Losing their religion?
There are few spots around the world where parents do not have to drag their young adult children to worship: Ghana, a predominantly Christian county is one; Chad, a predominantly Muslim country, is another.
In both African nations, younger adults are three percentage points more likely to identify with their faith than their elders – according to a new study by the Pew Research Centre, of religious feelings among older and younger adults.
The study, which finds that younger people the world over are generally less religious than their elders, determined that the pattern is generally reversed where prosperity and life expectancy lag. Life expectancy in Chad and Ghana is among the lowest in the world.
MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD
“Ladies and gentlemen, the partnership between our two countries could hardly be of greater importance. Today, we are not just neighbours, but old friends who, tragically, have travelled a troubled road, along which many wrongs have been done.” These words were spoken by Prince Charles at a civic reception in Cork, on 14th June 2018.
Somehow, he captured something of the essence of relationships on these islands over many years. Listening to his remarks one is struck by the power of well-chosen words. They have the ability to heal and to create possibilities, rather than to close them down.
In 38 words, Prince Charles not only managed to acknowledge the wounds created in our history, but also to hold out the importance of our relationships with one another.
Words can create or deepen a relationship. They mend fences or make the dividing ditches deeper. They can create indignation that will search for solutions, or they can fan anger that has nowhere good to go. Words communicate something – they set a tone. Words matter. We are aware that words have the power to do other things as well:
• To be tools in simply winning an argument – where winning, or not losing, becomes everything;
• To be barbed weapons to wound or bait those with whom we disagree, or that offend us;
• To obscure truth, rather than reveal it – in an age of ‘spin’, cleverly used words can have extraordinary power.
We have never lived at a time when words have been used so freely. TV, radio, internet, print, social media – there are so many vehicles to get a message across, or to be bombarded with. Most of them are only a keyboard away.
We desperately need leaders who will honestly use words to heal and create possibilities, even in the most difficult of times.
As we hope for that tone in the utterances of our leaders, there is something we can do: to be sure that our own words are tools for healing and possibilities.
- Summer Madness 2018:
- APParently another first for the festival!
- Senior Church of Ireland clergy attend GAFCON conference in Jerusalem
- Meath and Kildare celebrates their lay readers
- Commissioning of new Armagh diocesan readers
- Be ‘in the world but not of the world’ Bishop Miller tells Down and Dromore Diocesan Synod
- Church of Ireland Church and Society Commission: expressions of interest sought
- European third level chaplains gather in Dublin for the first time
- Cashel, Ferns and Ossory Diocese: a year in review
- Church of Ireland healthcare chaplain contributes to new book on paediatric chaplaincy
- Bethany Home memorial service
Christians visit West Bank to see life – and faith – on the other side
- Catholic bishops rebuke Trump’s asylum changes
- Anglican leaders reflect on global day of prayer for peace
- 600 United Methodists file formal church complaint against Jeff Sessions
- ‘Day monastery’ for remote workers
- South Carolina churches lose bid to keep buildings
- Services and commemorations
- mark first anniversary of
- Grenfell Tower fire
- ‘We believe in church on Monday’
- Anglican Communion Office looking to expand team
Letter to the editor
THE END came with a whimper. For years, we have watched as sectarian forces cloaking themselves in the language of relevance and mission have worked to achieve what their forebears at disestablishment could not.
Twenty years ago they baulked at being called Anglican. Now they feel they own the term and a Communion’s future. They have bullied and they have marginalised. They have exploited, first low politics and now homophobia in their quest for power.
They have all but ejected liberal scholarship from theological training, revealingly ejecting with it the very word ‘college’, as any pretence at collegiality has evaporated.
With honourable exceptions, the Church of Ireland establishment has more than let this happen. Locked in the bewildering paralysis of Stockholm syndrome, it has enacted it.
There is some huffing and puffing around the edges on social media at the spectacle of two bishops, determined that they alone hold the truth, leading a large group to a GAFCON meeting, without feeling it necessary to consult with their colleagues; but it is too late. They have won. And those who once loved the church can only watch as their heresy runs rampant.
However, their victory is pyrrhic. Their donatism has brought them temporary power. But it has locked them in the straitjacket of propriety and hypocrisy, and their fruit is already withered and rejected by the world that so terrifies them. And somewhere from this death will grow new life. Some of us may yet be blessed to see it.
Rupert Moreton (Revd)
PAUL – A VERY BRIEF HISTORY Author: John M. G. Barclay Publisher: SPCK
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- West Cork history festival announces its 2018 programme
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