Showing posts from September, 2012

Godbaby advert reactions

Some people find this advert shocking. The truly shocking thing about it is in the title 'Godbaby' - a brilliant use of a new compound word. It starkly states what Christians believe - that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human. And yes, that is a shocking idea. It's also good news that God communicates with us in a language even the youngest child can understand - in this case with the wordless cry of a new-born baby'
The BBC has now noticed the Godbaby advert produced for Christmas 2012 by The BBC said early today that it was produced by the Church of England, which is not the case. The annual Christmas campaign is produced by an ecumenical network, involving people across the churches of the UK, using the services of award winning advertising executives and designers who give their work free. 
I wrote a brief post Godbaby when the 2012 campaign was launched nearly a month ago. Now the advert is getting more noticed it's time to gather some more…

Michael and All Angels

I'm a bit tongue-tied when it comes to speaking of angels. Angels have never featured strongly in my theology.

The idea of angels is popular nowadays. It seems many people who don't have much faith in God are comforted by trust in guardian angels, often of a rather domesticated sentimental variety. I wonder if worship of angels has replace worship of God for some?

When angels are mentioned in the Bible it is usually as God's messengers, who deliver God's message. In St John's visions in the book of Revelation angels and archangels are pictured as created heavenly beings who serve and praise God. If I were to meet one in heavenly form today I think I would be terrified. I think though that I have met angels in disguise - often.

Today is Michaelmas Day, the Festival of Michael and All Angels. The figure of the Archangel Michael in Revelation is described as serving God by leading a heavenly army in the struggle between good and evil, culminating in Michael and his angel…

How to choose an Archbishop

Who will be nominated as the proposed next Archbishop of Canterbury? I have no idea. I don't envy the members of the Crown Nominations Committee meeting, now in the 2nd day of their final discussion on this matter. I wonder how they are getting on. Are they stumped?

Does @trustTomi on Twitter have secret information? Is that why she composed her fun limerick? Probably not, but I like it, so here it is:
There was once a church: C of E.
That sought it's next AB of C.
To carry the baton, and put the big hat on.
The bookies are stumped, so are we.If the members of CNC are stumped and remembering the candidate doesn't have to be a bishop yet, perhaps they might consider an unlikely candidate. How about Rowan Atkinson? This would ensure:

 Continuity of tradition - a Rowan succeeded by a Rowan.He's popular and understood even by people who don't understand English - look at his performance playing with the orchestra in the Olympics 2012 opening ceremony.He isn't Welsh or Sc…

Finding Wisdom on St Matthew's Day

Matthew, apostle and evangelist, was one of those who left everything, including his ill-gotten wealth, to become a disciple of Jesus.  You can read part of his story in Matthew 9: 9 - 13.

Last year in Dropping Everything I used an image of a painting by Len Peralto to reflect on Matthew's life-changing decision to leave his way of life and follow Jesus. 

'Calling' is about how Jesus came to meet Levi (aka Matthew) at his usual place of work, how Jesus saw something better in Matthew than others saw and how Jesus then enjoyed a banquet with Matthew and his disreputable friends. When criticized for this, Jesus said he had come for sinners not for those who thought they were OK. Jesus was not as choosy about the company he kept as we are.

The collect prayer for today asks for
"...grace to forsake the selfish pursuit of gain and the possessive love of riches"to follow in the way of Jesus Christ. 

I chose an image of jewels for today's post because of the beautiful Pr…

Durham Cathedral

Do you know that feeling of glimpsing  something interesting on a journey but not being able to stop? A number of times I've travelled by train from London to Edinburgh and seen a magnificant view of Durham Cathedral and Castle from the train window. One day, I kept on saying, I want to visit there.
Well, today, I am on my way by train to a conference and will actually get off the train in Durham and stay there for a time. The conference should be good and I am looking forward to learning from and contributing to it. But what I am childishly excited about is visiting Durham Cathedral - a place that  has always drawn me, as it has drawn many tourists and pilgrims. At last I will get to visit and not just glimpse. 
Will I be disappointed? I'll let you know in a few days.

Image Credit: Romeo66, Flickr, CC License

Are vicars annoyed by spiritual people?

Do you need a laugh this morning? I'm about to link to something I find funny but also painful, so this comes with a health warning.

In response to my post yesterday 'Spiritual but not religious' Suem over on the Significant Truths blog has posted 'Those annoying spiritual folk'

This includes a very funny satirical video clip featuring a 'Vicar' encountering a couple visiting a church.

It has more than a grain of truth in it and it's the 'spiritual' couple who speak it, not the 'religious' Vicar.

Take a look and laugh or squirm or get annoyed - whatever.

Image Credit: Lester Ang, Flickr, CC License

Spiritual but not religious

Are you 'spiritual but not religious'?

This phrase is a cliché that describes a significant trend in self-identity.

The trouble with the idea of 'being religious' is that it has become associated with all the ways we humans can make religion bad: things like hypocrisy, oppression, abuse, control, misogyny, closed minds, hatred of those of different beliefs, spiritual blindness.

Because of such things, to be called 'religious' can feel like a criticism - a bad thing to be. To be called 'spiritual' sounds like a compliment - a good thing to be.

