And those are the ones that spring to mind off the top of my head. I’m sure there are plenty more.
So, a couple of days ago, I sat down with my (very good) cup of coffee, all set for my daily bit of good news. And I thought I’d found it here. But as I read on, I confess a frisson of irritation with my usually reliable friends at the Good News Network, and I ended up “a bit cross” at what seemed something of a bait-and-switch. (For an explanation of escalating British responses to increasing threat levels–one which may or may not have been written by John Cleese, but which pops up every now and again–see here. The first couple of paragraphs run as follows and will give you the idea:
The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent virus threat and have therefore raised their threat level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, the level may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.”
The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.
The virus has been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
And it goes on.
But here’s what set me off:
It seems that a fellow who does wood-carving as a hobby bought a “box of stained glass” at a London auction, and when he arrived to pick it up and subsequently unpacked it, discovered that what he’d actually purchased was the stained glass windows from St. Mary’s Church in Sheffield, Yorkshire, windows which had been removed to protect them from German bombers during World War II. (Sheffield, being, like my ancestral town of Birmingham, a center of manufacturing and steel production, was a prime target for the Nazis.)
The windows, which date from the mid-19th century, are lovely. Here are some images from the article:
So, all good, I thought. Lovely story. Windows to be returned, and appreciated, to their original home.
Here is what ‘Reverend Claire Dawson’ said when she refused the generous offer from the purchaser to return the windows to St. Mary’s, after he had cleaned and restored them, and once he realized what they were:
“The windows are an important part of the church’s history which dates back to 1830 but, as nice as it would be to see them, so much has changed for the church for the better and it wouldn’t be practical to have them back. We are so much more than we were in 1939. We have a beautiful new window which was installed above the altar and is a celebration of the journey from the church’s beginning to the present day” [emphasis mine].
Excuse me? So much has changed for the church for the better, and “we” are so much more than we were in 1939?
What we were in 1939, Reverend Claire, were the generations, and the people, who saved your sorry future, through the course and aftermath of two World Wars whose struggles, privations, and dangers you can’t even begin to imagine, so that you could grow up in freedom and safety from dictatorship and tyranny and have the latitude to mouth vacuous, politically correct, platitudes like those above. You may have a “beautiful new window” (I haven’t sought it out; I’m not sure I even want to know), but couldn’t you at least muster up the grace to show some gratitude, and to find a way, and a space, to honor the Church, and your parishioners of 1939 and before, and their sacrifices, by putting a few pieces of the glass on display?
Shame on you.
Crimenutely. What a downer.
I might need to find a new faith tradition.