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"I was told to think havitrg a

dishwasher was the best thinq in

the world...rrntil I found SCM"

a not-quite-true story

ere I was, your typical 1960's Home Improvements Catalogue

model, thinking I had all I could want and then I joined SCM,

and discovered a place where I could ask questions and debate

issues, and explore my beliefs in a community that was totally open-minded'

+,l

Now I'm enjoying all the friendships I have, and I'm too busy

discussing the relationship of Hegel to the minor prophets,

reading Mouentent and the many resources on subjects ranging

from fuudamentalism to death, and going to Taiz6 lVorships

andJubilee 2000 demos to want to returu to the shallow,

exploited lifestyle Western advertising wanted me to have. Now

if you'll excuse nte, I'nt off to go change the world.

r iI

f-"''

t,

Ask Ouestions . Share lnsights o Make Friends . Work For Change

Join the Student Christian Movement

For further information, write SCM, Westhill College, Selly Oak Birmingham 829 6LL

0121 471 2404 scm@charis.co.uk

http : //www. charis. co. u k/SCM

JOIN US FOR THE NEXT

1OO ISSUES

For almost three decades, Movemenf has tackled

issues of theology, politics, the arts and popular

culture in a lively, accessible manner. Topical and

thoroughly eclectic, Movemenf is on the cutting

edge, with incisive commentary by the next

generation of Christian thinkers.

Movemenf is now available by subscription for f 15 for

2 years. To subscribe, send a cheque (payable to SCM)

to Movement subscriptions, c/o SCM, Westhill College,

Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6LL


Wow! One hundred issues and almost three decades of continuous publication. Not bad for a

student magazine. craeme Burk gets us in a party mood...

Confessions Of A

Movement Fan

I promise-this is the only article

I you'll get about our lOOth issue in

tf'u body of the magazine proper.

I Honest and truly. We (the editorial

"we", that is) wanted to keep the

retrospecting to the special section in

the middle and devote the slightlyreduced

contents of the "regular" issue

to continuing what the magazine has

done well for 26 years. Still, we

thought we'd break this rule-and the

longstanding rule against having an

editorial in Movement-just this once.

First, a personal confession: l've

always been something of a fan of

Movement. I became hooked on the

magazine the first time I read it as a

fledgling SCMer in Canada at the start

of this decade. I loved the intelligent

commentary on Christianity and political

issues, the gentle sense of (British)

humour that pervaded everything, the

depth of analysis and the clarity of prose.

At the time I was editing the

Canadian SCM's magazine, All Things

New and I decided I wanted to make it

"more like Movement". And so I learned

desktop publishing, I regularly filched

ideas and graphics, and I started

corresponding with a succession of

editors, eventually writing for the

magazine and co-proucing a resource by

both SCMs, (Raging ln The Streetswhich

is still available from SCM).

I was thrilled when, last year, I was

asked to ediL Movement. lt was like

getting the call to join a premiership

division team. Unfortunately, due to the

exigencies of lifb and the Home Office,

l've only able to do it for a year. But I'm

proud of the three per cent of the first

10O issues I got to do. And l've learned,

from both editing the magazine and

having the dubious honour of reading

the full, unabridged "canon" for this

issue, that we (the Movement-supporting

"we") have so much to be proud of.

It's not often that a magazine makes it

to its 100th issue; even less often that a

student magazine lasts over a quarter of a

century-even less a student magazine

for an organisation that has been through

as many changes as SCM. But

Movement has managed to achieve this,

and that achievement should be lauded.

The saying is true-only by comprehending

where we have come from will

we understand where we are headed.

Movement has been, over the past 26

years, a newsletter. a

radical theological

magazine, a current

affairs journal, an inhouse

student

publication, an arts

magazine and,

sometimes, all of

the above! While

the manner of

student involvement

has

changed,

Movement has

always provided

a space for

students

-

reflecting the

journeys of a

group of

students who

have evolved

and changed

over what

has been

perhaps the most significant

three decades in this century. lt has

shown how they have reflected on the

world around them, and the Christianity

they believe in.

Of course l'm a fan of Movement.

Most editors are.(Given the limited

scope for remuneration, we have to do

it because we love the magazine!) And I

know from my conversations (and from

SCM's recent survey of readers) that

many of you, the readers, are fans of

Movement as well. You care about this

magazine and have supported it through

thick and thin. And this issue is as

much a celebration of your support for

the magazine over the years as it is for

the magazine itself .

Movement has survived two serious

threats on its continued existence, but

movcfncnt 1

it may not always be this way. As

budgetary resources recede, projects like

Movement -which technically constitute

a "loss" in SCM's budget (as most

evangelism tends to)-will become

threatened again. The SCM is working

hard to prevent that from happening, by

finding new ways to distribute Movement

among its primary readership, students,

and asking alumnae and

friends who

enjoy reading

the magazine

FIII to subscribe

to it. You, as

readers, can do

your part by

helping us build

effective distribution

networks

for the magazine,

and by continuing

to give us

feedback-as you

always haveabout

how you

feel about

Movement.

Movement has

long been a symbol of

SCM at its finest. lt is

perhaps one of the

best publications

produced by an SCM

worldwide. Movement's ability to inspire

loyalty from people like me-who live

thousands of miles away from Britain-and

from those of you who have had it as a

regular part of your university career (and

onwards), is proof of Movement's value as

a talking point on issues, and as a space

to question beliefs, values and so-called

cultural norms in an open-minded way.

I hope people will indulge us if we

engage a bit of a party in print. lt's likely

the only opportunity we'll use until the

200th issue which. God willing, will

come out in 2Q32. l'm looking forward to

it already; but then again, l'm a fan. fil

Graeme Burk has been editor of

Movement for 1998.


.:

movefnent

no 100

Autumn 1998

movement is the termly

magazine of the

Student Christian

Movement, distributed

free of charge to members

and dedicated to

an open-minded exploration

of Christianity

new editorial address

22 Dowanside Road

Hillhead

Glasgow G12 gDA

0141 334 7169

e-mail: pending

SCM central office

Westhill College

'l

4/15 Weoley Park Rd

Selly Oak

Birmingham 829 6LL

tel: 0121 471 2404

fax: 01 21 414 1251

SCM@charis. co.uk

editor

Graeme Burk

editor {as of Septi98)

Tim Woodcock

editorial assistant

Carrie O'Grady

editorial board

Tim Woodcock

Kate Wilson

Carolyn Clayton

Stephen Matthews

disclaimer

The views expressed in

movement are those of

the particular author

and should not be taken

to be the policy of the

Student Christian

Movement

. SCM staff

Coordinator

Carolyn Clay.ton

Project Worker - Groups

Craig Cooling

Project Worker -

M em b ersh ip Danelopm e nt

Stephen Matthews

membership fees

f 15 (waged)

f 10 (unwaged/students)

next copydate

15 November 1998

tssN 0306-980x

Deviance Rules OKI

SCM Annual Conference to explore issues of displacement and deviance

or

Deviant? - A

"Displaced

Normal Way of

Life" is this year's SCM

Annual Conference.

which will be held 20-22

November in Leeds.

The conference will

look at perspectives on

displacement and the

deviance with which it is

often associated. We will be

looking at strategies for coping

with unsought displacement

and ask how far what others

see as deviance is simply an

expression of ourselves as

who we are.

The weekend will be a

combination of

speakers and studentled

workshops. The

speakers will include

the Rev Richard Kircker

(General Secretary of

the Lesbian and Gay

Christian Movement)

and Richard Burden MP

(for Birmingham

Northfield), who will

speak on Arab/lsraeli relations

For further information

contact Craig Cooling at SCM

on 0'121 471 2404.

Changes Afoot In Movement

welcome to wider-vision..

I-l

ecently a survey regarding Movement was

L(commissioned by SCM. Many thanks to

I lthose who took part.

One of the results of the survey is to

produce the newsletter Wider-Visron termly for

all SCM Friends, Senior Friends and Supporters

of SCM. This newsletter will be sent in place of

the complementary copies of Movement

Wider-Vision will report on the recent SCM

conferences, groups, retreats and other events.

There will also be a cloumn that will visit

moments in SCM's history, and information

concerning the different ways of supporting

SCM. Wider-Vision aims to complement

Movement and provide opportunities for you to

involved in future activities in SCM

Movement will now be available by subscription

for Friends, Senior Friends and Supporters.

A two year subscription is f 15. For further

information please see the inside front cover.

...and Welcome to Tim!

I t's all change in the Movemenf editorial office

tinOeeO the office itself is moving againl)

I Graeme Burk, who edited the magazine for

1998 is returning to Canada, having completed

his two-year Visa in the UK.

Taking over Movemenf is Tim Woodcock, a

name known to many readers for his incisive

reviews in Movement (including one on page 14

of this issue!). Tim is the editor of the WSCF

European Regional Magazine. Moziak, and will

be editing Movement from Glasgow. where he

recently graduated from university.

We asked Tim if he would do the "Ouickies"

we give to our interview subjects, and he

furnished us with this list:

What is your favourite possession? Do dogs

count?

What are you reading at the moment? Cause

Celeb - Helen Fielding's first novel; lots of

books on DTP; l'm laking Don Quixote travelling

with me-whether or not I finish it is another

matter.

What's your favourite film/play? Casablanca

(for the mythology as much

as the film itselll; King Lear

How do you relax? Walking

aimlessly around a city...or.

if l'm at my folks', in the

woods with the dog.

What's your favourite

journey?

To my bed after a long day.

What do you most like

about yourself? Bursts of creativity

What do you most dislike about yourself? Not

expressing myself

-

keeping it all in

What's your favourite word?

Serendipity

lf you could be someone else who would you

be? Mark Twain

When did you last cry? ln the middle of exams

when it was all getting a bit much?

What are you scared of? Getting stuck in a rut.

What do you never miss on TV? I can never

remember what day anything is on.

What music do you listen to most? Very little

contemporary stuff excites me-but I adore

Kenicke, The Delgados and Belle and Sebastian.

Norman Cook has a Midas touch. However, to

answer the question, if I'm working it's usually

something funky or jazzy.

What pet hates do you have?

A shirt and tie worn with jeans; people who

only ever listen to one radio station

What would your motto lor living be? There's a

marvellous one Alasdair Gray uses: "Work as if

you were in the early days of a better nation"

PLEASE NOTE: EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, THE

MOVEMENT EDITORIAL ADDRESS HAS

CHANGED TO THAT WHICH APPEARS ABOVE.

movgfnent 2

tl


a

Kirche Uberfiilltl

Alan Yearsley gives us a flavour of the Kirchentag-a biennial Church assembly in cermanV which is happening

again next summer

rFowards the end of last

I lun" I attendecl the

I Kirchentag. Literally

translated this means church

assembly or congress, and it

is a large event held every

two years in a different major

German city. This time the

venue was Leipzig, which

made it the first pan-German

Kirchentag to be held in

eastern Germany since the

re-unification of 1 990.

The Kirchentag organisation

is independent of, but

supported by, the German

Lutheran church, and aims to

link the Christian faith to

aspects of the modern-day

world. Although it is

nominally a Protestant organisation,

the Kirchentag has

become an ecumenical event

which many Catholics attend

as well. Each Kirchentag is

guided by a different theme,

taken from a Bible text. This

time the theme was "Auf

dem Weg der Gerechtigkeit

ist Leben" (Along the way of

justice there is life" Proverbs

12:281 Hence one of the

aims of this Kirchentag was

to look at ways of achieving

justice in today's world. This

was particularly appropriate

given the injustices of

unemployment and poverty

suffered by many people in

the former East Germany and

all over eastern Europe since

the collapse of communism.

Over 1OO,O00 people

attend the Kirchentag, and

this generally includes a

few hundred from Britain.

The participants are

accommodated with families

and in school buildings all

over the host city and the

surrounding area. All manner

of events are organised

during the four days,

including Bible studies,

lectures, workshops,

concerts, theatrical shows,

etc. These are held in a

variety of venues. You receive

a detailed programme book

and have to decide for

yourself what to go to. lt

often pays to arrive at the

venue at least an hour

beforehand, or you may be

turned away by a steward

holding up a sign saying

"Kirche Uberfrlllt" (Church full)l

lmportant too is the

"Market of Possibilities".This

consists of three or four vast

exhibition halls full of

information stands from

church, political, environmental

and Third World

organisations wishing to

promote their cause. Any

person or organisation is

welcome to hold an event at

the Kirchentag or to set up

stall in the Market of

Possibilities provided that

they fit in with the theme.

This means that the

Kirchentag is largely an event

organised from below rather

than from above, and paves

the way for "alternative"

viewpoints to be aired. One

day I saw a banner from a

German vegetarian organisation

outside one of the

churches in central Leipzig.

which read "Das 5. Gebot:

Du sollst nicht tciten: Weder

Mensch noch Tier." ("The Sth

commandment: Thou shalt

not kill: Neither person nor

animal.") My favourite event

at the previous Kirchentag in

Hamburg in 1995 was a

march and rally for "gteener"

forms of transport.

One evening there was a

special communion service to

celebrate the "Meissen

Agreement" which enables

clergy of the German

Lutheran church to serve in

the Anglican church, and

vice versa.The highest point

of the Kirchentag, however,

is the closing service in the

stadium on the last day. At

this gathering the crowds

cheer the preacher like

football fans, and the service

booklets are waved from side

to side during the hymns.

The closing service is thus

something of a cross

between a church service, a

football match, and the last

night of the Proms! Shortly

before the end, the venue of

the next Kirchentag is

announced.

The next Kirchentag will

be held in Stuttgart, southwest

Germany, from 16th to

2Oth June 1 999, and

preparations are already

starting to be made for it. For

f irst-year undergraduates, the

dates may well co-incide with

exams, but for those in their

second or final year they

should be fine, barring 'vivas'.

A fairly good knowledge

of German would be an

advantage, but not essential,

since a few of the events are

conducted in English. and

personal interpreters are

always available for hire from

the lnternational Visitors'

Centre.

lnterested? Then contact

Mrs Shiela Brain, British

Kirchentag Committee, 1B

Friend Street, London EC1V.

Be sure to do this by early

1999 in order to register by

the mid-March deadline. You

can look up the Kirchentag

website on http://www.

kirchentag.de

SGl'lers Enjoy Summer Retreat

"Just where is this place exactly?'

was the question on the minds of 2O

brave SCMers who disappeared last

June into a part of the world known

by some as "The West Country

liiangle" and by others as "The middle

of nowhere somewhere between

Frome and Bath".

Which was just fine for the participants,

because scenic Downside

Abbey provided just the right bucholic

touch for a group of students who

wanted to chill out after exams.

Activities, accordingly, were light and

included a round of "Ulitimate" frisbee,

lots of walks, impromptu worships,

talking with friends and just a wee bit

of imbibing. All in all, a very enjoyable

time. Next year's retreat will be in

early June. Book early!

movemcnt 3


))

For many young people, volunteering is directlv linked with the image of being middle class

and middle aged. christina Hyland looks at wavs of getting bevond this "Victorian" vision

Volunteeringts lmage Problem

hen you think of a

volunteer, what

image comes to

mind? One of the most

widely used definitions of

volunteering is "the investment

of time and energy,

without financial gain and

for the benefit of others in

the community" which could

encompass all sorts of activities

and involvementranging

from action for social

change to peer education;

from self help grouPs to

traditional fund raising activities.

However, the PoPulist

image of a volunteer is still

derived from its Victorian

roots, leading to associations

with the apparentlY

"privileged" helping the

"needy". This is an image

which has varying degrees of

relevance for different

communities but which is

particularly Euro-centric.

Research undertaken bY

Birmingham Volunteer Bureau

suggests that for manY

young peoPle, volunteering is

directly linked with the

image of a middle class,

middle age, white woman

who works in a charitY

shop or in a caring role.

Not surprisinglY. some

young people would

therefore ask what

relevance volunteering

has for them. lnterestinglY,

the research also showed

that many of those asking

the question werg indeed

volunteers themselves- but

they were reluctant to take

on that identitY. Preferring to

be seen as "helPing out" or

"getting involved".

ln recent years there has

been much debate about

how, or if, volunteering can

play a part in suPPorting

young people in to greater

participation and involvement

in their local communities.

Political agendas seem to

focus on develoPment of

citizenship, enhancing social

responsibility or creating

greater community spirit'

Against this backdroP, there

have been recent headlines

in the media proclaiming that

young people are not

interested in getting

involved-even going so far

as to say-as a result of a

national surveY Published at

the beginning of 1998- that

volunteering by young PeoPle

is "collapsing".

lf the definition of

volunteering is limited to that

of the stereotyped activitY,

then it is hardly surPrising

that statistics might indicate

less involvement, but what

would the Picture be if we

dared to

broaden our

def inition?

What

about

activities

such as

peer

education initiatives. environmental

projects, communitY

action grouPs, Performing

arts, sporting events, global

development initiatives and

much more. Embracing the

involvement of Young PeoPle

in these activities would

provide real evidence to

challenge claims of anY

"collapse".

Undeniably, Young PeoPle

do face barriers to involvement

in voluntarY activity,

not least of which is the

outdated image. Young

people in Birmingham identified

increasing demands on

their time as a serious Point

to consider- ParticularlY

true amongst students who

face longer assessment

periods and the need to earn

money to survive each

semester. A common theme

was also the attitudes of

others (sPecificallY

in more

traditional

settings) with

judgements

being made

about

young

imnage

movelnent 4

people purelY on the basis of

their age rather than abilitY and

commitment -examPles

included being Put in to

undemanding roles with little

challenge or reward-whilst

access to information about

what opportunities are available

seemed to be a real issue

However, these barriers

can be overcome if we

commit to an aPProach

which engages Young

people, and are PrePared to

redefine the long held view

of volunteering. lf we could

design an image of

volunteering which was

based on inclusiveness,

accessibility, relevance and

even enjoyment what would

the implications be? lf we

could acknowledge that

volunteering not onlY

benefits the wider

community, but also that

valid motivations include

benefits to the individual,

would we begin to shift the

emphasis away from the

Victorian image? Volunteering

covers a range of different

activities, in different

settings. and Presents an

array of opportunities for

personal and career develoPment.

and to have fun. lts a

way to get involved in local

activities and have a saY in

what"s going on. At its best

it can be a real force for

social change. The Possibilities

are endless.

I would suggest that

despite the barriers. there is

a lot of volunteering

undertaken bY Young PeoPle'

but that it is largelY

"invisible" (and therefore

often undervalued) because

it does not necessarilY fit in

to the traditional and widelY

accepted model. A

volunteer? lt could be You!@

Christina Hyland works with

the Birmingham Volunteer

Bureau


We recently spoke with four people who have either left or drifted away from the Church and

asked them to tell their stories of how they came to leave the church-and how thev've

thought about spirituality since that time.

Stories Ol

Leaving Home

STEPHEN'S STORY

was born into the Church, as it

were- my family were quite

involved. I was baptised into the

Catholic Church and when I was old

enough, I became an Altar Server and

stayed long enough to become head Altar

Server. My mum was the person who ran

the confirmation programmg and I was

confirmed with 13 other people.

During that confirmation programme,

we visited a youth centre in Derbyshire

which was attached to the diocese. My

mum decided she was going to carry on

with this group of young people who

were involved in this youth club, so I

stayed attached to it, and got involved at

a diocesan level, and then a national level

representing young people. At the same

time, I was also invited by the Parish

Priest to become a Minister of the Holy

Communion, so I did that for a while.

Through my youth contacts, I

became involved in a lay community

and on a practical level it meant I

prayed every day and said the Rosary,

and went to Mass more than once a

week. I even considered becoming a

priest at one point.

The key influence in being involved

in the Church was my mum, and the

relationship I had with her. When I moved

to university, that was therefore more

distant. I was stridying theology and I

became introduced to different ways of

thinking than just the Catholic religion. I

learned to understand the stories and the

way religion is put together-and the

difference between religion, practice and

a way of faith.

I went back home to my parish

Church I had grown up in and I saw

more political bickering and power

struggles in that church than any socalled

community of God, and so that

disillusioned me- that was the key

thing for me to decide it wasn't for me.

I opted out of going to Church after

my first year. I was still involved in a

college group. which was similar to an

SCM group, but

there came a

point during

that term

where I

decided

praying

wasn't for

me as well.

We were all

taught to

pray to

this God,

but in

actual

fact it

didn't

feel

like a

relationship at all. That was

another point along the way where

I thought 'hang on, what are all

these stories about?' You've got

to be faithful to yourself before

you can be faithful to anybody

else, let alone to a God

who doesn't

show himself

particularly much.

ln terms of my own spirituality,

perhaps I could explain it this way

went to Dillon's the other day and

looked in their religion section and they

had a witchcraft section and a new age

movsmgnt 5

section. I was looking through all these

books because I have maintained an

interest in spirituality. And I was looking

through them and I thought'l don't want

to pick up a whole load of new rituals

that I have to practice.'

As far as I

see it, if

you can

be truthful

to yourself,

that's far

simpler than

taking on a

whole load

of rituals. lt

means

downshifting a

lot of things in

your life and a

lot of your way

of thinking. ln

terms of relationships

it means

being able to say

what you mean

instead of hiding

things that get all

muddled. lt's more, I

guess a sense of

purity-that's what I

see spirituality being.

I would go back

though. I have in fact

been back to Church a

few times recently. lt's

a totally different

situation though. When I

go back, it's as though I

go back almost as a

voyeur-l stand at the

back and watch. And it's

nice to watch-it's attractively

done, there's lots of

pretty pictures but it's the meaning of itas

if every word has meaning-and I

know more of what every word is

supposed to mean than a lot of people.


I don't actually think that's the kind

of community I want to be part of . But I

could see someday finding a community

I do want to be a Part of, and if that

happens to be a Church then so be it.

TOM'S STORY

was brought uP in a Roman Catholic

background. I had quite an oPenminded

upbringing. MY familY was

quite laid back about it-l don't

have Catholic Guilt or anything. I used

to go to Church on SundaY and serve.

I don't really think I actually left

anything-it was more an 'opening up'

to everything else. l've not closed

myself to Christianity, but l've been

through a broadening. I don't feel

Christianity is the only way, as it were.

There were certain events that led to

this, but it's mostly confined to a sixmonth

period when I was in mY earlY

twenties when I made huge leaps in my

ideas personally, and religion was a part

of that. I had been lapsed for a few

years by then.

I did a lot of travelling- I went to

Greece, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, lsrael.

Ethiopia, Tanzania and lndia' I looked at

a great deal and read quite a lot before

I went and I was aware these ideas had

a great deal in common. I suPPose

that's my interest in religion-finding

something which ties together

everything.

I don't reallY have a sPiritualitY

that's ritual-based, but I feel that the

whole of life, every minute of life is

part of my religious Practice as it

were. I don't have to go to that place

over there, or this building over here,

to take part in my spiritual life. lt's

something wherever I am, whatever I

am doing.

KATE'S STORY

was brought uP as a Methodist,

although quite liberal. My parents

were missionaries in NePal, and I

went to school in lndia. While I was

there, I came across some very

evangelical teachers and during

that time I had great difficultY

with their ChristianitY because,

while I had been living in NePal

as a child I learned a lot about

spirituality from mY Hindu and

Buddhist friends. lt seemed

strange for suPPosed Christians

to be so against other religions

when Hindus and Buddhists

were so sharing, so I found that

narrow-mindedness reallY hard

to take.

I read a book called Ihe

Bible and People of Other

Faiths by a Sri Lankan

Methodist minister called WesleY

Ariarajah and it challenged the notion

that Christ is the onlY way to

salvation and challenged other

aspects of ChristianitY-like

using the Bible bY quoting

different verses out of context

that reinforce the view that Christ

is the only waY. This was around

the time I went to universitY in

London. and it was around that time

that I drifted awaY from Church.

