Thursday, November 08, 2012


One of the many advantages of blitzing my blog and starting again is that I can repeat old posts with the same names and much of the same content without being caught out! This post will quite possibly be followed by a few on Anosognosia or Alexithymia or other things beginning with "A" but the A word for today is Adiaphora.

I haven't actually seen the word repeated by others recently but it surely can't be long before someone somewhere on the Church blogs and facebook pages I seem to have been drafted into uses it. It probably won't be used on the other sites that I frequent but the concept has been discussed over and over again. What are the REAL issues and what are the less important matters that it is safe to disagree on?

On the Church sites the big news is the appointment of the Archbishop. Of course it hasn't actually happened yet, but in advance there is much discussion as to whether Bishop Justin will be "a good thing" and uphold what is necessary and banish what is harmful. There doesn't seem to be much consensus on what "a good thing" would look like. Is the "churchmanship" of the new Archbishop worrying? Does that matter, or are the gripping social issues that have, according to the press, ripped the CofE apart  (something that the growing Thursday congregations locally, be they of toddlers at 10:15 or the elderly at 11am, seem blissfully unaware of as they contend with the far more weighty issue of whether the verger is around to open the doors to the toilet) much more important. 

It's much the same with commentary on the American election . It's not really that friends are divided on whether the result was a good one. I have few friends who aren't thoroughly relieved that Obama won, but the reasons for that relief and the concerns that the results won't bring perfection are different in each case.

The news item that has struck me most in the last two days isn't about either the Presidency or the Archbishop. It is from the business section of the papers and matters to me because it concerns the NHS and its future, or lack of it. By next year two of the three areas of the local NHS that I care most deeply about could be being run by this private, for profit, company. Maybe the third could too although I really can't imagine any business wanting it. It matters to me, I think it should matter to all citizens that our NHS is being b*&&ered about in the biggest reorganisation since its inception and the politicians aren't even having to say they are sorry for their lies.

BUT while all these issues are worth debating, worth working on, worth prayer and reflection and sweat and tears they are, in the end, adiaphora, yes even the fate of the NHS. Life and death will still go on and we will still try to make sense of it . I rather suspect that the Established Church will plod on, like a mighty tortoise, for centuries to come, but if it doesn't God will still find a way of reaching people without a Church just as he does despite one now. Physicians, whether un-mercenary or not will continue to try to heal our bodies and minds however their payment is organised. Research will go on, politicians will be elected or forgotten. All will be well even if it doesn't look like it at the time.