musicians church henry wood window
Mission

The Musicians’ Church hasn’t banned non-Christian music, but it has sown confusion

“Absurd and obscene to see a church in London banning classical groups that want to perform non-religious music”, bleated the Humanists on Twitter, knowing full well that the secularist hordes would gather to cast stones of like-minded anti-Christian condemnation. They drove the nails home on Facebook: “If your choral music is not all about Jesus, then you’re no longer welcome to rehearse or perform at this popular church venue for choirs and orchestras.” And so the scorn poured forth: “This is a stupid decision, and I say that as an Anglican”; “..evangelism (sic?) is the ugliest, most vile form of Christianity”; “Very sad and worrying”.

And one of the best responses:

Weird reasoning – but I suppose if they think that music comes from the devil and people who enjoy it are going to roast in hell for all eternity, they don’t want their precious church sullied with it. I hope the faithful have plenty of money to keep the building going without infidels’ money!

The Humanists’ source was the Telegraph: ‘Proms conductor in row with musicians’ church after it bans “non-religious” concerts‘, which piled in a day later with ‘Don’t ban secular music from churches – you can’t tell me God doesn’t love Schubert‘. Even Premier caught on, churning the story with ‘Musicians’ Church bans non-Christian music‘.

And so it became truth: secular media sanctified by Christian media. The Church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in Holborn, London, the Musicians’ Church – where the ashes of Sir Henry Wood, the master builder and originating conductor of The Proms, are interred – has closed its ears to Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A; and to Chopin’s Prelude, Op. 28, No. 15; and to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6; and also to Henry Wood’s ‘Fantasia on British Sea Songs’. After all, what has a trout got to do with Jesus? How does a raindrop magnify God? What are cheerful feelings in the countryside compared to the ecstasy of ‘Thine Be The Glory’? And as for a crass medley of bugle calls, hornpipes and ‘Rule Britannia!’, well, anything that encourages honking and hooters and racist jingoism isn’t very sacred, is it?

And the truth became truer: the vicar of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, the Rev’d David Ingall, has banned all the devil’s music. Communist atheist Aram Khachaturian out; Charismatic Christian Graham Kendrick in. ‘Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia’ out; ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ in.

And so on.

And Melanie McDonagh (Telegraph) believes she knows why: “But since St Sepulchre’s joined an evangelical group headed by Holy Trinity Brompton, it says it’ll stop taking bookings from musicians.”

Ah, those pesky Manichæan Evangelicals: what theological ignorance; what crass insensitivity; what a superficial grasp of the breadth and depth of Anglicanism they possess.

Except St Sepulchre’s has not said: “it’ll stop taking bookings from musicians”. The church’s full statement is quite clear about what they are doing and why:

The Parochial Church Council of St. Sepulchre’s, the National Musicians’ Church, recently took the decision to close its hiring programme from 2018. Hiring will continue as previously planned for the rest of 2017, and all existing bookings for 2018 will be honoured.

An increasingly busy programme of worship and church activities has led to ever higher demands on the church space, and the hire space is also shared with the church administration office.

Over the weekend there has been a significant response online and via social media to this decision, and we have been greatly moved by the concern expressed for the musical life of the church. We do wish to re-iterate that we remain committed to our ministry as the National Musicians’ Church. In the coming weeks we will reflect and pray, and consult with members of the musicians’ community about how best to fulfil that ministry moving forward, including particularly Dr. Andrew Earis (Director of Music at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and former Director of Music here at St. Sepulchre’s).

Finally, we are committed to our on-going programme of weekly Choral Worship, and our on-going programme of choral and organ scholarships. We will maintain and develop our excellent professional choir, which recently recorded a new album to be launched in the Autumn.

So it’s a question of priorities on the use of very limited space: it isn’t that ‘secular’ orchestras and choirs are banned; it’s that the church’s own ministry comes first. It isn’t that the Musicians’ Church is ceasing to be a rehearsal and concert venue; it’s that its own Choral Evensong, prayer meetings, discipleship programmes, youth work and ministry to the poor and marginalised come first.

What’s wrong with that?

The church acknowledges on its website: “We also have a rich heritage as ‘The Musicians’ Church’, and are passionate about our ministry and mission amongst the musicians’ community and using excellence in music to the glory of God.”

So they’re hardly going to go out of their way to irritate John Rutter or offend against the ashes of Sir Henry Wood, are they?

The church has musical excellence flowing from its bells (“..of Old Bailey”) through to its north aisle, where a number of distinguished musicians are commemorated. One of St Sepulchre’s former vicars was the Protestant martyr John Rogers, who was burned as a heretic during the reign of Bloody Mary. So the Rev’d David Ingall would scarcely have a problem at all in principle with hiring out the church’s facilities for (say) rehearsals to celebrate the Reformation: “And on Sunday I shall be conducting a series of reflections on the Passion of Christ from composers who were profoundly affected by the spirit of the Reformation — Bach, obviously, but also Schütz and Mendelssohn,” writes BBC conductor Sofi Jeannin in the Evening Standard.

But that’s ‘sacred’ music, isn’t it? It’s about God and Jesus and the glorious theological advancements and spiritual achievements of Martin Luther. It’s not ‘secular’, or concerned with trout, raindrops, or cheerful feelings in the countryside.

And therein lies the distinction which so irked the eminent composer John Rutter:

He said the timing of the decision was “significant” because of the retirement of the former Bishop of London Richard Chartres earlier this year. His successor has not yet been appointed.

“I know Richard Chartres was a great friend of music and he would have been the first to say ‘come on’. But he is gone and so there’s nobody else,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

He said: “What this current vicar seems to be saying is that music is OK so long as it’s part of a worship service. The concerts that take place in just about every church in the land, they’re not OK, and rehearsals are not OK either.

“That flies in the face of the Anglican tradition.”

In a letter sent to groups which used the church regularly, priest in charge the Reverend David Ingall said the church had become “conscious of the challenges of using a space dedicated to worship for non-religious hiring”.

If that wording is an accurate quotation, it was an ill-conceived and ill-phrased letter, for it conveys to respected, honoured and God-gifted musicians that their performance is not worship; that their art is somehow unacceptable when (or because) it is ‘non-religious’. And so the Rev’d David Ingall is presuming to separate sheep music from goat music, when King David said: ‘The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein‘ (Ps 24:1); a theology of creation which was reiterated by St Paul:

Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:
For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.
If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
But if any man say unto you, this is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:
Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?
For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1Cor 10:25-31).

There is no sheep music and goat music: God is in all art whether it is ‘religious’ or not.

To John Rutter (and, indeed, to the 5,780 people who have so far signed the ‘Save the National Musicians’ Church‘ petition [just a tad overstated], demanding a re-think on the church’s decision), the Rev’d David Ingall appears to lack the most basic understanding of the nature and purpose of music (and, indeed, of all artistic creation). As TS Eliot explained:

The LORD who created must wish us to create
And employ our creation again in His service
Which is already His service in creating (‘The Rock’).

The nature of God was and is to create, and we, in His image, possess the same impulse. God made Schubert’s trout and Chopin’s raindrops and Beethoven’s hills and streams. When the artist paints them or writes poems about them, they transport us directly into God’s preeminent cathedral of Divine worship; not to worship creation, but to honour the Creator. When the composer, orchestra or choir drench our souls with the transcendent glories of this creation, it is literally a wonderful thing: a thing of wonder, love and peace. God is glorified not by ‘religious’ music, but in the excellence of all music.

See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship (Ex 31:2-5).

Note that God did not call Bezaleel to work on The Temple because of his ‘right’ theology or because he would ensure that the name of YHWH was woven literally into the fabric of the building. God called him because he was filled with the Spirit of God, and his craftsmanship was intricate and wonderful.

Imagine a world in which the only paintings which were deemed to glorify God were those which portrayed Christ; or the only sacred theatre was that which told Bible stories. No Turner, no Monet, no Picasso; no Shakespeare, no Chekov, no Shaw. Just Sistine Chapel ceilings and Pre-Raphaelite pastiche. And lots of medieval Mystery Plays played over and over again. King Lear out; church sketches and skits in.

The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts are a festival of awe and wonder: they do vastly more to glorify God than so much modern ‘Christian music’, which is often banal to the point of artistic offence. Dirge-like hymns and mundane 1980s choruses confine Christians to third-rate apprehensions of Divinity. It is not the mention of God or Jesus which makes music holy, but its capacity to inspire the human spirit to transcend the sort of officious myopia with which St. Sepulchre’s is now tarnished.

God is as much in a Chopin prelude as He is in a Handel oratorio. He is rarely to be found in the hearts of people whose revel in dividing sheep music from goat music, and that is the missiological error which the Rev’d David Ingall has made, for he leaves the world wondering what constitutes a “non-religious hiring”?

May a Muslim or Jewish group hire the space because they are religious? What about Scientologists or Seventh Day Adventists? By ‘religious’, do they mean specifically ‘Christian’? Why not just say so? And if so, on what basis are they assessing the denominational qualifications of belief and practice which constitute ‘Christian’? Must they be Trinitarian? Must they know their Patristics? Or is it sufficient just to invoke the name of Jesus? If so, can he simply be a prophet, and not a priest and king?

What if the hirer believes Jesus was basically a good man? Is that ‘Christian’ enough? Or must they be church-goers? And what would that prove?

What if the Royal Shakespeare Company wants to hire the space to rehearse Julius Caesar or Dr Faustus? Would they be refused because Julius Caesar is secular, or admitted because Dr Faustus is religious? Or would they simply be declined because the RSC is a secular company? Is it the play which makes it a ‘religious hiring’, or the people? May a Christian company rehearse secular music? May a Christian music group hire the space to rehearse their band’s U2 repertoire? What if it that repertoire consists only of One Direction covers? What if a secular boy band wants to rehearse ‘Personal Jesus’ or ‘Jesus is Alright’ or ‘Jesus Just Left Chicago’? And it gets very complicated at Christmas, doesn’t it? Are they saying that Sir Cliff would be welcome to rehearse ‘The Promise’ (yet to be released) because he’s a Christian and the song’s all about Jesus, but they’d turn away whoever wins The X Factor unless they’re re-releasing ‘Hallelujah’? Or does the X Factor winner have to be a Christian? Or does Simon Cowell have to convert?

Is the Christian mission all about words? May not God speak in quavers and crescendos? Is Christ never to be found in a “non-religious hiring”?

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    The national obsession with getting our knickers in a twist continues without pause…

    • The Snail

      ooooo! you are awful – but I like you.

  • Father David

    Reminds me of nothing more, Mrs. Proudie, than your own Domestic Chaplain’s sermon about music. May I remind you of what Mr. Slope said in his Barchester cathedral pulpit tirade?
    “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God. The Word. Not music, not incantation, not meretricious melody! God is the Word and the Word is God!”
    To which gentle Precentor Harding responded: –
    “Where there is no music, there is no mystery, and where there is no mystery there is no God.”

    • Coniston

      Mr. Slope’s confusion is with the word ‘word’. The Logos (translated as ‘Word’ in John 1) means far more than just the printed or spoken word, though including it. Logos means “word,” “reason,” or “plan” – the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning. Jesus Christ is referred to as the Logos – the Word of God – the principle of God active in the creation.

      • Father David

        Well, just goes to shew, as Mrs. Proudie oft reminds us (albeit by unsubtle innuendo) that Obadiah is a crazy mixed up kid.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Hands off my innuendo…

          • Father David

            Ma’am, I assure you my hands remain unsullied.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      In this matter I agree with Mr. Harding…

      • Father David

        You and me both. If I were you I’d have a quiet word with that Slope chappie, call me suspicious, but there’s something queer (I use this word advisedly, in the sense of, shall we say, “unusual”) about the fella! Personally, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.
        I understand that there may soon be a vacancy at Puddingdale – if you get my drift?

    • cybervicar

      Lovely – once preached on this at Canterbury Cathedral – years ago as a young priest. However, I do think this PCC was right to reign it back a bit.

  • Maalaistollo

    Isn’t the problem at the root of this kind of nonsense a lack of clarity as to the nature and purpose of the church building? If it is genuinely considered to be a sacred space, that must surely determine the kind of use to which it may be put. If that is accepted, then the decisions that have to be made will inevitably reflect the clear distinction the Bible makes between the Church and the World. This may not please Anglican fudge-merchants, who often seem to advocate accommodating the World in the naive belief that it might somehow become Christian by some osmotic process. Coming from a nonconformist background, I do not have a particularly strong view as to whether a church building is, in fact, ‘sacred’ in any real sense, but I do feel uncomfortable with its use for activities which do not explicitly advance the cause of the Kingdom. Not all classical music can be considered to do that. Mind you, I’m not sure that many ‘worship songs’ (which largely seem to be derived from sources such as ‘The Esso sign means happy motoring’) do that either. Can’t we have good-quality Christian music in church, and good-quality secular music out of it?

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      “Anglican fudge-merchants”….I hope you are not referring to Mr. Slope?

      • Maalaistollo

        I was about to say that I never refer to Mr Slope, when I realised….

  • Chefofsinners

    “God is in all art whether it is ‘religious’ or not.”
    So anything created by man is Godly and must be welcomed by the Church.
    Including that turd left behind the pulpit by Linus.
    And this steaming turd of an article.
    Hmm.

    • cybervicar

      or Pussy Riot! I agree with you.

  • bluedog

    Isn’t the Rev’d David Ingall justified in his decision to focus on his own ministry? That’s why he is ordained and has been given the responsibility of managing an important parish. The article seems confused on this point and seems to be in two distinct parts, the first approving of the growth in Ingall’s ministry, the second criticising an unseen letter from Ingall, written to non-worshipping hirers of the church premises. If His Grace were to publish a copy of Ingall’s letter in full it would be easier to form a judgement as to whether Ingall is being reasonable or not. As it stands Ingall could be forgiven for thinking that he can’t win, somebody is always going to be offended.

  • Sybaseguru

    Seems to me the church (Vicar and PCC) should be able to make up its own mind as to how it uses its resources, after all it does have to pay for them.

  • ‘There is no sheep music and goat music: God is in all art whether it is ‘religious’ or not.’. I don’t agree with this. At least not without clarification and qualification. God is not in art that shames him; that is, he is not in it in an affirming and revealed sense. He is not in the music of Black Sabbath for example. Further, we should be clear that non-Christian art is not worship; worship springs from renewed hearts.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Can God be insulted but He cannot be shamed.

    • carl jacobs

      Man creates because he is an Analog. He reflects the image of his Creator in the composition of music whether that music be sacred or profane. It’s an interesting question as to whether intent can redeem form. Can the meanderings of John Cage and his quest for order in chaos be set right? Can 4’33” be played to the glory of God? I don’t know the answer.

      • Watchman

        It can if you spend the time in prayer and worship. We should appreciate silence more.

      • Maalaistollo

        Or can use redeem intent (considering that many of our best hymn-tunes were composed by non-believers)?

      • And what if you play it backwards?

        • carl jacobs

          You would hear a performance of “Waiting for Godot”.

      • Is Cage not echoing (unwittingly and artistically) Ecclesiastes. Meaningless… meaningless… cried the preacher… all is meaningless.

        • Anton

          Give me Cage’s 4.33 over Kendrick et al any day!

          • Anton. Anton.

          • Anton

            Isn’t repetition part of many modern choruses? 4.33 actually gets better with multiple repetition.

          • A but you’re supposed to hear the variety in the sound of silence. It is all very zen Buddhist. In other pieces it is the order of chaos. It begs the question is anything neutral and not value-laden?

          • Watchman

            John Cage had a predilection for zen and eastern mysticism.

          • Anton

            Depends whether it’s scored for orchestra or string quartet or a soloist.

          • Yep. I’ve noticed quite a difference as you’d expect.

      • A Christian can use this piece to God’s glory just as a plumber can use a compression joint and pipe to God’s glory. I think we overstate aesthetics and treat them idolatrously.

        • carl jacobs

          But its not really music or creation. It’s the abnegation of both. The whole point is to find meaning in meaninglessness. How do we glorify God through purposeful meaninglessness?

          Ecclesiastes is no help to you here. Solomon’s point is that meaningless should drive us to God in search of meaning. But Cage doesn’t do that. He sets himself in the midst of meaninglessness and says “This is all there is. What then shall we find in it?”

          • Agreed. The comment is the same ‘meaninglessness’ but the intent is different.

    • Watchman

      “Dance Macabre”, “Night on a Bare Mountain”, “The Sorcerers Apprentice”, “Carmina Birana” “Der Freischutz”, “The Rite of Spring”, the Mephistopheles waltzes, many works based on the Faust legend come to mind. There are many other classical pieces which should never be heard in a church environment.

      • carl jacobs

        Hey now. I actually like most of those pieces. You’ve got Dance Macabre stuck in my head all morning.

        • Watchman

          I like most of them as tunes but I must admit that, to some, they could be regarded as hymns in praise of Satan, the occult or immorality. I have loved music all my life but I’m rather more discerning than I was. Mostly stick to Bach and Russian Orthodox Church. In the 70s I was at a concert at a performance of John Cage’s 4:33. I thought he was taking the p**s!

          • In many ways he was. Examples like this reveal the death of art. As philosophy is nihilistic so is its artistic expression. Tracy Emin’s bed is another example. Narcissistic and nihilistic.

      • I agree. This is my problem with much classical music it is predicated on pagan presuppositions. I think of Holst’s Planets. They assume a pagan mythology.

        • Watchman

          I agree, see my reply to Carl below.

        • carl jacobs

          Music does not contain doctrinal content in the same way a song does. You have a good case against something like Carmina Burana. But the Planets? Jupiter is a brilliant piece. Who could fail to see the grandeur of Creation in it? We bring much more to music because it does not tell us what it means. We impose meaning on it.

          • Let me pipe in another criterion from the my neck of the woods: intent and cultural relevance. I have several West Coast First Nations prints on my walls. You know the kind I mean, I’m sure. Totemic animals and such. But they are just cool pics to me and almost everyone else, I don’t really know what they mean and I don’t worship them, fear them or use them as charms, so they are totally kosher. Ditto for the tunes some of our cantors borrowed from Christian hymns, martial music and folk songs.

        • Albert

          Or does Holst merely use a pagan mythology to express human emotions and conditions? The planet Jupiter is not joyful, and Mars does not in fact engage in war.

          • But how far does the pagan mythology render it all unacceptable. Is God glorified by my enjoyment of music with pagan connotations.

          • Albert

            It is not the fact that it is pagan in itself that renders it unacceptable. Aristotle had pagan arguments for the existence of God which are perfectly acceptable, from a Christian point of view. It is the content of the ideas themselves, and whether the Church might be thought to be endorsing those ideas by providing a venue that is the issue.

            For example, should a church provide the venue for Birtwistle’s opera The Minotaur it does not follow that the Church would be seen to be endorsing consulting snake priestesses, even though the latter is clearly wrong from a Christian point of view.

          • Don’t you think that providing a stage for an idea is tacit approval of it? Is there no moral accountability required of a vendor? I think, all things being equal, providing a platform involves a degree of complicity.

            I do not think a church building is sacred space nevertheless what we allow it to be used for is important. I would not wish it to be used for anything that contradicts the gospel.

