When the spirit has left, what remains are the sterile urges for mere survival:
But when the Church of England advertised for two new leaders to help guide potentially thousands of worshippers who believe they may be “called” by God to the priesthood, faith, it hastened to say, was not necessary.
Red-faced officials have now made an embarrassing climb-down after inadvertently inviting atheists and members of other religions to lead a major new clergy recruitment drive intended to help secure the Church of England’s future.
I love the word "inadvertently." For decades the idea of atheist vicars has been something of a running joke. The Church of England - along with its once formidable mainline Protestant competitors - has been trying to remain "relevant" for so long that the whole of Christianity thing often gets overlooked. Long-time readers will know that I'm an infidel in good standing, an old fashioned scoffer at the church door. However I find the decline of the C of E fascinating from a sociological standpoint.
The decline of Christianity as a cultural force has left a Mack-truck sized hole in the spiritual and intellectual life of the Western world. Over the last century that hole has been filled by various political ideologies and more recently by a revitalized Islam. The Roman Church has - more or less - stood athwart modernity yelling stop. It's large institutional competitors have decided to go along for the ride, jumping onto political and cultural fads, only to be left flat footed when everyone else moved on. Having compromised with the world so thoroughly the Anglican Church thought nothing of handling its evangelizing work over to non-believers.
Man makes plans and God gives a very, very bitter laugh.