Wednesday 31 October 2012

Ending New Archbishop Deadlock

Peter Levite: It's time for us to hear from our religious affairs corespondent again, the well-loved Lesley Bloke. Have you had any religious affairs, Lesley? Hah!
Lesley Tilgate: Peter, you know full well that my name changed and no I have not had any religious affairs.
Peter Levite: Or any other kind of religion either?
Lesley Tilgate: Peter, don't talk to me like you talk to your weatherman. I'm here for serious comment not your kind of level two NVQ banter.
George Hudson: I get it all the time. Just waiting, carry on. He has an eye for the ladies, Lesley.
Peter Levite: What's this about utter deadlock then in not getting a new Archbishop? You still haven't got one.
Lesley Tilgate: I'm not sure I'm going to treat you seriously, Peter. Why are you shouting?
George Hudson: And he can't keep his hands and arms still.
Lesley Tilgate: I can only hear him from here. Yes, we are waiting still.
Peter Levite: The Coptics, they'll cop one. Hah! They vote for three and a blind child comes out and chooses the new pope. Their Pope died not long ago, the Pope Choochoopuffpuffshoo. No problem replacing him. Why can't the Church in England break its deadlock like that?
Lesley Tilgate: I have an exclusive, Peter. It will.
Peter Levite: Are we hearing this here first?
Lesley Tilgate: That's the meaning of the word exclusive, and it's the word on the street. You are talking to the number one insider here.
Peter Levite: You have your exclusive sources near to the Lambeth Walk.
Lesley Tilgate: If you go there you find a shoe-shine boy outside, and he gets told everything by the clergy going in who have a bit of a buff-up on their footwear. So I have a bit of a buff-up too and pay the extra for the word on the street.
Peter Levite: We have something similar outside the City Hall. So what's the exclusive, the ending of the deadlock?
Lesley Tilgate: The word on the street is that we are going to have a giant tombola. It's costed £40 million so far to come to a deadlock and therefore the plan is to make this extension of the process self-financing and also more open.
Peter Levite: How many tickets can there be? There can only be a small number- one per candidate.
Lesley Tilgate: Books per candidate, Peter, and each person pays a pound and has a numbered ticket, choosing their favoured person. So there'll be a democratic element, because there might be more tickets for one candidate than another. The money is still on Justin R. Ewing and the money will literally be on Bishop Ewing. All the tickets go into one big barrel at the Lambeth Walk Palace and a paralympian gold medal winner will turn the barrel, put her or his arm in if he's got one and pull a ticket out.
Peter Levite: What does the person who bought the ticket win?
Lesley Tilgate: Dinner with the Archbishop-elect in which he will discuss his strategy for being the next Archbishop.
Peter Levite: Is that it?
Lesley Tilgate: It is paid for out of funds, Peter. These are austere times; the profits go towards the Archbishop's expenses.
Peter Levite: Pity we can't chose the weather forecasters this way.
George Hudson: Roll out the barrel, Peter. Barnsley station is a bit of a dive, isn't it. Used to have a line all the way to your neck of the woods, Peter, the direction of today's wind.
Peter Levite: Thank goodness they closed it, except for the high level line here. I suppose you've been looking at Sandy.
Lesley Tilgate: Have you finished with me?
Peter Levite: That's a leading question - yes, for now; goodbye, until we hear who's been pulled out of the barrel.
George Hudson: We'll get its remains over the North Pole with dreesed lightnin'.
Peter Levite: Let's hope the trains keep running. News time, and what about our exclusive? No?

Monday 29 October 2012

Statement of Non-Liability

Having had a dream, I need to make a statement to the world.

I have not come into the possession of many papers of art and legal matters and I have not come under the liabilities of a leading female artist in New York and Cardiff - there were maps of Cardiff showing areas of liability. I haven't the resources to withstand the liability. Particularly of concern was the paper with the word "equivalent" on it which meant not only could I not copy her material but not do anything like it or even opposite to it that was of the same kind. It may be a way open to join in with the artistic community, but the dangers are too apparent.

Having made this statement, I might sleep more easily tomorrow.

Saturday 27 October 2012


I enjoy receiving queries based on my website and answering them. I received this and provided this reply which may or may not have been useful:

Dear Dr.Worsfold,

I hope you don't mind me sending you an email. I study sociology and one of my fields of interest is Max Weber's Protestant Ethic. During a search on the internet I came across your homepage, which is really helpful. I am also interested in general sociology of religion and I learned a lot from your site. It's really great that you made this website. Since you know so much about sociology of religion I thought maybe you can give me an opinion.

What I wanted to ask you is wether you know Rodney Stark's publication "Victory of Reason" where Stark also criticizes Max Weber's Protestant Ethic thesis and openly calls it wrong a couple of times. I have just finished reading Stark's book and I'm not sure what to think about it. Stark's explanation sounds senseful and when you hear it then it all fits together and it looks like there was no reason at all for a Protestant Ethic which motivated the people and broke their traditionalism. I'd like to know what is your opinion on Stark's book? Do you think that Stark has disproven Weber or made the Protestant Ethic obsolete? In case you haven't read it I tried to give a short summary below:

According to Stark christianity is indeed a major force in the development of the western world and that's because christianity encourages the belief in reason. He lists famous scientists like Descartes,Newton,Galileo which were all christians and believe in a creator. The rise of science is on outgrowth of christian doctrine according to Stark.

The christian doctrine of free will encourages individualism and that only christianity emphasizes human rights and individualism while other religions only recognize the collective. And individualism puts the focus on the own actions of man.

Stark criticizes Weber buy saying that in the catholic culture work has been appreciated long before the time of the Protestant Ethic. Stark thinks that capitalism existed first in Italy in "full power" and then expanded to the northern countries, but only to those countries with enough freedom. He says that freedom and the right to personal property are immensly important and that the right to property was also a result of theologians who concluded from the bible that every human has the right to his own property. He also links technical innovations to freedom cause innovations only take place when there's freedom and property rights.

In short he says that christianity did not encourage capitalism through the Protestant Ethic but instead it encouraged freedom, individualism and it spoke in favor of commerce. He also says that it was not catholicism which impeded capitalism in France,Spain and Italy but in reality it was tyranny/lack of freedom, like for example through guilds which restricted free labor.

Best regards, M  W

I replied:

I think Stark is wrong for a larger reason. The argument goes round a bit so I'll try and make it.

Weber's Protestant Ethic is rather a Calvinist Ethic, based on people looking for clues about their own salvation already decided by God. They were committed to godly living (they didn't have to be after all - a few said seeing as God has already decided their salvation they may as well live as they please). So as a result they didn't consume but lived frugally, saved, invested and made lots of money. Thus the spirit of capitalism derived from Protestantism in this form. Further, there was a kind of inner rationality and drive to this Protestantism that was different from the timeless symbolisms and superstitions say in Catholicism and other world religions.