At the time I was interested in

other environmental movements. I

found the Church really frustrating

because I still felt a connection to it,

but the social message of the Gospel,

or what I understood as the message

of the Gospel, was being ignored bY

the Churches. As a result of that I

became attracted to Ouaker spirituality,

which seemed to take social

5'IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO GO

BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS BEFORE

BECAUSE IT YYAS A SMATL WAY OF

THIHKIHG, AHD I CAN'T GO BACK

TO THAT.''

.TOM

Perhaps I might go back to the

Christian Church, but not in the same

sense that I did before-certainly not in

terms of going regularly every Sunday

as I did before. I see Christianity as

being one of many paths' lt's the one I

started out with, but it comes to a

point where I don't need that so definitively

as before. lt would be impossible

to go back to the way it was before

because it was a small way of thinking'

and I can't go back to that.

responsibility more seriously, and had a

very open-minded view of different faith

communities.

I went to lona after university and at

the time that gave me some kind of

hope-l was impressed by the recognition

of God in the everYdaY and the

spirituality found in nature. I loved their

reading of the Gospels and their

understanding that God's hands are our

hands, and that it's uP to us to Put the

world's problems to rights, and we

movsment 6

can't sit around waiting for God to

intervene.

After l'd been in the lona

Community. I started getting interested

in Don Cuppitt's ideas about non-realist

theology-l had read some of Sea of

Faith's literature

which followed his ideas-and it was

around that time that I started to lose

faith in a personal God. I think that was

because I was frustrated by the idea of

an interventionist God. as found in the

traditional understanding of prayer. lt

seemed unfair that some PeoPle

suffered injustice in the world while

God could supposedlY Put things to

rights. The non-realist philosophy that

religion is a human creation and that

God is a metaphor made sense. lt

implied that we need to access the God

in us-meaning our values and highest

will-to take responsibility in society

and acknowledge our part in creating

injustice, instead of sitting back and

waiting for God to intervene.

My spirituality is taking another turn

now though, because l've become warY

of non-realist theology. To say that

religion and God are human creations

seems quite arrogant and anthrocentric

to me. lt uses a Western emPirical

understanding-as if everything can be

proven and explained-and it puts human

minds at the centre of human


understanding and denies mystery. At

least that's my reading of it; for other

people it may be different.

So l've started seeking a spirituality

which, unlike what I found previously,

acknowledges the Other in creation and

in our lives, and allows a space for

mystery. But I've lost my sense of

urgency to find an answer-to find a

spiritual place to settle in, or something

to label myself with-because l've become

more comfortable with uncertainty.

Through my faith struggles, l've

recognised that spirituality is a journey.

When things seem to start getting black

and white, it's a moment where I feel like

l'm closing my mind to unexpected gifts of

grace and understanding.

At the moment, in terms of actual

spiritual practices, I attend the local

Quaker meeting. I'm trying to gain

some kind of discipline from meditation

and contemplation, but finding the time

for that is always a struggle.

I don't think l've ever left the Church

in some ways. ln a sort-of practical way

I can't see myself going back to Sunday

services regularly. But I still acknowledge

my Christian roots and my heritage

and I don't think l'd be in the place I am

and have found my spirituality without

that original background.

When I do go back to Church with

my family, I still appreciate the ritualbecause

I think rituals bring people

together into a community, and that's

one thing that I'm lacking-having a

regular faith community.

CEORGE'S STORY

I

was born into a C of E family, but I

I became a fundamentalist as a

t""n"g"r, much to my embarrassment

I now. I initially moved from that into

more evangelical circles at first, but I

came out of all that eventually, largely due

to SCM, which helped me centre myself.

Along with getting involved in SCM,

I became involved in a local C of E

parish and started to revisit my roots in

Anglicanism. I really liked what

Anglicanism had to offer, and still do. I

loved the said liturgy-although I am

not'tied to any one prayer book or

rite-which I found it very poetic and

deeply moving. i tited the symbols and

smells. I was initially in an Anglo-

Catholic parish and there was incense

and santus bells and the experience of

worship was very vivid, which I loved.

Through SCM and the courses I was

taking at university, I went through a

considerable political evolution. I started

reading a lot of feminist writers and

became very interested in gender

studies, which politicised me and made

me very conscious of gender and power

dynamics. ln my work with SCM and

my study of theology, I began to be

exposed to the influence of feminist

theologians. which had a profound

influence on me. I began to see from all

this that language about God is

metaphorical at best, and the

metaphors we use about God say

something about ourselves and our

power dynamics with others.

From that I began to feel that the

liturgy-as it is expressed in Anglical

worship-was very male-dominated and

male-centred. lt used the same

metaphors for God as has been used for

the past 2000 years. There was no

effort to use different symbols for God

other than as the traditional father-figure.

I began to chafe against that, and

enjoyed being in other communities.

including SCM. where I could use

inclusive language and employ a variety

of metaphors-male. female and neutralfor

God. I enjoyed those liturgies because

it was very much a dynamic processthe

liturgy was not seen as something

parish was about as good as I was going

to find in my tradition.

I felt as if I was butting my head

against a wall. I began to feel trapped

in a liturgical service that didn't meet

my needs-it used standard metaphors

for God; in fact it used standard

everything. And in order to get through

it l'd have to distance myself from it.

And the more I distanced myself, the

less real it became to me-to a point

where I was distancing myself out of

believing in God. Since I didn't want

that to happen, I left.

Leaving was a very painful choice to

make. I had been actively involved in

one Church community or another

pretty much continuously since I was

14 years old. At first I was overwhelmed

by the emptiness of it. You suddenly

find yourself bereft of all these ties and

commitments, which is hard.

l've been doing very little really. I

was trying to do some Bible study and

(.I'VE IOST MY SEHSE OF URGENCY

TO FIND AH ANSWER-TO FIND A

SPIRITUAL PLACE TO SETTLE lN,

OR SOI'IETHING TO LABEL MYSELF

WITH-BECAUSE I'VE BECOME

MORE COMFORTABLE YVITH

UNCERTAINTY.)'

-KATE

fixed, but rather something that could be

critiqued, revised and brought back- a

dynamic process. I came from this hoping

that this was a vision of what the Church

could be like.

I became involved in a parish with a

strong commitment to social justice. They

were very streets ahead of so many

parish churches in the C of E, but they

had a very traditional liturgy-and an

even more traditional hymnody- which

seemed to be completely divorced from

the political issues the congregation

claimed to support.

I found myself uncomfortable with

this, and, in fairness, I was encouraged

by the pastoral team there to try and be

proactive, to try and change things. I

became involved in the liturgy and

worship committee and other aspects

of the parish, but for all the work I was

doing I just seemed to burn myself out.

Part of this was that people didn't see

the liturgy as something dynamic. that

could be critiqued and changed. At the

end of the day, people really didn't want

things to be changed, because they liked

it that way. This depressed me, because I

saw that this very progressive, intelligent.

rnovernsnt 7

other things to maintain some sort of

spiritual discipline, but largely I'm just

letting it ride, because I felt I needed

the space to mourn the loss of that part

of my life.

I don't really know what spirituality I

have. I suppose there is some degree of

prayer in my life-an ongoing conversation

with God, if you like. I still have a

fairly conventional Christian spirituality,

and I still feel the need for that in my life.

I would go back, but it would need to

be a place that met my needs. l'd want

to be in a place where I didn't have to

distance myself. I see my Christianity as

the root of my activism and I would

want to belong to a Church that enabled

me to engage that side of me. That

would by necessity entail the Church

becoming a more inclusive placeinclusive

in terms of the people that are

welcomed, but also inclusive in terms of

how they approach God, and what

metaphors and language they use for

God, and how their liturgy expresses

humanity's relationship with God. I'm

not holding my breath that can really

happen in Britain right now, but you

never know. fil


Dark Night Of The Seoul

I t tant to hear my latest gripe? I

t t\ t am sick to death of the year

V V 2ooo, two years oefore it even

has a chance to haul its tired, brittle

bones across the starting line.

Hypocritically enough, I am participating

in a number of 2OO0 events. although

none of them are in celebration of any

mystic appreciation for this particular

milestone.

What is the big deal with this date?!

What is there to celebrate? Watching

the IMF "rescue" more bankrupt

countries? Watching more smart-bombs

destroy hospitals? Watching more royal

children crying at their mother's

funeral? Welcoming a millennium just

doesn't make a lot of sense to me... lt's

as though existing to a point in history

is an accomplishment, just because this

point ends with a sequence of zeros...

Hey, my first literary tantrum! You'll

have to forgive me. I am feeling somewhat

cynical lately. I just came from the

Executive Committee meeting of the World

Student Christian Federation. lt was held

in Seoul, Korea. We were hosted with

great hospitality by the Korean Student

Christian Federation (the Korean SCM),

their Senior Friends and other church,

university and government officials.

We saw a lot of the country and the

culture. We saw a lot of American

soldiers. We argued. We drank Korean

beer and watched World Cup until 5

am. But mostly, we worked. We worked

and struggled to continue being this

thing called WSCF. And some of the

toughest questions came up when we

tried to talk about vision. The question

rick gorlond

ties ond binds

began as "What is our vision in the

WSCF?" Soon, however, it was "Can

the WSCF claim to have a vision that

works for the entire Federation?" ls the

WSCF just a tired project that has failed

to renew itself and simply gotten old?

Does it function in a way that responds

to the real needs of students and others

in 1 998 or is it a dinosaur that doesn't

know how to die?

Well, don't expect me to answer

that! I struggled enough with it in Seoul

and am still grappling with it today. As

a person of faith, I recommit myself to

this movement, simply out of loyalty for

what it has done for me in my life. lt has

given me eyes that see clearly, hands

and feet to act in an apathetic world, a

heart that cares beyond my own limited

scope, a nose for suspicion and doubt,

and yes, even permission to become

sexually aroused and not die from guilt.

Perhaps most importantly, it has

given me comrades to share these

things both in and beYond mY SCM

experience. I have found house-mates,

best friends, work-mates and lovers in

the SCM community who all share in

the same conundrum of being a

community tied to a past but straining

to deal with the present and future. I

don't know if this is part of the SCM's

or WSCF's vision, but I know that it has

revolutionized my world. lt has made me

aware that I am not alone in this world.

entering a new millennium without my

shit necessarily together, but still

holding on to my ideals and goals.

So what? (One of my favorite

questions...) Well, I know from all this that

I like SCM. I like SCMers, even the ones

with whom I disagree. And honestly, I like

myself more for being an SCMer than I

would have otherwise. And perhaps not a

lot else needs to be said beyond that.

Because wisdom is contextual as far as

I'm concerned and so whatever you need

to do to justify your continued participation

in the SCM works for me. What really

helps me to enter the 21 st century feeling

more confident? Knowing that many of

you are reading this and understand the

struggle. That helps a lot. E!

Rick Garland is National Coordinator of

the Canadian SCM

I

i

Big Brother Online

t all started from humble beginnings.

It was the dream of every research

student-was there a way to check

from the comfort of your computer if

the coffee in the machine was already

prepared?. What began as an internal

gimmick in the Cambridge coffee

room-see for yourself at

http://www. cl . cam. ac. u k/cof f eelcof f ee.

html-has had serious ramifications.

Since that "real time" life live on the

net has become reality. You may have

heard of other infamous web-cams.

These are small cameras linked to a

server and they broadcast everything in

front of their lens to everybody who

cares and wants to see. From the top of

the Scotsman building in Edinburgh

(http://www.scotsman.com/livecam/) to

the private home of a courageous

woman in Washington, D.C.

(http://www.jennicam.org/). With

Jennicam, you can see what's

happening with Jenni 24 hours a dayat

least within the confines of one room

of her home.

But is it all that funny or interesting?

Okay. you can discuss with Jenni online

the latest problems of sexuality at the

end of the 2Oth century, but even after

that, you may still wonder if it is ethical

NX

dirk griitzmocher

the @ column

to be online all day and night? ls it right

that people could see you snogging

your friend, or changing your clothes?

Where does this all end? Forgive me, I

have been brought up with George

Orwell's 1984-lt was compulsory and

compulsive reading. (Find out more

about Orwell at http://www.ucl.ac.uk

/Library/special-coll/orwell. htm)

This just the beginning, though. Are

you travelling a lot and would you like

to know where your friends are and let

them know where you are? Nothing is

easier. "lCQ" ("1 Seek You")

(http://www.icq.com/icqhomepage.

movemgnt I

html)

is a program that lets you find your

friends and associates online in real

time. You can create a Contact List

containing only people you want to

have there, you can send them

messages. chat with them, send files,

and so on, no matter where they are.

Though I can see how this could

enhance our networking possibilities, it

also gives me the shivers. I know that

even today my lnternet Service Provider

can find out where and what I am surfing

and the owners of the sites I am visiting

potentially can know who has come and

visited them. This is all potentially

dangerous information. However this is

part of the deal, it would seem.

The current globalisation moves

faster every day and we are caught in

the web, even if we would like to stay in

some control. But where do we go from

here? Let me know your thoughts. @

Dirk Grtitzmacher is a Ph.D. student in

Edinburgh. You can reach him at his

website at http://www.ed.ac.uk/ - dig


. SPECIAL SECIION .

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Eilidh Whiteford examines the distinctive strands of thought, action and concern that have run through

the pages ol Movement for over a quarter of a century.

F

I

V

you remember your first time? My lirst copy of

^n

Movenentwas picked up from a stall during

Fresher's Week way back in 1987. I picked up a

veritable rain forest of bumf that week from a

plethora of student societies, but it was Movenent that made

the biggest impression on me. I kept it under my narrow hallof-residence

bed in a box marked 'Memorabilia'which moved

with me, nomad-style, between student flats, I would rake that

dog-eared copy (and subsequent editions) out from the pile

lrom time to time, whenever I encountered an idea I was sure

I'd come across already between its covers, and I would

remind myself of those halcyon days of undergraduate bliss.

I'm sure that first copy is still lurking somewhere.

l'm also sure l'm not the only Movementreader who has

hoarded precious copies of the magazine and who shares a

tendency towards nostalgic reminiscence. As the song says,

ihe purpose of Memorabilia is, at least partly, to "show you

I've been there". Yei what might be considered a slightly selfindulgent

concern with the past becomes a rather convenient

virtue when trying to prelace Movemends l00th celebratory

issue. Even so, it's no easy assignment to attempt to chart'where

Movementhas been' over the years, 'Here, there and everywhere'

might seem close to the all-encompassing truth, but nevertheless,

it is possible to identify a number of distinctive strands of thought,

action and concern running through the pages of the magazine

and the life of the SCM in recent decades.

There can be little doubt lhal Movementdocuments a

decisive period in the Student Christian Movements of the

British lsles. However, it would be a mistake to divorce these

experiences from those of the SCMs in other parts of the

world, and particularly those of Western Europe. ln Seeking

and Serving the Truth: The First Hundred Years of the World

Student Christian Federation, Philip Potter and Thomas Wieser

point out that the social and political upheavals of the late

sixties through to the early eighties made this period "the

most turbulent in the 100 year history of the WSCE" SCMs

around the world were changed forever by the developments

of these years.

lf the wave of radical idealism which swept across Europe

at this time needs a historical reference point, 1 968 is the

date most usually cited. Across Europe, students were

demanding drastic changes in every area of cultural, social,

economic and political life. They wanted a better reality. ln

Prague, students and intellectuals made up the front line

which faced the brutal suppression of the Soviet government'

ln France, students led protests which rocked their government

and sent reverberations to universities around the world. The

seeds of 'second wave'feminism began to germinate,

movsmGnt 100 2

I


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rnovernent

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i

I

'Liberation', in a

myriad of guises,

Although the'revolution'may not have transpired in

quite the way youthful radicals of that era anticipated, the

spirit of the late-sixties infuses the pages of Movenent's

early editions. We see there a generation of students finding

political voices and carving out new identities. ln those first

few issues we see on display a hunger for justice and striving

after wholeness, characteristics which have remained a

constant feature of Movement right up to the present day,

even when the issues, tenor and style of the magazine have

been translormed time and again.

'Liberation', in a myriad of guises, probably comes as

close as we are likely to get to naming Movement's defining

concept. lt is a recurring theme which repeatedly informs

articles and debategon issues as apparently unconnected as

environmental destruction and the lrish question, gay rights

and Apariheid, feminism and nuclear proliferation.

And where is God in all this? Right in the thick of things,

amidst all these conflicts, controversies and man-made

messes, according to the SCMers who have presented their

views in Movenenf's pages one hundred times over. A God

who opts for the poor and marginalised over the rich and

powerful challenges the very foundations of Western culture;

such a God rocks many of our most deeply held assumptions

about the world and our place in it. The explosion of politically

engaged theologies-feminist, socialist, environmentalist,

amongst others-found an outlet of expression in

Movementwhich has been accompanied by a renewed search

for spiritual meaning. Movement's hundred issues chart an

exploration of new avenues of spiritual expression and the

rediscovery of others,

Yet so far, I think I have failed to capture in ihis alltoopotted

assessmenl ol Movenent the enormous energy,

commitment and sense of fun generated at the heart of the

SCM and transmitted through the magazine's accounts of its

events, activities and reflections. Throughout the joys and

tribulations of the SCM's turbulent history, the measured

successes and struggles, and the deep-seated insecurities,

there has been an irrepressible optimism present and a

sense that there will be no revolution of any sort until we can

all dance to its music.

ln its readiness to address issues no-one else wanted to

touch with a barge pole, Movenenthas lurched between

humane intelligence, revolutionary belligerence, far-sighted

radicalism, incorrigible self-righteousness, incisive critique

and downright daftness. Like others before and after me, I've

valued it for all these lhings. Movenent is unique in having

provided a space where the rich diversity of Student

Christendom can let its polyphonic voice, its hopes and fears

and dreams, be heard. As a chronicle of the SCM over the

last thirty years it is irreplaceable.

Enjoy the dance down memory lane as you peruse this

special commemorative issue. To borrow Chaucer's description

of his Canterbury lales, "Here is God's Plenty". E

Eilidh Whiteford is the chair of the WSCF European REion.

She has been a columnist for Movement sincr, 1995.

probably comes

as close as we

are likely to get to

naming

Movement's

defining concept.

movement 100 3


novemsnt 100 4

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Graeme Burk traces the genealogy ol Movenenf back to its revolutionary beginnings

The Ma

Former

as B'i I

gazlne

o

ly Known

bo

rFhe histories of oublications in SCMs around the world

I ur. u.ru mucir ihe same. A new publication is almost

uU.y, Lrought into being, phoenix-like, out of the

I detritus of the old.

During the 1960s, SCM had a stalwart publication known

as Breakthrough, a magazine produced by 0xford SCM that

had been latterly adopted (and funded) by the national

movement as its own iournal. Breakthroughwas cancelled,

ostensibly due to the cost of production, in 1 969. Over the

next two years, the matter of Breakthrough's replacement

was discussed in various meetings, with little success.

The early I 970s are a curious period in SCM history. The

movement seemed to be a political animal, in every sense of

the term. SCM was a movement influenced by Ihe zeitgeist of

revolution, liberation and radical activism, and saw itself at the

foreiront of any activity that would bring any of the three

about. At the same iime (while the movement had budgetary

and staff resources that would be enviable by modern

standards) SCM also seemed to be a very fractious place as

well, split by various political and doctrinal lines-


\n1974, Movement asked: "What is the attraction of Taiz6 and why does it entice thousands to make

the long pilgrimage there? ls this a new spiritual revival or the final carrot coughed up by a dying

church?" During that Easter, Movement sent John Gareswell for this personal report

The Phenomenon

of Ta'i ze

c0uer me

BEAUTIFUT

fir"st published in Movement 16 0974)

T'

h. past fifteen years has finally seen the demise of

the Church as a major instrument

I

of social control,

particularly in relation to the upbringing of children.

I Even the Catholic church, because of the diminishing

emphasis on a weekly confessional, has lost its grip on the

minds of catholic youth, Where children once learned to

equate the Church with parents, teachers and policemen as

representing a source of control and authority, our

secularised society has found it can safely dispense with

religion as an agent of the conditioning process, hence the

Church, by default-and sometimes by design has lost its

pre-eminent position as a socialising force.

Yet the student-aged population, far from rejoicing in

their,freedom from the stranglehold of the Christian religious

establlshment, are flocking in large numbers to attach

themselves to one ol the many new religious groups

emerging in society. The Church as an outmoded social institution,

peddling meaningless notions of God and irrelevant

patterns of worship, has quite definitely been rejected. But

belief as such, and the ritualisation of belief into some form

of worship, still seems to find favour. From the Christian Union

on the one side, through a spectrum that includes Billy

Graham, Children of God, Divine Light lvlission,

Transcendental Meditation, Zen and ranges out to the occult,

there is a distinct craving to assert religion as a central

feature of life.

Somewhere within this new religious spectrum the

monastic community at Taiz6 is placed; a community which is

exerting such an incredible pull on the imaginaiion of young

people throughout western Europe that several thousand of

them pass through Taiz6 each week of the summer, and at

Easter nearly 20,000 come together to celebrate the

Resurrection of Christ.

The motivaiing force which has driven the Taiz6

Community since its inception in 1949 is a Catholic Workertype

spirit of social and political activism, grounded in a deep

belief in the unifying power of the Body of Christ. The

brothers themselves have three basic commitments: celibacy,

a sharing of all possessions, and acceptance of the Prior's

authority. The Prior, Roger Shultz, first persuaded some

friends to join him in setting up the Community as an attempt

to revive monasticism within the Protestant Churches.

Nowadays brothers join from all denominations and Taize is

closely connected to the Catholic Church and the World

Council of Churches, The broihers engage in a variety of

practical services in the local community and are also

involved in some imaginative cooperative schemes.

Throughout the 1 960s more and more people, particularly

from the younger generation, started arriving at Taiz6 to

share for a short period the spiritual discipline of the

brothers. The Prior has always placed great importance on

prayer as an integral part of a committed Christian life-style.

Three offices are said: early morning, noon and evening.

This pattern remains unchanged, irrespective of the

numbers at Taiz6.

The brothers, possibly promoted by the Prior's enthusiasm

about'the intuitions of youth', intervened ai a crucial

stage in the growth of this spontaneous pilgrimage to Taiz6,

The Letter from Taize was started, circulating amongst

Christian youth throughout the world, and an elaborate

Typically for the

Christian npvements of

the late 60's and early

70's, Jesus was prominently

featured on the

cover of the first 20

issues of lllovarcnt,

racking up a'lmost half

of his 10 cover appearances

overall during

this period.

Not that these were

Sunday School depictions

by any flEans. The cover

of No. 4 (below) with

silhouetted nodern

so1diers standing in for

the Centurions makes its

Vjetnam-era point in a

moving way. The striking

cover of llo. 16 (above),

w'ith its 'intricate

Gustav Dore-like

drawings conprising

Jesus' face was the best

of them, and indeed the

best of lAovarcnt's early

covers.

fnovsfnent 100 5


-

I guess I had my

Taiz6 too, except

we called it

'Vietnam' and

'student power'.

We marched, we

sat in; and

looking back I'll

admit that we

didn't change

much-but at

least we changed

ourselves.

movement t00 6

system of discussion groups (called Youth Meetings) were

arranged at Taiz6. The indefinable Council of Youth was

announced in I970, and two years later the date for the

opening of the Council was fixed.

