodness, and creative and redemptive love.
C. S. Lewis put this better than I can in his book
Reflections on the Psalms (which are full of the
injunction to "praise the Lord"). "We delight to praise what we
enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the
enjoyment. . . It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on
telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is
incomplete till it is expressed."
And again: "The Scottish catechism says that man's chief end is
'to glorify God and enjoy him for ever'. . . . Fully to enjoy is to
glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to
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From the Revd Michael Champneys
Sir, - In his column "Exhausting affirmation", Simon Parke
asks whether God wants to be praised. "Generally," he writes, "I do
not wish to be praised, and, if I do I am having a weaker moment,
when my ego needs bolstering a little. But I struggle to link this
need to God."
So did Augustus Hare - a far less modest man than Mr Parke. When
asked by Somerset Maugham why he had inked out many lines in the
Prayer Book that he used for family prayers, he replied: "I've
crossed out all the passages in glorification of God. God is
certainly a gentleman and no gentleman cares to be praised to his
face. It is tactless, impertinent and vulgar. I think all that
fulsome adulation must be highly offensive to him."
If not actually a gentleman, God cannot be less than a
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