Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 27 October 2018

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Reflecting on ecumenism, liturgy and mental health.

Harriet Sherwood has interviewed Michael Curry for The GuardianBishop Michael Curry: ‘moderate religious voices’ are not being heard.

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Reflections on human power. The Christian stand against bullying

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of cathedrals, mission and evangelism.
Archbishop Cranmer Why, when church attendance is falling, is cathedral attendance soaring?

Fergus Butler-Gallie Church Times ‘Stay weird, Church of England’
“Fergus Butler-Gallie celebrates the evangelistic potential of the weird, and mourns their demise”

Madeleine Davies Financial Times Why I’m still an evangelical in the age of Trump [£]
“Madeleine Davies explains why she isn’t giving up on the movement despite its support for the president”

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Kate
Kate
2 years ago

The Madeleine Davies piece is behind a paywall which is asking for £100 for 4 weeks.

As a matter of principle, I think charging for Christian writing is immoral. I notice Michael Curry has a book out. That’s even worse.

God freely shares his relevations with us. It is abhorrent to me that someone then charges for passing them along to the next person.

I realise that I am more militant than most on this but maybe if an article is behind a paywall you could mark that?

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

“God freely shares his relevations with us. It is abhorrent to me that someone then charges for passing them along to the next person.”

Are you then of the opinion that priests and ministers should not get paid?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Unfortunately, Kate, writers have to pay the bills like the rest of us, and publishers must pay the costs of publication and make enough profit to pay their staff and keep the company afloat. Writing takes time, concentration and effort; and while authors are writing they can’t be plumbing or teaching or whatever else brings in the money and puts food on the table.

Besides, the biblical principle is that those who labour, in whatever field, are worthy of their hire; whether that’s Old Testament priests and Levites or New Testament apostles.

Kate
Kate
2 years ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

If writers wish to write about the grasses of Namibia or the wobble of the perihelion of an exoplanet of course they should be paid if they want. But charging for access to material about God or Christ is very different. “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,” I think Jesus’s attitude to trade within temples is very clear and I think He would be similarly angry with those who sell Christian… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

And again I ask…should priests and ministers therefore work for free? After all, every Sunday in their sermons they pass on something God has revealed about Himself. I think your attitude about this suggests that those who labor in God’s vineyard should, in the words of Blanche Dubois, “rely on the kindness of strangers” for their subsistence.

T Pott
T Pott
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

In this particular case it is the FT, not the author charging. I mean no criticism of Ms Davies piece, but I doubt that anyone who subscribes to the FT will do so primarily because of it. Newspapers exist: should they carry articles on Christianity by Christians or should they not? What if the author was unpaid, the newspaper will still charge. Anyway, I can now read the article in return for answering a multiple-choice question. Whether this is because it has identified me as a low-worth individual (correct in every sense), or because the edition in question is now… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Re the episode of the cleansing of the Temple, it’s at least arguable that what Jesus was angry about was not the sale of Temple souvenirs and keepsakes, but the extortionate sale of the items needed for Temple-sacrifices and offerings. The doves were for the sacrifices of the poor, and had to be bought with Temple coinage, and the poor had first to exchange their ordinary denarii for Temple shekels at extortionate rates, and then by doves from the Temple source because only they were ritually clean for sacrifice. An equivalent for us might be if you had to buy… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

The cost of a book is a lot more than the royalties the author may or may not get. Editing, typesetting, printing, distributing etc are all real costs that involve real work being done, and does not the worker deserve their pay? Besides which you don’t know what +Michael does with any royalties he may receive – for all we know he may be intending to give them back to the work of Christ in some way. A book is a way to spread the message further than it might otherwise get. People who liked what they heard at the… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
2 years ago

Readers should be aware that the Financial Times’ Madeleine Davies column, which sounds interesting, is behind a paywall.

Kate
Kate
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Owen

I did think £100 was excessive!

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate I thought you believed even £1 was excessive. Though quite how writers make living I’m not sure.

Kate
Kate
2 years ago
Reply to  David Runcorn

It isn’t excessive for the Financial Times but it is for access to Christian writing.