The problem is that in historical terms that Calvinists were too few in numbers. Also they may have made lots of money but it doesn't make them capitalists. I live in a house owned by the Leonard Chamberlain Trust, and he was a Calvinist who had pots of money, but he was a merchant and property owner before capitalism and the big ideological shift. Yes, they were in guilds and their first worship houses were based on guild buildings. Capitalists were likely to be both non-conformists and C of E in Britain, and across the religion in Europe. Capitalism is in part a result of the Scottish and French Enlightenment ideologically, and the rise of the middle class from the guilds who could make more money through their technological edge.

So Stark is right. But he is also wrong. The point about Weber is he has come up with an example as how ideology and belief can motivate someone's economic action, and this is in contrast to Marx who says that all ideology is a product of the stage reached in the ownership of technology. Weber's example is feeble and too close to his own family, whereas the general point is a good one.

So in as far as Christianity as a belief system encourages individualism and scientific endeavour (did it?), Stark is actually supporting the wider point being made by Weber. In general an argument can be made that those who made a scientific breakthrough were at some tension to Christianity as well as part of it - Newton was a unitarian (small u) who also believed in the Bible as the magic container of secret numbers. But he wasn't a Calvinist. Nevertheless ideas carried their own impact on to the economic sphere.

The counter argument has to be that capitalism was preparing itself all these ideas as it changed, and was a reinforcing circle. That's like looking into a glass darkly - it is evidence-free speculating.

Having provided such a reply I could see how it contained its own critique, so further wrote, in a later email:

You do realise, I hope, that in making reference to ideological shifts and technological edges (and ownership) that the reply above does allow for the Marxist view!

By the way, Stark is an apologist for Christianity, and trying to theologise into sociology a 'greater' Weberian view than the specific one Weber provided (which was my point).

Friday 26 October 2012

Checking Violence to Animals

Following on from Rev. Prof. Andrew Linzey asking for a register of animal offenders, a book in partnership with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics is arguing that animal cruelty crimes should be treated with the same seriousness as crimes against humans.

Those who carry out animal cruelty crimes are so often the same people who are violent to others including partners and children. The call is that animal cruelty should be treated according to its seriousness and similar to that to humans. To prevent one is also to prevent the other happening; Andrew Linzey has commented that to allow animal cruelty unchecked is to make human living more unsafe. Professor Eleonora Gullone, Associate Professor in Psychology at Monash University, Australia makes the argument in Animal Cruelty, Antisocial Behaviour, and Aggression: More Than A Link, published at the end of this month.

Her research areas include emotional development and regulation, the emotional development of children and adolescents, including empathy development, antisocial behaviour and animal cruelty. Professor Gullone has published more than 100 articles in internationally renowned journals.

Animal Cruelty, Antisocial Behaviour, and Aggression: More Than A Link is published on 31 October in the U.K. GBP 55.00 and 27 November in the US priced USD 85.00 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Fred Brown the Illiberal

Sunday involved for me a reminder by the service taker (pictured) about Fred Brown. I was asked to prepare Salvation Army type music and indeed I did, although little by them in fact.
That it was about Major Fred Brown in particular was interesting because I knew something about him. This was a chap in The Salvation Army in 1970 who tried to be their John Robinson and was treated rather more directly - removed of his duties and later dismissed from the Salvation Army entirely. John Robinson ended up in Cambridge relative academic obscurity. Fred Brown was also trying to be a Harvey Cox in the meaning of secular.

The rather long reading in the service from Secular Evangelism reminded me that young people up to 1970 were undergoing a change in perspective and yet they knew, he said, all the biblical stories. Had he written the book today, he would find an absence of young people and, of course, they don't even know those stories.

From the very beginning, the Salvation Army with its populist militarism and pop music of the day - brass bands - made an appeal to the working class that resulted in only fracturing off a small segment of the respectable (upward viewing) working class. Today it has become a religious anomaly, out of time and place. It retains its social reputation through charitable work but religiously it is an echo of its former self.

The idea of secular Christianity is that Christianity is still true, but it is hidden as Church and all its salvation core is to be found in the actual busy lives of urban people. So an anonymous Christ is redemptively at work. There is a sense in which the Barth-Bonhoeffer and later Death of God line is not liberal, but indeed a secular low evangelical existence. The liberal version would be the Robinson stress on Tillich mixed with Bultmann and then Bonhoeffer, where there are lots of questions asked. The 60s and 70s people pushed the idea that busy, urban people didn't ask questions but got on with things.

The problem is that invisibility, never mind changes of metaphor, involve all sorts of compromises and shifts. Is work or meaningful activity really prayer? Is sin social and corporate, in the main, trapping people into unavoidable compomises? Is being religionless necessarily being political? Sometimes a secular Christian's view of God is simply an active Good, trying to avoid metaphors from below such as Tillich's Ultimate Goodness. Now, Fred Brown as that Robinson figure in his Faith Without Religion, SCM (1971) has a chapter on 'Our Ultimate Concerns' (128-139) but it is not clear that Brown looks from below in terms of a secular person religious questioning.

This brand of theology hasn't really survived, except as a diversion into literary biblical conserving postmodernism. The claim was that the whole Christian thing could happen in the secular, but one wondered whether there had to be a supernatural realm still operating that simply was unobserved and unobservable. Karl Barth had it that way as one-way revelation, but then for him culture was Godless and religionless, whereas these folks saw the actual secular as God-worked. Jesus may have been human and pointed away from himself, but they were still having this person who was uniquely doing redemptive activity, and that involves some sense of other existence beyond the secular! Brown in his 'Our Ultimate Concerns' chapter states:

Only from within a human relationship of love and forgiveness is it possible to glimpse the reality of God's love and forgiveness, a relaity which is admittedly filled out by Jesus Christ, but one which clearly is not known only by conscious faith in him. Otherwise, how can we explain the faith of secular man, his faith in the gospel of resurrection and his intuitive conviction that 'justice and mecy are at the centre of the universe'? He does not think and say that 'God is dead and that Love is God'. The God of institutional religion appears to be dead; he knows that and takes it for granted, but he does not care enough about God as such to worry about whether he is dead or alive. God seems unquestionably irrelevant, and that's all that matters to secular man. The significant thing is, however, that he goes on living as though the essential elements of Chirstianity are valid. Beyond his knowing he dwells within the revelation that Jesus brought into the world and thereby explores the truth that sets men free. (134-135)

Talk about having it both ways! The answer is simple: the secular person can simply be optimistic that life has been lived to its fullest in its presentation, or that one has been in a position of acceptance. This is what being a transitory human means - we come, we make of it what we can and do, and then we go, and we are not unhappy about it. Fred Brown might think that the whole scaffolding of another reality is still there, brought in by some Palestinian rabbi of necessary divine power, but if others don't then we don't. Indeed Fred Brown is not an example of a secular person, with all his questions and retained affirmations. And if such a doctrinal reality is operating, the secular person ought to be told about it because he or she is lacking some essential information.

