A splendid comedy line from Ruth Gledhill yesterday on the ‘secret Eucharist’ story:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, today presided at a ‘secret’ eucharist for the Clergy Consultation, as we reported that he would back in September.
Meanwhile on various conservative websites there is much jumping up and down and gnashing of garments over the story. The irony, of course, is that by reading the vitriolic commenting one begins to understand why the organisers of this Eucharist would want it to be secret. Simon of Thinking Anglican fame has done some links so that you and I don’t have to.
I’ve been to quite a few secret Eucharists in my time. In fact there’s probably one near you. A small group huddled together at 10am on a Thursday morning in a cold church building undiscovered by the wider world.
Here’s a shocking supplementary fact to discuss near the water cooler: a large percentage of the communion services I have attended during my lifetime haven’t even had an ordained priest present, let alone doing the celebrating. You read it here first.
Posted by Dave at 9:49 am on November 30, 2007 and filed under Anglican goings-on, Cartoons, Church, Religion.
Today I am preparing for the Church House Bookshop late night shopping (’til 6.30) evening. I will be taking a large cartoon and a portable easel.
This is the poster in case you have no idea what I’m on about:
I’m under no illusions that anyone will be flocking from far and wide because I will be there, but hopefully some people will flock for the 10% off and the seasonal refreshments. It will be good to loiter and chat with people anyway.
Posted by Dave at 10:33 am on November 29, 2007 and filed under Cartooning, Talks.
I’m at my parents’ house in Wales for a day or two – hence no diagrams as I didn’t bring any means to make them appear on the internet. Normally I use a reconditioned tin-opener, a broom handle and an A4 sheet of paper with a knot in it.
Talking of diagrams and technology, I have a question. I need to think about getting some new software for editing cartoons and I thought you’d be the people to ask. Now, I know I ask you things like this all the time, but you are so good at answering that it seems a shame not to. I hope you don’t mind too much.
Let me start from the beginning. At the moment I use a splendid little programme called ‘Microsoft Image Editor’. It is a very good programme for doing what I do – scanning and editing black and white line drawings. In particular I find the interface far more intuitive than Photoshop or ‘The Gimp’ (an open source version of Photoshop) and it makes the whole ‘editing of drawings’ process much quicker than using those aformentioned programmes.
It is, unfortunately, a deeply unfashionable programme to use in the black and white drawings industry. I endure much scorn from my peers whenever I mention it and there is much tutting and shaking of heads behind (and indeed in front of) my back. In the light of this constant hounding (and for other less interesting reasons) I must now find a new image-editing programme to use.
This is what I need it to do:
- Scan A4 sized black and white drawings using an HP scanner (I don’t want to use the software that came with the scanner as it is rubbish)
- Edit the images (which at this stage are usually about three-thousand-and-something pixels by two-thousand-and-something pixels) getting rid of blemishes and numerous errors
- Move misaligned bits of the drawing hither and thither
- Make badly bits of drawings look as if they were supposed to be that way
- Make the drawing the required dimensions
- Save the drawing into jpeg and gif formats (feel free to lecture me about pngs)
- Save the drawing into different sizes for the website and blog etc
I have used Photoshop, but found that:
(a) It doesn’t get on with my scanner. I’m willing to buy a new scanner, but I’d need to know that Photoshop would get on with it.
(b) It is very slow compared with my beloved Microsoft programme. Perhaps that is because I’ve used it a lot less, but it still seems laborious in comparison.
(3) I experienced other miscellaneous problems that frustrated me at the time which I have now forgotten about. These were almost certainly down to user inexperience and idiocy.
I know that Illustrator is widely used in the ‘black and white drawings’ sector. But it is dashed expensive. But sometimes expensive works out cheaper in the long run.
No, I’m not getting a Mac.
Any advice on the programmes you use for editing images would be most welcomed. Their ability to do things to black and white line drawings in particular is especially of interest. Thanks in advance for any replies – they really are appreciated. I’ll probably have some follow up questions to ask too, so if you do comment do check back.
Posted by Dave at 8:12 pm on November 27, 2007 and filed under Technical.
This cartoon has been uploaded to the main CartoonChurch.com site along with a high resolution version for re-use.
Click here to see all 12 of the cartoons from the book that I have posted on the main site.
Posted by Dave at 8:23 am on November 26, 2007 and filed under Cartoons, New CartoonChurch cartoons, Religion.
I have posted this cartoon on the main CartoonChurch.com site so that you can publish it elsewhere subject to the usual licence. It is taken from The Dave Walker Guide to the Church.
I am fully aware that this cartoon comes far too late for church magazine editors, who will have had to have got their advent cartoons together weeks ago.
I am also aware that this cartoon comes far too early for purists, who will no doubt inform me that Advent does not start until the 2nd of December and that bloggers should not yet be posting about it.
