Grumpy Old Men Dept

No I haven’t read the Da Vinci Code.  No I don’t intend to go to the film – the critics say it is dreadful anyway.  Yes I did watch part of the start of Big Brother.  Even by the standards of the circles I move in, they are a pretty odd-ball lot.  No I wouldn’t take part.  And then there is the Macca and Heather tragedy – which I discussed during a brief but intimate meeting with my hairdresser this morning [see my photo above to understand why all encounters with hairdressers are brief]  Janet Street-Porter in the Independent this morning seemed to make sense – the search for a new partner to replace the former rock-solid marriage; the meeting of a self-effacing creative genius with a crusading campaigner.  One salutes the optimism of ‘too much in love to have a pre-nuptial agreement’ – sorry it ended in tears.


  1. Hi Jan I’m not sure whether it is the DV Code or the world of church politics which is the bad movie … I suppose the casting lots option is not just about not knowing what to do next. We only used it to resolve the final choice. We invoked the spirit. It allowed us to make a choice and offer our love, loyalty and support to the person chosen – without having to pretend that everybody saw it in the same way. There is an integrity in that which I welcome. Say ‘Hi’ to Bishops Dan and David and all my friends in the Diocese of Albany.

  2. I haven’t read the book and I’m not about to waste several dollars on a bad movie.

    I like the remark about the SEC casting lots when they don’t know what else to do. I’m a lay member of that other Episcopal Church – the newer one across the pond, and casting lots instead of voting would take a lot of the politics out of General Convention.

  3. so what you are saying David is “that would be an ecumenical matter” 🙂

  4. Sorry – not Jeremy Clarkson. It’s Father Jack for me if I need a rant.

    No – the subject matter doesn’t have to be Jesus. Part of the reason why I got involved in this blogathon [apart from the guiding influence of Kelvin] was the possibility of engaging in issues of spirituality without ecclesiastical clutter – kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse, as it were. I think my difficulty is that I see the Da Vinci code stuff as being in the area of speculation rather than exploration. I used to meet a great deal of spirituality as a hospital chaplain – the search for meaning – why did the baby die? But I am not sure whether there is any link that I have found between the post-modern smorgasbord approach to spirituality and anything which actually threatens to be life changing. But then, one might say the same about being a bishop in the SEC where we cast lots when we don’t know what to do next …. And who is to say that the spirit …

  5. An Episcopal Jeremy Clarkson moment can be good 🙂

    Does the subject matter of the media have to be Jesus? Or is it merely the drawing of parallels and using the available fiction (whether novel, movie music or even PC game)as tool to portray a point or a theory in a way that is understood? Parables in a (post)postmodern age?

  6. Sure! I was simply indulging in a rant because I felt like it. As Robyn might appropriately say, ‘Keep your hair on.’ If we take up your challenge – as we should – I think that the difficulty is to get from the area of the un-disprovable fiction towards real issues of spirituality. I first met this issue as a young curate dealing with a harmless and elderly lady whose sole theme was that she was a member of the British Israelite movement. Her beliefs were plainly ‘off the wall’ – they didn’t or shouldn’t have threatened me – but somehow I couldn’t get clear of them. And the issue here is how or whether it is possible to use discussion of the fiction to open up issues of [non-institutional] spirituality. And what is the bridge from one to the other? Is it values or the search for meaning or what ? Is the fact that the subject matter of both happens to be Jesus really enough?

  7. Rector’s article from this months Church mag: (warning – Long post 🙂 )
    The Da Vinci Code – What is all the fuss? In some ways I’m rather perplexed. It’s a work of fiction, a reasonable page turner (yes, I’ve read it, and will probably see the movie), not always well written, but an engaging enough story to keep me going to the end.

    A lot has been said in the press and populist tv documentaries over the last year or so, attempts to debunk the dodgy art history and even more dodgy theology, and making the church sound like a load of moaners with something to hide – “thou doest protest too much” in the eyes of the cynics.

    Dan Brown, the author and self-acclaimed Christian (see his website, even states clearly that it is merely a work of fiction, using theories and aspects of theological debate which are in the public realm and have been for years. At no point does he claim that the theories are true, but both on the website and in the book he state the “fact” that the research and theories explored by his characters are real – not true – just real.

    Yes, the book has caused some anxiety for the Church at large, (and no doubt this will surface again as the movie is released this weekend as I write) as have various movies over the last 30 years – The Life of Brian and The last Temptation of Christ being the most obvious examples. As for Jerry Springer the Opera – I’ve not seen it so I can’t comment on its content myself with any level of integrity, but the response of some Christians, as shown in the media, was to say the least, somewhat frightening.

    Yes we live in an age and culture where our faith is an easy target, and we often become defensive as a result – sometimes to the point of aggression. We are only human after all.

    But if there’s one thing that Dan Brown has done well, and which we can take advantage of, is plugging into the current consciousness – bringing to public light questions about God, about Jesus and about our faith and historical tradition. When was the last time you sat over a pint in the pub, and non-church, non-academic people were having serious enquiring discussions about the nature of Jesus and of Church history and theology?

    One thing this has brought to public attention, and reawakened in my own consciousness, is how well Media and the press are able to manipulate our perspectives. We often like to believe that we are savvy to all of those tricks the media uses to challenge the ways we think, and maybe we are when it comes to commercials and consumerism. But movies and novels – they’re just a bit of fun, aren’t they? Just entertainment. True. But they also can challenge our thoughts, our emotions and even our conscience. And even bring discussion of Jesus in to the pub. Not something to be ignored, but a challenge to rise to. Its not worth trying to debunk something like the DaVinci Code – trying to disprove fiction is as hard as slicing air, and about as pointless. But the opportunity to explore with people why they are so taken with the book and the ideas, is something to be grasped. People are searching for understanding, for a spirituality which they understand and appeals.

    Don’t ignore the discussions, get in on them and let the truth be heard.

  8. I also have no interest in the Da Vinci thingy either…and I agree that they are a lot of odd-balls in the Big Bro House this year, although I do like the Scottish gay muslim pakistani. On the topic of hair…or lack of it…”less is more” and many young men are going for the shaved or very cropped look when they become follically challenged. I also heard today, although for some it may be too late, that castration actually prevents hair loss as the hormone responsible for it no longer exists 🙂 Come to think of it, Ive not seen many bald eunichs lol

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