Top cover

Can I just say that I – and others in our office – think that this month’s front cover is brilliant. It’s great to see someone with a sense of humour use that humour to ensure I was hooked even when the magazine was still in the plastic wrapper. I also think fake news is a very important topic to air – both in the current political and Church climates – so I appreciated the article and the work that had obviously gone into it. Please pass on my thanks to the author. David Vesey Marshall Management

Thanks for your thoughtful piece on fake news ('Would I lie to you?', Culture). One of the most interesting questions was about buying into stories we would like to be true. As a preacher I remember borrowing a story I heard a few years ago about a man who was apparently swallowed by a sperm whale, sometime in the 19th century, and survived but lost all his skin colouring. It was only after using this in connection with Jonah, that I thought to check the story using search words that I had never thought of using before – ‘alleged’, ‘improbable’, ‘false’ – and discovered to my shame that this story had been debunked 130 years ago – the Victorian ‘Jonah’ was an albino man who went around fairgrounds and, had never travelled anywhere by sea, but was a renowned con man. Oh dear.

What would have happened if I told this story to non-believers who checked it and found me out? We have to check our stories rather than hope they are true. I think it’s important to occasionally read news from sources we disagree with. When we are rigorous with our sources, we can engage in the discussion with confidence, knowing we have been careful, like Dr Luke when writing to Theophilus – no fake news there, only carefully verified truth.

Tim Lee


Boycotting beauty

On reading the article on boycotting Beauty and the Beast (‘In My Opinion’, April), I was challenged and agree with some of the sentiments. I don’t think that those in a practising gay relationship should be in positions in the Church. In the same way, people who are heterosexual but are living with someone who is not their spouse shouldn’t either. I don’t think I’ll ever change my opinion on these things but I do agree that we need to really think about not giving our support to the way relationships are portrayed in the media. Apart from the amount of blasphemy that shocked me while watching Mamma Mia! at a ladies’ night at church, I wondered how we could think it humorous or entertaining that a lady did not know which of three men is the father of her daughter? Perhaps we should be boycotting this kind of film as well? Having said that, I do think it’s really sad that even in Disney films nowadays they want to be ‘politically correct’ and include some kind of alternative relationship!

Jane Otieno


Rethinking bisexuality

I’ve just read 119: My Life as a Bisexual Christian by Jaime Sommers which was given a 3/5 review in the February edition. It has seriously challenged my thinking, opened my eyes, altered my stereotypes and wrecked my preconceptions. The book needs to be read, unless you feel that God is not big enough to hang on to you while he rocks your boat. I have just two points which I am happy to have to reconsider. The word ‘marriage’ has always meant “the union between one man with one woman, for life”. The LGBT community has wished to alter this meaning of the word but it has great significance for me and others who are in a straight marriage. I am saddened by the alteration to the meaning of the word. Secondly, with the human anatomy and reproductive system in mind, children come into the world by the joining of female with male. It would seem to me that adoption of children by LGBT partners goes against creation and the creator God who is central to my life.

Eleanor Aldred


Persistent prayer?

In his article on prayer (March), David Instone-Brewer has slipped in a mistaken idea about the parable of the persistent widow. The parable is not about persistence, it’s about God’s immediate response to his loved ones! Jesus put it that way because he was challenging the ubiquitous pagan view of prayer – that you have to keep trying in order to earn the divinity’s respect. Jesus’ message is that our loving Father is not like that unjust judge! Obvious, isn’t it?

John King


Ranting RT

Oh dear! RT Kendall’s article (April) is a horrible negative rant which couldn’t be less reflective of the nature and character of our Trinitarian God and how he lovingly relates to his children. His 14 signs of a sleeping church are such sweeping statements, they are almost meaningless. Evangelical organisations really do need to wake up and acknowledge there are vast swathes of formerly evangelical Christians like myself, who are discovering that there is another version of Christianity which is far more life-affirming and makes a whole lot more sense.

Jackie Hockley



I was interested to read ‘My friend the...Muslim’ (March). One comment from a Palestinian Christian was that you may meet some good Muslims but Islam itself is not good. Show me a Muslim-dominated country where Christians and other faiths can worship freely. There isn’t one. Many Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith, mainly by Muslims and other extremists. I guess this side of the picture is unlikely to get printed due to fear.

Roy Bradfield



Roger Writes…

Dear editor, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32, KJV) says our Lord, and while this is unquestionably true, he obviously didn’t have our church bulletin sheets in mind when he wrote it. They are so full of errors, it’s like reading a poorly executed modern paraphrase of the Bible. Or, come to think of it, any paraphrase of the Bible. Some recent examples include an invitation to sign up on the “information sheep”, an offer of a “worm welcome” and, perhaps most concerningly, a note that church stewards must be available to “eat latecomers”. Either the volunteer who types this up needs urgent prayer and deliverance or she needs a new typewriter. I imagine it won’t be long before someone invents a machine that can check your spelling for you.

I know that sounds fantastical, but mark my words. I was pleased to note in your most recent edition, that you had included an article on Fake News that (quite rightly) hailed the value of truth, and it was accompanied by a series of headlines that I was fascinated to read. I had a forceful debate with a fellow Christian about these headlines; he was doubtful about their veracity, but I argued that a Christian publication would never knowingly print an untruth. Imagine my disgust, therefore, when my neighbour googlified them (I think that’s what he said) and told me they were all lies! Not only am I appalled, but I also need to discover a way to retrieve the “Congratulations on your conversion” card I sent to Richard Dawkins.

Yours truthfully,

Rev Roger D Votional

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