So no ultimate wonderings there, except by Fred Brown and the others he has used in his Barth to Bonhoeffer and Death of God (but not dead) theology. As I suggest, these days the inheritors of this strand will do a Bultmann in a conservative sense and go to the drama of the gospel record and the interaction of God with text at one (big) remove from general culture. They will want to ask the secular person to transfer over to the drama as a believing participant. You cannot say it is 'true' in worldly terms, but it is true in revelatory and dramatic terms, as a story underpinned by the invisible God made visible there.

I think this is a cop-out and a nonsense. Narratives are important to a patterning human mind, but that is it. But all these stories are more like art, because there is no test for them. History cannot reach the pseudo-biography, except to speculate over sayings, plus the shift from that into 'orthodoxy' really is cultural; and science and social science are uninterested - really uninterested. The death of Christianity as an intellectual explanation for anything is not some shift into a dark zone but because it simply has had it except as a piece of art work or as yet another means, in its ritual activities, to bind people together and give a sense of overview. But we can do that and discover ethics and our sense of place and being without intervening gods.

Saturday 20 October 2012

Rowan Argues for a Yes Vote

Few people are unlikely to overrate the significance of the process and outcome of the debate about women bishops in the Synod in the next month of November. It will not fail to shape the character and sense of the Church in England for perhaps generations, and I mean not just the resulting decision as the outcome but the actuality of the manner in which we undergo the discussion leading to the decision.

There are people like me who wish to see a positive vote for a range of reasons, by which I mean a 'yes', rather than those who seek a positive vote for a range of reasons by which they mean 'no'. For me, it means the not inessential healthiness of the Church and its credibility amongst the public at large, whereas for those who positively say 'no' it means the healthiness of the Church and its not insubstantial credibility among themselves instead of a position of incredibility which they fear.

So to tackle this let me see if I am correct in my interpretation of how we as Anglicans might understand our priesthood.

There is I think only one view of one priesthood, that provided in the story of the Christ figure: in his eternal self-offering of being crucified, risen and ascended to the Father and thus offering a covenanted peace from there into here as undivided metaphorical space, that 'here' being the Church. Now it may be that none of us know what these words mean any more, beyond telling a good story, as in say how Hans Christian Andersen might, and whether such words do any actual meaningful 'work' in our day and age; but we are rather stuck with them as our one running narrative. After all, we remain as Anglicans.

If I am correct about this, then we live in Christ's body and alive with his Spirit and thus part of his self-offering. Again, it may be that none of us can say what these words mean any more and if they do any 'work'. But we are committed to them also, like the islanders who said keep the Easter Island statues upright and facing out to sea rather than knock them down as exhausted and redundant after conflict.

Thus there is a priestly calling of all who are in Christ: God calling individuals to be in community, worship and part of the Church's sacramental acts, and therefore there seems to be no reason to have an ordained ministry at all. We are all its priestly people. Hang on, of course: for that cannot be right.

If I am correct about this, we therefore have perhaps an optional ordained priestly ministry and follow later New Testament practice. That's where the priest is a bishop as indeed the bishop is a priest, gathering the deacons and people. Well that is very Protestant of me, but then I do think the bishop is actually ordained sacramentally, I think. I'm not sure how I argue that from here.

The assumed commitment of perhaps most Anglicans (in the West?) to the ordained ministry of women rests on the conviction of that which I have just summarised.

What I am trying to suggest is that if we believe in ordaining people then we don't have different classes of baptised people and thus exclusions from priestly ministry. And it really is in oddity of we have women as priests but not women as bishops. This is an organically unified task to put right rather than an example of diversification, though of course this can be argued the other way.

Such an oddity of sexual difference in leadership might be in the New Testament but then we look where we will when referring to that set of books.

Using this method, that there is a class of presbyters (or indeed deacons) who cannot be bishops is an odd one in this context and difficult to exclude on biblical grounds, although many do by referring to passages on headship.

If that is correct, a Church that ordains women as priests but not as bishops, develops an unclarity through the anomaly and appears a bit roly poly or perhaps rowanny tree-ey.

It's not just about appearances and feminism, though I acknowledge that secular ethics has once again beaten us to this place. We must give this motivation its place, for after all this is how the general public views us and does motivate many of us inside the Christ body.

So before the impact of feminism we didn't care two hoots for the inequality of priestly ministry as being for men only. No one in particular made the theological argument for the inclusion of women. The Gnostics, who presumably had women higher up the ladder, were the baddies. But now, motivated by feminism, we can use a whole barrage of internal theological arguments to argue for the inclusion of women, and convince ourselves that this goes right back to the origins of our faith and has nothing to do with feminism.

I am not as such personally convinced by this, but my method is always to reduce the position of secular ethics and try to argue from within the Church as the received body of Christ in his dying, rising and ascending - well at least we understand what dying means as my argument follows a particular trajectory.

I do this with the gay debate, for example: having argued for a Covenant and a Church-first approach over the secular ethics of gay inclusion. But eventually I will use theological arguments for gay inclusion.

After all, I used to do this before I got the present job, and I might do it again once I go on to my new job of being an adult education Painting for Leisure tutor. What I argue for depends on where I am culturally and conditionally, and I simply look for the right kind of internal theological argument.

But before I retire, or is it resign, I rather would like this legislation to pass, for it would at least be one achievement to put under my belt whereas of course the whole Covenant push turned out to be a disaster and an unstated reason for my early retirement or resignation.

Now, what I want to say is: "Respect!" There is a lot of power in that word, that may not be any longer evident in old-cultural words like resurrect and ascend. Respect does not just mean 'respect' in a 'respect' sense, but rather means 'respect' in a stronger 'respect' sense in the actuality. So it is not a case of horse-trading in the amendment we have returned as bishops but rather word-trading. If I am correct about this, we can now proceed and positively, meaning a 'yes' vote.

After all, if we don't, we will have people wanting a purer passage for those against, and those against getting stronger for those who want a purer passage. Or we might just leak a lot of people in not an insubstantial display of incredulity and incredibility in the actuality of drift. Nothing is perfect but I can think of worse.

So, instead, let's have some good news for women and men and me, and get on with it. Let's have some fresh gifts lib if not exactly women's lib.

Pass the legislation. Look, I am going abroad and cannot campaign further on this. Some of you supporters will say this is no bad thing. So I will let some other supporters make some internet videos rather in the manner that my approach to the Covenant was one-sided as well. But this time my supporters are different.

Let's trust one another, and, although I usually argue for patience, this time I'm reasoning for the opposite because it would have my name on the plaque on the wall. God speed to you all in voting in the body that serves the Kingdom of God, whatever that means.

