So, ecumenism is bad for society?

All Souls Oxford

I was sad to come across a post on the internet entitled “The Ecumenical Slope” whose author is both anti ecumenism and pacifism and who appears to believe that such doctrines destroy “character”.

The author states that ecumenism is “evil”.

I find such attitudes deeply disturbing since in my own book, any movement which tends towards peace on earth is a good thing. Peace is beneficial, which is why, mercifully we no longer worship Thor or consider battle as glorious. Well, most of us anyway.
Not, apparently, the author of that blog.

When I make my case for ecumenism, both secular and sacred, as can be well imagined, the author turns to insult to re-enforce his position. Thus in effect making my point for me – the human tendency towards violence is something which we should urgently address. Futile as that cause may seem.

I would not have bothered to think about the matter but my mind turned towards it when I heard this afternoon of the continuing strife at the Hurlingham Club – a posh venue for the spoilt upper middle classes in London, to which my family and I belong.

I won’t go into the details but the sorry saga at the club has taught me a thing or two about human nature. In particular, that humans are born to fight. And furthermore, that in order to bring about a better society we must resist conflict at all costs.

Ecumenism is an attempt to foster better understanding of each other and closer, less harmful relationships. It can refer to religious groups or simply to people in general. It says a lot about our world and human nature that there can exist people who argue against ecumenism and pacifism. Who argue, in effect, in favour of conflict and dissension.

I confess that I am constantly irritated by individuals and by society in general. That I am disappointed and disturbed by human nature. I am constantly having to remind myself that my views and my own wishes are not something that I should foist on others and often have to think carefully and back off on any particular initiative I might have which looks like it will lead to conflict.

A typical example is a recent initiative I lead to introduce choral music to our decrepit and decaying local church. And to obtain a key so that I could open the church for private contemplation. I was met by resistance and refusal and was faced with two choices: walk away, or take the matter up with higher authority against the wishes of the local church wardens. I decided to walk away. Parties become entrenched in power and entrenched in their ways, believing that they represent the community; perhaps they do but one suspects that they represent only that section of the community with which they find themselves in agreement. Such is our nature.

I chose to walk away. And so with the author of that curious blog. When he offered insult in return for my well meant and peacefully phrased comment, I recognized it was time to walk away and leave him to his views, however much I disagreed with them.

I can honestly say that I have no idea how to deal with aggression. I am very unclear what could or should have been done in 1939.

But I am ever more clear that wherever and whenever possible, I will walk away.

9 Comments

  1. Donald Trump is hardly ecumenical. He has caused division within the USA and globally. I wish we could ‘walk away’ from him right now. He is the worse President to guide us during this world crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No. I would have thought Trump represented the very opposite side of the camp? He does not come across as a man in favour of compromise or understanding and empathizing with another point of view.

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  2. As someone who has consistently benefited from, and lived among communities who have consistently benefited from ecumenism at all levels, I continue to lament whatever spell it is under which such people live. The amount of hate directed at Christians trying to work together is appalling. I’m not at all surprised that the person who attacked you was both anti-ecumenism and anti-pacifism. I wonder if the two go hand-in-hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have great difficulty in understanding anybody actually opposed to ecumenism. But then I guess we all have difficulty in understanding people with very different points of view. Hence of course the importance of trying!

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