Mission and misunderstanding
I realise not everyone is as interested as I am in how religion, among other things, is reported in the media, and this is hardly in the realm of the Ralph Miliband smear, but I’m impressed by the shamelessly obvious gap between report and reality in this story [paywalled link] on Anglican evangelism in the Times.
It reports on a new evangelistic initiative by the Church of England, called Pilgrim. Pilgrim takes the supremely sensible approach that people who are interested in Christianity might not know a great deal about it, and almost certainly do not want to be preached at, but will appreciate an opportunity to learn and explore.
Hence the article quotes two statements from the course’s website:
- “Pilgrim assumes very little understanding or knowledge of the Christian faith.”
- “It approaches the great issues of faith not through persuasion, but participation in a pattern of contemplation and discussion with a group of fellow travellers.”
That’s the news content of the piece. Which makes the opening paragraph of the article a pretty dizzying leap of journalism:
“The Church of England has admitted that the country has become a nation that knows almost nothing about Christianity and that there is no point any more attempting to convert anyone.”