          • Albert

            Don’t you think that providing a stage for an idea is tacit approval of it?

            It depends on the message. I’m just saying, I don’t think something needs to be excluded just because it is pagan. If the fathers of the Church took that attitude, we’d have very little doctrine. It’s called spoiling the Egyptians.

            I would not wish it to be used for anything that contradicts the gospel.

            Agreed – if that was the message being promoted. What about Shakespeare?

          • Anton

            I’d not have The Tempest in a church building. But this entire discussion would be moot if the church hadn’t got into real estate…

          • I agree that there are truth statements in false world views. I’ve no problem with either borrowing these or acknowledging them as a point of contact.

            My concern is allowing a church building to be used as a venue for a message that overall is not Christian even if it contains threads of truth. A Shakespearean play may be an example.

            It is one thing for a Christian to go and see a play, even to act in it, it is another for a church to be associated with it.

          • Albert

            I think we are agreed or nearly so. A decision has to be made about the content of the play. The fact that a play is not Christian, or not specifically Christian should not necessarily be a bar (unless of course, one bans all plays in churches – I don’t think I have ever heard of a play be staged in a Catholic Church). It is the content that matters.

            I expect there are plenty of pagan plays (i.e. pre-Christian Greek plays) which are perfectly edifying.

            With music I think it is a little different, because there is not necessarily any message. Holst was not encouraging us to worship the planets and Beethoven does not encourage us to worship nature, even though he wrote a Pastoral Symphony.

          • Step11Recovery

            Don’t you think that providing a stage for an idea is tacit approval of it?

            It’s a problem, and one without a general solution. I can listen to Wagner while cheerfully ridiculing the master race nonsense, but I wouldn’t go near anything by the Lost Prophets. if pressed to give a cogent argument justifying those choices I should fail miserably, and could only mumble about gut instinct.

      • Anton

        The Ring Cycle? Gerontius?

        • Watchman

          Anton, I’ve done a quick review of a lot of the operas I’ve seen and there are not many that steer clear of the occult or other supernatural phenomena. Puccini seems to prefer human passion and tragedy but Verdi loved witches; Mozart was a Freemason and introduced this as a theme in “The Magic Flute”; I cannot think of a Wagner work which doesn’t include a dalliance with dark powers. Benjamin Britten’s “Billy Budd”and “Death in Venice” has homosexual themes as does Alban Berg’s “Lulu”.

          And this is before we get to the introduction of profane themes in instrumental music.

          It seems that most “good” music is somehow tainted and lauds a type of secularism that should be beyond the pale for most Christians.

          • Anton

            I can do without the worship of Isis and Osiris in Zauberflote but Mozart also wrote Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan Tutte among others, and Beethoven wrote Fidelio.

  • Royinsouthwest

    The Facebook comments quoted included this one:

    “..evangelism (sic?) is the ugliest, most vile form of Christianity”

    If someone were to make a similar remark on Facebook about a branch of any non-Christian religion (including, but not just, Islam) would that be the sort of hate speech that Alison Saunders, Britain’s Witchfinder General (or Director of Public Prosecutions to use her official title) wants the police to spend their time investigating instead of wasting it on burglars, muggers, and violent thugs?

    • magnolia

      These comments are usually followed by the observation that Evangelicals are a dreadfully judgemental lot, and the theological misunderstanding that Christians are told “judge not” and wicked evil Evangelicals fail to obey this.

      The amazing irony within the accusation is usually completely invisible to the ranter. Critical thinking….nah…

  • Albert

    Absurd and obscene to see a church in London banning classical groups that want to perform non-religious music, bleated the Humanists on Twitter

    Absurd and obscene to see the Humanists banging on about what churches do with their own buildings. Having said that, there does seem to be something a bit strange about all this.

    • magnolia

      Friends who have gone to humanist meetings to check them out assure me that these groups exist mainly to whinge mightily about and undermine when possible any and all things Christian. It is rare to find them having any independent positive agenda. There is no equivalent of bible study, prayer, sick visiting, choir, flower rota, and so on.

      Miserable lot I gathered. Of course, this might have been an unrepresentative sample, but I doubt it.

      • Albert

        I think you’re right. They’re also typically mightily ignorant of the things they dislike and disagree so vehemently with.

      • James Bolivar DiGriz

        There is a quote (from Malcolm Muggeridge ?) along the lines of “Where are all the atheist hospitals, hospices, poor homes, etc”.

      • Martin

        Sarky is definitely miserable.

    • Sarky

      I agree. Surely it’s up to the church what music they allow??

      I went to a metal concert in an old church that is now an arts centre. Didn’t see anyone complaining about that. These things work both ways.

  • Actually, poor quality music and song from Christian hearts pleases God while high quality art from non-Christian hearts does not.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Is an appreciation of beauty a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think that a non-Christian cannot appreciate beauty?

      • Sarky

        Ive had that one thrown at me plenty of times.
        Of course non christians appreciate beauty, we just disagree on how that beauty came to be.

        • Martin

          Snarky

          You pretend to disagree, when in fact you know God created it.

          • Sarky

            Zzzzzz zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzz

          • I’m with Martin. We all know God made the world. We simply don’t want it to be so for it makes us accountable. So we invent all kinds of unlikely alternatives (like parallel universes) to avoid what stares us in the face and in our hearts we know to be true.

          • Sarky

            Invent??? I look to the evidence, not fairytales.

          • Cressida de Nova

            There are many brilliant and genius minds who have embraced the belief in God. I just wonder why you would not consider you may be wrong when so many superior intellects to your own fall into this category. It makes you seem foolishly arrogant . Surely you must have doubts.

          • Sarky

            Doesn’t that work both ways?

      • Appreciation of beauty is a good thing. I am however talking about what God finds pleasure in. He finds no pleasure in the wicked and by wicked he means all who are not believers.

        We must remember All human accomplishment that is not accomplished by the enabling saving grace of God with a view to the glory of God is worthless rags in God’s sight. God will allow no man to boast and finds human achievement apart from dependence on him displeasing. No flesh may glory in his presence.

        If all independent human righteousness and religion is like filthy rags (menstrual towels) are we to think differently of human aesthetics?

      • Beauty, is a good thing. However, I’m not sure ‘good’ in this case is a moral good. It means desirable, helpful. Morally, appreciated beauty, will lead to worship of the Creator. However, a non Christian can appreciate ethics; he just fails to live by them, even the ones he approves.

        Many of our movies are about enjoying behaviour vicariously that we would not approve in real life. We’re a twisted bunch.

    • carl jacobs

      This is true but it’s no excuse for poor quality artistry.

      • Agreed. Just as long as, in our pursuit of excellence, we avoid the idolatry of aesthetics.

        • carl jacobs

          If beauty is an objective concept inherent in the Created Order, then creating something beautiful is not inherently idolatrous. I could write a song to the glory of God but it would not be very good. I would not expect others to endure my inferior efforts on the theory that it has been sanctified by intent. That which may be done in private is not necessarily fit for public consumption.

          • Agreed. Though, when we read about life in the NT church we don’t get the impression that a high aesthetic standard was required. It was ordinary believers who came together and by the Spirit, one had a prophecy, another a word of knowledge, another a psalm or spiritual song and so on.

            These were ‘gifts’ so they were above the mundane but I doubt if they reached the exacting standards (professionalism) we require of public participants today (in praise or preaching).

            Paul, by aesthetic considerations had a weak bodily presence and poor oratorical skills (at least, according to some) yet he was God’s gift to the church.

            Gifting is necessary for public consumption but at what level? Today form trumps substance, aesthetics are more important than truth. This is all wrong.

    • Terry Mushroom

      Why?

      • carl jacobs

        Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

        • Terry Mushroom

          Does that mean that everyone who has not heard of Jesus Christ is damned?

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, that is exactly what it means.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Seems tough. Create untold number of people. Through no fault of their own, they don’t know about Christ. And then it’s hellfire for all eternity!

          • Martin

            Terry

            They know God exists, yet they have rebelled against Him. They receive the wages they deserve.

          • Terry Mushroom

            I’m not sure who you’re talking about. People who have never heard of Christ? Or who?

          • Martin

            Terry

            They may not have heard of Christ but they know God exists.

          • Terry Mushroom

            So again, how do you know they have rebelled against him? And, indeed, what do you mean by rebellion?

          • Martin

            Everyone has.

          • Knowing who God is they have not glorified him as God. Instead they have invented all kinds of other gods. Initially these gods seem like an escape but they soon become tyrants.

          • CliveM

            Apologies if you’ve answered already but how did the tests go?

          • Results are this Wednesday Clive. Thanks for asking. The biopsy test itself is not particularly onerous. Though I was surprised how wiped out I was a few hours later.

          • CliveM

            I will be praying

          • I’d appreciate that.

          • Cressida de Nova

            They cannot know that…’Deranged’ is word which comes to mind.

          • carl jacobs

            All men are guilty. But God redeems a people for Himself. Regarding this people, it is written that He predestines. He calls. He justifies. He glorifies. He will not lose even one. Your error is found in the assumption of contingency. It is God who saves. There is no contingency. But men love contingency because it allows room for the exercise of autonomous human will. And therein is found the right to boast.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Not a God I want to know about, thanks. I utterly fail to understand why He would create people who through no fault of their own do not hear of Christ, yet He would condemn them to hell. It seems cruel, harsh and deeply unpleasant.

          • carl jacobs

            You aren’t arguing with me. You are arguing with Scripture. I can source everything I said.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Your interpretation of scripture, of course.

          • carl jacobs

            Ah, yes. How unfortunate that God has given us the impenetrable mist that is Scripture. If only we had an infallible interpreter to tell us what it means.

            “It wasn’t me. It was that Pope you gave me. He gave me the fruit and I ate of it.”

          • Terry Mushroom

            Poor stuff. Reading other comments of yours, I thought you were better than a jibe like that.

          • carl jacobs

            And yet it is the Roman Catholic position communicated to me time and time again. If the Pope (or Magisterium if you prefer) is the infallible interpreter, then you can only follow him for how would you judge him? Are you then responsible if you follow faithfully but he is wrong? Could you not legitimately say “It wasn’t my fault! It was the Pope you gave me!”

            The only answer you could give us that “The Pope isn’t wrong.” But since you have already declared him to be the infallible interpreter, how could you say otherwise. You have given yourself over to the authority of the RCC and having done so you have surrendered all ability to discern the truth or falsehood of its pronouncements.

          • Terry Mushroom

            You over emphasise the Pope’s role. It’s he together with the bishops who are entrusted with Christ’s authority. He doesn’t teach alone.

            As the Catechism says, “The ordinary and the universal magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teaches the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practise, the beatitude to hope for”.

            NB “and the bishops”. “Roman” Catholics live in Rome with the bishop of Rome as their bishop. They live in the Church of Rome. I live in the Plymouth Church and my bishop, Mark, is in communion with the bishop of Rome. Mark is as much a bishop and teacher as Francis. And so throughout the world with the Church of Rome “presiding in charity.” The Catholic Church is not the sum of its parts or some kind of federation. Again, the Pope is not the only teacher. As you know, the Catholic Church teaches from both tradition and scripture.

            “You have given yourself over to the authority of the RCC and having done so you have surrendered all ability to discern the truth or falsehood of its pronouncements.” That sounds as though I’ve allowed myself to be brainwashed, that mysterious power that the Catholic Church is alleged to possess. However, Dominic Stockford seems to have escaped.

            The Church, of course, isn’t just the Pope and bishops. The gates of the underworld in Mt 16:18 will not prevail against it, where “it” is the Church. That’s the Lord’s people that carries forward the living tradition of essential beliefs throughout history, with the Bishops overseeing that this tradition does not pursue the way of error.

          • carl jacobs

            I was using the Pope as a convenient representation of the Teaching Authority of the RCC.

            However, you haven’t answered my main charge that you have surrendered all ability to judge the truth or falsehood of the RCC. I ask Jack “What happens if the Pope declares ex cathedra that gay marriage is acceptable?” Jack says to me that the Holy Spirit would strike the Pope dead before the Pope could say it. Why does he say this? Because he has no way to contradict the Pope within Catholic dogma. He would be bound to obey the Pope in heresy or he would be forced to assert a very Protestant attitude. Neither is acceptable. So he says “It can’t happen.”

            Of course, it has already happened. The only way the RCC survives the judgment of Scripture is if the RCC assumes the exclusive right to interpret Scripture. Which not coincidentally is exactly what it has done. Dominic subjected the RCC to the judgment of Scripture and found the RCC wanting. He took back that which the RCC claims as its sole possession. The faithful RC cannot do this however. He must give over judgment to the RCC a priori. He cannot know Scripture. He cannot know Sacred Tradition. What can he know? The dogmas of the RCC. And how does he examine these dogmas in the manner of the Bereans? He doesn’t. He accepts the authority of the RCC and simply believes what he is told.

          • Terry Mushroom

            “The only way the RCC survives the judgment of Scripture is if the RCC assumes the exclusive right to interpret Scripture. ”

            Well, the Bible is the Catholic Church’s collection of books. It decided what books should go in its canon and what should be left out. Protestants certainly didn’t,

            My last paragraph said, “The Church, of course, isn’t just the Pope and bishops. The gates of the underworld in Mt 16:18 will not prevail against it, where “it” is the Church. That’s the Lord’s people that carries forward the living tradition of essential beliefs throughout history, with the Bishops overseeing that this tradition does not pursue the way of error.”

            That’s not saying that the laity are passive receptacles. They – we – are involved in debating scripture and tradition and yes, sometimes disagreeing with the Pope. The current debate about Amoris Laetitiae is a good example. In fact, it’s an almighty row. They’ve been rows before and no doubt, there will be rows again. That’s definitely not us Catholics simply believing what we’re told as if we don’t think, pray and read scripture.

            The bottom line is that if you don’t believe that Christ founded the Catholic Church and His promises that hell would not prevail against it – Pope, bishops and people – then you must found your own, particular version. And there are a lot of them.

            Carl, I must end it here. My little grandson waits on the beach and not even the Pope can keep me from him! I’ll read any response with great interest.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You know that no sane Catholic would ever say that God would strike the Pope down dead to prevent him from making an erroneous pronouncement ‘ex cathedra’. Jack is not here to deny that statement and Carl is..well….to put it politically correctly…challenged in the truth department.He is a Calvinist.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Well now you see him for what he is. ..a Mark twain version of success… combination of ignorance and ill founded confidence.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Ignore him…he thinks he is a sandwich!

          • Sarky

            Thats the bit they forget to tell you about when talking about a loving god.

          • Cressida de Nova

            And also it is completely untrue as you well know !

          • Sarky

            Someone worked out its over 95% of all the people who have ever lived.
            ‘Seems tough’ doesnt come close.

          • Yes. But they are not damned because they have not heard of Christ. They are damned because they have not responded in believing obedience to the light God has given. Paul’s commentary on humanity is… knowing God they have not glorified him as God… knowing good they do not practise it… there is none that does good, none that seeks God. It is what we do with what we do know that damns us not what we don’t know.

          • Terry Mushroom

            I’m getting confused. I don’t claim to read men’s hearts. But I’ve certainly met people who while saying that they do not believe in God. nevertheless show every indication of having a sensitive conscience and who strive to do God. Are they damned?

          • Yes. Because our ‘good’ is not good enough. God’s measure of ‘good’ is far more rigorous than ours.

            A terrorist may love his family and help other terrorists but he is still a terrorist. It will be no defence that he was a good father and loyal comrade and soldier.

            Or, to put it another way, a husband may do all the things a husband ought to do but if he does not do them because he loves his wife he is not a good husband. The root ethic of husbandry is love without this there is nothing. Without love for God and humble dependence on him all human good is ultimately hollow.

          • Terry Mushroom

            “A terrorist may love his family and help other terrorists but he is still a terrorist. It will be no defence that he was a good father and loyal comrade and soldier.”

            I leave that scenario to the mercy and justice of God.

          • But the terrorist scenario describes us in relation to God. We are terrorists, insurrectionists, anarchists, overthrowing God’s rightful rule and imposing our own. Any ‘good’ we do is set in this overriding narrative.

          • Albert

            Careful, he’s quoting the scriptures.

        • Albert

          I’ve up voted this, but it seems a little curious to be giving you credit for a statement for which the credit is due to the Holy Spirit.

          • carl jacobs

            I assumed the reference would be unnecessary for Terry Mushroom. One might suspect therefore that I allowed myself to be lazy and not post the reference. That would be a totally unfounded suspicion.

        • CliveM

          All that is beautiful and true pleases God, as all that is beautiful and true is from God.

      • ‘For man looks at the outward appearance, the LORD looks at the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7).

        • Terry Mushroom

          True enough. Not sure what your point is though to my question.

          • Brian Kelly

            It’s clear enough to me. The (technically) poor singers and players were seeking to praise God, so their singing and playing were an expression of faith. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ (Letter to the Hebrews)

          • The heart of man, all men, is desperately wicked. All men instinctively hate God, God as he really is. Man is damned because he has a sinful heart. A righteous God in all righteousness could damn all humanity. He would be vindicated in doing so. His goodness would be upheld and glorified. That he saves is an act of mercy and grace. It is not an obligation. There could be no blame or fault if he did not.

            Men, all men, deserve death. We are a moral virus in the universe. We are a pollutant. We are a wicked rebellion against all that is good and true. A moral and spiritual cancer. Mutated organisms that are destructive to all perfection. We have fallen so far from what we were created to be the wonder is God wants to reach out and rescue us at all.

            We are the walking dead, the undead of vampire mythology. We are wicked and the depth of our wickedness is displayed by the fact that we do not see and feel ourselves to be such.

          • Terry Mushroom

            “We are wicked and the depth of our wickedness is displayed by the fact that we do not see and feel ourselves to be such.”

            What about conscience?

            I know I’m not alone in knowing people of other faiths and none who yet strive to do good, who are good and who show great courage in doing so.

          • Agreed Terry. People do relative good. But a good act done from an unworthy motive is evil overall. Mathematically a positive multiplied by a negative is always a negative.

            The relative good I do not deny. God has given us a sense of right and wrong and a conscience to alert us when we are choosing wrong. There are degrees of punishment according to the depths of our sin. However, the prostitute, forced into prostitution by desperate circumstances is less sinful than the morally upright person with a privileged life who things himself superior and shows little mercy and compassion.

            Only God can judge and weigh properly. In the final analysis he has weighed all of us in the balances and found us wanting.

      • I agree with Carl. Only a heart of faith (which acknowledges God is God) pleases God.

    • Watchman

      That reminds me of a story in one of Jamie Buckingham’s books. He was at an FGBMFI meeting when two men playing guitars started to sing. They were so dreadful Jamie cringed with embarrassment. God then spoke to him saying that these two men were singing from their hearts and the angels in heaven were applauding them.

      • Or ‘God hears the crow as well as the nightingale’. Indeed, he made each ‘song’.

        Would a crow sing as he does in an unfallen world?

        • Watchman

          That presumes, John, that He hears what we hear. He gave the crow appropriate to what a crow needed.
          Genesis 1:30-31
          “for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth-everything having the breath of life in it. I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.”

          • True. There is presumably some correlation between our sense of
            beauty and God’s (we are people made in his image). How far has a fallen world affected the crow’s song?

