Tag Archive | Church

Everyone should be able to appreciate Rev


I’ve waited a long time for this – on Monday, Rev returns to our screens, probably for the last time. It’s one of my very favourite shows, but I’ve always found it hard to summarise its appeal for the benefit of those who haven’t watched it. It’s very frustrating to like something without being able to explain why, so it’s about time I had a proper go here.

First, it’s easiest to say what it isn’t. Rev isn’t really a sitcom, although it is funny, but nor is it a straight drama. It walks a delicate line, portraying the reality of inner-city church life as accurately as any series I’ve seen and allowing the humour to flow naturally from the absurdity of situations that many churchgoers will recognise – the plots and ideas are meticulously researched and typically based on real events, however unlikely that may seem. Read More…

The true cost of gay marriage

Happy CoupleGay marriage is here. It’s legal in many countries, it’s been approved by an ever-increasing number of US states, and the UK has now announced the date when same-sex couples will be able to get properly married, instead of separate-but-equal not-really-marriage.

Unsurprisingly, the dire predictions of terrible consequences should people of the same sex be allowed to get married haven’t come to pass. Polygamy, incest and bestiality remain as illegal and taboo as ever, existing marriages have persisted despite the claim that this “redefinition” threatened them in some way, and society is yet to collapse. Read More…

Is there any point in an atheist community?

DifferentThe atheist community is a subject of some disagreement, often quite heated. Is there such a thing, should there be, and isn’t the very idea on a par with having a club for people who don’t collect stamps? Lurking behind all this is the additional question of whether and why such a community should make a conscious effort to convert people or attract new members.

Personally, I feel something of a pull towards some kind of community. I miss the church connections, and it would be nice to have a replacement. From my point of view, the basic idea sounds very appealing in principle, even if the details are fairly hazy. Read More…

Is liberal theology really killing the church?

First Church of OtagoThis is an old favourite. It’s a regular occurrence that some survey or other, possibly carefully designed to produce this result, appears to show that conservative churches are doing better in numerical terms than liberal ones. It may be that they’re growing while liberal churches are shrinking, or more likely that liberal churches tend to be losing members while conservatives are holding steady or shrinking at a slower rate, but this is used as clear evidence that liberals are killing the church. So are they?

Any survey of this type faces huge methodological challenges in getting a meaningful picture at all, given the proliferation of different churches, different ways of counting membership and attendance, and particularly the question of how a church is identified as liberal or conservative, in the absence of an objective scale. And then there’s a good chance that a narrow survey for one purpose will be picked up and abused as evidence for something entirely different. Read More…

Some cross-channel musings on secularism

I’m sorry for the long break. I was on holiday, my plans for posts just before leaving and just after returning turned to dust in the face of circumstances and the usual holiday packing and unpacking routine, and in the end I found it was quite restful to just leave the blog alone for once and get on with other things.

I’ve still got a huge amount of stuff I want to write about, but the thing I had to get off my chest now was an insight into the true practicalities of secularism, and how they differ from popular fears and propaganda. The source of this insight, and the subject of a potential case study, is (of course) France. Read More…

Guides, God and my son the sectarian paramilitary

The Guides have taken the decision to drop any mention of God from their official promise, and it’s fair to say that reaction has been mixed, ranging from a relaxed “about time, too” to indignant rants from people who seem to be on the verge of going the Full Carey.

CampfireThis caught my attention because Elder Son has recently joined the Beaver Scouts. He loves it – he gets to play games, do cool stuff, learn things and spend lots of time with his friends. And because he’s having fun, I’m happy. But the promise is a peculiar anomaly when viewed alongside all of that. Read More…

The Apostate Returns II – The Heathening

They say you should never go back, apparently. I don’t know who “they” are, or what the context is for this statement (I have a hazy impression that it ought to refer to revisiting past triumphs in the hope of recreating them), but people say it so often it’s become a cliché. It’s been running through my head recently, because I paid a visit to the old church this week.

Ray of LightI’d been thinking about going along for a while, for various reasons – pester power featuring quite strongly. The boys wanted me to come along, and seeing that there was a special service for Father’s Day (a vile Hallmark holiday that has no place in any calendar, let alone a liturgical one), I suppressed my multiple misgivings so that they could at least have Daddy around on that one day that had been decreed special by marketing and the church’s unexpected conformity to the dictates of popular culture. Read More…

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