Scottish farming is in a perilous state. Will Jesus Christ save it?
The Church of Scotland certainly believes so, for it has appointed its first ‘Farming Minister’, Rev Chris Blackshaw, above.
Blackshaw, who was previously the Chaplain at the Cumbria Agricultural Chaplaincy, is a Methodist minister and has also worked hard at encouraging farmers to talk about their mental health and support each other.
According to this report, his new role will see him continue to support agricultural families and provide a bridge between them and the National Union of Farmers in Scotland.
A Church of Scotland statement says:
The new role has been warmly welcomed by National Farmers Union Scotland and rural charity RSABI who say the perilous state of the ailing sector is taking a ‘serious’ toll on the health and well-being of many people who too often ‘suffer in silence’.
Blackshaw , who is no stranger to bullshit, said:
There are not many jobs I couldn’t do on a farm so this is the ideal job for me – showing people the love of Christ by walking alongside them.
I go to the local market and call at farms to let people know I am there to provide support and share in celebrations and happy times as well.
I have been very pleasantly surprised by the faith that exists amongst the farming community.
Meanwhile, a warning has been sounded that Scotland could soon become a “atheist totalitarian state” because of growing hostility towards the Catholic Church.
In an op-ed for the Guardian, Kevin McKenna, above, a former deputy editor of the Herald and executive editor of the Daily Mail in Scotland, wrote:
A sickness has infected the Catholic church in Scotland which has left it vulnerable to the predations of a loud and implacable anti-Christian body in government and on Holyrood’s most influential committees.
Those who insist on upholding the teachings of the church are set upon and wrongly accused of sexism and homophobia. We are one nation and many cultures apparently, but not if your culture is a traditionally Christian one.
The absence of strong leadership in the Scottish church and its behaviour over the scandal of sex abuse fuels the hostility of its opponents. It gives them hope that they are one step closer to their goal of creating an atheist totalitarian state.
The McKenna piece is essentially about the “heartless” behaviour of the Catholic church towards victims of clerical abuse. He pointed out:
In its traditional heartlands, dozens of once vibrant old churches are shutting their doors. They have been rendered obsolete by a crisis of faith among its young people and by the few priests available. The profound sense of betrayal over the conduct of the church in first attempting to cover up its crimes and misdemeanours, followed by its heartless response, has contributed to the falling numbers …
The Catholic church in Scotland is in deep, deep crisis. The Protestant reformation in Scotland more than 450 years ago helped the old church to break free from corruption and superstition. A second one is now sorely needed if the Catholic church in Scotland is to survive in any meaningful way in the 21st century.