            Also it shows there are values beyond the aesthetic equally important.

          • Watchman

            I am sitting, at the moment, watching the sun setting over the South Wales coast. ( I live in England on the Severn Estuary) It is incredibly beautiful to my eyes. Why is it incredibly beautiful? Is it the same beauty that I admire in music written to God’s glory and did He design it this way? Watching the sunset and listening to music evokes in me a need to worship the One who created such beauty and enabled us to appreciate it? I regard this as worship rather than singing songs in a church. Psalm 8 comes to mind.

          • Indeed. But your response is that of a redeemed heart, as is Psalm 8. An unconverted person sees the same sunset and worships nature. Further, it invokes only (as revelation) the Creatorial majesty of God. It does not reveal his saving grace. It reveals a Creator not a Redeemer.

            Incidentally my knowledge of classical music is sadly wanting. I fed too long at the polluted wells of rock.

    • dannybhoy

      How are you John? Any news?

  • Notforinfants

    ” music is OK so long as it’s part of a worship service.”
    But how ironic that there is not a single reference in the New Testament to the modern form of a “worship service”. It is simply unknown.
    The NT never links sitting through an ossified ritual that we mis-label “church” as having anything to do with spiritual growth or transformation. In fact the traditional worship service prevents a true functioning of the body of Christ to edify one another through mutual ministry, mutual submission, or corporate testimony.
    There is nothing wrong with an occasional service devoted entirely to praise and worship, but when it is imposed week by week as an unchanging tradition then it fails to operate functionally as Paul explains in
    1 Cor.12.

    • Watchman

      I have looked at every reference in both the OT and the NT of the word “worship” and it is never associated with music or singing. Music and singing is confined to praising and thanking God. It is a sign of apostasy in the church that it misleads people into thinking they are worshiping when they are simply enjoying themselves.

      Quentin Letts, in his book “50 people who buggered up Britain” names Ian Kendrick as one of those 50.

      • Manfarang

        4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

        • Watchman

          Manny, context is everything. This is from a lament when being pressed by their captors to sing songs of Zion. They where missing Jerusalem and feeling homesick and being asked to sing songs of Zion in captivitity felt like salt being rubbed into their wounds.

          • Manfarang

            Those sacred songs which are appropriated to the worship of the true God in his temple, and are appointed by him to be sung only to his honour and in his service.

          • Watchman

            Can you substantiate this with the authority of scripture?

          • Manfarang

            The liturgical use of psalms dates back to Temple times; the Talmud records a weekly cycle of psalms to be read in the Temple, which is echoed in today’s morning prayer service.

          • Watchman

            The Talmud is not authoritative and is propably as man made as the doctrine and practice of the RC church.

          • Manfarang

            If the psalms are not Scripture then nothing is.

          • Watchman

            Of course the psalms are scriptural. It is the dogmatic prescription of liturgy than is so alien to man’s worship of God.

          • Manfarang

            Music as part of the cultic service in Temple times is given little mention in the Bible. Even the description of the inauguration of Solomon’s Temple in the first chapters of I Kings lacks an explicit reference to music. The Books of Chronicles, however, provide a very detailed description of Temple; the detailed rosters and genealogies of Levitic singers and instrumentalists (planned by King David and established by Solomon) give the Levitical singers a prominent status which almost overshadows that of the priests themselves. According to Chronicles, David chose 4,000 Levites to constitute an orchestra and chorus for performing sacred music to complement the sacrificial cultic rituals.

          • Watchman

            Thank you for reminding me of the traditions and rituals of the Old Covenant.
            If you read Hebrews 8 you will find that the children of Israel now have a New Covenant and the Old doesn’t apply. In Matthews gospel Jesus quotes Isaiah
            Matthew 15:8
            These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.

            Vain repetition of words, no matter how true, if it is not from the heart it is an empty shell and meaningless.

            Amos 5:21-24
            [21] I hate, I despise your feasts! I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies. [22] Even if you offer Me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will have no regard for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle. [23] Take away from Me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. [24] But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.

          • Manfarang

            AS more and more in America say, a vegetarian diet is God’s diet.

          • Anton

            Funny then that Jesus ate meat.

          • Manfarang

            Besides fish, is there any passage in the Gospels that directly mentions Jesus eating meat?

          • Watchman

            Mark 14:12
            “On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrifice the Passover lamb, His disciples asked Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare the Passover so You may eat it?””

          • Manfarang

            12 “And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?”
            I don’t see the word lamb.

          • Watchman

            What do you think they killed – a turnip?

          • Manfarang

            “What is the meaning of the beet? It is here to remind us of an incident that occurred in 1945, when women slave laborers in Buchenwald concentration camp changed a negative definition to a positive one. ‘It hit me suddenly that the Haggadah could have been written for us. If I only changed the tense from past to present, it was written about us…. At this time, the scene in the barracks was bad, there was really fighting, cursing, and yelling… so when I asked the women to be quiet it was like a miracle, this absolute silence in the barracks. I started the seder by asking why is this night different. And I said that every night we quarrel and we fight and tonight we remember. There were close to a thousand women there. I picked up the slice of sugar beet and I said, this is the bread of our suffering…. And then we made a vow that if we survived, a beet was going to be on our seder table.’”

          • Pubcrawler

            Try reading it in Greek. Here (twice) and at Ex 12.21 in LXX (to which this passage clearly alludes), τὸ πάσχα means the lamb that is sacrificed. And then eaten.

          • Manfarang

            “And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, in which the Jews slaughter the Passover lamb, his disciples were saying to him, “Where do you want us to go to prepare for you that you may eat the Passover?”
            Was the man carrying the pitcher of water an Essene? Jews that didn’t offer sacrifice or eat meat.

          • Pubcrawler

            You can repeat your translation as many times as you like, it will make no difference. I consider it inaccurate and misleading. I’ve told you what the Greek original says.

            The man carying the jar of water was of the household in which Jesus was to celebrate his final earthly Passover meal — in full, completing all requirements of the Law, including consumption of the lamb.

          • Manfarang

            The ways of the Publicans eh?

          • Manfarang

            Who was that man carrying a pitcher of water?

          • Watchman

            I think his name was Izzy Finkelstien and he’d just been thrown out of the synagogue for snoring during the sermon!

          • Manfarang

            I think he was A Yahad who would not offer sacrifice or eat meat.

          • Anton

            He kept the Law perfectly and therefore ate the Passover lamb annually.

            He lived in a culture where meat-eating was the norm and the gospels carefully comment on his departures from the norm. No mention of vegetarianism is made. Israelite culture included the following (Deut 12:20): When the LORD your God has enlarged your territory as he promised you, and you crave meat and say, “I would like some meat,” then you may eat as much of it as you want.

            By all means refrain from meat, Man. But don’t tell people that it is the wish of God for all believers.

          • Manfarang

            Early Christian historical documents observe that many influential Christians during the formative centuries of Christianity were vegetarian, though certainly not all. The Clementine homilies, a second-century work purportedly based on the teachings of the Apostle Peter, states, “The unnatural eating of flesh meats is as polluting as the heathen worship of devils, with its sacrifices and its impure feasts, through participation in it a man becomes a fellow eater with devils

          • Anton

            So what? That’s his opinion. The Bible is God’s opinion.

          • Manfarang

            17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
            18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
            19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

          • Anton

            Nothing about vegetarianism there. Or against alcohol. Just a warning not to drink too much of it.

          • Manfarang

            and shall call his name Immanuel.
            15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

          • Watchman

            Romans 14:1-2 HCSB
            [1] Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues. [2] One person believes he may eat anything, but one who is weak eats only vegetables.

          • Manfarang

            The meat in question being meat sacrificed to idols.

          • Not necessarily. We are certainly not told this.

            (NIV) 17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.). Mark 7

            (NIV) 1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 1 Tim 4

          • Manfarang

            Try eating a bit of Japanese puffer fish if you think all foods are clean.
            Generally when people think of healthy foods they think of fruits and vegetables.

          • Nonsense. Fruit and vegetables had nothing to do with clean/unclean. This referred to animals. In any case, clean does not mean healthy it means not ceremonially forbidden, nothing is defiling. It does not mean some things will not poison.

            Manfarang, your kicking against the plain teaching of Scripture here.

          • Manfarang

            It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

          • But the difference between the old covenant worship and the new covenant worship is critical here. Worship in the OT was suited to man ‘in the flesh’. The whole covenant of law was addressed to man ‘in the flesh’, that is formally committed to God but without the Spirit. At best the old covenant was addressed to spiritual infants, children, at worst, to those with no spiritual life ( the covenant did not assume life, it promised life upon obedience). Thus it places great emphasis on the sensory and aesthetic. OT worship was a rich visual and aural experience. Aesthetics were used to convey truth.

            By contrast, NT worship is addressed to people born of the Spirit. It reflects spiritual maturity. Consequently we find it is radically internalised. There is no emphasis on buildings, aesthetics, the sensory, the rigidly liturgical. The ephasis is not on externals but internals.

            Unfortunately much of modern faith RC and evangelical is more OT than NT. it places confuses aesthetics with spirituality. It is essentially Christianised Judaism rather than NC Christianity, life in the Spirit.

          • dannybhoy

            It is if you’re a devout Jew..
            https://www.gotquestions.org/Talmud.html
            There is the written law of Moses and the Oral Law. The Talmud deals with the Oral Law. The Mishnah being a written compilation of the Oral Law handed down by word of mouth (baal peh). The second section is called the Gemara, being a collection of commentaries on the Mishnah..
            Just like our Bible commentaries!
            https://www.gotquestions.org/Talmud.html

          • Watchman

            Yes, Danny, but Manfarang was trying to make a case by quoting the Old Covenant as evidence that modern church practices should have its roots in that covenant.

          • dannybhoy

            Romans 11:11-31Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

            The Salvation of the Gentiles
            11 So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

            13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

            17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness[a] of the olive tree, 18 do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.

            All Israel Will Be Saved
            25 Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, 26 and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written,

            “The Deliverer will come from Zion,
            he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
            27 “and this will be my covenant with them
            when I take away their sins.”
            28 As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. 30 Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may[b] receive mercy.

          • Anton

            The point is that Orthodox Jews assert that the Oral Torah (remember Torah simply means ‘teaching’) was given by God to Moses at the same time as the Pentateuch and is consequently equally authoritative. I’ve been round this with Avi on this blog, probably at least a year ago. Let me simply say that the Oral Torah refers to the Pentateuch thousands of times but not vice-versa, and invite readers to ponder why.

          • dannybhoy

            “As expressed by Rabbi Z. H. Chajes, a leading nineteenth-century authority, the Talmud indicates that the words “that were transmitted orally” by God are “more valuable” than those transmitted in writing. Chajes goes so far as to say that: “Allegiance to the authority of the said rabbinic tradition is binding upon all sons of Israel …. And he who does not give adherence to the unwritten Law and the rabbinic tradition has no right to share the heritage of Israel ….”2

            How can such a claim be made? The rabbis assert that it is the Bible itself that gives them the exclusive authority to interpret Torah and develop new laws. They find support for this in Deuteronomy 17:812, probably the most important text in the Bible for rabbinic Judaism. This is what the verses say:

            If cases come before your courts that are too difficult for you to judge—whether bloodshed, lawsuits or assaults—take them to the place the LORD your God will choose. Go to the priests, who are Levites, and to the judge who is in office at that time. Inquire of them and they will give you the verdict. You must act according to the decisions they give you at the place the LORD will choose. Be careful to do everything they direct you to do. Act according to the law they teach you and the decisions they give you. Do not turn aside from what they tell you, to the right or to the left. The man who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God must be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel.

            What Moses is clearly saying is that in every generation the Levitical priests and the current “judge” in Jerusalem would function as a kind of Supreme Court, a court of final appeal, the likes of which exist today in many nations around the world, including Israel and the United States. This court would be responsible for settling disputes regarding various legal matters such as homicide, civil law, and assaults. That’s it!
            The text does not give any authority to subsequent generations of rabbis around the world (where does it even mention rabbis?), nor does it give anyone authority to tell all Jews when to pray, what to pray, how to slaughter their cattle, what to believe about the Messiah, when to visit the sick, whether or not one can write on the Sabbath, and on and on and on. Nothing of the sort! Yet, it is from this little text that the sages have derived so much power.”
            From http://messianicfellowship.50webs.com/rabbinicobjections.html

            Finally, didn’t Jesus deal with this in Matthew 23??
            23 Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. 4 They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear,[a] and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries[b] broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.

          • Speaking of today’s morning service, it started a little earlier, at 6:45, because of it’s the second day of the month of Elul. Some folks forgot and rolled in a bit late, and someone didn’t top up the hot water urn in the study hall last night, leaving some of us without our customary shot of caffeine. Not that I’m picking on anyone, but they know who they are and for penance, should maybe chip in for a bottle of Crown Royal and a bag of those extra-sweet rugelakh from Grozinsky’s for tomorrow morning….

      • Notforinfants

        Watchman. Quite agree. The whole thrust of Pauls NT messages in 1 Cor. 12-14 and elsewhere is that the Christian gathering is for mutual edification through the mutual functioning of spiritual gifts.
        Huge emphasis is placed upon this, and its interesting that those Corinthian passages are not only prescriptive, but also descriptive, as we have no other way of knowing what actually went on in the early assemblies apart from these.
        They were certainly far removed from present day “worship services” , and of course there were no “clergy’ or the subsequent false clergy/laity dichotomy !

        • Watchman

          I agree. I think one of the best clues we have is in Ephesians concerning Jesus’ gift ,to the church.
          Ephesians 4:11-13 HCSB
          [11] And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, [12] for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, [13] until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.

          Verse 13 gives the purpose of the church and Jesus gifted people to carry that out. The modern church is a million miles away from achieving that purpose in the way that its gatherings are conducted.

          Have you noticed how churches are like theatres: built for a performance of a pre-arranged dialogue which is designed not to strain the audience too much in case they become disheartened and not come back?

      • Is not praising God, worship? I have some sympathy with your overall point but I think you are overstating it.

        Worship is extolling God’s worth in lip and life.

        • Watchman

          Today’s “worship” music is more akin to a pop concert intended, I think, to attract the young into churches. It is a compromise when the church emulates worldly values and practices. In days when the church has become apostate by not separate itself from the world this is, I believe, a Trojan horse, a wedge in the door.

          Worshiping God is too serious a matter to be left to the frivolity of some of the current music and lyrics and for people to believe that they have been worshiping by shouting, leaping around and repeating themselves endlessly is misleading them. Some songs and hymns which are reflective can lead to worship but not with drums being bashed and guitars being strummed. My daughter once said to me that churches have to give young people what they want. She was mistaken, that is not the purpose of a place of worship but I think she was expressing a popular misconception. Who is to put this right?

          • I am not opposed to drums etc as such (Psalm 150). Not even in a church service. I doubt if one form of music is more holy than another. I have a couple of criteria. Is the lyrical content robustly biblical. Many modern songs are. Is the music an accompaniment or is it dominant. Is it subservient to the music of the heart and voice or does it occlude it. Often, it seems to do the latter.

            I suspect too we should make distinctions between concerts and church services. What may be legitimate in a concert is not appropriate for church services. Part of the problem is the historical tendency to put a premium on performance. For a previous generation (mine) the performance of the preacher was what mattered. For the present generation the performance of the praise is what matters. In both cases the emphasis on performance was wrong. The puritan stress on plain preaching was right. Polished preaching is not necessary.

          • Watchman

            John, you’ve opened up a whole new range of subject matter here. What is a church service and how does it compare with the practices of the early church when “many were added to their number” almost every day. Is preaching to the converted a legitimate activity or should we regard it as teaching. Should the musical practices in churches emulate the world or should we it seek to be more sombre? We risk losing the Majesty of God in irreverence and never fully appreciate who He is in some of the practices I’ve seen in churches.

            Is an oratorio not a legitimate way to invite and audience to worship: J S Bach has written far more inspiring music than the modern songsmiths, and I can even appreciate the furies of hell in the theatrical requiem of Verdi.

            God will not be moved by our appreciation of each other’s skills but only by the sincerity of our hearts as we try to draw close to Him.

          • When I listen to music without words I find my focus is the music. The music may lead me to praise God for its aesthetic beauty. It provokes emotion but it has no ability in itself to tell the story of redemption.

            When I listen to a song, by Townend for example, I hear both music and lyrics. The lyrics in a multitude of ways recount the story of redemption. This prompts intelligent worship. Truth is propositional. It has content. We do not so much worship mystery as we worship what is revealed. Godly lyrics prompt worship in Spirit and truth. The music serves the lyrics.

            The former is an aesthetic experience the latter a gospel revelation. The former is creational the latter new creational (probably). The former has the capacity to inspire the latter the capacity to convert. The former is vague the latter precise. The latter has defined meaning, the former has only the meaning the hearer brings to it.

            If a piece of music is loved by the unconverted we can be sure it has no gospel content. It provides a human experience that is valuable in itself but it is not a means of grace, it has no intrinsic converting power.

          • Watchman

            Your last paragraph is an interesting one because Handels “Messiah” is universally popular but has prophetic gospel content which audiences seem to reject in favour of the emotional experience of fine music which give a warm cuddly glow of “all is right with the world”. Charles Jennens who wrote the lyrics was passionately evangelical and raided Isaiah liberally to produce a moving gospel message. Similarly, I have a friend, an atheist with a fine voice, who sang solo parts in Stainer’s “Crucifixon”. He was totally unmoved by what he was singing. Does that negate his performance and, with it, the message that he was singing. ( I find “All for Jesus” particularly moving.)

            To me music provides the vehicle for the legitimacy of the words; it needs to ‘ sooth the savage breast’ for the impact of the words to be felt.

          • Some difficult issues here. Difficult to separate and evaluate the various strands in the secular singer singing sacred music. I may enjoy the performance but does God?

            The whole area of secular/sacred or better nature/grace I find fraught with difficulties. My own leanings is to a more Lutheran 2 kingdom theology. I am uncomfortable with refusing to distinguish between the two to some degree. Many evangelicals who buy into the redeeming culture perspective tend to see grace as no more than a restoring of nature. I don’t agree with this. I don’t think new creation is merely old creation restored, merely back to Eden. I see new creation as much more. Grace does not simply restore nature it transforms it. Thus important as a sunset is it is not as important as the gospel and the unseen and invisible beauties it creates seen only by the eye of faith.

            But, I’m widening the discussion here.

          • Step11Recovery

            It provides a human experience that is valuable in itself but it is not a means of grace, it has no intrinsic converting power.

            You’re right, but I think your statement overlooks the fact that music can, if you are willing to let it, act as an invitation.

            It certainly did in my case. Despite my best endeavours to dismiss it as a purely material phenomenon there were always certain pieces, both classical and contemporary, that described a reality far beyond my limited, miserable horizons. When I read C.S. Lewis describing exactly that and explaining how all true art is a glimpse of God’s glory I was caught in a snare of my own making and could only stop wriggling and accept the truth.

          • Yep. God can use it to give us glimpses of transcendence. He uses many differ means to bring us to the saving circle of the gospel.

          • Step11Recovery

            Today’s “worship” music is more akin to a pop concert intended, I think, to attract the young into churches.

