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Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Longest Serving Doctor Who Companions

So, tonight saw the exit of Amy Pond and Rory Williams in Doctor Who, and I realise Amy must have been one of the longest serving companions. So, who is the longest serving?

Now, there are no hard and fast rules about who counts, or what counts. So, I make these assumptions:

  • I count someone as a companion from when they start to when they leave, so, if someone doesn't appear in an episode of an adventure they are in (which happened often in the 1960s as cast members went on holiday) then I still count them as appearing in all the episodes. The exceptions are when someone debuts in an episode other than an opening one, and leaves in an episode other than the final one.
  • I don't count Mission To The Unknown or Shada.
  • I do count Doctor-lite or companion-lite episodes (so I count Blink as one of Martha Jones', Midnight as one of Donna Noble's and The Doctor, the Widow & the Wardrobe as one of Amy Pond's and Rory Williams').
  • I don't include one-off companions- that includes the Bad Wilf.
  • I include pre-companion appearances, such as Donna Noble in The Runaway Bride, but for Mickey Smith I ignore New Earth as he has just a cameo.
  • I include returning companions as long as it is actually them and they are not doing a cameo- so Adric doesn't count in Time Flight, nor do the companions in the Doctor's mind near the end of The Caves of Androzani, nor the old companions he visits at the end of The End of Time. For The Five Doctors I only count Susan Foreman and Sarah Jane Smith as returning companions.
  • I don't any of the recurring UNIT personnel, nor K9 and Kamelion.
  • By number of episodes, I count a traditional 20th century episode as a single episode. The 21st century one (except for the specials, Last of the Time Lords, Journey's End and The Eleventh Hour) and the ones from Attack of the Cybermen to Revelation of the Daleks I count as 2 episodes each. Due to their length I count the specials, Last of the Time Lords, Journey's End and The Eleventh Hour as 3 episodes each. The Five Doctors counts as 4 episodes.
  • OK, so, here we go:

  • Susan Foreman- 55 (51 from An Unearthly Child to The Dalek Invasion of Earth and a return in The Five Doctors)
  • Barbara Wright- 77 (from An Unearthly Child to The Chase)
  • Ian Chesterton- 77 (as per Barbara Wright)
  • Vicki- 42 (from The Rescue to The Myth Makers)
  • Steven Taylor- 45 (from episode 6 of The Chase to The Savages)
  • Katarina- 5 (from episode 4 of The Myth Makers to episode 4 of The Daleks' Master Plan)
  • Sara Kingdom- 8 (from episode 5 to episode 12 of The Daleks' Master Plan)
  • Dodo Chaplet- 19 (from episode 4 of The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve to episode 2 of The War Machines)
  • Ben Jackson- 40 (from The War Machines to The Faceless Ones)
  • Polly- 40 (as per Ben Jackson)
  • Jamie McCrimmon- 119 (113 from The Highlanders to The War Games and a return in The Two Doctors)
  • Victoria Waterfield- 47 (from Evil of the Daleks to Fury from the Deep)
  • Zoe Heriot- 44 (from The Wheel in Space to The War Games)
  • Liz Shaw- 25 (from Spearhead from Space to Inferno)
  • Jo Grant- 77 (from Terror of the Autons to The Green Death)
  • Sarah Jane Smith- 91 (80 from The Time Warrior to The Hand of Fear and then returns in The Five Doctors, School Reunion and The Stolen Earth/Journey's End)
  • Harry Sullivan- 28 (24 from Robot to Terror of the Zygons and a return in The Android Invasion)
  • Leela- 40 (from The Face of Evil to The Invasion of Time)
  • The firat Romama- 26 (from The Ribos Operation to The Armageddon Factor)
  • The second Romana- 40 (from Destiny of the Daleks to Warriors' Gate)
  • Adric- 42 (from Full Circle to Earthshock)
  • Nyssa- 50 (from The Keeper of Traken to Terminus)
  • Tegan Jovanka- 70 (from Logopolis to Resurrection of the Daleks)
  • Peri Brown- 46 (from Planet of Fire to episode 8 of Trial of a Time Lord)
  • Mel Bush- 20 (from episode 9 of Trial of a Time Lord to Dragonfire)
  • Ace- 29 (from Dragonfire to Survival)
  • Rose Tyler- 62 (55 from Rose to Army of Ghosts/Doomsday and a return in Turn Left and The Stolen Earth/Journey's End)
  • Adam Mitchell- 4 (from Dalek to The Long Game)
  • Jack Harkness- 22 (10 from The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances to Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways and returns in Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords and The Stolen Earth/Journey's End)
  • Mickey Smith- 26 (pre-companion appearances in Rose, Aliens of London/World War Three, Boom Town and Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways, 8 from School Reunion to Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel, and returns in Army of Ghosts/Doomsday and Journey's End)
  • Martha Jones- 38 (27 from Smith & Jones to Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords and returns in The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky, The Doctor's Daughter and The Stolen Earth/Journey's End)
  • Donna Noble- 36 (pre-companion appearance in The Runaway Bride, 27 from Partners in Crime to The Stolen Earth/Journey's End and a return in The End of Time)
  • Amy Pond- 69 (from The Eleventh Hour to The Angels Take Manhattan)
  • Rory Williams- 57 (pre-companion appearance in The Eleventh Hour, 8 from The Vampires of Venice to The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood and 46 from The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang to The Angels Take Manhattan)
  • So, who are the longest serving companions?

