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Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Super Blue Blood Lunar Eclipsopocalypse

The Moon Gibbon Folk are getting very excited about the Big Blue Supermoon Lunar Eclipse.

You know, in many ways, a Superblood Blue Moon Eclipse is a bit like Brexit. Nobody really understands it, and we won't be any better off after it. But that doesn't stop people mythologising it. Brexit has Jacob Rees Mogg. And we have a bunch of halfwits who think the Moon is going to be running with the blue blood of 1,000 Clangers, as they engage in a cosmic battle with a giant gibbon that is going to eat the moon.

Actually, though, the Moon Gibbon people have one thing going for them. At least they ain't Jacob Rees Mogg.

Now the Express can't let a good astronomical event go by without suggesting it is linked in some way to disasters or the end of the world.  With it being the first Blue Blood Super-Moon Eclipse Lunarpocalypse in over 100 years, they'd normally be declaring a state of Revelation at least, with Our Lady appearing in the heavens with a suspiciously EU-ish number of stars and the Dragon fighting the Gibbon while the Clangers are just so much collateral damage. And yes, we'll come to that.

Today they've also gone scientific, with the very calm, "May Cause Earthquakes." The headline tells us that there have already been two earthquakes today.  Which is scary really as Southern California alone normally runs at about 6 a day.

It's too damn quiet, Carruthers.

But to encourage us to quake with fear, the Express has the "self-styled Dutch earthquake predictor", Frank Makesitup, to tell us:

“whenever the three objects in our solar system lined up there was a significant earthquake anytime from the day before to one or two days afterwards”.

Let's say a significant earthquake is magnitude 6 or over. There are about 150 earthquakes of this magnitude a year. One just over every two days. So Frankie Boy is dead right. Whenever "the three objects" in our solar system line up (I guess there are only three) there is a significant earthquake over a four day period. And when those three bodies aren't lined up, the same. And those three  bodies line up twice a month, more or less, at new and full moon. The eclipses just need things to be slightly more accurate.

The thing is, the moon's gravity can affect the earth. After all, it makes the tides happen every day. Maybe there are more earthquakes when there's a big pull. I'll have to do the research. But when the Express tells us that there was a supermoon 8 days after a major earthquake - that weren't the supermoon. Not unless it were a time-travelling supermoon, able to operate at right angles, while not specially close to the earth.

Meanwhile in the world of self-styled prophets, the man who gave us the Killer Planet Nibiru - so we know we're on firm ground here - tells us that it will be the end of the world because today's big event coincides with an EU debate on Israel and Palestine.

Apparently the super blue blood moon lunar eclopalypse is God's judgement on a settlement in the Middle East. Which is odd. Let's break it down.

A blue moon is just a statistical occurence. The lunar cycle fits within a 31 day month, giving two full moons in a month occasionally. This is no more freaky than having 5 Sundays in a month, or 14 Sundays in a quarter. In fact, given that 5th Sundays are frequently the ones when rural benefices hold all-together services for multiple parishes in old village, they're actually a cause of far more supernatural fear than a mere blue moon. And more damage than the average lunar eclipse.

Lunar eclipses and supermoons happen on a regular, scientific basis. That's why we can predict them in advance. If they were signs of God's judgement, we'd know that the EU shouldn't be holding conventions on such days. Yet mysteriously they do. Or, to put it another way - before the Big Bang, when God was plotting the courses of the planets and stars, we are asked to believe, the date of an EU conference was important enough to affect the path of the moon. If God had gone to all that trouble, one might think, it would be simpler to just give Abraham a different stretch of land in the first place.

I recommend you read the Express piece on David Meade's warnings carefully. Not because it will tell you about the end of days. But for a laugh at its sheer scientific illiteracy, and poor writing. It tells us that the blue moon is actually white, then that it will be red. It also tells us we've not had a blue moon in over 150 years, when they occur every two or three.

And you know, no atheist can seriously claim religion is dead in this country while the Express exists. Its devotion to Diana and Maddie is akin to saints' cults. Its succession of forecasts of extreme weather and the world's end - never fulfilled -  show incredible dedication on the part of its readers.

The Daily Express is the Book of Jeremiah of our times. It's just that where Jeremiah was rejected because his message was so gloomy, the Express continues because it offers an endless succession of cosy apocalypses - promising the end of the world, but never delivering one.

So ignore the Express and the Gibbon Moon Folk. Get out and look at the moon. If there's a break in the clouds in the UK, it will be just slightly bigger. But no less beautiful a chunk of God's creation. If you're in the US, the eclipse is a wondrous thing to see. 

And if there's an earthquake don't blame me. I'm not saying there won't be one. What am I? A prophet?



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Worship in the Etruscan Style

Thanks to Danwell for leading this afternoon's Worship in the Etruscan Style. In case we ever make the mistake of doing it again, some learnings I feel we should take from the event.

Yes, the Etruscans were from Etruria. That's not the suburb of Stoke. And even if it were, welcoming everyone in an attempted Brummie accent was not "sensitive to context." People from Stoke are not Brummies. They're more like Mancs, if you ask me.

