Twurch of England

does the pen work - yes - good

Warning: If you have no interest in Twitter, the well known internet timewasting service, and Christianity, the well known religion, you will find this post dull and an utter irrelevance.

The Twurch of England is the Church of England on Twitter. The bishops, the clergy, and the… hang on… it’s only the bishops and the clergy! The laity (ordinary people) are nowhere to be found. This is an unjust state of affairs which sends out the message that the ordinary people are not as important as the bishops and clergy. Being mildly deeply upset about this I started a ‘Reform the Twurch’ campaign yesterday – you can read all of the tweets on the subject via the hashtag #reformthetwurch. It was great fun and a most creative protest. Proceedings were conducted calmly and peacefully, and from time to time nuns came out and brought us tea.

Of course there are other Anglicans not in the CofE, and other denominations of Christians who are also not a part of this group. I certainly think it would be good to include these people, although I understand that the ‘Twurch of England’ may not be the most appropriate banner under which to gather them. Perhaps there needs to be an ‘Anglican Twits’ (Anglicans who aren’t CofE) group, and one for ‘UK Twistians’ (UK Christians whether they are Anglican or not). I suspect forming a ‘World Christians’ group might be rather more time consuming.

My challenges to Twurch administrators (The Church Moose and Peter O) are as follows:

1) First of all I think you really need to include CofE laity if you are to go on calling it the Twurch of England. It’s OK, there aren’t many of us and we’re declining in number all the time.
2) Secondly, I understand that you may want to restrict membership of the Twurch of England to members of the Church of England. However, if you don’t find a way to include the wider groups of people (Anglicans, UK Christians) in some way I suspect someone else will. There is an opportunity for a creative individual to form the Anglican Twitter community or the Christian Twitter community, and sooner or later someone will do so.

The picture above has nothing to do with this post by the way. I just didn’t have anything else to put in.

Now… stop trying to distract me – I’ve got work to do. My big important project went a bit better yesterday, for which I am thankful.

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Today’s Church Times cartoon: preemptive explanation

lent cartoon 10

This is a blog post about my cartoon in today’s Church Times. Unfortunately it would be unfair of me to post it here given that the Church Times have paid me to draw it and so it is right that they have exclusive first use of it. The link is here, but it is subscriber only, and I’m aware that the extract above will be too small to see as it is long and thin. Apologies, therefore, to those for whom this post will be meaningless.

This isn’t an apology (which was what I originally entitled it), more of an explanation. I felt in hindsight, having submitted the cartoon, that some clergy might feel that I am getting at them and criticising of the organising of lots of Lenten things. This was not my intention. The cartoon is perhaps saying something about the vast range of Lent resources and activities that are available – are there too many? But in truth the cartoon is probably more about how someone like me, whose job it is to think about Christianity all day every day, keeps their belief alive. The danger is that one becomes overwhelmed by worthy activities and spiritual messages. The suggestion is that, for me, the best Lenten fast is possibly to fast from Lent itself.

I don’t know, what do you think?

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Today's Church Times cartoon: preemptive explanation

lent cartoon 10

This is a blog post about my cartoon in today’s Church Times. Unfortunately it would be unfair of me to post it here given that the Church Times have paid me to draw it and so it is right that they have exclusive first use of it. The link is here, but it is subscriber only, and I’m aware that the extract above will be too small to see as it is long and thin. Apologies, therefore, to those for whom this post will be meaningless.

This isn’t an apology (which was what I originally entitled it), more of an explanation. I felt in hindsight, having submitted the cartoon, that some clergy might feel that I am getting at them and criticising of the organising of lots of Lenten things. This was not my intention. The cartoon is perhaps saying something about the vast range of Lent resources and activities that are available – are there too many? But in truth the cartoon is probably more about how someone like me, whose job it is to think about Christianity all day every day, keeps their belief alive. The danger is that one becomes overwhelmed by worthy activities and spiritual messages. The suggestion is that, for me, the best Lenten fast is possibly to fast from Lent itself.

I don’t know, what do you think?

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New cartoon: We are safe here

we are safe here

This is a new cartoon that hasn’t appeared anywhere else. I know, unheard of.

You don’t need to tell me that the steps are a bit funny. I know that the steps are a bit funny. But you quite often find that underground bunker churches have funny steps.

Large and high resolution versions for subscribers and those wearing the incorrect spectacles here: CartoonChurch.com » Cartoon » We are safe here.

