Utopian Dreams – Simplicity VII – undercover Christianity

Posting the chunks I really want to remember of the beautiful book Utopian Dreams by Tobias Jones

The Christianity of the place is never hidden, but nor is it ever worn as a badge, something which could create barriers. There is never any preaching from either side. … [O]ne thinks religion implies telling people what they ought to think. But here it’s the opposite. It’s about allowing people the space and peace to be able to think for themselves. Because of the fragility here there’s a sensitivity and subtlety to relationships and any heavy-handed proselytising would ruin the intricate balance they’ve created. It’s typical of Pilsdon that you could be here for weeks and not know, unless you asked, who’s running the show. A few men and women would occasionally take people aside for ‘chats’, but you wouldn’t necessarily know who was ordained, who was a believer or an atheist or a leader.

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I need to let go of wanting to get people to participate in my journey and let them get on with theirs. But we need to meet and keep each other company on the way.

I enjoyed the fact that I could, whilst mixing the cement, spend ages talking to an ex-prisoner whilst thinking, for the first hour or so, that he was a priest. Or vice-versa. There was no ceremonial grand-standing. You listened to everyone and they listened to you. It wasn’t calculated, it just happened. It was as if everyone was on the margins together.

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