Saturday, 31 July 2004

Saturday columnists

Bishop Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times that There’s nothing wrong in kneeling before a loving God. Part of what he says:

Kneeling to say your prayers was one of the most characteristic postures of earlier generations of Christians. Many novels and memoirs speak of the courage of those who, in barracks or school dormitories, showed their faith by kneeling to pray. A. A. Milne’s Christopher Robin famously kneels at the foot of the bed to say his prayers.

Kneeling, however, is not exactly in fashion in churches today. There may be a dazzling display of beautifully worked tapestry kneelers, a testimony to the talents of the congregation, but more often than not, even in cathedrals, the instruction will be “kneel or sit”, and most will sit.

At one level it seems trivial, but something has been lost here. We are bodily beings, and “body language” is something we all recognise. Newspapers carry articles analysing the nervous scratching of the nose, the twisting of a ring, the tugging at a cuff, to judge whether the politician or celebrity is at ease. We welcome close friends with an embrace. We do not convey our love and affection to another by sitting and telepathising intently at them. When Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, it was a deep undermining of the love, loyalty and affection that greeting with a kiss conveys.

You really need to read the whole article.

Ruth Gledhill attended a service at The Royal Foundation of Saint Katherine
for the At Your Service column. The sermon she writes about can be found here.

Over in the Guardian, Giles Fraser writes again about Rethinking Sentencing in The price of punishment and Karen Armstrong writes about the need for collective responsibility in Kill the scapegoat.

In the Independent there is a review of Stephen Bates’ book by Paul Vallely. But it is accessible only to subscribers :-(

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 31 July 2004 at 1:10 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion