The Sock Diary

Musings of a part-time Sweaty Sock.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Priest Idol - Church Lite: cringeworthy name

Priest Idol, the Channel 4 documentary about a priest taking on a parish with 11 parishioners and graffittied church and how he turned round with the help of an advertising company and Jimmy Cricket (among others). The result was Church Lite: a cringeworthy name, but, possibly, you are reading this, and maybe other posts to do with God and the Church, because of it.

It's got me and load of other non-churchgoers looking around these sites and being exposed to the Church and God's words (and some unbelievably narrow-minded comments). It's also got at least 40 more people into a church on a fairly regular basis (60 last week according to the chat forum after the last show).

However light the Word of God is being expounded by Fr McCaskill (and that was deliberately, almost brutally, removed from the documentary wherever possible, so we don't know), that's an infinite percentage more word-of-god-calories than any of these people were getting before. Isn't that good? Isn't that to be celebrated? If someone has even been exposed to a little catechism, and they remember it and possibly factor it into their approach to life? Even if they don't come back that's one or two steps on the road.

Moving on. Some great commenting out there. This was my favourite, and catches the essence of quite a few sites "holier than thou" attitude.

Deuteronomy 4 v 16a says "Don't make idols of ANYTHING..." I'm sorry but like everything else a priest should not be made an idol of.

open book: Priest Idol

Objecting to the use of "idol" in this context (actually in any context it seems) as a religious argument? What an unbelievably (intended) facile tack! Words change their meaning over time (except in French for a while). Check out the etymology of the word "idol". It hasn't had purely the meaning of "false god" since 1591 if not earlier. Rather amusingly in this context suggests idol could be defined as
Something visible but without substance.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

The English expression to idolize persons, objects or qualities is to hold them in very high regard....

Idol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Indeed Wikipedia also mentions that it is used, not meaning "false god", by philosophers Plato and Aristotle (although unlikely it was in English :). I'm pretty sure Deuteronomy wasn't written in English originally.

The Bible has been updated and manipulated since it started. Compare Mark and Luke - don't they have differing agenda there, but with the same story? Isn't that PR? Luke wrote his gospel in 70 AD, never met Jesus, probably didn't even meet any of the apostles. He wrote it as an easier pill to swallow for the Church among the Gentiles. Any way you read the New Testament, wasn't Jesus an out and out radical, outraging the Pharisees and inflaming the Sadducees on an almost daily basis during his ministry? He did radical things like had scummy fishermen friends, pointed out women were worth consideration and cripples shouldn't be excluded or treated as unclean and punished by God for their, or their parents, sins. He was way whackier, and radical, and downright annoying to the establishment, in his context than Father McCaskill is here. The Establishment killed him to shut him up. Is Father McCaskill's triumph going to be damned with faint praise, logic chopping, and back-biting?

I think many of the comments out there malign good, honest Christians who want to spread the Gospel. "Church Lite" is not my cup o'char either, but if it's not for you, fine, but don't bash other people for trying to get the Word of God out there and not being educated the same way as you or holding the same opinions.... Just occurred to me, I'm slagging off people with different opinions to myself - well, it's my blog and they started it, so nerr :)

We are expecting our first child, and are having a real problem working out what to do about Christening and religious education for our child, if anything. I am a very lapsed Catholic and my wife is a relatively non-practising CofE. This programme showed us some options, discussed other approaches, and reminded us both that what we got from our Churches when we were young (apart from indelible guilt for me, thanks guys) was a sense of community, of doing unto others as you would have done, good role models, true altruism (there was also some collosal hypocrisy, but maybe the good outweighs the bad). Very difficult to get as a child (and an adult :) anywhere else, at least in this country I believe.

***Rant mode=off***

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