Temples of Mammon

Interested today that Sunday trading is not to be extended further.  The man from Ikea seemed disappointed.  I have sympathy with the issue of staff having freedom of conscience about working on Sunday – but, for the rest, I suspect that this is an issue where people have simply voted with their credit cards.  The only reasons for opposing it seem to be residual sabbatarianism and some nostalgia about lost patterns of family life.  Locking up Ikea on Sunday morning is unlikely to drive people towards churches for spiritual therapy because they can’t have retail therapy.  The churches need to find other ways and other times of involving people.

Which allows me to sashay neatly towards ‘Decluttering – a Spirituality of Less’ by Andrew Barton which he kindly sent me.  Andrew inserts the occasional comment here – including the nicely-aimed one about Ikea selling flat-pack mitres.  This is Grove Booklet S97 and an interesting examination of modern society, consumerism and decluttering as ‘a process of contemporary life that can be employed in order that our relationship with God be more apparent to those around’  I found his description of the consumer society interesting – he was too early for the sterling consumerist performance of the WAG’s at the World Cup.  I can recommend it.

Meanwhile I find myself storing up memorable phrases which pass my way in Perthshire as they did in Portadown.  The accents of course are very different – in rural Perthshire they tend to be a bit patrician and parade ground.  Two gems which I particularly enjoyed were, ‘It was around the time he rebuilt the Tiger Moth’ and ‘It’s a snake-barked hickory.  I grew it from a nut’  I am, of course, in trouble myself.  Like most musical people, I tend to pick up accents.  So I am having to watch myself – my ‘a’s are beginning to lengthen as in Glenaaaamond.  I hope that my stay in Donegal in August will retune me.


  1. Bishop David,

    Thanks so much for the comment you left. I think your right about being judged on how we respond to the issues we greet in our ministry. You mentioned the connection between our two Provinces, I am currently reading Bp. Paul Marshall’s new book on Seabury, “One, Catholic, and Apostolic.” Excellant read, highly recommend it.


    Jeff Queen+

  2. It’s yes and no, isn’t it? People eat in Ikea, I suspect, because it is a loss leader and very cheap and because it is big enough that the kids can make a fair bit of noise and everybody can be anonymous. Cathedrals have a little bit of that – but parish churches may be too small and too keen to sign you up … BTW your comments about the excitement of buying reminded me of how wonderful the returns policy of M&S, etc., is. You can buy it all today and bring it back tomorrow – have the buzz without the pain. Perfect.

  3. Thank you for the unsolicited plug – most kind. Was in IKEA last Friday morning as it happens and noticed many families tucking into breakfast,almost USA diner style. Perhaps a realisation (if never intended other than commercially) of community needs being met, and how church should be recapturing the fellowship meal koinonia that is so lacking today.

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