I am hoping to appeal to that large and influential group, the purist church magazine editors, for whom the timing of the posting of this cartoon is a happy compromise.
Posted by Dave at 6:37 pm on November 25, 2007 and filed under Cartoons, Church, New CartoonChurch cartoons, Religion.
This is not that interesting, but then it is Friday and none of you are reading anyway. Happy Thanksgiving, by the way, to readers from the USA.
Blog comments. As I mentioned the other day I’ve been having some problems knowing what to allow and what not to allow on the SPCK threads. There is much righteous anger which I’d like to allow, but on the other hand I don’t want to get into trouble. I’m still in the process of writing a clearer comment policy which should make the boundaries a bit clearer.
The other issue I face at the moment is comment spam. Lots and lots and lots of it. A few months ago I put some miraculous measures into place which halved the amount of spam I get overnight. I can’t tell you what those were in case the spammers are reading. Unfortunately the situation with spam has, over the last 10 days in particular got significantly worse. I’d say I now average well over one spam comment a minute – at times it is about 100 an hour. I’ve always accepted that wasting hours scrolling through spam is just a part of writing a blog you have to live with, but the amount of time it takes to go through them all is beginning to get ridiculous. I have reactivated the ‘Akismet’ anti spam device, which does a very good job of not letting very much spam though at all. The problem with it is that I have found that it marks a reasonable number of legitimate comments as spam too, meaning that you still have to go through all of the spam comments. I’m not alone in this unfortunately.
As I see it there are 3 options for the Cartoon Blog comments:
- Allow comments as they are, but we must all accept that the Akismet device will eat about 5-10% of them, so those ones will never see the light of day
- Make everyone fill in one of those CAPTCHA things – in other words a series of numbers or letters that you, the commenter, have to type in.
- Give you the option to register, so that if you are logged in you can be sure your comment will get through. I know some people don’t like having to register for more and more things, so I’d still like to make it optional if I go this route.
Any thoughts welcomed. Which option do you find best on your blog? (As a side issue I’d also be interested to know whether certain blog platforms perform better then others when it comes to comment spam. Do you Blogger / Typepad / Movable Type users find that your anti-comment-spam measures work for you?)
Meanwhile other bloggers in the UK Christian sort of world are debating whether to have comments at all. Adrian Warnock has done away with comments, owing to the amount of time it takes to moderate them. Peter Kirk sees this as a refusal to be accountable, and a debate has sprung forth in his comment section and also at Methodist Dave Warnock’s blog. Dave is an unrelated Warnock, in case you were wondering. See also Dave’s post ‘Do blog comments work?‘.
All in all a bit of a kerfuffle, but there are some interesting points being made for those who are interested in such things.
In the meantime if any comments posted here don’t appear after 12 hours or so send me an e-mail and I’ll try to fish them out of the fiery comment furnace.
Posted by Dave at 10:19 am on November 23, 2007 and filed under CartoonChurch progress, Mundane, Technical.
A pastor from Norfolk has got himself into trouble by putting evangelistic messages in plastic bottles which then drifted back onto the beach causing an environmental hazard and angering dog walkers. The slightly out-of-date story is on Ekklesia, though it originally appeared in the Metro and the Yorkshire Evening Post. From the latter:
In Norfolk, Pastor Leslie Potter hit on an ingenious short-cut to spread the word of God. Unlike missionaries of old who travelled the globe to get their message across, Pastor Potter put his religious ramblings in a bottle. Not just one but more than 50 plastic drinks bottles and he launched them in to the sea from Gorleston’s blue flag beach.
But the forces of nature were pitted against his mass religious message armada. No sooner had it launched than the bottles were blown back on to land by strong easterlies.
Now the Pastor has escaped, apparently, the wrath of the council’s environmental rangers but he faced what some would consider a worse fate – the displeasure of two women dog walkers.
I quite enjoyed Pastor Potter’s line: “I’m sorry – they were supposed to end up in Holland, France and Germany.” One wonders what language the notes were in and why he ignored Belgium.
My advice to all would-be nautical evangelists is to keep things environmental and ethical. Carve your message on a fairly-traded block of ice – that sort of thing.
Posted by Dave at 7:46 pm on November 22, 2007 and filed under Cartoons, Religion.
I am naive enough to think that people from opposite ends of spectrums and other sides of fences can get along and eat tea and cake together.
I was interested to see, for instance, that Archbishop Desmond Tutu is to be the President of the Church Army. Their Chief Executive, ex-youthworker Mark Russell talks about it on his blog. I make no judgement about where the Church Army stand theologically because I don’t know enough about them, but all the same I was mildly surprised to hear that they’d teamed up with Archbishop Tutu, who is known for being on the more liberal side of things in the current Anglican goings-on.
