These people have taken over the buildings of a public school near where I grew up - for "healing retreats and discipleship training". They have also bought the pub opposite which they are turning into a hotel for the general public - sans bar and avec bookshop. All very interesting stuff for those of us interested in patterns of religious behaviour in this country.
Over the last couple of weeks it has been hard to turn on the tv without being confronted with a Da Vinci Code spin off; some more arch than others - ITV for example followed a group of devotees and skeptics around the sites of the book to meet with "experts" and then had the footage analysed by tv's favourite rent-a-shrink Raj Persaud.
We think the knowingness and self consciousness of such programmes to be a good thing that could usefully go further and try to explain why such an average book has hit the zeitgeist. Readers may know that we at Russcoff have a particular interest in the Church of England.
( especially we are interested in in the underlying trends/ theories on the causes for the increasing polarisation of the C or E - e.g the move toward secularisation, the backlash, and the various functions that the Church still fulfills for millions of nominal christians. We are looking to investigate the exect composition of the C or E in terms of those who self identify as evangelical and liberal, and to discover what nature the religiosity of both groups takes. We have blogged on the Alpha phenomenon )
but that doesn't stop us believing that the same things that we are interested in the C of E apply to the Catholic context of the DVC
We use those terms because they are the specific idiom of 20 century liberal theology. Another way of putting it is that people want to believe in a God, but they want to believe in one that connects to their thoroughly post modern world and in order to do that they need to have a reason to separate the core beliefs from the off-putting baggage.
Like Davies, he looks at how secularisation comes from a complex reaction to the modern or if you like post modern world. It seems a much more satisfying and rounded analysis than say Don Cupitt's infectious romp through liberal theology, The Sea of Faith.
Cupitt's anaysis seems to consign literalism and fundamentalism to the waste bin, categorising them, if we remember correctly, as obscurantist throwbacks to medieval thought.
I really am so on the point of writing some proper posts. Meanwhile I have just got delivery of my new Nokia N80 - 3 megapixel, "Quickoffice" PDA suite, Outlook integration, useful MP3 symbian operating etc, browsered up WiFi machine (3G but working on 2)
It's very nearly a great all in one machine. A little too slow, and without quite enough memory or a useful enough keyboard to surf (although the way it navigates the screen is pretty neat).
It's a little too chunky too. I think web browsing won't take off. I think the phone of the future will be like the Samsung Mourinho advertises but with good synchronisation with your desktop calendar (which it might have - I don't know) - i.e good phone, good camera, bit of outlook, and small .....
N.B The picture of the 666 picture taken on this phone on the 6/6/06 is sized exactly 666 kb !!