Friday, November 16, 2007

Will Theosebes be next?

Two religious beat writers have thrown in the pen--and their faith--after seeing religion up close:
Two leading religion journalists — one in Britain, one in the United States — have quit the beat in recent months, saying they had acquired such a close look at such scandalous behaviour by Christians that they lost their faith and had to leave.

Stephen Bates, who recently stepped down as religious affairs writer for the London Guardian, has just published an account of his seven years on the beat in an article entitled “Demob Happy” for the New Humanist magazine. Bates followed the crisis in the Anglican Communion for several years and even wrote a book on it, A Church At War: Anglicans and Homosexuality.

“Now I am moving on,” his article concludes. “It was time to go. What faith I had, I’ve lost, I am afraid – I’ve seen too much, too close. A young Methodist press officer once asked me earnestly whether I saw it as my job to spread the Good News of Jesus. No, I said, that’s the last thing I am here to do.”

Considering what they witnessed--the Episcopalian row over homosexual priests and the Catholic sex abuse scandal--one can understand their problem. Of course Bates saw the Episcopal Church as intolerant toward homosexuals (!), which makes one wonder about his 'faith' to begin with.

This does highlight a problem Christians have struggled with for centuries. I have seen Christians do disappointing things, sometimes to one another, sometimes to me. It is always upsetting (at least it ought to be), but we need to remember where our faith is to be placed and what it is to be based on. Paul writes, 'Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.' My faith has to be God focused and Scripturally anchored. I cannot place my faith in men nor in a church.

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