Category Archives: Politics and sociology

Woke historical revisionism for beginners

There was a rather unfortunate, though amusing, slip of the tongue on yesterday’s Antiques Roadshow. It was on the lips of the seasoned expert Paul Atterbury (also famed as the model for Andy Pandy in his infancy, his mother being the puppeteer), who was examining two sea-rescue medals.

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Following the evidence (to make sure it’s dead)

Have you experienced an odd feeling over the last year? You get involved in some ordinary activity – family events, a work project or whatever – and life seems to be getting back to some kind of normality, until you suddenly realize with a start that what with COVID, the Social Justice Revolution, and international politics, the whole world is a lunatic asylum, and it’s the normality that is the illusion.

Posted in History, Medicine, Politics and sociology, Science, Theology | 2 Comments

Destructive societal superstitions

There is still a prevalent idea that witchcraft was predominantly a mediaeval thing, representing the remnants of pagan religion amongst the peasantry. In fact, the wave of superstitious belief in witches, pacts with the devil and so on was an early modern phenomenon beginning in the sixteenth century, and was at its height of “witchfinders general,” show trials and so on in the following century. Witchcraft was actually very rare in mediaeval times.

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A simple false positive update

OK. The positive test rate for COVID in the UK has been flat all month, at around 6,400 daily. The rapid increase in test numbers has also more or less flattened off at around 1.8m daily, and COVID deaths are zero in many areas.

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Nature small, medium and large

A BBC nature programme a couple of weeks ago showed the remarkable nest of Britain’s smallest bird (if you don’t count the tail) – the long-tailed tit. It’s a beautifully made globular structure (though still heavily predated) of lichen and feathers, designed to expand as the brood grows because it’s woven from spider’s silk.

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Implicit narcissism

I’ve no idea why YouTube started assailing me with psychologists’ guides to narcissism some months ago. They do that sometimes, the algorithms suddenly deciding to deluge you with clips on “carpentry tips” maybe, or some obscure Australian band. But it has become very apposite, since a possibly narcissitic relationship at the very top of society has been in the headlines for the last week or two, suspected as such by many lay people as well as pundits.

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Sharpley and son revisited

“Better get a move on Paul – we’ll be late for church.” “Uhh… if you don’t mind, Dad, I’d rather stay home.” “Hmmm – hold on a second, Son… Grace! I’ve got an issue here – you go on with the girls and we’ll catch you up! Now, what’s the problem, Paul? You’ve never missed church before.”

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More on closed churches

Looking at historical instances of mass-closure of churches, one thing is clear: it was taken very much more seriously by our brethren in the past.

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An old(?) normal for return to church

If the last year has taught us anything about church, it is that at its core is “assembly” (ekklesia) and not “virtual contact.” Apart from the many psycho-social reasons I pointed to even before the first lockdown – a year less a week ago – one key realisation to many is the centrality of participation.

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Worshipping in spirit and production values

I had an e-mail today (as the “chief musician” of my church) from the organisation that licences worship music, headed “Enhance Your Worship With MultiTracks.” Coming off the back of recent leadership discussions after nearly a year of online lockdown virtual services, that seems worthy of comment.

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