As the climax of the Council itself draws nearer (August

1 974) certain aspects of the Taize phenomena have taken

on the dimension of an hysterical cult. Whilst Taiz6 T-shirts

have yet to appear, the flood of literature, records, posters

and media, publicity prompt a cynical view of ihe official

Taiz6 line about itself: 'We are not a movement'. ln Britain

the highly respectable Society lor the Propagation of

Christian Knowledge and the establishment-minded British

Council of Churches Youth Department have jointly acted as

a well-oiled public relations machine for Taiz6, issuing

detailed instructions on travel to Taiz6 and broadsheets for

preparing groups to participate in the Youth Meetings. ln the

autumn of 1 972 Brother Roger was flown in to lead a Taize

jamboree in Notting Hill. The expansion of Taiz6 cells in

Britain stems lrom that event.

The irony that throws a cloak of suspicion over the

entire Taiz6 thing is the glaring difference between' on the

one hand, what the Taize Community itself represents and

talks about, and on ihe other hand, what the majority of

visitors to Taiz6 actually do and say. The original message

from Taiz6 was uncompromisingly radical and explicit lt

followed the 1 968 Medellin Conference appeal of Latin

American Bishops: 'The urgent necessity of a Church that is

more and more paschal, refuses all the means of power,

witnesses faithfully to a Gospel that sets man free'. Six years

later Taize still seems to be at the talking and analysing

stage, and the radicalism which pervaded their original

message seems blunted in favour of an 'all things to all men'

approach which places great emphasis on a church unity

style or ecumenism and renewal. Your average Taiz6 discussion

group or cell back home goes no further, in political

terms, than the Lambeth Conference or Uppsala. To be fair

the various documents which emanate from Taiz6 today in

cells abroad which demonstrate a high level of political

understanding and involvement, but ihe vision and commitment

of these small groups soon gets lost amidst the

euphoric evangelism which is strongly in evidence at Taize.

0f course there is a need for a concentrated dose of liberal

education for each new wave of young people passing

through Taiz6 (the cosmopolitan mix-up in the food queues

and discussion groups ensure that) but at some stage the

precise nature of the kind of politics which are needed to

fulfill Taiz6's message will have to be spelt out

ln one interview he gave Brother Roger talked about

'living out the challenge

*f:fir:,[jjT'J" ((

need to 'commit one's

whole life in the service

of man', but he then

went to declare: 'l have

always thought it important

to distinguish

between opting for

greater justice and

belonging to a political

party'. The call for

greater iustice and the

concern for justice

which Roger feels

motivates young people

is reflected in the topics U

which have emerged as

the major themes of

f you had said'nowwhat do

you think has died [in SCM] bY

nov?' I'd have said 'Movement

for sure', because I 'anuld

have

assumed the transitions the SCM have

been through would have ldl Movement

behind, I'm delighted that it hasn't,

because it says to me that some ol ttre

more creative aspects of SCM that were

there in'73 haven't died, and there's

some seed ol it in tre fact that

Movement has continued to ftis day",."

-Richard Zipfel, co-editor 1973-7 4

the Council of Youth: 1 ) living against the stream,

2) contemplation: a renewed way of looking, 3) struggling

alongside the victims of exploitation, 4) becoming men and

women of communion. Like the much repeated phrase'that

man be no longer victim of man' from the original Joyful

News of Taiz6 the words themselves sound very grand, but

as one looks around at Taiz6 one wonders how much of the

full meaning of these grand words gets across. There is no

sense of urgency about the place and the young people at

Taize seem much like young people everpvhere. There are

the remnants of Flower Power's army, sitiing around strumming

their guitars incessantly, and the rest buzz around in

their sparkling Renaults, or busily snap everything in sight

with their swanky cameras, The overall ethos of Taiz6, to the

passing observer, is one of comlort and casualness

lf I sound unnecessarily critical I ought to declare my

interest. I guess I had my Taiz6 too, except we called it 'Vietnam'

and 'student power', We marched, we sat in; and looklng back

I'll admit that we didn't change much-but at least we changed

ourselves. Having your head kicked in by the fuzz in Grosvenor

Square or being evicted from the Vice-Chancellor's office does

wonders for awakening the political animal within you l wonder

how many people are changed at Taiz6?

Finally a few comments on the physical side of things at

Taize, which is probably where the so-called 'spirit of Taiz6'

is seen at its best, There is a beautifully efficient scheme of

volunteer participation in catering for the needs of the

thousands who turn up. Tents are pitched, toilets are

cleaned out, meals provided. Maybe one or two of the

brothers devote some of their time to maintaininq the continuity

of this system, but in the main it is the visitors

themselves who come along and take up the ropes where

others have left 0ff. lt is a splendid example of something

approaching anarchy in action, although I sensed that as in

other thlngs the spontaneity of earlier days at Taiz6 is now

missing. Posters expressing criticism about certain aspects

of over-organisation-particularly about the dreaded

'acceuil' (welcome committee) appeared several times, but

they were hastily removed.

lf I were asked to give a quick comment on what I

thought about Taiz6 as a whole I think I would advise

Brother Roger to tell the Council of Youth what Gandhi told

the lndian Congress Party when the British left lndia. He

pleaded with the party to disband itself and go back to the

villages of lndia. The final instalment of the 'Joyful News'

should be an appeal for everyone to leave Taiz6. Foreverl

That would be an act of faith and trust in keeping with the

desire for a Church devoid of means of power' fit

the new theologians and so on. I

think that's really what SCM should be

doing: bringing together the cutting

edge of theology and politics and

new thought and putting them

together with this new generation that

are coming up through universities. I

think that's part of what SCM should

always do, So we saw it absolutetY

within the tradition ol SCM, that it

wasn't ever a case of trYing to lead

all these students in some doctrinaire

direction, but simply to Put them

altogether in circumstances in which

they could come to their own conclu-

e tried to bring in the sions of what they thought."

best of the new minds

W and the new thinking and -Viv Broughton, edilor 1 97 2-7 4

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The Fi rst Edi tori al

1A ome of our new populists might argue that the whole

\ concept of an editorial is too elitist for the journal of

J tf'. SiM. Certainly if an editorial implies an editorial

policy, excluding some lines and favouring others, then this is

not an editorial. The columns of BILBO are open to anyone

with something to say to the SCM, subject only to a limitation

on length (not more than seven or eight hundred words).and

our peculiar laws of libel and obscenity.

BILBO is a free advertising medium for anyone organising

a conference, a study-group or even a party (of

whatever kind). lt is a place to offer and seek information, lt

could also be a means by which

ihe very diverse activities of the

SCM find some kind of uniiy-or

at least it might be a sea in which

all fishes can swim.

But that depends on

you first, on your willingness to

become readers (without whom,

as Newman said of the laity, we

should look rather silly), and

second, on whether you see the

point of having a national SCM at

all. What does it matter (does it matter, in fact) to SCM local

groups and other contacts that the Standing Committee is

now seriously asking whether we need a General Secretary ...

hands up all those who think we need a'theological expert'

on the staff ... and what about an international secretary (we

used io have one) ... how many people would like to know

what the ltalian SCM thinks about communes, or what the

Singapore SCM is doing about worship ... or how the

Aberdeen SCM raises its money?

There is a column further on of letters to the editor

some people who won't write articles will write letters. But

ihe whole of BILBO is an open forum for anyone who knows

of its existence-and we're doing our best to see that as

many people as possible find out.

Finally, BILBO will be a place where original thought,

however tentative, will not be out of place, Don't expect a

responsive audlence for this-it's rather out of fashion.

But at least the chance is there-and the challenge of

saying what you have to in under 800 words concentrates

the mind wonderfully.

At the moment the Tolkein cult seems to many people to

be our most obvious unifying force (maybe it's a religion you

know you don't have io believe in?) lt has even given its

name to this journal, at least until someone comes up with a

better one. lf BILBO is going to be a success, it will have to

rely on some more immediate unifying forces. With your help,

it mqy even manage to create some of them.

From Bilbo 1 (1972)

Seeds of Li berat'ion:

A Mani festo about

S'i ngi ng and Danci ng

In A Fog

T he most beautiful word (l think) at Huddersfield came

I tro. (l think) the most beautitul person at

I HuOOerstietO. Thi, *u, an announcement which interrupted

the first talk, lt said simply 'Will everybody please

move along so that everybody can get in'.

I

i

I

Moving to adjust. Moving to accept. Moving to change

'everybody' into 'everybody'. This is what gospel and spirituality

and church are about. This was deflnitely what the

conference was about.

Huddersfield was certainly the best thing that I have

been involved in since I left South Africa, A lot of other people

seemed to think it was pretty good too, ln fact, anything

needs to be taken rather seriously that can draw 350 people

together in the coldest time of year, to sleep 50 in a room on

wooden floors and stone staircases, in a town which is

probably not high on Clarkson's list of resorts.

I kept on recalling a poem which Adrian Mitchell read on

the box a few weeks ago (l don't suppose I've got its structure

right):

Dear Sir

I read your manifesto

with great interest

but it doesn't say anything

about singing.

Daniel Berrigan was encouraging us to see the Book of

Revelation as a kind of Christian manifesto, Revelation is

about singing. Huddersfield found itself full of singing- noi

just the two meeting places we were using, but also the

streets around and between, Much of this was lrish- the

lrish were easily the strongest identifiable group present. A

good ration also was Zulu. Much of this song just generated

out of the eucharists, which happened from time to time. lt

was only when I got home that I realised another aspect of

the blessed poverty of this gathering there was no reproduced

music from start to finish. This is not a matter of artificiality,

it's a matter of authority. The imported music dictates

its own terms.

The process and style were noi just the most positive

and memorable aspects, they were in fact the most important

elements in the actual designated 'business' of the conference,

The sub{itle was 'spiritual dimensions to political

struggle'. The whole gospel of Jesus makes it plain that any

spiritual dimension is primarily a matter of events and experiences

rather than intellectual constructs and propositions. I

think that this conviction was one of ihe main uniiing forces.

My impression was that many of us were pretty 'conventional'

adherents to the propositions of our belief-groups, Roman

Catholics, Evangelicals, atheists, liberals, Children of God and

so on. What drew these people together was a conviction that

none of these belief-groups is showing any sign of being able

to rid the world of injustice, destructiveness and inhumanity,

and that we need spiritual resources of imagination and poverty

to enable us to carry on in the struggle. This is not to say that

there were not plenty of argumenis about theological propositions

and about innumerable other things, but there was

little of the hardline radical theology which is mainly

concerned wiih an either/or error hunting intellectualism.

What happens next, who knows? One thing is clear, A

whole lot of very varied people are looking for a star to set

their course by in the confusion of the British political and

religious scene and they see the existing institutions as, at

best, structures to tunnel into, to be'in' but not'of'. Many

would be more directly hostile. But they are discovering that

to oppose the political (including the religious institution) with

the political is uncreative and that the political needs the criticism

of the spiritual. The exisiing religious institutions may

agree but their involvement with the existing line-up of power

can make that agreement inaudible or pointless to people

who are passionately wanting change, in a world where the

few ride on the backs of the many. Such people may well

have some new hope that the SCM can help. I hope so. Truly

John Davies in Movement / (19/3)

( Excerpted )

GREAT

m0ments

SOME INFORMATION

FOR DISCOI{TENTED

SOLDIEFFi

5i_!-i'"t'.-:.'i-

Issue 17 t.las to reprint

*Some Information For

Di scontented Soldiers",

a ]eaflet intended to

encourage d'i scontented

British soldiers in

Northern Ireland to

break ranks.

The British fuvernment,

however, invoked the

Incitement To

Disaffect'ion Act (1934)

in dn attenpt to make

possession of the

leaf]et a crininal

offence. "This would

have the effect of

making every reader of

llovqrnt liable for

crimina'l charges and

implicate SCll 'in a

criminal conspiracy"

wrote the editors. The

editors were fu]ly

prepared to 'publish and

be damned", but strong

objections fron other

SCH staff 'led them to

pu1'l the leaflet and

instead state their

reasons for doing so in

a page with the heading

"Why this page has been

censored".

The letters pages in

subsequent issues were

white hot with uproar,

although, curiously, for

all the seeming furore,

neither of the editors

who were involved now

renember the incident!

movcment 100 7


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It was an era when the SCM moved to an intentional community near Bristol, and Movenent

moved to lreland and became one of the better known radical Christian journals of that time.

Michael Feakes looks at one of the most prodigious phases in Movenent's history

0f Outrageous

Experiments

I

I

n the summer of 1974 SCM left its long-standing

headquarters, Annandale, in Noith London, and moved

to Wict< Court, a rural manor house in the West Country.

I Before the move IoWick, Movementwas edited jointly

by Viv Broughton and Richard Zipfel, an American who had

worked with draft resisters and the Jesuits. Zipfel moved to a

new role in SCM, and Broughton was joined as co-editor by

Mary Condren, a former nun who became involved in SCM

while studying at the University of Hull. Whereas Broughton

had never been to university, Condren joined the SCM staff

directly after completing her degree, and over the next few

years she became the dominant intellectual and strategic

force behind the magazine.

Wick was a ferment of ideas and ideals. For many in the

movement, it embodied the communal, agrarian, hazily

Christian way of life to which they aspired, The staff and

their families all lived there (although the distinction

between staff and non-staff residents was never great),

and conferences and evenis were held throughout the

year on almost every weekend. Wick had a constant

stream of visitors: students and other SCM members,

South African exiles, peace activists, draft resisters, social

drop outs, various radicals from within and without the

Church. Goats would wander in from the garden and

surprise visiting representatives of the SCM trustees,

down from London to be horrified by how the movement's

resources were being spent.

From within the Wick melting-pot Movenent reflecled

many of the concerns of the socially active, left-leaning

Christian of the time. With Viv Broughton involved there

would always be a fair dose of humour (later manifested in

his own back-page column 'An Ear to the Ground"), but in

general the magazine reflected the seriousness with which

the issues were taken by the Wick community. While the tone

was sometimes irreverent, the political creed was strongly

anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, and

ultimately anti-Church. There were numerous reports on

right-wing governments in Latin America, apartheid in South

Africa, radical priests in Asia, and dissidents from around the

world. This was the era of student protests and sit-inssuch

as the one at Lancaster University demanding better

conditions for cleaning staff-which were faithfully reported

by Movement, SCM was on the side of prisoners, workers,

and minorities every'rrhere.

ln late 1975 Mary Condren became sole editor and took

the magazine to Dublin, from where she produced it until

1979. This gave the movement (still then the SCM of Britain

and lreland) a presence in lreland at a time when there was

no radical Christian voice there and the seriousness of the

sectarian conflict was becoming apparent. Whilst the move

gave Condren some breathing space away from the maledominated

hot-house of Wick, it also gave Movement a

separate identity as one of the better-known radical Christian

journals of the time, The magazine was also insulated from

direct involvement in the on-going turmoil over SCM's direction

after the move to Wick. (Even so, the magazine was nearly

forced to become a self-sustaining project of its own, but

succeeded in remaining a part of SCM).

Condren now brought a change Io Movenent.Ihe

articles became longer and more contemplative. There was

still passion, but a more intellectual tone. Thanks to Condren's

own connections and Movemenls participation in the

Underground Press Syndicate, writers as erudite as Rosemary

Reuther and Gustavo Guttierez were turning up within its

pages. As a theology graduate (a surprisingly rare breed in

SCM) Condren was able to introduce more theological reflections

on the themes until then covered in a form of reportage.

Throughout the mid to late 1970s SCM's publications

outpui was prodigious. There were up to seven editions of

the magazine a year, and, more impressively still, standalone

pamphlets were also produced to be included free with

the magazine and sold separately. The pamphlets drew

writings from disparate sources around the world, although

much of the material was original, produced by SCM

members and staff. Many of these were among the first

publications on their particular subjects, and the topics give

a good indication of SCM's interests at the time: the militant

Church around the world; "signs of the kingdom" in Casiro's

Cuba; lreland; liberation theology; gender politics; Latin

America; male clericalism and so on.

Two pamphlets in particular stand out: For the Banished

Children of Eve, an introduction to feminist theology one of

the first widely-published treatments of the topic, and

perhaps Mary Condren's finest legacy to SCM; and Towards

a Theology of Gay Liberation-a piece which saw SCM draw

the wrath of the Church, and which led directly to the

founding of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.

Another often-visited topic in the magazine was the life

and work of communities, which were perhaps the overriding

interest ol Movement aI the time, whether the base

communities of South America or communal houses in South

Wales. After all, SCM had consciously tried to model itself on

communities such as lona and Taiz6, with Wick as the focal

point and community houses around the country.

But in doing so SCM had lost touch with many of its

core supporters. lt was being pulled in too many different

directions, and eventually the movement came to a halt. The

gyre had widened loo far. Movenenf came back to Britain

under a new editor, Wick was sold, and SCM moved into

humbler accommodation in Birmingham, The end had come

to an outrageous experiment, and a glorious adventure. El

Michael Feakes was editor of Movenent trom 1 993-1 994.

He is now a solicitor in London,

movemGnt 100 8


One of the most popular pamphlets printed in Movement during the 1970s was "Why Men Priests". ln

this pamphlet's introduction, Mary Condren explains why this question should be considered.

Why Men Pr-i ests?

from a pamphi et publ i shed wj th Movement 34 0978)

his pamphlet 'Why Men Priests'will come as a

f

welcome change to many for whom the question 'Why

Women Priests' or'Women Priests, Yes' or'Women

I Priests, No', insofar as these do not take account of

the wider questions of minisiry in the church and are simply

means of avoiding the crisis facing the churches regardlng

ministry in general. The way in which the question is posed

very often determines the answer. By asking 'Why Women

Priests?' one assumes that women are the problem, The

assumption in this pamphlet is that the clericalised male

dominated forms of ministry in the churches today represent

a far greater apostasy from the teaching of Jesus than any

number of women priests could hope to achieve in their

lifetimes. As such, this is the problem which has to be faced

and so long as the debate centres around women priests,

this merely serves as a

distraction from the issue.

This is not to say that the

question of women priests is

irrelevant; in fact it is our

contention that the clericalism

of the churches today and the

forms of power and hierarchies

are the logical consequences

following on the

exclusion of women.

This pamphlet then, is not

about the case of women

priests. lt is taken for granted

that the recognition and

validation of women's

ministries is an urgent necessity,

by ordination and other

means. Howeve,r the debate which has surrounded the

question of women priests raises serious problems which the

church will have to face if it is to have any integrity in this

matter. These are not merely questions of theological scholarship

(although this is relevant); more serious is the

question of the deep-seated male prejudice against women

which prevails in the church and which needs to be exposed

for the sake of the qhurch and its future.

{HHhg {HBu, flppnsn

flHrnns flrdimratinn

1l Erceura man't plnr+ la in thE arfiy

2l Ecc*ugr no rerlly murlv msfi $rafit8

to r.lfite dbputia oth.rwl3e thqn

by llght|ng €borrt lt.

3l womEn *Truhl not re8fiftct man

drc{aed ln rklrtr.

4l Eocaus* mEn arc too efirofffid lc

bd pdeit!. Th€lr Gonduat at tofftb.l

m.tch6-, lh the rrmy. at FdlltlcEl

lnnrta tendarcy to rpparl to forc€

snd violcncc rrndsrc them unfit to

rsprrs€nt J€sua.

6l Eecgrtso aomE lrrsl e?u Eo hffrdg'(El&

thEy vlill ditlraEt womon

*o|rfilpFstN.

Gl If th. Church 19 th6 Erld| of qhrlst,

EHd blrhopr tre Er hurbEndr to ihe

Church, rll grle.tr ahould hG{em!la.

There seems to be a marked correlation between

advanced clericalism, 'other worldly' forms of religion,

authoritarianism, domineering personalities and the fear of

women. This correlation has been particularly remarked on in

Sweden where they have had women priests now for twenty

years and is worthy of further examination in this context,

Recently moves have been made to abolish the clause which

grants male priests who do not agree with women priests the

right to refuse to officiate or participate in services or other

occasions in their company. This has provoked a widespread

debate on the issue of women priests again at all levels of

the population. Twenty years ago the attiiude towards these

people was one of respect for their right to hold diverse

views. Now they are clearly seen as oddities deserving

special sociological and psychiatric study. A recent psychiairic

report suggested that these men had what was called a

'pairiarchal mentality' derived from problems they may have

had of authority with their fathers or moihers. A remarkable

feature of this new debate has been the number of young

male ordinands refusing to be ordained alongside women,

The study suggested that these particular people have naive

infantile personalities; that they did not trust themselves and

needed to make laws for their own security For this purpose

they constructed very safe theological and sexual universes

from which they were intent on keeping out every form of

threat. A national poll which was conducted showed that

whereas ninety per cent of the general population was in

favour of women priests, about forty six per cent of male

priests were still against women.

It is remarkable that after twenty years little has changed

in the theological debates on the question of women priests

but popular opinion has swung solidly behind the women to

such as extent that the formal relationship between the State

and the State Church which was to have been severed in the

next few years has now been delayed because people have

reallsed that a likely consequence of this separation would be

serious threats to the position of women in the church.

People are unwilling to give much authority to people who

could use the kind of irrational and academically dishonest

arguments against women priests coupled usually with pathological

behaviour patterns. For instance some believe if a

woman conducts a funeral while menstruating the service

does not'take'. A writer in Nya Vaktaren, a High Church

journal, claimed that some male priests who met women

priests died soon afterwards as a result. Recently there were

deadly serious discussions about the ordination of a

pregnant woman in Uppsala. Those who did noi feel that the

ordination was valid in the first place were nevertheless

disturbed that should the foetus be male then the Apostolic

Succession would automatically be conferred on the child.

The ordination went ahead. There are still several 'clean'

Gouer me

BEAUTIFUT

lfiilovE:tiJltEhlrr

Re?cnEret

AdcAtstuu

RM* Itrgt),

.IFT.E

A FFESI{W)

hrt.'Cbr6,

lt€jwffi

GK,EffiS'

SEITIIreUP

ACOMMI'IVE

t{a,rarrtrlnt

hsilA

kcn thelbol

pr6

trith the rove to Dublin,

l,'lovqBnt changed its

format to become a

glossy magazine (apparently

because 'it was

cheaper!) The covers

were m:ch improved and

featured better

'integrated photos and an

explosion of fonts.

The best of these has to

be No. 30 (above), which

in an article during

lbvarcnt' s 25th anniversary

Y{as voted all-time

best cover because of

its loopy photo of llarty

Feldman in episcopa'l

garb, drinking a pint

and smoking a fag. l,le

would concur with this

assessnnt vttpl dpartedly.

Also notenrorthy is No.

27 (below). The fashions

of the protest marchers,

and its shocking fuchsia

hue is L003 pure 1970s.

movement 100 e


Jnovemont I00 10

By asking 'Why

Women Priests?'

one assumes that

women are the

problem...the

clericalised male

dominated forms

of ministry in the

churches today

represent a far

greater apostasy

from the teaching

of lesus than any

number of women

priests could

hope to achieve

in their lifetimes.

dioceses in Sweden, ie. a diocese in which a woman has not

yet been appointed. ln other areas there are 'clean'

parishes, whereas some are reduced to having 'clean'

vestments, ie. vestments never worn by a woman. I recently

had the unwitting honour of defiling one such set of

vestments while preaching in Stockholm Cathedrall A

member of the SCM writing in their newspaper questioned

the continued viability of the nuclear family. For this she was

accused of 'clearly having Satanic influence'. She will be

ordained this year. ln one diocese a bishop promised to

resign rather than have a women priest in his diocese. When

one women did manage to get an appointment in the State

Church (by a legal technicality) the bishop remained in his

post, lt is now virtually impossible in Sweden to be appointed

a bishop if one is opposed to the ordination of women.

P

erhaps the key to the irrational behaviour lies in the

long recognised but seldom explored connections

between sexual and religious feelings. For much of

its history Christianity has depended on the exclu-

sion of the sexual from the religious sphere, seeing sexuality

as a direct threat to or counter to religious experience' So

long as the church is ruled by the predominani sex in

society this has not presented any serious ecclesiastical

problem (the fact that it presented many problems for

women is somehow beside the point).

