Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Is God Still an Englishman?

The long train journey to and from Plymouth gave me time to read Cole Moreton's Is God Still an Englishman? How We Lost Our Faith (But Found New Soul)   

Moreton, a former Charismatic, former Alternative Worship type and now former Christian weaves together cultural commentary, autobiography and the occasional thread of sociology as he examines transformations in England, Englishness and in particular the religion, faith and spirituality of the English.  He does it in a highly readable way too.  Moreton visits John Wimber and the Death of Diana, The Nine O'Clock Service and Anti War Marches, Billy Graham and Greenham Common, Morris Cerullo and Jade Goody.  I see much of my story in his, the public events that have shaped his life touched mine also.  But even if you're not a middle-aged working class boy who converted to Christianity in his teens it's still well worth the nine hours or so it takes to read.

Like me you may not be quite as sanguine as Moreton about all the aspects of the rebranding and thinning of English religiosity but the author's own destination is not the point, what counts is the scenery he points out on route.  This is a non academic but well informed and convincing journalistic portrayal of the passing of English christendom and the ebbs and flows of secularisation.  Highly recommended.

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