6 August 2010

Reflecting on Rev.

A lot has already been said about Rev. and I don't feel I need to go over old ground by repeating every comment I've read recently. The Guardian have carried an interesting round-up of opinions from real clergy, which I found interesting, and the Church Mouse links to a number of reviews in his Friday round-up.

There are four things I'd like to add:
  1. Please BBC can we have another series? We need more of this kind of thoughtful and relevant comedy, even if the licence fee gets slashed. This should be the 'bread and butter' of the BBC's comedy output.
  2. I liked Dibley at the time it was broadcast. It was good fun and lighthearted, and the characters were appealing, though not in the slightest realistic. The arrival of Rev. has made me realise that Dibley didn't actually do much for the church (I concede that it wasn't necessarily meant to). It was so far removed from reality, that it was just comedy. In my opinion, Rev. is in a different league. It still exaggerates and caricatures the people of the church, but the characters remain believable. And it isn't just the characters; the stories are very real to those of us in the church. The reality of the characters and the stories mean that we aren't just laughing at comedy, we're laughing at ourselves. With the best will in the world, most of us would struggle to say the same about Dibley.
  3. I thought the final episode was the best, though I know some found it a bit bleak and dark. For me it spoke about some of the hard realities about ministry (such that I appreciate them). I've known a number of clergy over the years who have had to resign following affairs, one of them very recently and quite close to home. As part of my preparation for selection, this was an area that I explored with my vocations advisor (not that I'm thinking about having an affair), and I came to realise that the clergy are human, and humans often err, sometimes significantly. It doesn't make it easy to come to terms with when it happens, but I think it's the only conclusion I can get to when I feel let-down and disappointed by the actions of those I respect. So Adam's attempt at flirtation with the headteacher (right under his wife's nose) was a part of the programme that made me think a bit! 
  4. I thought that the way the writers concluded the episode was a reminder of the gravity and responsibility of the priestly vocation, and an affirmation of my own vocation. Despite the best efforts of the world, we seem still to need God. And most of us still need someone to help us to find the space to approach him amongst the business of our lives; especially at the times in our lives when we are facing change. I suppose Rev. has confirmed to me the potential difficulties of the path I'm following, and it's affirmed my motivation to carry on despite those risks.


  1. I enjoyed the series and like you found a lot to reflect on. I wonder how many lecturers will use excerpts to illustrate their point?

  2. I'm not an Anglican, but a retired CofS cleric, and I couldn't take the realism. Too sad, too awful, too soon....maybe I'll get to see it on repeats a few years hence.

  3. Thanks for the comments.
    @jante - I think you're right, we may be seeing more of Rev Smallbone during training

    @Freda - I suppose that's the risk of realism. Maybe buy it when it comes out on DVD.