Tuesday 31 October 2017

95 Theses for the Church Today

How annoying is that? Just wandered down to the Moot House to get ready for our Reformation 500 Anniversary Service, as we reflect on how jolly all that hanging, drawing and quartering must have been. And how, deep down, everybody was probably right. And what do I find stapled to the door but a list of what I supposes, in the circumstances, I must call "theses" in church meetings. Though I prefer "whinges".


  1. 3 readings plus a psalm seems a bit long.
  2. We've held pebbles to reflect on the wonders of the world too many times now. Can we have something more creative?
  3. There's too many meetings. Yet we daren't not turn up in case we miss something. Can you please fix this?
  4. Nobody really cares which week you light the pink Advent candle. Please stop fighting over it.
  5. Beryl crockery is great, and it should be brought back.
  6. We're all in favour of better, Fair Trade coffee. We just don't see why it should cost more.
  7. The person to talk to visitors on Sunday mornings should be chosen by lot, and not according to the whim of the most extraverted.
  8. Long silences in services are a bit disconcerting. We worry if the Worship Leader has lost a page or passed out.
  9. Failing to switch your Mobile off before a service is probably going to cost a fortnight in Purgatory. Actually taking the call while the service is ongoing is unforgivable.
  10. We don't believe those clearly Facebooking during the service are really "Live-sharing the Good News."
  11. Ministers found playing Candy Crush during the Anthem shall be forgiven as it's quite understandable.
  12. Why can't we just play Hillsong CDs? Would save money in the long run.
  13. Can someone please explain to us how to find the Church website?
  14. In church meetings, anybody extolling on the views and virtues of the previous Minister are entitled to respect.
  15. "Lord of the Dance" is never a good idea.
  16. We like praying for the list of the dead. We just don't know why we do it. Please don't try and explain as our logic  may collapse.
  17. Five minutes is perfectly long for a sermon.
  18. Anecdotes of how clever the Minister is are never impressive.
  19. Don't try to explain theology. You're never very good at it.
  20. Especially on Trinity Sunday. Just stick to the text.
  21. On the subject of which - where do all these "special Sundays" come from? Can't we just stick to the proper ones?
  22. This Reformation business - can you remind us which side we were on?
  23. And why didn't the Catholics turn up to the Ecumenical Service on Reformation Day? What they got against it?
  24. The modern version of the Lord's Prayer sows confusion and division within the Godly and should be eschewed.
  25. Ecumenical services are always a compromise. Why do we do them? (Admitting we don't actually turn up).
  26. The wearing of hipster beards by vicars is a bit much. They must not confuse themselves with the Rend Collective. Or worse, ZZ Top.
  27. You can buy a nice tea light as soon as the money in the wall safe rattles.
  28. Obviously it's just an advisory 20p per tea light.
  29. But that's pretty reasonable. It's 50p up at the cathedral and it's not like it's a bigger tea light.
  30. Please light the tea lights from the back.
  31. If someone has lit the tea lights at the front first please be aware there's a bucket of sand next to the statue of Our Lady.
  32. Yes, she does appear to be standing on a snake.
  33. Can you stop changing the subject and just buy a tea light? We don't keep the roof on by prayer alone, you know.
  34. Why can't we have "I Vow to Thee My Country?" It's such a nice tune.
  35. Buying fridge magnets at pilgrimage sites and cathedrals is helping with the Kingdom of God and should be worth a few salvation points, surely?
  36. Greenbelt has changed, hasn't it?
  37. The local church is not like a Super Church enough. This is clearly the Minister's fault. Unless it is a Super Church.
  38. It is for the peace of the souls of guitarists everywhere and at all times that Diminished chords be abolished.
  39. The Anglican dead will not be released from the Electoral Role as long as there is someone who feels it's a shame to take them off.
  40. If you must have Pet Services, at least hold it in a tent outside.
  41. The burial of pets is wholly uncovered by the rites of most churches. This must be addressed.
  42. Light Parties are all very well but why can't the kids come as witches and ghosts?
  43. Children in church are great as long as they act like adults.
  44. Liturfical Dance? Nein Tanzen.
  45. CDs may not be as "live" as organists. But then neither are some organists.
  46. It's getting increasingly necessary we build that toilet in the bell tower.
  47. On the subject of which, we need thicker cushions. We're gradually coming round to the idea of replacing the pews with bean bags.
  48. And again - leaping from behind a tomb stone shouting "boo" after Evensong in the winter is a really dangerous thing to do.
  49. Especially when it's the vicar doing it. The church will get the legacies in the end.
