Recently attended a lecture about this Salford Anglican priest who was active there between and after the two world wars of the last century. Strong character. Despised gambling and drinking. Very demanding. Turned down academic and episcopal appointments. Castigated the clergy for their inexcusable laziness. A vegetarian because he thought it healthier. Favoured remarriage in church of 'innocent' spouse after divorce. Preferred life sentences to execution because they allowed more time for repentance. Was ahead of his time on women's ordination and lay ministry. A peacetime pacifist who yet thought that World War Two was the lesser of two evils. A reformer on such matters as euthanasia and assisted suicide. He read the bible, not as the revelation of God, but as the history of the revelation. He believed that the Fall took place in a state of pre-existence. He called it the fall of the world's soul - original sin.
One could not but respect and even admire his energy and passion. I'm not as sure that I would have loved and liked him. One example. He taught that prayers should be said kneeling, or they were useless. I thought of a contemporary of his, a priest who was my Rector at home, the Revd Father F. W. Osborn. I'll bet he never said prayers other than kneeling, even on the coldest, hardest floor. But he would never have condemned the more comfortable offerings most of us make as useless. What conceit.