25 November 2008

More on buses

Despite what some friends think, I don't have a lot of a problem with the adverts they're putting on the London buses about how there probabably isn't a God. We live in a rainbow country. My only suggestion would be that our atheist/agnostic friends should show a bit more awareness of our cultural diversity. Do they realise that some London buses go into areas where English is not everybody's first reading language? Why haven't they considered putting their advert into Koranic Arabic for buses that go through mainly Islamic suburbs? Or into the various culturally Islamic languages? And they could enhance the implied cultural engagement by including their home addresses on the adverts. I would willingly supply the local branch of Al Qaeda with road atlases.

Likewise with the individuals who are are defiling Hosts on Youtube. My main anxiety, again, is the cultural narrowness of the enterprise. They could always add to their repertoire the doing of nasty things to Korans. In fact, like the agitprop Trotskyites of the 1960s, they could turn it into street theatre. It would have maximum impact if they did it outside mosques just as the faithful are emerging from Friday Prayers.

Perhaps I should make clear that I am indulging myself a degree of irony; I would in fact offer no support at all to any sort of ritual desecration of anything sacred to any Faith or Nonfaith community. My point is that there's a certain sort of secularist who's tremendously brave about attacking Christianity, but very shy about attacking Islam - the coward who only attacks soft targets. And I have a fair bit of admiration for the way Moslems ensure that people don't take liberties with their religion. At the heart of it is the social fact that Islam is still a religion for men as well as women. Christianity has, for a couple or more generations, been turning into a feminised religion. Ordination of women is only a symptom of this: but symptoms generate their own momentum, and in a generation's time, when the overwhelming majority of 'clergy' are women, it will be regarded with the same contempt that many people (misguidedly) have for largely feminine spheres such as primary school teaching, nursing, et al..

So, yes, I do have a bit of a sneaky envy for those Islamic clergy whose main pastoral problem is to restrain their 'radicalised' yoof.

4 comments:

johnf said...

Maybe we should club together to put the atheist/agnostic message in Arabic on London buses to see what happens.

I would throw in £10 to start with Father.

Anyone know any Arabic...?

...I betcha London transport wouldn't allow it!

Radicalfeministpoet said...

Christianity has, for a couple or more generations, been turning into a feminised religion.
Or perhaps, for a couple of millenia? Who was it that suggested 'turning the other cheek'? You couldn't get more un-masculine, Kenny Rogers' advice notwithstanding. And didn't Origen do something rather drastic? What of clerical celibacy, and Marian hyperdulia? Christianity is a negation of everything that is vile and masculine.
Mohammedanism is simply muscular Christianity with genies.

Cardy said...

A de-masculinized Christianity? There's a lot in that perception, but no word in season for the tradition that glories in gin and lace?

It's no good opting for the soft target of women priests, without commenting on the main purveyors of a highly feminized religion: camp, anglo-catholic clergy.

I know there are wonderful exceptions, but on the whole mainstream anglo-catholicism is a heterosexual-male free zone. As a straight priest I've often felt like a fish out of water in clerical company. It's just one of the things that pushed me from the traditionalist to the affirming wing of the Church. - I'm not even anti-gay. Just frustrated by the deeply ambivalent and, at times, less than honest attidute of many anglo-catholics towards women, homosexuality and masculinity.

Orthodoxy, on the other hand, seems amazingly comfortable with masculinity. No mincing or campery in the Orthodox clergy I've met. Solid, intelligent blokes, the lot of them.

I do, btw, genuinely think you have identified a real problem in all of our Western Christian traditions: a strangely uncomfortable relationship with masculinity.

Fr.Ogs said...

Cardy is probably right in asserting that what was once 'South Coast Religion' has become the Anglo-Catholic norm: it was not always so.
For instance, at St. Mary's Penzance, there was not only a branch of CBS but of CEMS; Fr. Williams (Mirfield;WW1 POW)made sure that the 'tat-brigade' (none of us would even have known what the words meant) were kept at bay: Servers were either boys, young men, or married men. It was all very plainly masculine: vestments and robes were worn, ceremonies used, not because they were nice, or fun, or pretty, but because they were the least that we could offer to the Almighty, through the Incarnate Son. There was a matter-of-factness about it, a million miles from an 'Oh, Ducky!'
In those innocent days, no-one would have thought that the words "vile" and "masculine" automatically came together.