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Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit (English Edition)
 
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Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Richard Coles

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Présentation de l'éditeur

The Reverend Richard Coles is a parish priest in Northamptonshire and a regular host of BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live. He is also the only vicar in Britain to have had a number 1 hit single: the Communards' 'Don't Leave Me This Way' topped the charts for four weeks and was the biggest-selling single of its year. Fathomless Riches is his remarkable memoir in which he divulges with searing honesty and intimacy his pilgrimage from a rock-and-roll life of sex and drugs to a life devoted to God and Christianity.



Music is where it began. Richard Coles was head chorister at school, and later discovered a love of saxophone together with the magic of Jimmy Somerville's voice. Against a backdrop of intense sexual and political awakening, the Communards were formed, and Richard Coles's life as a rock star began.



Fathomless Riches
- a phrase characteristic of St Paul and his followers - is a deeply personal and illuminating account of a transformation from hedonistic self-abandonment to 'the moment that changed everything'. Funny, warm, witty and wise, it is a memoir which has the power to shock as well as to console. It will be hailed as one of the most unusual and readable life stories of recent times.


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Amazon.com: 5.0 étoiles sur 5  2 commentaires
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An honest unmasking of previous pomposity 20 octobre 2014
Par Mr. D. P. Jay - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
I’ve met Fr. Coles twice, before he was ordained, and thought he was pompous and snobby. I read this book too quickly and felt sad when there was no more to read (a sequel, please?) and I now realise that his outward manner was hiding insecurity so I have warmed to him. Pun intended, ‘never judge a book by its cover.’ (Though, literally, the cover is an unsuccessful attempt to imitate Gilbert and George – or, less likely, Pierre et Gilles.)

As a teenager ambling along the sea front on a Sunday night, I remember the Salvation Army starting up around 8.00 and people giving their personal testimony. One was a prostitute with a drug habit until she got converted. I always felt they were more interesting before they got God. This book is written in that style. However, the absorbing, non-pious bits are quite a large section which deals with the Communards and Red Wedge. There is a harrowing section about the era of AIDS called ‘Auntie Ada’. It includes a good funeral conducted by the Salvation Army where there is no coy cover up of gayness nor the cause of the death – which was rare back then. A poignant account of another funeral: coffin carried by friends who did not have much to lift by the time the virus had finished with him.

However, there is much that is life-affirming in the recounting of AIDS stories, such as the real goodness of so many people.

Someone in my book group is thinking of suggesting this book for one of our future meetings. I wondered whether some people might be put off my the amount of religion but it’s not until page 197 (of a total of 278 pages) that it starts in earnest and, even then, there are plenty of other topics like being a radio presenter.

Pete Bennett of Big Brother fame, gets a mention as he was bought by his mother on one of their tours.

The author’s childhood is revealing. At age 6 he had a reading age of 12 and his mother told him off for showing off. He was an accomplished liar and referred to as a ‘peculiar little boy.’ He was the last to be chosen for team games, like me, and, also like me, had plaster busts of Bach and Beethoven.

Like me, he stayed up late at night until into his forties.

As a choirboy, he sang canticles by Dyson, Stanford and Noble which were also in our repertoire when I was in a choir. His choirmaster insisted that the Oxford Easy Anthem book was hidden behind a cover so that the word ‘easy’ wasn’t on display.

I think I was an atheist before he was. It seems to be a good rehearsal for doing theology later on. Indeed, people who believe in everything tend to make mediocre theologians.

He has good taste in men, judging by the photo of Matthew. (Though his first sex was late, at age eighteen)
He mentions Jennings and Darbishire, of whom I had never heard, which shows that he’s more middle class than me.

When he is warned that masturbation can make you go blind, his eyesight is so poor that he decides to risk it.

There are various allusions to Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer (a couple didn’t simply get married, they were ‘joined together in Holy matrimony.) and the King James Bible (her son was ‘not as other men are’) throughout, which will probably be lost to younger readers.

There’s a few good literary allusions, like ‘feasting with panthers’ (Oscar Wilde, for those who don’t recognise the phrase.) And ‘the melancholy, long, withdrawing roar (of Communism.) - Matthew Arnold.

I loved this account of a drag queen nicking a vacuum cleaner.

I had to look up ‘Mivvi’ – ice lolly. Not posh, though I later had to look up croque-en-bouche = a French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel. I’d never heard of Boden but I now know that it is a brand name for a certain type of clothing.

He narrowly missed the pleasure boat Marchionness, which sank, because of a serious water leak in his flat.
His experience of High Mass at S. Alban’s Holborn is almost exactly the same as mine, though I was an adolescent in a small town anglo-catholic church when I had mine. The elevation of the consecrated host, by sacred ministers wearing damask vestments, surrounded by clouds of incense and attended to by torchbearers is wonderful for those of us who love drama. It was John Wesley who said that Holy Communion was ‘a converting ordinance’ though he was only used to Cranmer’s rite conducted from the north end of the table. I’m not sure that Coles is right to describe it as a ‘protestant’ conversion, not least because it was a shared experience in community rather than an individual surrender in a private room or a ‘going forward’ at some evangelistic rally.

Some people that I know personally feature. The diligent master of ceremonies at S. Alban’s is remarkably patient despite his perfectionism. (And I loved this bit: On Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of the week that culminates with Easter, there was a procession round the parish, everyone carrying palm crosses as a reminder of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Our triumphal progress round Holborn was led by the Master of Ceremonies, who used a special stick to indicate piles of dog s*** imperilling our seemly progress.) Sara Maitland is exactly the sort of person to point Coles in the right direction (once she has stopped talking) and Fr. Gaskell has been a blessing to countless numbers of people.

