Archive: October, 2012
Last week the words, ‘Temple of Evil’ were daubed on the walls of Stornoway Free Church. It would be wrong to read too much into it. It was probably no more than a temporary aberration on the part of one individual, and the Church made light of the incident.
Yet, though they might express it differently, there can be little doubt that this is how many islanders view Presbyterianism and the culture it produced. But the feeling is not confined to islanders. Many Scots, if asked who were the three most scary people in history, would probably reply, ‘Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler and John Calvin.’ Legend portrays him as, ‘The black ghost with the icy countenance’, and Calvinism itself has been described as ‘a psychopathic projection of sublimated cruelty’.
There’s very little in Scotland today that’s not in decline. Newspaper sales keep falling, attendances at football matches keep falling, the membership of political parties keeps falling, the turn-out on election-days keeps falling and the number of people in full-time employment keeps falling.
The churches are no exception. The numbers attending services, the numbers going in for the ministry and, above all, the finances, are in decline.