    In first place is Jamie McCrimmon on 119. As each new season is the equivalent of 29 episodes, it would take 4 seasons and 2 ordinary adventures to beat this.

    In second place is Sarah Jane Smith on 91.

    In joint third place are Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton and Jo Grant on 77.

    In sixth place is Tegan Jovanka on 70.

    In seventh place is Amy Pnnd on 69.

    In eighth place is Rose Tyler on 62.

    In ninth place is Rory Williams on 57.

    In tenth place is Susan Foreman on 55.

    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    Clearing Out The Past 7 Years 4 Months

    7 years and 4 months. That is how long I have been in my job.

    As Q once said, "All good things must come to an end."

    Tomorrow is the day it is all over. Time's up. Redundancy.

    Today I made a start on sorting out the notes I had made over the past years. Various projects which were important at the time and now forgotten. And then drawing up calculation notes for the more fun situations those taking over (the work is going to another office as our buidling is closing)- the one I did today was a combination of scenarios 2, 4, 5 and 7. Never had any case that fun, but the new team might strike lucky.

    As stuff was being thrown in the confidential waste, I started to reflect. I needed all these notes and paperwork for a specific purpose, for a time in my life. By Friday evening I won't need them.

    There has to be a balance here. There are things which have to be essential for a period of time, and then that time ends. On one hand, we are called to store up treasure in heaven, for where our treasure is, that is where our heart is (Matt 6:20), but on the other hand the Apostle Paul had to rebuke Thessalonians who were idle (2 Thess 3:6)- maybe idle because false teachers were saying that the Day of the Lord had come (2 Thess 2:2). After all, why make any long-term plans if Jesus's return is just round the corner?

    Make plans, but with the understanding that when making plans we should say "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and..." (James 4:15) and that Jesus's return is something we should wait for (2 Peter 3:12).

    For us, as Christians, there is always that tension- we live in the world, and are not to avoid the world, while at the same time looking forward to Heaven.

    Friday, 21 September 2012

    Are You Sitting Comfoirtably?

    To be blunt, the past 12-18 months have been quite difficult times for me and my family (and next Friday I get made redundant with no job on the horizon yet). Part of the difficulty has been church-related. I don't want to retread old ground- things were said about me which were untrue and hurtful, but that is something I moved on from.

    At that point, which was a spiritual low point, I needed to find somewhere to worship that was centred on Jesus and the Bible, and quickly I did.

    In time, I got to know people, and started to look forward to when I would feel comfortable there. Was I wrong to do this? Why was I still not feeling totally comfortable?

    Now, you might think I am being negative here. Am I saying I think I chose the wrong church? Am I saying it's time to look for another one?

    Actually- I am saying exactly the opposite.

    To be honest, when you read the New Testament there is little of "follow Jesus and be comfortable". Actually, there is much less than little. Following Jesus isn't about church flower contests, making sure you make your Christmas pudding on "Stir Up Sunday" and getting the warm fuzzies on Sunday morning.

    It's tough. It's facing ridicule. It's sometimes being a man alone (or a woman alone) in situations where the crowd is going one direction. It's taking a stand.

    We are starting a series called DNA and the focus is on "Missional Communities"- the vision will be fleshed out over the autumn. We were asked to write on sheets of paper on the wall our views on what we heard last night.

