So the Christmas melee continues……
…I went carol singing one night this week with a group of people from churches and no churches. We sing each year for a cause outside of ourselves. And it was great: nothing like singing in the open air and experimenting with harmonies. A few houses offer us ‘something to keep us warm’ as well as money.
…But the numbers are getting smaller each year; maybe through age, busyness, the cold, whatever…. although I have a haunting feeling that ‘spirituality’, however defined, is getting more and more divorced from practical embodiment.
I ruminated on the latest census results which show a decline in the numbers in Britain who would assign the label ‘Christian’ to themselves. Whilst the interpretation of the questions is open to differing analyses, it does show some of the reality that we have been working in over the last few years.
I have no time for the numbers of Church leaders who have been over defensive about these figures. I also despair over the crowing of some who speak for athiests. Mostly I am just sad that these figures seem to underline something I have felt for a long time: with this decline I see a decline in the numbers who are prepared to ‘bless’ their community or do something that helps those outside themselves and their network.
I live in a lovely village, with lots and lots of lovely, good people. There are a lot of people of my generation; we look after our family and friends very well. We run things that benefit our network. But we are not (yet?) terribly good in doing things communally that reach beyond that.
I wondered, in line with an article by Roy Hattersley in the Guardian a few years back (for those outside GB: a former leading Labour politician, a good man, an athiest and a biographer of Johne Wesley): where are the athiests? In that article he noted that it is often people of faith- although he cannot share their views- who are out, disproportionately doing good works.
One of the carol singers mused on this ‘I do see a lot of athiests, but I don’t see that many humanists.’