Vicki Woods: Going to church when you have no faith

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anyway, my neighbour the churchwarden's letter sparked our rector into a cracking good sermon on the theme of Christmas being absolutely not RIP, no way, not in his church - or any other of his churches - not while he was rector, anyway.

He retold the endlessly retold story as we grew misty-eyed while clinging to the (few) working radiators; he expanded into how the Puritan Parliament had abolished Christmas services, but they would not be abolished while two or three were gathered together.

He became quite exercised about parliaments abolishing things - including this parliament, including foxhunting ("or tried to!") - while we mouthed silent Hurrahs to each other. It was stirring stuff from a village pulpit.

"Very rousing, David," we said as we filed out. "You were getting quite political there." He said he didn't use the term "nanny state" himself. But you do sometimes, especially here in the countryside, get a bit sick of everything being banned. He hoped we'd got his message about the spirit of Christmas though? We had, we had.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

6 Comments
Posted December 30, 2007 at 2:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. D. C. Toedt wrote:

A nice piece. I especially liked the comment by “trev,” posted 12/29 at 8:57 am:

[T]here is undeniably Something Out There and In Here,of course. I am an 81 year old Unbeliever but on several occasions in my life have come face to face with it.

So I pray occasionally to what I term a Thankable,a device to avoid using loaded names like God,etc., on behalf of friends or others I feel are in need of a leg-up in life.

Might do some good. Can’t do any harm. Certainly helped me on occasion.

May the Thankable be with you all for 2008.

(Extra paragraphing added.)

December 30, 5:03 pm | [comment link]
2. physician without health wrote:

I am glad that she went to church, even with no faith.  I wish she had heard a better sermon.

December 30, 5:52 pm | [comment link]
3. MJD_NV wrote:

If you cannot believe in the Virgin birth, or the Ascension, or the Trinity, why go?

Pity she doesn’t really answer her own question. 

Pity even more that we have to ask this question of so many ECUSAn clergy.

December 30, 7:38 pm | [comment link]
4. CharlesB wrote:

. . . If you cannot believe in the Virgin birth, or the Ascension, or the Trinity, why go?

Here’s why:
“The reason why it [man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy] can never succeed is this. God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, Chapter 8

December 31, 9:43 am | [comment link]
5. Franz wrote:

# 4—absolutely—

There are many days I don’t believe.  More days of non-belief than of belief, actually.  And the current insanity in the ECUSA and the wider Anglican communion does not help. 
But, there is a void.  And I can’t help thinking that they key lies somewhere kicking around the dust, the dirt and the grime of the Episcopal Church (but that may just be because I was brought up in it) . . .
Even when I don’t believe, I hope it’s true (because it is Good News).  If Christrianity is right, that is very good news (if, on the other hand, the secularists are right, that is very depressing news indeed).

December 31, 11:09 am | [comment link]
6. libraryjim wrote:

I don’t have a problem with this, in fact I would like to ENCOURAGE those who say ‘they have no faith’ to come to church so they can see the living example of those who do have faith, and what it means to their lives.  After all, even though the church services are designed not for evangelism but for those who believe, faith comes through hearing the word of God preached without compromise.

December 31, 5:44 pm | [comment link]
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