The 'Etruscan Hymn Book' was very creative. But the Etruscans didn't use cuneiform as far as I'm aware. That was the Sumerians.

Even if the Etruscans had used cuneiform, that wasn't cuneiform. It was a load of triangular marks made by poking a stick in lumps of clay.

Lumps of clay that were still wet.

Lumps of wet clay that were dug out of the brook. It was filthy.

The sermon was not in "authentic ancient Etruscan." It was kind of Dutch. The kind of Dutch you might rip off Duolingo. I think I recognised the phrase "an important duck" at one point.

When a riot breaks out during an act of worship involving lumps of wet clay, a golf  umbrella is a good idea. Once they've run out of clay, you can hit people with it.

Other than that, yeah - pretty authentic.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Lines on the Closure of the Bree Louise

There's a pub near Camden Town (Camden Town)
The Government is pulling down (pulling down)
And the politicians haven't got a clue
Cos what's the point of HS2? (HS2)

The walls were painted bright vermillion (bright vermillion)
And somehow they outlived Carillion (Carillion)
The blokes with hi vis carry on the same
But we all know it's such a shame (such a shame)

Although the loos were rather smelly (rather smelly)
There was only beer names on the telly (on the telly)
And you could have a cider, have a chat
Now we're stuck with the Euston Tap (Euston Tap)

This project is Theresa's folly (Treesa's folly)
The gard'ners are no longer jolly (they're not jolly)
The trees are coming down in Euston Square
HS2 sows mis'ry everywhere (everywhere)



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Nunc Dimittis

"Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
..... There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem."
(Luke 2)
There's a strange idea about. It says that the most evangelical churches are growing, and liberal churches are declining, and therefore God is blessing the evangelicals and everyone else does not have God's love.

It's not accurate, in the first instance, in the States for example - where the more traditional churches are now starting to decline just as the more liberal ones did. Though it's true that Churches in South America and Africa are growing, and that they are more conservative: they also have higher birth rates. This isn't the whole story either. The point I'm making is that this is a simple way of looking at a complex situation.

It's also a terrible way to look at the churches that have historically been lost. The churches of North Africa, were practically wiped out by the advance of Islam. The Christians of the Middle East are migrating - from Iraq, Syria, Israel, the Palestinian territories - because of persecution or their lives being made more difficult. These were faithful, traditional churches. And the disappearance of these churches is not because of their theology.  If they had been less conservative, they might have suffered less. Those who associate theology with numbers forget that Jesus told us to preach the Gospel to all nations - but also promised persecution would happen.

And there's the idea that churches must always be active - go-getting. Out on the street shouting the Good News at people who don't want to hear about it.

And then there's Simeon and Anna.

Simeon's been hanging round Jerusalem, because he knows that he will see the Messiah. But he doesn't seem to know when. So he's popping into the Temple to see. Maybe there's been years, he's been walking into the Temple every day. Waiting. Faithfully serving. Going out. Thinking he'll try again tomorrow. And so the years go by.

And Anna's even more unambiguous in her straightforward, dedicated perseverance. She never leaves the temple. She doesn't stop. She worships and prays, fasts, and waits. For years.

Worth remembering what Anna has seen through her long life. She was born roughly about the time that the King of Judea, Alexander Jannaeus, crucified 800 of his fellow-Jews in Jerusalem for rebellion. When she was a young woman, the Roman general Pompey invaded the city, broke down the wall of the Temple, and killed 12,0000 Jews. She's seen Herod become king. Seen the Temple rebuilt - a rebuilding that was still going on 30 or so years later when Jesus came back there again. And all the time that the Temple was rebuilt, the sacrifices continued. And Anna continued to worship.

The thing this two have shown is faithfulness. They have waited for the day they will see the Lord in his Temple.

And there in the Temple, this tiny thing. Herod called himself "The Great". Pompey was called "The Great". All the greatness of Rome had borne down on the little city of Jerusalem. And it was all nothing to Anna and Simeon. Instead, they see the tiny baby Mary brings, and they know. This is what they have waited for. This is why they have spent all their lives in patience, faithful waiting. The one for whom the Temple was built is here in Simeon's arms and nothing else matters.

They can go in peace. God's word has been fulfilled. They have seen God in his Temple. And they have been faithful servants.

We may have one task to do. We may have great things to do. We may be called to sacrifice, or to martyrdom. Or maybe just to wait. But as we keep our eyes on God, we can know. At the end, we will see God.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

You'll Never Walk Alone

Can Liverpool-Supporting Beaker Folk please note that our "Litany of Woe for an Under-performance" will be held at 8am in the Moot House.

We won't bother printing off the orders of service.

You know them off by heart by now.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Glitter Bomb

Afraid we've had to seal off the Moot House. After yesterday's "Messy Feast of St Francis de Sales", we realised the Little Pebbles had managed to scatter so much glitter on the tables and floor that, when swept up, it hit critical mass.

Glitter hitting critical mass is in many ways completely dissimilar to uranium doing the same thing. 16 pounds of condensed multi-coloured glitter develops a fabulousness coefficient of anything up to 1015. And this permeates anything within a four mile radius with magical happenings.

