I know you’ve seen this one before. There is nothing new under the sun. Everything is just like the wheel, but reinvented in different sizes, shapes, colours etc.
Talking of unrelated things, Advent seems to have become the season for bad religious memorabilia. Various websites have gone to the trouble of gathering it together:
The young Anglicans in Canada have The Cavalcade of Bad Nativities.
[Update: It turns out that the above Cavalcade of Bad Nativities was inspired by this earlier Cavalcade of Bad Nativities on GoingJesus. To confuse matters, this latest GoingJesus Cavalcade of Bad Nativities seems to feature some nativities from the aforementioned second Cavalcade of Bad Nativities, which in turn used some nativities from the first Cavalcade of Bad Nativities.]
Dean at the Heal Your Church Website is currently on day 3 of 12 Days of Jesus Junk.
…and of course the people who (probably) started it: Ship of Fools: The 12 Days of Kitschmas.
Talking of Ship of Fools, the pictures from their recent ecclesiastical pub crawl following in the steps of the Bishop of Southwark are on line: It’s what we did – the Southwark Pilgrimage. Mrs W and I went along at the end heavily disguised as ourselves so as not to get into the photographs. I came away with a box of Anglican fudge. Not quite sure how.
Finally, another great article on the Ship: Steve Tomkins – When Santa met Darwin.
I’m filing this under ‘Saturday links’. Future generations need never know that today has been a Monday.
The Liverpool Nativity was shown on BBC 3 this evening, and is repeated on BBC 1 on the 23rd of December. [Update: you can watch it here for a while at least - might be UK only, I'm not sure. Thanks Rhys.] I thought it was really good, but I’ll let some others tell you about it as I am suffering from mild cartoon malaise.
This was no cynical re-telling, but a contemporary, serious, politically aware take on the Christmas narrative, writ large as public spectacle. Thousands and thousands had turned out to the Dockside to join the spectacle, performed live throughout the city. What is fantastic about these events is that they appear to tap into the rich Christian root in our heritage – a heritage that I think people are beginning to see is vital to our coherent future, rather than being consigned to our past. I think this could be interpreted as a move into clear post-Christian water, where people are happy to be part of events like this without it being tied to ‘the church’.
The Flashmob Operas, the Manchester Passion, the Margate Exodus and tonight the Liverpool Nativity: all of them affirm the ongoing English love of gathering for a celebration of the deep mysteries which link people, music, story and place. And the latter three events also acknowledge that, as one writer put it this week, “ours is historically a Christian culture.” That writer goes on to share a concern that “children who grow up ignorant of biblical literature are diminished, unable to take literary allusions, actually impoverished,” and a great thing about events like these is that they play a significant part in helping these narratives resurface and be reborn, in the mainstream.
So says Time Out magazine in its special Religious London issue which is on news stands everywhere as long as you are in London. Sorry for being so London-centric again, but it’s just that I don’t have any other capital cities half an hours train ride away.
Here is a sample paragraph from a sample article. In a religious fashion piece the magazine ‘meets the young Londoners making religion hip’. Londoners such as Lizzy B Houston, ‘The Christian Rockabilly’, who says:
I am religious but the word really irks me. It’s about so much more than going to church. It’s a mentality and lifestyle. I have conversations with Jesus throughout the day. However, I do go to church on Sundays. I like the Glorious Undead Church in O’Reilly’s pub, Kentish Town, where kids who don’t like the Anglican style go in their punk, goth or metal gear.’
I first found this on the weblog of Jonny Baker.
Has anyone gone to the bother of pointing out the position and orientation of the Queen’s Profile on the 2nd Class “Madonna & Child” Stamp?
Rather unusual (unique perhaps) to this stamp. The Queen’s profile is on the left facing right. This is not due to the available space — it could easily be on the right, facing left as is usual. Except that would entail the Queen looking at the back of Mary’s head as opposed to its current unusual position which is facing the Christ Child — as is fitting for He who is King of Kings perhaps?
Isn’t it odd — the Royal Mail is subtlely spreading the message of Christ at Christmas and many in the Church are busy spreading a bunker mentality more akin to the Daily Mail (sorry ;-> ). Perhaps the “Royal” in Royal Mail is more of David’s Line than Elizabeth’s.
Update: The Church Times reported on the Christmas stamps hoax story today: Church Times – Stamps rumour countered
I’ve posted about the Sustrans Connect2 project a couple of times over the last week – I’m very pleased to say that it has won the competition for £50million which will go towards new cycle and walking paths.
From the Sustrans Connect 2 site:
£50 million won and we couldn’t have done it without you!
This is fantastic news, and thanks to everyone who voted for Sustrans’ Connect2 in the People’s £50 Million Lottery Giveaway, and for your help in winning £50 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund for Sustrans to invest in walking and cycling UK-wide. This really is an amazing achievement for our charity and the many local authority and other partners with whom we will work on Connect2. We simply couldn’t have done it without you and your votes.
We start work on delivering Connect2 in January 2008. Our local authority partners are poised ready to go, and will be adding matched funding from their own transport and other budgets to the £50 million from the Big Lottery Fund. This is a five year project, and in total we have already identified nearly £100 million of local authority funding to support Connect2, and we are working hard to bring even more funding to the project so that we can ensure as many people as possible benefit from Connect2.
We will continue to update you on progress during 2008. In the meantime can I take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year and to thank you again for supporting Sustrans’ Connect2.
John Grimshaw MBE
Founder and Chief Executive Sustrans
This is the video for the Sustrans Connect2 project which tells you a bit more about it:
You can find a scheme close to where you are (in the UK) by clicking on the map.
Here’s a large high resolution version you can print onto paper for wrapping purposes. I’m afraid it isn’t A4, but rather a long thin shape.
At last a few news reports are coming out asking people not to believe the Christmas stamps hoax e-mail that is going around.
- | Diocese of Lichfield | Press Releases | Christians urged to “Stamp out” Royal Mail Christmas hoax |
- Christians urged not to be duped by Royal Mail Christmas hoax | Ekklesia
- Royal Mail ‘is not phasing out religious Christmas stamps’
- Christians urged to ‘stamp out’ Royal Mail Christmas hoax
- Premier: Post Office denies dumbing down Christianity
- Hoax e-mail warning over religious Christmas stamps :: Inspire Magazine
I’ve asked the Royal Mail to put something on their news releases page which would make life easier for us hoaxbusters.
Meanwhile the hoax continues to exist on various websites:
The Facebook group I mentioned has been edited to add the Post Office rebuttal, but another (very small it must be said) group still has the made-up information. This latter group claims that the Venerable Trevor Jones, Archdeacon of Hertford is the source of the e-mail, but I suspect he just pressed his Archdeaconly forward button.
I have written to Chris Sugden of the Anglican Main Stream to tell him that his post printing the hoax information is incorrect and should be abolished, [Update: post now removed]
but he has not taken it down and issued a correction as of yet. Unfortunately this means that other people are still coming across the hoax – take this forum thread as an example (contains views some may find offensive). The untruths also go uncorrected on the Anglican Main Stream forum.
Let us be strong and not give up in the anti-hoaxing battle. Together we can convince Anglican Mainstream and various Archdeacons of the errors of their ways.
[Exits left as music plays: Who you gonna call? Hoaxbusters...]