Monthly Archives: October 2013

And behold, the worst ever Christmas song…

This just in. Hot on the heals of yesterday’s splendid effort in the field of worst Christian CD, we have a new challenger in an equally crowded field, worst Christmas song. You remember Carl Douglas’s 1974 disco hit “Kung Fu Fighting”, and so do I, but I think we all missed it’s untapped Christmassy potential. Only when someone else does it do we see how obvious it is.


537782I’ve just, for no very good reason, been looking on the Department of Education’s website at the section on state-maintained faith schools. I learned three interesting things.*

a) one third of all state schools are also faith schools. You probably knew that already, but I didn’t.

b) the number of state schools each religion/denomination has is roughly the same or more than the number of independent schools it has, except for Islam, which has almost 12 times as many independent schools as state schools.

c) to be a DofE spokesperson for faith schools, you don’t have to know anything at all about faiths. The site divides faith schools in two: “major Christian denominations” and “other”. Other consists of: Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Quaker, and United Reformed Church. Which may seem like an odd assortment, but fair enough. Then we’re told:

The major Christian denominations are:

  • Christian (138)                                   
  • Church of England (4606)
  • Roman Catholic (1985)
  • Methodist (26)

It’s pretty alarming that, well anyone, but certainly someone with this job, should have thought, “Let’s see, 138 out of 7000 Christian schools are called Somewhere Christian School, so ‘Christian’ is obviously a denomination of Christianity about 5 times the size of Methodism”. And since it contains schools run by Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist and house churches, you could forgive the URC, Orthodox and Quakers for feeling miffed about their placing…

*Interestingness of this information may vary 

Mission and misunderstanding

pilgrimpack.jpgI realise not everyone is as interested as I am in how religion  is reported in the media, and this is hardly in the realm of the Ralph Miliband smear, but I’m impressed by the shamelessly obvious  gap between report and reality in this story [paywalled link] on Anglican evangelism in the Times.

It reports on a new evangelistic initiative by the Church of England, called Pilgrim. Pilgrim takes the supremely sensible approach that people who are interested in Christianity might not know a great deal about it, and almost certainly do not want to be preached at, but will appreciate an opportunity to learn and explore.

Hence the article quotes two statements from the course’s website:

  1. “Pilgrim assumes very little understanding or knowledge of the Christian faith.”
  2. “It approaches the great issues of faith not through persuasion, but participation in a pattern of contemplation and discussion with a group of fellow travellers.”

That’s the news content of the piece. Which makes the opening paragraph of the article a pretty dizzying leap of journalism:

“The Church of England has admitted that the country has become a nation that knows almost nothing about Christianity and that there is no point any more attempting to convert anyone.”

Who hates Britain?

This one pagePaul-Dacre of an unknown newspaper contains the sentence “This Land of Hope and Glory is just a land of yobs and drunks” three times.

“My patriotism has gone out of the window” occurs just once.

It says countless times that Britain was not worth fighting for, and twice that the heroes who did fight for it now… wait for it… “hate” it.