Over the weekend the Daily Telegraph ran a story on how a new Church of England book entitled Ancient Faith, Future Mission, published as part of the ongoing "Fresh Expressions" initiative, proposes a multitude of (unintentionally) amusing ways in which the Church can attempt to reach out to a younger audience. They include using YouTube in church, beat poetry Psalm recitals and "U2charists" – services with U2 songs instead of hymns, because if you really want to get down with the kids it's best to do it by using the music of a band that peaked in the mid-1980s. Perhaps best of all, the book suggests worshippers say prayers "for the corporate world, for influential CEOs who oversee billion-dollar industries". And there's even an example:
"We pray for John Chambers of Cisco Systems, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Dr Eric Schmidt of Google Inc, H Lee Scott Jr of Wal-Mart Stores and others who have already made commitments to justice."Brilliant. And what do the "traditionalists" think of all this? Enter the Rev David Houlding, prebendary at St Paul's Cathedral:
"All this is tosh. It's just a passing fad, irrelevant, shallow and pointless. There's no depth to it and it's embarrassing because it'll make people think that we're eccentric and silly."Well said, sir.