Now however with the advent or threat of women ministers

the problem is very much to the lore, One woman

minister reports that she had often noticed an old man in

her congregation when she was preaching. One day he came

to her and said that he liked to come and hear her

preaching but now he liked her too much and therefore he

would not come any more. The intimacy of some aspects of

ministry has, according to some women priests, led many

young men to fall in love with or become attracted to women

priests. This is not a new situation since many male priests

experience this with women. What is new however is that a

rejection of a man by a women priest brings about a far

greater sense of humiliation and threat than vice versa since

males are accustomed to taking the initiative in sexual

behaviour whereas women

are less likely to act on

these feelings to the

same extent.

The stringent precautions

taken by the church,

for instance in only

allowing priests to hear

women's confessions

from behind a grille,

testify to the fact ihat

these elements of

sexuality have always

been recognised in

religious experience. So

long however as the

dominant sex was also in

control of the generaiion

of religious experiences

there was no great

problem (for men). Now

however women priests

threaten to make blatant

the subliminal undercurrents.

The advent of

women priests is as

threatening to some men

as women taking the

hud graduated.,artth a dEree in

J a I

- - I ttreotogy, socblogy and social

I anthropology and I had come in

touch wi*r dre radkal liberalion theological

morement during tlrat time. I didn't

continue my dodoral unrk at that stag

bcause there was novhere in England

basically where I could have continued

working on liberation theology lfett

diilng Movenentwas the best way of

bringing liberation theology to the

British and lrish situation.

Put of rny thinking was that we

should advertise it widely so it became

the radical Christian journal of Britain

and lreland and ttrat with each issue

we'd produce a pamphht which would

have ongoing sales and wer the long

hauluouldn't date as quickly Now in its

hqf,ay, vre lvere producing, maybe,

2,000 copies the full issue and an

additional 3,000 cop'es of the

pamphlet. \rVe had distrihnion all over

the r,rrorld.

[n putting Movement and lhe

pamphlets togetherl the question

initiative in sexual behaviour. For the first time perhaps some

men are being told that they rather than women have to

exercise sell-conirol, and the prospect is frightening'

The other side of this is that once these relationships are

explored and exposed they also lead to the logical conclusion

that one form of the legitimisation of sexual dominance in

society comes through male clericalism. The image of the pure,

dispassionate, logical, wise, rational male, who always knows

what is best for everyone, is a necessary part of the ideological

superstruciure which holds society together, in the form of

patriarchal government as we know it. The fact that the State

rather than the Church in Sweden is most firmly behind women

priests does not contradict this fact. The greatest threat to this

superstructure for the State in Sweden comes in ihe possibility

that the church might be exposed as being led by the kind of

men who object to women priests who in the view of the

governing authorities have long since lost touch with reality,

The position of women in Sweden in general is exceptional.

One cannot expect the same conclusions to be reached by

the governments of Britain and lreland given the present stage

of women's liberation, lt is interesting however to look at

Sweden to provide the kind of historical perspective twenty

years hence on the present debate in Britain' Just what will

psychiatrists make of a Cardinal who proclaims that he has yet

to hear the case for women priests as though women were

some kind of sub human species to which the normal

standards of justice and equity did not apply except in exceptional

circumstances? What will philosophers make of the logic

of those in the Church of England or the Orthodox Church in

Greece who refuse to ordain women, claiming it would harm

relationships with Rome, at the same time as they cling onto

their lawful wives and are indifferent to Rome's ruling on

celibacy? A Roman Catholic bishop once wrote to me that

women who are pioneers in the movement for women priests

are called to suffer as Jesus did when he was preaching

against the old traditions of the Jewish religion. What will the

sociologists make of a church founded on Jesus Christ which

so quickly developed the equivalents of Scribes and

Pharisees, contemporary clericalism, against whom .lesus

fought and died? fit

would be "what were the hot toPics

theologically" and what was not getting

into the publk arena in Britain or keland

and hor,v could we redress that balance'

ln lreland bdore nry time thry tri.ed to

set up a radical &rlstian magazine and

theArchbishop had quashed it and

wouldn't alloriv it to be sold anywhere.

One of the great $ings we had wittthe

SCM was economic independence, so

that we could produce things vrithout

ever hing beholden to the bishops and

to what thry would say or not say For

instance I sold hundreds of copies of

ForThe Banbhd Otildren of Eve in

lreland and there would have been no

other way that would have been

produced in ftristian or associated

circks. Certainty not in tre 70's. The

questbn was horl can we break through

and make liberation theologbal trinking

available in Britain and keland to address

fe major social and religious concerns

that nere there."

-l'fary Cordrcn, edibt 197 +7 9

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Star Wars: Cruel

Fantasy?

I

I

tracked Star llars across couniry, trying to lind out what

the hullabaloo was about. Outside Detroit the lines were

I as long as Halley's Comet's tail. Yes, we could get

tickets-tomorrow. We settled, as I recall, for Altman's lhree

Women, a disaster with all six of its flat feet on terra firma.

I was due in Omaha. There I was told you could get to

see Sfar Wars only at the kiddies' 2 p.m. matinee. I was

accompanied by a nun and a young Jesuit, both of whom

confessed to

three

previous

viewings. I

was astonished,

wondering

what had

kept them

coming

back. lt

seems they

loved everything about the film, but especially an episode in

which a space rocket breaks the light barrier, That, they

assured me, was it. ln 0maha, I reflected, not much is

happening,

The ffew Yorker calls Star Wars good clean fun. Another

critic points to the ironic use of western frontier themes,

including violence straight from the hip, dualism amid the

planets, etc.

Something else struck me. Sfar Warsis a clever adaptation

of the flattened, quasi-human luture first envisioned by

Buck Rogers comics years ago; i.e., science (understood as

research and production of hard and soft ware, invariably

military and paramilitary in character) is in charge of the

imagination and the universe. See your tomorrow today.

Peace is war, as to method and goal. Also, computerised

humanoids, looking like anything from old sanctus bells to

ourselves, prove more interesting, witty, and domineering

than the recessive humans, who trail along learning from

their betters.

I wish I could be lighlhearted about all this. lt would be

funny indeed if a film like Star Wars had been shot by a race

of peaceable folk, exploring the dark side of their blonde

psyche. We would have to imagine their technology, in

comparison with ours, at the toothbrush and eggbeater

stage; also that they are in touch with firm roots, symbols,

community. What fun and terror such a film would evoke, like

one ol Grimm's Fairy Tales seen through the wide eyes of a

Montessori kindergartener. You mean such things are

happening out there? (A delicious shiver.) But children have

other business, toyX explorings; besides, their attention span

with regard io terror is mercifully brief,

Alas for us; we are not children. We are star warriors. The

joke is sour, For its sweetness, that joke depended by a featherweight

on the oppositions, ironies, and clear lines it could draw

and maintain. lt would take seven-day wonders in a garden of

Eden to view Star Wars as a joke. (0r cynics in a different sort

of place-but that's Dante's story, not mine.) Unless the critics

mean to call it a cruel joke-something else again.

I think the lilm is cruel. I'm not sure it's a joke at all,

But even granting the joke, I think the film's cruelty all

but cancels the joke. l'd even be willing to suggest a

principle: if cruelty is substantial, pervasive, in a film, novel,

poem, dance, any art form, it seems to me the joke goes

sour. The hangman gets hanged; the joke, so to speak, is on

him. This is what occurred to me, during and after Star Wars.

The cruelty is like the hardware; it's the simple extension of

what many of us, for much of our lives, in various brutal and

subtle ways, hold in our hands, hold to the heads of others.

The attitude is both callous and carefree. And it affects our

very biology, body, and soul.

I was reading somewhere someone's prediction that in

some millions of years, we'll all be flying; our morphology

seems to be going that way, But that's hardly the point of

Star Wars, which is presented on the assumption called

Omnivorous Hardware. ln some millions of years, the film

implies, straight-faced as hell, our hands will end in guns.

lndeed, our morphology seems to be going that way. And

who wants to be the handicapped in the kingdom of the

handy?

I think the joke of Sfar Wars is so cruel because for all

the gimmicks-iniergalactic distances, light speeds, laser

guns-there really isn't any distance at all between here and

ihen, them and us, ancestor and progeny, good guys and evil.

The film is therefore a most sombre and cynical exercise in

Necessity; a guided tour of the Kingdom of Necessity This is

how things will be, a simple extrapolation from the way things

are; at both ends, an unexorcised curse.

Dani el Berri gan j n lulovement 32 (1977 )

The Punk Vi car

( Excerpted )

I I f hat a deliohtlul exoerience it was to meet the Rev

lllf

nuurond'Plrmm.r. who has been dubbecl the Punk

U U Vi*l, for his outreach to alienated youth in the Kings

Road. I had been invited down to his partially desiroyed

church to take part in one of his experimental services that

feature several Christian punk rock bands and a drama group

who specialise in cat lynching as a creative learning experience.

I must admit I was a little taken aback when I first

encountered Rev Plummer, whose surplice was held together

with large nappy pins and who seemed to have great difficulty

speaking with a mouth full of razor blades. Why, I asked him

before the service began, did he feel he had a particular

mission to the punk fraternity of Chelsea. He gripped me

warmly by the throat and said, "These youngsters may

appear on the surface to have a nihilistic contempt for the

values of contemporary society but beneath the rough and

ready facade there is a warm human being struggling for

recognition, I dress like this in an attempt to win their confidence

as I believe our Lord would have done in a similar New

Wave situation." Nutting me affectionately, he led me inside

where three girls in fetching outfits of bin liners were leading

the congregation in community vandalism. We made it safely

to the vestry for the customary sniff of glue and a prayer just

before the service, though once inside we were accosted by

the seventeen year old verger, Terry Filth, who demanded

"Who's this old ponce, Ray?" Rev Plummer explained that

he'd read my column and reckoned that I had all the right

qualifications to give the lesson, though he agreed wlth Filth

that I didn't really look the part. The verger advanced

purposefully, "'Old on a minute cock, while I fii this meat

skewer through yer nose." lt was indeed unfortunate that I

had a deadline to meet and had to leave at that point, though

it was a rare privilege to have encountered such deeply held

convictions. I fought my way back up the aisle with the words

of the opening hymn ringing in my ears: "Roll over Jehovah

and tell Cliff Richard the news".

Viv Broughton in the column "An Ear to

the Ground". Movement 30 (1977)

GREAT

m0ments

\

\

Perhaps flovarent's

greatest rcnent ever was

with the publlcation of

the pamph'let "Towards A

Theology of Gay

Liberation-, which

appeared as an insert in

issue 22 (1975).

The impact of this

pamphlet, published

within a decade after

the 1egalisation of

homosexual acts between

ttvo people over the age

of 2L in Eng'land (it was

then still i1]egal in

Scotland and Ireland) 'is

undimin'ished. Guest

editor I'lalcolm Macourt

put together a stirring

docunent which combined

scholarly analysis on

Bib'lical and Christian

h'istory with personal

testimony of being

Christian and gay, and

in doing so brought the

church face to face with

the then-obscure tern

"homophobi a".

Reactjon was phenomenal.

It was completely sold

out (SCM don't even have

a copy in the'ir archive!)

l.lhile the church and

the church press greeted

it with outright

hostility it nobi'lsed

others-the publ ication

of th'is, and the subsequent

SCl4 Press book,

led to the eventual

formation of the Lesbian

and Gay Christian

Movement, an activ.ist

organisation whose work

continues today.

movcment 100 11

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The early 1g80's: the dawning of Thatcherism. Meanwhile, Movement ushers in a new era of

responsibility, credibility and relevance, and maybe a touch of earnestness as well. Martin Davies

casts a critical eye 0n the decade fashion forgot...

Bleak Decade

Rev'i si ted

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rnovemgnt I00 tz

t's the'80s- the decade that fashion forgot. ln music,

the fading glory of punk gives way to electronic

modernism, the 'New Wave', android-chic and robotdancing.

The high street is awash with leg warmers,

deely-boppers, shoulder-pads and snow-washed denim. ln

politics, Labour's calamitous 'winter of discontent' is still

fresh in the public memory. An unsuspecting electorate has

voted in Margaret Thatcher as a'new broom' in Downing

Street with promises of economic renewal, privatisations,

tough law and order policies, greater defence spending and

a brand new house-owning, share-owning democracy.

'Thatcherism' is born and with it a new spirit of individualism,

competition and ambition: a zeitgeist personi{ied

neatly by an outrageous new American pop star, the original

'material girl', called, of all things, Madonna.

True to form, SCM is also in the midst o{ fundamental transition.

The Wick generation has moved out and on but the legacy of

their work will take the whole of the '80s to fully work through.

What had happened in the'70s that had brought SCM

nearer to extinction than ever before. ln a decade where

Aquarian idealism gave way to the nihilism of punk' is it

possible that SCM-like Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, Janis loplin'

Jimi Hendrix and the resi-was iust one more strung-out,

disillusioned, self-destructing hippy? Whatever the reasons,

the Wick experiment disintegrated and a fresh constituency

of students inherited an exhausted, burnt-out movement. lf

the '70s are to go down in SCM folklore as an incredible trip,

the early eighties will certainly be seen as the hangover, the

inevitable detox before the cold turkey of recovery.

Sifting through the issues ol Movenent of this period

it's easy io discern a strong reaction to the recent past. The

students of the early eighties gave themselves the job of

rebuilding the SCM, reconstructing ihe bridges burnt or neglected

by the previous dispensation; reviving connections with the

mainstream churches, renewing debate about traditional Christian

themes, refocusing on the needs of current students and

ushering in a new era of responsibil$ credibility and relevance'

The magazine was brought back to England from its

Dublin base and a new editor, Peter Gee, was installed (later

to be assisted, and succeeded, by Reinier Holst). His first

front cover (No. 39) carried the slogan 'Nuclear lnsanity'

beneath a phoio of a Polaris missile' His editorial began with

the prophetic words, "The prospects for the 1980s are

bleak indeed".

And there is someihing rather bleak about the magazine

itself. The much sought-after respectability is undoubtedly

achieved but, in the process, some of the verve and wit of

the previous decade is lost. One need look no further than

the froni covers of this time to see that a tonal change has

occurred. Gone is the zaniness and overt provocation of

previous issues and in its place is a new found earnestness

I

style photos of current political issues or

-newspaper

traditional depictions of Christian subjects, ln general one

senses a more cautious, less daring, hand on the tiller.

lnside, the layout remains static and uninviting but the

content is stronger with emphasis firmly placed on

'relevance'. Much of the magazine is given over to in-depth

discussion of current political and social issues: homelessness,

racism, education, the onset of Thatcherism, the

spectre of nuclear war. Perhaps more than at any other time

in its history the magazines of this period are truly'current

affairs'journals dealing with the specifics of government

policies in a well-researched, authoritative-if a touch

Saharan-style.

The bid to restore good relations with the churches is

taken seriously too. Church news is reported uncynically;

indeed, mainstream clergy are often interviewed and there is

a return to articles on traditional Christian themes like

mission, lesus, peace and prophesy. After Ann Summers

became editor in ihe mid-'80s the 'Christian' content

strengthened further: Bible studies are commonplace and the

theological book review section is often vast and scholarly.

There is a professionalism and credibility in these issues

Ihal Movement deeply required. lt was these issues that reestablished

SCM as a truly student-centred movement. The

long-running '0n Campus'feature and the many detailed

conference previews and reviews give the impression of a

magazine eagerly reconnecting with a nationwide

constituency searching for a radical Christian alternative.

Those who worked on Movement between 1 980-86 had

an unenviable task, Their quest to rebuild SCM as a

respected and credible organisation inevitably meant a less

indulgent approach lo Movement. Following the expressionism

and vivacity of the seventies was always going to be hard.

Peter Gee was right when he headed his first editorial Bleak

Decade? The early '80s were bleak times-the grim threat

of holocaust, the depressing reality of Thatcherism, the

sense of a movement scrabbling for purpose. Movenent, as

always, simply reflected them.

ln issue 46 Elaine Graham reporied from a European

student conference, quoting a few lines {rom a spoof song,

written and delivered by the British SCM delegation. lt seems

to me a poignant summary of the period: Where has all the

politics gone / long time ago? / Gone to grassroots every

one / When will they ever learn? / '58 will not return

'68 would never return and the writers and workers of

the early 1980s had no choice but to create something new

out of the void. Their task was tougher than any since and ii

would not be until 1 989 and SCM's successful Centenary

that the determination and vision of those rebuilders was

finally, joyously realised. Eil

Martin Davies was editor of Movement from 1 995-1 997' He

has just completed his teacher training.

n


By the early 1980s, there was a plethora of books on sexuality by Evangelical publishers who even

went s0 far as to publish sex manuals of their own. But how healthy is what they prescribed for two

adults? Heather Walton reported her findings

No Sex Pl ease

We're Chri st-i ans

,

Gouer me

BEAUTIFUT

rnovement

S.Drenhc' oiob.'

}!€i

fi rst publ i shed i n Movement 51 Q9B2)

M

y conversion to Christianity occurred shortly

before I left home for university, Until that time my

sexual development had included the normal

series of traumas, discoveries, explorations and

private agonies which make early adolescence such a misery

and such fun.

Then it all stopped; or, more accurately, it went underground.

I assiduously cultivated the fashionable appearance

of the evangelical Christian woman (floral prlnt, soft colours,

long hair, virginal smile) and tried hard to forget my past

'unredeemed'behaviour.

I became obsessed with other people's

sexual behaviour and can recall sleepless nights listening to the

jolul sounds of cohabitation next doo6 wondering whether or noi

I should interrupt and save my friends from their sinful pleasures.

I smile now to think of the printed motto, 'Never do anything

which you cannot do before God'Which I unconsciously had

placed at the head of my very narrow, unshared Christian bed.

I mention these things because they indicate how huge

the issue of sex looms in the lives of many Christian

students and what an ordeal of heart searching, guilt and

embarrassment many endure, A lot of water has passed

underneaih my particular bridge since I experienced these

turmoils, but the memory is vivid still. Perhaps I was trying to

exorcise a ghost when I decided to look ai four books giving

conservative evangelical advice on sex and the like which are

the bed time companions of many students.

"With Jesus you can go all the way", reads the final

paragraph of Walter Trobisch's pamphlet, Love is a Feeling to

be Learned. But only with Jesus. Going 'all the way' with

anybody else is something which all the books

firmly prohibit outside the marriage relationship.

How far you can go is a sticky problem.

Trobisch advises the avoidance of any situations

which involve lying down and the removal

of clothes, whereas John White (Eros Defiled)

says holding hands should be shunned if it

'turns you on', There might be physical reasons

too why petting should be avoided, 'Through

petting, a glrl (sic) gets used to the superficial

way only, Later on in marriage she might have

a hard time trying to progress to the deep and

rewarding experience." Any exploitation of

sexual urges through masturbation is also a

road fraught with danger and disillusionment,

White likens it to being marooned ",..your

ears ache for the music of human speech.

Masturbation is to be alone on an island. lt

frustrates the very instinct it graiifies."

Trobisch calls it 'a cry for help',

What kind of advice is this? Everyone

knows that the more sex is driven under the

carpet, the more erotic significance is attached

to otherwise mundane occurrences; the

Victorian ankle syndrome. Lowering the

threshold of contact does not quench the

libido. I felt just as 'turned on' when a guy I

fancied asked me to be his prayer partner as I

did in the hot clinch of Fifth Form romance, To

avoid contact because it might be stimulating is

advice that simply cannot be carried out to its

logical conclusion. Similarly all this talk about the physical and

psychological dangers of petting and masturbation is pious

dribble, Such experiences can be the way that people learn to

cope with their sexuality: sexual training of a gradual nature

without the dreadful pressure of an all-or-nothing decision. I

am afraid that many Christians, seeking false safety, hide

behind the sexual norms of a previous generation as captured

in the Scriptures; or could it be that they have stopped the

sap from rising for so long that the plant has withered?

However, I would hate to give the wrong impression. Not

all the writers of these books are total prudes. ln fact, once

One of the best designed

covers in the magazine's

history is No. 47

(above), which nakes the

two-co]our limitat'ion of

covers of that era a

positive strength tlith

the jigsaw pieces, black

and white photos of

contemporary figures and

events (apropos of the

nagazine's move towards

"relevancy") against a

gold-screened cruci -

fix'ion scene in the

background.

The same artistic flair

cannot be said of No. 66

(below). The crude

design is not enhanced

by the fact that everything

is printed 'in a

singularly hideous shade

of brown. Many agree

that this 'is the ugliest

cover of l1ovqBnt ever

produced, with good

reason.

movement 100 13


(novement 100 14

-il

Lowering the

threshold of

contact does not

quench the libido.

I felt just as

'turned on' when

a guy I fancied

asked me to be

his prayer partner

as I did in the hot

clinch of Fifth

Form romance.

ihe ring is on the finger, there is a whole world of sexual

experience the Christian can enjoy legitimately "providing

they do so prayerfully". As conservative evangelical manuals

on sexual relationships go, John Noble's Hlde and Sex is

one of the better books on the subject of 'married love',

and gives quite a handy introduction to sexual techniques;

invaluable if you have spent all your time avoiding sexual

stimulation and find yoursell at a loss where to siart! Noble

recommends an imaginative approach: "lt has come to my

notice that a number of Christians have the idea that the

face to face or 'missionary position' as some call it is the

only one permissible. There is no Scripture to support this

theory. ln fact the Scripture is silent on this matter." Wiih no

specific scriptural guidance, "we can safely accept that we

are left to our own consciences and to the inner guidance

from the Holy Spirit," he concludes. Noble sticks to his guns

even when it comes to the tricky subject of oral sex. '1t4any

have found complete freedom in this kind of sexual variation,

and I can find no authority io deny them this pleasure. To do

seems to me to go beyond our mandate as teachers in the

Word of God." We would, he asserts, be surprised to

discover what many admirable Christians do in the intimacy

of marriagel White, however, is more ambivalent about this

issue. While he can find no scripiural basis for condemning

the pleasures of oral and rectal stimulation, they should not

go beyond the foreplay stage; for "in the matter of erotic

pleasure a penis was designed for the stimulation of a

vagina and a vagina for that of a penis ... Orogenital

'climaxes' and penile-rectal'climaxes' are subnormal sexual

practices." lt seems that when the Bible is silent (and White

admits thai it is sirangely reticent about what is to take

place in the bedroom) the resourceful Christian teacher can

always draw on God's design specilications for the human

body during the creation Process!

The Bible's silence on matters sexual, or rather, on

sexual techniques, is quiie a problem for the authors of all

the books in my survey as evangelical ethical teaching

usually heavily depends on the support of texts. A few exist,

however. Noble defends manual stimulation of the clitoris

with help from the Song of Songs: '0 that his left hand was

under me and his right hand embraced me...", manual

stimulation is biblically justified for the right handed' you may

be relieved to learn. ln case of doubt, sexual questions can

still be handled by comparing the union of lovers to the

union of Christ with the

Church (never mind

that it was the other

way around in the

Bible, I believe). The

foundation of a sexual

ethic lies in the

teaching of Christ and

his relationship with

his bride, the Church,

says White. "Can

anyone doubt the

permanence of the

relationship or the

importance of the

fidelity of both

parties? Therefore I

hold that only the

sexual activity that

takes place between a

husband and wile for

their mutual comfort

and as the purpose o1

which they learn

J I I ** appointed to the job in

- - I

Muy '79 just a couPle of

I weeks after the [General

Eleclion where Margaret Thatcher first

came into powerl. 0f course what's

not remembered now is PerhaPs the

strength of opposition that there was

to Thatcherism. And the Falklands

issue which happened during that

time--*le took a very strong line on

thalin Movement one which I'd still

defend today as absolutely right!---of

course transformed the Political

arena, Before '82, Thatcher was

incredibly unpopular and there were

these huge popular Protests.

