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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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« Chair hanger | Main | Good Friday invite »

20 March 2008



appreciate the insight. makes sense of my regular easter tiredness, no matter what the shape of the easter services/workload.



Hi Steve
Thanks for your comment - A very happy Easter to you and yours!

The good old C of E has a long tradition of insisting that parish clergy have the Sunday and week after Easter as a statutory holiday. I guess our predecessors realised the "toll" that Easter week takes.

He is Risen He is Risen Indeed



yeah, i am aware of the sunday after easter being "low sunday." but that always seemed strange to me.

easter is the claim of life, embodied life, to the full, and then clergy have a week off? can't get my head around that one,


Tom Allen

A quiet time and a time of rest (hence Low Sunday) and returning to normal (holidays and back to work) kind of mirrors the biblical record - the disciples didn't immediately kick into " We're Christians" mode - in fact they went back to ordinary life and did not seem to have any expectations about the significance of having seen the "Risen Lord" - the fisherman seem to have gone back to work. Only gradually did it emerge that Jesus had a continuing agenda for them to be "The Church". I personally use this time till Pentecost to be more reflecting and low key - though this year it will be about setting up for the move and new role!


thanks tom. i thought the more ordinary, reflective stuff was actually the point of the "ordinary" sundays and was struck last year by resurrection as a "season" ie not a oncer, but an ongoing experience.

but hey, i'm just a baptist,


Tom Allen

In contemporary Anglican liturgical thinking (Common Worship etc in the Church of England)then Eastertide is an ongoing season which is a time to explore the various experiences of the "representative" disciples which are a rich source of faith reflection (Thomas who struggles for faith without physical proof, Emmaus where Christ is recognised in the breaking of bread etc.

I tend to think of the Eastertide season as a opportunity to explore the diverse ways that people can experience a relationship with Jesus.

This leads leads up to Pentecost which is the "equipping" event in the Church's year. As the Bishop of Salisbury (probably the lead English Bishop on contemporary liturgy) say the problem with Pentecost is that churches tend to celebrate it as an "internal jamboree" rather than as a commissioning to go out and live the faith in the wider community.

What delights me is how the liturgical year is becoming something explored and celebrated by many denominations who would previously have not "used' any pattern other than the ministers - which opens up a common framework which we can explore together.

In the UK with Methodists and the United Reformed Church this has a particularly missional slant - which is reflected in some individual Baptist Churches - so being a Baptist is a huge plus in my view.

I am currently researching/writing some material on " missional" developments in the Catholic Church in the UK - they are perceived (unfairly?) by the predominately Protestant Missional/Emerging movements to be slow to come to the table. In fact as recent elections and appointments to senior Catholic roles in the UK illustrate there is a big institutional change going on - not least in the appointment of Wilfred McGreal as Prior Provincial of the Carmelite Order in the UK.


thanks Tom. At Opawa we often use pentecost to explore the spirit in the world, not the church. this year (southern hemisphere note) we are looking to do some walking of our community - looking for signs of Spirit.

and i like to think of it not being pentecost day, but a season, just like eastertide,

be fascinated to read what you find re catholics. i have experienced some aspects of anglo-catholic alt.worship in UK in 2001,


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