Thankfully the Moot House has a spiritual sump set into the Mystic River, and therefore we're able to keep the surrealness to normal levels outside. We're monitoring the unicorns and once their eeriness drops we'll be able to resume normal service.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

To An Unknown Idiot

We Beaker Folk have many saints, as may be seen in the increasingly-obsolete "Beaker Common Prayer". But among them, we were always worried that we might be forgetting somebody important and whose intercessions we might be in need of.

That's why the plaque on the North East but a bit to the North wall of the Moot House has always been dedicated "To an Unknown Idiot". We never knew when this idiot might come in handy. Human idiocy, after all, is the world's most powerful renewable energy source.

Over the years, the Beaker Folk have tied clouties to the Prayer Tree before the plaque in order to request all sorts of ridiculous boons from wherever they thought this immense power for stupidity might be. They have included:
  • Donald Trump's modesty
  • A unicorn that runs on unleaded fuel
  • A lost chord which is secretly Am6 on Friday nights
  • An octarine beetle
  • A perpetual motion machine
  • A score of 19 at cribbage
  • The ability to hang-glide under water
  • The East Wind in a pint glass (held in with a beer mat)
  • The sodium salt of helium
  • The sunrise over the Atlantic in Cornwall
And finally today, they have realised who the Unknown Idiot is.

The man who promised us £350M by writing it on a bus. Who every time he opens his mouth, ruins a life. Who has now insisted that his colleagues provide £100M of  non-existent Brexit bonus for the Health Service. The many who couldn't put a garden over the Thames but thinks he can put a motorway over the English Channel. Some believe that Nigel Farage only exists so that Boris Johnson is not the most ridiculous, preposterous, unbelievable politician in the United Kingdom. All we can say is, Farage has his work cut out. Boris, you're not funny any more. You're not unstoppable any more. And nobody believed anything you said in the first place.

The one we called the Unknown Idiot, we now declare to you. And the bad news is, now he's just a Known Idiot. An Idiot Without Portfolio.




(Image hacked out of this article - full image by Barcroft Media)

Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Brexit is Magic

The penny dropped trying to discuss Brexit with a Brexiter today.

You see, I'd always thought that Brexit was a kind of religion. But it isn't, is it?

Brexit isn't about economics. Because nobody with any sense in that area would believe in Brexit. It's not about politics, really.

And it's not a religion. Firstly because, for instance, the evidence for the Resurrection is far greater than the evidence that Brexit is a great idea. But mostly because there's no idea of an ordering principle, and no moral element.

No, Brexit is magic. An attempt to change reality through the power of wishful thinking and the right words. The belief that if you write something you want on a bus, it becomes true.

Which is why you are wasting your time using economics, politics, geography or logic in reasoning with a Brexiter.  None of these things apply in a Brexit worlview. Because Brexit is magic. Magic doesn't need to obey normal rules. All you have to do is say the right things, in the right way, and everything will turn out great.

And the great thing about magic is that it has an all-purpose get out. When Brexit is a disaster, it's not going to be because of all the tin foil hat-wearers, Putin bots and pub racists saying "We're leaving." No. When Brexit is a disaster, it will be because the politicians didn't do it right. The idiocy of just walking out of a massive, successful long-term trading relationship will never be shown. Because, even if Theresa May isn't a brilliant politician, she's good enough to know that "just leave" is a stupid thing to do. So it will never be tried.  And therefore never disproved.

No, just keep saying to yourself "We're leaving." It's definitely going to work. And if it doesn't, it's because of all those evil Bremoaners who just don't believe enough. They're like the Darling family refusing to think wonderful things so they can fly. Just do what the magicians say, believe in Brexit, and before you know it you'll be in Neverland. And if Theresa May can't get us there - surely Jacob Rees Mogg can? That's the Brexit belief after all - that Mogg is just waiting, like King Arthur beneath the hill, to lead us all to glory.

If you can believe that Jacob Rees Mogg is the sort of person you cocked a snook at the "Establishment" to put in power, magic is your stuff. If you think that Boris Johnson is going to put a bridge over the Channel when he can't even put a garden over the Thames - when in fact all he is capable of is putting his leg over women he's not married to - you believe in magic. It ain't science, it ain't politic, it ain't economics.

Brexit is magic.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

A Religion of Renewal

From an Archaeological Report, c 2900 AD

We still do not have a clear view of the religion of the 21st Century people of Great Britain. Their habit of recording things only on electronic devices means that all we have preserved are a series of documents in increasingly small formats, dedicated to a protective deity called "The Guardian", and a another set of documents that seemed to have identified the Solar God with naked women.

We know that the Britons had a routine on Sundays of paying homage to their large metallic altars. These they washed and polished, and occasionally stacked them out on the long ritual trackways between their major settlements. But their major ceremonial sites were visited maybe 3 or 4 times a year.

The major festival seems to have been a week after the Winter Solstice, when they carried offerings of evergreen trees to these sites and threw them into large metal ritual containers. We have no idea why they did this.

