Getting all cross and bothered
Good Friday is a day to reflect on the power of redemptive love confronting the crucifying forces in our world. Not that you'd know this from the preoccupations of some church leaders.
The incoming Archbishop of Westminster has used a Good Friday interview to complain about condom advertising on TV. The Anglican Bishop of Down and Dromore in Northern Ireland has announced a telly boycott (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7991901.stm) because there is not enough religious programming (though the BBC lists a good chunk of it, and says there is no overall change from last year). And church leaders are also lecturing people and chastising the EPL about football over Easter - an issue on which I have commented elsewhere: http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/9170
How depressing all this is. It does nothing to commend the church, let alone the Gospel message, to the vast majority of people. Instead, it creates the impression (and perhaps the reality) of a self-obsessed, moralising institution which hasn't noticed that it doesn't have the right to run the television or entertainment industries.
Meanwhile, the world is being tormented by violence, injustice and ecological destruction: questions which connect very directly with the divine confrontation with all that divides and destroys... the essence of the message of the Cross. "Haven't they got something better to worry about?" asked a puzzled poster on a football blog... Maybe he had a point. And a theological one, at that.
(Incidentally I see that the BBC changed the headline on its Down and Dromore story. Originally it was 'Bishop is cross about Easter TV". I expect they were told that tongue-in-cheek sentiments were not allowed. Or perhaps someone else complained. It seems to be an industry now.)
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