Friday, 6 April 2012

Preston Passion

This morning I watched Preston Passion on the BBC.
For those that don't know, this was an event based in Preston put on by the BBC which commemorated (if that is the right word) the Crucifixion of Christ.
I tuned in primarily to see if I could spot any of my friends from The Salvation Army (I didn't) but found myself enjoying it for several other reasons.
One of these was seeing bits of Preston I know quite well on the television which, oddly enough, made me feel quite proud of my adopted city. It felt like that this grim old city, that has done me little favour, had arrived at the big time because it was on the big screen (our tv is 42" you know!).
Another reason why I enjoyed it was that, despite it's ham fisted delivery, I found the program quite emotional and it presented me with two subjects for further thought that I would like to dwell on now...
The first of these is
Who would you make the ultimate sacrifice for?
to which my answer is "Anyone I care for".
I don't know about anyone else, but to me that doesn't seem extraordinary. If it came down to saving the life of a friend, a family member or my husband at the expense of mine then, yes, why wouldn't I sacrifice mine for theirs?
The other subject that I'd like to ruminate on is
Why can't Christianity always be like this?
The program presented Christianity as being a source for solace and love and it struck me, as it had before, that perhaps the biggest drawback of Christianity is The Bible.
The Bible, as one might expect of a book with many authors, is full of many contrasting and contradictory accounts.
For a start, at least half The Bible - The Old Testament - was written before the time of Christ and the other half was purportedly written long after the time of Christ! So my mind can't help but wonder just how "Christian" The Bible actually is!
However, to many people, to be Christian means to be a believer in The Bible... and even more so, to many Christians The Bible is "The word of God" and therefore irrefutable.
So it is not a surprise to me that there is an inherrent conflict that many Christians have to deal with.
On the one hand there is the life of Christ who, if we believe what is written, lived a life loving and caring for his fellow man.
Then, on the other hand, there are many admonishments against a sinful lifestyle that have been used to justify homophobia, transphobia, sexism and racism (amongst other things!) which nowadays seem at odds to Christ's message of loving and caring for your fellow man.
So, to many modern minds, Christianity appears to be a religion of hatred and intolerance and - when you can not detect the presence of either God or Jesus in your life anyway - it seems pretty obvious why Christian churches no longer attract the congregations they once did.
However, if Christianity presented itself more along the lines of Preston Passion more often then I believe the experience would be much more rewarding.
You don't need to believe in Christ to see that Christ's values are the best way to live our lives!
However, as far as the Christian Church is concerned, perhaps that is the problem! Perhaps they reason that, without the need to believe in Christ, there is no reason for anyone to bother with the Church!
So, in answer to my question, perhaps the reason why Christianity isn't always like the Preston Passion is because it's too scared to be - it lacks faith in "The power of Christ" to attract people.
However, to go in the direction they have - where they have sidelined Christ's teachings in favour of cruel admonisments in The Bible - only exacerbates the problem. For whilst Christ's teachings attract people, their sermons drive them away.
As a result of which, the ideology of Christ - which I truly believe would better mankind (despite not believing in his divinity) - is getting forgotten. And on this I can join in with the Churches and declare that this will be to the ruination of mankind.