Their other ritual was to take all kinds of plastic and metal possessions and throw them into similar containers. As far as we can understand, their belief was that these possessions were an offering to an incredibly powerful deity that lived beyond the eastern sun rise, that took these offerings and renewed them. It is is an incredibly powerful illustration of a belief in the possibilities of death and rebirth - of decline and renewal.

But something, it seems, went wrong. The deity decided it did not want the offerings any more, and the worshippers had to keep their  oblations to themselves.  At the same time, they appear to have entered a time of decline through a cataclysmic event they called "the Brexit". As a result, they hoarded their offerings, often having to patch up clothes using a method called "sewing" which, during their easy times, they had neglected.

And so the British civilisation declined. The ritual sites were no longer used. And the story of the divinity China, which happily took the used belongings of the British and brought them shiny new possessions, sank slowly away beyond the eastern horizon.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Giles Fraser says, "Know Your Place"

Inspire by this tweet from Giles Fraser:
As the old hymn has it

The rich man in his castle
The chavs on the estate
Giles Fraser is the parson
To keep them in that state.




Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Getting the Point of the Driving Laws

In the world of "rules for drivers", Jordan Cassidy of Manchester knows how it works.

Faced with getting enough points on his licence to lose the right to drive for a while, he appealed to the magistrate that if he were banned, he would lose his job, and his girlfriend might leave him.

He has a driving job. A man who can't drive anywhere without speeding - because, let's face it, anybody who actually gets caught speeding is pretty much speeding a lot all the time - asks not to be banned from driving because it would stop him driving for a living.

He has a job doing something he is apparently incapable of doing without breaking the law.

If a baker couldn't make bread without spitting in it, we would rightly demand that the bakery found a new baker. If a carpenter repeatedly hit her or his colleagues with mallets, that carpenter would have to do the carpenting somewhere else. If a Foreign Secretary repeatedly made decisions that were bad for this country, lied, and endangered the safety of some its nationals... no, wait. Let's not go with that one.

So it strikes me the very thing a magistrate should not allow Jordan Cassidy to do for a living, is the thing that he is begging to keep his licence to do. Chairman of the magistrates, George White, has explicitly said that he will bend the rules for poor driving to enable Cassidy to drive. Poorly. George got to be very stern. But Jordan Cassidy can still be behind the wheel tomorrow.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Cider Vinegar "Can Cure Death"

You know, ever since that mould grew in Number 1 Vat in the Beaker Cider Shed, we've been asking ourselves the all-important question: how can we make the most money out of this? And we've realised that the obvious answer is, people don't much like doctors and can be persuaded that everyday food products are actually medicine. So,  with a flu epidemic and colds ravaging the country and Storm Boris about to bring in giant winds, here's a quick run down of what cider vinegar can do for you.  Note that Beaker Cider Vinegar (£4.99 for 100ml at the Beaker Bazaar) is 100% organic. As if we'd kept everything clean properly with sulfite, we'd still have drinkable cider.

  1. If you're already well, a glass of mixed cider vinegar and apple juice can make you feel all virtuous.
  2. If you're feeling the cold, or "a bit nesh" as the physicians say, the juice of half a lemon and a thimble of cider vinegar is repulsive.
  3. Add cider vinegar and salt to fish and chips to make them nearly as nice as using proper vinegar.
  4. Using cider vinegar as a topical application for piles will make you wonder why you ever complained about the pain before.
  5. If you dilute cider vinegar to homoeopathic proportions it is invaluable for hydration. Or washing the car. 
  6. A teaspoon in half a glass of orange juice can remove all symptoms of the common cold within 3-4 weeks.
  7. Used neat on stains on clothes you can give them a nice "apple vinegar" smell.
  8. A broken leg can be treated by drinking a couple of glasses of cider vinegar, and then going to hospital.
  9. A cup every day (UK size "Sports Direct" mug) will make you invulnerable to the ageing process.
  10. Add a drop of elderflower cordial and it will save your eternal soul as well.




Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Blue Monday

Now the sun has set on another Blue Monday, a few thoughts.

First thought - Grolz, responsible for our PA, got rather confused. Piping "Happy Mondays" throughout the Community instead of "Blue Monday" just confused everyone.

The Blue Act of Worship had its own issues. First up, because it attracted a load of "worshippers" in black macs that we thought had died out in the 80s. Secondly because with blue vestments, blue voile
swathing the Worship Focus, the Husborne Brook died blue, and the roof of the Moot House painted blue to reflect the sky - we wish - everything was just too peaceful.  The idea of Blue Monday is a time of existential angst that all the good stuff is gone from our lives and we've got Eurovision and the Boat Race to stagger through before we get to the Summer. Not for people to rock off to sleep surrounded by happy colours. Next year we're changing to "melantonin blue", the colour they try to screen out in phones.

