Christian Patterson on why she loves the Church of England:
I love it because it is patient. It does not expect the world to change in an instant, or to be bludgeoned into belief, because it knows that certain things take centuries. I love it because it is kind. It is kind enough to welcome strangers, whatever their beliefs, and shake their hands, and offer them drinks. It is kind enough to suggest that the biblical teaching on sex before marriage is a mere technicality that can be disregarded, and to offer couples with clear evidence of this disregard (in the form of children) its blessing in the form of weddings when they want them and baptisms when they want them, and even both at the same time, if they want them.
I like the fact that it is neither envious (of more flamboyant, more attention-seeking and more successful-at-proselytising religions) nor boastful. I like the fact that it is not arrogant or rude. I like the fact that it does not insist on its own way, but is genuinely tolerant of other religious beliefs and none. I like the fact that it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but quietly presents an ethical framework of kindness. I like the fact that it believes in the values of the New Testament, and of St Paul’s description of love, which I’ve just paraphrased, but also believes that it is more important to embody them than to quote them.
I like the fact that it doesn’t speak like a child, think like a child, or reason like a child. I like the fact that it is mature enough to recognise doubt. I like the fact that it is calm. I like the fact that it recognises that the religious impulse is here to stay, and that the more you try to crush it, the stronger it will be, and that all human beings, irrespective of their beliefs, have yearnings for the transcendent.