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Showing posts from March, 2011

What I wish I'd known before I started blogging - nothing

(idea courtesy of Clayboy , and others). There's nothing I wish I'd known before I started, mostly because I still don't know a great deal. There are some things I'd really like to know, though. Like: 1. Why sometimes you can write something good (modest as ever) which gets ignored, and then something really silly and ranty gets loads of attention. 2. How some people (you know who you are) post 900 times a year and still appear to lead an external life of some description. 3. Why one post that I wrote last year has had more hits than any other, by a factor of 5. 4. Why there is isn't a simple ranking site that ranks blogs by the most obvious criterion of quality - how many people read them. 5. Why backlinks don't work on blogger. 6. Why more clergy, especially those in public roles like Bishops, don't blog. Or, to put it another way, why we don't choose more who can.

Robust Christianity

Two posts worth reading appeared today. The first is by the inimitable Archbishop Cranmer . Cranmer is a bit florid, as he sometimes can be, but his post is basically a lift of a Facebook comment by Bishop Alan Wilson. The Bishop lets off a bit of steam about BBC2's Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou, and her "Bible's Buried Secrets". The point being that there is nothing particularly secret, or indeed buried about the things she is revealing. It's all tired old stuff which has been doing the rounds for years, and in fact the Bible itself is consistent with the arguments she puts forward. The other is by Ruth Bancewicz on her " Science and Belief " blog, where she briefly lays out how she can be a scientist who believes in miracles. I think she would need to unpack the argument a lot more to defend it against a sceptical critic, but the basic point is clear - if God created the physical universe, he is not bound by its physical laws and is able to act outsi

The Trinity - three into one goes just fine

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Vic the Vicar reveals his hidden depths today with a post on the Trinity . Don't let his jokey tone fool you - this is actually a thoughtful and theologically rigorous reflection on doctrine and modern Christian preaching. Best of all is this diagram that he provides: As he says, not a bad summary of the teaching of the early Fathers. The problem we have is that explanations like this are hard for the quasi-scientific mindset which governs the way most people think in our culture. We have, by and large, bought into the idea that we can discover how things work by taking them to pieces and looking at the constituent parts. This reductionism is quite un-Christian. God is not a machine that can be disassembled, nor even a creature that can be dissected so we can see all His parts. He is Mystery. Christians are often reductionists too, and find it hard to accept mystery. This is what leads to bizarre sermon illustrations of the kind that Vic describes, which only serve to give

New Archdeacon for Truro Diocese

Congratulations (or whatever is appropriate) to Audrey Elkington , who has been appointed the next Archdeacon of Bodmin , here in the wonderful Diocese of Truro . We look forward to welcoming her here. I have to admit that I'm usually quite cynical about the appointment of senior clergy, but what from I have so far found out about our new Archdeacon, it looks like I might be pleasantly surprised this time. I'm heartened by this appointment, for three reasons: 1. Not an internal job. So often we see these posts going to a local boy or girl. Nothing wrong with that in principle, but it happens too often to believe that these appointments are always being made on merit. Sometimes there might be a well-qualified local candidate (there might even have been in this case), but Bishops ought to be brave enough to seek the best person for the job, not just put in someone they think is a good chap. 2. Not one of the usual suspects. Some people are very good at thrusting themselves up

Food bank stirs controversy

This week Always Hope is playing with the big boys and girls, with my unexpected guest post on Lesley's blog . After putting a little plug for the Foodbank on this blog last week , I found myself drawn into a debate with Mike Rayner, who as it turns out, is a high-powered researcher and lobbyist who knows a thing or two about public policy. I won't attempt to summarise the debate, hop over and read it for yourself. But for what it's worth, I think Mike is right about everything except one - we can both attempt to change the system, and at the same time help people who are victims of the system. It's not an either/or.

Porthleven and Loe Bar

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It was nice out there this morning! I'm not getting great picture quality with my phone, but you get the idea.

Big Society: Foodbank kicks in when welfare system cracks

A charity which I'm keen to promote is the national network of Foodbanks , set up by the Trussell Trust and run by local churches, such as the one here in Truro . To some the idea of a food crisis in the UK seems inconceivable, but the case of Okehampton demonstrates the reality. The Devon town has been hit by the closure of three major employers, flooding the job market and benefit system with newly unemployed workers. At the same time, demand for the local Foodbank increased tenfold. One family's story illustrates why. Only very recently did the Department for Work and Pensions authorise Job centres to work with the Foodbanks , the official line prior to that having been that there was no need for them, because the benefits system was sufficient to cope with the needs of claimants. Now the facts on the ground have prevailed. The unwieldy and cash-strapped state cannot respond quickly enough when someone is laid off at a day's notice by an employer that has run out

nothing important, but I'm still here

I'm taking up blogging for Lent. For today, I scanned the Church Times for material, but it's Friday evening, so my brain couldn't take in all the weighty matters therein. The only thing I could focus on was a parish advertising for a "50% Priest in Charge". Say no more. At least they didn't ask for a "Priest 50% in charge".