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Great texts

  • John V. Taylor: The Christlike God (Scm Classics)

    John V. Taylor: The Christlike God (Scm Classics)
    A serious theological book which is the companion to JVT's classic work "The Go-between God". Anyone who is frustrated by (fellow) Christians that choose to define God so tightly that faith seems impossible, or seem to align faith with "happiness" despite the evidence to the contrary should read how faith is really a mix of " wonder and comprehension, illumination and darkness, loss and possession, abasement and bliss". If you want to stop to "think" about God then this is a book to read thoughtfully in the company of one of great Christians of the 20th Century

  • Jean Vanier: Community and Growth: Our Pilgrimage Together Revised Edition

    Jean Vanier: Community and Growth: Our Pilgrimage Together Revised Edition
    A revised collection of the thoughts and ideas of the founder of the L'arche Community - "faith without boundaries". This is a classic book - for everyone seeking faith and to grow in their faith

  • Rowan  Williams: Anglican Identities

    Rowan Williams: Anglican Identities
    As someone who is both a passionate but frustrated Anglican - glimpsing sometimes all that Anglican could be and seeing on a daily basis all that it isn't, this book was a wonderful account of what liberal Anglicanism - tolerant, inclusive, supportive, intelligent and profoundly spiritual, just might be. Of course it is not an easy read - it takes time and effort to grasp what RW is saying but the effort is worthwhile

  • John Drane         : Do Christians Know How to Be Spiritual?

    John Drane : Do Christians Know How to Be Spiritual?
    If you are a committed member of a local Church and wonder why others do not see the point - or wonder whether it might be possible to be more spiritual outside the confines then you could read this book which is a thoughtful introduction to what is meant by a post-christian society.

  • Tom Wright: Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

    Tom Wright: Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
    This is a detailed read from Tom Wright which makes the case for the Christian faith in contemporary society. Its thoughtful, challenging, and gentle.

  • W.H. Vanstone: Farewell in Christ

    W.H. Vanstone: Farewell in Christ
    Vanstone's final work, which explores the mystery of existence, the mystery of my soul, the mystery of meaning, - and none of this becomes possible without intellectual doubt. Is this what Dawkins et al will never understand?

  • John Pritchard: The Life and Work of a Priest

    John Pritchard: The Life and Work of a Priest
    This book should be compulsory reading for all enquirers, ordinands, and current clergy - perhaps adding in all elders and churchwardens for good measure. It charts in a profoundly hopeful way the joys and pressures of contemporary priesthood, and avoids the pitfalls of theological bias or the bland functional understandings of leadership.

  • Timothy Radcliffe: What Is the Point of Being a Christian?

    Timothy Radcliffe: What Is the Point of Being a Christian?
    A prophetic introduction to the Christian faith for those who struggle to find God amid the complexities of life

  • Robert Dimery: 1001 Albums you must hear before you die

    Robert Dimery: 1001 Albums you must hear before you die
    Just a great read - extensive intelligent reviews which bring back memories, stimulate to seek out, and inspire to add to the wish list.

All time Top Ten albums

  • Bob Dylan -

    Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks
    Probably the best single collection of orginal songs - performed by Bob with his inimitable non-music style - the best produced Dylan album into the bargain

  • Miles Davis -

    Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
    I remember the first time I heard this - on a loaned Walkman on a very turbulent flight to Belfast - it has rightly been described as a milestone in 20th century jazz. I remember playing to a group of spell-bound 9/10 year olds in a Primary school music workshop

  • Portishead -

    Portishead: Dummy
    Every once in while I listen to an album whose orginality leaves me instinctively knowing that music will never be the same - that the goalposts of repetoire have been changed for ever. Dummy is just one of those rare treats

  • Prefab Sprout -

    Prefab Sprout: Andromeda Heights
    In 1997 I escaped for the afternoon from the madhouse of an ordination training residential to the comparative sanity of my friend Tony's studio. During a tea break in a session, Tony said these imortal words " I've just found this amazing album" and my love affair with Andromeda Heights began - sanity was restored and I completed the residental and training.

  • Moloko -

    Moloko: Things to make and do
    Brilliant music within the scope of the dance music genre. Crisp instrumentation, meets cool beats, and the voice of Roisin - how I love Moloko

  • Craig Armstrong -

    Craig Armstrong: Piano Works
    If I were not Tom Allen ( artistically and musically speaking) I would be Craig Armstrong - from my discovery of him through Massive Attack I have loved and admired his work - and Piano Works covers his repetoire in stunning style

  • Joe Cocker -

    Joe Cocker: Sheffield Steel
    The greatest album from the greatest rock intrepreter of them all - genius production meets some of the best songs of all time sung by that voice - I've confess that I have sampled the album to oblivion

  • Paul Simon -

    Paul Simon: Graceland
    Had to be a Paul Simon album and it had to be Graceland. A epoch making album which opened African music to the world but seamlessly combined that music with western rock and pop with songs to die for.