© Rowan Tree 2012

Monday 15 October 2012

Not so Handy was Handy with his Handiwork

First of all the Church in Wales realised that it is collapsing. It brought in (amongst some others) Charles Handy, the business guru, to recommend that the Church shrink itself rapidly.

Yet there are still simply too many carpet warehouses in Wales that started off as chapels. There are too many houses that were originally churches. There is no way of selling any of them off any more. The Methodists, the URC, the Baptists, are in general collapsing just as rapidly. It seems all the Churches in Wales (except Roman Catholics) need to fall in to each other together.

Let's look at some of the metaphors of Charles Handy and try to apply them...
Has he been a little too restrained with his own picture-book icons when applied to Church life?

For example, is the Church a follower of the God Zeus, being a power organisation, or Apollo, for maintenance of a system, or Athena, built around tasks, or Dionysus, encouraging the self-orientated individual? In the latter members choose to be members and upsets power control mechanisms in the culture of propriety. He prefers the latter Dionysus after the culture of specialisation and differentiation has come to a dead end.

The problem is people are choosing not to be members at all. The solution for the Church in Wales is maintenance via reduction; the solution of the Churches is back to structural ecumenism where all ministers are available to everyone, all bishops for everyone. It's like an illusion of growth to each denomination, but actually a massive contraction. Inevitably repetition of plant and machinery will be obvious, and places will close.

Handy promotes the Shamrock organisation, which involves a core of qualified professionals, technicians and managers on one leaf, subcontractors on another and part time with temporary workers on another. The core people are the salaried professionals etc. but the core has been reduced down by every successful organisation. Contractors are paid by results and the flexible workers need better treatment and training, he says. So who are those in the three leaves of the Churches today? Presumably the Churches need a core staff of ministers and officials, but as many come in on contract as can, and the laity are the flexible ins and outs folks who know their place - but who ought to receive training and recognition for commitment.

The doughnut principle is an inverted doughnut, the core being all that must be done in the job so it does not fail, whereas what is around it is all the things that can be done to make a difference. Organisations too have a necessary core of must dos in order not to fail, surrounded by flexible space and contracts. This seems similar to one leaf being of core people but this time in terms of essentials to do with negative consequences in not doing them. So what are the necessaries of Church life: presumably, holding services and maintaining/ providing places to meet.

His trinitarian thinking is of liberty, equality, and fraternity, a kuind of underlining humanism.  Change has to be handled before it is forced, rather as in a product cycle curve - but now ecumenism is being forced. Then he has nine paradoxes (Buddhism?).

Paradox 1: Intelligence is a new form of property, so who actually owns the business? Who are the haves and have-nots?

This raises the question of theological education and all managerial skills and whether the core people are such if others are required.

Paradox 2: Enforced idleness follows on from efficiency.

The more the core people do and arrange to get done, the more time they can generate for themselves (e.g. for study).

Paradox 3: People displaced from organisations do more work - a DIY economy of invisible work.

In other words, a Church shakes out people and then relies on volunteers, that so much gets done that is not noted down.

Paradox 4: Lots of time is available, but we never seem to have enough time.

Thus the stipend and then time to serve others gets filled up with tasks.

Paradox 5: Rich populations in developed countries, that can afford to buy, are shrinking - thus needing to invest in international competitors until they become rich enough to buy.

This is like the West is confident in its ideas and humanity and has no need of Churches, who have to generate positive notions of confidence and humanity elsewhere.

Paradox 6: Large organisations need to reconcile differences where once characteristics of one side or the other were a choice of a way forward.

The days of the party Church are over when an organisation has to preserve what is left of itself. Evangelicals may be arrogant of their self-sufficiency, but the decline is throughout and even growth is found in small patches. Indeed, it is with the most apparent flexible denominations that growth is seen; the old core is dying regardless.

Paradox 7: This generation is different from predecessors' it thinks, but the future ones are seen as the same. But conventional jobs are shrinking and education may even have to become indefinite in length.

Here we are now is definitely not how it was, and how it will be will not be like it is now. The idea that 'it's stabilising' now simply is not true. Nothing needs to bottom out.

Paradox 8: There is more individual expression encouraged for today but organisations need teamwork.

Churches stifle creativity. There should be lots of it, in the words spoken and music chosen, but actually the sameness of it all is like a past era out of place. The language is feudal, the theology monarchic; the music regimented.

Paradox 9: You want justice for yourself but the other may be imposed. Greed motivates but is a difference - one cannot avoid the other.

The golden thread of most major religions is necessary here, perhaps.

Handy predicted the portfolio career as standard, the person with the CV and transferable skills. So that would mean a travelling Church, light-footed.

The Unitarians would not be a part of this great ecumenical necessity. It has had to learn what is necessary and what is creative, and how to be light-footed and flexible. It is becoming a pure, flat, voluntary organisation but still understands the value of trained and educated ministry (that knows the tradition, that grasps theology, and surely educational theories and sociology of religion). It has to draw on and use well historical money and that's what it manages.

A lot of what Handy has written never appeared in the Church in Wales report. Well, much of it is flowery metaphor. Plan, do, check, act is his approach to Total Quality Management, which is associated with a circle of learning. It involves taking responsibility for the future, getting a clear view into the future, determine to arrive there and believe that you can do so. But do these Churches believe in what is being imposed upon them by rapid decline?

Hellier, Robert (2001), Charles Handy: Pathfinder and Prophet of Change in the Workplace, Business Masterminds series, London: Dorling Kindersley.

Sunday 14 October 2012

We Need a More Consistent Standard

I might well be counted as a miserable old sod. And I plead guilty. The Unitarian Facebook page usually carries a question of if you've had a good Unitarian Sunday, and I say 'no'. I could not find the question but I've already given my answer. Now I don't want to offend anyone and as far as I know he doesn't read this, but even so I have to let the steam out somewhere.

I got a bit of praise today after the service. It was because I'd used well worn harvest hymns as preludes and postludes to the service, as well as a 'Bring to the Altar' hymn verse (SF 188) for the collection.
I replied that "My antennae were up and waving about then." Harvest festival is one of those hangover services you have to have and I heard it directly but knew that a failure of the service taker to pick at least one bog standard harvest hymn would be missed. As Music Man of the congregation, I never tell service takers what to select. If I did we'd inevitably narrow down the choice and range, and for a long time I fought off the 'choir backed only' school when selecting CD tracks. In fact, I have now covered every hymn in the main book and almost always with the given tune. Using thin excuses, I'm plugging the many more gaps in the new hymnbook supplement, and discovered an error of words in SF 012 where the words in the words only verse are different from the words within the music. I forgot to mention any of this today due to feeling yet again pissed off by the standard of service taking.

