Showing posts from October, 2012

Monsters v Anglicans 2

This is a re-post of a blog from a couple of years ago which begins to explain a little why we are hoping to redeem something from Halloween tonight, rather than just reject it wholesale and hide behind our front door.

Whatever has happened to Halloween? In 2001 we spent a collective £12m in the UK, by last year, this had grown like a prize winning pumpkin to a big fat £235m!
Shoppers to the nations favourite supermarket, Tesco (where every little helps, apparently) can pick up a 'Devil Witch' costume, age 3-10. If these tough economic times are straining your Halloween budget, you can settle for a 'Devil Alice Band' for £3 - I always thought there was something dark about the Alice band.

Before 2001 it seems we were happy spending our money on just the one big festival at the start of the winter season - Bonfire Night. Invented by our Anglican friends to help fuel anti catholic feeling & necessitated by fears of invasion or terror attack. Substitute Catholic for Isl…

Culture:Queues, Queens and other opportunities.

There is lots of talk in the worlds of politics, the arts and religion about culture. Shifting culture, niche culture, world culture, youth culture. For some around the globe, culture is morphing so rapidly that new trends and ideas emerge and disperse before they can be caught. Others though continue to live and think as they have always done, and as their parents generation before them did. It can be a bewildering, dizzying experience trying to pin down what our culture is and how it really affects us and those we do life with.

Simply put, culture is the way we organise our lives. The millions of daily, unconscious agreements we make that have been shaped by our society into rules and patterns that we unthinkingly conform to as normal. Normal to us anyway, perhaps not to those from across a cultural divide.
Culture is woven together like a complex tapestry that is passed down through generations, giving a society a way of expressing it’s corporate identity - Culture enables us to …

Temple tantrums and new truths!

I love to visit some of the grand church buildings that have been preserved for us. St Paul's, almost hidden under all the new glass and chrome in the best part of London, the turreted Orthodox cathedral in Cluj Napoca, Romania. My favourite of all is still the Pantheon in Rome, with it's odd mix of Roman pagan, catholicism and Italian nationalism rolled into one breathtaking whole!

2000 years ago Jesus outraged the legalists by standing next to Herod's massive temple building project in Jerusalem and claiming that he was going to tear it down, then rebuild it in three days. He was either crazy, or he had a different way of understanding the way we think about temples and church buildings.
Jesus took all the prophetic promises about Jerusalem's temple and pointed to himself. This centrepoint building in the nation, where broken, penitent people would come to find forgiveness of their sins, to get right with God, for physical healing even – Jesus put all of this on Him…

Strangled for scripture. A tribute to William Tyndale

476 years ago today, one of the greatest Englishmen to have ever lived was first strangled, then burned at the stake in Flanders.
William Tyndale's terrible crime was to have translated the New Testament, and large parts of the old into The English language. His mission, for ordinary Englishmen to be able to hear the scriptures, and therefore the gospel for themselves.

Tyndale's work was a terrible threat to the Catholic monopoly, their need for control meaning that most of the population never understood a word that was being said by Priests. More significantly than just understanding the words spoken, the gospel itself was shrouded in medieval mystery and superstition.

That psychotic monster Henry VIII was the worst player in all of this. Remembered now for his reforming zeal, his earlier years were defined by defence of the Pope and violence against reformers. The royal title,'Defender of the faith' which remains to this day, arose from Henry's own flawed theologi…

A view of Naples : Not so innocent abroad?

144 years ago when the idea of the grand tour through undiscovered southern Europe was at its height, Mark Twain published his ' Innocents Abroad.' About Naples he remarked: 'I will observe here, in passing, that the contrasts between opulence and poverty, and magnificence and misery, are more frequent and more striking in Naples than in Paris even. One must go to the Bois de Boulogne to see fashionable dressing, splendid equipages and stunning liveries, and to the Faubourg St. Antoine to see vice, misery, hunger, rags, dirt--but in the thoroughfares of Naples these things are all mixed together. Naked boys of nine years and the fancy-dressed children of luxury; shreds and tatters, and brilliant uniforms; jackass-carts and state-carriages; beggars, Princes and Bishops, jostle each other in every street.'

Naples remains a wonderful, terrible city rolled into one. Driving through the heart of the city earlier this week I wondered that whilst Naples has modernised in part…