Is this a social statement?

John Bingham reports:

A bishop is recommending that they set the alarms on their mobile phones to remind them of the new observance as part of a move to promote faith in the workplace ahead of the Church’s “Year of Faith”.

It comes in the week that British government lawyers went to the European Court of Human Rights to defend the right of employers to ban the wearing of public symbols of faith such as the cross in the workplace.

The Rt Rev Kieran Conry, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and chair of the Church in England and Wales’s evangelisation committee, said the plan drew on traditions of saying special Friday prayers dating back to the 17th century.

He said: “I would like to invite every Catholic, especially during the Year of Faith, to pause for a moment of prayer of praise and thanksgiving at 3pm if possible, or perhaps when you break for lunch, on the first Friday of every month.

“Whatever you are doing, as your responsibilities allow, stop, perhaps close your eyes, bow your head and prayerfully and silently meditate on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross out of love for you and everyone.

Is this belief in prayer? Or is this a social statement/culture war? What do you think of his idea?

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • unapologetic catholic

    “Whatever you are doing, as your responsibilities allow, stop, perhaps close your eyes, bow your head and prayerfully and silently meditate”

    This sounds like a devotion to me. He’s not asking people to stop working, stop driving their car or disrupt anybody’s daily activity. It doesn’t appear to suggest coordinated activity or even at a set time–3 pm is merely a suggestion. No outward sign of meditation is called for at all.

    I will say that a personal phone rining in our office spaces is grounds for termination, so the phone alarm should be set on vibrate.

  • Jim

    once a month? whoa…lets not get carried away!

  • DRL

    Sounds like a creative form of civil disobedience. I like it.

  • http://intothehills.org Kullervo

    “I will say that a personal phone rining in our office spaces is grounds for termination, so the phone alarm should be set on vibrate.”

    Wow… that’s incredibly draconian.

    When I was a brand-new junior associate, I was sitting in a department meeting that was completely over my head (everyone was talking almost entirely in tax code section numbers; it was completely unintelligible to me), so I decided to change the ringtone on my iPhone instead of just counting ceiling tiles.

    Little did I know that choosing a ringtone would make the phone play the ringtone, regardless of the fact that the phone was switched to vibrate only. So all of a sudden, my iPhone is blasting “Raining Blood” by Slayer, and I could not make it stop. To make matters worse (and funnier), I was sitting next to a corner-office partner, who raised his eyebrow so high that the other junior associates henceforth would probably have one less ceiling tile to count.

    I was absolutely mortified, but nothing was ever said of it. No big deal.

  • http://www.nateweatherly.com Nate W.

    I suppose it largely depends on the spirit with which each individual sees it and, more importantly, carries it out. Daniel was a man of faith who prayed in his open window every day and refused to stop when commanded by the authorities, but Christ taught to pray in private and to not make a show of it.

    I’m not sure we can say it is one or the other, but only that for it to be True and Good each person must resolve to be led by the Spirit of Love for their Neighbor.

  • http://krusekronicle.com Michael W. Kruse

    My pastor uses a Muslim App on his iPhone that buzzes him at set times each day to remind him to pray. Scot, I think you need to create an app that reminds people to recite the Jesus Creed and pray several times each day.

  • Amanda B.

    It sounds to me like a very wise redirection of energies… e.g. instead of having a fit over jewelry, actually practice what the symbol stands for. I like it.


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