Sir Philip Mawer’s Report, as Independent Reviewer, on the non-appointment of Bishop Philip North to the Diocese of Sheffield describes what happened in, as has been noted elsewhere, ‘measured tones’.

Much attention is paid to the personal challenge it was to Bishop Philip, and one feels great sympathy for him. It must have been awful. The Report also pays close attention to the part played by Professor Martyn Percy’s article on the Modern Church website and the impact it had on the eventual outcome.

(‘The Church of England’s fight to survive’, FT Weekend Magazine.)

Jeremy Paxman’s article about the future of the Church of England is both affectionate and exasperated. While he points out just how far from the thinking of the rest of the country the Church of England is in many social matters, he admires the ‘reasonableness’ with which the Church of England works at them. While he notes the many good works the Church of England can point to, he also reminds us that numbers (of people, resources) are dwindling. ‘I admire the Church’ he writes, ‘In many ways the story of England is the story of her Church, and there is something endearing about its endless anxieties.’

42.

Okay, that’s funny.

Why?

It works grammatically, but it’s obviously an inadequate answer. We laugh because we know nobody has an adequate answer.

The ‘nones’ (those who when responding to surveys tick ‘none’ in the box marked ‘religion’ but who might possibly tick C of E if pressed) need look no further for a home.

Bishop David Jenkins, that prophet of our time, once was heard to declare that God was not interested in the Church. God was all about the Kingdom.

This is the last of a series of four reflections on progress. The first was about the ancient idea that a supreme god maintains the universe with a long-term design.

The second and third were about the ideas of progress most common today, and what happens to it when it becomes a self-contained objective independent of God.

This final reflection looks more closely at a God-based theory of progress.