Rarely do I compare biblical passages with television, let
alone reality TV. But in preparing this week's Century lectionary column, somehow I started thinking about the
show Undercover Boss, in which a
high-level executive joins his or her own company's working ranks incognito. I
couldn't let it go.
Being a pastor for 30 years has given me the chance to see both the gifts and the weaknesses of people up close. This vantage point sometimes makes mine one of the weirdest vocations as well as a rewarding one. My breath has been taken away by joy and by shame. It's the story of talents and tyrants told again and again.
“No religion” is now the single largest group in England and Wales, according to British Social Attitudes data. Consisting of nearly half of the population, this group is twice the size of those who identify as Anglicans and four times the size of the Catholic population. A similar pattern prevails across Europe. The decline of Catholics in Britain would be more severe were it not for Christian immigrants from Africa and Asia. The data show that the church is poor at making converts and at keeping cradle believers. The Anglican and Catholic churches lose at least ten members for every convert (Guardian, May 27).