The Mid-Atlantic Blog

March 08, 2006

Honesty In The Church Of England

A terribly sad story last night about Julie Nicholson, the vicar who lost her daughter in the 7/7 bombings, and who has now resigned her parish because of the effect on her faith, and in particular her inability to forgive.

A short piece on this story on BBC Online, but the segment on the news at 10 last night went into the story in more detail.

Three things jump out at me on this.

First, as her bishop said, this lady has shown great courage in admitting her feelings. Her reaction is terribly human, and very understandable, and her insight that it might damage her ministry is sobering.

Second, (and oddly enough not covered on BBC Online) her most powerful statement last night was about the attitude towards the killers. I don't have a transcript to hand, but her statement went something like the following
There has been a lot of talk recently of people being offended. Well, I'm deeply deeply offended that someone killed my daughter for their idea of God
This was a powerful statement, and a sentiment that has been notably missing from the public discourse in recent times.

Finally, in her temporary failure to forgive, this lady has given us a much more potent and impressive message of the importance and centrality of forgiveness to the gospel that she has dedicated herself to spreading than you get from most of the trite pablum that comes from the Church. Forgiveness is hard, not simply a form of words in a press release from Lambeth Palace, and pretending it is not cheapens it. By emphasising that forgiveness is hard, that as flawed humans we are not always able to get to it immediately, that it is key to the Christian message, and that it is not simply pretending that the wrong that was done was not wrong she has also emphasised the value of it.

I'll be praying for her.

Update: I've just noticed this piece in the Times today, which covers the issue very well.

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