And now it's all over, what are we left with? As ever, a sense of emptiness and disappointment. Once again we've suffered from the way that Blue Monday - originally a Pagan festival, which was Christianised under St Disgustin', has become over-commercialised. When all you see for weeks in advance is Blue Monday adverts, and reruns of Summer Wine "Blue Monday" special episodes. When the satellite channels switch to be "Blue Monday Gold" and "Blue Monday Movies 2". When Jeremy Corbyn and his Smurfs have visited your house, to take away an unexpected amount of your earnings and leave you with some Islington Spa mineral water and a hollow sense of having done the trendy thing - when it's all over bar recycling the blue wrapping paper and shoving the last remaining Smurf into the Sin Shredder. Well, Blue Monday is over for another year. As John Lennon said, "And so this is Blue Monday - and What Have we done? Written a hypocritical song about no possessions and pranced around in the Buff". And I think we can all learn a lesson from that.


Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Stairway to Heaven

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’ (John 1) 
Strange little encounter. And in Nathanael's case, a strange identification. Based on some simple elimination, it's been deduced that Nathanael in John's Gospel is Bartholomew. Maybe, maybe not. I suppose it doesn't really matter. Except to Nathanael, and maybe Batholomew. As Eric Mascall apparently said:

Beneath a fig tree once
there sat a very pious Jew
And if you then had asked his name
He’d say “Bartholomew”
But then the higher critics came
with “L” and “M” and “Q”
And if you now would ask his name
He hasn’t got a clue.


Sitting under a fig tree sounds like a nice thing to do. On a drowsy day, down by the sea side. And Nathanael is, it seems, musing on the story of Jacob's Ladder. In that passage in Genesis, you'll remember that when Jacob with travel was weary one day.... he had a dream and saw the ladder that went up to heaven and the angels of God going up and down.  One of those very - for want of a better word - pagan bits of the Old Testament. Full of awe and numinousness. If that's a word.

I always wondered about that expression - is it a stairway to heaven? Or is it a ladder? Then I visited Thomas Hardy's birthplace. And saw the second staircase they put into the house, when they extended it for Hardy's parents' growing family. They put it in so the lads could go dowladders without traipsing through their parents' bedroom. And it's not quite a ladder - the steps are bigger - but then it's not quite a staircase - it's too steep. If you're going down it, you have to turn round as if you were climbing a ladder. I guess, when you're saving space and health and safety hasn't really been invented, it makes sense.

And so when Jesus sees Nathanael he makes a really strange identification.  He tells him that he is Jacob's Ladder. He is the one who will make the bridge between earth and heaven.

Nathanael seems shocked by Jesus knowing the obvious thing - that he was dreaming under the fig tree! Yet he's not surprised when Jesus tells him that Jesus is the ladder to heaven - because, for some reason, Nathanael has already made that jump - already recognised him as the Son of God.

What they will all discover, as the story unwinds, is the way in which Jesus is that ladder to heaven. The way he will join heaven and earth is by hanging on a cross. The ladder by which we can be carried up to heaven is by his body - hanging there.

And the ladder that God puts in place breaks forever the gap between earth and heaven. The route to heaven is clear - and yet the angels go down the ladder as well as up. So heaven is here - in believing hearts, in those moments when we know we are reaching beyond what we thought was ordinary, in bread and wine. We are not cut off from God - because God himself has made the route from heaven to earth, and earth to heaven. Maybe we need to take some time out - maybe not sit under a fig tree, in this weather - but heaven is here. Because Christ has brought it here.


Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Can Nigel Farage Ever Find True Joy?

Fascinated by Marina Hyde's piece on Nigel Farage.  Obviously, and rightly, she focuses on the likelihood that his sudden declarations about a second referendum are down to people no longer caring about him; his removal from the spotlight.

But she also says the following, which I reckon is really interesting:
Few people are more nostalgic than Nigel Farage. He used to get misty-eyed about the early days of Ukip – “Bomber Command ties” … “you look back and think, God, how did we get away with that?!” – and now he gets misty-eyed about the referendum.
I can’t help feeling Nigel would like to somehow recover a single elusive instant from the past and dwell in its perfect stasis for ever. 
And immediately I'm thinking of CS Lewis, remembering the time when he was a child, looking at a tiny garden his brother made out of some sticks, plants and a biscuit tin lid, and suddenly knowing a longing for something beyond that garden. Lewis called that sense of something missing, and yet calling, "Joy". It's a longing beyond anything that can be satisfied in the earthly things of this world, beyond love, sex, music or great art. And yet all of those things can give you the sense of Joy and the thing that can't quite be reached.

Maybe that's where Nigel is. Sensing the thing that gold elevators, Fedora hats, Referendum results and having your wages cut can't deliver.  Maybe all this has been a desperate attempt to find the Love that is beyond all loves, the longed-for behind all longings, the pearl beyond price that gives us all worth. Is this why Brexiters are still so angry, despite winning, and can't get over it? Because the thing they thought they wanted isn't the thing they are really longing for?

Just a thought.  Pray for Nigel.

Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Not Opening the New Moot House

I'd like to thank the Archdruid of the Iron Age Folk of Ironbridge for the invitation to open their new Moot House. Though sadly I'm not going to make it.

I heard about the Ironbridge Folk putting up a giant sign across the A5, saying "Eileen is a Really Useless Druid". And I know their Deputy Druid said "if Eileen comes this side of Daventry we're going to get every Druid in Droitwich to turn up and protest. But hey, that's just letting off steam.