    My comment was "It's radical". And so it should be. This idea of a deeper sharing of lives, being a community that looks upwards (to God), inwards (to ourselves) and outwards (to the world). This ain't a vision that would ever find its place alongside "More weak tea and cucumber sandwiches, vicar?"

    There is going to be something edgy about it, pushing the spiritual envelope.

    Look at the accounts in the book of Acts of early Christian gatherings. Would you want to be there? It wouldn't be a nip off to church and then back to have your Sunday lunch having had a "lovely time".

    Are you sitting comfortably in your church? Then maybe it's time to ask yourself what's gone wrong. It should be uncomfortable to a degree, it should be a place and time where God convicts and challenges.

    Wednesday, 19 September 2012

    Oh Look- Christianity Has Been Rocked To Its Foundations Again

    One of the interesting periods of history is what is often called "The English Civil War", ignoring the fact that Charles I was king of three kingdoms, and its effects were felt across both the modern day United Kingdom and the modern day Republic of Ireland.

    Oliver Cromwell is often portrayed as a stern Puritan, but a new book shows that actually he was a bit of a wine-bibber, and enjoyed his dancing on a Sunday.

    OK, there are only extracts of the new book available at the moment. Actually, fragments of sentences. But this surely should be enough to overturn the conventional wisdom about Cromwell.

    Time gap? Pah! This is only written three-and-a-half centuries later. That's contemporary.

    Now, no-one would describe the early 21st century as being contemporary with the middle of the 17th century. Or would they?

    There is something interesting. In that era known as a long time ago events several centuries apart can be considered being contemporaneous. And going further back to that era known as a very long time ago then events of millennia apart are contemporary. We know that 2011 is last year and 2013 next year. Your average caveperson of 10,000 BC would feel that 11,000 BC wasn't too long ago and 9,000 BC isn't too far round the corner.

    Well, they wouldn't. But as time goes on, people of the distant future would start to see our years, and our centuries, roll into one. We already talk of "80s music" as if Kylie Minogue was singing the same time as St Winifred's School Choir. In time the two World Wars will roll into one in popular consciousness. And then other events- go forward a few hundreds of thousands of years and we'll be looked at as people "living around the time of the Norman Conquest". And that brings me to the latest story in the Daily Mail which has Christianity rocked to its foundations.

    OK, so what we find, when you strip away the hype, is that there are some fragments that imply that three-and-a-half centuries later (roughly the gap between Cromwell and us) there were some people who believed Ms Magdalene was really Mrs Christ. And, er, that's it.

    Why chase little fragments of documents that small groups believed over three centuries after Jesus, when we have the Gospels, which are more extensive in documentation and from an earlier period? Why let the little later bit overturn the larger earlier bit? As Paul reminds Timothy (2 Tim. 4:3) people will not endure sound teaching, but instead have itchy ears and listen to myths.

    In recent years, there seems to be a trend that whenever anything novel is suggested as the way forward for the Church of England, there is the hunt around to find any Christianesque group in the first half of the first millennium AD which does that, so its supporters can declare "Aha! It's tradition. What are these evangelicals and/or Catholics banging on about?" So you can find some catacomb walls with paintings of a priestess conducting communion. Find someone, somewhere who did a same-sex wedding etc.

    Now, the first question shouldn't be "Did a group early on do this?" but "What does the Bible say?" Yes- OK to do it. No- don't do it, regardless of who did it.

    But what about when the Bible is silent and we look to history for guidance? Then it's time to ask the second question- "What sort of view of the Bible did the early group have?"

    There is something I will call "Bible sense". If "common sense" is what you get living in the world, "Bible sense" is what you get living in the Word. It's that sense of morality that you get from deep Bible study.

    I remember a sermon years ago that dealt with gambling. The preacher was clear that the Bible was silent on it. Does that mean it's OK? By no means. As Christians we should consider what the social implications are of gambling- such as the excellent resources for Christians provided by organisations such as CARE and the Evangelical Alliance.

    There was an interesting point he raised- churches and organisations that have been opposed to gambling have tended to have a high view of Scripture. To put it another way, there's that Bible sense that has developed that says gambling is wrong.

    The article seems to be based in part on a common myth- there were all these little groups, just as Christian as each other, and then Emperor Constantine called them together to thrash out a new common theology.

