Saturday, 24 December 2016
Opinion - Christmas Eve 2016
Linda Woodhead Journal of the British Academy The rise of ‘no religion’ in Britain: The emergence of a new cultural majority
[the text of a lecture delivered in January 2016]
Brian Zahnd Missio Alliance My Problem With the Bible
Alex Taylor, Children’s Ministry Trainer for the Diocese of London The worst Christmas song
Andrew Lightbown Mary & Elizabeth: Renewal & Reform
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Christmas highlights pressures on C of E’s stretched rural clergy
Andrew Dunning British Library Medieval manuscripts blog The Medieval Origins of the Christmas Carol
Ian Paul Psephizo Should clergy have Christmas day off?
Posted by Peter Owen on
Saturday, 24 December 2016 at 11:00am GMT
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A joyful Christmas to all who visit this site.
Even the curmudgeonly Alex Taylor. I'll try not to rise to the bait, that would be unseasonal. But finding its rather snide sentiments about "Bolton..." (Heaven forfend!) etc, under a Diocesan website banner(!) is something to call out right away. Perhaps churchy types in London might ponder how that looks up here in the boondocks of the North.
Away in a Manger. If you find it mawkish, try it to a different tune. There's a really beautiful one, from Normandy I believe. But the "bog-standard" version has the merit of being one of the few worship songs that many churchgoers can sing from memory, without a song sheet, in the dark. Pretty handy at a Christingle service! And being something known "by heart", other things can attach to well worn words. If those words are too twee (do you mean "liked by older or very young or less well educated people"?) teach the people better words if you must. Or just explore what attaches to the words.
Interesting that Alex Taylor's list includes both Away in a Manger, with its line "The little Lord Jesus no crying he makes", and Once in Royal, with the line "Tears and smiles like us he knew". They can't both be right - i think I'll go with Once in Royal.
The top of my list would be "The little drummer boy". I once saw a great "Farside" card that showed the classic manger scene, with a door opened at the back and an angry innkeeper in pajamas saying: "Look, I don't mind the camel, and I can cope with the shepherds and all these sheep; even the angels are OK if you like that sort of music, but that Par-up-a-bum-bum stops right now!"
It does seem odd that the Children's Ministry Trainer for the Diocese of London seems determined to give the impression that he doesn't much care for children.
It's the tune to AIAM that has me reaching for the sick-bag, the US tune, by one James R Murray, 1887, is much sturdier. I agree about OIRDC, I refuse to sing the third verse. The author had presumably never read or heard of the infant gospel of Thomas, where Jesus' behaviour is anything but 'mild and obedient.'
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Rich does not just mean wealthy. It's a statement about opportunity. Those who have been given more opportunities to serve are expected to do more. It's an understanding which seems to be lacking in Ian Paul's piece.
Kate I'm not sure I get your comment on Ian Paul's piece. But I grew up in a vicarage where I now consider the expectations of service (some self imposed by my parents) were a form of exploitation. But the whole point about the camel going through the eye of a needle of course is that is actually impossible.
I found Mr. Paul's singling out of Canon Tilby's marital status and comment on her children, unhelpful and tasteless.
(I do realise middle class marriage and reproduction seem central to Evangelicalism these days).