Powered by Blogger.
getLinks(); ?>

Mens Sana Incorporises

Monday, August 5, 2019

I read with no little concern about the latest initiative by the CofE. Normally, I take the shrill bleating of the Daily Mail with a cellar of salt.

This latest plan to bring people to faith, to my mind, is another instance of the CofE confirming to worldly thinking.

The matter of Muscular Christianity is one that I think is easily misinterpreted to be essentially masculine or "manly". Here I have to beg the indulgence of Fr Christopher Little who works in defence of something he calls "Muscular Christianity" which seems part of his American upbringing rather than the half-hearted attempt to go back a century or two as CofE Archbishop Welby seems to want. This is the man who wants Cathedrals to be fun.

I loathe sport. It brings out the worst in people because it sets human being against human being in utterly arbitrary and pointless point scoring which frequently infects life outside sport. The strongest, fastest and most skilful are rewarded at the expense of those who are not. In this enterprise of physical prowess, we find ourselves comparing Man to the beasts that perish as we perpetuate the Darwinian "survival of the fittest" leaving the weak by the wayside and forgetting those who miss the mark.

Ah! Might not the CofE teach good sportsmanship?

Perhaps. Games are good when they are for honest fun. Yet, the very spirit of competition is dangerously Pelagian when injected into the Christian milieu in which we can always win the prize by running fast enough or flonking the dwile far enough, and at the expense of others. Competition is necessarily divisive and tribal. The only competition that truly matters is the spiritual battle that wages within us. The victory there is Christ's and our success in this is Humanity's participation in that victory. If it doesn't matter whether we win or lose, but how we play the game, then what do winning and losing mean? Do we win if we play the game better than our opponent?

And we see this in the Imperialist notion that Victorian Muscular Christianity possessed. Once one tries to celebrate fastest, strongest, lithest, one tries to instill these as virtues into the people and thus put us on the road to eugenics, and that's a nasty place to go.

All this is a deflection from Christ and a distraction of the soul from contemplating life. The Church is not a "mens sana in corpore sano" keep fit club. It is a hospital for the spiritually wounded and a hostel for the spiritually poor. If the CofE wants to cater for the physical body and forget about the health of the soul, that's its affair. Again, I severely doubt that this initiative will do anything to help the numbers on pews, nor will it help the spiritual health of a nation that is sinking into the Slough of Despond.

The focus of the Church is the worship of Christ. He is not a trophy but the cure of our sickness. If the CofE wants a trophy, then it will end up with atrophy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Most Reading

Blog Archive

Blog Archive

Popular Posts