An evangelical’s secret plan?
People in churches are always accusing others in churches of having secret plans. It’s rarely true, but often fun. I’ve decided to accuse the Bishop of Chelmsford of having a secret plan. Why am I picking on this guy, who seems like a decent sort?
Someone sent me a link to a news story with this item:
A bishop has advised that holy water be removed from churches in a bid to halt the spread of swine flu. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend John Gladwin, said at some churches people were invited make a sign of the cross using holy water. “The water in stoups can easily become a source of infection and a means of rapidly spreading the virus,” he said.
Now at first glance, this might seem like an appropriate step. After all, swine flu is deadly, right? Well, no. It’s just like regular flu except that it has “swine” in the title. While all strains of flu can be deadly, almost everyone who gets swine flu is no more or less sick than people who get tofu flu (that’s what I’ve hereby decided to call non-swine flu).
Of course, the good bishop hasn’t stopped there. He also offered these tidbits:
- The Bishop also issued advice about taking holy communion warning if anyone had flu-like symptoms not to “drink wine from the chalice”.
- He discouraged pastoral visits and said if a visit was necessary priests should wear sterile gloves, an apron and a face mask.
So while claiming that he does not want to stir panic, he is completely upending all sacramental and pastoral work of the church. Obviously, Chelmsford Diocese did not consult me. As readers of 7WD know, we have issued the definitive, authoritative guidelines on liturgical responses to swine flu. No need to invent something else.
So why would the bishop say these things, other than to stir panic and to pointedly disregard this blog? It gets back to the holy water. We all know that evangelicals in the C of E don’t like popish practices such as these. This will soon lead to an order to remove the stoups entirely. Swine flu is being used as a cover to end popish liturgical practices. Soon, catholic bishops will take revenge. Due to “bovine book mold” large Bibles will be ordered out of churches. Then evangelicals will order the cessation of incense, owing to asthmatic reaction. Catholics will remove praise bands in order to prevent hearing loss.
I beg you, dear bishop. Stop the war now. Follow my liturgical guidelines, and all will be well.
Or, better yet, realize that fear-based responses are not warranted. Stopping pastoral visits will only prevent people from receiving care they need. Withholding the chalice at communion will accomplish nothing more than impoverishing the sacramental experience of some, since there is no epidemiological reason to suppose that drinking from the chalice could transmit swine flu germs, if properly administered.
But back to my rumor-mongering. I see a conspiracy here. If I can think of more complexity, it will surely drive more traffic to my blog. Hmm, what else can I “report”…