Certainly there was a strategY-we

were trying to follow mainstream

issues and reflect on them. The task

was to see whether our Christian

perspective had anything=-


The Fal kl ands Cr.i si s

T he loss of life in the Falklands has been tragic

Argentinian conscripts, sacrificed by a junta in desperate

I internal political difficulties, British 'volunteers', often

from the dole queues. lt has been a depressing further

reminder of how big a task faces the growing peace

movement in this country. lf jingoistic war fever worthy of the

British Empire at its height can be generated by such a small

incident, what hope is there of containing, let alone resolving

all the much more serious threats to world peace?

The whole

sorry story is

riddled with

hypocrisy Britain

has ignored the

truth about the

Argentinian

regime for

years- the

thousands of

disappearances,

the torture, the

continuing

repression of

trade unionists,

and has

coniinued to

supply the junta

with weapons and

lo train its military

personnel!

Successive British governments have been progressively

severing British links with the islands, forcing the residents to

become ever more dependent on Argentina, against their will.

And only last year the government passed a Nationality Act

which deprived many Falklanders of their UK citizenship. An

observer could be forgiven for suspecting that the rhetoric

that has flowed out of the House of Commons during the

course of the crisis serves more as a camouflage to mask

political embarrassment and offended national pride than as a

genuine expression of concern for the future of the Falklands.

What does the Christian community have to add to the

debate about the Falklands? Though they haven't been given

prominence in the media there have been many voices of

protest from responsible church people, though the remarks

of some church leaders have been distinguished by ambiguity

and equivocation.

The Falklands crisis further underlines the lack of influence

of the Churches in the taking of polltical decisions in

our society. How much of the media coverage of the crisis

has looked at Christian attitudes? But even if a stronger

Christian voice had been more clearly heard, would it have

been heeded?

That's impossible to answer, but I suspect that a Christian

community that consistently defends the cause of peace and

condemns the ever growing arms trade which helps to

sustain many oppressive regimes throughout the world might

be taken more seriously in the long term than a church that

is largely unwilling to risk the charge of being 'unpatriotic',

The loss of life has been senseless, on both sides. There

is a better way of resolving disputes, though it may be less

politically popular in the short term, and unless we take it

there can be no hope for peace.

Peter Gee i n an Edi tori al i n lulovement 51

(1982) (Excerpted)

Wri t'i ng off "Ri ght

0n" Rel 'i gi on

ou know SCM - thai open ecumenical Christian

Ymovement with the accent on freedom, where you can

do anything, say anything ... well unless of course it

violates one of our sacred taboos. Sacred taboos? What

sacred taboos? This is SCM for God's sake, you

know we're open, we're ecumenical ... we have no doctrinal

formulations, no creed, no statements of religious conviction,

ln fact we're rather "anti" that sort of thing. lf we do have

one strong belief, it is the belief that:-

TH0U SHALT NOT BELIEVE lN ANYTHING T00 MUCH: 0f

course, this really means anything religious. You can believe

articles of political dogma as fervently as you like. But woe

betide you if you passionately believe in justification by Faith,

or the Real Presence, or the Second Coming.

THOU SHALT ABHOR THE CHURCH: No respect or honour

whatever is given to the notion of the Church. lf we have to

use an expression to explain the community of belief, we use

phrases like "the people of God." But "people" in this

instance would be better expressed by the word "person" as

the implication is of a collection of like-minded individuals, a

sort of club, rather than of a body called together by the

Holy Spirit,

One gets the impression that all these various "persons"

share is a common hobby such as stamp collecting, rather

than constituting God's chosen instrument for the salvation of

humanity.

lf any notion of "church" is believed in it is as the

community of the elect, the ideologically sound, safe from the

contaminating presence of the Prayer Book enthusiast and

the SDP voter, By its very nature, such a group will be selfselecting,

lt will be a collection of ethically superior individuals.

This ideology of the "Small Group" is a particular

feature of the SCM, exposed in the endless quest for the

perfect human community, Longing for a community which

fulfills all our needs and in terms of which we can define

ourselves as we engage is an illusory search. Such "flight

from history" is a typical mark of the western bourgeois

idealist mindset. The material, historical church is rejected in

favour of a private "church" into which we can retreat and

act as if problems did not exist. lf SCM is to have any value,

it must be more than just a safe haven from the storms of

repressive religion.

THOU SHALT NOT SAY THY PRAYERS: The hymn 'Bright the

vision that delighted" contains the line "thus conspire we to

adore Him", a line which has taken on a new meaning for me

since I started working for SCM a few SCM dissidents sneak

off behind a bike shed for a few furtive "Gloria in Excelsis..."

When is SCM going to undertake an examination of our

embarrassment with prayer? Personally I feel that it has its

roots in the fact that so many of us are ex-evangelical charismatic

fundamentalists. Many of us, at a young age, expended

a not inconsiderable amount of religion. We trusted God with

our most tender feelings, and now it feels as if God has

walked all over them. But instead of feeling hurt and slighted,

shouldn't we offer that damaged part of ourselves to

God-for it is exactly those parts of ourselves that God

wants to redeem?

C1 ane Seal y j n l'4ovement 66 ( 198/ )

( Excerpted )

GREAT

m0ments

In 1.985, Editor Anne

Surmers gave over the

majority of issue 63 to

d'iscussion about

feninism and h,omen's

issues. The purple cover

proudly proclaired this

was an issue of "The

h{omen's lbvqent".

Sunrners stated the

premise behind the

special issue in her

editorial: 'It often

seems as if the basic

a'ims of the mmen's

movement get confused

and misconceived by

campaigns and details

within it unti],

possibly, you can lose

sight of what it's about

in the first p'lace."

l,lritten entire'ly by

wonen, the issue

featured articles on the

history of the tromen's

novement (which was

surprisingly global in

'its outlook), feminist

theology and personal

storytel I i ng.

And, proving that

feminism does have a

sense of humour, there

was also "The Verity Ann

Column", a h'ilarious cod

women's column, complete

with recipe for chunky

spring broth and a I'lills

and Boon parody.

It was a worthy experi -

ment, and more's the

shame something like

this hasn't been done

si nce.

movement 100 15


EE'

O

-lo

-

The late 1980s and early 1990s brought the Desktop Publishing revolution lo Movenent, along with

a switch to "people-centred" politics and a focus on student life. Graeme Burk reflects on a time

when Movement truly became "The Student Christian Magazine"

The Pri nt

Chapl a'i ncy

-{ r

J.

lrl

G)

=t

u)

u)

=t o

-{u)

IT

d

CC'

@ I

J

co

CO

t\)

M;ffi.#**[ffiftt*i*i.'ff5

Pontius Puddle cartoons and full of lively and intelligent

commentary on Christianity you wouldn't find anywhere else.

Re-reading these issues, and reconstructing the history

behind them, this impression still holds to be true, but there

is so much more to be said about it.

ln the 1 980s SCM saw its work in reconnecting with

students at a grassroots level and developing local units. By the

end of the decade, SCM had rebuilt itself and was on its way

toward a glorious celebration of its centenary in 1989, full of

confidence from the substantial (although still fragile) growth that

had occurred. The "radical" '70's were written off (somewhat

disingenuously) by then-General Secretary Tim McClure as mostly

unchristian "Loony Years". McClure had further stated in a

Movement arlicle in 1 989 that "The SCM's agenda (has) shifted

from being issue-centred lo being people-centred'.

As ever, it was a shift that was reflected in Movement.

Andreas Havinga (then Andreas Mtiller), having taken on

editorial duties in I 987, continued an evolution that had

begun with previous editor Anne Taylor (then Summers),

toward a "people-centred" rather than "issue-centred"

magazine. While issues like sexuality, international solidarity,

and the continued devastation of the Thatcher era feature,

they do seem to follow McClure's notion that these issues

arose out of the interesis and experience of students.

Havinga felt that the magazine's primary readership

would be students who were actually part of, or could potentially

be involved with, the local SCM groups and geared the

magazine accordingly. Probably for the first time in the

magazine's history the magazine "felt" like a publication for

students. There were articles for freshers, increased content

by students and collages of creative feedback from SCM

conferences. lt was full of twee but "challenging" clip art,

such as Joel Kaufmann's Pontius Puddle (what one person

described as"Zggy for the politically and religiously

correct") or the grim satirical cartoons of R Cobb. The

magazine had changed from a radical magazine published

under ihe SCM's auspices, to a current affairs journal of

interest to SCMers, to an actual in-house student magazine.

Perhaps the most far-reaching change brought about by

Havinga lay in the purchase of an Atari computer for SCM

Central 0ffice in Balsall Heath, The brand name now attracts

sniggers, and yet at the time it provided a cost-effective

system with What-You-See-ls-What-You-Get software. With this

purchase, Movementenlered the age of Deskiop Publishing.

The late '80s Movenent came out of a liberal vision of

stimulating debate and dialogue. What other era of

Movement's history would generate lengthy debate in ihe

letter columns over homosexuality and Christianity? And yet,

this is precisely what transpired over four issues in what has

been an otherwise pedestrian feature in the magazine. What

other era of Movement's history would feature the by-line:

"by Margaret Thatche/'? And yet, this is precisely what

happened in issue 70 when it published the text of Thatcher's

speech to the Church of Scotland's General ksembly, and

then followed it up with commentary about her speech.

ln many ways, Movenent was one of ihe family, if you

will-a print version of a peer chaplaincy, a prose version of

an SCM unit-offering regular talking points for students and

space for their creative expression (this was the only period

in the magazine's history where creative writing has

featured). When lan Harvey-Pittaway-a theological student

at the time studying for the Baptist Ministry-succeeded

Havinga as editor in 1 991, this process continued even

furiher. Harvey-Pittaway significantly advanced the concept of

"cover themes" in MovemenL where on the back page of

every issue the next issue's cover subject, or theme, would be

announced and students would be encouraged to write about it.

The concept got a surprising amount of mileage (in fact,

the idea was nicked wholesale Irom Movement by the author

of this piece for the Canadian SCM's magazine, where it still

is in use!), Cover themes during this time included

Homelessness, Science and Ethics, and "Being a Student in

the University of Life". The best of these remains to be issue

8 ! 's 'A Bible For Our Times" which asked students what iexts

they would include in their own personal sacred canon.

Harvey-Pittaway felt that the magazine should not

simply cater to the "right on" tendencies of students in the

early 1 990s, and sought to challenge them with issues that

many students did not have experience of. lssue 80's examination

of Science and Ethics-taken from the I992 SCM

Congress theme-is one such example of a successful

attempt to stretch students beyond their cosy liberal artsbased

experiences, At the same time, the magazine felt like

a throwback to a previous bygone age. Harvey-Pittaway

increasingly used graphics lrom MovemenE of the 1970s,

and even began to use writers like the late Norman Leachwhose

radical posturings featuredin Movemenls first issue. And

while the magazine seems more homogeneous in its approach

to Christianity, it was a Christianity that was intellectualty

challenging and emotionally engaging.

Nonetheless, the level of student involvement in

Movement was higher than any period of the magazine to

date. The late'80s and early'90s were perhaps the most

"student-friendly" period of Movement, and the magazine

had that peculiar blend of tweeness, liberal activism and

rigourous discussion that you expect of any good student

chaplaincy. lt's a period I look back on with an enormous

degree of fondness and delight. @

Graeme Burk has been editor of Movenent lor 1998

movement 100 16


Mark Pryce revisits Matthew's Passion

And He Ki ssed

H

o

I

m

Gouer me

BEAUTIFUT

first published jn Movement 68 (1988)

And he Game up to lesus at once and said. "Hail

Master!" And he kissed him

l. I remember the garden very well. This night garden

which hid him in its shadows, Why him? Why should he

return? Why him particularly, to be shuttled between self-pity

and the apportioning of blame? This friend, coming like a

stranger in the dark to me then. He lit his own light and I saw

his mouth, lt did not smile. lt was a line across his chin. lt

would open for the cigarette, then close. He breathed smoke

gently. When he came to me, I could smell the

smoke and the leather of his jacket and the

cold of the night, I could feel the hardness of

his body. His lips were strange. All the way

through I was conscious of his lips, I keep

wondering if it was his losses that betrayed me,

Then an the distiples forsook him and

lled

ll. When I first began to get tired, I was very

angry. I was so angry my energy must have

been wasted in fuelling the rage, I would get

ready to go to a club and be exhausted by the

time I was dressed. I would take my clothes off

and go to bed. Sometimes I would sit in a chair

and think of the times when I had danced until

morning. I would sit and think rampant sex

thoughts. As if sex was a weapon, some

defence. I wanted to escape into more and

more sex. I was alone and afraid.

Some days I would battle to the office. I

would be so drained ihat I had to get a taxi

back home straight away, They wrote to me and

asked me not to come. I stayed home. There

was no one to touch, No one to be close to.

Nobody phoned almost as if they could catch

something down the wires.

' One night I had a dream. I remember this

dream very well. I dreamt that they came down

and painted a big ?ed cross on my door and it

feels as if the cross is daubed down my body

now. All down my body I remember that when the kissing was

over, I realised how empty the garden was,

"l do not know the mantt

lll, lt has always been a struggle facing up to who I am.

There has always been a battle to gain some sense of

identity that was not hateful to myself. lt took me years to

believe I was a man. That sounds silly, but it did. Other guys

in school would boast about all the changes happening to

them, They were crazy about becoming men. When they used

to show themselves in the changing rooms, I looked away in

disgust. At least, I told myself it was disgust. Now I know it

was self-loathing. Funny, years on now I thought I had myself

worked out. I thought I was at peace with myself. I was glad

to be a man with other men. I was gay. I went to workshops

and learned to shout it, 'G.A,Y|" Self-acceptance and all that.

When I read about the gay plague, all the self-loathing

returned, Strange, how when one hates oneself, one believes

every untruth they tell,

My brother came to see me. We were never very close.

He sat by my bed, gave me a paper and some grapes. He

was very awkward. When I told him, he did not look at me. He

just got up and walked out. I saw the nursing sister speak to

him. 'Ah, Mr. Smith-about your brother..." He stared at her.

amazed. "My brother? There must be some mistake. I do not

know the man."

And they bound him and led him away and delivered

him

lV I got pneumonia first. I became very ill and hot. I wanted

to get some air. I was wandering around the corridor outside

the flat, not knowing who I was. So they tell me. One of the

neighbours met me. She called the ambulance.

The cover of No 70

(above) dealt with the

thene of symbols and

featured some obvious

ones, such as the cross,

but some more esoteric

ones, such as the clown

holding the brolly.

(Inc'idental ly, clowns

wou'ld appear again on

the cover a few issues

later). The artwork and

the pastel -bIue

background makes it the

one cover which shows

its roots 'in the late

1980s more than any

other.

The cover for No. 79

(below) is a typical one

for the early '90s but

the photograph of

students at a denp is

particu] arly stri king.

l,le also th'ink the slogan

"Protest and Revise"

sums up the ethos of

this period perfectly.

MOVEMENT

Protesl and ltevise

movement 100 17


l

None of this is part of my world. Not the bed, nor ihe

room, nor the ambulance. They carried me from my flat like I

was dead. I looked about me and saw the house from that

strange angle and suddenly became so afraid, Everything is

slipping away and I am falling into a great void. I have no

control, I lie on a bed and am carried through my life and I

watch it seep away. Everything familiar is falling away, I do

not set the clock. I do not dial the phone or open doors, I

do not cook my food. I do not clean myself. Other people do

everything for me. I just lie here day after day, becoming less

and less.

"Are you the King of the lews?tt lesus said. "You

have said so.tt

V I remember all those days of tests. One test after

another. Shoving and pushing and jabbing and extracting.

And all the questions. The morning after I had been brought

in, a doctor came to see me. I felt rather sorry for her,

though really I should have been feeling sorry for mysell

Before she spoke. she read the charts at the bottom of my

bed. She asked me straight out: 'Are you a homosexual?"

Strange. lt felt as though my life hung on my answer to

that question. I wasn't sure how to make a reply, I was lying

on the bed flat out, helpless, She only wanted me to say yes

I hate the people who come to nurse me. I hate them

because they can do for me what I would do for myself. I

hate myself because of the way I am. Somebody else should

be lying here, noi me.

"Vtlhy, what evil has he done?tt

Vll. Yesterday. I sat in the chair by my window. I do not look

out much. The curtains are drawn and it is light. Then it is

dark and the curtains are drawn again. This happens every

day, Every day the same, with a little bit more struggle.

I sat in the chair and looked at the floor. I looked at a

tile for a long time. lt is a pale blue and there is a dark blue

blot running across it, like marble. I followed the line of the

blot for a long while. lt is the line of a beach I was once on

in Greece. lt is the line of the blue sea lapping at the shore.

I run to the line in my mind and feel the warmih ol the sea

creep up my legs and round my waist and I remember that

once I was happy and free. I believed that everything was

working for me. lf there is a God like ihey say there is, then

God must have made that blue line in Greece. He must have

put me here to watch it now. Here in this room. He must

hate me. My father hated me, when he realised who I am

God hates me too for that perhaps. But what did I ever do

for them to hate me, except to be myself?

Everything is

slipping away and

I am falling into a

great void. I have

no control. I lie

on a bed and am

carried through

my life and I

watch it seep

away.

or no. But I had no power over that word 'homosexual.' I

have no power to deline myself. I am all the names that

people pin on me: Queer. Bender. Bandit. Bummer, Child

molester. Poof. Fag. Nancy. Pervert. Deviant, Sick. Abnormal.

Homosexual. "lf that's how you'd like to think of me." I said.

She put the charts back and walked away.

ln the paper I read a couple of reports on 'homosexuals.'One

said ihat we should be locked away. We are a

danger to civilised society, The other was from a churchman

He said that I deserve to die because of who I am.

"Whom do you want me to release lor you?tt

Vl. When I was waiiing for the results of the tests, it never

seriously occurred to me that they might be positive. lt had

never occurred that one day it might be ME. Nobody

imagines ihat they will die. Not really. Not young people. Not

someone like me. I sat on the bed imagining what they might

be doing, putting little bits of me in tubes and shaking them

up, smearing them about.

No way could it be me. Somebody else perhaps.

Somebody sordid and stupid, but not me. I had always been

so clean and fit and well. ln the gym. I would pump the

machines like the other. So

strongl At the pool, racing

up and down the water,

pushing my way through the

water. Forcing it away from

my face, surging toward the

wall, heaving a turn. Then

on, on as if there was no

end to my power.

Sometimes I am so tired

I can barely reach for my

cup. li spills all over me, I

find it hard to grip now. Hard

to direct my limbs where I

want them to be. Sometimes

my body does not obey me.

Nothing happens like it used

to. Nothing works like it

should. Except fear. Fear

comes just the same,

When I think of how it

used to be, I feel very angry.

(( f memory serves me right, I

intentionally added the label

"the student Christian

magazine" beneath the name on

the title-page-l also added the

"fist" logo and then promptly wrote

a discussion paper in favour of

replacing it with a new logo. The

label has since remained, albeit in

altered forms, whereas the fist has

given way to the [current'dancing

woman'logol. My line of argument

was that, being part of the SCM,

the magazine's primary readershiP

should be students who were

actually or could potentially be

involved in the local member

groups. Anyone else interested in

reading the magazine was a

He took water and washed his hands before the

crowd

Vlll. They took what they needed and found out what they

wanted to know. They knew well before they told me

anything, They left me to lie in ignorance. When I asked the

nurses, ihey glibly said that everything would be alright and

that I should rest, Eventually a doctor came and told me that

I had pneumonia. He was very young, sincere and full of the

confidence of his science. But he found it hard to look into

my eyes for long.

He took some more blood from my arm, He was very

careful about injecting me. He put on plastic gloves before

he picked up the syringe. He ripped them off very quickly

afterwards and slung them in the bin which the nurse took

away. I watched him scrubbing his hands at the sink, working

so hard to wash someihing away. As if my blood was on his

hands. My blood is living death. Nobody wants to touch my

blood for fear of becoming me - this wasting, shrinking,

mangled stretch of flesh that is me. Some people will not

touch me. Porters refused to move me once, even to touch

my bed. Some nurses will not deal with my room. Some

welcome bonus. lf the intention

had been to set out to reach other

readers--either non-Christians

and/or non-students--'then this

should have been a separate

project under a different banner.

To my understanding, the basic

purpose of SCM in the 1980s was

to provide students with a unique

space in which they could explore

issues of laith in relation to church

and society. The concept of

"questioning faith" was a crucial

one--embracing the possibility to

hold strong convictions as well as

express doubts and pose questions.

-Andreas Havinga (nee Miiller)

editor, 1988-1990

t+ II-

=' J

A

-

=' J

ctrt

E

C?

I

/\

fnovemgnt 100 18


doctors wear masks. Being near me is dangerous.

There is no one near me. No one to touch and be gentle

with. No one to kiss. I am slowly ceasing to be human. I am

alone, rotting on the edge of the world.

He had lews flogged, and handed him over to be

crucified!

lX. They have not told me I am going to die, but I know that

I will. Quite soon. They treat each new illness as best they

can, but I am dying, There is no cure and therefore no hope.

I know I am dying.

I struggle every day to do what I can, but they do most

of it for me now. My body has unlearned every process that

was taught it, I wake up in the siench of my own waste, like a

baby. Sometimes I cry and cry, because I am so frustrated

and ashamed. There is nothing heroic or holy about it.

I am helpless. I am alone. I smell. I ache, I can do

nothing. This is what dying is,

Before, when I was on a ward, men used to die. We were

not allowed to see them dead. Nothing was said about them

dying. lt was as though they had never been there.

There was always the same procedure. The men came

from the morgue. They drew the curtains round all of us and

put screens across the aisle of the ward. I heard them wheel

the trolley in and heave the one two three body to its top.

They brought him down with a thud, sighed and then wheeled

him away. They pulled the curtains back and the sick in the

beds looked across at each other, Then they carried on

reading their papets.

I have listened to that thud time and tlme again in my

mind. I know that when I make that thud, I shall be dead.

Then this will be over,

And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon

him

X. They moved me to a special ward. When I got there, I

knew ihat there was no future, I watched a man come

through the door. He was a tall man in a dressing gown and

slippers. He wheeled a drip beside him as he shuffled along.

Sometimes he would lean on the stand and catch his breath. I

imagined him as he had been-taut and full of vitality. I could

see this man as he had been in the pubs. I saw him through

imagined crowds, singularly sexual. Such vigour seemed like a

mockery of him now, as he struggled to his bed. His muscles

had waned. Skin sagged on his face. At his bedside, he took

off his robe. All across his body were patches of scarletpurple

skin.

this man they compelled to carry his cross

Xl. l'm not sure how Simon heard that I was ill, He came to

see me. He brought me some flowers. When he came inio my

room, he kissed me. He

came over to the bed and

pulled me up from the

sheet and put his arm

around my shoulder and

kissed my head. I felt like

me again. He did not stay

very long. When he was

gone. I knew I was me

and that there was some

good in me. Though my

body has gone bad, I am

good,

Sometimes I lie here

and I wish I could get up

and begin again. I wish I

could get out where

Simon is and live again. lf

I could have all my

chances once again, it

would be different. There

would be no hurt or lies

or pain this time. No

dishonesty, no abuse.

When I think like that I feel

such pain inside, lt drives

out tears that sting, There is nothing I can do now. There are

no means of amends.

Simon brought me daffodils, I watched them for hours

and hours, until their yellow heads turned brown and dry. As

a child, I would pick daffodils out in the garden for my mother.

