Friday 4 May 2018

Simon Jenkins Writes Drivel (#3 in an endless series)

Simon Jenkins tells us the Quakers are right, and we don't need God.

Now this isn't drivel yet. Which probably means a sub-editor wrote the strap line.

And he goes on to tell us of the importance of seeking peace regardless of one's belief or otherwise in divinity. And in the Beaker Folk, of course we agree. The important thing is the ritual and the collections. Belief is strictly optional. Albeit if the C of E were to take Simon Jenkins seriously you'd be seeking that silence among the pop-up libraries, Universities of the New Age, creches and doily -making facilities with which Simon Jenkins was proposing that Stalinist parish councils should fill the church buildings only 5 weeks ago.

So that's not the drivel. Nor is it because he praises Quakers who are nice, gentle, thoughtful people. These days.

No, the reason he's writing drivel is implying that the Quakers are in some way the cutting edge of a new religiosity, in line with the Zeitgeist. To put it brutally, the number of Quakers total in this country is very low in the tens of thousands if that. The  C of E attendance is more like 700,000. Worldwide there are about 2.4 billion Christians, and 0.4 million Quakers.  The Church worldwide is half Catholic, a third Protestant, with a growing proportion of Pentecostal/Charismatic churches.

To put it another way.  Only someone writing with a liberal, atheist, Western, British outlook would think Quakerism is the future. Basically, Quakerism is  to religion what the Guardian is to the media. Well meaning, nice but effectively irrelevant. Simon Jenkins is generalizing from himself to the universal.

The future of religion is either Muslim, or it's Bible - believing. It's not Simon Jenkins.

Want to support this blog?
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. Simon Jenkins does indeed write drivel a lot of the time. One wonders whether he every actually attends a church before he makes his pronouncements.

    But I have to pick you up on your own bit of drivel:
    " The Church worldwide is half Catholic, a third Protestant, with a growing proportion of Pentecostal/Charismatic churches." Plus 2-300 million Orthodox Christians.

    1. That's not drivel. I just didn't give an exhaustive list.

  2. Interesting that he actually has an audience. Perhaps he should join Jeremy Corbyn whose faith (if any) is invisible, but his rhetoric is equally drivel.

    For the leader of a political party to be in denial about his own short comings, and to tolerate the short comings of the many people who voice hatred and extreme views coming out of the undergrowth to seek to dominate the more liberal part of his party. He tolerates this, trying to present the face of a reasonable man, while being essentially as extremist as his followers. And he could be Prime Minister? Come back Michael Howard, all is forgiven.

  3. Eileen, I'm not sure that Chinese religion, which is a big part of the future, fits into your scheme very well. Some does: all those earnest lawyers who used to be into human rights but now preach the Westminster Confession. But most of it is folk religion, centred on rituals rather than explicit theology. That's what the Quakers do, of course, and that's why I love their silences. But it's also what a lot of rural anglicanism has been about, which is why all my clergy freinds hate their congregations.


Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl