Saturday, 1 March 2014

Dave Tomlinson, can you see the irony?

I have just read an article on Dave Tomlinson in the March issue of Christianity (pages 20-25)

 Justin Brierly says that Dave is "a liberal-leaning Anglican priest, with high church tastes (he wears vestments) and a low church manner (he sometimes swears)." Very interesting but stupid? Let's consider some points of interest. What has low church manner got to do with swearing ?  In my experience it was the High Church and Broad Church Anglicans who swore sometimes, not the Evangelicals or Low churchmen.

Dave was a key figure in the British charismatic renewal movement among the house churches. Those happy clappy folk (and I was a fellow traveller for a wee while) boasted about their freedom in Christ, especially on Sundays, and their liberation from the sin of denominations. Forgive us our denominations was one of their publications. (I knew about Dave when Dr. Andrew Walker was writing Restoring the Kingdom, to which I contributed. Dave certainly had long discussions with Andrew, now Professor Walker.)

I find it interesting that in the article there are two photographs of him sitting in a pub with a pint of beer, where he looks extremely comfortable. And to me, he looks like Clive James with a twist of Jeff Lucas. (My Mum and Dad had no time for Baptist bigots who objected to the parish priest having a pint in the Clissold Arms in Fortis Green, where the Kinks performed. Dad, brought up in Highgate, N6, would buy Father Allso a pint there.  I was brought up very liberal Anglican, among the chattering classes of North London, and went to a local CofE  primary school, Holy Trinity, then in East End Road, N2.)

Now Dave is busy shattering stereotypes and, here's the irony, dealing with baggage of conceptions and "something beyond paraphernalia that's become bound up with Christianity."

Well, well, if ever there was a group of Christians really bound up with paraphernalia then the High Church Anglicans take a place at the top of the league! I should know as I was christened, confirmed and sang in the choir at a very High Church of England parish church (All Saints, Durham Road, London N2).  They have very expensive vestments for all the times of the Christian year. Dave probably likes to wear them. Smells and bells, loads of images, stages of the Cross, an enormous crucifix with Mary and St. John at the side. Hassocks and cassocks, and so I could go on. You should go to Walsingham to see amazing paraphernalia.

If you really want to get away from paraphernalia then come on Dave, you're in the wrong "denomination". But now you can enjoy being part of the religious establishment as a trendy vicar.

Pax vobiscum.

1 comment:

Johli Baptist said...

The Shrine Shop at Walsingham has loads of what might be described as paraphernalia. Love it or loathe it, the shop has plenty of religious gifts on sale.


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