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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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02 February 2006



Just as the cartoons were published by a small section of Western society, so I trust was the broadcast of the beheading of Western hostages on the internet effected by just a few representatives of the Islamic world.

Who, I ask, has the more right to be upset?

Tom Allen

Kimbo - could I suggest that there is no comparison between the actions of hostage takers (who everyone of good faith would condemn) and the mainstream papers and press of several countries who have published the cartoon pictures - the point is that I was not personally upset by the cartoons but I am not a Muslim - but I am aware of how upset my Muslim friend is. The question for the BBC and others is whether they could have covered the argument without adding to the offence by revealing the offensive pictures which bizarely were originally commissioned for a children's book.


Thanks for the reply Tom.

I agree, there is no comparison and as an ordinary Christian bloke trying to live by our Lord's teaching (and failing badly I might add) it upsets me that so much anti-Western hatred seems to have been stirred up by this. I'm saddened that so many of our Islamic neighbours are so upset by a few "juvenile" (thanks for the adjective Mr Mandelson) pictures.

I'm an amateur cartoonist in my spare time and I've been writing and drawing gags for my parish for about 13 years now. Any human in the bible except Jesus is fair game for me. Humans make mistakes or do daft things. If I can draw (say) stuff like the dove returning to the ark on a surfboard or Marvo the Talking Wonderdog informing the disciples that the Sea of Galilee is "ruff"(OK, I do animals too)..... and those gags prompt people to read the bible references that accompny the jokes, then in my small way I hope I've helped spread the word.

I haven't seen the offending material and expect because of my hobby I would wonder what the fuss is about if I did see them.

Ignoring governments and media lying to us for a momemt, I'm not convinced that the ordinary man in the Middle Eastern street has the same access to "unbiased" reporting that we do.

Whether they're fair or not, televised scenes of angry mobs burning flags are bound to influence opinions of we Westerners.

I just pray that God will defuse things before further damage is done, but I also pray that understanding and recociliation is a two way process. BOTH sides need to understand the other.

Sorry for being so wordy and thanks for letting me express my opinion.

Sara Connoley

I think that you are absolutely right in pointing our the double standards of the Western press, and the absurdity of defending freedom of the press on these grounds. Kimbo seems to regard Jesus as being off limts (why - surely our faith should allows us to cartoon Jesus as well?) and yet not understand why Muslims think that The Prophet should also be off-limits. A classic case of religious double standards by a confessed Christian?


Double standards? I hope not. Setting myself the limit of not drawing God/Jesus/Spirit was one of personal taste, not fear of thunderbolts. As my work is downright pisstaking at times no one could accuse me of having undue reverence for much. Until God stops me though, I'm going to carry on taking the mick out of humans and illustrating their foibles. That includes prophets - OT/NT ones at any rate given my audience.

You're right about one thing though - I don't understand the Muslim reaction. To me it's like the Catholics getting militant if an Islamic paper had a joke about the pope in it.

What outcry was there in the Arab nations when Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds?

Some people on this planet need to get a sense of perspective.

John Martin

Kimbo - in order to understand the Muslim reaction you need to appreciate:
That Muhammad is not a Prophet he is THE Prophet so more in common with how we view Jesus rather than equal to the OT/NT prophets
Yes there was some reaction in the "Arab nations" when Kurds were gassed certainly in Jordan where we lived at the time it heavy news coverage and in Egypt. Saddam was an embarressment to many Arabs/Muslims.
The point for Muslims in the West (where the outcry started) is that the papers who printed the pictures are not Muslim papers they are "national" papers with Muslim readers and citizens who know that it feeds the prejudices of militant Muslims whose reactions they oppose.
In short its not the us and them that you seem to suggest - that that is the sense of perspective which we Christians need to cultivate with our Muslim brothers and sisters in the UK


Good morning to you John.

I did say in my 2nd post replying to Tom that I believe the understanding process should be 2 way, but I appreciate your answer. Believe me, conflict with Islam is a regular topic at our weekly bible study meetings, but I don't understand them yet. It may be worth noting that locally there was a multi-faith get together just before Christmas instigated by the Muslims and it went off well, so we're working at it.

Sara - briefly returning to the bit about me not making a target of Jesus. One of my early influences was Dave Allen and the hysterically funny sketches he performed. Here was a guy who would poke fun at the big chief too and I don't reckon Christianity suffered as a result. It's just my style is different.

Well it's been an interesting debate everyone. If my attempt at sticking up a web link to some of my artwork works maybe you could take a look and see if you get where I'm coming from.

God bless and sayonara. Kimbo.

Carl Lezcano

It seems to me that the Islamic people will look for any reason to commit havoc on the rest of the people.
Well we can see that they found another reason to burn and destroy other peoples property around them.
Don't forget that when the movie 'The Temptation Of Christ' hit the street the christians didn't start rioting and burning down the movie houses or blamed any Jew or Muslim.
I, like many other people, Christian and Jew, have become completely FED UP with the Islamic prople as a whole and their excuses and lies.
Their fairy tale book, the koran, is just an example of how they want to spread their hatred.

They are turning considerate people like myself against them, I'm ashamed to say, but I just get discusted and feel sorry for the inocent people that get their heads lopped off by these animals for any unimportant excuse. They and their whole culture are sick, and the sooner some country blows them off the face of the earth, the better.


There is no such thing as the "Islamic people" - "they" are as diverse and multiculural as the Christian faith which I presume you do have some understanding of. I specifically posted about the experience of one particular Muslim friend - not claiming that he was representative but almost the opposite in his highly westernised British identity. They key point being is that he was deeply shocked and offended by the Cartoons in a way that (having known him for 15 years) I had not anticipated. But he any many Muslims throughout the world would also utterley condemn the violent reactions of his brothers and sisters in the faith. My suggestion the press is playing into the hands of the Muslim fanatics - and perhaps that is the whole rascist point since it provides good stories and simply increases the stereotypes which you have fallen for.

Mohammad Ayub

Any muslim will kill soon which make cartoon of our prophet.

Mad Wolf

Thanks for that very constructive comment Mo. Glad to see you hold dear to the premise that Islam is peaceful. Jesus loves you. You are precious to Him.

Digital Pancakes

Tragic as it and the subsequent loss of life was, I'm glad it wasn't Christians that blew up the mosque in Iraq.


Charlie Hebdo

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