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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 May 2007



Tom - whilst I support all you say, I do not believe that people should be castigated for not voting when they feel there is nothing for which to vote.

I frequently stand in the ballot booth and cannot force myself to vote for any of the candidates. In my area the BNP is very unlikely to get in - but then I don't know what I would do if they were stronger. Stand myself I suppose.

Tom Allen

You have missed the whole point in the Worth Valley circumstance. There is a vital objective to vote for: that of ensuring that the BNP are not elected(whom you are agree should not be elected).

So at the worst one might just randomly pick another candidate and take one vote from the BNPs slender advantage of 7. A protest of not voting by contrast is in effect a vote for the BNP who will get in on a protest vote against the candidates. As it happens locally there are good candidates from the other parties - the disollusionment is a factor of being the second town/area of a major authority.
We Christians cannot have principles about racist parties and then say "O dear but I don't think any of the others are good enough for my vote either". We have to be practical if we want to have principles and that may mean voting for the candidate we least like!


I hear what you say, but disagree.

When you lend your vote to a candidate, they then spend it on your behalf. So voting for someone as a default for not voting for someone else negates the whole system of voting for a candidate who represents your views.

Our whole system is based on voting on conscience. When we stop doing that, it completely breaks down and politicians start taking our vote as a mandate to enact whatever policies they like.

I'm sorry, but several of my relatives died defending the liberties I enjoy. I therefore take voting extremely seriously. If the candidate does not stand for what I believe are just and right policies, I will not vote for them.


At least in Oakworth you have 3 votes from a choice of 4 sound independent, locally-based candidates for the Town Council, which has just (with the disqualification of 1 BNP cllr and the resignation of another) become a "BNP-free zone" where cllrs can debate and decide issues based on conscience and their belief as to what is right for the village and the town. 2 of the candidates are past Mayors with a strong record of support for community cohesion in Keighley. Please support them today !

Tom Allen

Graham -good to hear from one of the excellent local candidates for our Town Council which as in other areas has benefitted from independent Councillors and is pioneering an approach to local governement which moves beyond party politics. Despite the non-appearence of BNP candidates this time which Graham has explained a good vote is still essential if only to discourage the BNP from re-appearing.

Joe - I would wholly uphold voting on conscience - I would not want it on my conscience that the BNP got in while I had not voted - that is the challenge as a parish priest (with the wellbeing of my parish and wider community at heart) that I offer to others.

Denis, maureen and the nine others - sorry but I do not allow racist rants on this blog - nor do I accept that clergy should not get involved in politics.

The call remains the same, vote for the good of our community - for hope not hate but above all vote.


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