26 JULY 1968, Page 30

Scalping times

Sir: I must say I felt myself put off by the last thought of Auberon Waugh's book review con- cerning Wilderness Kingdom by Father Nicholas Point (12 July): . . at a time when Christianity still believed that it had something worthwhile to teach.'

I find the remark offensive for a number of reasons, the chief of which is that it seems another self-conscious gem, a precious closing, which is supposedly designed to leave the reader impressed with the clever and pithy insight of the reviewer. This seems to be a-very familiar ending to book reviews these days: the clever turn of phrase or superficially clever insight that ties the review up in a neat package and drops it deftly in the lap of the reader.

Another reason which nettles me about this particular closing remark, and it is no worse than many closing remarks one finds in other interesting and pedestrian book reviews, is that I am one of those wretches who spends his days as an 'RE mafi,' trying to get across to recalcitrant and often bored schoolchildren something of the poiht of Christianity. And while I readily acknowledge that in 1968 Christianity may be properly accused of muddled and often intensely ambiguous theo- logy, of archaic ceremony and misplaced piety, it is another thing to accuse its adherents of faintheartedness and insincerity. We may be in ' the twilight of the Christian faith, and possibly its end, but I hope at least that its obituary plumbs much deeper, and brings forth more honest talk than the remark made by Mr Waugh, which is so obviously off the top of his head and intended only to elicit admiration for his mental agility.