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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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17 December 2006



Golly, that is a fierce rebuttal by Tom Wright. Steve Tilley, on his blog "Mustard Seed Shavings", has also done a thoughtful critique and reading between the lines of this 'covenant'.

I am so grieved by what is going on. Grieved, as someone who has grown faithfully within the Evangelical tradition of the C of E, that 'my' tradition is being stolen to create division rather than disciples.

Reading the 'covenant' I find myself in sympathy with many of it's points. I suspect that it is not only evangelicals who are playing high stakes, political games for the C of E, but I see difference as a chance for dialogue, disagreement as a reason for debate and grace. I do not see difference as a reason for bullying and threat.

Twenty or more years ago, when evangilicals were politically less powerful than we are now, "The Myth of god Incarnate" was published. Leading Anglican thinkers were disputing the Divinity of Jesus. There was no covenant then, no threat to leave then - a few protests but that's all. Now the situation is different. The evangelical constituency is rich and politically strong. If we choose to do so, we can create some serious damage to the CofE.

Would that be grace? Is that the action of a apprentice of Jesus? Or is it a nasty, brutish, bullying action of someone who doesn't mind who they hurt?

Tom Allen

Interesting Caroline your thoughts on myth of God Incarnate - I don't think there is any parallel - the individuals involved were not leading Anglican thinkers/leaders - they were by an large academic theologians thinking allowed in the wider Church which was oblivious to what was being thought and discussed within the academic world. I don't think it was in any way representative.

The point about power and money is well made - many years ago a boss of mine who went onto to a Diocesan bishop and leading evangelical thinker said that the Evangelical wing would never achieve real power in the Church of England becuase sooner or later they would start falling out with each other. Are his words prophetic? I think the only saving grace is that this group seem not to represent those that they claim. I have heard this morning at a meeting that two members of Anglican Mainstream have decided to resign. Some interesting comments on AM's use of numbers and statistics here:


I suspect there have been deeper rumblings for a while.

As it was expressed to me, some of the larger - and often charismatic - churches are questioning the value of being part of a wider church heirarchy.

This is just the spark that lights the fuse.

Tom Allen

Hmmm not sure of the link with the larger Charismatic churches which seem to be becoming more broad-minded and actually getting more involved with the structures - HTB and London Diocese spring to mind and the AM consituency is still rather suspicious of those emotional charismatics.Conservative evangelicalism has not really be touched by renewal. The issue about share for example is more about how much they pay and how it is subsequetly spent- rather than about the issue of share and diocese per se.

Yes of course the issues have been there for many years within the conservative evangelical world.

As for lighting fuses within the Church of England I think the "covenant" may well actually be the arson attack which brings our the heavy weight evangelicals who call the signaturies to heel?

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