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Rob Slane: ‘Christian Paganism’ advocate appointed Bishop – well nearly


(If you think I am only joking check this Article after reading my blog)

The Church of England has appointed a leading advocate of a new form of Christian Paganism as Bishop of Barking and Batty. On 26th November, the Prime Minister’s Office announced the Queen had approved the nomination of Rev Darren Goring to the Suffragan See in the diocese of Nutbury.

The new Bishop, who will be consecrated in February at Westminster Abbey, is an advocate of “Fruit Cakery”, a modern form of paganism, which attempts to syncretise “some of the nice parts of the New Testament” with practices such as tree worship, and bowing down to the sun, moon and stars. In her recent book – Christianity & Paganism: A Marriage Made in Heaven? – Rev Darren urged the need for churches to educate their members on this issue:

“There is need for much education and openness to talk about issues of paganism in the church. We need to remove false taboos which we tend to have about worshipping nature and bowing down to trees, and to show how God is really okay with it. After all, he made them didn’t he?”

Darren, who is TBPT – Transsexual But Practising Transvestitism (she was born a woman, had a sex change operation at the age of 24, but now prefers to wear women’s clothes and insist on being called Darren) – became an advocate of Fruit Cakery in the late 1990s whilst out on a Celtic walking and spirituality holiday. She says that the experience transformed her view of God:

“Previously, I’d wanted to believe in God, but struggled with all those passages about sin and repentance. Walking with Celts transformed my view of God, and I came to see how I might be able to remain in the church – even teaching in the church – whilst ignoring the majority of the Bible and Christian teaching down the centuries.”

To her critics who point out that the Bible is full of warnings against the worship of trees and nature, Rev Darren points out that all those references are in the Old Testament, and we’re not to bother with that any more, although she does make a couple of exceptions for what she calls that “nice passage in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 about everything having a time and a season, and that Psalm about lying in green pastures.”

She also has what she calls her “trump card” – a verse in the New Testament where Jesus mentions green trees: ‘For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?’ (Luke 23:31).

“It’s clear from this that Jesus spoke warmly of green trees,” she says. “And doesn’t it follow from this that he must be fine not just with green tree worship, but also all-of-nature worship itself?”

This is unlikely to appease the Bible-believing Christians who claim that Christianity and paganism are by definition anathema to one another. Darren not only believes this to be totally misguided, but also very harmful to a person’s sense of self-worth:

“I believe it is actually more fitting for a Christian than a non-Christian to be a pagan given that Christians are new creations living before God, who need not know that shame which has traditionally given paganism such symbolic potency. Fruit Cakery teaches that this ‘hang up’ about being both Christian and pagan is both morally wrong and mentally harmful. Christ came to deliver us from our hang ups, so that we can go on to find our true and inner selves. In Fruit Cakery there are no limits, horizons are broadened and nothing is off limits.”

One of the more controversial of Rev Darren’s teachings is what is known as Wisha Wisha, a practice that involves listening to the trees. She got the idea from Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood where the children would wrap their arms around the trees to hear them speak:

“I believe that the trees speak and that God speaks to us through the trees. Not only this, but I believe we can speak back to God through the trees – a bit like prayer – and make our wishes known to him/her that way.”

She has already announced plans for planting a grove just outside Barking and Batty Cathedral where worshippers can go to the trees to make their wish-prayers known. Yet she is also mindful that not everyone will be happy with the new arrangements, and so in a gesture of conciliation she has agreed to keep the early morning traditional service going.

We asked one traditionalist in the diocese, who asked to remain nameless, what he thought about Rev Darren’s appointment. Although clearly not happy, he told us that he didn’t feel the time was quite right to leave the CofE, especially as he’d been there all his life. However, he warned that the established church shouldn’t count on his unqualified support and a few more things like this might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, forcing him to think really hard about whether he might be better off attending somewhere else.

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Rob Slane
Rob Slane
Rob is married to Alina, and they live with their six children in Salisbury. He blogs regularly at

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