It seems I tweaked the microphone enough (the speakers were buzzing a bit) to get the presenter heard. I say to all presenters, "Speak to the back of the hall." The one last week did, this one didn't. But apparently he was heard by the hard of hearing (but won't use the loop - that was flashing like a good 'un).

We then had what I call a Google sermon, which means the body of the main presentation is easily found for yourself just by looking it up. Plus, as was pointed out, there is an Ernest Penn sermon on the harvest now on the church's own website that might have filled the gap expressed about Unitarian insights/ background/ perspectives regarding the harvest festival. We know about the Cornish Victorian origins and all that.

When a person identifies in a sermon themselves the most interesting question - the 50 year jubilee and removing all debt - then why not actually address the question instead of passing over it? Well it's not in the 'historical research' is it? But why not address something that would be a real insight, and try some theology over history too. So I'm listening and grumpy.

What about the implications of Lord Adair Turner's very recent speech to the Mansion House that effectively says the Bank of England in buying bonds from banks in quantitative easing should simply wipe the debt that the government pays the bank? That means the QE carried out turns into helicopter money. You can do this when the velocity of money is so low (thanks to de-leveraging and due to a flat real economy). Take it further. The Germans wouldn't like it, but the European Bank could issue its own bonds to liquidate banks and then tell the banks the debt is wiped. It doesn't end the need for reforms, and fiscal closeness in future, but governments and transnational institutions (it is a European Union, after all) should exercise their compulsory powers and start wiping debt. Private debt, said Lord Turner, had effectively transferred into public debt; so here use the power to wipe it.

Pursue the most interesting question! But also in there was a good bit - harvest is thanksgiving not thanksgetting. Well, where is that from? It's what the Americans say around Thanksgiving, is it not? One click on the Internet. But the theology of exchange and the theology of gift would illuminate this. But it was, again, passed over.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not just criticising one service taker as this is not uncommon. And of course someone producing a weaker service on one Sunday can do well another Sunday. But here is the relevance: It seems that the engine for moving the site for the church has gone into limp mode. I'm probably the only one pressing the accelerator. Others who agree either don't want to press it or think others don't want it - so much being invested into the location. Well, OK, but if that is so then we need to overcome the problem of space and place (to get a communal input) with a consistency of outreach involving quality presentation. Now, assuming we have quality training, we really ought to stop the pot-luck regarding services via professional ministry. We can still have variety but the real need is for consistency and standard.

As the Music Man I would be happy dealing with the same person - the boss - over many weeks. I'd get to know what he or she wanted and how he or she thought. There might be a pattern or patterns to services. There'd still be some lay led ones - from our own folks. At present we have a handful of good imported service takers (in my opinion) some of whom, though, are very regular in their kind of message and format. That, of course, is the problem with a minister, if the message and format were to be narrowly focused and it is too late once appointed. But what is wanted, I think, is a renewed focus on the quality threshold: the substance of a service and the thought behind it. There needs to be more consistency.

Otherwise we shall have drift. We'll have disappointments raised in different quarters because the variety of service takers leads to variations and gaps and disappointments. Once you get consistency and over a threshold you can then build, plus it is a duty of a minister to make themselves known where the building/s might be placed. The Quakers get consistency because they shut up, but Unitarians are noisy and it ought to be possible to design-in some higher quality noise. We are drifting, and the drift is no good to anyone.

So I have let out some steam and that might preserve me at least for one more music provision than the future might bring. If the steam builds up and can't get out, something might go bang and then I start to wilt in the music provision. Apologies to those who might be badly described or affected, but here is my place where the steam can be ejected furthest.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Rowan's Speech at the Vatican

Your Holiness, Reverend Fathers, brothers and sisters in purple - dear Friends,

It honours me when a deeply flawed and corrupt institution invites me to speak, and so I shall about a time when there was more hope for your Church, of Johnny the 23rd, and as the palmist crosses with silver: 'Ecce jockum wilson dartsum wono undred and eighty.' Gather the bishops together and the Church is indeed healthy, unless there are little children to come unto them.

So, indeed, in not dwelling too much upon 'the Church fixed it for Me' aspect of matters of unhealth, I rather focus upon 'fatties in onion jockum wilson et negatum jimmum savillumbum' for our meeting, a great honour indeed.

The Second Vatican Council, which famously decided to install electric street lamps alongside pavements and running water to householders, was a sign of promise that Protestants with a Catholic hue might find a Catholicism with a more Protestant hue. After all we cannot rely on Hangs Kung all the time, a major theologian - why are people booing? - along with someone of since more authoritarian views with whom I get along with marvellously and subserviently.

That Council gave hope because it might have been possible to speak to people with an ordinary understanding of the reality of life normalum et sensibulum a practicalissimo. Reverting to Latino, or something like it, underlines the substantio et importum of the momento but just adds to the distiano et complexicum of the clockum jockum wilson wono undred and eighty.

Buttum fifty years later from the Second Vaticanum we are still struggling with the outcome of the council um because of the conservative nature of the Church nowum and um the not inconsiderable effect on this pontiff of the revolutionary period of the time secularum.

And we must not forget the influence on theology of such spiritual geniuses like Henry the Pig Brick, who pricked at human surfaces and plunged the depths of grace and perfection in the human image, presumably offering then the attraction of children to some of you, but for you in savillus rowus.

Thus we arrive at a true humanism rather than any modern philosophy, taken from theistic stories of the past rather than rationalité, as the French revolutionaries would have it um. So it's jockum to throw firstum, best of order.

Paradoxes abound, if we think of the modern philosopher Paul Martin of Flog It! - here we have the true humanising of the second Adam to truly win the supreme profit in the auction room, and yes I will be able to watch more daytime televideo after I retire. But Le Brick is the brick, in that we cannot humanise before we Christianise, for then Christianity would be replaced, and that would be no use for you or me. Well, actually, I'm going to teach Painting for Leisure at Adult Ed soon so I don't care any more.

No, the paradox is to Christianise to humanise, and to humanise fully is to Christianise, and the second Vatican Council was right to put up the street lamps.

For the installation of them was an act of creation of the Word of the Council resolution, and the Word was as eternal as the Father in the Pope, and we grow into the Spirit of the shining at night time, unless we are asleep or the butler busy nicking things.

Before the lights came the first theologian, as Edith Einstein put it, that we speak and that is the echo of the big bang and the relativity we all have in our parents and others, whoever may still be alive. And as we turn speech into conversation we have there an act of self-giving that is surely the principle of the bend in the street light from the vertical thrust into the horizontal reach, surely a secularum of the crossum but for which the crossum makes the secularum.

Drop the imaginary fantasies and what do we have? Well I would be ecce homo shutupus, or joccum failum hittum double topper. We would not be increased beyond the silence that would be possessed in which could be growth towards love and existence in the heart of the treble twenty life and the transfiguration of the IX dartus finitum.

