Adam Brereton—My local ‘atheist church’ is part of the long, inglorious march of gentrification

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Punters who attended the Oxford Tavern before it was retrofitted told the Telegraph that the pub had a real “community spirit”. Tamara, one of the strippers, said “it’s like the loss of my second home”. Two demolition workers would come from across Sydney to have lunch there every Thursday. “There goes my social life,” a third bloke joked of the takeover. This was in some sense a religious place, and now it’s gone, without even having been paid the complement of a bit of violent iconoclasm. No, the sketchy places, the sacred places, are slowly being ground out of the world by a force that sees them as neither holy nor profane, but as novelties to spice up the next round of drinks or the next sing-along.

“I don’t expect much objection from religious communities. They are happy for us to use their church model”, Jones told Salon magazine in 2013. Only someone who already feels entitled to the Christian “model”, and who doesn’t understand why it might be a sacrilege to appropriate those forms and gestures, would assume as much. The churches should think very carefully about how they will relate to the growth of organised atheism. At the very least, they should not collaborate in their own desacralisation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism* Theology

Posted March 12, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Hursley wrote:

The final point in the article is put very well. I have noticed that in many of the declining parishes around me, the arc of desacralization has been long and determined; the point of having a “church” without much concern for transcendence, catechesis, or true community isn’t discussed or even recognized. Then, when few people are left and resources drained, blame goes to the “enemies” within and without rather than recognizing our own complicity.

The author of this piece makes a nice point: the irony of secularism is that it cannot exist without using the symbols of faith, but as it has no actual content, and thus expends itself like a wave running up on the beach. Secularism, whether in or out of the Church, is a parasitic ideology that gradually kills its host. Those churches that try to make a deal with it will suffer and die…often without realizing what is killing them.

March 13, 10:50 am | [comment link]
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