For the last few years I have given up reading fiction in Lent. I love reading novels so it is a big sacrifice. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t read but what I do read is more worthy. Theology and the like. The books that you buy and then never get a chance to open. I have piles of them.
I have just finished Why I am Still an Anglican edited by Caroline Chartres. It is really a series of essays on the topic by well known folk such as Ian Hislop, PD James, Fay Weldon, Nicky Gumbel etc. In a few pages they tell how they came to the church and why they have stayed. They also discuss issues such as women priests and gay clergy. Some of it was really interesting and some a little off the mark. Nicky Gumbel, for example, really only spoke about Alpha and to my mind didn’t enter into the spirit of the book at all.
My favourite quote came from Canon Lucy Winkett at St Paul’s Cathedral:
It is said that you can tell which denomination of church building you are in by going into the vestry. In a Methodist vestry, you will find a picture of Jesus the Good Shepherd; in a Roman Catholic vestry, you will find an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. What you will find on the wall in an Anglican vestry is a full-length mirror. We can suffer from ecclesiastical sartorial anxiety and sometimes that translates into hierarchical giddiness.