From the Telegraph:
A vicar has criticised people who only attend Church over the festive season telling them: “God is for life — not just for Christmas”.
The Reverend Steve Goodbody accused Christmas-only churchgoers of treating God “like an elderly relative of whom they are not very fond.”
Writing in his parish magazine Today, he said: “I confess that I do sometimes wonder about what goes through the minds of those who attend church services on such an irregular basis. After all, if we believe that the Christmas message is true — that God really did send his only Son into the world to save us from our sins — then attending church just once or twice a year seems a rather feeble response to God’s amazing generosity.
Some people even seem to treat God a bit like an elderly relative of whom they are not very fond. They go and visit him for an hour or two at Christmas and perhaps at Easter, but they feel at liberty to ignore him for the rest of the year (unless they want something from him of course). An elderly relative would not be very impressed by this level of devotion and nor is God.”
Browbeating people is unlikely to change their minds. Goodbody reminds me of a car salesman who gets pissed off at the lack of consumer interest in a lot-full of gleaming Ford Pintos.
That giant problem is, in Goodbody’s case, compounded by the hurdle that his cars are imaginary: he can see them (or so he claims), but most people in England can’t.
If I had a marketing problem like that, I would be trying to innovate my product, my message, my packaging, and my language — just for starters. I wouldn’t be publicly flaying the people who are unimpressed by what I’m selling. That way lies certain failure.
As long as the Anglican Church thinks that philippics and guilt trips like Goodbody’s are the best way to fill the pews, it will continue to tilt into the sinkhole of oblivion.
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