Thought for the Week
I am back from a weekend down on the south coast of England, a lot of it spent in Brighton.
Our children, who have lived their whole lives in Cambuslang, said Brighton felt “weird”.
I didn’t notice, but they were sensitive to different hairstyles, shoes and jackets. There was a busker singing Bowie songs in a gorilla mask.
That’s not their thing. They felt different, out of place.
When getting ready to fly home, we found ourselves at the Glasgow departure gate in Gatwick Airport. Suddenly we found ourselves back with the Scots, a 737-sized enclave of Caledonia within England’s second busiest airport. The clothes, the hairstyles, the shoes, all looked familiar again. Our children felt that they belonged again.
What is it, I wondered, that defines us Scots, the thing that felt familiar in that Gatwick departure lounge? We like to think of ourselves as friendly, kind to strangers; people who believe that a man’s a man for aw’ that.
We work hard, we walk 500 miles and then 500 more. We remember a history of standing up to tyrants and sending them homewards tae think again.
And what of faith? It used to be huge - over three quarters were Church members, now it’s nothing like that.
Since 2007, over half of Scots have regularly told surveys they have no religion.
On the outside it looks like belief in God has gone into permanent decline. But it’s more complicated than this: many people believe in something even if they don’t regularly go to Church.
So I’m asking you a favour, if you don’t go to Church, could you still tell us your story? Where did you meet God, or decide that God wasn’t there? Have you had a a spiritual experience?
The Church in Scotland should always be changing. The Church today needs to know how to change, and it can do this better, if it listens to your story.
You can email your stories to nglover@ churchofscotland.org.uk Rev Neil Glover Flemington Hallside Church