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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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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The Unbearable Reductionism of a Binary World

There’s no escaping binaries these days. Every conceivable detail of modern life seems to be reduced to digital 1s and 0s. As computing technology encroaches ever further, it makes resisting binaries seem harder than ever. In/Out, Left/Right, Same/Different, Them/Us. (more…)

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Friday Fun 48: Monopods vs Monobracchs Cricket

Well, the book’s first draft is done and sent off – the initial editors’ comments are awaited with trepidation. But the good news (I hear you ALL cry) is that I can get back to some serious blogging. And what better way to mark this momentous event than by offering some Friday Fun.

One of my recent excitements is the quirky Cox’s Fragmenta. This is edited by Simon Murphy from a really bizarre tome in the British Library – essentially a scrap-book of news clippings kept by one Francis Cox (1752-1834) on every subject under the sun. In fact, it takes up 20 feet of shelving. So I thought it might be fun to pick out a few choice morsels.

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Q Conversations 5: Politician Elizabeth, Baroness Berridge

Elizabeth Berridge, until very recently, was the youngest woman in the House of Lords, the UK’s upper house in Parliament. Raised to the peerage in the 2011, she was before that a barrister and then in 2006 became Executive Director of the Conservative Christian Fellowship which exists to bring together Conservative Party voting Christians of all denominations. She describes herself as a classic Tory ‘wet’, as opposed to the ‘Dry’ Thatcherite end of the party’s spectrum. If that terminology is rather meaningless to you (oreven sounds mildly offensive!) then listen in! (more…)

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