    What such a myth misses out is that the Gospels are early. Historic Christianity hasn't drawn up its doctrines and theology and then drew up some holy writings to back them up. This myth crops up- a few years back, I overheard a man I knew to be a lapsed Catholic explain to a couple of his friends that around 400AD the Vatican drew up its beliefs and then wrote the New Testament to support it. He argued that there were "authentic accounts" of the life of Jesus- the "Gospel of Thomas" was his example- which the Vatican ignored.

    The Bible came first. Our beliefs are based on what the Bible says. Doctrines of faith and creeds are simply summaries of Biblical teaching, not replacements.

    The associated myth is that the Bible we have was written by some sort of horse-trading in rooms filled with holy smoke. Perhaps St Nicholas agreeing to there being parts of the New Testament that talk about Hell in return for an agreement that the College of Cardinals would have a binding referendum on whether the Pope sho├║ld be elected by the Alternative Vote.

    I would reply that, OK, suppose the Vatican drew up the New Testament. Well, they didn't do a good job did they? Producing a document which from the time of Martin Luther has been used to challenge some of their doctrines and beliefs. If the Vatican had drawn it up, would the idea that elders should be married (1 Tim. 3:2) be left out (surely Paul would say that elders should be single men?), wouldn't the writers decide not to give Peter a mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14)? Wouldn't Jesus have been told that His mother and cousins were there to see Him and reply that anyone who hears the Word of God and does it is His cousin? Wouldn't you want to remove anything that smacked of justification by faith? Follow the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:54-60) and James (Acts 12:2) with a bit where on one of their missionary journeys, Paul and his companions pray to Stephen and James to intercede for them?

    I remember just before Christmas a few years back the Daily Mail did an article about a shocking discovery that would rock Christianity to its foundations- the discovery that Jesus had a half-brother James. Who, er, actually we've known all about for getting on for 2000 years. But there is this idea which I came across when I was in Mensa's Christian Forum- namely that there was a Jacobite Christianity, based on James's writings about his half-brother, and then there was a Paulime usurpation, with the nasty, misogynistic, homophobic Paul hijacking it all and forcing his own beliefs on it. And Paul and his supporters ensured that traces of James' teachings were destroyed.

    Hmm. Except of course for the Epistle of James. Oh, and somehow Paul forgot to remove a reference to James being an Apostle (Gal. 1:19)- i.e. someone who has the same apostolic authority Paul has, so someone Paul sees as his equal in terms of apostolicity.

    Now, if I were a Pauline Christian wanting to remove all traces of Jacobite Christianity, I would have burned the Epistle of James and edited Galatians to remove that bit.

    What intrigues me about those who wanted to talk about this destroyed Jacobite Christianity is that they simultaneously believe:

  • All traces of the Jacobite teaching has been lost
  • They know what was in the Jacobite teaching- normally a Jesus who flits around first century Palestine saying things that could come straight out of a Polly Toynbee column.
  • This little fragment is just a nine-day wonder. Excites those with itchy ears. Nothing more.

    Saturday, 15 September 2012

    Policy X And The Sunday Morning Dad Dance Service

    One topic that comes up from time to time is why don't a particular group (the menfolk, the young people etc.) go to church.

    I have a worry that often the replies are looking at why the writer wouldn't go to church if they weren't a Christian and then project that onto the group they're writing about.

    Now, I am a Conservative. We spent 13 years in the wilderness, and it wasn't until the May 2005 general election that I thought that there would ever be a Conservative government again- indeed, at points in the previous few years I wondered if it wouldn't be better for Conservatives to leave a sinking ship and join the Liberal Democrats to get some sort of centre/centre-right grouping that could take power after Labour.

    During that era there would be the occasional suggestion made as to how we could come back big time. There were millions of voters, apparently, who refused to vote for us at the May 1997 general election as they were angry at the "matricide" of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in November 1990. Curiously, not angry enough to abstain at the April 1992 general election.

    And in that era there were suggestions based on "policy X". This was a policy that was obvious to whoever suggested it- and if only we adopted policy X, then those millions would forgive us for removing Thatcher and we would see a landslide. The policy was never obvious to a succession of Shadow Cabinets or Party Chairmen.

    It might be Europe, or the death penalty, or grammar schools, but whatever it was, the person making the suggestion would be so confident that millions of disgruntled voters agreed with them and that they had found The Reason millions were not voting Conservative and had The Policy that would bring the Conservatives back.

