Book of the Month: June, 2012

Christianity with Attitude by Giles Fraser

This book is a collection of short articles. The author is currently best known as the until recently Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s who stepped down over his colleagues’ treatment of the Occupy protesters; as arguably the most astringent Christian voice of Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’; and a contributor to Church Times and the Guardian. Dr Fraser’s views ought to shock us into paying attention.

His voice is one of  uncompromising, forthright, raw Christianity. Our God, he says (echoing Luther), is not a bullying parent demanding our submission to a single set of rules. He, who comes to us naked and vulnerable, loves us precisely as we are, asking only that we accept His grace. Yet in His name Christians demand that others conform to their certainties, and bully those who do not (‘Christianity is obsessed with control’) – hence the homophobia still prevalent within the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.

Hence, Islamophobia . Hence also ‘Christian Voice’,  Reform’s attitude to women, Bishop Akinola, and the diocese of Sydney. Fraser (founder and president ofInclusiveChurch) spares none of them in his withering contempt.

The voice of the latter-day  prophet is also that of a father – not least when he knows he must keep his hands from the moulding of his children’s beliefs but fears the results, nor when he shares his loathing of the American fundamentalism that publishes a book on child-rearing advocating hitting babies with sticks.

Though still bitterly opposed to the invasion ofIraq,  the voice is also that of the highly-respected speaker on Ethics and Leadership at theDefenceAcademy, Shrivenham. ‘Ethics’, he says, ‘is not a danger to soldiers. It can be the only purpose of soldiers’ existence.’

Giles Fraser was the lecturer for this year’s Sarum Theological lectures.  Whether or not you managed to hear him, I  very strongly commend this book.

Reviewed by Julia Taylor

Published by SCM Canterbury Press, ‘Christianity with attitude’ is normally priced at £9.99.   Quote this website to order a copy at the special price of £8.99 and POST FREE from Sarum College Bookshop until June 30th 2012. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Sarum College Bookshop’.

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