Q Marks the Spot 134 (December 2019)

Sacred Treasure One man mission - a fascinating story about reviving Welsh chapels - and fascinating it gets such a high profile on the BBCJames Hannam has written one of my favourite books of history (God's Philosophers: How the Mediaeval…

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Promoted to Glory: the incomparable Frances Whitehead

Despite the relative freedom that singleness brought him, John Stott would never have achieved everything he achieved in his 90-year life were it not for one person: Frances Whitehead. Her legacy is truly unique: She was John's secretary for nearly…

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Michael Faraday’s appeal for scientific humility

Have been dipping into Max Adams equally fascinating and frustrating book The Firebringers - Art, Science and the Struggle for Liberty in nineteenth-century Britain (aka The Prometheans). The cast of heroes, rogues, and geniuses is startling in its breadth and…

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Revisiting the arable parable woods

A couple of years ago, I reposted a little thing I had written 5 years before, An Arable Parable. Now that I'm back at my parents' home for a few weeks, I went for a wander in the field last…

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The Lazaruses of Grenfell Tower: a parable of sorts

London, like many historic cities, forces rich and poor to live cheek by jowl. It always has. It is much less ghettoed than many more modern cities - although house price escalation is changing that. Thus the so-called Royal Borough of…

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Closing the gap: sitcoms, spin and suspicion

Paul Arnold, the coordinator of the Church and Media Network (MediaNet), kindly invited me to write a post this week to point to how Wilderness engages with media issues. So here is the result:

When Jeremy Paxman gave his MacTaggart lecture at the 2007 Edinburgh International Television Festival, he actually created his own headlines. After a spate of scandals at the time, he described how his employer, the BBC, had been left with “a catastrophic, collective loss of nerve,” with the bigger question of whether the corporation “itself has a future.” Those comments are even more relevant today, with many seeking to exploit its insecurity. The precariousness is indicated by the fact that big celebrity guns have been marshalled to speak out in its defence. (more…)

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