Bishop slates ‘unrealistic’ carols
Bishops! They’re the gift that just keeps giving.
The latest Right Rev to enter the limelight is Bishop Nick Baines of Croydon. He has just released a pamphlet entitled Why Wish You a Merry Christmas?, in which he bemoans that some of the carols sung at during this festive season do not reflect the reality of the nativity.
Away in A Manger is singled out for special scorn because it contains the line “no crying he makes.”
The sceptical sky-pilot scoffs:
I always find it a slightly bizarre sight when I see parents and grandparents at a nativity play singing Away in a Manger as if it actually related to reality. I can understand the little children being quite taken with the sort of baby of whom it can be said ‘no crying he makes’, but how can any adult sing this without embarrassment? I think there are two problems here: first, it is normal for babies to cry and there is probably something wrong if they don’t; secondly, are we really to believe that a crying baby Jesus should be somehow theologically problematic?
Not only that:
If we sing nonsense, is it any surprise that children grow into adults and throw out the tearless baby Jesus with Father Christmas and other fantasy figures?
Imagine – a tearless baby Jesus. How silly.
We can happily believe that a winged angel personally visited a bunch of shepherds to deliver an invitation to a birth. There is absolutely no problem with three wise men compulsively following an astronomical anomaly across the desert. And who could doubt a virgin being impregnated by the creator of the universe so that it could give birth to itself, with a view to eventually getting itself tortured to death as a means to satisfy its own sense of justice? That’s all perfectly in line with reality.
But a sleeping baby? Yeah, right. Pull the other one, carol singers – it’s got bells on it!