When I gave them to her she would smile. She would put them

in a vase and admire them. I was happy then, to have made

her smile with my daffodils. lf only I could pick her daffodils

again. That would ease the years of silence and of crying.

"lrly God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?tt

Xll. When they give me the injections, I look into their eyes

to see if it is something different. Something that will bring on

the end. I used to want that, when I realised that the end was

going to come. I didn't know what it would be like. I didn't

realise it would be this dribbling away, this half-life, this

grinding down,

What I cannot bear is my mind raking over the rubbish of

my life, hauling up scraps from the past, releasing the stench

of deep buried sores. Then the anguish of being alone is the

worst pain. Sorting the unspeakable debris alone.

They do everything for me, but they do not clear this

refuse from my head. No space to cherish what has been

beautiful and fun,

There are red painted lines along my body. From the

roots of my hair to my toes. From one hand to the other. A

great red cross that is in me. All over me, lf there is a God,

then he must be like my father. like the headmaster, like the

politician, the churchman. God must be like them to let me lie

in such squalor alone. To let me stumble through ihe

unresolved like this. To let the bad get better of the good. lf

God is there, he sees the worsi, like they did. He doesn't

accept any part of me. Basically, God just isn't on my side. E

GREAT

m0ments

Beyond Christian

0f all the people interviewed

in Movqent over

the years, none has

evoked the response that

Post-Chri stian Fem'i ni st

Theolog'ian Daphne

Hampson did. Hampson was

interviewed by Penny

Dapp and Ian Harvey-

Pittaway 'in issue 79

(1991), entitled "Beyond

Christian Feminism".

Hampson explained why

she felt Christianity

was no longer vjable,

saying: "I don't think

humanity is going to

nove on religious'ly

until we leave

Christianity behind us."

She also said of

Christ'ian feminists:'I

don't really know why

one should, 'if one is a

feminist, want to go on

trying to reconcile

one's feminism lJith th'is

rel ig'ion. "

The resulting hue and

cry-$rhich featured in

the letters pages and

one published

response-seercd to come

from al'l sides:

Christians, theologues

and feninists. Even

Hampson apparently fe'lt

the intervien m'isrepresented

her views.

All this said, her many

subsequent books,

horever, have been

reviewed tn lbvgBnt

without incident.

movement 100 19


p

l- tb

lrl

ct)

-{

-O

Martin Davies gives a personalmemoir of Movenent during the 1990s

Not so much a

magazt ne

pi quant

o

asa

and

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movsmont t00 20

ecl ect'i c

T

h. first time I saw Movement was in the late 80's at

a Hunger Lunch in the semi-detached house that

I

served as an Anglican chaplaincy on Salmon Grove,

I Hull. lssue 68 was passed to me as I guiltily sipped

my iomato soup. The magazine had a rootless, artistic feel

to it, I was intrigued by its writers, by its exotic sounding

editor (Mr E Andreas Miiller) and by its editorial address.

Where was this publishing citadel in which young people got

paid to churn out alternative theology? And more to the

point, why was I wasting time writing poorly-structured

essays about Beowulf when I could be there instead?

A personal quest had begun and to cut a boring{oanyone-but-me

story short I became co-editor ol Movement

with Caroline Bailey in 1994. Michael Feakes, from whom we

took over, had polished Movenentinlo a modern, professional

publication "not so much a magazine as a piquant

and eclectic blend of radical current affairs comment and

postmodern chic, a journalistic bridge between Rolling Stone

hip and Economrsl savoir-faire," as I'm sure Michael would

have unpretentiously put it.

By the time myself and Caroline Bailey took over in

1993, Movenenfhad been contracted out and we were

working as freelancers in the downstairs toilet of a church in

Manchester. We called the office Hitler's Bunker and, aside

from one or two intrepid visitors, it was just us and ihe U-

bend. There were bars on the windows and a family of rats

lived in the bushes outside (they occasionally helped with

proof-reading). There was no heating and we had eight

electrical devices running off one plug extension board. We

tapped away on our keyboards, argued cattily and regularly

bunked off for "essential editorial meetings" in cafes and

bars around town. When the building surveyors came to

inspect the building in 1996, they declared our office 'unfit for

business'. "l've spent three years here", I told them proudly.

Our vision for the magazine was, at first, unclear. We

needed help and gathered together a small group of

students and 'critical friends'to form a think{ank cum

editorial board, The flip-chart buzz-words at our first

meeting were 'popular culture', 'confessional stories', 'interviews

with unusual subjects', 'regular columnists', 'distinctive

house-design' and'humour'.

The resulting product was thinner (24 pages) and

glossier than ever. There was a clear bias towards shorter,

argumentative pieces and features included an internet

column (which was never actually about the internet), three

'staff'columnists, an SCM history page called 'Salad Days',

bl end.

oo

and regular film, music and TV reviews. The anonymous and

scurrilous Serpent column that had been developed during

Feakes'time was maintained and continued to provoke

earnest essay-letters on the waylvardness oJ the modern

movement. Interviewees ranged from the relatively famous

(Richard Coles of the Communardsl) to the definitely

unfamous (Dave Tomlinson?) and our finest(?) editorial hour

came with the Nine 0'Clock Service scandal of 1995.

We had admired the innovation of NOS from afar for

some time so Caroline Bailey came up with the idea of

writing an eye-witness report from one of the famous

Sheffield services. ln issue 90, under the headline "Urban

Ambient", Movementproudly declared NOS to be the

"hippest church in the world" and we reported the remarks

of one high-ranking churchman who enthused that NOS was

the "most important thing happening in the Church of

England today". Three weeks later Chris Brain's systematic

exploitation of NOS members was national headline news

and we and presumably the churchman concerned-were

blushing into our pints/cassock.

ln more general terms, our feeling was that most

students, like us, were excited but confused about the possibilities

for Christianity. We enjoyed asking questions, debating

issues and feeling the vibes but we were less at ease with

the more dogmatically committed tone of earlier issues of

Movement. We subtitled the magazine "Questioning

Christianity" and proceeded to do just that.

ln 1995 Caroline Bailey left and Alison Webster took on

the joint editorship, bringing theological clout, a sharp eye

for a well-worked argument and a well-aimed satirical wit to

proceedings. lt's important to say that the magazine was fun

to work on at this time, I felt the unapologetic concentration

on accessible theology and popular culture made the

magazine more readable than ever and I'm excited to see that

the provocative, postmodern outlook that we aspired to has

continued to flourish and deepen under the current editor.

I still think of Movenent as a fantastically unique and

exciting magazine despite- or maybe because of- its

bumpy history. lt offers a largely uncensored glimpse of the

fast-moving world of student life and continues to invite a

free-spirited and uncompromising response to religion.

It was certainly a swell party while it lasted and my

infatuation wilh Movenent remains as raw as it did a decade

ago over that tomato soup in Hull, @

Martin Davies dited Movementfrom 1995-1997


The Church t,'li I I Eat

Itsel f

J J I

r J here?" the leader asked. "His Spirit is with us," I

felt like responding, wondering if this was all part of

I tn. nip lingo. lt turned out he was just asking after

the saxophone player.

I don't know quite what I expected to find at the "Rave in

the Nave" bui I went with an open mind and a genuine

interest to see for myself what it was all about.

"Think about it," said a member of N,0.S. whom I met on

retreat in a Franciscan house, "Where do people celebrate in

Britain in the

'90's? ln pubs,

at football

matches and in

night clubs. And

if worship

should be a

celebration

then this is our

cultural

weaponry, "

Young people

tend to know

how to enjoy

themselves in

clubs and don't

tend to enjoy

themselves in

church. The

logic is

obvious...

So is rave worship a contextualising of liturgy into the

sub{ext of modern youth culture, meeting people where they

are, or is it another embarrassing attempt to be 'with it'?

A key issue is the use of the body in worship which has

been ignored for so long in the anti-body western tradition. ln

contrast the almost totally dance-centred rave worship

breaks down the body/spirit dualism-praying through the

motion of the body. Having said that, I can't see ihis lorm of

worship ever becoming mainstream-l mean i'ts bad enough

going to your average Anglican church and enduring white

people irying to clap in time, let alone shaking their groovy

thang to the Lordl

As it got underway someone turned to me and said,

"This is called liturgics-it's a cross between liturgy and

aerobics." I must admit, it did remind me of the keep fit

programme in the film The Pope Must Die: "Matthew, Mark,

Luke and John. Work that fat until it's gone," Like most things

relQious, it's easy to mock.

So how did it actually feel to be there? I was somewhat

self-conscious to start with, which took me back to school

discos where we all used to stand around the edge of the

hall until enough people were dancing. After that it felt quite

natural, rather like dancing in a night club, except without the

benefit of narcotics...

By way of introduction the leader said, "The difference

between this and the sort of rave you may be more

familiar with is that thls one won't go all night and this is a

drink and drug free zone, Though we may be getting high

on the Spirit."

To me this seems rather like calling an alcohol-free lager

a real ale.

My main objection is that there was no space for stillness

and reflection, the things I value most in worship. What if you

don't feel like celebrating? Putting it in perspective, it's

another product in the free-market of religion and diversity is

no bad thing. Somehow I can'i see it happening in 20 years,

but I guess that's been said about Christianity from the start.

Peter Babi nqton i n l'4ovement 83 ( 1993 )

Sugar and Spi ce

The Girlv Show is so well known, and so much talked

about in pubs, that I'm not going to review its contents.

I

I I'm assuming that, unlike me, you have a TV and have

actually heard about it, Watching The Girly Showwas my first

experience of TV for almost a year, apart from a six hour

orgy of videotaped Pride and Prejudice at Christmas (the

contrast could hardly be greater). lnsiead, I want to discuss it

from a feminlst perspective and look at the implications of

The Girly Showlor feminism.

The Girly Showis apparently part of a response to the

'new lad' culture

epitomised by

programmes like

Fantasy Football

and magazines like

loaded lt shows

that'ladettes' (a

perfect word for

defining yourself in

relation to men who

are, of course, the

norm...) can behave

badly and enjoy

themseves doing

so. lt is asserted as 'feminism for the nineties' women

having a good time, being loud, brash, rude, talking about

sex and generally acting contrary to traditional notions of

quiet, well-behaved, considerate 'ladies'. Ihe Girly Show

certainly demonstrates all these things. However I do not find

that this provides a viable alternative to future to feminism.

Especially I find it lacks any critical edge, There seems to be

no perception that there is anything wrong with society the

way it is. Everything is either fine or funny. Lacking this critical

edge, I don't see how it can be transformative, and working

to change things integral to my understanding of what

feminism is.

Whilst it is full of images of (fairly traditional) feminity,

The Girly Show does not provide women's space. I was very

struck with the number of men in the audience, and in particular

by ihe dominance of men's voices in the audience

catcalls. The only woman's voice I heard in the audience in

one episode was the quiet, embarrassed voice of a woman

who got to speak only because her bofriend had sent in

photos of himself for the 'reader's husbands' bit.

Whilst the presenters are all women, their role does noi

seem to me to be about women having power and control,

but about perpetuating tired old ideas about what makes an

attractive woman (apart from anything else, they are all so

thin, so young, so skimpily dressed), I was also very strongly

struck by the relentless heterosexuality of it all, despite the

presence of Rachel Williams, who is bisexual, I'm iold that an

episode I didn't see 'addressed' lesbianism by asking women

in the 'toilet talk' section whether they would ever sleep with

another woman. Curiously enough, they all said or screamed

'no'. I wonder how they chose their interviewees? I don't lind

constani references to heterosexual sex an adequate alternative

to the feminist critique of compulsory heterosexuality.

The Girly Show does assert that women can be loud,

rude, noisy and talk about sex without a romantic haze

Gover me

BEAUTIFUT

l.lith its best-ever

masthead 1ogo, fronted

by Lucy Sm'ith's nowubiqu'itous

"dancing

woman" graphic (later

adopted by SCM as the'ir

own logo) , l,lovarcnt

achieved a zen'ith of

hjgh-street quality

slickness. Photos, such

as l,lo. 90' s (above)

taken from the poster of

the film Priest, were

used for dramatic effect

(And while it may not be

'PC" to admit this, lve

think Linus Roache is

the magazine's sexiest

cover subject, barring

I'larty Feldman, of

course! )

As the magaz'ine heads

toward the milleniun,

ilovement is stil'l using

covers to inventively

challenge peoble, as I'lo.

98's t'larholian take on

l{other Teresa {be'low)

demnstrates.

movgment

movement 100 21


ehind the

SCENES

EDITORS OF MOVEMENT

1972-1998

1972

Maggi tlhyte (B'ilbo 1&2)

t972-7975

Viv Broughton (3-21)

w/Richard Zipfel (11-17)

1974-1979

llary Condren (17-38)

w/Tim 0'Neil'l (19-32)

w/Gareth Byrne (35-38)

1980 - 1984

Peter Gee (39-54)

Reinier Holst (41-56)

1984

Neil Hclllwraith (57)

19&4-1987

Anne Surncrs (58.67)

1988-1990

Andreas lliiller (68-75)

1990- 1.992

Ian Harvey Pittarvay (n-A)

1993-1994

Michael Feakes (83-88)

1995- 1997

Martin Davies (89-97)

Caroline Bailey $9-92)

Alison l,lebster $2-961

1998

Graeme Burk (98-100)

movcmcnt 100 22

(unlike Mills and Boon), This seems to me to be something

that is worth saying, but surely it could be said in a less

heterosexist, men-centred way by presenters who are less

traditionally flirtatious and attractive, And at least by presenters

who do not look disbelieving when one of them asserts

that women 'are the way forward', ll The Girly Show epitomises

feminism for the nineties, roll on the next millenium!

Rebecca Jones rn l"lovement 93 (1996)

The Breath of God

( Excerpted )

i /| v roots are in Sikhism. I was born into a deeply

r..rigiorr Sikh family. I was brought up in an area of

lVl

I I Kenya where people of such various backgrounds

as Hinduism, Sikhism, lslam, and people of African traditional

religions lived side by side as brothers and sisters. Members

of my family have such a depth of awareness of God and

such a depth of spirituality that in Kenya our house was

never far away from the temple. lYembers of my family

shared in the leading of worship, my grandfather read in the

temple and so did my mother, as she does to this day. I

spent hours in the temple for worship, worship that is

centred on the word of God, and where the mixture of the

reading of scriptures and the smell of incense combine in

such a way that the very atmosphere is like the breath of

God. ln this Sikh context my own experience of God developed

into a relationship of love and of trust. And all this

without ever having encountered Christ, or the Church,

Nobody is going to tell me, therefore, that outside

Christianity, apart from Christ, there is no experience of God

or a relationship of love and trust with God.

ln 1 964 Kenya became a free and independent country.

We had British passports, so we had to leave. We came to

Britain. My faiher took up employment and established

accommodation for us in Dudley, in the Midlands, and for the

first time in my life I experienced hostility and ridicule simply

because of the colour of my skin, an experience I had not

had in Kenya. I was the only person wearing a turban in the

whole of that town in those days, and it was regularly

knocked off my head.Once boys even tied me up with it.

Within a month or so of my arrival in Dudley I started

attending a midweek Bible class, at Vicar Street Methodist

Church, There was no Sikh Temple nearby. lt was a meeting

attended by other young Sikh boys. The warmth and the

friendship there was truly welcoming and I was glad to be in

a centre of worship again. The knowledge that God was

honoured in this place made me feel at home. The friendship

was welcoming in contrast to the hostility I experienced in

school. I joined members of the Bible class on summer

holidays, on pilgrimage to Scotland, climbing mountains. lt

was like being in Kenya again. I listened to people talking

about Christ in the meetings. I joined in prayers and in the

worship, I became an avid reader of the New Testament, and

became captivated-l can't think of a betier word- by

Christ, who is at the centre of it, and his teaching. I began to

share my reflections about Christ in the Bible class. And all

this as a Sikh. Gradually the relationship with God that was

mine in Kenya as a Sikh was revived by the worship, by the

reading of the New Testament, and by the person and the

teaching of Jesus Christ.

I remember kneeling down one day during a prayer

meeting in Glasgow while we were on holiday and making my

commitment to be a servant of God in the church.

There followed then a time when I was confused and

frightened by all that was happening to me spiritually. Why

was I getting so deeply involved in the church? By this time

I was also attending a Sikh temple in nearby Smethwick.

Should I not now just attend the temple? Why had I made

this personal decision of discipleship to Christ? My own

family became concerned and condemned my developing

commitment to Christ. 'Why have you become a Christian?'

they asked. 'You do not need to be a Christian to know God,

You know thai. 0ur knowledge of God, our relationship to

God is not inferior to that of Christians.' I shared those sentiments.

All this caused me great pain and confusion, Why

then, if I did know God as a Sikh did I have to go and make

my commitment to Christ? This was an experience that

chilled me to the bones. Then one day I happened to be

sitting in the garden, reading the New Testament. I came to

lohn Chapter l 5 and verse 1 6. And the words there give me

strength to this day:'You did not choose me, I chose you',

It is one thing to trust and to love God, lt is quite

another thing to know that God loves you, that God trusts

you, that God calls you, that God chooses you, ihat God is

for you, on your side. I began to see the decision I had

made as actually a response, a response to the choice God

had made to choose me. This is the gospel, is it not? This

is the good news, is it not? lt is in this good news that God

comes to us, chooses us, that my response, and my

strength, and my vision lie. This discovery of the good news

and its challenge to me was chilling. lt made my hair stand

on end. I have often had that experience, whenever I have

been inspired in fact; I have that trembling, chilling experience.

I find it difficult to describe it as a warming experience.

It is as if the breath of God is blowing on you,

My special moment was when I realised that God had

chosen me, even me. The Methodist church gave me a note

to preach, and I conducted worship. And I preached in

churches with my turban as my head covering. ln my development

as a disciple of Christ, far from abandoning my past

or my Sikh culture, I have actually learned to affirm it and to

be proud of it. ln fact, my understanding of Sikhism has

grown as a result of my dlscipleship to Christ and I am a

keen though critical student of Sikh siudies. I have seen a

continuiiy between my upbringing as a Sikh and my Chrisiian

discipleship as important.

Jesus' first disciples followed him as Jews all their lives.

Paul, after his Damascus road experience, did not cease to

be a Hebrew but remained proud of his culture, although he

questioned some parts of it, such as the emphasis on law.

So I try to follow Christ, within the Sikh culture. I have never

described myself as a former Sikh, Culturally, I remain a Sikh,

I am able to attend worship in Sikh temples, for God is there,

and I can share in the communal meals with my family and

others in the Sikh temple, for it is to me the sacrament of

God. And I wear the bracelet, the MRA. For this is a symbol

of God's truth and justice in Sikhism. I wear it as a sign of my

respect for Sikhism, for my family, and to remind me that these

hands must always seek the truth and the justice of God.

I ndej j t Bhogal i rt l'4ovement 95 ( 1997 )

( Excerpled )


lnterviews with Dorothy Day. Rants about Spandau Ballet. Journalism about Billy Graham.

Campaigns against the Archbishop of Canterbury. Prophetic placements of Tony Blair on the cover.

Find out what great moments in Movenent's history didn't make it into this retrospective...

The Cutti ng

Fl oor

t I I illililffi:iT3:i:i;Tffi;:lji;fliil:

ll It songs came rrom, rn srmtar iasnron, you neeo to

U U go to your campus torary an' crg out Ine musrysmelling

back issues and (carefully) leaf through them to really

get a sense ol whal Movenenfwas like in the past.

The task we set out to do-reprint a sampling of

Movenenls output over the past 26 years and tell its history

in greater detail-was never going to be easy. The discussion

volume that Editorial Board members were given to

select articles from (sifted from a judicious, if sanity{axing,

reading of the previous 99 issues) was over 200 pages long.

There were less than 20 pages available in this section.

Right off the mark, space constraints meant that the

retrospective would focus on written reflections and

reportage as opposed to interviews. Which is a shame, as

the list of people Movementhas interviewed over the years

is very impressive, beginning with Catholic Worker movement

founder Dorothy Day and later including feminist theologian

Mary Daly, then-Bishop of Durham David Jenkins, Post-

Christian Feminist Theologian Daphne Hampson, Scottish

Episcopal Bishop and author Richard Holloway, former SDP

leader Shirley Williams and, recently, 0bserver columnist

Kathryn Flett. 0f these, David Jenkins and Mary Daly's interviews

are well worth looking up.

Movementnol only had an impressive list of interviewees,

but in the 1970's it had an enviable list of contributors as well,

including Rosemary Radford Reuther, Kenneth Leech, Daniel

Berrigan and others. Most of these articles were reprints

themselves, but often the appearance in Movenent conslituted

the first British and lrish publication. As our intention

was to republish original material, we chose not to re-publish

any work we knew to be first printed elsewhere. There were

exceptions: Dan Berrigan's piece on StarWarsis one such

example, and had the space limitations not been so great, we

would have included Rosemary Reuther's "ls God A Wife

Beater?", one of the best articles in Movenentin the'70s.

One of the inequities of this edition is that while it made

sense for aestheticand historical reasons to put 1 980-1 987

under one umbrella, it meant that one of the longest

stretches of its history-7 years and 30 issues-would

have to be compressed into 4 pages, During this time

Movenentfeatured more journalism than ever, reporting on

events ranging from Billy Graham's Crusade in 0xford (issue

40) to government cuts io Lothian Housing Estates (issue

48). 0f particular note is lssue 50's review of the South

East region's "Sex and Food" conference which discussed

issues of self-image, anorexia/bulimia and media power well

before the rest of society had heard of eating disorders.

The arts reviews section of that era makes fascinating

reading today too, especially Derek Whyte's eccentric and

scholarly Music Column, which stands out as the 'mustread'

feature of the time. The high-octane writing style, the barbed

I

Room

reviews and the muso ramblings are classic Movement.

Whyte's trawl through the contemporary releases of the time

provide amusing reading now Gary Numan's lirzing

)rnanents album is written off as "last year's stale aromas"

and Whyte is particularly unimpressed with an emerging New

Romantic band called Spandau Ballet: "Futurist mumbojumbo...the

same old brand of bass-heavy bastardised disco

that has been around for years". Likewise, a new band called

The Cure also stir the Whyte spleen: "The sound of chartered

accountanis set to music, the new Grammar school angst...

preientiousness dressed up as earnest insight. l've had

deeper spiritual insights walking the dog", While quite possibly

the best review column Movemenf has ever produced, it's a

column that's far easier to quote than actually excerpt.

It was decided to seleci pieces with a minimal amouni of

context to explain, This wrote off a number of articles from

the 1 980s, which by virtue of being relevant current affairs

pieces then, have now dated considerably. lt also precluded

many articles about SCM itsell as the details would now be

inconsequential (if not incomprehensible) to modern

readers. (Even so, we did make one exception and represented

John Davies' report on "Seeds of Liberation").

More disappointingly, it prevented us from reprinting

some of Viv Broughton's best "Ear To the Ground" columns

where he demanded the resignation of then-Archbishop of

Canterbury Donald Coggan on grounds that border on the Monty

Python-esque: "l had been prepared to give the elderly egocentric

the benefil of the doubt over his early bunglings," wrote an

enraged Broughton, "but I don't see how we can continue to

cover up his embarrassing double life as Primate of England by

day and part{ime publicist for the Danish Film lndustry by night".

After this point, it began to get realy oblique,..

With back issues of editions from the 1990's still available

from SCM Central Office, our selections from that period

have been minimal. This kept a number of pieces from

reemerging, including Michael Feakes' far-sighted analysis of

Labour's struggle to find a religious high ground in the wake

of the disastrous 1 992 General Election (Tony Blai6

described then as "a man who has to come up with a snappy

phrase to encapuslate his philosophy" was featured on the

front coverl). Also missing are examples of the high-quality

columns which have been a feature of the magazine for

almost five years, and controversial pieces such as the recent

scatalogical review of the W series This LIfe.

