Je suis Calvin?

February 11, 2007

Just did the Which Theologian are you? quiz, which reckons I’m Jean Calvin.

(Yes, I’m a bit late coming to the quiz. I can only plead a lack of hipness)

Since Calvin would undoubtedly have been happy to see me suffer a nasty death if I happened to drop by his church one Sunday, I’m a little doubtful. (Of course, the other Reformation figures weren’t any better)

I’m interested in why, though. Possibly its because liberal christianity as a culture comes through the Reformed family (UU from the Puritans, Liberals from the Presbyterians and Calvinistic Baptists and Congregationalists etc).

More likely it’s because I am inclined not to place a lot of emphasis on Free Will (TM), both on observational lines (swig half a bottle of Laphroaig and then tell me clearly and distinctly that you have the free choice to slur your words or not. Then apologise for blaspheming against the world’s best whisky) and on theological lines (it comes with the Universalist territory).

(Did a search: Peacebang is Paul Tillich, Boy in the Bands is also Calvin)

My result:

You scored as John Calvin. Much of what is now called Calvinism had more to do with his followers than Calvin himself, and so you may or may not be committed to TULIP, though God’s sovereignty is all important.

John Calvin


Paul Tillich


Jürgen Moltmann


Karl Barth


Martin Luther




Charles Finney


Friedrich Schleiermacher




Jonathan Edwards


How are you different?

January 24, 2007


That component of your life
that you think of as faith –
if you did not have it
would you be different?

I have a friend who is a Christian.
She wasn’t always a Christian,
but now she is.

I asked her: how are you different?

And she said: I give more to charity now.

I think she worries more
about her friends going to hell
than she used to

Which is sad.

How are you different?

(as discussed at Soulspace)


January 20, 2007

Well here we are.



I wonder what happens now?

I’m taking a break

August 31, 2006

I’m taking a break for a couple of months to sort out some stuff. Nothing dramatic or particularly interesting. If you want to get in touch, my blog email address is in the About Me page.

Have fun!


A Bath Teashop

August 29, 2006

John Betjeman was born 100 years ago – 28 August 1906. To celebrate, A Bath Teashop:

“Let us not speak, for the love we bear one another—
Let us hold hands and look.”
She such a very ordinary little woman;
He such a thumping crook;
But both, for a moment, little lower than the angels
In the teashop’s ingle-nook.

He could be cutting, too: From In Westminster Abbey:

Although dear Lord I am a sinner,
I have done no major crime;
Now I’ll come to Evening Service
Whensoever I have the time.
So, Lord, reserve for me a crown,
And do not let my shares go down.

An evolving Bible?

August 16, 2006

A People So Bold asks Would it be a good idea to include new books in the Bible?

I’m reminded of the Good as New paraphrase of the Bible, which adds the Gospel of Thomas and leaves out the (often dangerously misinterpreted) Book of Revelations.

I’m also reminded of Luther’s decision to remove the Apocrypha.

Assuming that we don’t believe that the process of deciding which documents were included was an infallible process, on what basis do we accept the current list? Is it only that everyone else does, so we do to?

The core of the Bible for me contains those documents which witness of the life and teachings of Jesus, so I would include those documents which are the earliest of those witnesses (the current Gospels and most of the letters. Thomas? Maybe. Revelations? Maybe not – after all, it never even made it into all the bibles in the first place)

After that, what? Any why?

While in my secret superhero identity, I sometimes have to teach lawyers and law students how to build websites. This used to be a complex task, starting off with HTML and Netscape Composer; and the websites created were inevitably fairly ugly and (more dangerously) very inflexible.

For my own personal/professional site I used Dreamweaver, which has a powerful templating system, but Dreamweaver is expensive and increasingly complex to learn.

I have also been responsible for helping a few small community organisations in getting websites up and running, and have been looking for years for a better way for the millions of small community groups to build websites. I’ve tried out Zope (too complex) and Plone (too inflexible) etc on small community legal centres, amateur choral societies, etc.

If I had to advise a small community group with limited technical and monetary resources (and this includes most non-mega-churches) on how to build a website for their group today, I would follow Scott Well’s advice on Boy in the Bands and build something on WordPress.

WordPress can be used to create both a blogish “News Page” and also static pages (with, importantly, static URLs. See my “About Me” page at the right). It has built in a templating system with a number of nice looking templates, and a built in Users facility so that the group can give editing passwords to a number of people (and take them away again if necessary).

The downside to WordPress for small groups is that, although very easy to use, there is still technical skill required in setting up the host computer with the required MySQL, PHP and WordPress itself (I share Scott’s fetish for flat file databases 🙂 but alas that is not the way of the world). There are, however, some fairly cheap hosting services which will set up a WordPress hosting site for you. A small group could also start off on a free site like this one, and move to something bigger and better if necessary.

(Tip to organisations which are essentially umbrella organisations for small community groups – why not provide free hosting and subdomain for member groups?)