If there was one intellectual development in living memory that separates the “grandparent” from the “parent” generation of British theology, it was the rise of logical positivism and analytical philosophy.
Last Palm Sunday my friend Ann went to church and found herself in the middle of a mob scene. As it turned out, the congregation was taking part in a dramatic reading of the Passion narrative. The assembled worshipers were cast as members of a violent, bloodthirsty crowd that was excited at the prospect of a crucifixion and caught up in emotional hysteria.
"Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.” So begins one of my favorite prayers, from the service for compline in the Episcopal prayer book. What a good thing it is, before going to bed, to remember those whose rest comes with the dawn.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,” our priest droned for the tenth time. His pedagogy was nothing if not dogged. He would have said it again, but I jumped in: “How can I love someone I can’t see?” The other kids sat up. Would he ignore me or call my parents? I always tried to rattle him, but for once I wasn’t showing off.