While none of these pieces were included in this retrospective,

most libraries in universities and theological

colleges will have a (probably somewhat incomplete) set of

Movenentinthe stacks, (Some discriminating chaplaincies

may hold a treasure trove of back numbers too). Leafing

though them can prove to be a great way to procrastinate

researching an essay. Who knows, you may discover from

reading the original material that you dispute our choicesand

move even closer to becoming atrue Movemenf anorak.

fnovefnent

r00

a speci a1

retnospective of the

past 100 issues of

Movenent, the termly

magazine of the Student

Chrsti an Movement

Ed'itor

Graeme Burk

Editorial Assistant

Carrje 0'Grady

Selection Committee

Tim Woodcock

Kate Wi I son

Irfan Merchant

Craig Cool i ng

Stephen Matthews

Graeme Bunk

Special Thanks To:

fhe "Movement Anorak

Reference Group":

l"la rti n Dav i es

and l"1i chael Feakes

for all thein insight,

advice and hard work.

and all the formen

editors who grac.iously

gave of their time to

be interviewed:

Viv Broughton, Mary

Condren, Richard

Zipfel, Peter Gee

and Andreas Havinga

(and our apologies to

the edi tors we were

unable to get jn touch

with due to time

constrai nts )

SCM

l^Jesthill College

Sel ly Oak

Birmingham 829 6lL

tel: 0121 471. 2404

fax: 0121 4I4 I25I

SCI'4[dcharis.co.uk

http : //www. chari s . co. uk

/SCl"l

01998 Student Christian

l'4ovement

movemont 100 23


il

FEAR, EMffiNESS, DESPAIR: AtilEEK

Wftl llM, llM stands for lesus ln Me.

Tines and is unwell. Take him to cat

vomitorium. Long queue of cats with

Kent County H, the governing body of

all Kent football (don't laugh). The

It's not that I don't think our nation is

morally unwell, it's just that I've got no

SID stands for Sin ls Death. Any cryptic

bits of magazines between teeth, Sleep

league chairman, Richard Hayton said,

intention of placing a serious illness in

signs saying'- 2 *' mean 'Minus to

happily and dream of editing P000ML

"There are several matters of faith over

the hands of quacks. (1997)

Plus'. And P000ML stands for Plss Orf

Tines, (1994)

which we differ but the main one is

Out A My Life. The first three belong to

probably that we disagree with the

OJPIII v 0ASIS Rock music and

JlM, the evangelistic advertising

MELID0VilN 0R TIIAW? How I laughed at

Mormons on who we believe Jesus was."

Christianity are such unhappy bed-

campaign that's sweeping the nation.

the news that the Methodist Church is

This is where the Serpent can help.

fellows. Noel Gallaghel the cocky, song-

The last one is my own. Not very good,

facing 'meltdown'.

I am happy io inform Mr Hayton that

writing bit of 0asis and not a theologian

but accurate and comforting. A quick

Meltdown implies overheating, a

Jesus was a creative left winger with

of note, amply proves my point. He was

diary:

Monday. Gambolling downstairs for my

surfeit of feverish activity But there's

not been much that's hot about

superb vision and an ability to please

the crowds. After beginning his career

asked recently if he was religious at all:

"l don't wear a crucifix for nothing you

breakfast Pop-Tarts, what should come

hurtling through my lefter box but a

Methodism since the turn of the

century-the eighteenth century-

with lowly Galilee Wanderers, he went on

to form his own team-the legendary

know..l don't know what it symbolises,

but I believe in a higher power I don't

copy of The llM l/mes Once past the

when the people in Scunthorpe and

lerusalem Left Footers-who enjoyed

believe that on a Monday morning some

dental ad on the front cove[ I discover

Skegness used to fall down in ecstasy at

three years of enormous success

white-bearded geezer with fucking

an article headed Gay Signer Changes

meetings, frothing at the mouth. I don't

before their inspirational player-

nothing to do created the planets.

His Tune aboul Simon foster; a gay pop

hear much ecstasy at my local church,

manager died strugging to get his head

Bollocls to that."

singer who has discovered God (yawn).

unless you count the faint smiles that

on to the end of a nasty cross, (1 995)

You will have spotted by now that

The article finishes thus: And now 9

flicker across the faces of the faithful at

deari young, expressive Noel is telling us

years later, a committed Christian and

the sight of Jammy Dodgers rather than

HERRING, RED During the media

that he is no literalist when it comes to

training for the ministry, Simon has a

Rich Tea biscuits at the post-service

ballyhoo surrounding the 0rdination of

Genesis. lt's easy to mock isn't it? But I

beautiful girlfriend and they hope to

coffee. And did you hear the er(cuses as

Women debate, much mention was

suspect some theologians would do well

marry soon'. Dash off to the vomitorium

to why young people don't go to church

made by the anti-ordination lobby of the

to take a leaf out of Noel's slim dictio-

cheered only by the unintentionally

anymore? Get this. lt's because of

potential blows to Anglican/ Catholic

nary, I mean, when Don Cupitt says:

homoerotic subtitle: 'Jim really worked

divorce. Yes. lt seems that so many

ecumenical dialogue were a'yes'vote to

"0utsidelessly there is only the solar

for Simon'.

young people have to pay weekend

result. Well, now we have a 'yes'. I know

flux of creation and the destrudion, the

Tuesday: Ganbolling downstairs, blah,

visits to the parent that they don't live

you will all join me in hoping that these

outpouring seff-renewing stream of

blah, blah.,. a copy of Rheinhard

with, that theyjust can't get to church. I

two great churches continue apace with

dancing and scattering energies+ead-

Bonnke's pamphlet From Minus to Plus

suspect there are plenty more basic

their passionate, high-profi le,

as-signs" doesn't he really mean to say:

hits the doormat...Read the first page,

things that make Methodist churches

pioneering, seltsacrificial and all-

"Life's fuckin' smart innit?"

renew my subscription at the vomitorium

unattractive: entrance halls decorated

consuming ecumenical activity. lt would

Likewise--pu'll pardon me

and proceed with lining of cat's tray.

like hospitals; Sunday School rooms with

be such a shame if this Synod decision

ramming my point home-when Liam

Wednesday:Cal brings in JIM Timesl

dreary pictures of Jesus knocking on

were to in any way slow down the trail-

Gallagher sings 'l\nd after all, pu're my

lined his tray with. This is one discerning

the door holding a Victorian gasJamp,

blazing process which we know was so

Wonderwall" l, for one, am pleased he is

puss. Read article called 'Stars for JIM'

or Boys Brigade shields that make you

close to resolution. ( I 993)

not singing 'At this particular point in

about born-again sportsmen: Bernhard

feel you've unwittingly enrolled into a

time, pu are promoting beneficial

Langer (putting Christ first), Kriss

public school; insipid tea and coffee

ARE MBOONS PRIMAIES? lf we are to

responses in my central nervous system".

Akabusi (running in chcles for Christ),

served in berylware, and endless

have a fat, balding man called George

lf it comes down to a choice

Cyrille Regis (know Christ, no goals)

sandwiches with potted meat in them;

running our nation's spiritual affairs,

between theology and rock music

and, stunningly, Ad Vatanen (on the

but worst of all, those noticeboards

why can't it be Boy George?

(unlikely, I admit) then I'd take rock

Christian rally circuit), Q,reue at the

outside, with posters printed on neon

I'm getting weary of George the

music and verbose, little Noel. Cos, after

vomitorium.

paper carrying unfunny slogans that

Balder's fortnightly proclamations of

all, life rssmart innit? (1995)

Thursday:BusIo work is held up in

scream, 'We live in a time-warp'. (1996)

'Moral Panic'. His latest'panic-bite'

traffic and man starts to read out bits

concerns the possibil'rty of Prince

ER, TllANlG May I say a wholly insin-

from the Bible and preaches a little

lfs ONLY A GAME lnternecine disputes

Charles re-marrying-which is hardly

cere thank you to the rather angry

sermon about he used to get frustrated

don't come any more sad and futile than

going to send us spiralling into a value-

reader from Cumbria who sent me an

by traffic but doesn't now that he's a

the current furore raging in the Medway

less dystopia. I think he sees it as a

unpleasant letter recentty pointing out,

Christian. He invites us fellow travellers

lnter-Church football League. The

marketing tool. lf he can get the nation

in the most hostile way imaginable, that

to a JIM service at a local mad-house

Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day

feeling 'morally unwell'then he is in a

SERPENT is an anagram of REPENTS. I

church. Man at front of bus loses his

Saints (Mormons to ignorami) in

good position from which to proscribe

would simply like to point out that it is

rag and tells the guy to 'P000Ml- good

Gillingham has been banned from

Christian'rty as the 'moral remedy'. The

also an anagram of TSEPENR, a

and fast. Argument begins, fther

playing in the local church league, The

problem is, as marking tactics go, it's

Russian word meaning'Please don't

passengers distindty uncomfortable.

Mormon eleven are justifiably furious at

Ratneresque, The more he attempts to

write to me anymore'. (1995)

Friday:Spend morning thinking of new

this rank display of religious intolerance

induce moral panic, the more he proves

acronyms for.llM. Cat has ealen llM

and have lodged an appeal with the

that the only botty leaking is his own.

THE SERPENT

movefnent 100 24


ln lndia, the Dalits are, according to a World Council of Churches report, "the poorest of the

poori the most exploited'. Alwyn Jones discusses the oppression-and violence-suffered bV

these people, and the solidaritv work being done with them.

Untouchable

Solidarity

LONDON TO MADRAS

WffiHtii,*i,,'*,:':*"

crowd of people, silently watching. Not

hostile, not friendly, just so many

watching eyes. Walking through the

narrow gap in the crowd was an eerie

experience. Behind them were the

rickshaw drivers and the hotel touts.

Beyond them were three unforgettable

weeks in South lndia.

From Madras we travelled to

Bangalore, to drink hot. sweet coffee

with staff members of the lndian

Student Christian Movement. lndian

SCM kindly gave us their jeep for a day

to visit a local art ashram. There, we

met Catholic artist Jyoti Sahi, whose

work blends Christian ideas with

traditional lndian images. Jyoti Sahi's

work is controversial in a postmissionary

church where "Christian"

often equals "Western". While

celebrating lndian culture in his art,

Jyoti Sahi also challenges it. He often

puts women at the centre, in a culture

where they are often marginalized.

After a rest in the cool climate of

Kodai hill station, we arrived in the city

of Madurai to visit Tamilnadu

Theological Seminary. There. we met

students training to work in the Church

of South lndia, into which the

Protestant churches of South lndia

united fifty years ago. We also visited a

Dalit Resource Centre. to learn about

lndia's Dalit movement.

Who are the Dalits? ln the words of

the World Council of Churches, "the

Dalits are the poorest of the poor, the

most exploited...we must express our

solidarity with them and extend our

support in their struggle." What is the

meaning of the word Dalit? The root

word "dal," comes from Sanskrit,

meaning broken, torn asunder or

trampled. ln Hebrew the root word is

also "dal" meaning low, weak, poor.

Why Dalit? Because the millions of

people on the margins of lndia's caste

system, called by others "untouchable,"

"pariah" or "outcast" have given

themselves a name to reflect their

identity as an oppressed people.

Being born into a Dalit family puts

people on the margins of lndian society.

Touching a Dalit is seen as a polluting

act. They are expected to conform to

movement s

cultural expectations of inferiority. They

suffer poverty, discrimination, debt

bondage and the loss of their land. Dalit

women are doubly downtrodden. As

women and Dalits, they are seen as the

possessions of men, facing exploitation

and discrimination.

When Dalits protest, they face

violence. ln the village of Laxmanpur Bath

in Bihar state, local Dalits, hungry and

desperately poor, tried to harvest a piece

of disputed land. On the night of Monday,

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1 December 1997, more than 2OO armed

upper-caste men surrounded the village.

Some Dalit men nearby fled, believing

that the gunmen would not attack their

sleeping families. They were wrong.

During the next two and a half hours. the

gunmen killed 61 people, including 26

women and 19 children under the age of

10.

The Dalits have responded to this

situation by forming a united

movement, bringing together Sikh,

Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and

secular Dalits to work for their liberation.

This movement has called for

Westerners to show solidarity by

putting pressure on the lndian authorities

to protect the human rights of

Dalits. ln response, Khalsa Human

Rights, an interfaith group working for

human rights in lndia, is running a Dalit

Solidarity Campaign.

MADRAS TO LONDON

showed how his status as a Dalit and a

Bishop has caused controversy within

the church. Visiting one parish, he

found the words "Paraiyar Bishop Go

Home" daubed on the church wall. Our

word "pariah"' comes from this word

"Paraiyar" that non-Dalits use to

information. Henry's Dalit Liberation

Education Trust works with Dalits,

especially young people and women, for

the three Rs of Dalit liberation

education: self-realisation, self-reliance

and self-respect. The Trust are

establishing a residential centre, the

ishop Azariah, the Bishop of

Madras, and Henry Thiagaraj, of

the Dalit Liberation Education

Trust of lndia arrived at London

Heathrow Airport at 12.40 pm, UK

Time. They had just spent an intense

week with a United Nations working

group in Geneva, speaking of the plight

of lndia's Dalits. They spoke with

authority on Dalits as they are Dalits

themselves.

They had come to London to meet

with the new Dalit Network, an initiative

of David Haslam of the Churches

Commission on Racial Justice. The Dalit

Network brings together religious groups,

human rights organisations, development

agencies and concerned individuals to

listen to Dalits and to co-ordinate action

to show solidarity with them.

Bishop Azariah spoke from his own

experience as a "Paraiyar Bishop." He

describe Dalits in this part of South

lndia. Bishop Azariah talked of the

impact of caste ideology on the selfrespect

of Dalits.

Henry Thiagaraj said that "Every

hour two Dalits are assaulted, every day

MORE THAN 2OO ARMED UPPER.

CASTE TvIEN SURROUNDED THE

VILLAGE. SOME DALIT I'IEN

HEARBY FLED, BELIEVIHG THAT

THE GUH]'|EH YVOUTD NOT

ATTACK THEIR SLEEPIHG FAIVITLIES.

THEY WERE YVROHG. DURIHG THE

NEXT TIYO AHD A HALF HOURS,

THE GUN]'|EH KILLED 6l PEOPLE'

IHCLUDIHG 26 VVO]'|EN AND l9

CHILDREN UHDER THE AGE OF I O.

three Dalit women are raped, two Dalits

are murdered, two Dalit houses are

burned, in lndia." These figures are

based on official lndian Government

movcmgnt 10

Delta Project, for the liberation and

ecological awareness of Dalits.

Learning from the Dalit experience, we

could consider our own culture. Who are

people in our society reluctant to touch?

Do women have true equality here? And

what kinds of people are left on the

margins by our religious institutions?

The new Dalit Network in the UK

will meet visiting Dalits and show

solidarity with them. You are warmly

invited to participate in these meetings.

Such solidarity is needed. ln the words

of Bishop Azariah. "The experience of

the Dalits is rejection." fit

Alwyn Jones works for Khalsa Human

Rights in Leicester.

. lf you would like to book a Dalit

Solidarity workshop for your local

group contact Alwyn Joneq Khalsa

Human Rightc 9 Holy Bones, leiqester

LEI 4lJ, UK, teUfax 0116 262 4264

KhalsaHR@dial. pipex.com.

o For information about th6 Dalit

Network, contact the Rev. David

Haslam, Convenor, Dalit Network, c/o

Churches Commission for Racial

Justice, Councit of Ghurches for Britain

and lreland, 35 Lower Marsh,

Waterloo, london SEl 7RL.


Millennium Dreams

(No Knitting; Please)

hen I was in my teens I

would sit in church each

Sunday behind an elderly

lady in the congregation

who would knit throughout every

service. Maybe she stopped for the

prayers; I can't recall. However, unlike

pandrop sooking, knitting is not a

universally accepted way in which to

alleviate the tedium of dull and lengthy

sermons in the Kirk, and the lady in

question frequently felt called upon to

explain (with alacrity) that her labours

were driven by spiritual purpose and

charitable intent: "l'm knitting vests for

the black babies," she would confide to

vocal and visual enquirers alike.

Even at that relatively tender age I was

conscious that 'knitting vests for black

babies' was almost as ideologically

unfashionable as the sartorial garments

she produced. Never having been to

Africa, the vests' disclosed destination, I

These experiences surfaced in my

mind in May while I was on a bus travelling

to Birmingham. The leaders of the

world's most powerful governments were

holding a summit meeting there and like

the many thousands of others who made

a pilgrimage to Birmingham that day, I

was there to protest about the gross

economic disparities between the rich and

the poor of our planet and, in particular.

to add my voice to the calls for the

cancellation of so-called 'third world

debt'. This was Jubilee 2000, the

campaign to mark the millennium by

breaking the chains of international debt

which enslave so many of the world's

people.

lT'S HARD TO GET AWAY FROl'l

THE FACT THAT IH OUR CULTURE

MAHY OF OUR COHVEHTIOHAL

NOTTONS OF sCHARITY' ARE

CLOSELY BOUHD-UP }YITH

ARCHAIC IgTH CEHTURY NOTIONS

OF DUTY AHD PFIILANTHROPY

WHICH NOW SEEM NOT OHLY

TAINTED, BUT IHDEUBLY

SCARRED BY THE HANGOVER OF

A VIOLENT COLOI{IAL HISTORY.

could relieve my own boredom by

imagining a vast continent peopled by

countless children who roamed the veldt

in their dolly-sized vests of eccentric stripg

made from oddments of scratchy wool. ln

Guides we were encouraged to knit to an

only very slightly different pattern in order

to produce 'square' blankets for the Red

Cross. I loathed knitting and was as

certain as I am now that there were

alternative ways in which to demonstrate

my concern for the needy.

&

eilidh ruhiteford

thinkpiece

On the long drive south I had a

chance to reflect on my motives for

being there. At times I can feel torn

between my apparent helplessness in

the face of global economic forces and

a sneaking suspicion that I'm salving

my own conscience as much as the

greater ills of humanity. lmaginary

knitting needles are prodding me into

action. l've been trying to pinpoint the

difference between the Jubilee 2OOO

campaign and the colonially inspired

gestures of earlier generations.

Regardless of the trenchant and very

welcome political analysis of the Jubilee

2000 organisers, I suspect that in

practice the 'black baby' mentality is

only changing slowly. I'm not sure it

matters too much if quite a few folk

arrived in Birmingham to 'help' the poor.

There's a lot of work to be done in

educating us all about the many complex

issues surrounding debt, development

and international aid and its an ongoing

process. And I sense too that most of us

have as much to learn about the spirituality

of giving as about the politics of

debt. Besides which, actions speak

louder than words. lt need hardly be said

that the most incisive political critique is

pretty worthless if it is devoid of any

concrete efforts to realise change.

It's hard to get away from the fact

that in our culture many of our conventional

notions of 'charity' are closely

bound-up with archaic 19th century

notions of duty and philanthropy which

now seem not only tainted, but indelibly

scarred by the hangover of a violent

colonial history. Some might argue that

our 'giving' alleviates our 'guilt' about

our undeserved affluence; maybe it

reminds us that really we're 'good'

people prepared to make a non-compulsory

donation of time or money to a

good cause as we vainly attempt to

squeeze fleshy hips through the eye of

a needle.

But this is too simple. I think we do

ourselves a disservice if we try to carry

the full weight of . cultural histories we

did not choose. Guilt tend to get out of

hand in church environs as it is. We may

not choose the backgrounds into which

we are born, but we do have some say in

how we respond to our situation. Surely

it's better to focus on what we can do

rather than on a past we cannot alter.

ln fact, I don't think that 'charity'

necessarily stems solely from selfcentred

motives; such a conclusion

(which is not so uncommon) depends

on a very limited notion of 'self' which

defines human beings in unconvincingly

individualistic terms. What if we

abandon this Cartesian 'l'? What if,

instead, we define our selfhood and

that of other humans in a relational way

that emphasises our interdependence

rather than our separateness? One

movsment 11


'it

consequence could be that we would

begin to depart from the destructive

concept of 'otherness' demanded by

our dualistic ways of thinking and begin

to recognise our 'selves' in our

neighbours. Having established such a

connection we can begin to understand

that we too own the 'debts' of the poor

and that we also are imprisoned by

them. We can begin to acknowledge

the 'third world' right in our midst.

But leaving the sermon aside, what

of the day itself? lt was certainly one of

the most lively (and good natured)

demos l've ever been on. My part of

the Glaswegian contingent had

departed from the city chambers on the

stroke of midnight the previous evening

and had travelled through the night to

arrive on the outskirts of Birmingham

well and truly pumpkined early on

Saturday morning. We were treated to

breakfast at a local church hall before

making our way to the city centre

where we spent a pleasant morning

playing frisbee, eating ice-cream and

sleeping in the sun (l'm sure the

Revolution only needs a decent Spin

Doctor...) As the day wore on, the

hoards started to arrive and it soon

became evident that far more people

had converged on the G8 summit than

anyone had dared to predict.

We were a very mixed bunch. An

on-the-spot 'walks of life' survey

revealed everything from birkenstocks to

green wellies. That in itself was a

measure of the mood. However, the

brigade who arrived from SCIAF

(Scottish Catholic lnternational Aid

Fund) deserve special mention. Clearly

on a warm-up mission in preparation for

France '98 they appeared resplendent in

tartan jimmy-bunnets and kilts. They

were the ones making a disproportionate

amount of noise as the

diplomatic limos rolled past. (And if you

want to celebrate the millennium in

style next Hogmanay...) There was a

pensioner who wielded a canisterfuelled

fog-horn with aplomb who

definitely won my prize for best 'crazy

young thing'. A nameless new editor of

Movement standing next to me was

heard'to say, "l wish she was my gran!"

Who knows what we achieved?

Who knows if anfone was listening?

Clare Short. the Development Secretary

of State made some encouraging noises

which I hope weren't just hot air. Time

will tell. More than that. I hope that the

campaign for Jubilee 2000 is gathering

momentum and is only now beginning

to create justice at home and abroad. I

want to be a part of it-just don't ask

me to knit. @

Eilidh Whiteford is chair of the WSCF

European Regional Committee

The Call Away

From Everyday Life

|

've already had my holiday this year.

lt was spent on the shores of the

I Aegean Sea not far from the Turkish

tourist resort of Marmaris, in a little

fishing town. The holiday company had

assured us that we would be in a quiet

spot away from the bustle of busy

bartering in the bigger towns, so when

we were transferred from our large bus

to a minibus "because the big bus can't

get over the mountain pass" we were

happy campers. Here we were, "away

from it all" for a week, over the

mountains, in our little town nestled on

pI

t

ruth horvev

soundings in

spirituolitg

the sea shore, surrounded by swathes

of cliffs. The ideal place for gentle

strolls along the promenade, a spot of

snorkelling, some light swimming, a

mud bath, long meals and even longer

sleeps.

On the first evening we met Veli, our

waiter for the week. Not particularly

loquacious, we took a while to discover

that he was here on a summer

placement from college in lstanbul

where he was studying "tourism" and

"hotel management". He was. however,

also learning English and German

(essential in his line of business) so

despite his initial hesitancy was glad of

the chance to chat.

It wasn't until the second morning

of our holiday that we realised we were

being rudely awakened from our sundrenched

slumbers by the siren call to

prayer from the local mosque hidden

amongst the flipper and snorkel shops

in the middle of the town. Gradually it

dawned on us that no, this wasn't a

purpose-built tourist slumber valley. but

a living, kicking, every-day Muslim

Turkish town where people are called to

worship 5 times a day and the clock

does not stop ticking when the

foreigners arrive. The disembodied voice

could be heard all over the town-yet it

was only from the sea, or from a

vantage point high up above the town

that the mosque could actually be seen.

