I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels just a little saddened by the news that the Anglican Church is haemorrhaging worshippers. I’m not entirely sure why, I am an agnostic after all. Perhaps it’s because the church has always seemed to offer a sense of permanence, of stability in society. I’m no longer an Anglican myself but I wouldn’t like to see the D of E fade away after so many centuries as one of this country’s most revered institutions.
Still, society has changed a lot over the years, even in the relatively short period of time since I was a girl in the Brownies and then the Girl Guides, attending church parades and helping out at Church Jumble sales. I even sang once in the Church youth club’s ‘gang show’. Those were the days when I was sure in my religion. Everything seemed so simple then. That’s one of the most reassuring things about childhood. Everything seems reassuringly straightforward.
An old friend of my father’s once told me that she could remember being young enough to know everything. I didn’t fully understand what she meant at the time but I knew it wasn’t very complimentary. I was about 17 with a head so full of simple answers to questions that often were far more complicated than I had ever imagined. With the benefit of hindsight (and a few more years under my belt) I know exactly what she meant and I was right – it wasn’t complimentary at all.
Fortunately, most of us grow out of the need to find simple answers to complex questions. We know that the world is full of grey areas and complicated, nuanced situations. We understand that life is rarely as easy to understand as we once thought and we learn to live with that – even to relish the challenge of making sense of complex situations. In some ways that’s what maturity means – accepting that the world is more complex than we used to believe.
And then there’s the rather less mature, overly simplistic worldview of the Biffers.
They too had something to say about the fall in numbers attending Anglican services each week…
So far so good. But then they had to go and spoil it…
Grow up Britain First. It really isn’t that simple.