06 April 2004

Methodist Church has its Moses moment 11th Commandment winners announced

The Methodist Church today announces the winners to its 11th commandment competition.


The winning entries are:


Thou shalt not worship false pop idols

Thou shalt not kill in the name of any god

Thou shalt not confuse text with love

Thou shalt not consume thine own body weight in fudge

Thou shalt not be negative


After promoting the competition on drinks mats and postcards distributed to hundreds of pubs, cafes, cinemas and student unions around the country, 2000 text message entrants vied to create the 11th commandment.


Simon Jenkins, editor of co-organisers shipoffools.com, said: We were thrilled to receive so many 11th commandments from people having Moses moments


He continued: The serious commandments that stood out were anti- organised religion, debt and war, but pro- tolerance and conservation of the earth. In the humorous ones you could almost hear the clink of glasses between the lines. Religion and laughter, Methodism and pubs, the 11th commandment competition has shown that they can live together


Revd Jonathan Kerry, Co-ordinating Secretary for Worship and Learning at the Methodist Church, was equally delighted: The response to this competition, including the media interest from right round the world, shows that people are definitely interested in talking about values and spiritual issues, even on a night out.  The challenge to the Church is to join the conversation where people are, not waiting for them to come to us.  We need to recover a sense of fun, and be more ready to listen than to judge.


The competition has provoked some criticism centred on the innovative and provocative designs used on the promotional postcards and drinks mats. Revd Kerry comments: We certainly did not set out to upset anybody, but these reactions demonstrate something of the communications gulf that exists between so much of the Church s message and the culture of most people in Britain today.  I hope that the Methodist Church can learn how to ensure that the reality of church life becomes as engaging as this competition has proved


On of the winners, Andrew Shaw, 21, a student from Essex thought that the competition was brilliant , and felt that it was a good idea to take the discussion into pubs . His commandment, Thou shalt not worship false pop idols , is particularly topical. Andrew himself explained: Celebrities are the golden calves of today. They do not serve any purpose other than to be idolised .


The criteria for the winning commandments was simple: they had to represent a cross-section of society, and be succinct, amusing and thought provoking. Revd Kerry again: They show the preoccupations of the time in which we live: people want to live in peace, avoid being drawn in by celebrity, and also by the temptations of life - such as fudge; honesty in a relationship is important too."


The 11th Commandment initiative was designed by The Methodist Church s 20s and 30s Group , and seeks to reach out to the missing generation of under-40s to discover what matters to them and what they think about God.


The competition has started a dialogue between the Church and adults in their 20s and 30s, and the Methodist Church is looking forward to sharing what people say by publishing a book with the best competition entries later in the year.



Some runners up:


Thou shalt not &


& dump your lover by text & dance like your dad & marry unless truly in love & change allegiance if your football team is relegated & hold loud conversations on thy mobile in a public place & condemn thy neighbour for having different beliefs & use faith to hide from reality & use plastic to multiply your possessions & shrink-wrap cucumbers& pretend to have no change when asked to donate to charity


Thou shalt &


& commit random acts of kindness& respect the earth& indicate at roundabouts& smile at the person opposite

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