GOBLINS UNDER THE BED — EVERY HOME SHOULD HAVE ONE
Pram services on the ongoing 'nappy run'
PRAM SERVICES (Also called "An Order of Perambulator and Pushchair Praise'). By Michael Perham (Church Union Ceremonial Guides/Alcan Club Manual No. 3, free with Green Shield Stamps).
THIS is the third in the series of ceremonial guides published jointly by the C.L.A. and the Alcan club and is a worthy successor to the previous publications.
Michael Perham, secretary of the Doctrine Commission and a member of the Liturgical Commission, is eminently qualified to write works for the over worked parish priest who has not the time, imagination or expertise to make up his own service.
After Oxford, where he astounded his teachers by obtaining a third-class degree in the Theology Schools, Mr Perham trained for the ordained ministry at the Ripon Comprehensive at Cuddesdon. Here he produced his own Kalendar, which, in its commemoration of both Saints and Heretics in equal proportion, was promptly hailed as an eirenical contribution to Christian Liturgy and immediately adopted. A curacy at Croydon followed, where Mr. Perham had full scope for that "experimental but homely liturgy" (Preface, Pram Services) which has been the marked feature of the Church of England over recent years.
The innovation of Pram Services made at Croydon has become the mainstay of Mr Perham's ministry and we should be grateful that he has now chosen to share them with us. As Chaplain to the Bishop of Winchester, Mr. Perham has had the opportunity of extending their practice and he is kept busy promoting them on Sundays in the diocese— an itinerant ministry which he refers to, charmingly, as "the nappy run".
Mr Perham hopes that at the next General Synod a motion will he moved for the inclusion of Pram Services in the A.S.B. between Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child and Baptism, and he urges that these services be seen as part of "the ongoing process of initiation into the Christian family," providing optional formulas for the Blessing of Prams, and a wonderful original prayer which begins, "O God of Prams and Pushchairs, Great Lubricator of our springs."
Mr Perham's study stands in the mainstream tradition of Anglican liturgiology. To those who are attempting to be modern, meaningful and relevant, and there are many, Mr. Perham's book will have instant appeal. Of course, there will be some who will claim that it is underpinned by had theology. This at least can he denied, since— and this is its strength— there is no theology visible; indeed, it is an atheological book.
It may upset some High Churchmen, especially in its provision in the suggested "Order of Pram Service and Holy Communion" for the distribution of babies' rusks; and Evangelicals may question the lack of scriptural authority. But we believe that this is the kind of liturgy which the Church of England ought to be promoting if we are to go forward into the 21st century. We must appeal to the young and it we are not to attract them in their perambulators, then there is little hope of evangelising them at a later age.
It is to he hoped that this work will excite the attention and consideration that it deserves and that Mr. Perham will attain the ecclesiastical preferment for which this study fits him as a worthy addition to the episcopal bench, and for which its dedication to the Prime Minister's Patronage Secretary is, perhaps, an oblique hint.
CHURCHGOERS at Muston, Yorkshire, never know what to expect from their lay preacher, Mr. Roy Shaw, who uses different outfits to illustrate his sermons. Hisunderwater diving suit is the current favourite, especially with the children. And Mr. Shaw's message to suit the suit? - "Everyone needs an air-line to breathe and a set of flippers to propel them through life."
|RECENT philosophy of religion has made us familiar with "the principle of credulity". This principle is expounded by Professor Swineherd of the University of Newcastle-under-Lyme in his recent book, The Existence of Archangels (Oxford Polytechnic Press - remaindered, 99p), as follows: the fact that we think we have seen something constitutes prima facie evidence that something exists. |
By EDWARD L. DAVIDS
Grichael Meen's new book exemplifies the principle of credulity very well. Of course, Professor Swineherd hastens to point out that special circumstances—for example, our being completely plastered—may outweigh the principle's force and render it inapplicable in a given case.
No one is going to argue that after 12 pints in The Bear, my thinking I see pink elephants is very strong evidence that there are some about (though there may be and you never know what they get up to in Christ Church these days).
But such a contingency can hardly apply in the Demeritus Rector of St Everytime's. Grichael Meen knows that goblins exist. He gives three reasons for this unshakeable belief.
First, he knows by experience that there are Goblins; for he has frequently seen them, expecially in his church on Sundays, but also in 10 Downing Street ("for we must never forget the social ,dimension of the Christian Gospel").
Secondly, he has recently been reading a most important book by Professor Z.Q. Hamburger ("not himself a Christian"), the
| I BELIEVE IN GOBLINS. by Grichael Meen. (Dodder and Stumble, £99.95.) |
leading American nuclear sociologist from the University of the Grand Canyon, who argues that the power of nuclear energy points unmistakeably to the presence of goblins in the electrons. Thirdly, Jesus Himself believed in them.
Having established the existence of goblins, Meen proceeds to show how feeble the modern Christian Church has become through its neglect of goblins, and through its common liberal tendency to demythologise goblins along the lines
of Rudolf Bultmann's ("arguably the greatest New Testament scholar of his generation") hermeneutical programme.
The devoted love of Christian men and women for the unloved, their commitment to social justice, and their communication of Christ's forgiveness and grace to sinful, suffering humanity, are all exposed as naive and useless when unaccompanied by belief in goblins. This generation, argues Meen, may be the last on earth. Mankind may go to its doom through failure to recognise the goblins under the bed.
But this in not a pessimistic book. On the contrary, Meen trenchantly affirms is ever-growing conviction that God is greater than the goblins, and that in the long run, having been allowed to wreak havoc ever since the creation of the world, their downfall will assuredly be brought about. For, by the principle of credulity, if you believe hard enough in goblins, it only takes a little extra effort
to believe in their downfall.
