Friday, 9 August 2013


A few days laid up with a sinus infection was the perfect opportunity to watch the BBC sit-com Rev all over. 

Before I had any inclination to watch the first series, I'd read reports of complaints at the depiction of an urban C of E priest as a smoking, swearing, drinking character.  Obviously, I'd heard rumours that ordained clergy might say the odd fiddlesticks or sip a small sherry - but the first five minutes of viewing were quite surprising!

And then the prayer scene (I think there's one in every episode).  While washing dishes, navigating a precarious cycle lane or on the loo, Adam's prayers are often very touching.  Natural, honest, caring.  His is no superficial spirituality.
Adam faces the reality of contemporary parish life.  His ministry seems to revolve around fundraising far more than he wants to; the urban needy erode all hopes of boundaries and a private life; the old moral certainties seem strangely absent in inner-city East London life today.  Enthusiasm about church-going tends to coincide with school league tables and having children around the age of 10.

Yep, there's just one thing harder than being a vicar.  Being married to one!
My goodness, I hope it turns out to be a bit easier in real life!  And yet, the show is extensively researched.  I've heard that the elements about which most complaints have been made to the BBC, happen to be the very ones based on real life ministry!

The series one finale depicts a crisis of faith and vocation.  That one was an eye-opener, as well as a tear-jerker.  It's a must-see for anyone considering ordained ministry - although the House of Bishops may decide the language is slightly too colourful to warrant being included in a selection conference.
As a younger Christian, I think I would have doubted whether Rev Adam Smallbone could really be saved.  Now, aged 34 and about to embark on ministerial training myself, I think there are many admirable qualities in him.  I hope not to be quite as potty-mouthed, but I could do far worse than to emulate his honesty and graciousness.

New series to air in 2013!  Yeroo!

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