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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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13 July 2007


lone parent

you should try saying "yes I'm a christian, yes I'm musical, yes I have a kid... No I'm not married." You might be interested to see that the recruitment drive ceases faster than the speed of light.


Of course there is a sense of recruitment in Jesus' approach to some people - "come and be made fishers of men"; "please get me a drink" - (woman at the well) etc - in this case even before he knows anything else about her....
I have heard it said that people want to be wanted, to feel useful. So maybe this could be a valid approach sometimes?


Yes I have heard those instances presented before - bit I don't accept that they apply - what is different is that this is Jesus entering into their space. The equivalent in my experience would have been for me to ask for something after the service (or perhaps to offer to be "musical") at the end of the service and to be point blank refused.

With a ministry of welcome the initial encounter has to be one of "personal" welcome rather than "what can you do for us".

The transition to "what can you contribute" is a right next step but determined by the needs of the individual in their faith journey, rather than by the needs the Church.

Interestingly I have had three private emails on this post (two sadly from newly retired clergy)who speak about being "pounced on" as soon as they appeared at a new Church following their retirement.


I think that for many churches it is an issue of finances. It seems that a considerable number of parishes are below the contribution expected to retain a vicar, and are expected to increase their giving to an sustainable level for the wider anglican structure.

I don't know how that plays out in other people's churches, but around here that means that there is considerable pressure to get 'paying guests' of all kinds to come to church. The result is totally overworked clergy and a mentality that revolves around getting bums on seats.

It is not that I cannot understand the financial issues - they appear to me to be genuine and real. But really, this is not what church is supposed to be about.


I grew up in a religion that is extremely "recruitment-oriented," and I'm kind of ambivalent about the whole thing. I don't think it's the same thing as authentic community the way Jesus showed us, and I don't even necessarily think it leads to it- the religion in question is famous for explosive growth, but keeps kind of close-mouthed on the number of people who fall away, fall through the cracks, or just stop going to church.


I guess that in the British context you mean a denomination - and the same would be true here. I recall a conversation with a former Vicar of a very "successful" Anglican Church here in the UK who was deeply shocked by the number of key lay people who were no longer associated with this Church when he returned to preach two years after leaving. On reflection he realised and was deeply remorseful for the "turn-over" during his time of ministry with the Church, and the people who had slipped away during that time. I think it is a challenge to most clergy when the Diocese of Manchester reveals that anything up to 25% of people contacted who used to be part of Church say that they would love to be invited back.

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