Meen does not explain why God created goblins in the first place, or gave them the power to control the political and sexual lives of human beings, but, with this minor exception, his book may be deemed a model of rational credulity and recommended to all our readers, if they are prepared to pay the price.
| THE TRINITY SHROUD. By Morris Wild (Goblin Press, 25p). |
HERE'S a book to stop your old aunt Fanny wax-polishing the cat—a rip-roaring "caper" novel by the popular Oxford writer Morris Wild. The plot concerns a relic held by Trinity College, Cambridge, bearing the image of a figure which many people believe to be a theologian crucified by critics 20 years previously.
This decaying object is a focus of reverence for many, and the Church, worried about the rise of a popular cult
surrounding it, removes it from public view in Woolwich and locks it up in a chapel in the University.
The story begins when the College authorities, who treat the relic as an
THREE books from Cambridge about the Turin Shroud. SHROUDED IN MYSTERY shows that Turin has no existence outside the realm of divine Fiat.
NO BUSINESS LIKE SHROUD BUSINESS proves a much earlier date for the Shroud and makes an almost conclusive case for it to be the mantle of Elijah.
NOW WE SEE THROUGH A SHROUD DARKLY compares the Shroud to the Bayeux tapestry and disproves any political significance in the Norman Conquest. (All from Petty Curious Books, £2.50 each or 75p for 3).
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THE WOUND OF FAME (Rowan Williams, Wescott Press, 3 guineas). Readers who have looked forward to this new spiritual book from the hand of Rowan Williams will not be disappointed.
|embarrassment, find themselves fighting off zealots who believe in its authenticity and wish to get at it and give it a full public examination. In the face of College intransigence they gradually adopt more desperate measures than before. |
I would be spoiling your enjoyment of the book if I revealed any more of the plot, but I especially liked the sequence when a cricket-playing fanatic called Sheppard dresses up as a Bishop, sneaks into the Chapel and hides behind the statue of Newton in an attempt to steal a glimpse of the object being carried in, but is discovered by a verger and is pressed into giving Benediction..
Altogether a rip-roaring read and a worthy successor to "The Making of Christian Doctrine."
He traces the spiritual development of the English people from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (who if they were alive now would be over 1,000 years old) to the present publication in a work which will no doubt, increase the Church's gradual crescendo of admiration.
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NOTES on a long-forgotten religious order are the substance of Dom Casket's reissue of THE SARTAGINIANS (O.U.P., £5.95).
Founded in Yorkshire in the twelfth century, they had as their central devotion the honouring of those martyrs who suffered in and through the scourge of the frying- pan (Leviticus 7 9—"et onme sacrificium simile . . . vel in sartagine [frying-pan] praeparatur").
Among their curious customs (see Archway Queen's liturgies of the minor orders) was the Fried Mass and the annual exposition of the Relic of the True Frying Pan (sartago) in which the Maccabean Martyrs got their chips.
MINISTRY OF THE CLOWN
THE Ven. Piers Gaythorne-Slingshot, Archdeacon of Gateshead, has just spent a week on the staff of the United Methodist National Clown, Mime, Dance and Puppet Ministry Workshop in Washington.
Christians in the U.S.A. work a lot with clowning to reach people who cannot easily be reached in any other way, he says, adding: "It'snot a grisly gimmick but something quite deep.
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The Ven. Piers Gaythorne-
"I find that in walking down the street wearing my oversize shoes, baggy trousers and a red nose, people react to me in a new and refreshing way. 'That's not a grisly gimmick,' the costermongers ejaculate, 'That's the Ven. Piers Gaythorne-Slingshot.' It is through this more intimate relationship with my flock that they come to a deeper knowledge of the true nature of priestly Ministry and intercession. Thus sometimes when I am outside my church, local people come up to me and say I ought to be put inside."
I BELIEVE IN GOBLINS
Some scoff at the idea of Goblins in this enlightened age; yet cults, tarot cards, horoscopes, seances and thuribles have never been more popular. Do Goblins constitute the dark pervasive force behind these evils and, if so, how can they be defeated?
Grichael Meen writes from personal experience of uninvited Goblins and asks: "Is there a Goblin in your life?"
DODDER & STUMBLE
I n last week's edition of Not The Church Times we intended to refer to the Very Rev. Alan Webster, Dean of St. Pauls, as a Dean among Queens and not as the typographical error unfortunately read.
FATHER Gibbard, S.S. Oriana, is soon about to depart for a lecture tour of Venus and Mars. He will be back in 1987 and wishes to be spared unnecessary correspondence in the interim.
SCHOOLS & COLLEGES
MERSEYSIDE METROPOLITAN COUNCIL
St. David and St. Derek
(Joint Church of England and Roman Catholic)
Junior and Middle Infants' School
TEACHER (Scale post) required for this go-ahead ecumenical venture to teach a varied pattern of subjects to all age groups, specialising in conservative theology and social concern.
Church of Ireland
A REPORT is to be presented to the next session of the Church of Ireland Synod recommending the merging of three dioceses to form the new diocese of Cashel, Waterford, Lismore, Ossory, Ferns, Leighlin, Cork, Cloyne, Ross, Limerick, Ardfert, Killaloe and Clonfert.
WANTED AND FOR SALE
FOR SALE: Three hundred and fifty motor-scooters. Only one clerical user each and sometimes not even that. As new. Give-away prices. Apply Bishop of Norwich.
WANTED: Bishopric required, urgently and in any condition. Diocesan preferred but will accept suffragan. Distance no object. Advertiser will collect in person. Apply Ealing Vicarage, London.