Monday, 28 June 2010

Irreverent Rant


I just watched “Rev” – the new BBC sitcom about a London Vicar. I doubt I shall watch the remaining 5 programmes of the series.

Admittedly he is an Anglican, and so is restricted by all sorts of Diocesan Rules, and Archdeacons and stuff – whereas the Rev in this house is a gloriously nonconformist Baptist. But even so, I am not sure it gave a very realistic picture of pastoral life.

Poor chap – his wife sat through the morning service reading The Observer!  Shouldn’t she have been sent off to find paper and felt pens for all those extra children to do some colouring or something? Or whisked them off to the Lady Chapel to tell them a Bible Story [I usually find “Fat King Eglon’s Guts” is a good one to hold the attention of the unchurched little tearaways]

The BBC website says “She is no-one’s idea of a conventional Vicar’s Wife” – what does that mean anyway? She strikes me as exactly the stereotypical “I have my own career, stuff your Parish responsibilities”  sort of clergy wife that Joanna Trollope and others have been writing about for years. So obviously she is many people’s idea of a C.V.W.

And everybody knows that trendy young vicars do not sing “All Creatures of our God and King” – they sing “Shine , Jesus, Shine”, “Lord of the Dance” and “Light Up the Fire” [and if you are really  unlucky, they throw in “One More Step Along The World I Go”]

And was all that bad language really necessary?

Bob didn’t enjoy it either, and is now speculating about which of his colleagues will blog about it first!


  1. I didnt watch it, I had a feeling it was going to be total stereotype, written by someone who hasnt the slightest idea about a real vicar's life. I cant imagine anyone reading the Observer in church....but I can imagine people thinking Haha how funny.

  2. No self respecting trendy vicar would choose Shine Jesus Shine, as it's 25 years old! Most of us are still at the mercy of our organists.... I agree with you on the bad language, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the guy had a vaguely realistic prayer life, in stark contrast to the Vicar of Dibley.

    The clip I wanted to grab was where all the new families turn up in church and don't know what to do. A real 'watch and learn' moment for church leaders everywhere!

  3. I'm an Anglican vicar. Believe me, it was a *totally* realistic portrayal of parish life. I know every single one of those characters. I recognise every single one of those pressures. And yes, the swearing was absolutely necessary. Vicars swear. Occasionally they swear in front of other people. We are not saints. We are ordinary people trying to do difficult things.

    The most compelling line was when Adam stood in his kitchen and said (something like) "My whole life is spent wiping other people's arses". That is *exactly* what parish ministry is like - and the reason it is killing the clergy and killing faith.

  4. Oh dear, now I feel really sorry for all my Anglican friends. Is it REALLY that bad for all of you?
    I agree pastoral ministry is INCREDIBLY hard work, and people do let you down sometimes and come to you with incredible problems...
    ...but what about the indescribable answers to prayer, the people coming to faith, the unexpected gifts
    ...and most of all, what about Jesus, and his amazing grace? I didn't hear anything about hIM in last night's programme

  5. Angela - no it isn't that bad, well not here anyway. But I guess a TV series is going to focus on particular things, and like it or not answered prayer and the love of Jesus aren't some of them. This might be about expectations - does 'slightly more realistic than Dibley' count as a win or a loss when it comes to TV vicars?

  6. Great rant!

    makes me glad I don't have a TV!

    Next time you're reading “Fat King Eglon’s Guts” to the tearaways you can teach em this song I wrote to the point home...

  7. Thanks Matt!
    And dmk - I guess it is 'slightly more realistic than Dibley' as you say

  8. I haven't watched it yet, we have it recorded. I'll let you know what I think. I was Anglican for years, although we weren't very 'traditional'.


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