Showing posts from September, 2010

Catholic kitsch & lessons in missing the point...

This Sunday we'll be stepping into the shoes of Erasmus, the Dutch Humanist, & going back to the future in seeing how the Reformation remains so important today. Erasmus was merciless in his writings about the Popes & clergy of his day - I wonder what our reforming friend from Rotterdam would make of the circus around the Papal visit this week?

In the 21st Century, Pope on a rope soaps are all very Del Boy Trotter. Today at Twickenham,'I heart Benny' T shirts,caps & Rosary Apps are all on sale to the faithful in a Catholic kitsch sale which we haven't seen the like of since Henry VIII cleared out his garage!

If Tetzel got Martin Luther's knickers in a twist for flogging indulgences, then surely our German Reformation Rebel will be spitting beer out of his nose at todays special offer - Cardinal Newman electronic candles, on sale in time to be held aloft by tens of thousands of Brits in honour of this 'almost' Saint.

Last Autumn I had the privilege…

A new reformation - Zwingli, the Pope & a mirror!

I'm working through some old notes on the Reformation this morning in preparation for our Lifechange Sunday series - Reformation to Revival - The history of the Missional Church in England from 1500 to the present day.

You may wonder what this ancient history has to do with post modern, 21st Century Britain, but you don't have to go far to see the value in looking back. Any generation which thinks it can't learn from the past needs it's collective head fixing, & the UK certainly needs to sit down with a Shrink. Every reason why the UK has an identity crisis & is in a moral/spiritual pickle today can be traced back to roots which have grown over the last 5 centuries.

More pointedly, the church, & not just society in general, must understand how we have got to where we are in order to have a context for where we are going. Perhaps thats why so many in our ranks neither know where they are or intend to go anywhere to do anything about it?!

The Reformers of the 15…

Livin' for the city!

I'm back in the office after August, looking out over warehouse roofs to the gently rolling Surrey Hills, turning autumnal in the distance. Surrounded by rural splendour, peversely, it's the idea of cities that is captivating me at the moment.

We've seen some truly great cities this summer. Rome again. Then a train ride through the 2 sides of Napoli, shiny modern in the centre with a collapsing urban sprawl to rival any 3rd world conurbation. Last weekend we walked London again, our capital still brings out the wide eyed tourist in me no matter how many times I go.

The truth is, I've not been able to shake off the Ninevah story that we worked through from Jonah last month. Ninevah, 120,000 strong, ancient Eastern City, yet so contemporary in it's arrogant swagger - a city needing to be noticed, a self made, self sustaining kind of place where only the strong survive, the rich get richer whilst the poor stay in the gutter. You see, the same old cliches about giant co…