12 thoughts on “Rev Dr Rob Marshall, Priest at St John the Evangelist, Welwyn Garden City

  1. The less interesting and relevant Christianity becomes to people in this country, the more its cheerleaders try to colonise secular activities in a desperate bid to raise its profile. This year the TftD mob have gone after sport in a big way: the Euros, the Olympics and now the Ryder Cup.

    I don’t know which history books Rob Marshall has been reading, but Roman sport was certainly not the epitome of gentlemanly behaviour and team spirit. Winning was what counted, by whatever means. And it’s no good bringing St Paul into the equation (hasn’t Rob done this before?) If Paul was really bothered about any sport, he would probably claim that he had received the rules in a vision from the IMF and not from any human source. But who can imagine that bossy, bad-tempered misogynist taking any interest in a recreational activity for its own sake anyway?

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  2. This one who has dropped reverend from his name but kept doctor spins the most awful thoughts about any old sport and the bits of the Bible he clearly read long ago. I do not wish to be told about such parallels between golf and the gospel and using the phrase Hold up your heads I find very blasphemous and that it should be used in its correct context as referring to the end of the world and not holes on one of these courses.

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  3. Whenever I used to play football I had a litte bit of paper tucked into my sock with a verse from the Bible to remind me how to treat my opponents. I took this bit from Deuteronomy 7:2 – “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, [and] utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them”.
    Whenever I was given a yellow or red card for following these Bible edict the referees were unimpressed when I showed them the quote in mitigation of my tactics. I used to think this was very unfair but the FA would back the referees judgement every time.
    When I was unfairly banned I decided to take up fishing instead and then got into trouble with the authorities for trying to follow Exodus 7:19 – “Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood.”
    “Why can’t you just try and catch perch like the rest of us”, they would say.
    Blimey, you can’t win in sport can you when it comes to following the Bible rules.

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  4. This never rose above the level of a public school chapel sermon, on the same level as ‘Play up, and play the game.’ It smacked of that Victorian church revival that threw its hopes behind ‘muscular Christianity.’ Churches started football, cricket and athletic clubs, hoping to mould clean-living, temperate, and team-spirited young men in their churches; and clergy who wanted to’shine’ made sure they were seen on the pitch too. It was all so, so, healthy and manly (the women dutifully made cakes and jam and served the tea). The Rev Mr Mansell’s popular hymn ‘Fight the good fight’ fitted this image perfectly – as Muscular Christianity also favoured popping boys and men into uniform whenever opportunity arose, the Church Lads’ Brigade, Boys’ Brigade, Volunteers and Territorials. The verse ‘Run the straight race, with God’s good grace’ closely parallels Marshall’s quoted golf course ‘prayer.’

    Sadly, Muscular Christianity served only to bolster the militarisation of the country, and shaped the jingoistic mind-set that led to waves of both volunteers and regular soldiers dying in the mud and squalor of the Somme, Neuve Chapelle, Gallipoli etc. StephenJP has accurately spotted the way this kind of Christian thought persists.

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    1. Hear hear AE Housman fell in love with such a muscular Christian called Moses Jackson and then created a fantasy figure called the Shropshire Lad by looking at maps of a county he never really visited. What are those blue remembered hills? Invictus is a poem of atheistic muscularity and what did Prince Harry call his games for wounded soldiers? If you vandalise the device on Roman legionary banners you end up with S P O R T as many a Latin primer thus defaced will tell. What if you cant stand sport and object to saints being made of men who do nothing but kick a ball and end up with dementia.

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    1. If I recognise the name I am afraid he will.never feature.in the anodyne Thought. Did you notice how the BBC failed to mention all the abuse uncovered by the recent report. They settled for criticising only the Jehovahs Witnesses whereas telling the truth about what goes on in mosques and synagogues would have set the cat among the pigeons for moaning Mona and the Chief Rabbiter On. I would largely class what passes on Thought for the Day as abuse of another kind…it verges on taking the Lords name in vain when it purports to come from Christians. Many of the fakes have gone but the phoniness like the Gospel of Golf remains.

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      1. I think the BBC report is balanced and mentions all the various religions involved, although it does discuss the JW problems at length.
        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58420270
        Other reports are available that have various takes on the report:
        ITN: – https://www.itv.com/news/2021-09-02/shocking-failures-as-report-finds-child-sex-abuse-prevalent-in-many-religions
        Daily Mail – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9950895/Child-sex-abuse-inquiry-blasts-major-religions-shocking-failures-stop-attacks.html
        GB News – https://www.gbnews.uk/gb-views/alastair-stewart-action-must-follow-abuse-inquiry-findings/123226
        The issue for TFTD contributors is that it has NEVER been mentioned by a single one despite it being the biggest religious news item of the last year..

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    2. Thanks for the link, PaulT

      Yes, ‘the Church of England’s Jimmy Savile’ indeed. I was struck by the article’s observation that abusers can only abuse in organisations that enable it. I think this has been absolutely, and tragically, true of the C of E; the obscenity and injustice of it all is compounded by the Church’s continued failure fully to acknowledge that, as an institution, it enabled abuse – I guess to do that would result in financial disaster.

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      1. Thanks, PaulT. TFTD has consistently failed to address uncomfortable news (Mona, as ever, being an exception).
        All that child abuse, all that secrecy, all that unwillingness to fully acknowledge their faults. Yet society continues to respect religions – only IMFs know why.

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  5. The Wall of Eternally Unanswered Prayer is in the news again after paying for a company called SavantaComRes to do a survey on a couple of thousand people to see if they pray.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58681075
    I think the BBC staff writer is having fun by then interviewing a couple of Muslims. The infamous wall will not feature any Muslim prayers, only those that have been asked of the Christian god. Muslim prayers don’t count apparently.
    I would like to find what the actual questions were in the survey. To get that high a figure I imagine they were along the lines of “During the lockdown have you thought about prayer” rather than “Which god do you believe in and do you think your prayers will be acted on by that god”.
    Lots of young people would say they are “spiritual” or believe in angels/life after death/heaven/crystal therapy/horoscopes etc. but I don’t think we are in for a Christian revival.
    Meanwhile, the Wall is on a month long fund raiser to raise £2.5 million and after 13 days is up to £193,000. Maybe they aren’t praying hard enough?

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