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athgarvan

HYPOCRISY

Do we Christians really believe all that stuff we say every week in the Creed?

Recently I've been re-reading the memoir written by the Rev. Patrick Semple, a Protestant minister who was born and reared here in the Bull Ring in Wexford. He was born at the beginning of the second world war - a time of Catholic triumphalism when ecumenism was non-existent.

It is a very straight-talking, honest and often humourous 'insider' account of growing up in a kind of society I was reared in myself and recognize. He writes about ecumenism and lack of it at parish level, of the idiosyncracies of aspects of the Church of Ireland, about difficulties with various aspects of Christian faith itself and about the hypocrisy often found in all churches and creeds of the time.

His approach could well be summed up by Tennyson's lines in "In memoriam" : "There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds." This seems to me a critique not of the creeds themselves, but of the hypocrisy often associated with them.

A phony faith won’t save anyone. But the answer isn’t to jettison the historic creeds because some recite them hypocritically. Instead, the answer to such hypocrisy, which I believe Tennyson is rightly decrying, is found in Jesus’ words to Thomas: “Stop doubting and believe!(John 20:26).

The photo above is of the apse of St. Iberius' Church, Wexford, where Semple and his family were staunch attenders.

Comments

all i can say
i was cantor and lector
i stood and said the Nicean creed every sunday
more and more i realized i did not accept the literal truth
maybe as a metaphor - a visual representation of a theological proposition
but he could not descend and ascend
there was no up and down
it got worse
there could be no resurrection of the dead
not literally - where would everybody go?
was it possible for the church to state these were not to be believed literally?
finally, i could do it no longer
i left - i could not go to mass and say what i did not believe
i could not stand with a community that was professing them as literal truth
it was not doubt - it was rejection

and from there it was necessary to find my own path
not easy and it took years
Ah, you're lost! No hope at all for you!
no found : )
i do hope your comment is said "with tongue in cheek"
i found new ideas and images
new ways of expression
i created something for myself that suited my temperament
it has served my needs for over 30 years
finding a path is a life's work

Edited at 2019-01-13 22:00 (UTC)