But I'm going to have to turn it down. Not because everybody there hates me. But because, let's face it, they put it in the wrong place. I blame Archdruid Elsie, who sold off the old one in Telford for peanuts, six months before she was Archdruid, and massively overpaid for the new one.  So stuff them I'm staying in my Archdruidical Complex, with a burger and my giant telly.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

90th Anniversary of the Death of Thomas Hardy

1st Yokel: That Thomas Hardy's been dead for 90 years then.

2nd Yokel: Dead and gone, as we all shall be.

1Y: Shall us sing sad folk songs, Henery?

2Y: We normally do, Jan.

1Y: And shall us het a gallon o' cider in our insides?

2Y: Wi' all my heart.

1Y: I've not had a wet since nammet time yesterday.

2Y: And I'm as dry as a lime kiln on a hot day on Egdon Heath, i'faith.

1Y: Shall we go down to the King's Arms in Casterbridge?

2Y: Nay, it's still closed.

1Y: Or the Dree Mariners?

2Y: Closed for years.

1Y: The Quiet Woman on the edge of he'th?

2Y: Never existed.

1Y: And what of the fine Casterbridge Ale?

2Y: Eldridge Pope gone and redeveloped as a trendy retail development.

1Y: Cup o' tea?

2Y: Yeah, whatever.




Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The Bible is a Library

Great excitement as a minister in a Free Church in Scotland, David Robertson, attacks Steve Chalke's views and is then in turn savaged by a Mouse. All fairly fractious stuff.

I was struck by one of the themes of this argument, which I quote from Revd David's blog:
 For example if you say “The Bible is a library and not a book – that’s what the Bible literally means… the church over time has come to regard as sacred. It reflects the moral values and consciousness of each author” then you are saying that the Bible is not the word of God. You are saying it was the Church not God who over time said it was sacred. You are saying that it reflects the values and consciousness of each author not the values and consciousness of God.
If you say that the Bible is a library, are you saying that the Bible is not God's word? And if you say that the Church said the Bible is what it is, are you saying that God didn't? If you say the Bible reflects the values and consciousness of its authors, are you saying that these values and consciousnesses are not those of God?

These are false dichotomies surely.

First up - let's take the definition of the Bible as the Word of God. If you believe that, where do you get that from? Can you get it from the Bible itself?  Well, Paul tells Timothy that all Scripture is God-breathed. But that's the Bible itself telling me that. Can I accept the authority of a book because it tells me it should? That doesn't make sense - otherwise I'd accept that Moby Dick is the true story of a whale-hunter, or that the Blair Witch Project is the true story of how three students lost their lives in the woods. Whether I accept the authority of a piece of writing depends upon the context around it.

Why do modern Protestants believe that the Bible is God's word? Because earlier Protestants told them it was so. Or because they read it themselves and conclude it is true. So if David Robertson tells me the Bible is God's word - I have to take his word for it, or I have to read it myself and agree with him. Either way, I have applied somebody's critical faculties - my own, or David Robertson's, or Luther's, or the Early Church's - and/or somebody's lived experience - to the text and concluded that it is indeed God's word. So this is a classic Anglican both/and. If the Bible is God's word, the reason we know it is, is because the Church, acting through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has confirmed that it is. And then part of the Church changed its mind and had another bash.

Now the Bible is a library. It is clearly not "a" book - that is why modern translations contain a list of the books in the Bible. That's why there is a popular Pub Quiz, "How many books are there in the Bible?" to which the incorrect answer that is given is 66, when the real answer is "depends what you think is in and out, and how many books you think Chronicles is."

And if the Bible is a library, then it begs the question of whether the individual books reflect the "values and consciousness" of God, or the authors. To which the only logical response, if the Bible is God's word, is "both", surely. If the Holy Spirit wrote the books of the Bible using the authors as robots, simply inscribing God's words, then there ain't much point putting an author's name on them. God could have just written the whole lot, like the tablets on Sinai. The fact that there are authors attached - some of whom we argue over - tells us that it matters whose point of view that particular book was written from. It matters that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians; it matters that Luke wrote Acts, as it tells us who the "we" are when we read the narrative, lets us put the story of Acts into the context in which the story exists. And given these authors are regarded as saints or prophets, priests or holy men, then the fact that they reflect God's "values" (can God have values?  Or do all human values merely proceed from the nature of God. Discuss.) should mean they also reflect the consciousness and values of the ones who wrote them.

I guess I'm saying this. That the Bible is a reflection of God's nature, and of its authors' lived experience. That because the Church came to define what was in the Bible, does not mean that it was not acting within the will of God. In fact, given the Bible tells us that God was incarnate, the fact that the definition of the Bible is the common work of Church and God is exactly what you'd expect from this kind of God.

But most obviously, most clearly, most unarguably - because  this is built into the structure of the Bible itself - the Bible is a library.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Leadersmithing

My friends in the East of England tell me they're invited to a course on "Leadersmithing".  Naturally I looked it up and it turns out it's the name of a book, so it must be a thing.