    You see, they were projecting their annoyance with Conservative policies onto the general population.

    The odd thing about various ideas as to why people don't go to church is that they follow the same pattern.

    Years ago, I was in Mensa's Politics group (and ran it for a while when they were looking for someone to take it over). Sometimes discussions would be about the Church of England. And for a couple of men, the decline in Church of England attendance was blindingly obvious- those pesky evangelicals (or, as it's Anglicanism, surely it should be those piskie evangelicals?) had taken the English people's birthright away. In the good old days, one could go to one's parish church, gaze at the stained glass window, listen to the robed choir and the organ, while the service was in 17th century English.

    Then came the evangelicals and it all went "happy-clappy" and modern English and guitars, and lo, there went English people's birthright to hear a traditional Church of England service. They didn't like modern services, and it was obvious to them that many of the millions who do other things on Sunday morning were refusing to attend church until services went traditional again.

    Now, I want to mention something about this. I am quite traditionalist about worship, and quite like the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. But I know not everyone is. Many Anglican churches will have enough services to ensure that everyone has something that is styled for them. So, when we say that people stay away because of the style, are we saying that the style should be changed so a different group of people stay away? Or that there should be a service with an alternative style?

    As a postgraduate I found myself caught up in a small discussion as a group loved the later morning, more modern, service. And they were discussing why anyone would attend the earlier, more traditional, service. None of the suggestions were that people went there to worship God (and indeed, I remember a comment by someone who wanted the church to drop the early morning service, who was of the opinion "They're not there to worship God."). God wants worship to be guitars, clapping, modern choruses, none of this old solemn hymns played on the organ. Does He really?

    Of course there is the other extreme. I was once at an Anglican church when an elderly lady- who disliked modern worship styles- announced mid-service she had received a word from God. He wants us to worship in beauty and holiness, which meant getting rid of modern worship styles. The guy leading the service said that all prophesies need to be weighed carefully- I think this is Anglican-speak for "Oh, put a sock in it, sister". Anglican-speak can be difficult to understand- for example if an Anglican clergyperson invites you to sit down, they don't say "Please sit down". They say "May I speak in the Name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen"

    Sometimes from the liberal end of the Church of England there is the idea that people are not going to church because same-sex couples can't get married and that the Church of England doesn't consecreate women presbyters to the episcopate, i.e. people stay away because the Church of England has not introduced the changes that the liberals want.

    Now, the modern person on the Clapham Omnibus isn't an avid follower of General Synod debates. Sorry, but people have other things to do. Sure, suddenly having women bishops and "I now declare you man and husband" being an acceptable phrase for clergy to utter would make the news. But would it really be Earth-shattering? Would managers of garden centres wake up in a cold sweat on Saturday night and think "The Church of England has women bishops. Our takings will be down as everyone will be at church"?

    Then there is the Christian bloke's movement, for whom the solution is to make churches blokier. Are men staying away because churches are not blokey enough?

    Well, I am thinking of a group of non-Christians around my age and a bit younger. From the men, the criticisms of Christianity (and "religion" in general) are that Richard Dawkins has used science to disprove it, historians have disproved it, 9/11 and Northern Ireland show what happens if religion is tolerated.

    In fact, the menfolk give exactly the same objections to Christianity as the womenfolk do. Indeed, one non-Christian man in that group went to a Sunday service. I know the church he went to- quite high Anglican, with flowers in the sanctuary and embrodiered hangings. Yet, the following week, he didn't even mention them. Clearly he wasn't thinking "Flowers. Embroidery. No place for a blokey bloke bloke like me."

    And now on to getting the young folk in. What keeps them away? Could it possibly be not being able to do actions to songs?

    Fortunately our church doesn't do "All-Age Worship". Where I have seen it done, the attendance is low, and young people are conspicuous by their absence. It seems to be old dears planning the service and thinking "what would the young people want? Action songs?"

    And so you get the dad dancers, as they show they are down wiv da kidz, and elderly people who should not be doing actions to songs without their doctor's permission, while young people cringe and wish the LORD would perform a Numbers 16-style miracle. As a former vicar of mine was fond of pointing out, we shouldn't say things like "young people are the future of the church so we should do something for them". Instead, young people are part of the Body of Christ today, and we can ask them what they want.

