Showing posts from December, 2011

Your chance to see the Ark of the Covenant (just don't touch it)

The Mail today reports that the Ark of the Covenant is to be "revealed" in Ethiopia. It's revealed, not "found", because apparently it has always been there, it's just that nobody is allowed to look at it, it being the most holy relic on earth. But now the roof of its chapel is being repaired, it will need to be temporarily removed, exposing it to public view. The paper's source is photographer Tim Makins, who has frequently travelled to Ethiopia, and reveals a good working knowledge of the Ark by discussing the necssary means of transporting it (slung from two wooden poles). The Ark has long been a source of fascination in popular culture, a niche that was cemented for it by Raiders of the Lost Ark. It shows my ignorance, but I had no idea that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church claimed to have it in their possession. My first thought on reading that it had been there since the 1960's was to wonder where it had been between the Babylonian conquest and

Celebrities queue up to endorse Church of England's Christmas sales push

So, the Church of England's latest PR coup is to sign Jo Brand to jolly everyone to go to their local carol service this Christmas time. Jo writes: "As usual, I am looking forward to going to church this Christmas. I'm not really a churchy person but I do think Jesus was a good bloke. The singing of carols and the churches decorated with nativity scenes remind me of my childhood ..when it always seemed to be snowing". What japes! And in a Saturday exclusive, Always Hope can reveal that this is only the first of a number of celebrity endorsements secured by the C of E this year. We bring you the rest: Bruce Forsyth: "the church's Christmas special is one of the highlights of the broadcasting year. Candles twinkling, Jesus on top of the tree, it gives us a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Yes, I'd love to appear, thank you very much, no fee, it's not for the money you know." David Cameron: "I love Church, Christmas and all that kind of thing.

Not ashamed to be not not ashamed

This week I have received a number of emails from various no doubt well-intentioned brothers and sisters who are urging me to take part in a public Christian prayer/demonstration this evening. It was quite difficult to work out who is behind this, but it appears to be a project of the organisation Christian Concern , and a continuation of a similar event on the same day last year. No doubt many readers will be thinking this seems a good idea all round. So it is a bit sad to report that I am not supporting this, but at least I can explain why. My problem is that I find the campaign, and the whole agenda of Christian Concern, to be based on dubious assumptions. It's not just the air of antagonism - my blogging friend Father David Cloake has already commented on the rather sinister hijacking of World Aids Day . Why pick this day of all the 365 days of the year? At best, it is poor taste, at worst, a nasty attempt to discredit World Aids Day as somehow anti-Christian. Nor is it the