Now I realise that this is following on from other trendy non-verbal nouns such as "Wordsmithing". But I do wonder. What a smith does is to heat up the raw materials of the craft, to the point where they are semi-molten, and then bang them with a heavy hammer. Is this really the way the church should be developing its leaders? I reckon it could be pretty painful.

Still, I look forward to the follow up books and courses. Instead of writing services, worship leaders will engage in Liturcraft. Minesterial training is now Pastorhewing. Using tea lights and pebbles in worship will now be Artisanal Worship.

The training for Pastoral Assistants will now be  Sympacrafting. Methodist Local Preachers will be produced by HymnSandwichCarving. People being called to episcopal office will be Talentpooled. Anglican people responsible for the buildings will be Wardensmelted.

Meanwhile, in the Beaker Folk, we're having no such verbal ingenuity. This afternoon's seminar on developing a sense for God is leading. No trendy terms. We're keeping it nice and simple.

We're calling it Prophet-earing.




Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

The Fifth Horseperson of the Apocalypse

A Roman Catholic diocese in Northern Ireland has suspended the sign of peace and sharing from a common communion cup as part of its response to the H3N2 flu epidemic.

Very wise - especially the sign of peace. Although a Californian diocese has said "nodding and smiling are enough", I can't help thinking that is terribly un-English. If churches in England adopt these measures - and obviously they should - the obvious approach is for people to look at their own feet.

But what is this?  "Other churches told parishioners not to hold hands during the Our Father". Who introduced this? Who thought this a good idea?

Every now and then I have to sort out the Beaker Folk's tendency to touchy-feeliness. But the worse anyone has ever suggested in the line of holding hands during services is at the Dismissal. The Our Father?  No wonder the Catholics drop the last couple of lines. Otherwise surely that would be too much to bear.

In these flu-ridden times it is clear that too much bodily contact is to be discouraged. I mean, when you've got Burton Dasset around it's to be discouraged at the best of times. But from now on, the Beaker official worship dress code is "bio-hazard". Then people can hold hands as much - or little - as they want. There's nothing getting through.

"And also with you"



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

King in His Own Right

Here's not a new mode of government, but one we see a lot. Government by strong man. Or woman. But mostly a man.

The idea that you never say sorry, never admit weakness, never  be vulnerable. It's getting so popular isn't it? The Kim dynasty in North Korea. The current crop of Tory ministers. And the king of proving he's better than anyone else, Donald Trump. It's all about strength. Being the greatest. The smartest. The one with the biggest nuclear button.

And here's the story of a number of powerful men. The Magi - wise men, philosophers, astrologers, magicians, kings - whatever they were. A powerful priestly caste from the East. Come to see the King of the Jews.  And there's Herod the Great.  The Great, notice. We have had two "the Great" kings in English history. Cnut, Alfred. You could argue that, if you're looking for monarchs to call "the Great", then Elizabeth and Victoria wouldn't be bad choices. But then, you know, women.

Herod "the Great". The king of Judea, Galilee, and assorted other bits. So much land that, when he died, his kingdom was divided up into four. But Herod's not as great as his propaganda lets on.

In the first place, he's not really the one in charge. He's a client king - a puppet, we'd say. He's allowed to rule as tyrant, in his own back yard. But he can only do what he does, within bounds the Romans set.

And off in Rome - Herod's boss Augustus. He's the Caesar - the emperor. But Augustus himself - he can't just can't go around saying he's lord of all he surveys. Because he only gets his job as long as he can persuade the Senate that, in fact they've given him the job.

The puppet king, Herod, wants to kill the upstart he's just heard about from the Magi. He fears for his throne. Pathetic, really - this man in his 60s, backed by the most powerful empire the world had ever known, scared of a toddler. But that's how flimsy a claim to earthly power can be.

But there's one king that depends on nobody. One whose authority comes only from himself. One queen whose title doesn't come from the flexible desires of a nervous tyrant, but has been foretold since the beginning of creation. Yet that all-powerful king has given it all up to be the most vulnerable thing on earth - a baby. That queen is the teenage wife of a seriously confused craftsman.

And so the powers of this world are given the choice. One of them loves power. He has his own wise men read out God's scripture to him. But he doesn't see that Scripture as a promise. He sees it as a threat. And he's stirred to bad actions - like a bad politician reading the tabloids. And the three,  or two, or however many wise ones - they lay down their treasures. The Queen brought treasures from Sheba to Solomon. But there's one greater than Solomon here.  And they know it. So they bow and worship.

There's a pattern in the Bible, where God picks out the weak. That series of preferred younger brothers - Abel, not Cain. Jacob, not Ishmael. Isaac, not Esau. David, not all his handsome older brothers. Mary, not Mariamne, Herod's queen.

So Herod frets in his palace. and Augustus is way off in Rome. And God - God is a child in a house in Bethlehem. Because God is with the weak. God is with the vulnerable. God is with the poor. And the darkness will never understand that. But the wise will find God, and worship.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Service of Bregret

Archdruid: Bregrets, I've had a few.

All: But then again, foo few to mention.

Archdruid: Forasmuch as Twitter is filling up with people who voted "Leave" and yet now wish they hadn't.

All: Well, let's face it. We'd all had a drink.