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“Why We Cannot Afford To Lose The Daily Mail”

The Daily Mail under the editorship of Paul Dacre is the last popular stronghold of Christian Britain. … Dacre’s Mail is virtually the last friend Bible-believing Christians have got in Fleet Street.

An article on VirtueOnline that brought a smile to my face and a little bit of joy to my heart. I’m not linking to the site for religious reasons, so you’ll have to copy and paste:

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=8967

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My Pew: Things I have seen from it

I’m pleased to announce that ‘My Pew: Things I have seen from it’ is now available.

My Pew: Things I have seen from it

The book contains 90 cartoons, nearly all of which are from my Church Times ‘Guide to the Church’ series. There is also a cartoon introduction, which takes the total up to 91. It has taken over a year and a half to do these drawings (not full time – I have had breaks for meals and to do household chores etc). They represent many days of anxiety and pacing to and fro, but also hours of fun thinking up the ideas and talking them over with friends and passers-by. Not to mention many Cartoon Blog threads on which you, the readers, have given your ideas, for which I am genuinely grateful.

The book costs £5.99. Canterbury Press are once again the publishers. Their page about the book is here.

You can also buy the book from all manner of places. Church House bookshop has it here, or if you prefer do a search on Amazon.

Alternatively why not support a local bookseller and buy the book from there? Some Christian bookshops will have it – if in doubt phone them and ask. You can find the number in the Christian bookshops directory. If they do not believe that there is such a book tell them that the ISBN number is 9781853118999. They should be able to order it for you. Other bookshops will stock it too, but once again you might have to order it.

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‘What am I doing here’ launched

What am I doing here?

[Click on the photo for a larger version on the Flickr website]

I’ve just been to the launch of ‘What am I doing here?’ at Church House and am sitting in the Methodists’ canteen. Aren’t the Methodists great.

The book has some of my cartoons in it. I gave a short speech and was videoed a bit. I will not come across well on the video. The picture above is of me signing some books with Hilary Brand, the author.

There is a press release about the book on the Church of England website which I have reproduced below:

Church launches a guidebook to churchgoing

26 June 2008

A cartoonist and an author have joined forces to create a fresh guide to churchgoing – published by the Church of England this week – which has already won praise for its no-nonsense approach to explaining the Anglican faith.

What Am I Doing Here?, produced by Church House Publishing, uses the main weekly communion service as a basis for explaining why people go to church, and what happens when they do.

Broadcaster and editor of Private Eye, Ian Hislop, is among early fans of the book’s ability to communicate simply what going to church is really about. He comments: “Most books nowadays explain why people don’t go to church anymore. It is good to find one that explains why people still do.”

Accompanied by illustrations from cartoonist Dave Walker, the pocket-sized book guides readers through each of the key parts of the Holy Communion service, demystifying what happens and why.

Written by Hilary Brand (Christ and the Chocolaterie; The Sceptic’s Guide to the Bible), the book serves as an ideal resource for churches to offer people who have recently started attending church, perhaps through contact with Fresh Expressions, Back to Church Sunday, or other mission initiatives.

It follows research (pdf document) that recently revealed three million people (six per cent of the adult population) would come back to church if they received a personal invitation.

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, is convinced that the book’s down-to-earth style will help explain what the 1.7 million people who attend a Church of England church each month get up to, without resorting to theological jargon: “Written from the perspective of an ordinary ‘person in the pew’, this book is a wonderfully direct, simple and informative guide to what goes on in church and takes us on the brief journey we make when we worship together.

“It debunks some of the myths about church – for example, that only ‘self-righteous’ people go to church. Church is for all people – the ragbag of saints and sinners that we are – and Hilary Brand’s simple clarity and Dave Walker’s cartoons should make it a more welcoming place particularly for those who don’t go to church, but might like to.”

Over its 72 pages, What Am I Doing Here? highlights key parts of the Holy Communion service, including:

  • Wonder and wow factor – how worship begins with finding and expressing gratitude for all that God has done
  • Admitting and acknowledging – recognizing and ‘owning’ the fact that we are responsible for messing up, and that we need God to forgive us
  • Receiving and renewing – the need for gaining strength, comfort and delight in remembering and reenacting the Last Supper, the ultimate demonstration of God’s sacrifice for the sake of humankind.

What Am I Doing Here?, priced £4.99 (ISBN 978-07151-4161-8), is available from Christian bookshops, or by mail order via the web.

My own page about the book is here.

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