Visiting The Stations
Walking into the crypt of St Martin-in the- Fields on Monday night to see The Stations installation, I didn’t really know what to expect.
After being confronted with a steady stream of footage of the refugee crisis, I’m ashamed to say that my compassion sometimes needs new ways of being sparked.
But on Monday night, I was confronted once again with these stories. The faces in the photographs, incredibly captured by Marksteen Adamson [also printed in The Stations, April], had eyes that seemed to search mine as I walked past.
One picture, at Station 5 (Outlaw), depicts a young man with his arms outstretched, standing in the makeshift chapel of the Calais camp. As I gazed at the scene before me, full of iconography and crucifixes, I wondered why the prayers in that tent weren’t being answered fast enough. I wondered what God was thinking. And then I remembered that the journey of faith is not filled with easy answers to the question of: ‘Why have you abandoned me?’, even for the Son of God.
We can either throw our faith away in response to this hard fact, or we can choose to stay, even in the doubt and the unknown.
Just as in matters of faith, no one has easy answers to the refugee crisis. If they did, we’d probably (rightly) distrust them anyway. But we are called to a response, even in the doubt and unknowing. Christine Gilland, originally published on threadsuk.com
I was deeply moved by The Stations exhibition at St Martin-in-the-Fields and the corresponding article in your last issue. Thank you to all involved with this important project for your willingness to tackle the highly political and controversial issue of Europe’s refugee crisis, and for challenging us to see the humanity behind the headlines. The haunting photographs taken by Marksteen Adamson with the accompanying stories about the people provide a contemporary take on the Stations of the Cross and convey despair, fear and the pain of separation, but also love and the hope for better times; emotions that speak into Christ’s own journey.
RENEWAL IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Thanks to Nick Drake for the article on Alpha (An unexpected wave, March). As a cradle Catholic whose life was transformed by God on an Alpha weekend on 26th February 1996, I can confirm that the Holy Spirit is at work in the Catholic Church. Having been ordained a deacon in 2007, I have continually sought to evangelise ‘always and everywhere’. This article reminds us that we are all children of the same Father, we all have the same saviour as our brother, and that we all share in the same unity of the Holy Spirit. We have only one aim: to fulfil the commandment he gave us to go into the whole world and announce the gospel.
Great article on renewal in the Catholic Church! As a New-Winer with roots in Anglo-Catholicism, I was delighted by this. Some readers will be offended. But in response, I would say that speaking in Plymouth in 2014, Benny Hinn admitted that there are more miracles in Catholic masses than charismatic crusades. Most are linked to Holy Communion, where I believe they sometimes pray, ‘Just say the word and I will be healed.’ The question is: are we also expectant?
ISLAM: REALLY A RELIGION OF PEACE?
Thank you for publishing Steve Chalke’s article ‘Radical’ (March). Readers may be interested to know more about the context of the passage from the Koran that Chalke quoted (Koran 5:32). This passage follows a reference to the story of Cain murdering Abel. The statement quoted by Chalke omitted an exception that the Koran includes: in the case of retaliation for murder or spreading mischief in the land it is not considered wrong to kill a person. Then the following verse states that those who oppose Muhammad should be killed, crucified or dismembered. It is not difficult to see how some Muslims who read the passage in its full context could interpret these verses in a very different way from the way chosen by Chalke. As for the claim that the term ‘Islam’ comes from a root word that means peace, purity, submission and obedience, this is an oversimplification. The Arabic word salaam means peace and the Arabic word Islam means submission. Muslim sources teach that there will be peace for people who submit to the message of Muhammad, but they do not promise peace for those who choose not to submit to Muhammad as a prophet. If we would not be happy with Bible passages being taken out of their original context, should we not find out the context of quotes from the Koran before we make reference to them?
As Peter J Laws wrote in ‘Meet the Witches’ (April), it is true that Wiccans are not Satanists, and it is also true that Christians should not fear either (because Satan is a defeated foe). However, many Wiccans and Pagans do come into churches and try to place curses on the pastors and congregations. I’m not talking about finding a cassette tape like the one mentioned in the article. I have been a pastor for 30 years and I have met quite a few Wiccans and Pagans in churches. Let’s not be naive. They are not children of the light.
NOT AFRAID OF OFSTED
Well done for repeatedly standing up against the government’s antiextremism plans! As a charity (Valley CIDS), we visit 79 schools with exciting clubs, creative RE lessons and more. We aren’t afraid of Ofsted and indeed some of our clubs are registered, but state regulation of faith is going too far. This is a time for Christians to start standing up for our radical saviour Jesus and to stop squabbling about our differences.
Rev Jonathan Brook
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@AdeWotton Just got April’s @Christianitymag. ‘The Stations’ images of refugees are simply breathtaking and so thought provoking
@BenVealWrites Hugely powerful refugee images in new @Christianitymag. Particularly poignant after today’s tragic events #Brussels
@E_Mayne Great exhibition, ‘The Stations’, by @marksteenadamson & @christianitymag. A gallery of touching stories and beautiful imagery!
@AnneLeTiss A wise decision perhaps, with one of his ‘most difficult editorial decisions’, but immensely challenging @UnbelievableJB @Christianitymag
@Grace_and_Love Challenging and full of hope...@Christianitymag well worth a read :-) @Plumble_bee A great review of @PrestonSprinkle’s book in this month’s @Christianitymag I can’t wait for his UK Tour
Are some things never sacred? I have just returned from a tiresome parish council meeting in which I had to defend the sanctity of the curtains in our vestry. They are currently a glorious beige, and some upstarts have been suggesting they should be more vibrant. After a long debate, I compromised on magnolia. I’m not unreasonable.
Why must Christians seek to change that which God has ordained to be perfect? I have been forced to ask this question not only in relation to soft furnishings, but also to your publication. Your article ‘How am I meant to survive church when…?’ (April) has caused me much exasperation. We are given quite a survival kit in Ephesians 6, with the armour of God. I would much rather don the breastplate of righteousness than the ‘Fall Rope of Forgiveness’, as your article suggests. The only thing that needs to fall in my church is the number of hands in the air. Sometimes it looks like we’re waving off a school coach.
If we must insist on adding to Paul’s epistle, can I make a personal suggestion? Perhaps the ‘Sunscreen for Synthesisers’ to protect us from today’s popular music infringing into churches? Is there an electric guitar in the Bible? No. Long live the lute. I’d even be happy with the ‘Mallet of Modern Translation’ (if a thou was good enough for King James, it’s good enough for me), or how about the ‘Dowsing Stick of Discernment’?
If you come across that last one, I’d be grateful if you could let me know. Apparently, carpets are on the agenda at the next parish council meeting, and I’d like to lend it out. Yours, from my ‘Biro of Betterment’,
Rev Roger D Votional