Sunday, 30 October 2011
One of the functions of our national church is to keep us amused, to add to the gaiety of the nation - and on that score, it's been doing a great job lately by making such a complete horlicks of dealing with the 'Occupy London' protest outside St Paul's. Heaven knows what will happen next - the proposed Ring of Prayer sounds like fun - but no doubt the situation will continue to be managed with the professionalism and finesse (hem hem) we've come to expect from the dear old C of E. For myself, I'm happy to live in a country where the church is so well-meaningly hopeless, so shambolic, so paralysed by its internal contradictions and a fatal impulse to niceness; it expresses something rather attractive in the national character, and is greatly preferable to the alternative. Imagine a briskly efficient, sure-footed, ruthlessly effective national church - a horrible thought, and most unEnglish. We should surely cherish what George Herbert called 'the sweet mediocrity of our native church'.