What so we must contemplate: for here is the paradoxical point of contemplating out of which comes the evangelising. And that is paradoxical if contemplating is met in a kind of not unattractive silence in the veneration of the transcedential.

It is the key to unlock the door, to come to the Vatican itself and ask who lives in a house like this? In amongst the riches and treasures comes freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that comes from them.

It reminds me again of Paul Martin and his Handmade Revolution, in preserving old crafts and making money in the future, as seen all around us here in Rome and the Vatican City. Such handmade is contemplative itself, with plenty of God expletives as the hammer hits the finger instead of the hand-crafted nail. And if you go on a sicky you get the opportunity to rest and see the world for what it is, as Paul Martin himself noted between recordings of Flog It! and Handmade Revolution. It was his Secret Joy. And that thus so many of you, Cardinalies, are falling asleep can itself be regarded as your secret joy.

But out of this, and indeed the Handmade man himself, Jacob Needlework, we see how a moment out is a moment to recommend and therefore be evangelistic. Now you may wonder what this has to do with the Second Vatican Council, and I'd be honest and say I was writing a speech for another occasion at this point but no one will be interested when I am just doing Painting for Leisure in Adult Ed so I may as well get it said now.

So let this expression of inner life be my last hurrah yet here at your gathering. And as this process unfolds, I become more free - to borrow a phrase of St Augustine (Confessions IV.7)

I will love you all from my new stress-free paintum not quite by digits. The human face may show itself from the canvas, although most adults chicken out and stick to landscapes or flowers. But such is also contemplative, a creativity of prayer-like intensity, a "righteous action" as the Protestant martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, writing from his prison cell in 1944, wondering then which side the Pope was on in all expediency of preserving Mother Church.

To be sure, which I am not, most people care little for our Church hierarchies but do opt for a little meditation, and from that meditation we can recommend contemplation, and thus evangelisation and therefore the Second Vatican Council and the practicality of its street lights. Even Protestants can travel across secular France to meet Catholic monks at Taizé for a bit of Buddhist-style chanting, or go to Pagan Findhorn or that Unitarian place on Orkney.

Let's not forget either the Fuck the Law movement in our adoption of spiritual grace and where you can give yourself one.

Such we can call spiritual ecumenism, based on the robust biblical account and the Church that wrote and selected the Bible. That ecumenism comes up against the eucharistic problem, or 'Quam jam tomorrow bono et quim U2 jockum wilson CLXXX.'

Thus the ecumenism to the lapsed or post-Christian should be wide as possible ecumonum and meditative as evangelising, and  making contemplative practice accessible to children and young people with adults having CRB checks in absentio saville rowus private roomsum. Yes, it won't now appeal to many of you, in your self-destruction of Western Catholicism over the recent past, but this has potential for exploiting the young again in their minds without invading their bodily sanctity.

So I wish you joy in these discussions. On which point I bid you goodbye as I return to the sacramental heart and hearth. Yes the Church comes to look unhappily like so many purely human institutions: anxious, busy, competitive and controlling, and not without a spot of child abuse; but a spot of meditation - it kind of lets the laity forget that institutional dilemma for a just a moment. For the earth is sacred too, and we should not ask the question, just has Henry the Pig Brick suggests. Just don't be self-conscious and be a bit more Buddhist.

© Rowan Tree 1012

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Purple is Copyright...

Peter Levite: Lesley on the line, again; Lesley Bloke, you are turning into our correspondent, all the way down south near Aldershit. What is this news about chocolate and religion?
Lesley Tilgate: I'm not called Lesley Bloke any more, Peter. I got married, remember. I'll get to the point.
Peter Levite: I appreciate that. My mistake, as ever.
Lesley Tilgate: Well for a long time we've had three purples in happy enough harmony. We've had purple now owned by the big Kraftwerk Corporation, now owner of Quakerchoc brands, and we've had Church in England bishops in purple and then a small Fairtrade company making its chocolate in purple wrappers for Christmas.
Peter Levite: And what's happened?
Lesley Tilgate: All of a sudden, the mighty corporate power of Kraftwerk has threatened a poor little company that it owns the colour purple.This is because its main chocolate bar, Autobahn, comes in a purple wrapper. It did when it was owned by Quakerchoc, but Quakerchoc had a more charitable outlook.
Peter Levite: So is the Church in England standing up for the Fairtrade chocolate maker?
Lesley Tilgate: Oh no, it is worried about itself. You see, anything that involves the colour purple, including books of that name, will have to send a payment to Kraftwerk. And with a strong possibility of women bishops, and their desire to wear purple fashionably, there could be extra expenses coming on to the Church in England. Each day a bishop wears purple, five pence needs to be sent to Kraftwerk. Bishops have to count how often they wear purple and on how many garments. Usually it just concerns a shirt. But women are likely to wear more than one item of purple - for example, women bishops wearing purple stockings, suspenders and knickers. That's fifteen pence a day before a top goes on, and add a purple bra and a top and you are up to twenty five pence a day -  a fivefold increase in costs.
Peter Levite: This is potentially very expensive for your Church.
Lesley Tilgate: Well one strategy is to go for a reddish hue of purple that definitely cannot be said to be taking the hue of the Autobahn bar. But the word on the street is that the Church is going to counter-sue in the courts should Kraftwerk take action against the little guy, not out of sympathy but out of a relevant action to sort out the matter once and for all.
Peter Levite: Risky.
Lesley Tilgate: It is risky, but the lawyers say that we had the purple first, taken from the priests of Roman temples. Their priests wore purple, and as imperial bishops we - Catholicism - took on the purple. So Kraftwerk may well have to send us money every time they wrap a bar of Autobahn.
Peter Levite: Lucrative.
Lesley Tilgate: Could be, but then the Church in England could be sued by the Roman Catholics and Orthodox for having purple when they regard us as null and void. This the lawyers say would not stand up, because English courts have recognised the Old Catholics when one was accused of being a play-bishop by The Reflection newspaper. Cost it a lot of dosh.
Peter Levite: If your Church won, it could be quids in. Solve your pension fund for priests crisis, indeed wages for priests. Hah!
Lesley Tilgate: I think not, Peter. The lawyers say that the bishop's purple was always more towards the red end and that the Kraftwerk colour is the bluer end of purple. If this was established in court, then our new bishops could wear their stockings, suspenders, knickers, bra and tops at the red end of purple and not have to send 25 pence a day to Kraftwerk but then we'd get nothing from Kraftwerk either. The Fairtrade chocolate would then have to be at the redder end of purple.
Peter Levite: If you the listener has any opinion on this matter then do get in touch via texting and emailing in the usual way. Thank you Lesley and next up some news including that endless snog on stage between the Prime Minister and his wife after a half-week of Tory dog whistles.
George Hudson: I tell you, standing around in railway stations doing the weather forecasts, I need as much underwear on as I can, but I'm not sending money anywhere. Mine's all yellow, colour of the sun.
Lesley Tilgate: No it's not. Kraftwerk own yellow as well because it is the colour of their main margarine packaging, Can't Believe It Spreads. They'll be sending you an invoice if you admit to wearing yellow.
George Hudson: Well it's not sunny today, that's all I can say.