            And as such is a wholesale, unqualified and completely deserved failure. It is domesticated, carefully produced aural comfort, with every element of that which constitutes true music removed. Its job is to present a safe, tame God, who offers no threat and issues no challenges, a small, spoilt pet whose role is to provide affection, nothing more.

            Music has no need to be explicitly Christian to glorify God. It is the very presence of God that renders it music. One of the pivotal experiences of my younger days, long before I was a Christian was at a Chemical Brothers gig. This was not so much a concert, more a physical assault, music of such ferocity, delivered with jaw-dropping, overwhelming force that I was genuinely shocked. As in shock and awe. It was, for me at least, a glimpse of the divine, something that gave an idea of the otherwise incomprehensible dimensions of the eternal. Whenever I recognise in myself an attempt to reduce God to something more comfortable, more manageable, more reasonable, that memory serves to remind me that he is far from a tame lion.

            Equally, you can find the truth in some grizzled old delta bluesman, armed only with an acoustic guitar and bottleneck. For many years I played in various Brass Bands in the north of England and still enjoy the occasional armistice day parade with their WW1 marches and trench songs. The point being that music, to be real music must reflect and illuminate something of God – his grace, mercy, judgement, wrath and love. Much worship music offers instead comfort. Cosy respectability devoid of content. An aural whited sepulchre. And no teenager is going to be attracted by that.

          • Anton

            I am in no doubt that when Bach was playing his most thunderous organ music he was in exactly the same business as a hard rock guitar solo.

          • Pubcrawler

            And indeed certain hard rock organ players.

          • Step11Recovery

            Jon Lord, Keith Emerson. Very much missed.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Bach organ music and a hard rock guitar solo are not in the same realm.
            I wish you would not speak with conviction about things you know nothing of.

          • Sarky

            A glimpse of the divine at a chemical brothers concert!!
            You sure it wasn’t chemically induced??
            I too lived through the 90’s.

          • Step11Recovery

            You sure it wasn’t chemically induced??

            Absolutely – my username is no amusing wordplay, . I Was already ten years sober by then.

          • Pubcrawler

            “not so much a concert, more a physical assault, music of such ferocity, delivered with jaw-dropping, overwhelming force”

            I’ve had some gloop blocking up my left Eustachian tube for a few weeks now which I think nothing short of a Motohead gig will shift. Ah, I miss Motorhead gigs…

  • Albert

    Agreed. I have a friend who is part of this organisation, he reads and thinks about God all the time. Almost too much, but he’s a really nice guy.

  • David

    This is a storm in a tea cup.
    But it is an indication of how irritable some sections of society are, that such a small matter could become the subject of controversy – perhaps thanks to those who clearly don’t have enough useful things to do.

    In my experience Humanists are a joyless lot. They take themselves and their materialism mightily seriously, assuming that they have a general right to impose on society their particular version of utopianism with its creed, priesthood and inquisition. What stands out with them for me is their intellectual dishonesty as they refuse to recognise the undoubtedly Judaeo-Christain roots to their ethical system.

    Providing nothing is done directly contrary to the greater good, or illegally, then at bottom it is up to those who own, manage and pay for the building to set the priorities for its use.

    Personally I see no reason why churches cannot be used for secular music, provided it is not anti-Christain in its purposes or effects. But of course the priority use of any church is for Christian worship and related purposes.

    • cybervicar

      A humanist funeral director came up to a friend of mine in the Crem and said ‘I suppose you see me as a threat!” My colleague replied “No – simply an irrelevance.” Another friend was approached by humanist “service leader” who said “In our services we fully celebrate the person without any of this doctrine stuff – what do you do?” My friend replied “We go to mount Zion to meet the living God.”

      • Manfarang

        Is it possible to meet a dead God?

        • Brian Kelly

          Well, thousands try to, in their pilgrimages to Graceland, to Pere Lachaise Cemetery and to Highgate Cemetery.

          • Manfarang

            Hey

  • cybervicar

    Over 20 years of parochial ministry I have occasionally had some issues with the hiring of hall and church spaces. Like Solomon I sometimes wish for wisdom on this one and of course, we all wish retrospectively for hindsight. Canonically, to the legal point, Rutter is wrong to claim that church buildings are “community spaces” as much as they are “places of worship”. They are the legal property (in this case) of the Church of England and their primary function is the facilitation of Divine Services. However, culturally Rutter is correct to say that Anglican churches have been used in a broad way as “community spaces” for centuries. This is part of an Anglican generosity which if the boundaries are properly managed can be very creative. But, for me the key to this is .. ‘properly managed’. There has to be give-and-take on both sides and I suspect that this PCC is quietly recognising that the ‘taking’ has been all on one side. An open house where musicians can do what they like willy-nilly and treat the church as a drop-in centre for ad-hoc rehearsals, busking, etc, I would think is unsustainable. I think one of the boundaries that the PCC should rightly claim is a “broad brush” policing of what is and is not played. This is more about trust and mutual respect than anything else. But, there is a lot of music which is offensive or contrary to Christian truths (Thus Spoke Zarargustra) or the Islamic call to prayer, etc. Three of the churches I have overseen have been regularly used for concerts/drama. In one incident a student drama – the lead actor decided without asking to stand on the altar and shout profanities. It was all very (yawn) avant-garde. Now, I don’t want to be looking at every script but it showed an immaturity on the part of the performers. (More recently a poor attempt at a religious student drama had an actor shout out “Take him to Pilates”. I still chuckle to myself.) Churches like this are also facing a cultural problem where the liberal elites are increasingly disconnected from even a modicum of understanding of the nature of the kernels of Christian truths. Their fashionable Tate-modernistic arts revel in pooh-pooing what they see as “institutional” religion. Too often their progressive counterparts within the Church as so desperate to be seen as relevant that they will permit anything to happen within the church premises on the basis of “mission”. I believe that one of the purposes of the local church is to provide stability and especially a stability of belief and orthodoxy. This is a Benedictine principal which allows a generous hospitality within certain boundaries. If those boundaries are not maintained then generosity becomes foolhardiness and its open season for all sorts. The local Christian community has to therefore work at maintaining and managing its spiritual and temporal stability. I that sense I can see why this pastor and his PCC are reigning it back a bit. They will just have to take the flak. I think they are doing the right thing.

    • David

      Thank you for your spiritual wisdom, reflecting as it does on years of practical experience – often a valuable combination.

  • carl jacobs

    When I was a freshman in college, I sang in my first Cantata in church – Bach 142, Uns ist ein Kind geboren. This cantata formed the bulk of the worship service on that December day in 1977. Our choir director was associated with the Music Dept at the University I attended and he brought in both a small chamber orchestra and guest soloists for the event. At the time I wasn’t smart enough to ask – were these people Christian? For all intents and purposes, they were brought in to fill rolls that the choir director thought beyond the capacity of the church members. He wanted a technically good performance and so he sought out those who could provide it. But if that is all it was – a performance – then those people perpetrated a fraud on the congregation. For they sought to glorify themselves and not God. Worship is first and foremost spirit and truth. Nothing else matters if there is no spirit and truth behind the technical beauty. I I glorify myself, then I glorify nothing and my music is vain.

    • Sarky

      Even if that music moves people and makes them feel closer to god??

      • carl jacobs

        Yes, Sarky. Because 1) it’s not about me and 2) worship is a corporate as well as private action. You can’t worship with an illusion.

        • Sarky

          Aint that the truth.

          • carl jacobs

            The use of the word ‘with’ was important.

      • Two points. The end never justifies the means. A good, religious, spiritual experience is not the same as drawing close to God, the true God, that is. There is only one way to draw close to God and that is through the blood of Jesus. Without this, if we saw God we would run away from him, like Adam in the garden.

        We do not sufficiently grasp the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man.

        • Sarky

          Sorry, i don’t speak ‘church’.

          • carl jacobs

            Then why do you try?

          • Yes you do, when you want to. But to put it plainly God is the great King. How do we get an audience with him? His majesty and goodness is intimidating to small and sullied folks like us. If we grasp even a little of his ‘godness’ we will be paralysed by fear and utterly collapse. The only way we can approach God is if someone can take us there. If someone can make us suitable to be there.

            The death of Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins is the only way we can be made suitable. Someone had to pay the price for our sin. Someone had to bear the penalty. Someone who was competent to do so. Someone intimate with the King had to introduce us.

          • Sarky

            Priscilla presley?

          • Wrong king. But presumably Priscilla would have been able to give an audience with Elvis otherwise impossible. So there is an analogy.

    • Watchman

      Your comment deserves more than an uptick but a roaring round of applause. Many “Christian” musicians seek to become stars in their own right by cultivating a celebrity persona.

    • David

      Hear, hear !

    • ‘Take away from Me the noise of your songs,
      For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.
      But let justice run down like water,
      And righteousness like a mighty stream’
      (Amos 5:23-24).

    • Brian Kelly

      “For all intents and purposes, they were brought in to fill rolls that the choir director thought beyond the capacity of the church members.”
      Wow, that’s pretty bad. I can fill any roll if you give me the right ingredients.

      • carl jacobs

        Sigh. OK, OK. I deserved that.

        I fixed it.

      • Cressida de Nova

        Ha ha…’at length the truth will out’ although it comes as no surprise to a lot of us that Carl is an ignoramus.

        • Brian Kelly

          I don’t agree. He’s astringent in his views and I don’t always agree with him but he is certainly not an ignoramus. He’s very well informed.

    • dannybhoy

      And actually I suspect ” For they sought to glorify themselves and not God. ” may apply to some Christian musicians too.. True worship comes from pure and humble hearts and musical talents dedicated to His glory..

      • Indeed, and preachers.

        • dannybhoy

          How are you old chap?

          • Danny, thanks for remembering. I had my biopsy on Monday. I get the results in ten days. I’m fine, though the biopsy took a little more out of me than I expected. My brother in law died on Saturday past so mortality and the shortness of life are to the fore at the moment.

            Still Scripture tells us it is better to be in the house of mourning than the house of mirth.

          • dannybhoy

            I’m sorry for your loss John. I hope you get good news re your biopsy. We are all in God’s hands and whether our lives be short or long we spend eternity with Him..
            God bless you and yours.

    • Bach Cantatas as a freshman, bomber command in the service and a rewarding adulthood of shitting on liberals and flakes on the blogs. Ah, how fast they grow up….

      • carl jacobs

        Bomber Command? BOMBER COMMAND!? No. Bombers are fun but Missiles are important.

        • Wasn’t thinking, Strategic Command, of course. (Note to all: Never upset Americans, especially these days.) Must have been because I put on ear buds and turned on 8 hours of B-17 ambient engine sounds for getting to sleep. What do you use? Tridents blasting out of a nuclear sub?

          • carl jacobs

            Pretty soon a CPAP machine I think.

          • Ah, a friend of mine says they are more compact and bearable now. Sleep apnea?

          • carl jacobs

            Think so. Had the study on Monday. No outbrief yet. But they put a CPAP machine on me in the middle of the study and they said they would only do that if they saw definitive results.

          • Yikes! Let me guess; the wife heard you snore and so it’s off to the specialist with you? They’ll do that kind of stuff. Gotta learn to sneak out to the living room couch when you know you might be sawing….like after you’ve eaten half a steer at the barbecue. Well, here’s hoping it’s nothing…too many ribs and that awful Midwest grain silo rinse water they put in bottles and call beer in your parts. Don’t feel alone in that, I’ve been threatened before and we live a short walking distance from one of the top sleep disorder clinics in the world….

    • Step11Recovery

      Nothing else matters if there is no spirit and truth behind the technical beauty. If I glorify myself, then I glorify nothing and my music is vain.

      I’d go further. Without spirit and truth you don’t have music, vain or otherwise. What you have instead is safety, something harmless, inoffensive and comfortable. And utterly pointless.

  • Sarky

    Heathen.

    • Martin

      Sarky

      So now we know your religion.

      • Sarky

        Whats that then?

        • Martin

          Sarky

          The worship of self.

    • I agree with Carl only because I’m a Prog Rock fan.

      • Step11Recovery

        [Tips hat in respect]

      • Cressida de Nova

        And there I was thinking you were an aesthetic renaissance man….

        • Progressive Rock, dear Cressida, was the cream of 20th century music in terms of originality and invention and the very definition of “renaissance,” with its revival of classical and folk styles and themes!

  • Martin

    I’d say that Graham Kendrick is definitely devil music,

    • Father David

      I wouldn’t go that far but it is rather repetitive – how many times must we be reminded that “Jesus Loves Me?

      • magnolia

        Probably ceaselessly and eternally, and not least by Jesus himself, as you ask!

      • Martin

        David

        Repetition is part of it, but music and words are equally objectionable. The jolly ditty of the Charismatic is not just Kendrick.

        • Manfarang

          Listen to this

          • dannybhoy

            I like that. Sung with sincerity and all about Jesus!

          • Pubcrawler

            Each to his own… I couldn’t bear even 20 seconds of it before having to cleanse my ears with some Georgian Orthodox chant.

          • dannybhoy

            Overseas Christians have a hard time of it, and I’m a great respecter of other cultures anyway. (Just don’t want them all living here…)
            http://shaining.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/christians-in-khasi-hills.html
            I remember in Russia attending a church service during the Soviet era. Very moving..
            I like a lot of Banhgra music too. Plus Mizrachi, Sephardi, Roumanian….

          • Pubcrawler

            I intend no cultural disrepect, my dislike is entirely aesthetic: I simply can’t abide that sort of anodyne, over-produced musical arrangement and endless ‘mood shots’ of scenery and people looking earnest. These people surely have a sacred musical tradition that is more ‘raw’ — that I’d be interested in exploring.

          • dannybhoy

            I know you didn’t.
            Now here’s a very interesting -and topical clip from youtube, taken from the Inaugural Prayer Service on Jan 21st…
            ‘How Great Thou Art’

            Followed by US Marines singing “These are the Days of Elijah”

            What an amazing nation!

          • dannybhoy

            And how about this worship song with Arab and Jewish Christians in Nazareth?

            Yes, we see the influence of Western worship, but if it’s from the heart…?

          • Pubcrawler

            If it works for them… Not really my thing, though.

            As you know, my musical taste is pretty eclectic and wide-ranging; but for the sacred, nothing lifts/turns my soul upwards as much as the ancient chants, western and especially eastern.

            I offer you this:

          • dannybhoy

            “If it works for them… ”
            Yes, you’re quite right. I have never taken to ‘traditional’ Anglican ritual, liturgy and choir music. But that’s me. I’m far more at home in the simpler (no wisecracks please) type of service, although I dislike a lot of modern Christian music..
            Lovely singing btw. The priest’s and the girl’s voices wonderful. I have a book on Orthodox worship by Benjamin D Williams and Harold B Anstall

            Now this American Chassid Simcha Leiner has a beautiful voice..

          • Anton

            Black American gospel music sung by black Americans is (or at the very least least used to be) obviously authentic in the sense that it is from the heart and directed toward God.

          • Pubcrawler

            I do not disagree (the same goes for the Welsh male voice choir and some of the Holy Roller and old other hymns given new breath by the Watersons et al.). But I have endured arrangements of such by Whitey performed as anthems that have sucked the soul out (mine and the music’s).

            Ancient chants still win it for me, though.

          • Step11Recovery

            … who can argue against James Brown in Blues Brothers

            Frankly no-one, at least not if they have anything approaching a heart 🙂

          • Anton

            I love working for Uncle Sam!

          • Step11Recovery

            I simply can’t abide that sort of anodyne, over-produced musical arrangement and endless ‘mood shots’ of scenery and people looking earnest

            You’re not alone. Decaffeinated, ultra-skimmed, and subsequently carefully processed to remove any lingering taint of real music.

            The devil doesn’t have the best tunes, he has no tunes at all. Instead he offers comfort. Bland, safe comfort, free of any content. And then says that’s what God is like.

          • Pubcrawler

            Greetings, friend!

          • Step11Recovery

            Reciprocated. Always a joy to encounter one who knows the score 😉

          • Martin

            Something about the modern obsession with beat and pop. A performance that is intended to impress, nothing heartfelt. It reflects much that is wrong with modern ‘Christian worship songs’.

          • Manfarang

            If you can’t beat them join them

          • Martin

            yawn

          • Martin

            We can beat them, since we have God on our side.

          • Manfarang

            God is on the side of the South in the USA.

          • Martin

            God is on His people’s side.

    • Sarky

      Come on martin, even satan hates Kendrick.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        Actually I’d say he likes him.

      • HedgehogFive

        Sarky,

        I have just, in my insectivorous way, stumbled upon this: Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals

        Rule no 7 is “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”

        Now Saul Alinsky was apparently the recent US President Obama’s misguiding light. Now I am sure you are having lots of fun, but always be aware that you may find yourself acting as a “useful idiot” for those that want to bring about revolution.

        • Sarky

          Right on brother ✊

    • Martin, that is a dangerous thing to say. No man says Jesus is Lord save by the Spirit. In any case, I cannot agree. A number of his songs are very good theologically and in my opinion musically. The place of this kind of ‘worship’ in church services is a different question of course.

      • Martin

        John

        I strongly disagree.

        • Why? What, in your opinion, makes Kendrick’s songs ‘devil music’?

          • Sarky

            Have you ever played one of his records backwards?

          • Anton

            How could you tell?

          • Martin

            John

            The music, the words, the movement he belongs to, his spiritual state.

          • I can’t comment on the movement he belongs to. What about the music and words are devil music (strong words). His music is hardly heavy rock in style. I find many of his lyrics good, some very good, and I can’t think of any that are so off the wall as to be heretical, even devilish.

            I think our personal tastes play a greater part than we care to admit. Your theological milieu is, I think, robustly Reformed. I’ve no problem with that my own theology is very similar. But Reformed folks can be a little hard on more Charismatic circles and what they produce. We baptise our more cultural preferences and endow them with a theological weight they don’t really deserve. Music is a case in point. There is a lot of latitude for cultural differences in music. None is prescribed by Scripture. I doubt if any of our hymns and their tunes from the last few hundred years would find an echo in the early church. And the tunes they adopted no doubt reflected the musical tastes of their own culture.

          • Martin

            John

            I’m afraid the evidence is that the pop culture, from the 1960s on, has heavily influenced Christians. That together with the Charismatic Movement has caused the priorities of the churches to skew. The churches are interested in feelings, not understanding, emotion, not faith.

      • Martin

        John

        Plenty of men may speak the words without meaning them, look at the CoE for example. I don’t think the pop culture is what the Church should be looking to for what it sings. Worship, of course, is not primarily singing but the seeking of God in His word.

        • Church music in terms of tune has often been a reflection of popular culture. Worship is more than singing but it includes singing. In its strictest sense worship is declaring God’s worth to God himself. We may do this by a life devoted to him and we may do it by hymns and songs of praise.

          I’m not sure how far seeking God in his Word is directly worship. It may and should result in worship but is it strictly worship? Many will agree with you but I am not so sure. Singing is a ‘sacrifice of praise’.

          I doubt if we can be dogmatic about musical genre. For me, I look for biblical lyrics and tunes suitable to congregational singing. One of he problem with many good modern songs is they are suitable for singers to sing but not for congregations.

