Sunday 25 March 2012

Contemporary Christianity Exam

3 hours. No talking, mobile phones or proselytising. 

1. Why would you not want to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury? (Use no more than 6 sheets of paper)

2. A small Methodist chapel has six members. With the aid of compasses and a protractor, draw a diagram of the inter-relationships of the committees they are on. Use no more than four dimensions.

3. Using a sketch-map of the world, explain the Anglican Covenant. (Do not colour countries in pink. We don't own them any more).

4. A URC chapel has 20 members. Draw the typical seating arrangement at 10.29 on a Sunday. (Use the back row only)

5. At an evangelical church, Alfie has "gone forward" 7 times in the last year. Bertie has "gone forward" 4 times and Chelsea 10 times. Why on earth does the pastor keep making altar calls?

6. Two Anglican clergy are trapped between floors in a lift. What are the chances, by the time they are rescued, of a schism?

7. The graph below shows an experiment on the effect of incense concentration on congregation members.

a) At which concentration of incense has the entire congregation passed out?
b) Why were people coughing even when the thurible was empty?

8. Compose a letter to the local newspaper complaining that the local minister is introducing "modern" worship. Feel free to use the expressions "thin end of the wedge", "dancing in the aisles" and "Graham Kendrick".

9. Imagine God's feelings about current Anglican pre-occupations. Try not to let your tears stain the paper.

10. Geoff has 55 tea lights. Jane has 55 hazelnuts. Paul has 5 large pebbles and Sue has a small paper-shredder. Why do you suspect that you may be on a theological training course?

11. On a silent retreat, what percentage of the men will be in the pub within 10 minutes of Compline? Clue for people with Arts degrees - "100%" is equal to all of them)

12. "The only thing worse than an Episcopalian's taste in vestments is a modern Catholic's taste in architecture." Discuss.

13. If it costs £250,000 to meet David Cameron, just how gullible are you? (This isn't a question about Christianity, thankfully, but I just fancied asking it).

14. With the aid of filters and fair-trade ingredients, explain why you suspect that "Cafe Church" may be a middle-class concept.

15. If Jesus wanted to let little children come to him, what is the average age of your congregation?


  1. Between 8 & 9, you need a question about a letter to the editor about the way that the local minister is stuck in the Dark Ages, using language no one understands and music everyone hates and holding all kinds of ideas and beliefs that are totally out of sync with modern life,

  2. Oh goodness, how funny!!

  3. and aslo with you! Wonderful and funny and enough truth to be of proper concern.

  4. just discovered you from my hovel in NW America. I have been reading with great interest, gigglement and profundity - thank you for your blog. Just curious, we have a church near here that has named their parking lots after books of the Bible and managed to use all of the NT and a good portion of the OT ("I parked in Matthew today, how about you? Aw, had to park all the way out in Ruth? That's too bad!"), they hire off-duty police to direct traffic on Sunday mornings, the inside looks like a multimedia stage and the stadium seats (numbering over 5000) have pull-up half-desks like a lecture hall - do you have any of those there?

    1. Sure we've got a parking lot, it takes two and a half cars. Last month someone tried to fit in three and now it's a parking place with bent railings and no doubt was called a name not found in the Good Book. For real fun in church box pews are required, why sometimes on high days and holidays we get congregations in double figures but its not Christian to boast.

  5. Was directed to you by a friend - you have made me smile on an otherwise dire Tuesday morning. Your observations are fabulous and I love the exam paper... the church will only grow when it learns to laugh at itself and to understand how it looks to other people!

  6. Liz from the sewing room1:20 pm, March 27, 2012

    Love it! But you need question on Messy Church, they are springing up all over the town I live in, and not because of a shortage of cleaners!

  7. How about 'The C of E offer parents a Service of Thanksgiving for their child. They want their child baptised - what is the difference and why do the parents prefer baptism?' I didn't make this one up......

  8. I'd like to thank you all for your suggestions. Some may well be stolen later.

  9. I've always thought that an Anglican Exam for prospective Bishops wouldn't go amiss>

    Q1. Who are those strange people not in clerical's sitting on those bench thingies in the Cathedral:

    a. Politicians waiting for the Queen to arrive?

    b. Politicians hoping for help with their expenses claims or absolution?

    c. Clerics attending 'sans collar and robes' to fool you?

    d. Laity?

    Q2. When is it appropriate to talk to a Choir Boy/Girl?

    Q3. If you are called on to be open and transparent, how difficult will you also find it not to prevaricate (or lie)?

    Q4. When you call for the financial sector to behave ethically, do you exclude those who look after the Diocesan/Church/Your funds?

    Q5. When is it not appropriate to drive after an over consumption of Communion Wine?

    Q6. How should you vote in the HoB on Sex/Women/SSM?

    Q7. What should you tell your diocese how you voted in Q6 above?

    Q8. What do you actually mean when you talk about Mission?

    Q9. What do you actually mean when you talk about Growth?

    Q10. Do you actually really believe in that mythical deity called God?

  10. Eileen - wonderful and now being passed on as it should be

  11. I have only just read this one. I am a bit behind the times. I particularly like No 12 which reminds me of the time I passed a particularly hideous 'supermarket style' church and said to the family 'I bet that it is one of ours' ie Catholic. And it was!


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