Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Thursday, 25 December 2008

Church attack on TV 'perfection'

Alexandra Burke
Is X Factor winner Alexander Burke too perfect for the general good?

TV shows such as The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing are criticised for their pursuit of perfection in the Archbishop of Wales' Christmas sermon.

Dr Barry Morgan said such programmes sought an image of perfection at odds with Christmas and the life of Jesus.

The archbishop said the ideal of perfection could also be seen in Christmas cards and sentimental carols.

But Christmas was about God in Christ coming into a messy world, he said at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.

"And the trouble with us is that we are so hooked on looking for perfection, that we are in danger of failing to understand the true significance of this feast," the archbishop told the congregation.

"So The X Factor judges regard as total rubbish anyone who is less than perfect in their eyes as they search for a flawless performance.

Dr Barry Morgan
Christmas is not about escapism into some perfect world, it is about the real world
Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales

"Strictly Come Dancing judges couldn't cope with John Sergeant because he couldn't dance perfectly and never claimed to, and I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! looks for a flawless celebrity able to withstand all kinds of humiliations without blinking an eyelid."

The archbishop said Jesus, in contrast, focused on our imperfections and spent his time with those whose lives were racked with pain, suffering, doubt and grief.

"Christmas is not about escapism into some perfect world, it is about the real world.

"God dealing with the world as it is, where so much is wrong, where there is so much pain, suffering and anguish," he said.

But TV cook Nigella Lawson came in for praise from the archbishop for saying she would settle for chips and curry sauce over the festive period because many women felt under pressure to produce the perfect Christmas.

John Sergeant and Kristina Rihanoff
John Sergeant's Strictly Come Dancing won fans, but failed to impress judges

Meanwhile, the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, the Reverend Haydn Thomas, pondered the meaning of "good will to all men" in his Christmas message.

"It means showing tolerance towards all people, no matter what their creed, race, gender or politics," he said.

"It means accepting that everyone has a right to express their opinion even though they don't necessarily believe the same as you."

He said he was hurt by the two members of the Welsh assembly who invited poet Patrick Jones to read his poems at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

The poet's reading of his collection of poems Darkness Is Where The Stars Are led to protests and claims that his work was "obscene and blasphemous".

Margaret Jones, president of the Union of Welsh Independent Chapels, in her Christmas message, called on people who only attended services at Christmas to consider attending regularly in 2009.

She said attending chapel or church could offer "security and comfort at a time of great economic uncertainty".

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