  • Cosmic Rough Riders -

    Cosmic Rough Riders: Enjoy the melodic sunshine
    Glasgow's finest produce the ultimate guitar-song album of pure delight and of a quality that puts Athlete et al in the shade - shame it was two years too early and the lead singer left after this debut album

  • Massive Attack -

    Massive Attack: Blue Lines
    OK so Bristol has launched Portishead, Tricky and Roni Size, but it was the staggering impact of this debut which created a genre in trip-hop and a collective approach to song-writing, band membership which has influenced a generation and spawned so many other deriratives. From the low-fi paranoia of "Five Man Army" and the unrepeatable melancholic splendour of "Unfinished Sympathy", this is a 20th century classic.

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« Easter means eternal change | Main | Good Holiday week »

24 March 2005



First off - don't worry about RSS. It doesn't carry the comments unless you tell it to. And you'd know if you had :-)

Second, thanks for your honesty and courage. Don't let the nasties get you down!

pax et bonum


I'm still quite shocked by what I have read - remember always Tom that people of vision (particularly big people!!)will always be challenging and therefore be threatened - and while some of us find your words and wisdom challenging there has never been any doubt that they reveal the God that you worship. Talk of Gnosticism etc about you is complete crap. Please please don't stop. Have a blessed and not too exhausting Easter - and a good break next week.
Claire and David


It was your evening reflection at Scargill about approaching worship expecting to be 'changed' by God which rescued my faith in being part of a worshipping Community. Any form of worship had become dull and routine - what you made me aware of was that the problem was with me and my view of God - it was a tough message forcefully put - but vital to me and mine.

As Claire says in her comments keep doing it. I am sure that negative comments won't put you off from posting what you believe is right and of God - I hope not. Blessings for Easter - just heard that your Maundy Mass tonight was brilliant.


Thomas Merton

Christian tradition ... is a living and perpetual revolution"
(Seeds of Contemplation, p. 111)

hat tip to Simontsays



I have 'met' you several times through your comments on other blogs and I've always found your comments encouraging and supportive. So I'm sorry that others should comment at you in a hurtful way.

I confess that I was left a little non-plussed as to what change you were referring to in your original post, change is such a huge term and can cover such a multitude of 'sins' :-)

I have a suspicion that were you and I to chat, we would find we disagreed on certain areas. It's funny how firmly we can hold a belief we consider incidental to our relationship with Jesus!

What grieves me, more than words can say, is that the people who abused you were quite likely backing their abusiveness with beliefs I share. I can not put into words the anger I feel that my evangelical faith has been stolen away from me by 'spirit of the age' that pushes party spirit and is keener to stipulate who's outside rather than welcome inside .. actually lets knock sides on the head and journey on together.

Sorry for a long comment, but the increasing viciousness of some of the current divisions between churchmanships is appalling me, and somehow we need to permit differences that add to each other.


Nor do I believe that it is clergy wishful thinking or delusion to suggest that people will be change this Easter through the events of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Vigil and Easter Day. That's not's not to suggest that I keep a score card and rate the worship according to the points for change. Experience shows that some of the call for change from God will not emerge for days, or weeks afterwards. But if I did not believe that by offering worship people are change by God then I think I would cease to be a priest.

Yes, yes, YES.
I will always treasure my first full Holy Week at St John the Divine Kennington...I can remember waking up on the Monday morning and knowing that the whole world was different for me, and that God was finding me a different place in it. Though I'm sure things had been moving beneath the surface long before that, for me that was the start of the journey that brought me to ordination, and I am so very grateful.


Thanks for the messages of support for which I am grateful. One of the problems with responding to comments is that it tends then to detract from the main topic - which is pray and expect that God can bring change in you this Easter. What the change is for God to call and us to listen and discern. What I cannot expect given the state of the Church is that we should simply stay as we are or have been. Faithfulness consists of being willing to change when called - not sticking with what has been. (If that worries you enough to abuse me, rather than challenge or argue with me then I kind of think that proves my point). Thanks again - with blessings to all for Easter.


I might be being a bit thick, Tom, but I can't see anything in your last post which seems to be at all theologically controversial. I can understand why you chose to remove the abusive stuff, but would be interested in knowing their grounds for criticism. Indeed, when it comes to change, some evangelicals (and others) might even question your assertion that 'only God is unchanging'... at least, it seems to me from reading scripture, that the Lord frequently 'condescends' to change in his relationship with humanity.


I don't think that there was anything controversial theologically - but I think that within the Church of England we live incontroversial times ecclesiologically and socially - and some (including three of the erased critics) seem to think that I fail as a priest cos I don't resist these changes which are being "forced upon us" to quote one of them. I think the tone of my article upset others - here was a minister/priest telling people what to expect from God this Easter- hence I think the intermediary charge.

It is central to Christian theology that God is eternal and therefore unchanging - and I agree that some evangelical/protestant theology has been week on this. I would suggest that our relationship with God changes as we meet different aspects/dimensions of an unchanging God. Not sure I have the language on Holy Saturday at 10.35pm - may try a later post to express what I understand about the changelessness of God.


Change is frightening because people percieve it as painful but we cannot grow or have a deepening relationship with God if we don't allow ourselves to be changed by him. However surely 'relationship' implies that things can change on both sides?!

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