Church attendance has doubled at the church of Rev'd Stephanie, who is described as 'blonde' and 'pretty.' She is also a Cambridge theology graduate and has exchanged a high-powered job for the calling to ordained ministry.
If we have a secure theology of our wholeness, of the incarnation and a healthy body-theology, there should be no reason to think anything apart from people's attraction to someone vibrant and fresh-looking who has the message of the gospel to impart. I wonder what this kind of media attention says about the preconceived images that are at large about your typical cleric or even your typical Christian, at that.
Our recent horizons have been dominated by images of Christians, on the latest Louis Theroux program, who were full of hatred and took to the streets with their homophobic campaigns. We have also been treated to the apocalyptic predictions of one Harold Camping, who has now revised Armageddon for October 31st.
What we desperately need is more coverage of a church that is approachable and relevant, a church where the 'girl next door' might be just as easily be also that very vicar in the pulpit the next time you choose to attend church.
What do you think Steph's image does for Christianity? Is it an issue? Why the attention on the looks of this woman? Would similar articles be written about an attractive young man?
There has been mixed reaction to this post in terms of my linking to the Daily Mail and in terms of this paper's coverage of the story.
What kind of response does this article invoke in you and for what reasons?