I was surprised, but pleased. It is good to see people working together and getting on with the important things rather than getting bogged down in the current wrangles.
Posted by Dave at 6:14 pm on November 21, 2007 and filed under Anglican goings-on, Cartoons, Church, Religion.
The Echo has the story of the new papal tractor which has been built down the road from here in Basildon. A New York Times report has a few more details.
The tractor is a gift from Fiat, who own New Holland. The tractor took two days to make. Normally they can put one together in about ten minutes but this one has special features – a hint of gold and the coat of Papal arms.
The tractor plant is a well known landmark in these parts. It is next door to the Festival Leisure Park (known locally as ‘Bas Vegas’) where the young people go ‘night clubbing’ and the like.
Discussion topic for groups:
- Tell us about the time you sent the Pope some kind of vehicle. Did he seem pleased?
For individual reflection:
- Spend some time quietly thinking about tractors.
Posted by Dave at 10:05 am on November 20, 2007 and filed under Cartoons, Ecumenical matters, Religion.
There is to be a late night shopping event at Church House Bookshop in London next week at which I will be appearing. Readers of the Church Times may have seen the advertisement which lists me as one of a selection of ‘seasonal treats’ along with ’10% off’ and ‘refreshments’.
Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that the ‘late night’ event finishes at 6.30pm. I realise that this might not seem late to some people, but I have to be in by 8pm back in Essex or I will be late for my dinner.
You will also observe that there will be ‘a special cartoon taster’. I do not know what this will be yet. Perhaps I will be showing some drawings, or maybe I will perform a song or a short play. We do not yet know. I have listed this post under ‘talks’ just in case talking is involved. If you have any requests for the cartoon taster please put them in the comments. Please note that I will not do liturgical dance for health reasons.
Do come along if you’re in London. The Church House Bookshop is a good shop, and I am not just saying that because they described me as a seasonal treat.
Posted by Dave at 1:25 am on November 19, 2007 and filed under Cartooning, Talks.
The province of the Anglican Communion known as the Southern Cone has been in the news over the last week. “Where and what is the Southern Cone?” I hear you cry. Well, the province has no website as far as I can see, meaning that I had to use my imagination somewhat:
In the real world of course the Southern Cone is an area in South America including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. The Anglican Communion website has a page with a map. By the way if any Southern Cone folks are reading – click here to see how you could make yourselves a website in about three quarters of an hour – it will save your poor Primate having to make major announcements via the comments sections of other people’s blogs.
So, why is the Southern Cone in the news? Well, in summary, the province has offered to look after dioceses in the Episcopal church in the USA which are not happy being in the Episcopal church in the USA. The Telegraph had this article about it last week, and the Times this one. (It might be noted that Ruth Gledhill’s arch-nemesis Andrew Brown had some things to say about this latter piece.)
Several aspects of this strike me as quite interesting:
One. This isn’t only about homosexuality. It is about women too. As the bishop of one of the dioceses has said:
…Our plan is not only to disassociate, then, from the Episcopal Church, but to officially, constitutionally re-affiliate with an existing orthodox province of the communion that does not ordain women to the priesthood.
Two. The breakaway dioceses are, if I understand things correctly, from the extreme high anglo-catholic ‘Forward in Faith’ side of the church. Think incense and very tall candles. On the other hand the Southern Cone province is deeply Evangelical. Think clergy in suits and ties and 1970s choruses.
One wonders how they will decide upon the order of service, dress code and music when they get together for big services and other such occasions. I think the fairest way would be to write all of the elements of the service on small slips of paper and get each side to pick in turn. I’d explain further, but it’s lunchtime.
Who knows, perhaps my Southern Cone diagram with a big dividing line across the middle wasn’t so wide of the mark after all.
Posted by Dave at 2:45 pm on November 15, 2007 and filed under Anglican goings-on, Cartoons, Religion.
Thefts of precious metals from church roofs is on the increase in a huge way, according to this report from the BBC in the East of England and this suspiciously similar report from the BBC in the West Midlands. The reports talk about a new kind of water, ‘Smartwater‘, which can be made to rain on the heads of unsuspecting criminals or used to coat precious roof metals with DNA.
One presumes it does not wash off like normal water. I’m sure they’ve thought of that. It seems like a good idea. It probably wouldn’t hurt though to sprinkle on a bit of Holy Water whilst you’re doing it.
The Oxford Diocese website explains it a bit more here, and the Ecclesiastical Insurance have posters like the one over to the left there here.
We can all do our bit to help. I think, for instance, that it would be a good idea to set up a rota so that someone is watching every single church roof in the country (and indeed the world) continually from now on for ever. If anyone would like to take responsibility for organising this rota please say so in the comments. You can put me down for a ten minute stint on Thursday.
Posted by Dave at 7:14 pm on November 13, 2007 and filed under Current events, Religion.