Friday, 9 January 2009

Praying for Jonathan Aitken

Much to the disgust of some members of my extended family, I didn't go to church on Christmas day preferring to spend the time sleeping more and having a leisurely breakfast!
My wife, however, did go but was fuming when she got back.

Apparently, it was a good service and sermon up until the point the minister asked the congregation to pray for Jonathan Aitken!

Now I wish I had been there to see this for myself (lazy me!). Accordingly I can't produce any accurate quotes but according the the wife, the minister eulogised Aitken as some kind of later-day saint.

He had had a really hard time as when he found out he was might go to prison he got a bit ill and also the poor diddums had to, of course, go to prison.
All together now, aaahhhh.

I asked if there was any mention of him being a sinner that repenteth (being a pseudo-Christian I suppose I would have to accept this for a valid reason for forgiveness and maybe prayers) but apparently not.
It was just that he was a good man. Hmmm.

The wife said she thought he was big in Alpha -that brain-washing evangelical Christian course.
(That may sound a bit harsh about Alpha but I know a couple of people who have done it and I watched all of the programmes on Alpha ITV did narrated by David Frost which was forced to be moved late at night after OFCOM ruled that it was pure propaganda!)

A quick google turned up this Guardian article from 2004 which includes:

From the pulpit, the minister says, "Let us pray for Jonathan Aitken, for his continued written and spoken mission ... "

So, it's clearly nothing new!

Doubling worrying that my wife's Christmas experience was in the Church of Scotland (not CofE) who are usually much more sensible about these things...


The Burbler said...

Jonathan Aitken came to our church and preached. As you mention, the Lord loves a sinner who repents.It is for us to pray and God to judge.

I chatted to him outside the church briefly. He seemed a decent enough cove, if retaining some natural aloofness and stand-offishness, which perhaps derives from his very tall height and background. We both marvelled at the thickness of Esther Rantzen's make-up (she had arrived for a christening of surrogate-born US triplets (another story) shortly after the service at which Mr Aitken preached. He's not Mr Charisma, let's face it.

It would be interesting to know what else the congregation were asked to pray for and consider at the same service your wife attended. Probably a list of about a thousand things, through the various intercessions, hymns, lessons etc, I wouldn't wonder.

Part of being a Christian is to hand things over to God. I doubt whether I would leave a detailed examination of Aitken's past with him without a large degree of incredulity and head shaking. I would personally hold him up as an excellent example of someone who got ridiculously too big for his boots and who got his comeuppance through the justice system and, more accurately, as a result of a hard-working Guardian journalist who spent days going through old hotel receipts in a Swizz basement archive.

He's been humbled. I wouldn't myself single him out as a paragon above many, many other people. But, as I say, part of being a Christian is handing things over to the Lord. I hope your wife and you enjoyed your Christmas day, despite this.

LibCync said...


Obviously memories are fading but she says that what was galling was that it was a main part of the sermon and was not amongst a list of others to pray for (she said at the time, "aren't there more deserving people"). Repentance wasn't mentioned but he talked about the struggles the poor chap had to go through.

Just odd and a little jarring I thought.

The Burbler said...

Bearing that in mind, I'd tend to agree.