Reading an article about the Rev Richard Coles new book I was outraged by the way the writer of the article dismissed Richard Cole’s faith as belief in the ‘sky fairy’ and understandable given his difficulties with drugs and so on. Richard Cole had spoken about his conversion experience and presumably embarked on a searching journey before training in the priesthood. It can only be linked to the journalist’s need to maintain ‘street cred’ and a sense of himself as unmoved by the challenge of the interviewee’s faith. It would have been a better account if the journalist could have asked about the development of his faith and call to the ministry rather than just dismissing it. Buddhism would have received a healthy respect but Christianity seems to evoke derision and hostility.
Perhaps some of the responsibility for this reaction lies in the church’s inability to describe the richness of belief and the depths and breadth of what’s on offer but perhaps also those of us who have ‘come out’ as Christians also have to play our part in breaking down the narrow stereotypes and the one-dimensional image of what it means.