The Church of the Middle Classes?

Here is an interesting article from ekklesia.  The Bishop of Reading makes a really valid point about the perception of the church in the wider world.  This is the reason I attended church as a teenager for four services…. until I was made to feel unwelcome for not being “suitable”.

“How did it come to this?” he asked, “That we have become known as just the Marks & Spencer option when in our heart of hearts we know that Jesus would just as likely be in the queue at Asda or Aldi?”

I can’t help feeling that the church has only itself to blame.  It would be really easy to point fingers at generations since departed but what are we doing about it today?

2 Responses

  1. I must admit, Robb, I find myself really confused about the class divisions these days. I think I have always, as an outsider, thought of the Church of England as stereotypically middle class, though in recent years I have modified that view to a large extent. Growing up in the Catholic church, I had a different view – most of the churchgoers I remember were large, poorer families of Irish ethnicity and very devout. Interesting to compare the stereotypes, isn’t it? Having moved out of the working class district that I grew up in, I find as many if not more middle class people as working class at my church. Not a scientific study, I know, but an interesting observation. There again, the distinctions between the classes is very obscure these days.

    I think popular culture and media has a huge amount to answer for in terms of creating stereotypes, particularly in its portrayal of the clergy. This is why I liked the article you referenced earlier about the bishops all doing their bit to promote Back to Church Sunday. There was a bit of diversity there. Keep on being yourself, Robb – you and all the other individuals out there are doing your little bit to break down the stereotypes and make the church more accessible to all.

  2. “the distinctions between the classes is very obscure these days”

    That’s what I said at ASBOJesus.

    I think the problem is that it is only acceptable to be “individual” in certain areas. We talk the talk about welcoming all parts of society but when it comes to walking the walk we have major issues with it.

    You only have to read the comment ‘“look at me!”, rather than “look at God!”’ to see that.

    I better go and get a grey wig….

    Funnily enough if I wear a posh clerical shirt, trousers and shiny shoes I get grief in the opposite direction!!

    I think I will stick to your advice!

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