          I know little about about Graham Kendrick. I have heard many of his songs and some I think are very good and will stand the test of time.

          • Martin

            John

            So you don’t think paying attention to what God has said is worship? I’d think that this is the purest form of worship, together with applying in our lives.

            The problem with the modern worship song is that it distracts and encourages the charismatic style worship where the performance of the ‘music group’ is more important than God’s word. I suspect that as persecution gets under way the opportunity to sing will be curtailed, but worship will still be given.

          • I agree Martin with your concerns about music groups. I worry that style matters more than substance and performance matters more than heart response.

            In the broader sense of worship, where it is a whole life response to God, listening to God’s word is worship. But in the narrower sense, of worship being obeisance, adoration and a confessing of God’s worth (which seems to be what is in mind when the word is used in Scripture) I would not include listening to and learning from God’s word as worship. In praise we speak to God: in preaching he speaks to us.

          • Martin

            John

            I’d have said that paying attention to God is the highest form of worship we can give.

          • Yet, as used in Scripture, worship refers most frequently to what we bring to God. And in particular, lip worship.

            8 “ ‘This people honors me with their lips,
            but their heart is far from me; I vain do they worship me.

            All our appreciation of God is worship to be sure, however, Christian praise (in prayer and song) is clearly a key expression of it.

          • Martin

            John

            It seems to me that there is nothing in your quotes that disagrees with me.

    • Royinsouthwest

      When the Salvation Army came into existence not everyone approved of their music either.

      • Martin

        But not for the same reasons.

    • Anton

      Banal, shallow, vapid, negligible… but not demonic.

      • Martin

        Anton

        If it distracts from sound doctrine & the gospel it is demonic.

        • Anton

          Humans are quite capable of doing that without demonic help.

          • Martin

            Anton

            You think it isn’t of the nature of the demonic?

    • Step11Recovery

      Not familiar with Kendrick’s work, but my experience of other ‘worship music’ strikes me as so lacking in any sort of potency it’s probably the least threatening, indeed completely pointless genre currently in circulation.

      • Martin

        The problem is that you learn and remember a great deal of what you sing.

        • Step11Recovery

          I wish that were the case – I have a hopeless memory for lyrics, sacred or profane.

          One of the main reasons I get up at an unreasonable hour on a Sunday is to attend our ‘traditional’ service (held before the main happy-clappy event). At least with the fine old hymns some of the words are starting to take root.

  • Martin

    Sarky

    No, there aren’t.

  • andrew

    So what if they have banned non Christian music? What’s it to the ever obtrusive, left wing humanists? Humanists can cry outrage at Christian prayer or music in public spaces and demand prohibition and apology, yet humanists can also demand what goes on in church spaces, spaces that they, humanists, should have no say over. The want to tell me what I can do publicly, and what I should do in my own home. I’m disgusted. And I’m angry that British Christians have fallen for the left.

    • David

      Some “British Christians have fallen for the left”.
      But some are more savvy regarding economics, politics and human nature and relating all that to what our faith teaches.

    • Inspector General

      Anglican clergy have fallen for the left, that fellow. There is a singular lack of Red so called Christians who don’t possess holy orders. Ordinary types that is, who don’t have a newspaper column…

      • andrew

        Why is the Anglican church these days so left leaning? Are there any books worth recommending that deal with this issue?

        • Inspector General

          Don’t think the book’s been written yet. But it will be. It needs to be.

          One actually doesn’t blame these clergy 100%. Many of them are middle class, attended our culturally Marxist universities, and have never done a proper job in their lives. Doesn’t stop them being full of the joys of wanting to put right social injustice, whatever that is.

  • Terry Mushroom

    Sarky, I’m with you! Am one of Albert and HJ’s lot

  • Plasterer

    Ever since a friend referred to modern worship as “Christian Walt Disney”, I haven’t been able to disprove his characterisation.

    • Sarky

      Thats an insult to Disney!!

      • Martin

        Sarky

        Clearly you don’t understand Disney.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          Other people certainly did.

          The Itchy & Scratchy Show was primarily a take on Tom and Jerry, but also made digs at Disney. In an episode featuring the History of Itchy & Scratchy, they included the Sorcerer’s Apprentice as part of Scratchtasia, and referred to a briefy aired but withdrawn production “Aryan Supermen are our Superiors”, obviously a dig at Uncle Walt’s 1930s admiration for Nazi Germany.

  • Merchantman

    Surely no Christian Church should knowingly entertain insubordinate powers into its midst? ‘For we fight not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities’. It seems however as if there is a section of the Anglican Church however that is willing to make this compromise and so we see all manner of weird performances in some progressive churches. If Christians go out into the world we can expect to all sorts but we would not want to participate.

    • dannybhoy

      By its very nature the Church of England is about compromise. By being the established Church it has to make compromises between its calling as the Body of Christ and its acceptance by the secular Establishment.
      In bygone years it was agile enough to jump from one perch to the other, but methinks nowadays it spends most of its time between two stools…
      Personally listening to classical music is one of our regular pastimes, but I don’t really like secular music in church, and I certainly don’t like being charged /or charging to hear it.
      In fact one of the things that really makes me cringe about my involvement in our parish church is a being asked to think up ways to fund raise, implement fundraising in order to look after an old building.
      Another thing I really disliked whilst a deanery/synod rep was how agendas were always dominated by money issues.

      • Maalaistollo

        I believe that Chefofsinners has identified the two stools to which you refer.

        • dannybhoy

          Where?
          What?
          Is he back from pri- holidays?

          • Maalaistollo

            You have to scroll right down to his comment, posted ‘about 8 hours ago.’

          • dannybhoy

            I’m sure it’s there, I just haven’t found it yet…

      • Merchantman

        I don’t worry about music by Christian/Jewish composers, which until a certain date covered just about everyone. Beyond that and into the age of confusion, I think one has to be discerning. I hope we can still discern; now that we cant be discriminating, or is this more of the cake business?

        • dannybhoy

          Ummmmmm,
          More of the cake business?

          • Merchantman

            Yes the cake business-if you wont bake it for gays; its hate don’t y’know? So in this case; if you wont allow unrestricted secular music into your church; its possibly hate judging by the outcry of some.

          • Anton

            It certainly is. There’s plenty of music I hate, both secular and ‘Christian’.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Julia Bradbury, showing us the Brighton Pavilion, once referred to it as “Vegassy”.

    Once while watching a bit of the introduction to an American Idol final, I found it intensely boring. I am afraid I find a lot of Christian music on the web rather too Vegassy.

    (That word has nothing to do with the Channel 4 programme I watched last night, which dealt with reducing methane emissions from beef cattle.)

    • Manfarang

      Viva Las Vegas

  • Mine too…and sorry to have missed the funeral for your eardrums. Took a wrong turn and wound up on The Highway to Hell… 🙁

  • Worship

    This article by D A Carson is in my view biblical and measured.

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-documents/carson/2002_worship_under_the_word.pdf

    • Rhoda

      Alex Robertson’s book “Playing with Fire” subtitled “The Use and Abuse of music” is well worth reading on the subject of music in worship.
      This is from a review of the book:
      ..this book takes an in-depth look at the roots of musical styles, asking pertinent questions which the reader is often left to answer for himself. Alex Robertson is a committed Christian and a classical violinist who has studied at Cambridge University and the Royal Northern College Of Music. He deals with many and varied musical issues. He destroys the “classic delusion” that classical music is essentially rooted in godliness (based on the myth of the nobility of man) and questions the spirituality of numerous “Christian” composers. As a worship leader himself, Alex also has some revealing thoughts about praise and worship…

  • jsampson45

    Phew, what a fuss! Anyway, I doubt if musicians using the church building to rehearse etc. are worshipping God. When I was in a church choir much of what we got up to at rehearsals of Christian music was not worship either. BTW who was St Sepulchre? Was he sainted because of his patient endurance of his name?

  • Inspector General

    What rotten bad luck!

    A chance for the ‘Progressives’ of society to rubbish the Anglican church just vanished into thin air. Just as they were getting going…disappointing thing at times, the truth, don’t you think.

    An Inspector does hope the ban on the solo (satanic) acoustic guitar plucked by a heart-full-of-love is still in place. Something believer and non-believer can unite in harmony as brothers on…

    • A ban on instrumental music on the Sabbaths and festivals saves our Orthodox synagogues from this modern blight of letting the young’uns strum and squawk in their need to share the agony of their vacuity. Weekly services are too short for such performances and are attended by hardened curmudgeons like me, who know how to make a six-string guitar and its operator disappear discreetly without a trace. I have a hypothesis that it’s not secularism, modernity and urbanization, but the acoustic guitar in the clumsy hands of our pimply yoof, that’s destroying all the liberal religions.

      • Inspector General

        Astonishing insight, old chap! You certainly have the blighter exposed for the awfulness it is…

        • I should know, Inspector, I got a specimen locked up in a case right in my home; a dreadnought-sized, unvarnished Norman six-string from the 70s…still in amazing shape. Strings on, a quick tune and the doom of the West is at my fingertips…literally, as they say nowadays.

          • Step11Recovery

            Strings on, a quick tune and the doom of the West is at my fingertips

            That’s a pretty accurate description of Curtis Stiger’s version of John The Revelator. Simple, acoustic, repetitive and utterly terrifying.

            I played it to my brother and he, actively hostile to all matters religious in general and Christianity very much in particular, listened to the whole thing and just said ‘That’s the sound of Judgement’.

          • Pubcrawler

            Ah yes: now that is one awesome piece of music!

      • Anton
        • Cressida de Nova

          I always wondered what a proddie puritan party was like. LOL

          • Anton

            Puritans are not, well, puritanical. Don’t believe Macaulay!

          • Cressida de Nova

            You look cute in a toga but I think you need to practise some restraint…perhaps attend an anger management session:)

      • andrew

        I am thinking of attending a charasmatic service simply as a means to meet young Christian women. I’m single and would like to meet somebody. My Catholic services are mostly popular with the exclusive demographic of married house wives and over 65s. But the thought of having to endure such pretentious, middle class silliness, submerged by acoustic guitars played by a young left wing vegan who believes Jesus was the first socialist, as he leads the way in a dross composition that does well to mimic the same disingenuous sense of emotion associated with modern pop groups like Coldplay, riddles me with dread.

        • Sarky

          You’re better off with tinder!

          • andrew

            Not when you’re below 6 foot & no tattoos to show off. Today’s women maybe very liberal, but they’re also very picky.

          • Sarky

            Thats why ive done ok. I’m 6ft with tattoos.

        • Muster up your will, Andrew, and set your mind to tactics and strategies …in love and war, as they say. Trust in your ability to not only sway hearts, but even change minds over time. In passing, I will note that an affordable used guitar from a pawn shop, six simple chords (A, Am, D, C, G, Em) and a fortnight of honest practice will enable you to strum almost any song that sways the hearts of the young today. Three chords will also do with at least a dozen (D, C ad G) if passions burn brightly and time is short. Ah, yes, no way around this one; you’ll have to sing, I’m sorry to say. Now, don’t be too picky, remember the half-full glass; taking out a vegan who grazes on sprouts and weeds and maybe even frets over the methane that will eventually come out to cook our climate is far easier on the budget than feeding a ravenous carnivore. Just sayin’…..

          • andrew

            Haha. Thank you for the advice. I already play the geetaar, however I just find modern, acoustic emo nonsense circulating around non denominational, charismatic places of worship difficult to digest. But I know what I must do if I’m to progress.

  • Jill

    I wonder what Dr Peter Mullen will be making of all this. He was rector of this church, along with St Michael’s Cornhill, until his retirement. He is a lover of good music and outspokenly scathing of some of the dross that passes for worship music these days. No offence to HTB, as I have no idea of what sort of music they favour, but I suspect it might be the latter.

    When I worked in the City I went to many a lunchtime concert at St Sepulchre. Sigh.

    People might be interested to know that there is a glass case there housing the bell that was rung on execution mornings at Newgate prison.

    • Inspector General

      Peter Mullen, whom one has met in The Freedom Association circles, is an absolute dreadful. Needs his tongue taken out and his typing fingers broken. Apart from that, he’s a wonderful human being {Ahem}…

      Merely this man’s opinion of you, dear Peter, if you are reading this. So you cannot sue under freedom of speech whatever…

  • Rock on back to you…for anyone whodoesn’t know what the squares mean….

  • Albert

    It’s not music.

  • grutchyngfysch

    So basically evangelicalism has led to the church building actually having its primary purpose restored as a place in which members can worship, work and witness and secularists are p*ssed off because they’ll need to find a new venue. Wonderful news.

  • Mike Stallard

    You just try painting religious paintings and offering them to the church. Catholic, protestant, it really doesn’t matter. They are refused with disdain.

  • CliveM

    With any luck they’ll ban John Rutters music, an over praised mediocrity if there was one.

    You can always spot his Carol at a Christmas service, it’s the crap one.

    • dannybhoy

      Bit harsh coming from you, the gentlest most inoffensive bloke on this blog..

      • CliveM

        Actually I think I was flattering him.

        • dannybhoy

          flatter – or flatten?
          How’s things with you anyway?

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I am gentle and inoffensive, dear dannybuhoy, how could you think otherwise?

        • dannybhoy

          Aha!
          So you are a bloke!

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Naughty! No hobnobs for you!

          • dannybhoy

            I remain in awe and slightly envious of your literary talents ma’am.
            That you are a bloke -but not Avi Barzel: (although there is obviously some connection that I haven’t or don’t care to try and work out),
            has always been beyond dispute.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Mr. Harding’s are so much better…

  • As long as you have a bathroom and a WiFi, Clive….rockin’ in the free world, Dude!

    • CliveM

      Avi I’ve left you a response about HJ.

      actually much to my relief the WiFi is good and the toilet lock is secure!!

      • That was a tense minute til I found your post, Clive. Doesn’t sound like fun, but waay better than the other possibility.

        Just make sure you don’t start laughing. Only two types of people laugh in a bathroom: the clinically insane and rascals like you who stealth-post.

        • CliveM

          Keep flushing it hides the laughter!

        • Anton

          Don’t forget those who read light comedy there.

  • dannybhoy

    Not bad.
    Had my annual checkup on Monday
    They said there’s a slight improvement in the COPD from last year. I can empty my lungs of air pretty well, but I can’t blow air out with any force. Loss of elasticity in the lung tissue.
    But I can get things done if I take my time, so I’m happy!

    • CliveM

      I’m glad there’s improvement, and its good to know that you’re not an old blow hard!

      Stay well.

      The Commandant is knocking at the toilet door, so best be off or it will be the cooler for me.

    • Blessings, Danny! That’s not the usual news one hears about COPD! Keep it up!

      • dannybhoy

        Shalom v’ brichot l’kha, ben Yisrael.
        Regards COPD this is true and deterioration is inevitable but it’s the speed at which it happens that we can perhaps slow down.

        • Mazel u bracha, ben Noa! Yeah, I know, but slowing it down is big news. Too many family members have and sadly, had, COPD. I only quit cigs almost 3 years ago and hope it won’t find me too soon. Keep up whatever you’re doing and hang on; lots of stuff coming up…an acquaintance is a contributor in the Israeli-US team out of Weizmann and U Penn on lung cell regeneration and she’s optimistic. In the US, Alendronate, yup, the one for osteo, is being tested as an inhalant to keep the inflammatory alveolar microphages down and arrest or slow the progress. And the one that may come out of left field before anyone else, and be able to actually reverse damage is thanks to the speed up of AI and robotics,is the the nano “mites” project out of Harvard and Malasia. You probably keep up more that I do, but just in case you missed any of these.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Oh I am so glad you have returned to us – a dear old friend whom I have missed….please stay with us a while longer… a long while longer…for your humour is treasured and your observations on the madness of our times are valued. There…I have let slip a little personal feeling….the Archdeacon would not be amused, but bollocks to that!

          • Thank you so much, Mrs P! Such sweet words and undeserved flattery; my cheeks flush and my trotters scrape and shuffle. That little slip of yours not only warmed my cochleae cordis, those proverbial cockles of my heart, but verily captured and bound them, rendering the very idea of departure ludicrous to contemplate. Indeed, the Archdeacon would have even more reason to smoulder and cast a jaundiced eye in my direction. Wherefore, methinks, it would be a measure on the better side of prudence not to trouble the poor man with such a perturbing cognizance…

          • dannybhoy

            I think you know far more about the condition than I do Avi.
            Did I ever mention this website to you?
            https://www.copdfoundation.org/COPD360social/Community/Blog.aspx
            It’s a US site, very helpful.
            My version of the condition is mixed with long term asthma, a bit of paint spraying
            (I worked for Tate & Lyle (Silvertown) for a while refurbishing their barges..
            Then there was the smoking…..what an idiot!

    • Glad to read of your improvement DB, hope it continues.

    • dannybhoy

      Thank you one and all for the upticks. It’s nice to know that we care about each other.

    • Didn’t know you suffer with this Danny. I’ll remember you in prayer.

  • Inspector General

    Where’s Linus tonight?

    The Inspector has one hell of a statistical wet kipper to slap around him….

    • Royinsouthwest

      Perhaps he is on holiday. That is the most likely explanation for his silence at this time of year.

    • Pubcrawler

      He’s been bloviating under the previous post. I think I know the statistic you have in mind…

    • One might hope he’s treating those who believe in Allah on the Muslim sites to his opinions that they are all Pixies and Sky Fairies too? Or is it only Christians he picks on?

  • Anna

    “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions… Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honour of the Lord… Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Romans 14:1, 4-6, 10

    Similarly, it is possible for Christians to hold a spectrum of opinions on such ‘indifferent’ matters. Some consider the chapel to be sanctified space set apart to honour God in worship and therefore only to be used for religious activities, while others might say, “This is just a room- there is nothing special about it”. One view is not necessarily superior to the other in the sight of God. The important thing for us Christians is not to break the unity of the Spirit over such non-essentials. It offends God when we judge someone who thinks differently on such matters, because He sees that they mean to honour Him in what they do. So in these things we must leave all judgment to God, for only He can do it perfectly.

    “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification… So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” (Romans 14:22 NIV)

  • Don Benson

    I’m really torn because great music is a precious thing which only survives within the nation’s consciousness because of the fanatical zeal of a relatively small number of amazingly talented people. Yes it can become precious and pompous at times (which many of its great composers would have hated) but the opposite tendency to dumb it down in the name of making it accessible to the masses could be even more damaging in the long run.

    But if that is true for great music, how much more true should it be for how our churches devote themselves and focus on Christian worship (of which well performed music will hopefully be a part), teaching and evangelism. This above all else is why they exist and if they do it faithfully and well the resulting Christians cannot help but involve themselves in activity beyond the church’s walls which enhance people’s lives in many different ways, including the various forms of artistic expression. So I think the church’s focus must be spiritual and that, in practical terms, this means resisting the temptation to become involved, as a church, in things which (however worthy and good) can easily become a stumbling block to its unique, God-given calling.