Simon R
Simon R
2 years ago

Andrew Lightbown’s contribution to the discussion on cathedrals is, as always, highly stimulating. Those of us who worship in them have expectations that are as diverse at the ‘experience’ each of the cathedrals offers. Not all of us want someone else’s notion of ‘fellowship’ being imposed on us, and if the Dean is not serving coffee after the Eucharist s/he may be doing something equally valuable like supporting someone in trouble or hearing someone’s confession. Many of us are grateful for the space and anonymity. However, Andrew’s point about the bookshop is very well made and timely. With the disappearance… Read more »

Kate
Kate
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon R

The books should be lent, not sold

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate I realise this off the topic but curious. So can writing books only be a hobby for Christians? But I seem to recall you don’t think parish clergy should be paid either?

Kate
Kate
2 years ago
Reply to  David Runcorn

Yes, writing Christian books should be unpaid, although I would use the term vocation rather hobby.

Simon Kershaw
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

And who will pay for the book to be published, edited, printed, warehoused, distributed? Who will pay the business rates of the bookshop? Who will feed the bookseller and the bookseller’s children?

Kate
Kate
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Kershaw

Post it online on a free blog so there is no charge.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

And how does the author support himself while doing the necessary work to produce the book? Not just the writing, per se, but the research etc.? I don’t think you understand the amount of time and effort required to produce a book.

Tim Chesterton
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

This begs the question: what is a ‘Christian’ book?

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

And rely that the “borrowers” will return them?

Richard
Richard
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

From the “Perfect World” library?

John U.K.
John U.K.
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon R

“Westminster Abbey can be forgiven because Church House Bookshop is around the corner.”

Simon, I am not so sure…
How many of the Abbey’s visitors are going to make the trek round to Great Smith STreet (assuming they know of Church House Bookshop’s existence)?
What are the comparative figures for footfall at the Abbey Bookshop and CHB?

I suspect the Abbey Bookshop would reach a far greater number of enquirers wanting to know something, or more, about the Christian faith.

Simon Kershaw
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon R

Yet Deans and Chapters must balance their books, and tourist-trade shops play their part in that. If we want cathedral bookshops, or similar, to stock more evangelistic material, in the widest sense of those words — and I do — then perhaps the wider church needs to invest in them. It isn’t just the responsibility of the cathedral to provide such material, but that of all of us. Most cathedrals are sailing pretty close to the wind financially, and would need more support for this to happen. And when I say “invest” and “support”, I should be clear that I… Read more »

Kate
Kate
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Kershaw

If earning money for the upkeep of cathedrals is the priority then cathedral shops need less evangelical merchandise, not more. All the indication is that the growth in numbers isn’t of people wanting deep theological material.

Music is important so more CDs, DVDs and digital downloads. Hmm, how many cathedrals advertise digital downloads?

And more family-oriented merchandise – not necessarily particularly Christian.

And cut the number of books. I bet sales are low.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
2 years ago

“As a matter of principle, I think charging for Christian writing is immoral. … God freely shares his relevations with us. It is abhorrent to me that someone then charges for passing them along to the next person.”

I own a bunch of Bibles. Unfortunately, I had to pay hard cash for all of them. And I don’t think that Paul and Isaiah are getting rich on the royalties.

Mother Hubbard
Mother Hubbard
2 years ago
Reply to  dr.primrose

What? You don’t know it by heart? Listen, mark and inwardly digest as we prayed yesterday… who needs the printed word?

Kate
Kate
2 years ago
Reply to  dr.primrose

But all Bibles are available online for free. You have chosen to pay for the convenience of a printed copy, not for access to the particular translation. There is a subtle difference.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

But having Bibles available online for free is a recent innovation. Before then we all had to buy our Bibles. And even the ones online had to be published in hard copy first; and publication was paid for by people buying them. Moreover, those who translated these Bibles from the original languages needed extensive education in order to do so; education is expensive and needs to be paid for. Those who teach, preach and expound the Bible also need expensive educations. You haven’t answered my question: how do you think writers and clergy should support themselves? St. Paul gives an… Read more »

John
John
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

But owning a computer and paying for access to the internet are not free. Those who use online copies are paying, just as those who buy books are paying. Just not in the same direct way.

