Christian Life 

The word of the Lord was rare


Michael GoveMicheal Gove is at once a Scot, a Conservative Shadow Secretary of State and a journalist: he was brought up in the Church of Scotland and has recently written a column in the Scotsman newspaper regarding the apparent lack of spiritual "punch" from the national church.

Pondering on "where the boundaries of life should be drawn" in profound issues of life, morality and ethics he wrote of the lack of clear spiritual direction emanating from the Kirk:

It's ironic that the strongest voices of moral clarity in Scotland now should be Catholic, much in the same way as the clearest moral leadership in England now comes from the Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu. The Catholic workers who settled in west central Scotland in Victorian times, the Jewish refugees who came here at the turn of the century and the new Afro-Caribbean citizens who've arrived since the war have kept alive the tradition and example of moral witness in a way many of the rest of us have forgotten.

Writing as someone brought up in the Church of Scotland, I have to ask who is there now in the Kirk, or of the Kirk, who speaks with the command, force and gravity of Cardinal O'Brien or James Macmillan? I cannot think of a contemporary William Barclay or George MacLeod in the Kirk, nor a scholar, preacher or social missionary to match these men. Nor can I think of any decisive intervention in the ethical life of the nation which the Kirk has generated recently.

The Church of Scotland, throughout its life, used to punch above its weight. From the Reformation, through the Great Disruption of the 1840s, to the missionary work of late Victorian times and the foundation of the Iona community, the Kirk and its controversies have given life and spirit to Christianity and intellectual energy to the United Kingdom.

But now it seems to have lost its fighting strength; what was once muscular about its Christianity now seems increasingly flabby. And, it appears to me, the place once taken by the Church of Scotland in our national life is increasingly occupied by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland. The famine may be over, but there's still a hunger in the lives of men, and we Scots should recognise it's not being fed, here, in our home.

Read the full article in the Scotsman

Michael Andrew Gove (born August 26, 1967) is a Conservative politician, journalist and author in the United Kingdom. He is the current Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Surrey Heath since 2005.

Gove was born in Edinburgh. At four months old, he was adopted by a family in Aberdeen, where he was brought up. His adoptive father was a fish merchant and still works part-time in the fish-processing business. His mother worked as a lab assistant at the University of Aberdeen and with deaf children for Aberdeen District Council. He was educated in the state and independent sectors in Aberdeen, latterly at Robert Gordon's College. He later studied at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, where he served as President of the Oxford Union

Christians Together, 10/11/2008

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Christians and Politics > Word from the Lord was rare in those days