    But what should happen at the Musicians’ Church? Well there’s history to all this which has given rise to expectations and assumptions of having an accepted place in a special building. Surely those who considered a new church plant there should have recognised that the space they proposed to occupy for the best of purposes would have to be shared with people who also have a particular calling. So they were never starting with a blank piece of paper, they knew it, and they needed to work out a good and fair arrangement with the visiting musicians before the church plant was begun. And, once agreed, they really need to be honourable and stick to the arrangement. It might not have been their ideal vision, but nothing in life and churches is totally ideal. With God we need to get our hands dirty – even if it means hobnobbing with musicians!

    So it seems at least a tad ungracious, now that their endeavours have been blessed by God, that they believe it right to ask the musicians, after a period of notice, to depart. If their need for expansion is as great as suggested perhaps
    an extra venue could be found to accommodate it, or an imaginative way of expanding their work could be devised which would allow the musicians to continue their use of the building. Perhaps this is an opportunity for them to show that loving your neighbour is most fully demonstrated when to do so is inconvenient. I hope that is what they will do.

    • carl jacobs

      It isn’t ungracious. Grace does not become obligation simply because grace was once received. That is the world’s way of thinking.

      • Don Benson

        ‘Graciousness’ describes manners – charm, kindness, gentleness – whereas ‘grace’ for us Christians has a specific theological meaning. Isn’t it precisely because there is no legal obligation here but there is a long held understanding that graciousness comes in to play? And that would be true whether or not a church were involved. But I agree, Christians should not roll over just to signal their virtue.

  • Anton

    Even non-vocal music has a spirituality, for David soothed Saul by playing music to him (1 Samuel 16:14-23).

    Here is an excellent short essay about classical music and Christianity by a fine musician who quit the New Age and became a Christian pastor. (That he sadly seems to have reverted is irrelevant, for he wrote it when committed.)

    http://www.nccg.org/243Art-ClassicalMusic.html

    • Cressida de Nova

      The Creator deserves our best, especially musical offerings.The Catholic Church has always been a supporter of the high arts in the past something that the philistines here appeared to have missed out on….good name for a Calvinist Neo KKK Rock Group (Capt. Carl and the Philistines)

      Christianity and some classical music definitely have ties. I don’t agree with everything in the essay but it was an interesting read. Thank you.

      • Anton

        Alan Morrison wrote the best single book on the New Age movement, The Serpent and The Cross. You’d hate the comments about Rome and love the comments about the Church of England. But there is far more to the book than denominational sniping; it is a deep work about spirituality. A flyer for it stated that “We are now living in a world which scoffs at the devil, demons, angels, miracles and Messiah of the Bible, yet which earnestly embraces the concepts of ETs, UFOs, spirit-guides, earth mysteries, cosmic consciousness, mind-control, magic, witchcraft, self-hypnosis, spiritism, astrology, parapsychology, and a quantum leap in human ‘evolution’ leading to a golden age on earth”. I watched his return to the New Age, visible on his websites, with horror.

        • Sarky

          Oh well that’s another testimony you can’t shove shown people’s throats.

          • Anton

            You’d vomit anyway.

          • Sarky

            What happened to the vomit answer??

          • Anton

            I thought of a better one.

        • Cressida de Nova

          A golden age on earth it is not. New Age smacks of charlatanism. It preys on the vulnerable and besides the adherents are so utterly conformist and unoriginal, it makes conservatives seem interesting.Thanks anyway.

          I did watch a DVD about Ramanujan. ” The Man Who Knew Infinity”

          Very attracted to the idea that this mathematical genius said ” an equation means nothing to me unless it expresses a thought of God” It is heartening to hear this sort of poetic expression from a scientist. I thought of you when some of the Cambridge Don chaps were behaving badly 🙂

          I have ordered ” the Language Of God” by Francis Collins an entrenched atheistic scientist who set about proving there was no God and discovered he was wrong. Sadly scientists are not gifted in written expression so I hope I am pleasantly surprised.

          • Anton

            Dons Behaving Badly occurs all too easily. As for rhetoric, some scientists write well and some don’t. Dawkins writes nonsense very cogently, in fact. His clarity makes him easier to debunk than many.

            Ah, Ramanujan! The genius who wrote a set of mathematical solutions to GH Hardy, not knowing that some of those problems had been solved and some hadn’t, following which Hardy imported him from India to Cambridge where the climate killed him. I’d check what he meant by “god” before going further; he might mean something Indian, or just take a deist view like Einstein did. I’ve not checked out his religious beliefs.

          • James60498 .

            I have read a Francis Collins book. Not being a scientist I wasn’t sure where I was going with it at the beginning, but it seemed to make a lot of sense by the end.

            I referred to him on here at a time when the site seemed to have been the atheist target of the week. I am trying to remember what their explanation was as to why he should be ignored, but they certainly had one. When I say they had one, it wasn’t a very convincing one.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Collins is the most brilliant biogeneticist of the age. With that kind of intellect I am interested in what he has to say.If they suggested he be ignored ,it is obviously because they cannot match his intellect and are jealous.

      • dannybhoy

        Yes I agree with “Christianity and some classical music definitely have ties.”
        Some music moves me to worship and sometimes tears. My dear old Dad was of a similar nature.
        My objection to a paid classical music concert in a church is that it implies that God cannot provide for the material needs of His saints so has to rely on the unsaved/unchurched to make up the shortfall.
        (There are theological ramifications to that which I don’t particularly want to go into at this point)
        But essentially I believe a church building is where saved sinners (saints) go to congregate and worship God, celebrate the breaking of bread, hear the Scriptures expounded and pray.

        • Anton

          Music is the art form that best bypasses the intellect. For that reason it is easily confused with Christian spirituality, but this is exactly the same mistake that many charismatics made, perpetrated by an older generation.

          • dannybhoy

            There is a true expression of the charisma but we have lost sight of the cost, and perhaps settled for a carnal version of the Heavenly reality.
            Didja read my response to your comment on the Oral Law?

          • Anton

            Yes, I should have upticked it – will do now.

          • dannybhoy

            A response would do! An uptick on such an important topic is kinda vague…

          • Anton

            I didn’t really want to restart the dialogue I got into with Avi about it.

          • dannybhoy

            Oh okay, that I can understand. There are wonderful things happening in Israel.

          • Anton

            Yes there are. 100 years since Balfour in 10 weeks time!

          • dannybhoy

            There are fellowships up and down the land, and even Israeli believers serving the Lord in other nations.

          • Agreed. I wonder if there is an analogy with tongue speaking and music without words in church. I’d rather speak five words with the understanding than ten thousand in an unknown tongue…

        • Sarky

          You do realise most churches get gift aid and grants?? Which is basically from the unsaved/unchurched!!

          • dannybhoy

            Sarks,
            I’ve been a member of our church pcc for nearly seven years.
            A diocesan and deanery rep for four years.
            I clean out the gutters and drains of our church and sometimes vaccum the carpets.
            OF COURSE I know that, and I don’t like it. Although a case could be made for doing what some European nations do in using taxes to pay for the upkeep of churches.
            I still disagree. Either Christianity is a living life changing faith or it is a religion, an ‘also ran’.
            The Brethren fellowships would work together to provide the land and a building in which to worship and serve God.
            That I believe in.

          • Sarky

            The bretheren hall near me is up for sale!

          • dannybhoy

            That’s sad but then somewhere else a new church or fellowship will spring up.
            The Brethren Gospel Hall I attended as a teen/young man has morphed into an independent evangelical church. In fact I phoned up the chap in charge because I remembered him from all those years ago. It was great to catch up with people and developments.

          • Sarky

            There’s none springing up round here. A few tried and failed.

          • dannybhoy

            It may be you put them off, but I doubt it.

          • Watchman

            Didn’t realise you were Brethren, Danny. So was I and I owe them a great debt of gratitude for their knowledge and faithfulness to the Word.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes indeed. There were some real godly men amongst them who cared for the young people and were faithful to the Gospel. I owe them a great deal.

          • So was I and still am in spirit.

          • Watchman

            I don’t think that would have been too difficult to guess, John. I was brought up in the Brethren and have never experienced such love in the ekklesia since. The problem was that the love seemed smothering and I was anxious to experience a “normal” life. I escaped but still have a yearning to experience the same love, but along with the gifts of the Spirit.

          • My upbringing was in Open Brethren but in a fairly strict branch of it. Many of the people were good and godly. Two main issues concerned me. Firstly, they were so convinced their doctrine of the church was a primary doctrine they effectively unchurched everyone else; actually ecclesiology virtually trumped soteriology. Secondly, they found it difficult to distinguish between what was cultural and what was biblical resulting in a pervasive soft legalism.

            The majority of my adult life was spent in a more open ‘Open’ meeting. It’s title of Evangelical Church put it beyond the pale for the stricter assemblies. I spent the best part of thirty years in it. It was in many ways, from my belief perspective, an ideal church. Although not charismatic there was a much greater tolerance and openness to the gifts of the Spirit than stricter Brethren and confessional Reformed circles would accept. Ecclesiastically, its position was in my view healthily biblical and perhaps more importantly, there was a great deal of love and sacrificial service.

            My present Babylonian exile finds me in Baptist circles. It is however, although very small, a lovely little church with godly people. I am thankful to God.

          • Watchman

            Hi, John. I must admit that my early Brethren years have left me pretty confused and, at times, am in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The trouble is I can never know what it was like not being brought up in the Brethren. Your comment on soft legalism is what I’ve always described as an iron fist in a velvet glove where guilt was invoked graciously. Nobody taught Romans 7 well, in fact I don’t think anybody taught anything well, it was simply expected that you would fit in and follow the clues for godly living. While they got the context rightish and the content, particularly salvation by grace only I could never see any sign of a process through which discipleship took place so one was left to find role models (usually preachers) and emulate them. Because they said that the gifts of the Spirit had ceased it was difficult to preach on Ephesians 4:11-13 in order to develop a dynamic church: it involved some having to be prophets!

            Dynamism wasn’t built into the Brethren: elders were always those whose views concurred with the other elders so ossification occurred; without an an acknowledgement of the gifts of the Spirit and His involvement in the growth and dynamics of the church ossification was bound to happen.

            Preaching was mainly confined to preaching the gospel, even to a gospel hall full of saved, baptised fully accredited Brethren folk, in case, I was told somebody wandered in off the street. They never did.

            If I sound too critical it is because what was excellent in so many respects never achieved its potential because of its blindness to the fullness of the gospel.

            Some 40 years ago I was invited to an FGBMFI meeting where I was healed of an incurable, extremely painful spinal condition and I began to see the light. But that’s another story…..

        • Pubcrawler

          Better a concert than, say…

  • Albert

    Now there’s a genuinely new thought.

  • John

    This is ridiculous. Would a Christian ministry imagine it could use a busy concert venue for prayer meetings and Alpha courses whenever it wanted? Thank God for a church that is so buzzing with life that it hasn’t got space in the diary for organ recitals and secular concerts.

  • dannybhoy

    Where’s Jack?
    Anyone know?

    • Sarky

      Practicing kumbaya on the guitar?

      • dannybhoy

        He has had health problems – his heart I think. Being one of the notable personalities on this blog his absence is noteworthy.

        • Linus

          He has a heart?

          Well, there you go. And here was I thinking the ice-cold blood in his veins was shunted about by the thermal current generated by all the hot air given off by his lungs.

          On reflection though, it’s rather fitting that he should be laid low by an organ he shows no signs of actually possessing. Of course I assume that a quick examination with a stethoscope would reveal the presence of the elusive muscle, but he keeps it so well hidden one could be forgiven for thinking it just isn’t there.

          Believe it or not, I wish him well. Why? Well, his ultimate fate is so unenviable. Not the oblivion that will most probably overtake him, as it will overtake us all. But the sense of impending doom he must feel if he really believes in the mythology he claims to believe in. The Pixiebook is quite clear about what happens to unrepentant Pharisees and hypocrites, so he must know what’s coming if his sky pixie turns out to be real.

          He should adopt “Si le ciel a un enfer, le ciel peut bien m’attendre” as his family motto. I use the word “family” in its loosest sense, of course. Who knows how many of the grunting peasants and/or proletarians whose genes combined to give us Crappy Jack were actually married?

          • dannybhoy

            “If the sky has a hell, the sky may well wait for me”
            (Had to google translate it. I got ‘le ciel’ then I got lost..)

            “Believe it or not, I wish him well”
            This I accept as being a reflection of your true humanity, indicative as it is of your being made in the image of God.. :0)
            I am an evangelical Christian with no denominational loyalties. Jack is a dyed in the wool Catholic of Jewish descent.
            An intelligent and educated man (as many Catholics are).
            Despite disagreeing with him on some points of doctrine and application, I regard him as a brother in Christ, as I do anyone who whatever their theology, acknowledges the supremacy of Christ and the salvation that flows from Him.
            Alleluia!
            As an old Christian geezer I increasingly find myself aware of my own imperfections and inconsistencies, and the truth of second Timothy 2:19.
            So whatever Jack’s imperfections and connections with a Church that you personally dislike, I see him as a fellow pilgrim..

          • len

            Jack is a Catholic?, well I never would have guessed.Hope he is back soon .

          • dannybhoy

            (Pokes tongue out..)

          • Linus

            “If heaven has a hell, then heaven can just wait for me” would be a more accurate translation.

            Odd that you should need reassurance of my humanity. If I’m not human, what am I? A chatbot? A Lizard tapping into the Internet in an evil plot to sow dissension and fear?

            We’re all human. Hitler was human. So were Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler and any other mass murderer you care to name.

            You want to classify people who do things you disapprove of as inhuman so you can justify the need for a sky pixie who can magically transform them. But they don’t need to be transformed. They’re already human. What you don’t want to accept is that humans can do terrible things. So you take refuge in myths and legends when what you should really do is face the reality of who and what you are. You could kill. Or rape. Or torture. That’s who you are. That’s who we all are.

            Sticking your fingers in your ears, shutting your eyes and chanting prayers to your sky pixie won’t change a thing. Deal with your humanity. You’ll be a much more human human if you do.

          • Anton

            We’re all human. Hitler was human. So were Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler

            Absolutely right. We are all the same. We are all that bad. As for “deal with [it]” – great advice, but HOW?

          • Linus

            Not by sticking your head in the sand and praying to a pixie, that’s for sure. That’s not “dealing”. It’s escapism.

            Accept your humanity. Accept what you’re capable of whilst trying not to harm others. Hope that those with whom (WHOM!) you interact do the same. Don’t pretend a magic pixie can take all your cares away. Your problems are yours to solve. If you can’t, or won’t, you’ll just have to live with them. If that makes you unhappy, then unhappy you will be.

            There are no guarantees of happiness in life, although with a positive attitude and a realisation that sh!t happens and when it does, it’s best to shrug it off, reasonable individuals will be just fine. Self-indulgent hysterics on the other hand will be self-indulgent and hysterical and there isn’t much that anyone can do about that. Anyone but them, that is.

          • Anton

            It’s a bootstrap problem.

          • Linus

            Try buckles or velcro.

            There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

          • Anton

            A bootstrap problem refers to the impossibility of lifting yourself of the ground by your own bootstraps. Similarly if you are dirty in such a way that everything you touch gets dirty then you can’t clean yourself. That’s what sin is like. Thankfully there is outside help.

          • Linus

            Sin is a figment of your imagination. Thankfully there is outside help. A mental health professional should be able to assist you in dealing with your morbid religious obsession. As for your tendency to think yourself better and smarter than everyone else, that’s more problematic and was probably instilled in you by a combination of bad genes and poor parenting. Once a conceited egomaniac, always a conceited egomaniac. You’ll probably never really change, but with professional counseling you may be able to rein in the most flagrant aspects of your superiority complex.

          • Anton

            If someone broke into your home, tied you up and proceeded to steal your possessions, I think you wouldn’t continue to maintain that sin, ie wrongdoing, is merely a figment of my imagination.

          • Sarky

            “There are no guarantees of happiness in life, although with a positive attitude and a realisation that sh!t happens and when it does, it’s best to shrug it off, reasonable individuals will be just fine.”

            Absolutely spot on.

          • carl jacobs

            You should tell that to a woman I know whose name is Gina. Her firstborn son died two days before he was supposed to be born. She had to give birth to a corpse. You should remind her that “sh!t happens and when it does, it’s best to shrug it off.”

          • Sarky

            The same thing happened to a friends sister and its devastating and tragic. But this is an extreme case. Thankfully most people won’t go through anything like that. What i refer to to is everyday bumps on the road.

          • Linus

            A stillbirth must indeed be a terrible and traumatic experience. But no matter how much it hurts, attempting to medicate it with lies and fantasies about a magic sky pixie who will reunite the woman with the “spirit” of her dead foetus in some make-believe future paradise is no kinder than giving her a lifetime’s supply of crack cocaine to dull the pain. Either way, she’ll be hooked on an addictive drug that will prevent her from facing up to and coming to terms with her loss.

          • Sarky

            I maybe would have worded it differently, but i essentially agree with you.

          • Linus

            Unless you lie about little Johnny being with the angels in Pixieland, how exactly can you make the reality of stillbirth more palatable, I wonder?

            The world is what it is and one either copes with it or has a nervous breakdown and leaps off a bridge. I’ve never seen the point in suicide myself, quite simply because it limits one’s options so. While there’s life, there’s hope. But there’s also pain.

            I don’t think it does anyone any good to wrap those facts up in cotton wool. Adults have to face the world as it is no matter how distressing the events of their lives may be. Encouraging them to lose themselves in fantasy merely staves off the day of reckoning. If you bury your undealt-with trauma under Pixtian ritual, the moment you stop believing is the moment all your chickens come home to roost.

            Look at that wizened old crone from Albania who spent her life providing substandard care to the poor of Calcutta so their suffering would glorify her sky pixie. She spent 40 years in a “dark night of the soul”. It goes to show how few real problems she must have had in her life. Wondering which beggar to torture the next day and pondering the ever-present question of who to touch up for more cash are problems that wouldn’t drive a normal person to suicide. But realising you’ve spent your life going through the motions of a pointless religion in order to drown the pain of a stillbirth, or a rape, or an addiction, or any kind of real trauma, might.

            People who turn to religion as a remedy for trauma are just kicking a problem down the road that will have to be dealt with sooner or later. Every Pixtian has doubts. Every Pixtian experiences a loss of faith at some time or another. If like the aforementioned Albanian the worst thing that’s ever happened to you is a fly in your soup, you probably won’t leap off a bridge as a result. But if your life has been filled with real pain and real trauma, if you’ve sacrificed common sense to childish fantasy, what then will stand between you and suicidal despair?

            Common sense is the only reliable weapon we have for protecting ourselves against the terrible events of our lives. Sacrificing it in favour of childish fantasy is only a solution for the spoiled and shallow.

          • If every pixtian has doubts then so does every troll. The attack of doubt is intrinsic to strong belief. However, I find that when doubts arise they soon disappear when I contemplate creation and Christ. Both establish biblical faith.

          • carl jacobs

            There is utterly no point in trying to engage Linus. When he first arrived some years back, I tried to convince him to moderate his behavior because he could have been a valuable contributor to the board. But he would have none of it. He is here to piss on all that he surveys. That is all that his comments amount to. You are just throwing pearls at swine.

            The dead man buries himself in his own grave, and thinks himself both wise and clever for doing so. Nothing remains but to pity him and leave him to his corruption.

