From the category archives:


“Drum Major for a Dream”

by Kim on November 26, 2014

Above the shouts and the shots,
The roaring flame and the siren’s blare,
Listen for the stilled voice of the man
Who is no longer there.
Above the tramping of the endless line
Of marchers along the street,
Listen for the silent step
Of the dead man’s invisible feet.
Lock doors, put troops at the gate,
Guard the legislative halls,
But tremble when the dead [...]


According to the latest research, “Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ has been replaced by Monty Python’s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ as the most popular song played at funerals [in the UK]” (MSN Entertainment News, 22 November).
This is terrific news for the Church — and Shakespeare too (vide infra). It demonstrates that, contrary [...]


The parable of the two — good guys?

by Kim on November 18, 2014

On one occasion, a young man who knew his Bible went to Jesus to see if he was “sound”. “Jesus,” he asked, “what must I do to go to heaven?”
“That looks like a Bible you’ve got there,” Jesus replied. “What does it say?”
Waving the black book to which Jesus had pointed, the youngster answered, [...]

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Letter published in the Church Times, 7 November
Summing up a YouGov survey, Professor Linda Woodhead observes that “whereas the clergy [in the C of E] are to the right of the population on ethics, they are to the left in politics.”.
But since when is the the political (Professor Woodhead mentions welfare provision and immigration) not [...]


Poppies red and white

by Kim on November 4, 2014

Letter published in the British daily the i on 4 November.
Stefano Hatfield is right that honouring the dead is not an endorsement of war. But the suggestion that “innocent” commemoration is all there is to the symbolism of the red poppy is staggeringly disingenuous.
Otherwise why be so contemptuous of “those ridiculous white poppies”, [...]


Hoot of the day (on the Rome Synod)

by Kim on October 24, 2014

“The conservative commentator Edward Pentin published an outraged piece in the National Catholic Register: ‘More and more there is talk in Rome that this synod is being engineered by groups intent on steering the Church in a heterodox direction, and increasingly evidence is coming to light that points to it.’ ….
“The thought that a synod [...]

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A bit of silliness for Monday morning

by Richard on October 13, 2014

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God TV CEO steps down over “moral failure”

by Richard on October 5, 2014

From God TV
GOD TV Co-founder Rory Alec has today announced he is leaving the Network, standing aside as Chairman and CEO with immediate effect. This follows what he terms ‘a moral failure’ concerning his marriage.
GOD TV Co-founder and Director of Television, Wendy Alec will continue to lead the Network along with its senior management [...]

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Who needs drums when you’ve got buckets?

by Richard on September 30, 2014

Just wow.


Japanese Maple, by Clive James

by Richard on September 18, 2014

Normally I leave poetry to Kim, but I was very moved by this poem from Clive James (who is terminally ill) when I read it in yesterday’s Guardian
Japanese Maple
Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but [...]

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Esther “Etty” Hillesum (15 January 1914 – 30 November 1943) was a Jewish woman whose letters and diaries, kept between 1941 and 1943, describe life in Amsterdam during the German occupation [Wikipedia]. She perished in Auschwitz.
One moment it is Hitler, the next it is Ivan the Terrible; one moment it is the Inquisition and the [...]


End of the day at Greenbelt #gb14

by Richard on August 22, 2014

I’m sitting in an improvised dining shelter, preparing to get into my tent at Greenbelt. Listened to a talk by Brian McLaren (”Bible 3.0″), which was ok, followed by a pint in the site pub “The Jesus Arms”. Now enjoying the darkness and relative peace with a cup of coffee breed cowboy style [...]


Saying goodbye

by Richard on August 21, 2014

It’s the time of year when Methodist ministers up and down Britain are swapping manses. All (almost) appointments begin on September 1st, so the weeks of August are filled with endings and beginnings. My colleague Paul Weary, who is going through this process himself, reflects on the importance of a good farewell.
As I move on [...]


How to do it - some Antipodean wisdom

by Richard on August 19, 2014

With thanks to Jason Goroncy for posting and to Michael Leunig for creating this


Ignore No More: more fuel for parental anxiety

by Richard on August 19, 2014

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry when I read yesterday about Ignore No More
Getting the silent treatment from your kids? A new app lets you lock their phone until they respond.
The “Ignore No More” app was created by Sharon Standifird, a Houston mom who describes herself as a school teacher turned entrepreneur.
“Few things [...]


Transfiguration Day - c. 30 and 1945

by Kim on August 6, 2014

“He was completely changed right before their eyes, his face brilliantly lit, like the sun, his clothes flashing with light.”
– Matthew 17:2 (my translation)
“The hour was early; the morning still, warm, and beautiful. Shimmering leaves, reflecting sunlight from a cloudless sky … Suddenly, a strong flash of light startled me — and then another. So [...]


Sam is a pimp, but he’s my Uncle

by Kim on August 2, 2014

This is not the first time that I have been embarrassed – no, ashamed – to be an American because of the US’s malign foreign policy, silently sinister or thunderously overt. Travelling around Europe in the summer of 1969 – Vietnam; living in Oxford during the onset of the Reagan presidency – Nicaragua and Chile; [...]


Lamech was a wimp

by Kim on July 30, 2014

At least 1,200 Palestinians and 55 Israelis have been killed since Israel launched its offensive on 8 July.
Most of the Palestinian deaths have been civilians.
Some 53 Israeli soldiers have been killed along with two civilians.
– BBC, 30 July
That’s a ratio of 22 Palestinian dead for 1 Israeli dead.
Let’s ridiculously err on the side of Israeli [...]


The elephant in the detention centre

by Kim on May 20, 2014

I’ve just had another letter published in the British daily the i (May 20th). Maybe I ought to suggest to the editor that he gives me a regular column. Anyway, here’s my latest.
In having a grumble at Mark Steels’ superb Swiftian send-up of Ukip, Mark Taha insists that “We are an overcrowded country” (letter, [...]

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Today (May 15th) is International Conscientious Objectors Day. Howard Zinn (1922-2010), the American historian, author, and activist, wrote: “They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.” Here is one of our poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, in her poem “Conscientious Objector”.
I shall die, but that is all that [...]

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