I am not sure I liked his ‘outing’ of some gay clergy (unless they were already out and/or had given him permission to do so. Coles tells his own story built I am not so sure that he should tell stories that belong to others.

I have an atheist friend who regularly goes on retreat to Buckfast Abbey and who will scream with laughter when I tell him that it is nicknamed, because of its business acumen, ‘Fastbuck Abbey.

The recent synod on the family, which voted against welcoming homosexuals into the church, will lead to a perpetuation of his experience in confession of a priest focussing on homosexual ‘genital acts’ rather than in helping him ‘to be more attentive, more forbearing, more clear-sighted, more just, more loving, in my relationships with other people’.

I think that we Anglicans do confession better – maybe because there are fewer punters so we can take more time on it and go into more depth than just a shopping list of misdemeanours.

I was aware that Ephesians was probably not written by S. Paul but not that is it probably not an epistle, nor that it wasn’t meant for Ephesus. Now that I think about it, it lacks the traditional salutations and some manuscripts omit reference to that city.

I didn’t know there was a gay porn star called Harry Enfield in addition to the bloke on the telly.

Coles was unfortunate in having a migraine at his selection conference (he describes the procedure by which would-be ordinands are screened very well) and a heavy cold just before his ordination.

His descriptions of Mirfield, especially during Holy Week, brought back fond memories for me, though I don’t think Peter Allen would like to be described as ‘short and silky’. I was sad to see that a coterie choose ‘names in religion’ (drag names) for new students. I thought that only happened at St. Stephen’s House, Oxford. Same with alcohol – but now I can see why Coles thought that a cocktail cabinet was essential equipment for a seminarian.

I can better his account of a student and guest noisily having sex on Good Friday. When I was there, some years previously, a couple had sex on a single bed on the guest wing. The legs collapsed and the bed crashed on to the stone floor during the greater silence before the Easter Vigil and the whole wing was awake.

I had forgotten how liturgically fussy the place was, where errors of choreography or speech/singing were jumped on. I remember the late Brother Dunstan interjecting, ‘That’s the wrong reading’. And it’s not as if anyone was going to preach on the text during a weekday evensong.

I had an interesting interlude finding about what a Dieux du Stade calendar was.

His feelings about Uganda and the Anglican Communion are a lesson for some of us. Despite Uganda’s vilification of may people , the Mirfield fathers vigorously fought. (I remember reading, in the 1960s) about the boy Hugh Masekela getting a trumpet from Fr. Trevor Huddleston and hadn’t realised he was still alive. Reading about Steve Biko’s widow was also good. So maybe the Communion is worth preserving after all.)

Coles was the first to visit the vestment sellers setting up stalls in the college. Why doesn’t that surprise me?

After an unsuccessful religious broadcast, someone denounced Coles as ‘the worst thing to happen to Christendom since Charles Darwin.’ That’s very far from the mark since a friend of mine who works in schools says that the only priest that most of the kids approve of is Richard Coles. Whither mission to a new generation if clergy like him are to be demonised?

The C of E‘s most vociferous killjoys, a group ironically called ‘Reform’ have stated, ‘The promiscuous behaviour, it seems, was not seen as sin leading to lostness from which he needed salvation, but a positive part of Coles’ spiritual journey, affirming him as a good and attractive person, from where he felt able to move towards God to satisfy the hunger in his soul. He says this: “Do I think it was consistent with a Christian calling? No. We are called upon to be faithful. But it was extremely healing for me. Would I repudiate it? No…I can’t.”….. A much more serious problem is the ‘Gospel’ he is promoting, whereby sexual excess liberates the soul and affirms the believer in his or her identity and self worth, leading to closer encounter with God and eventual settling into domestic “faithfulness”. Some are no doubt thinking that this Gospel could become popular and even arrest the decline of the C of E, asking why we haven’t thought of it before. Will Church leaders, ‘faithful’ in the true sense of the word, dare to speak and act against what is an ancient and destructive heresy?

Well, the ‘destructive heresy’ is that promoted by Reform – they seem completely unaware of the spiritual classics’ take on desire. They are also aware of the lives of the great saints. Reform, need to repent of the false god, which is an idol that they have created in its own image.

There are a few errors in memory – Gay Sweatshop did not precede but succeeded Consenting Adults. Gay News was monthly, not weekly.

Compline does not come from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Its English form is from the ‘deposited book’ of 1928
I wish there was an index. I wanted to find mention of bassist David Renwick (pp. 81, 104)

The book ends with his diaconal ordination with a lovely anecdote: Nicky, vicar of the church down on the estate, where lives could be as rough as any lives anywhere. … told me that the bishop had been recently to confirm some of her kids and asked them before the service if they had any questions. There was silence, apart from one girl who said, 'I've nicked this top from me nan, but do you think it shows too much tit for church?'

A wonderful book that made me reflect upon my own life; a life and experiences similar in some ways and different in others. I was moved to tears after reading some chapters and one of those who rarely ‘allows’ tears.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A good read that should not be missed. 17 décembre 2014
Par bbutton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Richard Coles is a blend of different faces: celebrity who appears on television at award shows and quiz shows, C of E vicar who holds the hands of the elderly and listens to their stories, faithful partner, fond dachshund owner, lover of fine music and literature. In this frank autobiography, he allows us to look beneath those faces and reveals his less-than-conventional past. From shy teen to partying pop star who experienced all the sex and drugs the music industry can offer, Coles is frank about his past and his journey to a new life of service in the Church.
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