          • Carl, unfortunately I think you are right.

          • Linus

            You believe because you want to believe and willful belief is entirely refutable.

          • We all, in part believe what we want to believe. You certainly do. You want to believe there is no God for this lessens the guilt and fear your lifestyle generates.

          • Linus

            I don’t have a lifestyle. I have a life. It generates no guilt – why should I feel guilty about being alive? And it generates no more fear than anyone else’s life. Considerably less than yours at least.

            Pixtians are scared stiff their sky pixie will consign them to the tortures of the evil cave ogre for the smallest transgression. They’re totally paranoid about this cave ogre and think he spies on everything they do, trying to influence their every move and trick them into disobeying the sky pixie’s arbitrary laws.

            Talk about fearful paranoia. Pixtians hold the copyright. To say nothing of the guilt. Pixtians are always weeping and wailing and flagellating themselves whenever they do anything they think the sky pixie won’t like. They live and breathe guilt.

            Indeed guilt and fear are the main characteristics of the Pixtian faith. Appeasing the sky pixie and groveling in guilt before graven images of his imaginary son is how they cope with the terror of the imaginary evil cave ogre. You can’t be a Pixtian and not be scared.

          • I disagree. Many people experience overwhelming suffering. And few who do are atheists. Atheism thrives where life is relatively carefree. I know. Hospice chaplain who says there are few atheists in a hospice.

          • Sarky

            That is probably the stupidest comment I’ve ever seen on this blog.

          • Yep. That’s part of the problem of Sarky’s kind of humanism. It offers no real help to those who suffer. It can provide no comfort no strengthening. The weak simply collapse. It has no consolations.

          • carl jacobs

            The only way people can tolerate a materialist worldview is if they are never confronted with its implications. Men surrender meaning in order to acquire moral autonomy. It seems like a fair trade only when there is a reasonable expectation that life will be free of some significant existential crisis. Where then does it thrive? It the rich, protected West – living as it does by consuming the moral capital accumulated over centuries. Men purchase the luxury of moral autonomy with wealth, and exercise it by turning liberty into license. What is the assumed precondition? That they are secure. That they are well-fed. That they have leisure time and the money to enjoy it.

            But let some existential crisis intrude upon this illusion and they will crumble like a dry leaf. I think about Sarky and wonder – what if one of his kids didn’t come home one night. Hours turn into days, and days into weeks until all that remains is the awful knowledge of not knowing. What would he do? That’s when the sheer meaningless of it all comes crashing down with its full weight. The tragedy in life is no more significant than the bump in the road for neither has any ultimate significance at all. But people say “That will almost surely not happen to me” and upon such a slender reed do they rest their hopes for the future. Nothing more than crossed fingers.

          • Absolutely right. Well said.

          • Sarky

            The fact that you have to use extreme case studies is very telling.

          • carl jacobs

            I use them to illustrate the point – which point you confirm by labeling them “extreme”. The salient fact in your understanding is not the impact. It is rather the low probability of occurrence. You take refuge behind that probability because it’s the only refuge you possess. Your response only serves to confirm everything I said. Your assessment of probabilities is dependent upon continuity. When that assumption of continuity fails, then the probabilities will change.

            In a few months time, we will recognize the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution in Russia. You should read a little Russian history to find out just how radically those probabilities changed, and how suddenly. Then you should stop to consider the scope of the impact in terms of population. Not everyone lives in feted, protected, rich Europe. And Europe will not long remain feted, protected, or rich. You will say “That will never happen!” Exactly. You had better hope not. Because you will be stripped naked on the day that it does.

            And what will you do then?

          • Sarky

            You know nothing about me Carl. in the last six months my brother and father have been diagnosed with cancer. My son was involved in a fatal car accident in which his best friend died. Has all this turned my thoughts to god?? Has it f##k.

          • bluedog

            Sarky, I do feel your pain and there are times when you confront the very essence of life and death. In late July my only son was admitted to hospital and spent ten days in various intensive care units following massive organ failure. Silly boy, he’s very fit and ignored something that became pneumonia. What did we do? Prayed and maintained a belief that there is good in the world and that good can sometimes triumph. Incredibly he’s now on the way to recovery, thanks to the extraordinary skill, dedication and pure brilliance of the medical staff in no fewer than three hospitals. I’m watching his approach to life with interest. Raised and educated as a Christian he previously regarded Christ as ‘interesting’, but not it seems, convincing. Will he now reject totally, or will he veer towards belief? I’m fascinated, yet very thankful either way.

          • Sarky

            Nothing to say Carl?

          • carl jacobs

            I perceived that I had made you angry. As I thought about how to respond to you, I was concerned that my response was going to make you more angry. The argument wasn’t worth that outcome, so I let the matter drop.

            Yes, I have plenty to say. I had a complete answer written in my mind. But I stepped over the line with you. It was inadvertent. You took my argument much more personally than I intended. That was my fault. It’s not something I feel guilty about, but I do feel bad about it. That’s why I let it go. It was more important to me to protect the relationship than to pursue the argument.

          • Sarky

            And offering people false hope and fairytales is comforting how?

          • Well, of course, it’s not false hope and fairy tales.

            And you certainly cannot be sure it is. You are cavalierly rubbishing hopes that you cannot be sure are wrong and you have nothing to offer in replacement. This is cruel and inhumane.

          • Sarky

            And so is offering false hope and fairytales.

          • But then again they are not false and your accusation is unfounded.

          • dannybhoy

            And what is it that makes you think we Christians disagree with that? Who on this blog fits into the category described by Linus? There is not one person here who moans about their lot in life, or rails against misfortune.

            That is not what Christianity is about anyway. It’s about God’s claim on our lives , His judgement on our sin and rebellion, and His offer of forgiveness and eternal life. Nothing about what life may throw at us.
            A positive attitude and an acceptance that in life S*** happens is the best approach. The difference is that we Christians believe that God walks through life with us and we can trust Him in all things, the good and the bad.

          • Inspector General

            ” …the movement of atheists, which declares religion to be just a deliberate illusion, invented by power-seeking priests, and which has for the pious belief in a higher Power nothing but words of mockery, eagerly makes use of progressive scientific knowledge and in a presumed unity with it, expands in an ever faster pace its disintegrating action on all nations of the earth and on all social levels. I do not need to explain in any more detail that after its victory not only all the most precious treasures of our culture would vanish, but — which is even worse — also any prospects at a better future.”

            Max Planck

          • carl jacobs

            Why do you do these things to me, dannybhoy?

            This I accept as being a reflection of your true humanity

            Yes, it was a reflection of true humanity. But not in the way you intended. In the first place, Linus has no idea what’s wrong with Jack. If he did, he wouldn’t have accepted your statement that Jack has heart problems. All he really wanted was a reason to write another puerile insult-laden paragraph.

            Second, he didn’t include that line to express any genuine concern about Jack. He included it to protect himself. Without it he would come across as saying “I hope Jack is dead” and he would look seven times worse than he already does.

            Ever since I blocked Linus, I normally don’t read responses that others write to him. But this subthread was about Jack being away and (who knows) perhaps someone had heard something. So I (foolishly) logged out to see what Linus said. That’s twice I’ve done this now and both times I’ve learned that I shouldn’t have wasted my time.

            Jack said he is having surgery for an aortic aneurysm and for “complications” related to his cancer treatment. He could die. That’s the context in which you should read Linus and his childish remarks.

          • James60498 .

            If I look at the site on anything other than my phone I am not logged in.

            And it is when I get to Linus’s posts that I realise that I am better off on my phone.

          • dannybhoy

            I never intended or intend to upset anyone on this blog Carl. I just happen to notice when people I have ‘sparred with’, or whose comments I enjoy haven’t posted for a while.
            You know the (supposedly) American Indian proverb, “Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.”
            I am challenged, sometimes corrected by some of the folk who post on this blog, and it causes me to reflect on what I believe and how I practice what I believe.
            No one is born a Christian and Linus is as we once were, rebellious sinners.
            I have spent a lot of my working years involved with the elderly, unloved/uncared for children, and those with learning difficulties. I believe God loves all human beings regardless.

          • Hi

            Danjo was never as sick or vile as Linus.

          • dannybhoy

            I wasn’t comparing DanJ0 to Linus in that sense; only that he used to post a lot here and then he stopped, and I noticed it.

          • Linus

            Did he ever suffer from Stockholm syndrome? You know, that bizarre psychological condition that makes the victims of persecution identify with their persecutors?

            On you go and take their side. If they ever come to power and deal with you and your “sin” by forcibly separating you from your girlfriend (or partner, or whatever it is you call her to avoid the term “wife”), sending you to a re-education camp, subjecting you to “corrective rape” or whatever other inhuman treatment they have in store for unrepentant Jewish lesbians, whose fault will it be then? Mine? Because I didn’t appease them hard enough and undid all your good work? They were on the verge of changing their minds before I barged in, weren’t they?

            Were they ‘eck as like.

            But whatever, Aunt Jemima. Appease them all you like. Just don’t whine when they string you up for “gender treachery” and heresy.

          • Hi

            I think you are off the rocker here with those remarks and they aren’t worthy of a proper response.

          • Sarky

            Danjo’s a good bloke and always measured in his posts.

          • Hi

            Yes I always liked him , although we often came to blows in debate .

          • Linus

            Ah, the weighty American contingent pipes up…

            Who knows what, if anything, is wrong with Crappy Jack? Used as carl jacobs is to having his every utterance treated as pixspel truth on this wretched blog, he has offered no substantiating evidence of this health crisis that the fecal one is supposedly in the grip of. It’s just hearsay, which when presented as a claim by an habitual liar and bearer of false witness such as carl jacobs must be taken with a grain of salt.

            Crappy Jack’s absence may be due to illness or it may not be. Whatever its cause, it’s very welcome. Having the voice of Vatican Radio broadcasting lengthy chunks of the Roman catechism on an ostensibly Protestant blog has been trying for many who post here, not just me. I have the added provocation of Crappy Jack’s abusive homophobia to cause me to celebrate his silence. I hope he stays off the air for a long time. Permanently in fact. I have no wish to see him die, but neither do I have any particular wish to see him live. His fate is a matter of complete indifference to me. The only thing that matters to me is that he’s not broadcasting hatred and defamation of the LGBT community far and wide. Whether that’s a result of his death, his permanent incapacitation or just a guilty conscience, I don’t care. It’s the result that interests me, not the means by which it is achieved.

            If he really is ill, let those who care for him wish him well. To me he’s just another poisonous homophobe of a particularly noisome variety. The kind who would, had he any kind of power, use it to persecute me and my community and cause us as much pain and harm as possible. If he is incapacitated, that’s great news as far as I’m concerned. The one weapon he has – his poisonous pen – has been taken from him, at least for the time being. And when you’re at war, you don’t care how your enemies are brought down. You’re just happy to see them fall.

          • Pubcrawler

            Are you by any chance related to Joseph Pujol?

          • dannybhoy

            ” To me he’s just another poisonous homophobe of a particularly noisome variety. ”
            It’s a Christian blog Linus. You don’t have to post here.

          • Maalaistollo

            ‘It is the restless panting of their being;
            Like beasts of prey, who, caged within their bars,
            In a deep hideous purring have their life,
            And an incessant pacing to and fro.’

          • dannybhoy

            The Dream of Gerontius…
            (I looked it up..)
            Always interests me how different we are to each other in our talents and proclivities.
            I am an honest to Goodness pleb. I have my moments, I am in touch with my softer side and am unashamed to weep when my emotions are stirred.
            But that deeper understanding and appreciation of art and music is beyond me….
            Linus is trapped by his own anger and blinded by his sense of outrage. So much so that he can’t see the illogicality of his pronouncements or the juvenile hypocrisy of hating our Jack because of his Catholicism; which implies that he knows how to be a better human being – yet is unable to wish a sick man good health…

          • Maalaistollo

            I though HJ would appreciate a quote from Newman being used in this debate. Despite being a chapel-reared Prod, The Dream of Gerontius can almost make me understand the emotional appeal of Roman Catholicism. But then, when I look at the rest of its baggage….

          • dannybhoy

            Malcolm Muggeridge at his conversion turned to Catholicism -which at the time surprised me, but I do think Catholicism has more of an attraction for the brighter intellects than yer average bread and butter Evangelical like what I am..
            There is Religion and there is Relationship, and at the end of the day only God knows where a man or woman stands. Whether they ultimately love the Son of God or they love the man made adornments and rituals that surround Him.

          • CliveM

            You should try and go to a concert of the Dream of Gerontius, its really good. Quite moving.

          • Linus

            Nobody has to post here. But the fact that I do, and the fact that my posts elicit such venom and hatred in response, tells those who view this blog exactly what Pixtians are and what their hateful religion does to them.

            By their fruits shall ye know them indeed.

          • dannybhoy

            .” But the fact that I do, and the fact that my posts elicit such venom and hatred in response, tells those who view this blog exactly what Pixtians are and what their hateful religion does to them.”
            Or put another way…
            “But the fact that Christians do, and the fact that their posts elicit such venom and hatred in response, tells those who view this blog exactly what Linus is and what his hateful and irrational obsession does to him

            PS Do you contribute to the upkeep of the blog Linus?
            I hope you do…

          • Linus

            Now I’ve heard it all. You want me to donate money to keep this cesspit of a blog going?

            I know you’re delusional, but the degree of your delusion wasn’t fully clear to me until now.

            The day this blog folds will be one more victory, no matter how small and insignificant, for the LGBT community. One more enemy will be vanquished. One more miserable little failed politician and his homophobic (and allegedly self-loathing, if the rumours and accusations are to be believed) agenda will have failed to stem the tide of history.

          • dannybhoy

            “The day this blog folds will be one more victory, no matter how small and insignificant, for the LGBT community. One more enemy will be vanquished. One more miserable little failed politician and his homophobic (and allegedly self-loathing, if the rumours and accusations are to be believed) agenda will have failed to stem the tide of history.”
            But it won’t fold Linus. At least not because of you. Sadly the extent of your delusion becomes more obvious as day succeeds day. If you are eventually banned, it won’t be because you’re gay, but perhaps because you don’t seem able to treat anyone with any degree of respect or tolerance.
            The exact opposite to how Christians on this blog have treated you.

          • Well said Danny.

            As Loxley, Robin of Sherwood, said in bewilderment to an antagonistic Will Scarlett, ‘Did I wrong you in another life, Will Scarlett? Where does this intolerable hatred for me come from? ‘

            Ignore Robin’s unlikely Hinduism, the indulgence of trendy film makers ( who’ve never experienced the Caste system) rather than a reflection of medieval England’s theology.

          • Linus

            When I criticise you, it’s unjustifiable abuse. When you abuse me, it’s justifiable criticism.

            Double standards are what your religion is all about.

            If I’m banned from this nasty little nest of fundamentalist fascists, so be it. The fake archbishop hasn’t banned me yet though, has he? Perhaps he’s having trouble with the latch on that closet he (allegedly) lives in.

          • dannybhoy

            No Linus, when you justifiably criticise us it is taken seriously. When you point out failure it is acknowledged.
            Len is correct in that you are desperate to elicit anger and vilification from us so that you can justify your own feelings.
            It won’t happen because we know that God loves you and Christ Jesus died for your sinfulness and rebellion.
            To please you ev en more I was specifically praying for you this morning that God will bless you and open your eyes to His salvation.

          • Linus

            You tell me you pray for me in the mistaken belief that it will goad me to anger. But as I’ve said before on numerous occasions, you’re free to pray as you please. We’re all free to say what we like to whomever we like and if you want to waste your time mumbling inanities to an imaginary sky pixie, be my guest.

            Of course the principal reason you do it is to pretend that you’re not totally impotent. You can’t impose your beliefs on me by main force so you appeal to your magic sky pixie and ask him to do your dirty work for you. Prayer is the powerless Pixtian’s way of trying to impose himself on the world. As such it’s probably an important psychological outlet for you. If you couldn’t pray, you’d explode from the rage and despair of knowing you’re a total nobody who has the power to do precisely nothing. When you pray, you can pretend to affect other people’s lives. When you pray, you can fool yourself into thinking you count for something.

            So pray away. If it keeps you from hurling yourself under the next bus that passes and spares the other people who would be caught up in the aftermath of such an act from the shock and the inconvenience of having to clean up the mess, so much the better.

          • dannybhoy

            “Of course the principal reason you do it is to pretend that you’re not totally impotent.”
            Good Heavens, I don’t have to pretend Linus, I know I’m impotent!
            As our Lord says in John 15:5 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition
            I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

            One of the wonders of the life of faith is that God invites us to work with Him in this world..
            Isaiah 6New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)
            8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’ 9 And he said, ‘Go and say to this people:
            “Keep listening, but do not comprehend;
            keep looking, but do not understand.”
            10 Make the mind of this people dull,
            and stop their ears,
            and shut their eyes,
            so that they may not look with their eyes,
            and listen with their ears,
            and comprehend with their minds,
            and turn and be healed.’

          • Merchantman

            see len’ s analysis above and you see how right it is. Why Linus old fruit are you so sad? We are learning more about your daily tiz. An’ we”re sorry life has treated you so bad.

          • Linus

            Life has treated me far better than most. But you don’t want to believe that because it doesn’t fit with your predetermined idea of how non-Pixtians MUST be. They MUST be sad and lonely. They MUST have experienced some kind of trauma that prevents them from seeing the sky pixie’s fabulousness.

            So, you invent some kind of tragic backstory for me in order to impute my hostility towards you and your vile, hateful religion as the result of a wound that only your sky pixie can heal.

            Sorry but not only is there no wound, but even if there were, there’s no sky pixie to make it all better. Both are figments of your imagination conjured up to pathologise and discredit someone who threatens the integrity of your delusional fantasies.

            And that’s the hallmark of true Pixtian: a bearer of false witness and a liar, ready to utter any falsehood, no matter how ludicrous, slanderous and defamatory, in order to shore up his belief in fairies, elves and magic invisible friends. The real question is: what kind of trauma can twist a person into such determined delusion? Answer that and you arrive at the root cause of the sickness that is religion and can then try to heal it.

          • bluedog

            ‘.. and the fact that my posts elicit such venom and hatred in response, ‘

            No, more like pity and disbelief in such bitterness and anger as is to be found in your posts.

          • CliveM

            I’ve also blacked Linus, and he’s not missed.

          • Maalaistollo

            So now he can accuse you of cultural appropriation as well as homophobia!

          • CliveM

            I don’t care!

          • Hi

            Stop it. Just stop it. Stop being so bloody vile when you don’t need to be. It’s NOT right and you are showing yourself up as an utter ghastly , insufferable oik.

          • Maalaistollo

            There is a system for grading Linus’s contributions. It’s called the Bristol Stool Chart. I’d rate this contribution of his as a straight (if he’ll forgive the use of the word) No 7.

          • Linus

            So you think you have the authority to tell me what to do, eh?

            My advice to you is to exercise authority over the only life you can: your own, and to stop dreaming that you can change the lives of others, which is every bit as much of a fantasy as the Pixtian fairy tales indulged in by most contributors to this blog.

            I confidently predict you won’t take my advice, of course. You’re labouring under the misapprehension that you count for these people, who would be the first to string you up if ever they gained any power. For your own “good”, you understand. To save you from your “sin”.

