Mystery vs. Banality

This article from the Church of England Newspaper.
Dr Hope reiterates warning on banality
Number: 5719 Date: May 27, 2004
“The Archbishop of York has accused the Church of offering entertainment and distraction rather than mystery in its worship.
“Warning the Church of overdoing debate, the Most Rev Dr David Hope also said that in some of its debates the Christian community seems to have lost the ‘kindness, gentleness, forbearance and long sufferingÂ…’ which he said characterised the earliest Christian communities….
“He said it is ‘ironic’ that the Church seems to have ‘abandoned the mysterious in favour of the banal’ just as the genre of Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings films and literature is captivating young and old.”

Amen! I couldn’t agree more with this Bishop. The last paragraph is of utmost importance when considering effective ministry and outreach to younger generations.
During a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees of The General Theological Seminary, of which I am a student representative, another student rep. and I were giving an update of student concerns and experience for the Education and Formation Commission. There was a comment made about the worship experience at General, and a bishop member was incredulous that Rite I Evening Prayer was still being used. “No one gets anything out of Rite I any longer and it is useless,” or something like that was his comment. I commented that younger people seemed to like the language of Rite I and that studies suggest they are seeking the ancient and mysterious, rather than the trendy and banal. Anglicanism provides well for both of these desires, but many children of the 60’s (most of our leaders) are still attempting to be “modern” and “relevant,” which means they want to jettison much of the tradition and high-church liturgy – the ancient and the mysterious. This is fine for some, but they are determined to continue “remaking the world in their image” when the needs and desires of “the world” have changed and passed them by.
Bishop Hope, I believe, is correct. Read the rest of the article by clicking the below link.


The Archbishop of York has accused the Church of offering entertainment and distraction rather than mystery in its worship.
Warning the Church of overdoing debate, the Most Rev Dr David Hope also said that in some of its debates the Christian community seems to have lost the “kindness, gentleness, forbearance and long suffering…” which he said characterised the earliest Christian communities.
The Northern Primate lamented the pace and the volume of the Church of England during a sermon at Pusey House, Oxford, last Sunday, saying, “The danger is that we are becoming too much a busy Church and a chatty Church at the expense of being an effective Church.
“..the most important witness which I believe is needed today more than ever, is the witness of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’,” Dr Hope said, adding that this does not “minimise” the role of conversation and debate. Dr Hope said churches should provide “space and silence” and said it is not surprising that “people are wary even of entering within [churches] in case they are so suddenly snapped up by some ardent vicar or churchwardens, or PCC member, and at once enlisted onto some committee, working group or tea-making rota.”
Dr Hope’s sermon strongly echoed his message to the National Evangelical Anglican Congress (NEAC) eight months ago, when he declared, “..the truth is we have become too busy, too noisy, too wordy and too chatty…”
The Archbishop told evangelicals at NEAC4, held in Blackpool in September last year, that the “imbalance between words and deeds in the Church needs to be redressed.” On Sunday, however, Dr Hope tied his latest call for quiet in with what he described as societyÂ’s yearning for “things of the spirit”.
He said it is “ironic” that the Church seems to have “abandoned the mysterious in favour of the banal” just as the genre of Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings films and literature is captivating young and old.

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