Showing posts from June, 2010


I thought it was OK. Having read at least six reviews already on vicar's blogs, of which this one , by David Keen, was right on the money, I can't really think of anything else to say. It was OK, not that special. Can't imagine anyone without the particular interest of being a Rev themselves being gripped by it. Apparently some clergy observers have commented that, although most of the scenarios are realistic, they thought the Archdeacon was a bit unbelievable. I don't know, though. Just because Archdeacons don't wear shiny gloves and wizz round in taxis giving orders to hapless clerics, doesn't mean they wouldn't, if they could. Their temptations are different to those that we, lesser clergy, are subject to.

Doctor Who resurrected

I know, how corny, a vicar using Doctor Who to make a spiritual point, but at least it isn't the football. The fact is that the last episode, blockbusting season finale The Big Bang, interacted at several points (probably inadvertently, or at least, unwittingly) with the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. Which goes to show, that Stephen Fry may be right in calling it infantile , but that doesn't stop it from touching on the deepest mysteries of existence and eternity. Humans have always dreamed, and dared to hope, that, contrary to the evidence, we might somehow find that there is life beyond death, existence after the apparent extinction of all that we are. The question is, how? The Doctor seems to have found a method which sounds suspiciously theological. Early theologians debated how God could possibly re-assemble our physical bodies from their constituent parts. Even before science revealed that we share the atoms of our bodies with all those who have lived b

Happy Birthday Truro Cathedral

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the completion of Truro Cathedral, Britain's only purpose-built Cathedral of post-medieval times. So, happy birthday to you, St Mary's. Curiously, the Cathedral is so old that it seems to have forgotten its own birthday, with no mention of the anniversary on its website. It falls to the Church Times to alert us to this milestone. Perhaps the Cathedral prefer to celebrate the anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone, which surprisingly was back in 1880, meaning that the construction took 30 years, a slow build by Victorian standards. Or perhaps they prefer not to draw attention to the fact that it's already falling down and they've started all over again.

Boris, public theologian

Another good story from the Church Times features Boris Johnson's appearance at the latest Global Day of Prayer event in London. Perhaps slightly stumped as to a suitable subject for Mayoral comment on such an occasion, Boris plumped to involve himself in the controversy over whether local councils should say prayers before their meetings. This is, of course, a serious matter and one that I feel is very important. It has recently been brought to a head by the National Secular Society, who have launched a campaign attempting to intimidate councils into giving up prayers by insinuating they may face legal action. This makes us ask hard questions about the use of faith language, and especially Christian language, in public discourse - perhaps even forcing us to consider the essential nature of modern British society. And Boris' contribution to this complex and fraught debate? "It's a load of old cobblers" he tells Premier Radio . (Nice link, also has a typica

Church blows its own trumpet

Fantastic write-up in today's Church Times about the vuvuzela, the trumpet that everyone blows at the world cup matches. It looks like an elongated kazoo, and sounds like nothing on earth. Vuvuzela noise has generated a lot of complaints and the media have been trying to big this up into a racial row between Europe (stiff westerners complain - noise at football matches, tut!) and Africa (we blow things 'cos its cultural!). Apparently Sepp Blatter was asked to adjudicate on whether vuvuzelas would be allowed at the world cup, and solemnly decided that they would, because he wanted the matches to have local flavour. Now Dr Tinyiko Malukele, of the World Council of Churches, has gone one further and declared that the horn (succinctly described by the CT as a "one-note instrument") is a symbol of Africa's striking back at the west for the years of missionary imperialism; a "cry for acknowledgment", no less. Meanwhile, a Bostwana churchgoer declares it to b

David and Goliath - scenes of extreme violence?

I've been reading the account of David and Goliath for this Sunday, and musing on how we deal with violence in the Bible. This story is the classic example, a favourite of Sunday Schools for generations, cheerfully passed down by good Christian people who, under other circumstances, would not be telling stories of brutal killing to small children. Is this a problem? Should we go with it, in the interests of biblical literacy, and understand that most kids love hearing this stuff anyway? Or should we share the worries of those who say that we need to challenge the biblical texts' use of violence? A common evangelical response is to dismiss such worries as so much liberal hand-wringing, as if to say "well, the sort of people who don't believe the Bible are bound to be a bit weak in the stomach, after all". But we need to be careful about that. After all, if we do take the Bible seriously, then we're talking about real violence here. Real violence - I think

What's it all about?

Next challenge - what to actually write about. The idea is to post about things on my mind, usually (but not always) confined to the stuff that relates to what I do as a vicar. This probably means covering an eclectic (not to say eccentric) range of topics, including evangelism, discipleship, being church, and the public voice of Christianity. There's also likely to be frequent reflections on things Anglican, both local and wider. This will sometimes be sublime, sometimes ridiculous. Some of that will be very specifically about the life and troubles of the stipendiary clergy - therapeutic for me if not of interest to anyone else. But I hope it will be mostly about God, and faith in him. There'll be a quite a lot about the Bible (me showing my working for sermons) and about what it means to really "do" what God asks us to (James 1:22). There'll be some thoughts about the implications of believing in Jesus Chist, and attempts to share my conviction that, with him,

Oh well, here goes

I've decided to take the plunge and start blogging. Wikipedia tells me that blogs started in 1997, so it's hardly what's hot, but this is about the usual time lag with me and new technology. Anyway, it seems it's difficult to be a vicar without a blog these days. Even bishops are doing it now (with mixed results - maybe it's a mercy that none of our own senior clergy in Cornwall have jumped in yet). So, after years of indecision, here goes. The very realistic fear of having nothing useful to say is, after all, balanced by the very small probability that anyone will be reading.