Sunday, 4 March 2018

Not Genuine Quotes? The Real-Life Reverend Joannas

I'd like you to direct you to a book review of "Writes of the Church"But more importantly, to this link to "Eva's Call". .

I'd like to apologise for directing you to the Amazon web page for "Writes" again. Though not too much, as goodness knows it needs selling. The author's garage is full of them. In fact, he's had to get a job in reverse logistics to try and get a few pence to rub together, instead of the retirement villa with a swimming pool he was planning on the back of what he was sure was going to be a huge best-seller. If you don't know what reverse logistics is, don't worry.

Please don't write rude things about Robert Cuin, or his spelling. We all make typos on the Web. Yesterday, for instance, I wrote "Quaertur" meaning "Quaeritur".  If you check the URL you will see that I have since corrected the title but the URL is there until the sun goes cold or Blogger ceases to exist. I could blame the author of the blog from which I copied the word, but I have a responsibility to check. Not just cut and paste. But then I never had the Latin.

But I digress. What Mr Cuin wrote is as follows:
"A little bit “childish” and I can’t believe that these are genuine qoutes"
Well, yes. The book's a bit childish. But then so's the author. And how will we get into the Kingdom of Heaven if we aren't like a child? But are the quotes "genuine"?

In a sense, no. It's a work of fiction. But in another sense, a very real sense, let's consider what the good people of Tremlett have said to Revd Joanna, the curate, over the years - either on the blog or in the book.

There's the member of the congregation that can't understand that she's a woman, and endlessly refers to her as "Father Joanna". The one who worries that, when Joanna's an incumbent, she won't have time to do the baking.  The one who says "it was almost like she was a real priest". The one who complains that they attended a service and "there was a woman pretending to be a priest". The time Norbert had hysterics because Joanna was buying sanitary products at the shop.   The one complaining that the shape of a visiting female priest's vestments makes her attractive to men.

And I wonder - do the blog and the book go too far? Is this ridiculous?

And I then read the things - real things said to real people - real women, real priests, real deacons, real ordinands - real friends of mine, in some cases. Thanks to Alice Watson for putting them together.

No, the quotes in "Writes of the Church" are not genuine quotes. They're not brutal enough, not childish enough. The real quotes are far worse.

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.


  1. and all from people who believe they are good Christians

  2. Thanks for the links to Eva's call - a trully stunning piece of work. You are correct, truth is way stranger than fiction in this, as so many aspects of chruch life.

  3. I find that the people reflected in Writes of the Church often resemble those I have met in my church life over the years. Particularly the passed over Major.

    Army officers have a penchant for eccentricity, which seems to be ripest among those who retire as majors, not having had the personal qualities required to proceed to command a Regiment or Battalion, and their frustration at career failure finds an outlet in the eccentric activities of your character drawn on in the book.

    Perhaps it's a good thing that they never got to Command because when they do, they often end up on the front of tabloids or in the Gossip columns of the Times for unfortunate activities such as making off with the soldiers money, or inappropriate relationships with someone who is not their spouse. This is letting the side down and brings the service into disrepute and breaches the terms of the rules of conduct becoming by being unbecoming (or just being caught out).

    Was I one of those failures you might ask? No, I was what is politely described as "Late Entry" commissioned from the Sergeants Mess into the inverted snobbery of the Officers Mess with an expectation that as I had not attended the Knives and Forks course at Sandhurst that I'd be a bit rough around the edges and rumbustious and bolshie. Well, I am pleased to say, that I met all of those expectations with knobs on, although after 10 years or so, they managed to smooth some of the rough edges out. I fact, their surprise that I could string two sentences together made some of them awe struck.

    Nowadays, they send Late Entry officers to Sandhurst to do a shortened Knives and Forks course to straighten them out, knowing how to behave at the Dinner Table and to smoke the right brand of Cigars after a dinner, being appropriate qualifications.

    I missed that and am thankful. I'd have hated that, and being thought of as a 'Rupert' which is the term lovingly applied to those wet behind the ears young men and women who graduate from Sandhurst. Off course, Prince William and Prince Harry both went to Sandhurst - what does that say for their training as Royals? Eccentric?

  4. Wow. I mean, wow. I had no idea it was as bad as that. Greatest respect to those women who hang on to their vocations despite that sort of treatment.

    Not sure where I read this, but even more horrifying was the story of one female curate (I think) who was offering the chalice to a man and when he reached to take it he ran his nails hard into her hands. Ysenda Maxtone Graham and Linda Whitehead have related similar stories of insanity.

    Mind you, I am old enough to recall the old Today programme on the radio which regularly featured a woman/girl who was doing something unwomanlty - becoming an apprentice plumber or electrician, say. And invariably the (male) interviewer's first question was "And what does your husband/borfriend, (or if single), father think about you doing this?"

    The funeral director in my nearest town is a woman. When she first started, people would stare like billy-o, and I'm sure comments were passed. But now - people take it for granted. Women barristers, solicitors, surgeons, doctors, officers in the armed services (and the Salvation Army for over 100 years) all meet this kind of idiocy.

    What worries me, frankly, is how easily progress can be rolled back. Celtic women seem to have had considerable equality, then along came the Romans and later the Anglo-Saxons and booted them back to the kitchen. Look at films of women in Iran before the Ayatollahs came to power.


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