Monday, 21 December 2009

Rowan Williams podcast

Masterful interview : Simon Mayo with Archbishop Rowan Williams covering a range of thorny issues. Williams speaks so clearly and concisely, and without hesitation.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Copenhagen the new Bethlehem

Any readers who intend to be at any of my Christmas services may prefer not to read the sneak preview of my address, which attempts to relate what has just happened at Copenhagen to the Christmas story. For those that do, however, it may be found on the 'Articles and Sermons' page at

There are two addresses : the first suggests that Humanity is experiencing a very real Advent season as it enters the 'end game' of its existence on earth. The second argues for hope in the face of the apparent failure of the talks, for the longed-for Messianic leadership may yet prove to have been born in that outsized warehouse.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Hot Air time for climate change deniers

Last week George Monbiot warned of the consequences of the email hack at UEA and called on the Professor Phil Jones of the department to resign. The emails include things like this : (Phil Jones :)"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

This was all the excuse the Saudi Arabian delegates to Copenhagen needed to say they intended to slow down action on climate change until the science was more certain, and it was all the excuse BBC's 'Today' programme needed to put the tedious Philip Stott on again. Jonathan Porritt made a pretty poor show of challenging Stott's assertion that the whole Man-made climate change thesis is a small and vulnerable point of convergence on which a vast pyramid of assembled data rests. It's rubbish, of course - a completely false and misleading analogy, but the leaked emails certainly make it look as if this is what's going on.

It seems to me that if, in the space of 150 years, the human race releases into the thin skin of gas that envelopes our planet (look up some images and see how thin it really is) solar energy locked up in the form of carbon that took 100 million years or so to lay down, the onus is on those scientists who say that this should have no effect to prove it.

OFSTED on Faith Schools

Those who support so-called 'faith schools' (i.e. schools run by religious groups - not 'faiths') are celebrating a recent OFSTED report that concludes that they do not undermine 'community cohesion'.

What none of the reports I've read (including the BBC) note is that OFSTED was not reviewing state 'faith schools' but independent religious foundation schools. It is true that by and large they found that these independent schools were not socially divisive in their teaching. But they're socially divisive in that only those can afford to pay can send their children there - the report notes that pupils sometimes have to withdraw because their parents can't afford to keep them there, and that when they do they don't feel nearly so included. The report also notes that their pupils are generally not representative of the local community in which the school is set.

So middle-class kids from out of town get a balanced education. Good.