            But carry on appeasing them by all means. If you want to dig your own grave, that’s your business, not mine.

          • It’s called righteous indignation Linus. It is the instinct of any right thinking and feeling human being when confronted with your fecal invective.

          • Linus

            It’s called a self-righteous tantrum.

          • Pubcrawler

            No, I think ‘fecal invective’ was about right.

          • Hi

            I don’t think anything of the sort, this isn’t about a view on gay rights , but rebuking you on how you are bring unnecessarily vindictive and nasty about someone who posts here. But of course I cannot stop you but I can tell you what I think of this unnecessary tirade of yours.

          • Linus

            You are no judge of the necessity of anything I write here.

            In your weird little world where those who want to harm you must be appeased, anything that upsets the apple cart is seen as a threat. Because if you’re “naice” to those who hate you, they can’t help but love you and be transformed by that love, eh? Whereas assertiveness just makes people angry and then they won’t like you. And wouldn’t that be a tragedy. I mean, we were all put on this earth by your sky pixie in order to love YOU, weren’t we? Navel of the world that you are.

            Grow up, girl-child. These people hate you and want to do you harm. Appeasing them makes them stronger. Challenging them puts them on the defensive and reminds them of just how weak they are. Yes, this angers them. But who cares about their anger? Let them be angry. What else have they got in their empty and ritualised lives?

          • len

            I have a theory about Linus, and why Linus believes as he does, because I have seen this happen first hand.
            Linus knows quite a lot about religion and he is obviously an intelligent person.Linus is also’ gay’ (what a misnomer if there even was one?)
            Linus comes to Cranmer to get a hate response’ to his posts from Christians and I believe this ‘authenticates’ his belief that the God of the bible is a monster and all Christians are bigots etc.
            So every time someone responds in a negative manner towards ‘gays'(especially Linus) he can bask in his ‘rightful indignation ‘and feel justified in his errant belief system
            Of course Linus is totally wrong ,religion might condemn him, but Jesus Christ doesn`t.
            Jesus died on the Cross for Linus as much as for any of us, I wonder if one day he might accept that?.

          • dannybhoy

            I think you are basically right Len.

          • As do I.

          • bluedog

            Brilliant, len.

    • Father David

      Dunno but I think he’s Alright

    • Royinsouthwest

      Let us hope that he is simply having an enjoyable holiday.

    • carl jacobs

      Jack is having surgery. He said he would be away some number of weeks.

      • dannybhoy

        So let all of us who acknowledge God’s sovereignty pray that he will restore Jack to health and many more years of tormenting us Prods…..

        • Martin

          Danny

          I’ll certainly pray for his health, and that he might be saved.

          • dannybhoy

            The Lord knoweth those that are His, Martin.

          • Martin

            Danny

            Indeed, He does.

          • Yes, that’s a hard one Martin. Danny’s response is probably the right one.

          • Martin

            John

            I don’t see anything hard about it.

          • Well, unless you know more than I do you cannot be sure that HJ is not a Christian. He may have much wood hay and stubble in his doctrine but can you be sure there is no genuine heart faith in Christ as Redeemer and Saviour?

          • Martin

            John

            I see no evidence of faith in Christ. Faith in his church, but no gospel, saving, faith.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    I am reminded of seeing John Eliot Gardiner on television, talking about the religious or spiritual aspects of Bach, and remarking to the effect he himself didn’t believe it.

    That always gives me a touch of cognitive dissonance whenever he appears.

  • Dominic Stockford

    “We’re going to be a church, not a concert hall” – which no Sincere Christian can complain about. The world and the meeja will hate it though.

    • dannybhoy

      The world and the meeja will hate it because it goes against their stated ideal of ‘live and let live, as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody’.
      Yet I remember from my wilderness years how cruel and deceitful those same people could be to anyone who offended them.

      Judges 17:6 King James Version (KJV)

      “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

  • Sarky

    Thats not very christian is it?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Why not? Giving clear Biblical evidence for your answer.

      • Sarky

        A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Good. We’re getting somewhere now. I’ve got you to go the Bible and look something up. Before long we’ll have challenged you into faith. Yee ha!

          • Linus

            You think he’s never read the Pixiebook before and that’s why he doesn’t believe?

            As if reading page after page of begats and shalt nots and smitings will miraculously convert him rather than send him to sleep?

            In my experience most atheists become so precisely because they have read the Pixiebook and were completely underwhelmed by its banal and repetitive ritualistic language, to say nothing of the preposterous claims it makes. Between vicious genocide, pillars of salt, zombie saviours, virgin births and talking asses there’s not much room for a serious intellect to take any of it seriously.

          • Sarky

            Not the bible, google!!

  • Cressida de Nova

    Prayer For The Sick

    Omnipotent eternal and merciful Lord God our Saviour. We implore Thee to hear our prayers on behalf of Thy servant Happy Jack . In Thy infinite mercy wisdom and goodness, we pray for the restoration of Happy Jack’s bodily health so that he may continue to give thanks to Thee O Lord in Thy Church
    Through Christ Our Lord
    Amen

    • Please pass on my refuah sh’leima / רפואה שלמה, for a fast and complete recovery to Jack, Miss C.

    • dannybhoy

      Amen.

    • Sarky

      Thinking of you jack.

    • David

      Amen.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Prayers and thoughts are with you, Jack…

    • Hi Cressida,

      I wish to write to you that while we have had our difficulties and arguments , I would like to add the Mi Sheberakh a prayer for our mutual friend .

      May the One who blessed our ancestors the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah bless and heal the one who is ill: Happy Jack

      May the Holy Blessed One
      overflow with compassion upon him,
      to restore him,
      to heal him,
      to strengthen him
      to enliven him

      The One will send him speedily,
      a complete healing
      healing of the soul and healing of the body
      along with all the ill,
      among the people of Israel and all humankind,
      soon,speedily,without delay,
      and let us all say: Amen!

      And a song

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5A-96kT3c8

      which translates as

      The Lord of the Universe who reigned
      before anything was created.
      When all was made by his will
      He was acknowledged as King.

      And when all shall end
      He still all alone shall reign.
      He was, He is,
      and He shall be in glory.

      And He is one, and there’s no other,
      to compare or join Him.
      Without beginning, without end
      and to Him belongs diminion and power.

      And He is my G-d, my living G-d.
      to Him I flee in time of grief,
      and He is my miracle and my refuge,
      who answers the day I shall call.

      To Him I commit my spirit,
      in the time of sleep and awakening,
      even if my spirit leaves,
      G-d is with me, I shall not fear

      • dannybhoy

        Amen! And thanks Hannah.

    • Cressida de Nova

      I will send your prayers and good wishes to Jack. It will mean a lot to him.
      Thanks.

  • Inspector General

    A fellow looks forward to Jack returning and rubbishing the Higher Understanding with gusto at the earliest…

    • CliveM

      It’s a bit of an open goal really.

      • Inspector General

        This is what we find, Clive. It’s easily mocked. And no problem there. The Higher Understanding is only available for those who want it. If the Existing Understanding, decided upon by mere men 17 centuries ago does it for you, then by all means embrace it. God will still smile upon you…for making an effort in appreciating Him, if nothing else…

        • CliveM

          If mere men embrace the existing understanding, what does that make you??

          I hope your searching leads you to the truth Inspector.

          • Inspector General

            My dear Clive. There’s enough ‘unknown truth’ out there to sink a battleship…and yes, one’s searching has led to an acceptable truth…

          • CliveM

            There is more that we will never know than we do know, God bless you Inspector.

          • bluedog

            There’s a likelihood of schism, Inspector. There are murmurings that some of the Higher Understanding flock will defect (not defecate) in search of Deeper Meaning.

  • David

    God bless Jack.
    May he soon be bodily healed.

  • Inspector General

    Off topic, but news…

    The Inspectorate has approved (yet) another name to be used by our dear Transexual Male to Female types…

    Abbergale

    “A beautiful name for a beautiful pretend woman, innit”

    ‘Todays Tranny’

    • Inspector General

      The above post will probably incur Cranmer’s wrath when he sees it, so the Inspector is going to arrange another donation to his worthy cause.

      Look fellows, it’s like this. Cranmer runs at a loss. This shouldn’t be the case as he’s the finest blogger in Christendom. Probably. He doesn’t always get it right, and one knows he thanks the Inspector on those occasions when yours truly gently corrects him

      Anyway, at the top of this page, you will see a tab, “Become A Supporter”. Over to you…

      • dannybhoy

        Thanks for the reminder Inspector..

        • dannybhoy

          Dunnit!

      • Inspector General

        Donation made.

        Communicants, don’t think Cranmer will buy a second home in Brixton, for example, on the proceeds if they exceed his needs. No. Not at all. One would hope he would provide our well heeled and top of the range mobile contraption phone equipped piss poor with tattoo tokens, bless them.

      • David

        Thanks for the reminder Inspector !

      • Pubcrawler

        It is — or was — possible to set up a repeat monthly payment. No reminders necessary then for regular donors.

        • dannybhoy

          The problem is that for those of us on a fixed income how do we best support Christian charities/activities and useful Christian/secular websites?
          The wife and I do it by irregular donations. We try to tithe regularly, but we can’t gift aid because our income is below the tax threshold. We have some savings, and it is those we use to make up shortfalls. Btw if anyone knows of a good Christian financial advisor please let me know!

          • Pubcrawler

            Of course. I appreciate that — I’m not exactly rolling in spare cash myself. It was a point of general information.

          • dannybhoy

            A thought struck me, I hope I didn’t upset you in any way with my earlier comment? I would hate to think I did..

          • Pubcrawler

            Not in the slightest.

          • You want to find yourself a Jewish financial advisor!

          • dannybhoy

            You could have a point there…

          • IanCad

            Sure Danny! Send me all your money. Despatch is the soul of business. Such an opportunity may not again present.

          • dannybhoy

            I’d love to Ian!
            But..
            You’re not Jewish…

          • IanCad

            I’m of pure Scottish stock!! There’s nae a penny I dinna count.

          • CliveM

            Ahem, as a percentage of income, us scots are the most charitable givers in the UK!

          • dannybhoy

            Ah, you work for McCohen and McTavish, that up and coming business with offices in Tel Aviv and The Gorbals, Glasgow?
            Who would I make the cheque out to?

          • Maalaistollo

            The trouble with financial advisers is that if they really knew about investing money successfully, they wouldn’t need to work as financial advisers, would they? Unfortunately, ‘Christian’ financial advisers have a particularly poor record and I suspect that their Christian clients are doves rather than serpents when it comes to assessing their integrity and their advice.

          • dannybhoy

            So Marie is right…

    • Maalaistollo

      Isn’t that on the North Wales coast?

      • Inspector General

        Moved to anger last night by what one has read elsewhere. Transgender ‘policy’ (which will probably end up as government advice) is to raise your child sexless and let he / she or (God help us) ‘both’ decide what it is itself. Believe it or not, parents are doing that very thing right now!

        The mad truly do run things now. And yes, this is a direct result of queer marriage.

        • It’s happening in all the ‘civilised’ western countries.

          We’ll all have to re-locate to Russia if we want any normality.

          • Inspector General

            Any more of this nonsense, Marie, and one will abandon democracy as we know it altogether. It’s clear that some form of autocracy needs to be added. Nothing stays the same forever, and that includes said current system. Forced on us, the change will be….

          • David

            Yes but, the Visegrad nations with their strong Orthodox or Catholic faith seem to be holding out against the rest of the EU with its illiberal, ‘liberal’ madness.
            In the US the gulf between the traditional Christian groups, of the right, Catholic and Protestant, and the ‘progressives’ is growing and the tension seem to be sky-high, at least to me sitting here.

          • They’re trying to destroy Christianity which gave us our civilisation. I’ve just read an article informing that AMC tv network’s “Preacher” series has aired an episode in which they’ve got Jesus with a man-bun hairdo having sex with a married woman on the night before he was crucified. I find this highly inappropriate and disrespectful as well as highly unlikely.

          • David

            Yes, and if Christianity, which gave us our civilisation goes, then it will all collapse. My clear conviction is that, as God promised, there will always remain a faithful remnant in each country. But the overall trajectory for society is now steeply downwards.

          • dannybhoy

            Here’s the reverend John MacArthur on (the causes of) Charlotteville.

            I think he gets it exactly right.

          • David

            He does. Thank you for the link.
            He puts it very succinctly. The Marxist agenda to destroy society is now emerging out on the streets – unleashing the true evil within the natural human heart.

          • dannybhoy

            And as he says at the end, “Hang on because we’re going to see more of it..”
            I don’t know whether we are in the End Times or in the death throes of our Western Christian civilisation; but I do expect to see the speeding up of moral corruption, paganism and violence.

          • David

            You’ve described my thoughts as well. As you say we cannot possibly know whether this is the End Times, but it is certainly the beginning of the end of Western Christian civilisation. It must have felt like this to Augustine when he wrote his tome “The City of God against the Pagans”, but now the pagans are within. Of course our faith is growing fast outside the west – that’s a partial comfort.

    • Andre´Kristian

      Allow Your earnest admirer and distant adherent to express his appreciation, making a gallant gesture towards his gothic chapeau claque – since he is unable to enclose the mighty inspector in a fraternal embrace.
      How the devil it is possible for any sane man to resist the temptation to vote Your frightfully brilliant comments up, is beyond comprehension!
      Your arch apprentice and underling strongly suspects many a good commenter might be a bit envious of the equilibristic excellence the delightfully unsparing Inspector General never neglects to prove and therefore prefer to pretend they never read it.
      Tremendous tommyrot and profound poppycock, I daresay! Of course they read Your contributions to the debate.
      Fondest regards,
      from the illusive but always honest
      Andreas 🙂

      • Inspector General

        A friend!! At a time when a friend is needed…

        Much has changed here since we last communicated, Andreas. Your Inspector has fallen from grace in a most devastating way. He is being shunned. Shunning, of course, is not just the prerogative of Christians, but Christians are by a long way, the world’s best shunners.

        You see, one has put it to the others that Christ probably wasn’t God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth and everything else out there after all. He was most likely an angel sent, as angels are wont to be, as a messenger of divine import to mankind from same.

        Now, of the possibilities regarding Christ’s provenance, one’s idea is by far the most sensible. In fact, we just don’t know the whole of it. Man, in his arrogance, indeed the crowd on here in their arrogance, just can’t accept “we don’t know” and have filled in the missing space with their doodling. Most odd that, as this possibility takes nothing away from what Christ was about.

        Anyway. The Inspector finds himself treated like mad granny now. Confined to the attic, and only let down stairs for feast days and whenever the social services are due to call.

        Woe is him!

        • Anton

          Believe what you like and may God bless you Inspector, but if you deny that Jesus Christ is divine in the sense of the Creator then by definition you are not a Christian, and it is therefore not right for you to dilute the Christian church with your beliefs.

        • CliveM

          Don’t be such a drama queen Inspector, no one is shunning you, we’ve always viewed you as the ‘mad granny’ and you’re always welcome.

          I thought this was a Linus post initially!!!

  • David

    I’ve tried to donate but lately PayPal has turned ‘crook’ on me and, try it all ways, I can’t get through the electronic gates ! !

    • David

      Further comment added later.
      I’ve emailed His Grace asking for options for other channels to donate through.

    • len

      Paypal seems to be coming out with some anti-Christian stuff?
      edit
      http://www.thechristianreview.com/dump-paypal-and-all-companies-opposed-to-religious-liberty/

      • Pubcrawler

        Yes, PayPal is one of an increasing number of organisations (including YouTube) who appear to be weighing in against those whose views do not fit the current antifa narrative, using their financial dominance in effect to censor views that certain less open-minded groups would prefer to suppress by starving them of cash.

        • Inspector General

          I say, Pub. It’s almost as if you don’t agree with our forced attendance under the refreshing Golden Shower of diversity…

          • Pubcrawler

            It’s just that the queues are so long….

      • Royinsouthwest

        Small, family owned bakers are taken to court for not assisting in the dissemination of gay propaganda. Why then are PayPal and tax-dodging multinationals like Google (which owns YouTube) allowed to duscriminate against anyone they like?

        Action should be taken to prevent them from abusing their monopoly power.

        • David

          Yes, as it happens, I pray daily for that small Belfast bakery, Asher’s, owned by the McArthur family. They are in fact being persecuted by the state for refusing to promote an movement they don’t support – hardly the action of a free, democratic nation is it ? The sermon I’ve just completed for Evensong a week Sunday touches on these areas, in general terms.

        • len

          Certainly, action should be taken. Christians are being seen as’ a soft target.I don’t suppose Islam is seen as such a easy target.

          • Pubcrawler

            “I don’t suppose Islam is seen as such a easy target.”

            Target? Who do you think is doing some of the aiming?

      • David

        Interesting, thank you for alerting me. I wonder whether Cranmer knows ?
        I’ve just received my weekly new sheet from Christian Concern which explains how in Oz, Facebook took down a page promoting Man/Woman marriage.
        I’ve also been told that U – Tube censors proposed additions for conformity to the left-liberal stance. An alternative called PragerU offers a different approach, but expects financial contributions. I have no personal knowledge of all this but, this is what I am informed.
        I suspect that global corporations simply go with what they sense is the prevailing wind, to maximise profits ?

        • len

          U tube has had some pretty horrendous stuff on it, I mean, what could be worse than marriage between a man and a woman?

          • David

            Irony eh ? Not your usual style Len ? Must be because it is Friday night – just kidding !

        • dannybhoy

          I have always avoided Paypal. Not because of any supposed bias but I just resist any online sales service that urges me to open an account.
          Apart from Amazon! :0(

          • David

            Fair point.

  • carl jacobs

    Please tell me the canonical meaning of the Adagio from Beethoven’s Seventh.

  • Jonathan

    There are a quite absurd number of posts in quick succession by “this user is blocked” and by people feeding the troll(s). Just from the replies its clear the troll posts have plumbed new depths. It is exceedingly tiresome and is inclining me to stop reading/using this blog.

    • Inspector General

      “Feed the trolls”. Never, sir. Wind them up, yes.

  • bluedog

    Relieved to hear things are looking up for your family, Sarky. Can imagine the horror you must have felt when your own son was involved in a fatal accident. Rest assured, my children have my unconditional love and support whatever they do. It’s hard to understand how any parent could do otherwise.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Of course, music isn’t ‘necessary’ in church services either, anyway. Let alone secular music not written for the glory of God.

    These peeps were making money out of the secular world, and now they’ve seen sense and are focusing on the promulgation of the Christian faith. Good on them. It’s what church-owned buildings should be for.

  • PyotrGrozny

    There have been allegations that Ingall has acted in bad faith and gone back on written assurances. He should answer these. Were there written assurances? and if so what was written? Surely St Sepulchre’s should put out a statement asap, even while they reconsider the ban. I wrote to St Sepulchre’s on this and was referred to the statement on their website, which doesn’t answer the question, and wished ‘every blessing’. Christ’s silence in the face of his accusers shouldn’t be a justification not to provide clarity on this.

    PS Bishop Chartres preached a memorable sermon in Moscow a couple of years back where he referred to Caliban as Prospero’s shadow.