  50. Regarding legacies - please stop banging on about them in the Church Magazine. It's very unsettling.
  51. Other people's sexuality is not that exciting. It's more important to know whether they'll go on a rota.
  52. When the choir sings something by Goodall, please can the vicar stop saying "I can't believe it's not Rutter." Everybody has done that joke now. 
  53. Let's not change anything.
  54. Let's not even think about changing anything.
  55. When the Minister says "Is this a building for a living, growing changing church or a museum to be preserved during the life time of this congregation" - s/he may not like the answer.
  56. Taize in prayers is lovely. But keep the prayers short in that case.
  57. Saying "The Collect for the Day" to introduce the Collect is wrong.
  58. Services when Boxing Day falls on a Sunday are just cruel to everyone.
  59. Likewise late night services Easter Eve followed by dawn services Easter Day. Yes, you may feel very mystical but it's not a joyful mysticism. It's a grumpy one.
  60. The Flower Rota is an holy thing and not to be tampered with lightly.
  61. Nobody understands when we do that thing with purple veils before Easter. Can you explain it again?
  62. Someone really ought to do something about the 5,000 half-burnt Tea Lights in the Worship Cupboard. They keep falling out onto people's heads.
  63. It's all very well the Vicar banging on about a fairer nation, sacrificial giving and the poor being blessed. But we're still voting Tory. And just don't ask us about Brexit.
  64. Visiting the unchurched to bring them into the kingdom is a holy duty, reflecting the Great Commandment, and definitely the Minister's job.
  65. Men's Breakfasts are discriminatory to women and also too early in the morning. Can we have Church Brunch instead? Maybe with turkey bacon. It's got less fat.
  66.  It is appropriate to respond with a kind of out-of-place excitement when the congregation's a bit thin.
  67. We know that bats are protected species. But maybe if they're just accidentally hit by a candlestick as they fly past?
  68. Paisley clerical shirts are always wrong.
  69. The Font being by the door may be very symbolic but it's in the way. Any chance we could put it on wheels?
  70. Decent heating is its own kind of mission.
  71. We really want to open up the building during the day. As long as someone else covers it. And nothing gets pinched.
  72. Nobody can remember which is the Minister's day off. Including the Minister. 
  73. We remember when we used to have 100s in the Sunday School. We don't really know what happened there.
  74. There is always room for another English translation of the Bible.
  75. We didn't change. Society did. So it's Society's fault.
  76. We know compact fluorescent bulbs are environmentally friendly. But we keep walking into things now.
  77. Overhead Projectors sound a bit radical. Can't we stick to printed books like St Paul did?
  78. We reserve the right to shout out answers to rhetorical questions in sermons.
  79. We need better biscuits.
  80. Just because nobody turns up to a service every week is no reason to cancel it.
  81. If more people came to church it would be great. As long as they're like us.
  82. Singing "Happy Birthday to Jesus" on Christmas morning is a bit cheesy.
  83. We need special hats to give to people who don't want to exchange the Peace. Or just have a brisk, English handshake.
  84. Except those of us who think introversion is sin. We just want to hug everyone. We'll even tell people "it will never happen" if they're particularly reluctant and grumpy.
  85. Protestantism will never really catch on. Too much hard work, trying to be saved by faith.
  86. Why can't each Minister just have one church? We're sure we lose out from sharing.
  87. We like to give the new Minister three years to drain out their enthusiasm. Then they stop trying to change things. 
  88. We'd like to sing more new songs.
  89. But don't want to have to learn them.
  90. The Baptist ability to chuck out ministers always seem a bit rough to us. Though we would like the option, obviously.
  91. This thesis left intentionally blank.
  92. High F# is a note no congregation should have to sing.
  93. Who is Luther, anyway? Is he a hymn writer? We googled him but just got some film.
  94. Yes we know these theses are a bit inward-looking.
  95. We blame the Reformation.

Looking for  a Christmas present for the churchgoer in your life? Or are you in need of a book to make you laugh at and think about the church? Well you probably need "Writes of the Church  -  Gripes and Grumbles of People in the Pews" - a perfect stocking filler.  From Amazon, BRF and good Christian bookshops.
A queue of people at the vicarage door, holding letters. The vicar is hiding behind the curtains.
Writes of the Church - On sale now and perfect for Christmas


  1. These are much easier to understand than Luther's 95! Not necessarily easier to debate though.

  2. 38. Except when playing anything by John Larsson

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. 75 and 80 should be studied together.


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