Archdruid: And now with an NHS crisis, whatever is grown in January rotting in the fields and David Bloody Davis on the TV every day...

All: He's like the Thinking Idiot's Stephen Fry

Archdruid: And noting how much love everybody gets when they repent of their Brexicity...

All: For God loves those who repent of their Leaviness.

Archdruid: Let us join in the Lamentations and Bregret.

All: Oh what the hell have we done?
We thought we were showing the elite how much we loathed them
yet we realise that Boris Johnson is the elite as well
however well he managed to hide it.
And that picture of Nigel Farage watching the Queen on Christmas Day.
I mean. If he'd been stood there in Union Jack underpants it wouldn't have been much less tacky.
And so we repent in dust and ashes
and knowing that even Owen Jones isn't going to help us now
we pray that God can do something.
Cos let's face it, Jeremy Corbyn ain't.

Amen.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Friday, 5 January 2018

My Beautiful Sermonette


Excited to hear about the new "Clerus App" from the Catbolic Church. Designed to help clergy preach sermons that are simple and easily understood.

But not so impressed when I downloaded it. There's only two options. One is "Yes" and the other is "That would be an ecumenical matter." 

Get Me to the Church on Time

The Telegraph tells us, "Church Imposes £100 Fine for Brides Who Arrive late to Their Own Weddings."

Which begs all sorts of questions. Such as - if the groom is late, why do they get away with it? And what about a bride who arrives late at somebody else's wedding?

I've never agreed with the Church of England's socialist approach to charging for weddings. It's always struck me that churches in poorer areas should be able to charge what they like to conduct weddings, as a form of mission. Rather than the current, paternalist approach, of a book of rules with exceptions for people in particular need. The Church of England weddings site is, after all, pretty close to suggesting that Mr and the future Mrs Cratchit practice a consumptive cough before their wedding interview. But then, if you're the PCC of some well-heeled church next to a nice country pile in Bedfordshire,  why not be allowed to charge properly for the full Elizabeth Bennett experience?

That would allow Canon John Corbyn - who clearly has an expensive taste in red sweaters and stripey clerical shirts - to include his £100 deposit for prompt attendance in the Bill of Materials. In fact, he could charge by the minute - with a taxi meter in the chancel running from the official start time. Then you might see some rapid processions down the aisle, as bride and groom try to save a few quid.

Or you could come to a pre-arrangement as to lateness: 50 quid for a fashionably-late fifteen minutes, through to a couple of hundred for the sort of lateness where the bridegroom is phoning the local maternity ward and trying to describe the wedding dress to the receptionist, or dashing to the airport.
Mary was so late, the church had been made redundant

A vicar I know used a sliding scale of standing down the church officers. 10 minutes and the bellringers went home. 20 and it was the organist. Presumably half an hour late, and she'd throw out the congregation, and it was just her, the happy couple and the wardens for witnesses.

Given the vanishingly small chance of my ever being a bride, I think I'm going to get my chance in the end. I'm going to put it in my will - I want to be 15 minutes late for my funeral. And if the minister tries to charge extra, I'm gonna haunt them.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

The First Deal After Brexit

A correspondent sends me this photograph of a National Trust visitor's passport, and a thought strikes me.

Clearly the Government is wasting its time  chasing trade deals with the Pacific nations, or trying to get a deal that is just as good as the one we already have with the EU, with the EU.

Instead we should be looking to form a trade alliance with the National Trust. Look  at the colour of their Visitor's Passport, after all. Once the UK, like the NT, has an iconic blue passport, this will radically reduce delays at Visitors' Centres.

But you know, why go to all the trouble of leaving the EU at all? The Government figures showed that even a Canada-style deal would cost each person in this country £1800 per annum. But membership of the NT is only £70 per annum. If instead of leaving Europe we just buy each Brexit voter annual subscription, we could save a fortune.

By allowing Brexit voters to visit our nation's stately homes all year for free, we can allow them to live in the past all the time, at limited cost to the country. They can relive a time when the rich man was in his castle - and the poor man at his gate, picking early strawberries, was not Slovenian.

We can also solve the housing crisis. If we build new houses on the Thomas Hardy 's House model, look at the advantages:

  • By living 8 or 9 people to a three bedroom house, construction costs will be reduced.
  • No need for running water! With a well in the garden and an outside privy, you can build poor people homes "off grid."
  •  By living in the 19th Century, ordinary people can be proud of the Empire, sure of our nation's destiny and perfectly willing to mine the coal we'll need when Sterling falls and we can't afford to import gas or oil.

Come on in, the earth toilet's lovely! 


Yes, it's the way to go. A Brexit Britain is one in which you can have National Trust.


Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Worship in the Thomas Hardy Style

In the lead up to next Thursday's 90th anniversary of the death of Thomas Hardy OM, we today celebrated worship in the West Gallery Style.

Quite good fun, actually. We erected a West Gallery using scaffolding. Hung up some holly since it's still Christmas. Got in a quire consisting of some fiddlers, a clar'nettist and a bunch of young kids.

Then I threw them out and replaced them with an organist who could actually play.

Yeah, went really well.



Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.