Friday, 12 May 2017

Yoga storm in a church teacup

Also from yesterday's Daily Telegraph (I love day-old news, so much easier to deal with): a hamlet on the West coast of Wales is "shocked" by the fact that its local church does not want yoga classes in its community centre, on the grounds that yoga is "non-Christian" (Thursday 11 May 2017, page 9). Well, duh, of course it's non-Christian. As is tai-chi and tae-kwon-do, which are also implied to be a problem. As for what the article suggests are the other activities under contention, "cash prize bingo and the like" I could not possibly comment. The key point in the debate seems to me that this new community centre is part of the church itself, "converted" to the more secular interests of the "parishioners" as they are called in the article. But if the complainants were actual parishioners, people attending the church, supporting it and being involved in it, would part of St David's have had to be converted into a community centre? Isn't a church a community centre by definition? Not if no one's going, though. If the locals were attending and supporting the church they would know in what ways yoga and other eastern practices are legitimately non-Christian - or at least they wouldn't be so "shocked" that the Church holds this view. While some individual Christians can withstand activities or habits that are non-Christian - from practising yoga to watching "Game of Thrones" - that doesn't mean such things ought to be endorsed by any church in a general way.  There is no such thing as a "fair and non-biased community centre", as the denizens of Blaenporth apparently desire. There is always a set of values setting a limit to what can or cannot be indulged in: bomb-building classes would not be allowed anywhere, one suspects, even if demand were high. To complain that a church holds to Christian values is an intolerant view all its own.

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