    I mean, if you were rush up to a group of youths hanging around on a street corner and say to them "Come to church tomorrow. We have songs with actions you can do" would they really be interested?

    The problem with all these approaches is that it sees people are groups, like a company would target its advertising for various segments of society. Instead let's think of people as, well people, as individuals.

    Thursday, 13 September 2012

    Why I Am Uncomfortable With The Bloke Jesus Christ

    There is something that makes me feel uncomfortable that I have seen a couple of times recently- the referring to Jesus as a bloke.

    This isn't something that happens in the New Testament. I hope you don't think I'm being picky, but let me outline my concern.

    Years ago I was in an online group for Christian men into weight-training, and there was a discussion about what Jesus's physique would have been like. Surely He would have been big and muscly, so that people would sit up and take notice? Yet in the Bible people take notice because He teaches with authority.

    Muscly Jesus isn't found in the Bible- and even appealing to the idea that He was a carpenter doesn't convince me. Yes, He might have been. But the Bible is silent on His physique. It wasn't bulging biceps, washboard stomach and chiselled pecs that enabled Him to endure the Cross- it was His love for His people.

    Muscly Jesus seems at first sight to be a logical inference, almost Biblical, but then when you look at this more you see that muscly Jesus is a Jesus in man's image.

    I am not saying that we should strive to have a fattier-than-thou attitude. But using muscly Jesus as an argument for why men should keep fit is wrong.

    And my concern about muscly Jesus extends to blokey Jesus.

    A man is an adult male made in God's image.

    A bloke is a late 20th/early 21st British concept. It carries with it the connotations of loving sport (especially football), liking fast cars, liking going to the pub for a drink, liking the great outdoors... And it is a subset of man which I am not part of.

    I have noticed in the modern Christian men's movement a recent development where "bloke" becomes the default term for Christian men. And it carries the connotation that to be proper Christian men we need to be into blokey things.

    I have gone to watch a football match, but don't like the game much. I remember a radio advert which began with a church service. "We will now sing hymn number..." and the congregation launch into the Match of the Day theme. And then the tag line "If football is your religion..." as it tried to flog you some magaxine.

    Precisely. It seems that a quintessential part of "blokeishness" is having football as your religion. You hear the arguments and rows- one man has a god named Arsenal, another's god is called Manchester United. Boys are indoctrinated into their dad's religion.

    I know the obvious reply- that football brings "blokes" together. Yes, but against a common opponent, against those who are "the other"- either locally (followers of a different religion) or nationally (people from another country).

    Sadly, the modern Christian men's movement doesn't challenge the idolatry in football. It's "blokey", blokeiness is next to godliness, so it's just embraced and baptised.

    Fast cars? I was at a Christian men's event recently where there was what was, apparently, an impressive car. But what message do we send out? What does striving for a status symbol car say? Tenth Commandment anyone?

    The message that you are what you own is that of the world. Not of the church.

    Are you going to be a better, more spiritual, more Christlike man if you own a status symbol car and wow your friends and neigbbours? Will you be able to drive it through the Pearly Gates?

    Going to pub? I have enough of a Methodist background (in the sense of once working for Methodist Homes for the Aged, and worshipping at an Anglican-Methodist church for a few years) to be teetotal (there is also the factor of the tablets I have to take, but even without that, I would be teetotal). I go to pubs with mates and drink soft drinks. I don't judge. But surely, we need to develop a Christian response to alcohol.

    This brings me back to my concern. To push blokieness as the only way for a Christian man to be is one thing- it excludes those of us who are not blokey- but to emphasise that Jesus was "a bloke" is another thing.

    Blokey Jesus is like muscly Jesus- a Jesus created in man's image. And the Jesus who exists in the mind is the one we aspire to be like.

    If you want to place an emphasis on Jesus being "a bloke" and insist on Christian men being "blokey", then stop and ask yourself what message you are sending:

  • to the blokey Christian, and what you are subtly telling him about his non-blokey brothers in Christ
  • to the non-blokey Christian, who gets the subtle message that he is a second-tier Christian
  • to the non-blokey non-Christian, who is turned away by your message
  • Let me be the man God made me to be, rather than guilt trip me for not being the bloke He didn't make me to be.

    I want to be more Christlike, not blokier. There is a difference, which emphasising the bloke Jesus Christ obscures.