is He or She? Our ABC (the Downunder equivalent of the BBC) is telling us this again. It's all to do with that statistic in the Census which told the powers-that-be that the number of Christians in the country had dropped - again.
Apparently it is something to gloat about. I am not sure why but the ABC seems to think this is a good thing. Other media commentators also seem to believe it is a good thing. You know the sort of thing I mean...people have stopped believing in "myths and fairy stories".
To me however there is a bigger problem. People have stopped believing in the other things which made or make religion of some sort still relevant.
This was something the Senior Cat thought a lot about. He had some long conversations with priests and ministers and pastors and others about this very topic. He saw it as a teaching issue. Religion had to be relevant to everyday life.
In the course of his teaching career he was also expected to be the local minister/priest or person of religion. He was expected to give guidance. It was the sort of thing teachers in remote areas were expected to do. They were expected to attend church and participate. We kittens went to church on Sundays and we saw our parent in the pulpit. He would be there with a glove puppet, a naughty monkey, and he would be telling a story. He would relate that story to real life. It was teaching rather than preaching.
Three days ago a woman who had heard the Senior Cat teach/preach more than sixty years ago told me about one of those occasions - and how it had influenced her youngest to change course. That woman is of course now an old woman herself but it has stayed with her all this time. The Senior Cat would be surprised and relieved rather than pleased. He worried about those church services. Was he doing the right thing?
I think he was. He talked to those charged with religious duties about this very sort of thing. "Religion has to be relevant to every day life," he kept saying. He loved the language of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the language of the King James' Version of the Bible but he knew that other, more modern, versions were what would be understood. He knew they needed to be used. He wanted people to give examples of "practical Christianity" or "practical anything else they believe in for the good of others".
The media isn't helping here - and it isn't just social media. There is a sense of gloating by organisations like the ABC. It is as if they are saying, "Isn't it good we have stopped believing all this Christianity nonsense?" Naturally they will respect other religions for fear of being called to account but Christianity is fair game. If they are to be believed it's all about "sexual abuse" and "conversion therapy". I beg to differ. If someone can give me an example of a religion, any religion, which
does not ask for acts of compassion to others at all then I would like
to know about it.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It isn't a matter of believing in "myths and fairy tales" or "miracles". It is a matter of believing in one another, of caring for each other, of following the commandment to "love one another". As long as we believe that, whether we go to church and whether we have other beliefs or not, religion is still relevant. The ABC should be supporting that.