The loudspeaker is the Muslim equivalent

of our quieter but no less

prominent church spires, gently and

clearly reminding all who pass that

whatever your pass-time, whatever your

motive for being in that place, for

however long you are a visitor or a

lnovgmsnt 12

resident, there will be regular calls to

turn our attention away from the things

of this world to the glory of another

world/kingdom.

According to Veli, the search for

spirituality amongst younger Muslim

Turks has a similar shape to our

Western searches. The regular call to

worship, he said, did not mean much to

him these days. His parents were still

practising Muslims, but he, while a

nominal Muslim was not drawn to the

worship. Perhaps the incantations of the

lmam had as much significance to Veli

as would the array of spires that meets

the eye of a typical Torquay waiter. Yet

he in his faltering English was able to

communicate to us that despite this

distance from traditional religion, he and

his friends are still searching for a

meaningful spirituality which makes

sense to

PERHAPS THE

them in th:it lNcANTATtoNs

:"#:ll-"" oF rHE rr'rAr'r

Back HAD AS MUCH

home, and I SIGHIFICAhICE

settle back TO VELI AS

into mr7 woutD THE

ii::il#?*'ARRAY oF

book about SPIRES THAT

spirituality. We MEETS THE EYE

OF A TORQUAY

WAITER.

have asked

50 people

from around

Britain and lreland to reflect on the

meaning of spirituality in your own life

and work.' The contributions have been

fascinating, revealing a range of experiences

of spirituality which touch on vulnerability,

rejection and pain, the earth,

creation, the cosmos and our connection to

the land, the search for stillness and places

for reflection in our secular muddled world,

the call to work for justicg peace and

reconciliation for all in an age when

individual gratification is so often our

warped call to worship, and much more

Thinking back to my holiday in

Turkey, I am more aware than ever of the

true nature of ecumenical spirituality,

that search for a rooted, grounded,

earthed, integrated spirituality which

reflects the faith, doubts and visions of

"the whole inhabited earth." For my next

volume l'll travel to Turkey on

and interview Veli in German.

expenses

tr

Ruth Harvey is the director of the GGBI

Ecumenical Spirituality Project, with

offices in Milton Keynes and Penrith


Robert Jones reviews Tori Amos' latest, From The Choirgirl Hotel

Lyrical Chaos

TORI AMOS: FROM THE CHOIRGIRL

HOTEL

Produced by Tori Amos

WEA lnternational

Tori

I

Amos is back with a new

collection of songs which are as

commercial as this artist is

likely to get. This is a good

thing. as commercial these days-as in

days past-often means the rehashing

of cliches to target a specific

demographic. From the Chiorgirl Hotel

lives in another galaxy when compared

to this kind of categorisation. Amos

stands on her own, love her or hate her.

Where the dance sensibilities of her

successful album, Professional Widow

are not the dominant sound on this new

disc, Amos has made a progression

toward the full-band sound here, as well

as keeping with the stream of

consciousness style of lyric writing with

which the artist has become known.

Made largely in the UK-Amos and

her new husband now ensconced in

Cornwall- the music is a mix of

American accoustic sound, thanks to

the ever-present Bosendorfer piano, and

the more European electronic experimentation

with vocal effects and tape

loops. lt's not drum and bass but

shares the same kind of energy, if not

the pace, on tracks like " She's Your

Cocaine" and "Raspberry Swirl" which

are songs concerned with rhythm, sonic

variety and. frankly, sex. This is in

contrast to the "pretty", introspective,

tune-oriented direction of her past work.

It is this juxtaposition which makes

the record interesting. Again, the band

play a more important role. Gone is the

"girl at the piano" familiarity of Amos'

sound. More to the forefront are the

more bass heavy backdrops, garnished

with a serrated guitar which suggests

Andy Summers,. This is not to say that

we don't hear some gorgeous piano, but

the voices here are more varied. We get

pedal steel ("Playboy Mommy"), stings

("Jackie's Strength"), and multi-layered

vocals (throughout) which range from

the sweetness on tracks like "Northern

lad" to Shirley Manson-esque growls on

the previously mentioned "She's Your

Cocaine" where Amos barks "cut it

again" to bring the track to a sudden

end. The tunes are still here, we just get

them wrapped in a more colourful package.

The expectation to find meaning in a

Tori Amos song is where the artist

draws clearly demarcated lines. Do her

odd phrases on songs such as Cruel

("lover brother bogenvilla my vine

twists around your need") or Liquid

Diamonds ("this is madness a lilac mess

in your prom dress and you say I guess

l'm an underwater thing") fire your

imagination and give you a sense that

they mean something at some deeper

level? Or do they just annoy you and

make you think your being hoodwinked

into looking for something that was

never there to start with? These two

reactions often occur in varying

degrees during the length of the

disc. This kind of lyrical chaos

may be a symptom of an artist

who has come from the small

town of Newton, North

Carolina in America's bible

belt. Amos is no longer

interested in pinpointing

single truths as she is in

putting words together that

simply sound good and

create images in the mind of

the listener. The voice here is

not a didactic instrument, it is

a musical instrument, not

singing to the brain but to some

other part of us which we know

less about. This can be uncomfortable,

like Andy Warhol's soup tins and

Jackson Pollock's spatters of paint. But

it makes us react, it doesn't allow for

passivity.

Having said all this, the songs do

appeal to the part of us who want a

good story, but the lyrics do not

clearly outline people and events with

the anticipated signposts of traditonal

storytelling. lnstead, it opts to take

the listener by surprise in various

ways. On songs like "Jackie's

Strength" Amos considers the impact

of Kennedy's Camelot and its eventual

fall in a way which takes the form of

childhood memories and the expectations

of childhood, as opposed to the

bludgeon approach of Oliver Stone.

The classic American ideals which the

Bouvier-Kennedy marriage, on the

surface, embodied are coupled with

"mooning" the image of David Cassidy

on the lunchbox of a schoolmate. This

is a kind of Americana with a twist

and demonstrates this sort of

movement 13

I

unexpectedness in it's lyrical

approach.

Another example of this unexpectedness

is on the song "Nothern Lad"

which employs the folk traditions of

the ideal lover who becomes lost and

adds lines like "But I feel that

something is wrong/ But I feel the cake

just isn't done". The unexpected is

used in equal value here. Where does

the baking methphor come from? There

is no greater or lesser value given to

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language

here,

there are just

words put together in such a way so as

to challenge the conventions of what

we expect a methphor to be. This again

may make us uncomfortable, but it

shows the true range of language as it

may appear in modern songwriting.

It is this unexpectedness which has

made Tori Amos such a standout

among often angst-ridden, earnest

songwriters. We don't know what she

is going to do next, and this unexpectedness

strangely becomes its own kind

of expectation. lf Amos can continue to

draw the line between those who "get

her" and those who don't as she has

managed to do here on From the

Choirgirl Hotel, then her work will,

likewise, continue to be vital. El

Robert Jones is a writer and poet based

in London


Tl

As the theme song go€s: "FriendlV faces evervwhere, humble folks without temptation", but is

that so? Tim Woodcock looks at the bizarre communitv of paper cutouts where KennV keeps

getting resurrected

South Parks True Original

elcome to the 1998 TV

awards. The Bill Hicks

Memorial Sickbag for

grimmest joke goes to

South Park for: "My mom was young and

she needed the money"; "Those pictures

wore taken, like, two weeks ago, dude."

lf there are any taboos that have not

been broken in the late night Friday

timeslot on C4 they have now. By the

end of South Park's first series there

will have been an elephant/ pig hybrid

(no test tubes involved), games of "Kick

the Baby" and J.C. on the TV doing a

phone-in. Something to offend

everyone's tastes.

The underlying assumption is a very

funny and perceptive one: children are

not cute and loveable (as most cartoons

would have us believe), they are

tactless, vindictive and self-absorbed.

So with Cartman and chums this is

taken to brainfrying, jaw-dropping

extremity. The bullying campaign shifts

effortlessly from Pip, a Dickensian

outcast, to a new kid, Damian. He gets

his Dad on them -from his supernatural

powers and Richard Ashcroft hairdo

they should have guessed Damian's

Dad is Beelzebub. ln another episode

when they find out their attractive

substitute teacher is a lesbian the boys

all want to become lesbians. (Cartman's

mom's advice is unprintable.) I needed

a medical dictionary to understand

some of the B-year olds' jokes.

The style of the animation is as

crude as the subject matter. The muchfeted

running gags are soon limping:

"They killed Kenny. You bastardsl"

IUIH

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v

grows ever more tiresome; although I

was more endeared to Chef's soulful

songs, that no matter where they start

from, end up

being about

making "sweet

lurve" to a

woman. 2D cut

out characters

and 2D characterisation.

Think of the

richness of

Springf ield

which lhe

Simpsons

inhabit: an

intricately

constructed city. The school, the power

plant, the TV shows and the imaginary

products- perfectly observed and

grotesquely exaggerated. "Elasticated

reality" is what Matt Groening calls it.

And there's Principal Skinner, Krusty

the Klown, Otto the busdriver, Apu and

Barney: even the minor characters have

fnovefnent 14

distinct histories, their own ambitions

and obsessions-that is to say a believable

psychology (well, almost...)

South Park makes no concessions to

"realism", or indeed social conventions.

Political correctness chokes creativity

and the writers are fairly even-handed

(and imaginative) in

doling out the

amusingly inventive

invective. The offthe-wall

plots are a

delight too, if

somewhat devoid of

subtlety. However

the show is too

scattershot to work

as satire, and trying

too hard to shock to

be enjoyably funny. I

sniggered and

gasped: I never

belly-laughed.

There are two

ways to approach

originality. Method

one: Jump up and

down and shout,

"lt's great: that's

never been done

I

before! I love it and

I love you!" Proclaim

the creator a genius and wait on their

every word. (This describes much

recent press reaction to South Parkl.

Or two: to say the reason no-one had

said/ thoughti done that before was

that it is not worth bothering with: it

was too tawdry and a trivial a perception.

South Park is a very original show. @

Tim Woodcock is the incoming editor of

Movement


The man who added Oeneration X to the lexicon, oouglas Coupland, returns with a new novel

Oirlfriend ln A Coma. Terry Orsett discusses a trulv prophetic work.

Future lmperfect

GIRLFRIEND IN A COMA

Douglas Coupland

Flamingo / HarperCollins

f someone says "prophetic" in the

newspaper or on TV what they most

likely mean is an ability to predict the

future-such as

"At the time he

prophetically stated

that David

Beckham would

damage England's

chances more

than Paul

Gascoine". This is

in stark contrast

to a Judeo-

Christian use of

"prophetic"

which,

populalrly,

means "telling

the truth about

the things we

do wrong"-

such as "She

prophetically

remarked upon

the Bishops'

hypocrisy in the

Lords over age of consent". Both definitions

were true of the Biblical prophets,

but it seems that in secular and sacred

society, a polarity now exists.

Douglas Coupland's Girlfriend ln A

Coma is a prophetic book. lt is

prophetic in a way that breaks down

the polarity between the secular and

sacred uses of the word. Girlfriend ln A

Coma gives us uncomfortable insights

into our future, while at the same time

deelaiming the selfishness which

younger generations have adopted.

The book begins in 1979. A group

of high school friends in North

Vancouver go to a party, partake in the

usual low-level narcotics and go back

home, whereupon one of their number,

Karen, slips into a coma. Karen remains

in a coma for almost 20 years, during

which time she unknowingly gives birth

to her daughter. The friends spend their

time drifting, flirting with success, but

mostly winding up in various forms of

detox. Eventually they all move back

home, where they start doing special

effects for a series which sounds

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suspiciously like The X-Files. fhen

Karen wakes up, and things start

getting weird.

So far, it's everything you expect

from Douglas Coupland, who made his

mark on literature with Generation X

(spawning the term for cynical twenty

and thirtysomethings

- although

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Coupland really meant

those born between the

late '5Os and early '70s,

and he has subsequently

distanced himself from

the term altogether).

Over the past decade he

has produced fiction that

consistently challenged

our assumptions about

the culture we now find

ourselves in.

Girlfriend ln A Coma is no

exception. lt is populated

with Coupland's usual cast

of

mixedup.

burnedout

disposable

people

born on

the cusp

of the baby boom

who now find

themselves rootless,

without values and

meaning. So far

we've seen it before,

SELF-l

but Coupland finds

something new to say. mostly through

the now reawakened Karen. Through

her, we come to realise that the future

envisioned in the 60's and 70's of

something better has turned out to be

just a more messed-up, uber-tech

version of how things were before. only

even more spiritually dead.

And that is the central theme of

Girlfriend ln A Coma: the realisation

that we've become bereft of optimism,

of hope, and instead have filled that

void with more toys and more selfindulgence.

We're all wired up, but does

that make us better people?

It's a point Coupland hammers home

in the last part of the novel, when

Karen's visions of the end of the world

come true. I won't tell you how it

movgment 1s

comes about-suffice it to say it is

frightening in its simplicity-but in the

end all that's left is Karen and her

friends, and the ghost of one of their

old classmates. This is where the novel

shifts into the realm of fable. The

friends wander around the detritus of

the apocalypse, playing demolition

derbys with all the parked cars and

learning, far too late. the cost of their

own self-absorption.

This is Douglas Coupland's most

pessimistic work yet. lnstead of railing

at the culture around him, as he did in

Generation X, in Girlfriend he is

criticising his own generation (which.

whether Coupland likes it or not, still

speaks to people born well into the

'7Os and '8Os) for their arrested adolescence.

As the vanguard of the future,

we've made the future a scarier place.

Nothing gets better, just faster and

easier.

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HDULGEHCE.

Douglas Coupland is concerned

about values, meaning, community, and.

yes, even the struggle to believe in

some kind of a God. Girlfriend ln A

Coma is probably the most polemical

work Coupland has done since his

collection of short fiction, Life After

God. While it is steeped in the zeitgeist

of the millennium and the obsession

with apocalypse that surrounds it, one

suspects that ten years from now it still

won't seem dated-in fact we'll be

frightened to see how much has turned

out to be true.

This book is prophetic, in every

sense of the word. E

Terry Orsett is a freelance writer living

in London


Jonathan tdle examines Faith and Power, a book which challenges the claims of a secularised,

multicultural British society

False Neutrality

FAITH AND POWER: CHRISTIANITY

AND ISLAM IN 'SECULAR'BRITAIN

Lesslie Newbigin, Lamin Sanneh and

Jenny Thylor

SPCK

e live in a Christian

society; a secular society;

a multicultural society; an

anti-Christian

society. These statements do

not necessarily contradict each

other, and Faith and Power is

valuable in tackling the implications

of this. What kind of

society do we really have

what place does religion have,

and what role should it have?

we have replaced a

dominant monoculture

of Christianity with a

tolerant multiculturalism.

The authors call

the latter secular humanism, and see it

as a new hegemony, all

the more insidious in that it's very basis

is in denying the dominance which it

exerts itself, becoming an orthodoxy

which we disobey at our peril.

The authors argue first that we must

recognise this, and second that society

should base its laws and customs on a

Christian world view. Not by returning

to a repressive state religion, but

moving forwards to a public life based

on the freedom and honesty of the

Gospel. This, the.authors feel, will bring

true tolerance, whereas secular

humanism, in spite of its claims to

achieve this, is seen as a system which

fears debate and as such is a false

neutrality.

The theme is restated several times

during the book powerfully, and in the

end passionately. lt is convincing

illustrated by semantics as well as

social comment-for examplq do we

realise that 'secular' can mean not only

that no one faith dominates, but also

the dominance of a view which does

not admit the value of faith?

The need to expose our false

secularism arises from observing the

public face of lslam in Britain, specifically

the contrast between a few

specific examples of the political

demands of Muslims and the comparative

reticence of Christians. But this

contrast is documented piecemeal and

smothered in generalisations, and at

times the themes don't quite hang

together in such a short

book. The

established

church, for

seen as

abandoning its

prophetic role;

but too many

generalisations

about what

'Christians' or

'Western society'

have done in fact

weaken the

tendency is to make

a point by showing

the implications of

public attitudes in

their most extreme form to make the

point. For example, with Human rights

the argument follows that if we believe

in human rights as existing in

themselves, rather than as the gift of a

holy and loving God, then they are

based on nothing. The individual has no

protection when democracy becomes

populism, and so ultimately those rights

can be swept away by totalitarianism.

There is no mention here of the

possibility of a written constitution for

Britain; that would be one solution to

some of the problems they identify.

With such in-depth analysis, it is a

shame not to have more discussion of

any solution other than public

acceptance on the Christian gospel as

the basis for public life and law

Another weak section is where they

raise the gap in urban regeneration

caused by ignoring the spiritual aspect

of society's problems. lt is indeed a

gap, but the implication that it is the

central component of modern urban

deprivation is wide of the mark, and it

movemsnt 16

would be better to leave the issue

alone rather than indulge in such

simplif ication.

There is thorough discussion of the

interface between a still-evolving and

diverse Muslim society in Britain and

secular British social policy. ln the worst

cases, officialdom has been fearful and

ignorant-often confusing religion with

ethnicity and reinforcing disadvantage

and segregation. But this too is

piecemeal, and there is no exploration of

the times and reasons we've got it right.

The significance of Shariah law is

explored-it is still unresolved how the

juxtaposition of British law and Shariah

law will work itself out in Muslims'

loyalties and in legal terms. The authors

see Shariah as raising the complex

issue of the neutrality of law They

point out the falseness of such

neutrality by contrasting judgements on

cases involving Sikhs, Rastafarians,

Jews and Muslims. Again they plead

that first we acknowledge that the law

cannot be neutral, and then we realise

that only a law rooted in Christian faith

can provide the true tolerance and

justice which we wrongly believe is

already here.

Shariah also stimulates debate on

the proximity of church and state. The

role of each must be distinct, overlapping

in order to inform each other but

not to confuse their roles as has often

happened in history. We need politicians

to be influenced by morality and

prophetic faith, but religious leaders

should not be able to compel either

belief or practice.

Overall it is a necessary discussion,

which will become more necessary as

the Muslim presence in Britain

evolves-and as public policy becomes

increasingly based on public opinion

rather than constitutional or institutionalised

common belief. lt is important

that the discussion is held, as here,

dispassionately as respectfully. The

authors convincingly bring into the open

some of the inconsistencies of public

life, and call on readers to acknowledge

these and to work for change. The

argument and its many components are

fascinating and underlie much of our

social policy. Faith and Power should

challenge us to take it further. E

Jonathan ldle is a Youth Worker in Hackney


,

THE GREATEST STORY

Once there was a person

who came from heaven

and lived amongst us.

That person touched the

sick, said a lot

meaningful things and

enraged those in power.

That person died at the

hands of those who

persecuted them for so

long, went to heaven and

within a year a

movement of devoted

followers rose up, and

signs and wonders

followed.

But enough about

Princess Diana. . .

ISAIAH DID IT JUST

LIKE THIS, REALLY To

err is human, and to

really foul things up you

need to be an international

ecumenical

movement.

The World Council of

Churches is holding it's

o n ce-eve ry-seve n-yea rs

(septiennial?) Assembly

this December in the

Zimbabwean capital,

Harare. Which is all nice

and tickety-boo, except

Zimbabwean president

Robert Mugabe has done

his bit for the struggle

for gay rights by calling

homosexuals "pigs" and

"perverts" and describing

homosexuality as a

"Western perversion"

unknown in African

culture, and has pretty

much made it clear that

gays and lesbians are not

welcome in Zimbabwe.

All in all, just the sort of

friendly, inclusive

environment everyone

wants for an international

ecumenical

gathering.

Not surprisingly. at

least ono progressive

Dutch church has

announced it would not

attend, and ArchbishoP

Desmond Tutu has stated

in no uncertain terms

that the WCC would

have to take a Positive

stand on homosexualitY

if the organisation hoPed

to retain anY sort of

credibility in the face of

choosing this venue.

I wouldn't want to

criticise one of my

heroes, but I think

Archbishop Tutu has set

his sights a wee bit high.

This is the World Council

of Churches, an organisation

whose initials also

stand for "Wibble

Circumspectly and

Continuously". Chances

are any pro-gay motion,

will be tabled and sent

to the appropriate

subcommittee of JPIC

(Just Put lt for

Caveating). where it

be appropriately

over some mo

back, amend

some more

eventually

accepted.

Of course

will now re

people shoul

comfortable I

they want"-a

of such prophetic

that I'm sure Presi

Mugabe is trembling

even now.

REALITY

s pea

pres

f org

who

Lord

leg is

ofc

Kudo

go to

Winch

"The

the ris

health

su bstantia I

homosexual activiti

are significantly greater

than those for heterosexuals.

" Regular

readers will no doubt

have recognised that

this was the same

argument made last

year by Anne Atkins in

the Sun-an argument

which the Press

Complaints Commission

deemed to have "failed

to distinguish between

comment, conjecture

and fact". Then again, I

suppose if most people

were capable of that,

the church would be out

of business altogether.

FOR EVERY CAR YOU

DRIVE... l'd like to know

just what illicit

substances executives

at ad agencies are on

these days. lt used to be

that the point of a car

advert was to sell the

bloody car. Barring some

notable exceptions (like

the Avensis one which

uses lggy Pop to great

ef f ect), nowadays

they're going for these

bizarre,

which

d seem more at

in a David Lynch

I mean what are

trying to achieve?

don't even gain

ct recognition with

-

people refer to

m as "that disturbing

e with the weird

an who acts just

Bjork" (lt's for

er, in case you were

eri ng)

the more linear

coming

ercedes

d won't

ercedes

any

ption of

ved. Even

recent one

marrieds "

our in the

a seafood

ople

on by

?t

TS TRAMPLED

s given a delightf ul

antidote to the sort of

Christian kitsch you find

when you visit your

relatives with a version

of the poem "Footprints"

that ends with: "During

your times of trials and

suffering, I got the hell

out and went round to

the pub for a quick one.

lf you had any sense,

you would have joined

me there!" Rumour has it

Sea of Faith might do

one soon, ending: "get a

pair of specs, mate,

there's been only one

bleeding set of footprints

all along... "

JESUS OF AUCKLAND

One of the great things

about Channel 5-whose

viewership recently

doubled to 14-is their

weekend programming,

especially Hercules: The

Legendary Journeys and

Xe n a : Wa rrio r Pri n c ess.

For those not familiar

with these programmes,

they're action-adventure

series set in the Greco-

Meditteranean world

(which surprisingly looks

like New Zealand) where

everyone is incredibly

muscular for an era

where most died by the

age of 40, Mythology

and history are regularly

muddled into an end

product which is

anachronistic, postmodern

and delightfully

entertain ing.

I don't think that this

should be limited to just

figures from Greco-

Roman mythology. I

would wholeheartedly

support the making of

Jesus: The Legendary

Journeys.

Buff, good-looking

Jesus and his buddies

Peter and John The

Baptist (ditch the other

apostles, they're boring)

travel along the Kiwi, er,

Gallilean shores, battling

their earthly enemies,

Pilate and Herod.

Occasionally, they

battle Satan (played by

Anthony Head of the

Gold Blend adverts),

who speaks in selfref

lexive dialogue the

whole time

Jesus would

occasionally heal and

raise the dead, but

mostly, he'd turn

someone else's cheek

with his fists- with

bizarre sound effects to

match. And every

episode, he'd say

something nice about

loving one's enemy

before walking on water

to battle the Hydrax

monster left over f rom

Hercules' time.

Well, l'd watch...

THE SERPENT


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