THERE ARE clergy reading clubs that stick to works of theology; but not the
Clergy Book Club that meets every six weeks or so in Waterstone’s coffee shop
on Deansgate, Manchester.
They like to stretch their minds with a wide variety of books, including
novels. Their most recent was Bill Bryson’s
A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bryson’s amazing tour de force,
his travel through the history of science from the Big Bang to the genome.
“It was a very stimulating and challenging read,” says the Revd James Read
of St Bartholomew’s, Whitworth. “None of us were scientists, though none of us
were totally ignorant, but it bowled us over: the wonder of it, the hugeness of
time and space, the ever-expanding universe, yet also the micro, nano, the
He has read several of Bryson’s travel books, “always a very good read”, and
says that it was clear that Bryson was himself struggling with the scientific
concepts, but that only made him a better teacher. He was writing about “how”,
but not asking the huge question “Why?” It was the clergy group who asked that.
Yes, Mr Read says the book did expand his ideas of God.