Friday, May 21, 2010

Climate-change, jet-lag, single-malt, the responsibility of being Reformed

All right! It is rather late, but here I am....listening to the rolicking fun of the French tourists as I swealter high above the Royal Mile....wide awake....finishing a glass of Talisker and thinking about today's debates. is least right this second.

As an American, "The church informing the government" can raise hackles. Our persistently reminding each other of the division of Church and State...or the craziness that results in denominations on either "wing" lobbying for issues, adds to the three-ring circus that is American politics. Love it, or hate it, it is what it is.
The separation of Church and State is sort of was really meant to mean that we didn't have one church or denomination that was favoured or required by the government....not that church (or churches) couldn't inform or make itself involved in civic affairs. Without the Presbyterians, the United States might not have ever happened. This isn't news, but I guess I just say this because the situation in America is quite different than in Scotland when it comes to defining our role as Christians in the political world.

Scotland does have a National Church....not "the" National Church...there is a difference. Folk have a choice of denominations and religions, but The Church of Scotland has shaped the culture not just by preaching the Gospel, which, of course, is an amazing thing to do, but by making education possible for everyone, by raising the standards, by encouraging creativity and ingenuity. John Knox intended for the Church on two levels to be served in Scotland. That's everyone! The country benefits when we see through the eyes of Christ and be involved! As The Very Reverend Andrew McLellan said today when he spoke on the floor, "We are called to be the people of God for the people of God, but we are also called to be the people of God for the people who choose not to be the people of God."

In this sense,(and many others) Scotland is a very blest place (cue GaelForce Orchestra) People expect the Church of Scotland to inform the civic affairs, care for the marginalized, defend the's historic! Go for it!
Keep up the good work!

Talisker....finished, jet-lag....wearing off, climate change.....I'll deal with that tomorrow! Thankfully, this hotel has AC!


  1. lovely to have met you today. I hope you enjoy your stay in Scotland. DO pop by the media office on Monday!

  2. You're right about the complex relationships 'tween church n' state back here in the states. It's even harder to know what to think these days since so many of the more liberal activists within churches have not had the profile of the more conservative trends. Perhaps this lies in part in that the conservative trends have a set of objectives they would like to achieve that can be clearly measured: the overturning of Roe v Wade, the prevention of any legal rights for gay/lesbian folks, the return of prayer in school. These are goals that can be accomplished by achieving and maintaing political influence and authority. As such they are quite sensibly politically active. Liberal activists within the various churches (I speak as a wayward Episcopalian) have significant goals as well, but ones without clear means to achieve them or even necessarily how to measure them: the reduction of disparities in educational and employment opportunities, the promotion of women's rights, the elimination of poverty, tackling racism, and, for many, the promotion of rights for gays/lesbians. Only the last has a clear or obvious legal path, the rest can legitimately be debated as to how or even whether the government is a particularly effective means to achieve them. It strikes me that this thereby makes the liberal activist within a church less likely to see the church these days as a natural connector to the political arena. This also makes many of them wary of the connection between church and state in a way that they wouldn't have been in the late 50's or 60's, when much of the heavy lifting done for liberal causes was by folks deeply imbued with the spirit of God.
    Sounds like you're getting a lot out of this trip, but DON'T FORGET TO PRACTICE YOUR WHISTLE!!!! We have a recording session to face when you get back. Take care,
    Your Lead Guitarist

  3. Good Blog, Jeanie! Hope you are having a lovely time!