Monday 8 October 2012

Move Out!

This is an article that I have submitted to the next Hull calendar (Unitarian church magazine).

I think it is soon time to say thanks to Park Street as a location of the Hull Unitarian church, but it is sensible to do what they did in 1881 and move to a residential area probably well to the west near to a traffic interchange.

I am astonished that the disruptive road strengthening taking place to Park Street was not accompanied with road widening. In fact one Friday I passed workmen talking about how they could widen the road and that it would be practical and leave enough walking space.

Park Street could become a second Ferensway. Already Ferensway is regarded as dangerous for pedestrians crossing. If Park Street was to extend the 'box' that takes through traffic around Hull, the church would become more isolated, more cut off by such ever heavier traffic. I predict that it will not be long before the workers are back again widening the road.

At a time of austerity, and with a small congregation, the whole enterprise of putting on a new front to the church seems wasteful. As a means to attract more people, architectural presence seems a strange strategy. In any case, it is not the job of the church to provide architectural presence. Such presence comes at the cost of car parking, and it is only adequate due to low numbers.

It is argued that we should not update the seats until the front is done. Well it all needs a clearer, cleaner solution.

The simpler solution is to sell the building to either some other group that could use it and need a central location, or why not sell to the Leonard Chamberlain Trust for some alms houses on the site and it can use its relationship with the church to facilitate a smooth transition to another site.

In other words, before a move is made, a large house or barn conversion can be purchased and prepared, with new chairs and a church-like appearance inside, and a good sound and video system in place. We attend one Sunday at Park Street and the next Sunday move into the new home.

In a residential area the church would be more accessible. It would still be an ideological church, one that draws from all around, but it could also provide some community functions too and draw on the locality. We know that much of what we do appeals to a 40 plus clientele, but Park Street makes even this difficult and now only provides the ideological function, and is becoming ever more inaccessible alongside a busy through route. It is time to make the future more realisable through moving and allowing several potential futures.

Thursday 4 October 2012

Archbishop Selection Process Cancelled

Peter Levite: I'm straight back interviewing our informant Lesley Tilgate here for the latest on the Crown Upper Nominations Team of Selectors. Hello Lesley, how is Aldershit?
Lesley Tilgate: Not quite Aldershit. Very good, quite positive; numbers down, finances a mess. [sound of running water]
Peter Levite: Tell us, just what is going on with the see-you-en-tee-esses?
Lesley Tilgate: Rumour has it that the Team has been disbanded and this present competition to run a new Archbishop of All England has been cancelled. [sound of water running stops]
Peter Levite: Why?
Lesley Tilgate: Irregularities in the process, apparently, as a number of officials made sure that the selection process was carried out under equal opportunities procedures.
Peter Levite: I thought head hunting, applications, interviews and the like had to be carried out under equal opportunities procedures.
Lesley Tilgate: Not in the Church in England. [sound of pots clashing]
Peter Levite: What went on?
Lesley Tilgate: They based their selection procedures on talent alone and in their procedures considered a number of talented women and asked people if potential candidates were heterosexual and transgender as well as asking if they were gay.
Peter Levite: Surely that is quite normal.
Lesley Tilgate: Not in the Church in England. Doing it properly has wasted about forty million pounds in hotel fees, travel expenses and compensation for loss of earnings and pensions.
Peter Levite: You are in the know. What happens now?
Lesley Tilgate: First of all they will ask Rowan Tree if he can carry on and do a few duties he used to do as Archbishop. The thing is he is taking up a new post as a part time Art Tutor at Grantham Adult Education Centre, so long as they recruit enough students to do Painting for Leisure. So they reckon he could perhaps stand in and remarry the odd member of the royal family that needs it. That sort of thing. [sound of water swishing] I suppose we could ask to borrow the Irish new boss; they've just selected their new one, no bother.
Peter Levite: But what about finding his replacement?
Lesley Tilgate: They must not follow proper procedure as elsewhere. This means abandoning qualifications with experience and seeing if the man available is the right kind of chap, and went to the right school; the person must be heterosexual or a deeply closeted gay where the rumours have never been substantiated even among the locals; and probably it is time for the man to be clean shaven. [sound of water splashing]
Peter Levite: Tell me, who on earth discovered this cock up among the see-you-en-tee-esses?
Lesley Tilgate: We think that John Sendmehome got a leak, when having a leak with a chap on the inside, that he'd not succeeded in getting to the top of the vote, and that it was Justin R. Ewing instead, the ex-oil magnate. Sendmehome was devastated, and asked if something could be done short of writing a column in the Daily Stun. So then they discovered that officials had followed proper procedure in head hunting before their also proper procedure in selecting, and this of course cannot do in a deeply prejudicial organisation like the Church in England.
Peter Levite: So will John Sendmehome get the job after all, especially as J. R. Ewing is on record saying he doesn't want the job?
Lesley Tilgate: All candidates have to say they don't want the job. Only James Graham actually meant it. I think the effect will be zero. J. R. Ewing has all the right credentials - top school, oil capitalist, some sort of social conscience after he was converted by a fundamentalist, but is no fundy himself. [water swishing, sound of metal objects clashing together] When Giles Farmer and Thomas Rockhard can approve of the same bloke, he's a shoe-in.
Peter Levite: How's your husband? I can't hear him this time. I can hear something.
Lesley Tilgate: Do you think I'd be talking to you with him interrupting me all the time and telling me I'm not bad at this sort of thing? He's on his rounds, visiting the poor of the parish.
Peter Levite: And what are you doing?
Lesley Tilgate: I've got me chin on me mobile talking to you doing the washing and drying up.
 Peter Levite: I'm not washing up; I'm doing my radio programme.
George Hudson: Bit like the weather here at Scarborough station - it was wet but the breeze is drying the platform beyond the cover.
Peter Levite: Thank you for the forecast; go and get your ice cream.
George Hudson: It's not warm enough. A lot warmer in Aldershit.
Peter Levite: Bye to Lesley.
Lesley Tilgate: I've just dropped a glass on the kitchen floor and it bounced. It must be a miracle.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Disclosing Animal Testing

The latest from the Journal of Animal Ethics is detailed information should be given to patients on animal testing: how many, the tests and procedures, and the nature and severity of pain and suffering.

People (like Lord Winston, Hansard (House of Lords), 24 October 2011, column 623) have argued for the necessity of animal testing before human trials, and that there is no substitute for testing on an appropriate living being. As a necessity, it ought to be information put on the drug packaging. But the animal ethicists are saying it should go further than this, and into detail, and, more than this, this should be information disclosed on the whole range of other products that involve animal testing. Medical products should not be singled out.

