Monday evening

I arrive home at 2145 having been on the go trying to meet people, answer people and pray with people since 0930 this morning. Today has been far, far too long and so very much remains undone.

However, I did hear +Idris tonight speak brilliantly on the Anglican Communion. It was a Regional Council worth attending. We are so lucky to have the access that we have to our bishops.

+Idris closed his talk on the Anglican Communion with the question, “Is this Anglican Communion worth fighting for?”

I had to admit that I’ve come to the conclusion that it isn’t worth fighting for. Anglicanism as a brand, already problematic in Scotland because of its association with England is starting to represent something quite hideous in the popular mind, and I think I’d rather have something quite new.


The question is not whether it is appropriate for McDonalds to offer A Level qualifications.

The question is whether or not anyone has yet asked McDonalds to validate the training of ordinands.

Book Club Suggestions

I’ve been meaning to make some suggestions for a while:

My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok. Orthodox Jewish boy steps outside his own world.
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor. A comic novel until we realise it is about us, not about “them”.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. Still extraordinary after all these years.
Angels and Men by Catherine Fox. Set in a dreamy theological college – well kent territory to me.
Easter by Michael Arditti. Slightly flawed and far too long, but still easily makes the grade.
Magnus by George Mackay Brown. All about saints, maybe.
Chocolat by Joanne Harris. The perfect book for Lent.
The Magus by John Fowles. The godgame writ large.
Quarantine by Jim Crace. Another Lent book to take us to the desert.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. To help us think about who is to blame for African biblicism.

    What would you suggest?

    The Blue Room

    Went to see The Blue Room at the Citz last night. Its David Hare’s take on La Ronde, you know.

    Not a bad night out, but the whole thing was never quite brought to the boil. Unlike the original, there never felt as though there was any risk of anyone getting arrested for it.

    Rating: ★★½☆☆

    LCM again

    Someone was speaking to me the other day about a post that I wrote some time ago about Local Collaborative Ministry, as opposed to local collaborative ministry. (See the post itself and the comments following for the difference between the two). My interlocutor said that I was being too harsh in what I said about those dioceses which had adopted LCM early. Looking back at what I said, I may have been a little harsh, though I’m not sure.

    When I look at the website for the Diocese of Argyll & The Isles, I find this article about St Columba’s, Gruline. [Note that this is a local copy – the diocesan website has so many broken links, I fear that if I direct you there, you will encounter only a single track road and never return from your wanderings]. It is an appeal for a return to Mass Priests. No, worse than that, it is an appeal for anyone who feels called to this to contact their bishop to demand such ordination for themselves. Bear in mind this is in an official diocesan publication.

    Now, that the article is insulting to people like me who give their lives to stipendiary ministry and do what we can with what we have is one thing, that it appears to circumvent the ordinal, the selection process and the prerogatives of the College of Bishops is another.

    However this alone does not really get to the heart of why there is such bitter misunderstandings between some of those pushing the Local Collaborative Ministry agenda and some of those who, working collaborativly and locally in ministry, don’t subscribe to the tenets of LCM or whatever it is called this week. I don’t, as it happens, think that the LCM folk would necessarily be promoting what is called for in the article in question directly, though you never know.

    I think that the problem is directly related to the use of the reserved sacrament. It seems to me as though there is an attempt to turn priests and churches into the cheapest possible sacrament dispensing machines. That is not what priesthood used to be about, it is not what church used to be about and it isn’t what discipleship used to be about either.

    Of course, not all that happens in our Companion Diocese Over The Water is bad. When I want inspiration about thinking locally and collaboratively about ministry, I need do no other than turn to Mother Dunoon, who says it as she sees it.

    Pancake Recipe

    Several people seem to be alighting on this blog in search of the pancake recipe that I published some time ago

    Here it is: Pancake Receipt.

    Note that it is in metric – my apologies to the Prayer Book Society who are, no doubt, appalled.

    Those who are reading in American will need to obtain kitchen scales.

    Poetry spotting competition

    Five points to anyone who can name the poet that I was quoting in the sermon I preached on Sunday (posted below). Bonus of 10 points if you can name the poet and name the musical in which the line in question was used.

    Sermon – Epiphany 2, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

    Preached in the Chapel of the University of Glasgow

    In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Dove.

    Coming to read the gospel story here in a University Chapel today has reminded me of an incident which occurred when I was a student.

    Sadly, I never studied here in Glasgow. However I had a good time of it in St Andrews on the East Coast. There, the Divinity Faculty was located in a small and very beautiful quadrangle. In the centre was a tree and set by the college buildings an ancient dovecote. With real live doves which were fed each day at the same time.

    On the day I have in mind, I was in a lecture. Now, I know that these days lectures must have changed. I guess nowadays a lecture is an extravaganza of moving pictures and internet web chats and multimedia this, that and the other. However in those days of distant glory, it was just someone who was thought to be wise talking away to a bunch of people whose wisdom was expected to grow day by day.

    Anyway, the professor was holding forth about some crucial matter of doctrine. Perhaps it was about the difference between the cherubim and seraphim. Something important anyway.

    It was a summer day. The voice of the professor carried on. The cherubim snoozed in one corner. The seraphim dozed in another. And suddenly there was a noise. [Read more…]

    Lambeth Conference of Bloggers

    I’ve seen one or two articles recently, both in traditional (ie dead tree) media and online, noting how much blogging has influenced the current Anglican crisis. There is some truth in this, but I’d be the first to say, it ain’t all our fault.

    When it comes to the Lambeth Conference, the only person that I can think of who has an invitiation, whom I could unequivicably say I believe should be there is Dave Walker. I’ve no doubt the whole affair (if it takes place) would be better with him there than without him.

    It strikes me that anyone who thinks that Anglican Bloggers have really caused all this bother should have the courage of their convictions and call for the Archbishop of Canterbury to rescind all the Episcopal invitations that have been issued and offer them to the bloggers instead. Maybe we could work something out if we all met.

    On the other hand, maybe that’s what we’ve been doing all along. We’ve got this vast, daily anarchic conference of Anglicans going on every day. Some voices are louder than others of course, but no-one can be silenced any more.

    I think there is not much point blaming the bloggers. And in any case, there is no going back now. What we have, is here to stay.

    Chapel going

    BTW, I’m preaching in the Chapel in the University of Glasgow tomorrow morning. Service starts at 11 am. This can be witnessed either live and in person, or live online.

    The Chapel has a live web-stream which seems to operate day and night.

    Try it out here.


    Here is the Order of Service