Rev Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James Piccadilly, handy for Fortnum and Mason

And in the Big News today from a Faith Perspective, happy anniversary of the death of John Bunyan. He wrote a book that is really, really relevant today. It explains how to solve all our problems.

3 thoughts on “Rev Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James Piccadilly, handy for Fortnum and Mason

  1. Winkett, on the country’s most listened to news programme, decides that the big news, from a religious perspective, is to beset us round with the dismal story that a Christian writer of allegories died 344 years ago today.
    If to be a pilgrim is to travel to a shrine or holy place as a devotee then I hope Winkett enjoys her trip to see St Bernadette’s bones. Oh no, sorry, wrong type of Christianity! But then Bunyan was hardly C of E himself.
    Still, we can valiant be ‘gainst all disasters and maybe send a few quid to help with aid to Pakistan’s disaster hit population, but maybe Winkett might hope that she can persuade them at the same time to follow the Master instead of their inferior prophet.
    I wonder whose prayers are being answered in Sindh province, Lucy?


  2. I note that the original version of Bunyan’s hymn ‘To be a pilgrim’ which begins ‘He who would valiant be’ referred to a ‘hobgoblin’ and a ‘foul fiend’. These were later removed in the revised version of the hymn by Percy Dearmer in 1906, though some later versions have reinstated them. Evidently confusion and controversy continue to rage within the C of E as to whether these creatures actually exist. Anyone who spots one should probably report it to their local Vicar or alternatively book an appointment with Specsavers.


  3. “The Pilgrim’s Progress” must be about the most widely read Christian text outside the Bible. It has never been out of print; it has been translated into dozens of languages; and it has inspired many other works of art, some of them quite good. I was given a copy as a child, but I didn’t like it much. I knew I was supposed to be a Christian, and I found most off-putting the trials and tribulations that the pilgrim Christian had to put up with.

    It’s not clear why Lucy Winkett is celebrating such an arbitrary number of years since Bunyan’s death (perhaps she does it every year?) What is clear is that Bunyan’s intricate allegory is almost meaningless to most people today. It’s not just the 17th-century language, which is quite good in its way, or the many Biblical references, which will pass most people by because very few people, even (or especially) Christians, have any detailed knowledge of the Bible at all.

    It’s also because Christian has almost no ‘agency’, to use a vogue term. Bunyan was inspired by Calvin, and therefore believed that salvation came from repentance and grace, not through works and deeds. Christian is too passive to be a contemporary hero, even for believers.


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