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Friday, September 08, 2006

Christian Aid and the Hindu vicar

From the Times comes the curious story of the Church of England priest who thinks he should keep his job - despite having become a Hindu. I'm reminded of the late Alan Watts, counter-culture guru of 1960s California, who was ordained as an Episcopalian priest when he was already a convinced Buddhist (it's probably relevant that America was at war with Japan at the time, so that openly embracing one of that country's national religions was not likely to be a popular move).

This would belong in my off-topic blog were it not for the fact that there is a Christian Aid connection. Naturally it would be unreasonable to conclude anything about the organization from one individual who once held a post in it. Let's just say that if one was already wondering quite how Christian CA really is, one might not find this episode particularly reassuring. One might also ask whether the step taken by Mr Hart is not a logical conclusion of a mindset which rules out anything as culturally imperialistic as preaching the Gospel to the poor. I say that in full awareness of the issues raised when comparatively rich and powerful people proselytize poor and vulnerable people. But there is such a thing as throwing the baby out with the bath water.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

On the other hand - a multi-denominational religious cleric may be a good solution to peace in the world? Who knows?

Cyrus said...


Thanks for your comments. I had a Unitarian phase when I'd have agreed with you completely. And I still think Christians (and Jews?!) can learn a lot from the Hindu tradition. But I'm not so convinced now by the idea that Jesus can be a prophet on Saturday, the Son of God on Sunday and the reincarnation of Krishna on alternate Tuesdays. I think religious differences are real and we have to find ways of living together that acknowledge them. The airbrush treatment doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Cyrus - this guy was a Christian Aid supporter, working as chairman of a local voluntary group...