It's not surprising that 'spiritual but not religious' (SBNR) has a Facebook page.  I've taken a look. The page invites you to 'like' it if you "believe that spirituality can exist outside of organised religion". The focus of the page is on
"sharing a sense of wonder and the rapture of being alive".Recent posts on the page follow the theme of 'truth' and the previous we…

Via Media or Bridge over Troubled Waters?

I love this cartoon. These men are treading so carefully towards the gap. Will they fall over under those heavy weights? They don't even look at each other. What will they do with their rocks? Hurl them at each other? Drop them? Or close the arch? Co-operate together? Create a bridge over the water, so people from different sides may safely cross? This image captures for me the place the Church of England has reached over women bishops. I'm feeling hopeful. I think that at last there's a real possibility of the episcopate of the Church of England including women as well as men, given a willingness for a little more movement all round.

Back in July 2010 my post 'Shark-filled chasm' was a response to reactions following the vote in the Church of England General Synod in favour of the draft legislation about women as bishops. There had been compromise by those in favour and those against - the gap had narrowed but was still deep and as Canon Sue Booys put it was "…

Remembering 9/11

Lead me from death to life,
from falsehood to truth;
lead me from despair to hope,
from falsehood to trust;
lead me from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart,
our world, our universe.

Notes on this prayer:

Mother Theresa first used this prayer publicly in St James's Church, Piccadilly, London in July 1981.
It is known as the 'Universal Prayer for Peace'
Its origin is Hindu and is adapted to be suitable for people of all faiths.
In this form it is published in the New Zealand Prayer Book p. 164.
See Bosco Peter's prayer reflection here.

Image Credit: David Farquhar, photo on Flickr, CC License

Treading carefully over women in the episcopate

Oxford is where the House of Bishops of the Church of England will meet on Wednesday this week. They will all be men. There are no bishops who are female in the Church of England. It is illegal in England (but not now in Scotland) for a bishop to be a woman. I find this fact more and more shocking every time I think about it. How can this be so in a country where it is generally illegal to discriminate on grounds of gender in relation to job appointments? 

The C of E is legally exempt from this in relation to bishops. The reasons behind that are complex, rooted in ecclesiastical culture and traditions that cling to male power in leadership, usually disguised in theological terms. This is odd when all deacons, priests and bishops in the Church of England swear an oath of allegiance to our supreme governor, HM Queen Elizabeth II. Yes, I know she is the temporal and not the spiritual leader of the church - but all the same - it is odd.

The Church of England decided about 12 years ago that …

Allen Francis Gardiner: Founder of SAMS

How do you measure success? By most standards the efforts of the Victorian Royal Navy Captain and missionary Allen Gardiner to evangelize indigenous peoples of South America was a miserable failure. 

His last unsuccessful missionary journey (1850-1851) was an attempt to reach the Yaghans of Tierra del Fuego who were then known as a violent people. Gardiner was accompanied by only 3 Cornish fishermen, a doctor, a ship-carpenter and a catechist. From a base in the Falkland Islands they were landed at Picton Island with enough supplies for 6 months. A combination of mistakes, logistical problems, dreadful weather and Yaghan hostility led to the disease and death of the whole party. No replenishment supplies arrived due to lack of a ship. One by one they died of starvation. Gardiner was the last to die. He wrote his final diary entry on 6 September 1851.

When the group of bodies were found a few weeks later, Gardiner's diary was in his hand. It includes the words, "let not this mis…


Are you ready for Christmas yet? 

Far too early I know. 

ChurchAds.Net are ready.

They have just launched the 2012 poster for the Christmas Starts with Christ Campaign that has been running the last few years.

This one is likely to be as controversial as the posters of previous years, but that's the point - to get people talking about it and introduce the story of Jesus in a fresh way.

What do you think about this one? 

Atheists needed for prayer experiment

If you don't believe in God, why would you sign up to an experiment that commits you to pray? Not just once, but for 2 or 3 minutes every day for 40 days, starting on 17 September and ending on 26 October 2012.

This is an interesting idea. H/T to Red on Apples of Gold for alerting me to it. 

The presenter of Premier Radio's show 'Unbelievable' is inviting atheists to take part in The Atheist Prayer Experiment. This is based on the philosopher Tim Mawson's paper, 'Praying to Stop Being an Atheist' which will be sent to all taking part in the experiment. The idea is to use the 'experimental method' as a way to investigate whether or not a God exists but asking something like 'God if you're out there, reveal yourself to me'.
"We only ask that anyone taking part commits themselves to finding a quiet meditative 'space' and praying there for two to three minutes each day as earnestly as they can for any God that there might be to re…

Most read on Seeker in August 2012

What an amazing number of insects are feeding on these thistles. When I took the photo I only saw one - a butterfly.

Sometimes I think I'm wasting time writing a blog. Then I discover some people are reading it regularly and that encourages me to continue. But even if only one comes here I think I'd keep writing because I enjoy it.

I try to not to check this blog's statistics too often, but it is useful to do so from time to time to see what gets read most. Sometimes this is a surprise.

I've just looked back at the overview for the last month. Here's some results (without any numbers!) 

Of the 12 posts published on Seeker last month here are the the 5 most read during August 2012Should your Bible be visible? About carrying Bibles (or 50 Shades of Grey) in public.

Assuming too much? I struggle with Roman Catholic dogma about the 'assumption' of the blessed virgin Mary.

Bread of life - about bread that feeds deepest needs

Piety on the bus - a cautionary story about …