It is also the case that some animal testing has led to nothing worthwhile, and that some 'successful' animal tests allowed drugs to be used that harmed humans (with the products recalled), all of which involved degrees of suffering. These products should disclose testing.

Full disclosure can involve too the human disadvantaged used for medical experiments like: prisoners of war, soldiers, ethnic minorities, mental patients and orphans.

The idea is that full disclosure overcomes interested parties with information to protect.

I'm not sure how this would go into every product sold, or how it could be framed by law or practice, but certainly the disclosure of animal testing, given consumer responses, would result in improvements on whether the product should have been tested on animals at all. Drugs are often sold with explanations on paper inside the packaging, and animal use information could be attached to such information.
The multidisciplinary Journal of Animal Ethics is a collaboration between the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and the University of Illinois Press.

Monday 1 October 2012

Chadderbox on Archbishop Stalemate

Peter Levite: Religious news now. The Crown Upper Nominations Team of Selectors has failed to produce a name of the Archbishop of All England. As we all know, the Most Reverend Rowan Tree is retiring on the last day of December so that we can all start 2013 with the excitement of a new Archbishop. But it may be that we don't, because the Crown Selectors cannot settle on a new name. I have here someone in the know to help me, our old Radio Chadderbox religious affairs discussion partner and one time visitor to these parts, Lesley Tilgate, who we used to know as Lesley Bloke. She's back blogging and so is on the phone from down south, Aldershit I think. Hello Lesley.
Lesley Tilgate: [line crackles] o Peter. An outside Al [line crackles]shit parish actually.
Peter Levite: You don't believe in an interventionist God, Lesley, you tell us, so what's going on with the Nominations Selectors?
Lesley Tilgate: Well I so love my new parish with my new optimistic husband that I am beginning to doubt my doubts about intervention.
Peter Levite: Well, lets face it, if you don't believe in intervention I don't see how you can believe in things like virgin births and resurrections and uniqueness when they are all about intervention, are they not? But who's [shouting] not intervening in the Selectors Team situation?
Lesley Tilgate: We hope the Holy Spirit is interven [line crackles], in a manner of speaking of course.
Peter Levite: Well tell us the runners and riders and what's the latest.
Lesley Tilgate: Adam, I can do this myself. Go and find something to do. Right. Well the said names were Jones James, James Graham, Justin R. Ewing, John Sendme [line crackles]...
Peter Levite: Ah the chap who told us all the jokes.
Lesley Tilgate: Chris Cockermouth, Lindsay Buckingham, Bishop of Fleetwood - my preferred candidate by the way, Nicholas Beanbag, and the Right Reverend New Testament Wrong. Some think Giles Farmer could be elevated straight from priest to top job as a person of public recognition, unlike all these bishops. [line crackles]
Adam Tilgate: You've forgotten Sevé Cottager in Essex and previously Berkshire and Louis Versailles of London.
Lesley Tilgate: No I haven't. Well they are the candidates, Peter.
Peter Levite: One liners on strengths and weaknesses and then who are the front runners and where we are at, please.
Adam Tilgate: Jones James - he was ambitious and has repented of former opinions but is a bit knackered now for the big job.
Lesley Tilgate: Hang on, who's doing this? Er... No, I am.. Well, humm, Lindsay Buckingham, he's progressive and a modern communicator but that might also be his problem, and perhaps too progressive for some. Less progressive is a mild evangel [line crackles], Nicholas Beanbag, but like Lindsay he's a bit too communicative on the Internet. They'd have to stop that. Chris Cockermouth is of the same churchship as Nicholas Beanbag, and he has academic credentials, but the problem with him is simply his name. I doubt that the [line crackles] UNTS will choose someone whose name starts with Cock. There's a lot of cocky issues in the Church in England at the moment.
Peter Levite: If you should put it like that - [shouting again] I can imagine a John Sendmehome joke at this point.
Lesley Tilgate: Ah him. The jokes hide an exposed ma [line crackles] pulator and behind the scenes fixer. Yep, they all do it but the thing is not to get found out and he was found out. But then so was Rowan Tree, who sustained inequality and so would Sendmehome. He has real negatives about him but I ought not to go on because he gets a bit sensitive and instructs third parties to make rumours against opponents. Another angry man is [line crackles] Testament Wrong, known to his very few friends as Tom. His anger and self-made claims at being at the centre of things when he wasn't, and his running away to Scotland from the job, and frequent book trips to America while slagging them off, count against him.
Peter Levite: Mentioned Sevé Cottager?
Lesley Tilgate: Comes from the same bias as Rowan Tree, and in the shadow of his trampling over er [line crackles] n Jeffries, and so he's too much of a reminder of the present regime. And Louis Versailles is the other kind of Catholic, who won't ordain women, and is credited with growth in his diocese but that's just through immigration and a church scene that's more like the American one in general if not in particular.
Adam Tilgate: Actually, you're doing quite well. James Graham doesn't want the job. Safe pair of hands, but duff. Justin Ewing would have to overcome going to Eton and being an ex-oil capitalist - and a manager as such isn't wanted.
Lesley Tilgate: Thank you Adam, I was coming to them. Oh Adam's just said...
Peter Levite: We heard him. So none of them are any good.
Lesley Tilgate: None of them can command a two thirds vote for first choice or second choice and the Prime Minister has to accept the first choice, we think, and the Qu [line crackles] approves.
Peter Levite: So it is stalemate. The Prime Minister accepts and the Qur'an approves; shouldn't that be the Bible?
Lesley Tilgate: The Queen. She approves. It is said that three remain in the running.
Peter Levite: Which ones then?
Lesley Tilgate: Another leak, of course.
Adam Tilgate: I need a leak.
Lesley Tilgate: Yeah, when are you going to [line crackles] s off? Struth, the supposed leak says James Graham is still in, Sendmehome and J. R. Ewing. But it is deadlock. The other thing about Bishop J. R. is he's only been in his job a little while. But it's him, or the quiet man who doesn't want the job, and the manipulator.
Peter Levite: Any politician who says they don't want the job usually does.
Lesley Tilgate: He really doesn't.
Peter Levite: [shouting] Come back to us if they decide on one of them?
Lesley Tilgate: Yeah will.
Peter Levite: Love to you and send our love to your husband as well.
Lesley Tilgate: He's having a wee.
Peter Levite: Not with sendmehome I hope. Could change things...
George Hudson: That would describe the weather too, Peter, here at Wakefield station.
Peter Levite: What peeing down or changable?
George Hudson: Wet and liable to flood.
Peter Levite: Well it's dull here, you waste of space. Bye!
George Hudson: Bye! See you next time.