I’ve been looking back over my last few posts, and I re-read the one titled ‘What is a chaplain for’. I think I’m asking the wrong question. Maybe the question is what is a professional Christian for? Indeed what is a Christian for?
Chaplaincy has had an odd position in the University in the last decade or so. The University likes having a chaplaincy but actually most students have rejected the Christian faith outright. Is our job about reversing that? Am I here to recruit as many students as possible into Jesus’ sunbeam business? Because if it is then I have a slight problem: I don’t like going round hassling people about religion all the time.
No one likes someone who is only having a conversation with you in order to turn it round into a sales pitch.
“How about that England game? I found that having a faith in Jesus really helped me to get through it…how about you??”
The word gospel you know means good news, but among most people I meet the gospel has become really bad news.
The fascinating thing is that your average student is quite liberal. In fact very liberal. Most students are definitely ahead of the national average when it comes to being tolerant. However when you look at student religion it often the most conservative kind. This has a knock on effect on the rest of the churches in Southampton. There are several ‘liberal’ Churches within walking distance of the University, by rights they should be full of students but when it comes to students they are empty. Whereas the conservative one down the end of the road has literally hundreds. Of course those who represent conservative religion would say this is because they haven’t compromised on the truth, which is why God has blessed them with members but is it that simple?
Ironically enough once upon a time Chaplaincy was the ‘liberal’ CU and that was what it did. But now liberals don’t want anything to do with Christianity. So pop goes Chaplaincy. But it’s not all bad news, is it?
I suppose in my more insecure moments I see myself as someone who has something to say and it’s just a shame no one is listening. Then sometimes I worry that I haven’t even got something to say!
And blogging is a bit like that!
Fundamentalism Liberals Chaplaincy Church of England