The "Rev" in question, Adam Smallbone, is an all too human vicar that it's impossible not to like. Put down upon by just about everybody, his impeccable liberal credentials and varying levels of naivety and insecurity makes for a very heart-warming sitcom.
The latest episode, a kind of comedy Passion Play, was full of non-preachy Christian symbolism. Notable additions to the cast included Ralph Fiennes as the Bishop of London (despite his previous incarnation as Voldemort in Harry Potter he's nowhere near as scary as the real Bishop of London), and Liam Neeson as God, wearing mismatched tracksuit bottom and top and swigging a can of lager.
But it wasn't this week's episode that I wanted to draw your attention to. Episode 3 contains one of the most frightening scenes I've ever seen in a comedy programme. One of the Rev's regular parishioners, the ever optimistic Mick (superbly played by Jimmy Akingbola) comes up with a new scheme for extracting money from the vicar. He appears at the Rev's doorstep as a...
Well I don't want to spoil it. Just click on Episode 3 and scroll forward to the 12 minute 40s mark.
Wednesday, 23 April, 2014, 07:55 AM - Leach[Ed.] I think they do this deliberately to wind me up, sorry for the shouting.
"THE SELFISH GENE" IS NOT ABOUT A GENE FOR SELFISHNESS!
There is no such thing. The most noble human traits: cooperation, love, empathy, bravery, self-sacrifice, these evolved as part of humanity's survival strategy as a social species. Cultural norms and peer pressure will often reinforce these traits but our ability to express them is as much part of our genes as the instinct for self preservation.
I have yet to hear a single TFTD pontificator who seems to grasp this simple idea. Instead, they habitually throw in the title of the "The Selfish Gene" as a lazy shorthand for human selfishness, and a convenient opportunity to have a personal dig at Richard Dawkins.
I'll repeat what I've said many times before, if you don't know what your talking about, then please keep your friendly mouth shut!
Tuesday, 22 April, 2014, 07:49 AM - KlausnerSerious stuff about anti-Semitism in Ukraine, and prejudice in general, mixed in with some made up history.
Monday, 21 April, 2014, 08:00 AM - Not TFTDThere is an excellent letter in today's Telegraph, signed by the president of the British Humanist Association, Jim Al-Khalil (whose very-well-worth-watching series, Chemistry, a Volatile History, is currently being repeated on BBC4).
It's worth quoting in full.
SIR – We respect the Prime Minister’s right to his religious beliefs and the fact that they necessarily affect his own life as a politician. However, we object to his characterisation of Britain as a “Christian country” and the negative consequences for politics and society that this engenders.
Apart from in the narrow constitutional sense that we continue to have an established Church, Britain is not a “Christian country”. Repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities.
At a social level, Britain has been shaped for the better by many pre-Christian, non-Christian, and post-Christian forces. We are a plural society with citizens with a range of perspectives, and we are a largely non-religious society.
Constantly to claim otherwise fosters alienation and division in our society. Although it is right to recognise the contribution made by many Christians to social action, it is wrong to try to exceptionalise their contribution when it is equalled by British people of different beliefs. This needlessly fuels enervating sectarian debates that are by and large absent from the lives of most British people, who do not want religions or religious identities to be actively prioritised by their elected government.
I suspect that David Cameron's Christian beliefs are at best perfunctory and his level of understanding of Christian theology and history probably superficial. As a politician, he sees Christians as a well defined, easily identified group that it does no harm to pander to, especially with a general election now in his sights.
He's not unique in this respect. Many politicians before him have done the same. What is different now is that the majority of us, who have no need for religion in our lives and don't miss it, can communicate via the internet. Groups like the BHA and the NSS allow us to form a constituency of our own. Politicians can no longer bribe the small minority of Christians, offering them privileged access to schools and government, without the majority having a say.
I welcome today's letter. I hope that every time a politician seeks favour with religious groups we get a similar response, reminding them that for every Christian they gratify, there are half a dozen without religion that they're pissing off.
Saturday, 19 April, 2014, 07:50 AM - PepinsterRating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)
Hello, I'm here as a representative of the Catholic Church. As a representative of the Catholic Church, I'd like to remind you of the case of Dr Raj Mattu who exposed the failings of the health trust that he worked for.
Instead of being hailed for his honesty, he was vilified for breaking ranks. His employer sacked him and did everything it could to keep him quiet. Some institutions are like that, they can't face up to the wrong they have done, no matter how bad or widespread it might be. They prefer to hush it all up rather than let their wrong doing be known. They offer meaningless, individual apologies, but fail to address the institutional problems that are the real issue. Their leadership remains closed, self serving and lacking in transparency and accountability.
As a representative of the Catholic Church, I know exactly what you're thinking right now. That's exactly like St Peter on Good Friday.
Friday, 18 April, 2014, 07:50 AMGood Friday is the day when we remember people who are suffering, especially victims of human trafficking. As the Big Book of Magic Stuff writes, on eliminating slavery, "Well, it's not really that bad, is it?"
Then, in a couple of days time, we go back to normal.
From Norwich, it's the bishop of the week, Bewilderingly Reverend Graham James, Lord Bishop of Norwich
Thursday, 17 April, 2014, 07:49 AM - JamesThe Korean ferry disaster, it's exactly like Holy Week, isn't is?
Fortunately, you've got me here, to tell you the True Meaning of Holy Week. It's exactly like the new Matisse exhibition, isn't it?