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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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22 November 2006



Really well put Tom - and good questions.


I don't think her case would ever have got as far as it did without the surrounding 'discussion' about Muslim women wearing veils. The whole thing seems a creation of the kind of Christians who think everyone should be Christian, or at least recognise Christianity's supremacy in this 'Christian' country. As you point out there is no obligation on Christians to wear anything that identifies them, and in particular I wonder at the theological dichotomy of her cross of precious metal! I always thought we should be known for our actions, not our bling.


Thanks for the comments and emails. To the latter which are abusive and question my Christian commitment on the basis of this post - I would point out that I am not doubting Ms Eweida's sincerity - I wonder if the it misplaced.


Among the intelligent emails that I have received (as opposed to those which slag and abuse!)is this one which I post as a comment to add to the discussion, and to which I will respond in a future post because it summarises most of the points that others have made in emails:

Hi Tom

I just found your blog about BA and Nadia Eweida. Thanks for raising thoughtful questions.

I totally agree that we must avoid relying on the "Christendom" mindset as a convincing argument. On the other hand, I don't think we should totally discount that argument when dealing with the national "Flag Carrier" airline of a nation with a Christian heritage and an established church.

I wanted to pick up on the point you made in your second paragraph, where you contrast the obligations under other faiths to wear a veil, with the absence of an obligation for Christians to wear a cross. To my mind, that only makes sense if you accept that each religion has some ultimate authority with the right to make policy on these issues. My understanding is that neither the Islam world nor Christianity has such an authority (no I am not an RC). Muslims disagree about the veil. Within each faith there are clearly local traditions concerning the display of religious symbols on one's person and they surely must be respected

For Nadia, wearing her cross is a public declaration of her faith—as it is in many parts of the world. As an Anglo-Egyptian Christian, a visual, Christian identity has special importance; in Egypt, where Christians are heavily persecuted, many Christians have a cross tattooed to their wrist as an irrevocable, public statement of their faith in a society hostile to Christianity — even though this very act may increase the discrimination against them. The cross symbol has power, meaning, and consequences. Those of us who choose not to wear a visual symbol of our faith should remember that for others, the practice is an intensely personal act of worship.

I think it is perfectly justifiable for her to claim that the cross is as important to her as a veil is to a Muslim.

Best wishes

Steve Pendray

Simon Barrow

A sensitive and thoughtful piece, Tom. And good comments, too. It is important, as you say, to avoid making judgments about the individual at the centre of all this. Here's the take that Giles Fraser (and Ekklesia) had on the question of what is being symbolised and embodied: I was rather astonished to see that one recent media report of the archbishops' intervention declared "BA made to bow before the cross". The point of "every knee shall bow" in a biblical sense is that it is about free and joyful eschatological recognition, of course. Incidentally, one BA employee I spoke to last week said that they were shocked at the angry and hateful letters they had received from what she called "self-styled Christians" on this issue. A very sad counter-witness which those who have been getting very 'militant' about this just don't seem to get.


Thanks for the comment and for the link. I couldn't get the link to the Giles Frasers comment to work so I have reposted it here:


I don't think the government should inhibit someones religious beliefs. Our nation was founded on Christian prinicples and it seems we are getting away from that and are promoting diversity in religion while silencing Christians.

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