Saturday, 1 February 2014


James Langstaff, the Bishop of Rochester, has been interviewed by Marijke Cox of Kent News: Bishop of Rochester opens up about women bishops, his new prison role and dinner with The Queen.

Simon Jenkins (the one who edits Ship of Fools) writes for Reform Magazine about Between hairiness and holiness.

John Packer, who retires as Bishop of Ripon and Leeds next week, reflects on his seven years in the House of Lords.

David Runcorn, writing for Fulcrum, asks And how do I know when I am wrong? Evangelical faith and the Bible.

Andrew Brown explains on his blog Why I am not a Christian. The Church Times has published this under the title Help thou mine unbelief.

The Church Times starts a major series on the health of the Church of England this week. Much is only available to subscribers, but these three are free to all.
Leader comment Near-decimation
Linda Woodhead Time to get serious
Vicky Beeching What gets me out of bed on Sunday

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 1 February 2014 at 11:00am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Re Andrew Brown, Why I am Not A Christian, is an insightful piece. I'd never heard of this guy until I listened to the radio piece posted in a link on this site earlier. The article explains a lot about the editorial bent of his radio program.

So, I gather Brown is not a Christian largely because Christians tend not to live up to his personal expectations. Little wonder he wants the church to change its policies. I am not a George Herbert fan, but I think Brown seriously over thinks the poem. I wonder if he finds impressionists paintings rather out of focus?

The article by Vicky Beeching, What Gets Me Out of Bed On Sunday, is very cool. As a retired pastor, I can really relate the alarm clock dilemma she describes. Her point of view is also a very nice antidote to that of Andrew Brown and his overly intense dismissal of the church on grounds of social irrelevance.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 1 February 2014 at 3:14pm GMT

Everything said by Vicky Beeching - couldn't agree more!

Posted by: Pam on Saturday, 1 February 2014 at 9:26pm GMT

I cannot help but compare the sanguine attitude of the bishop of Rochester with regard to falling [collapsing] attendance and the rather more urgent tone of the Church Times leader and the accompanying piece by Prof. Woodhead.

This evening (a Saturday evening) I attended a eucharist for the eve of Candlemas, at St Martin's Ruislip - having been to St Peter's Chapel, Bradwell juxta Mare, earlier in the afternoon. I had never been to Ruislip before, and was expecting an almost empty church. However, to my delight, I found myself amongst some forty or so people, a majority of whom were young mothers and their children - children who would almost certainly be absent in many churches on Sunday mornings because of shopping, Sunday morning football, etc.

Of course, there may be various reasons why attendance on Saturday evenings at St Martin's is so good (e.g., a favourable catchment area). I understand however, that it is common to have a congregation of that size, if not larger, during that slot.

The previous evening (Friday 31 January) I listened to an excellent essay on Radio 3 by Andrew Martin, which was an elegy on Sundays past - the Sundays that we all used to experience or endure before the Conservatives liberalised Sunday trading, no doubt encouraged by the lavish donations of the big retailers to party funds. Mr Martin rehearsed the distinguishing characteristics of the pre-1992 Sabbath: the long hours of tedium, the sense of impending doom at the prospect of the week ahead, etc., but also the encouragement of a certain emotional self-sufficiency.

Then, it occurred to me that the Church, in many places, is still re-living those Sundays. All too often, it still operates as if nothing ever happened in 1992, and that people have nothing else to on Sundays but wait for services to commence.

Yes, there has been an increase in hostility towards the Church; demographics and great changes in the culture have also precipitated the decline. But there are basic things that can be done to help. So, to survive, and to court the young, why not do what St Martin's are doing, or hold youth-orientated services after the supermarkets shut on Sundays?

Posted by: J Drever on Saturday, 1 February 2014 at 11:36pm GMT

Andrew Brown: "I'd like to believe in an Anglican afterlife where Professor Dawkins and Lord Carey share a hot tub in hell. It will be only hot, not scalding, and the vaporous burblings of their self-satisfactions will continue for eternity. No one else will hear, and they will never notice. All will be happy."


Lawd, it may not be Christian [back on-topic to Brown] laugh such Schadenfreude-type belly-laughs, but it IS human. And as such, Imago Dei. ;-p

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 2 February 2014 at 2:27am GMT

A very interesting piece by David Runcorn, on 'Fulcrum'. Is this a sign of a loosening up on the 'Sola Scriptura' model, I wonder?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 3 February 2014 at 9:39am GMT

I think a lot of evangelicals do not subscribe to 'Sola Scriptura', Ron, but their voices often get drowned out by those who do (and who in reality read their own preconceptions into their interpretation of the Bible without being aware of doing so!)

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Monday, 3 February 2014 at 11:56am GMT

And "Sola Scriptura" doesn't even say anything about any specific beliefs. I have friends who have come to very liberal views on social issues including gay equality. It all depends on where you place your emphasis and which verses of Scripture you give priority over others.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 3 February 2014 at 1:33pm GMT

Sadly, Erica, i do not know of any person claiming the title Sola Scriptura who believes that Gays are beloved of God.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 4 February 2014 at 11:15pm GMT
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