Father David
Father David
2 years ago

I note that Michael Curry’s book – “The Power of Love” is available on Amazon for £14.99 (a £5 saving on the cover price) or £9.99 in the Kindle edition. Mind, had the Tories not closed so many libraries – this volume could be available for borrowing for nowt! Still, let’s all look on the bright side now that austerity is over! Happy Budget Day.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
2 years ago

“But all Bibles are available online for free. You have chosen to pay for the convenience of a printed copy, not for access to the particular translation. There is a subtle difference.” But to access “free” Bibles on line, I had to pay a huge amount of money for a computer and I continue to pay huge amounts of money each month to my internet-service provider. By analogy, my hard-copy Bibles are “free.” I just had to pay somebody for the paper, the printing, the binding, the bookstore overhead, the transportation costs for moving the various materials around, not to… Read more »

David Rowett
David Rowett
2 years ago
Reply to  dr.primrose

Worse still, I understand that doctors expect to be paid for saving peoples’ lives. Surely that’s a self-centred practice which ought to be stamped out? And artists should beautify the world without expecting us to pay for it.
There’s an interesting Ursula le Guin novel ‘The Dispossessed’ which explores aspects of Kate’s hypothesis in some detail.

Kate
Kate
2 years ago
Reply to  David Rowett

It’s not about worthiness but all about the sacred nature of God’s Word.

MarkBrunson
MarkBrunson
2 years ago

“See how these Christians love their money!” No wonder the Church is a laughingstock.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
2 years ago
Reply to  MarkBrunson

One assumes Mr Brunson hasn’t got any.

Fr John Emlyn Harris-White
Fr John Emlyn Harris-White
2 years ago

I believe this is called ‘Thinking Anglicans’ I have read some of these postings, wondering whether these folk live on the same planet as myself. I have yesterday ordered my Advent reading. Happily paying on line, as I expect to pay for any theological literature. Some weeks ago I paid for a copy of the Revised Jerusalem Bible; the Psalms and New Testament. The scholars, writers, publishers , printers are worthy of their hire, and I gladly pay for such items,, as I do any other books . Please grow up and live in the real world of 2018. Such… Read more »

Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
2 years ago

I’ve been waiting for someone to reference scripture. Well done. As you rightly say, labourers are worthy of their hire, whether it be books, food, clothing, or ministry.

Tim Chesterton
2 years ago

I’m 100% with you on that one, Father John Emlyn. I for one am glad to pay a fair price for a book that the author has worked long and hard on. I’m glad to help him/her make a living so they can continue to bless us with their gifts.

Kate
Kate
2 years ago

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Just to repeat that, “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” To me, that has real meaning. Because God is divine we cannot see Him – when he does appear it is as something like a burning Bush. But we can describe Him – and that Word is with God – is God. The Word is our only way of sharing our experience of God, of sharing God.

Cynthia Katsarelis
2 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Someone had to translate that for you…

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
2 years ago

“The scholars, writers, publishers , printers are worthy of their hire, and I gladly pay for such items,, as I do any other books .” Right on! I find it helps to try and not think of the work of writers and researchers as a mere commodity. In one sense, the work of researchers, writers, and artists is priceless. From that perspective whatever is earned from the fuit of their labours is not simply a fee that monetizes the value of their work. It’s more like an honorarium/stipend ( in the classical sense) that allows them to continue their work… Read more »

Andrew Lightbown
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod Gillis

And, of course we don’t know what all writers do with the fees they earn. I know of authors who write as part of their vocation and where the money they would be entitled to is re-directed. We need to be careful with assumptions.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
2 years ago

Are you referring to members of religious communities who have taken vows of poverty? If so, why would their decision to live the religious life impact one’s decision to purchase their work, if the royalties go back to their community/order ?

Andrew Lightbown
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod Gillis

No, all I am saying is that we shouldn’t assume all authors / writers do so for money. If they do that’s fine, but we should also acknowledge that some many writers also contribute a lot of free copy and that some authors also, of their own volition, direct their royalties to other causes / ventures. All I was really trying to point out is that it may well be an error to assume that writers are in it for the money. You need to sell an awful lot of books to make a living in any case.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
2 years ago

Right-o, got it, good point.

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