Love Life, Live Lent (The Twee-ification of the Church of England)

I was in the Wesley-Owen bookshop in Leeds city centre on Wednesday, 7th Feb, browsing through some new books and CDs.  On display near the till I noticed a little booklet entitled Love Life, Live Lent.  This Anglican publication caught my attention as I’d heard our vicar mention that we’d be using it during Lent at our own church.  He’d also pointed out that this year we’d be “doing something” instead of “giving something up.”     

As I flicked through the booklet, I realised that it was simply a list of suggested actions we could perform for each day of the Lenten season.  Each action is numbered and we’re told which day of Lent to perform the action on. It’s suggested (amongst other things) that we try to make a person laugh, go to a party, give an apple to somebody, feed birds and turn off the tap whilst cleaning our teeth.  I was horrified at what I read, but decided that before I got too hot under the collar (easy for me) I should buy the booklet, read it right through, and be in a better position to judge it more fairly.

Well, I’ve read it and to be absolutely fair, there are one or two references to things vaguely ‘religious’. For example, action 21 tells us to watch a news bulletin and pray about what we see.  In the only reference to scripture, we are told to read John 19 (action number 47). But most of the booklet consists of infantile twaddle, right up to the final suggestion that we share an Easter egg with someone (Action 50).

Now, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t try and make people laugh, go to parties or give apples away, but for God’s sake (and I mean this in its true sense) could the Church of England please wake up?  Is this the church’s mission? to tell people when to go to a party or when to distribute the odd bit of fruit? What happened to proclaiming the need for salvation and the Good News of our mighty Saviour’s redeeming work? What happened to real, self-giving love which costs us and hurts? 

Sometimes I could weep tears of frustration for the Anglican Church.  This denomination seems – in some quarters – to have abandoned its scriptural mandate to make disciples of all nations and replaced it with a ‘green’ manifesto and the kind of twee drivel to be found in this latest booklet. In the introduction to the publication, no less a dignitary than the Archbishop of Canterbury warns us that performing the actions listed may deeply affect us and the world around us.  Well, just reading the booklet has deeply affected me. It’s driven me almost to the point of becoming a Hindu (I jest of course).  But seriously, let’s hope that this stuff doesn’t get distributed to non-Christians, as something more likely to turn them away from the church (not to mention giving them a bilious attack) is hard to imagine.

  1. Having left the Church of England for the Baptist Union and found the Baptist Union to be far more liberal than I ever expected it to be, I was half considering going back to the Church of England – only half considering. Thanks for making me think again!

    Are there no churches left in the UK that have a high view of scripture, sing hymns with the correct words, and yet still allow women to do something other than make coffee?

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