The big news today is all about the spending cuts. That's why I want to talk to you about shoplifting. When I heard about shoplifting, I huffed and puffed indignantly at those who stole from shops and so forced them to raise prices for the rest of us.
Then I recalled the words of Jesus, the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, if you are without sin then cast the first stone. I thought back, shamefully, to my own career as a master criminal, where I would furtively raid the office stationery cupboard and appropriate company pens for my own selfish pleasure.
Mater once caught me stealing from her purse. Oh, the shame! "How can I ever trust you again," she said. A friend's son stole some sweets and his mater took him to the shop to apologise, pay for the sweets and take the consequences. To mater's horror, the shop manager told her to forget it, everybody does it. Towels from hotel rooms, beer mugs from pubs, everywhere I look I see this casual acceptance of rampant criminality. It almost makes me want to scream.
Stealing and lying are the same thing, so I can quote from Jesus again, who said, The truth will set you free, so you shouldn't even tell white lies that bring people comfort. If you think you're husband's home made wine tastes like paint stripper, then say so. If you think your wife's new hairdo looks like it was done by a lawnmower, then don't shirk from telling her. Trust me, this will make your life much better.
The big thing in the news today is that there isn't going to be a Glastonbury Festival in 2012. This means that thousands of portaloos will be given a holiday and can be used at the Olympics instead.
But where did this important idea of a holiday for Glastonbury portaloos, or "sabbatical", or "Sabbath" come from? It comes from the Old Tasty mint of the Big Book of Magic Stuff. They invented the idea of having a day off once a week. As I never listen to Thought For The Day myself, I'm free to repeat everything that was said just the other day about the Sabbath. The Big Book of Magic Stuff has so many important things to tell us, that it really is the most amazing coincidence that two of us should pick the same one only a few days apart.
The Sabbath isn't just about stoning people to death who collect firewood. It's about having a day off to do some proper worshipping of the Invisible Magic Friend. And it's not just your portaloos that should be given the day off, even your slaves and your Filipino maids should get a break too.
It doesn't even stop with portaloos, slaves and Filipino maids. Religion invented the idea of leaving a field fallow for a year, so that it could quietly worship the Invisible Magic Friend too. Jesus would have approved of this, if only someone had asked him.
Let this be a warning to all you Radio 4 listeners who spend the whole day on Facebook, stuffing your face with burgers and chips, you need to let your fields, your portaloos and your Filipino maids lie fallow for a year.
A 38 year old man has become the first UK drug addict to accept money to have a vasectomy.
Now I don't have any strong opinion on this one way or another, but some people might see this as a bribe. They, whoever "they" may be, might think this is an overly drastic solution and that it might be better to work on the roots of drug and alcohol dependency. "They" might think that those suffering from addiction can still make reasoned choices without an unethical cash incentive.
The Big Book of Magic Stuff, which remains so very relevant to our lives today, doesn't seem to have anything to say on whether it's ethical or not to bribe crack addicts to undergo sterilisation. This means I can't give a definite ethical judgement one way or the other. Jesus did say that children shouldn't be turned away from him though, which I think is pretty close, don't you? He certainly never persuaded crack addicts to get sterilised for £200. This suggests to me that he might not have been very keen on this approach to drug addiction. It's so very difficult to say.
The addict says he was going to have the vasectomy anyway and that the money will be used to pay the rent. Yeah, right, sure, pay the rent. I believe him. I mean I'm not one to be cynical or anything, but pay the rent? That's a good one.
Good morning Jim, good morning John and good morning to you all.
Well it's Autumn, not just in the sense of being Autumn but in the sense of being the autumn of my life and so I like to contemplate death.
So is death the end? No, definitely not. There's no such thing as an after-life, but there is a "beyond-life" which is something entirely different. I know this because of the joy I feel when I'm kind, or generous or considerate and I see the smile on a child's face. If you haven't tried being generous before then I really do recommend it, you'll be amazed how good it makes you feel. That's what it's like all the time in the beyond-life and that's how we know that it exists.
This life is like a departure lounge: noisy, crowded, full of people trying to sell you things. It's where you wait for the big shiny plane that whisks you off to happy lands far away.
And now my traditional end of talk joke. A man dies and goes to heaven where an angel asks him what he'd like to do.
"I'd like to see my old teacher," he replies. A door opens and there sits his old teacher with a young blonde on his knee.
"Teacher, is this your reward for all your years of righteousness?"
"No, I'm her punishment."
Time for bed. Good night Jim, good night John and good night to you all.
I've had enough of the Church of England with its vicious liberal agenda and it's treating women as if they were just as good as men. What sort of a Church is that? I'm joining a proper Church, the kind of Church that excummunicates a doctor for saving a 9 year old girl's life, but retains the man who raped her as a loyal son of the Church. None of this namby-pamby, pinko, left wing, liberalism there.
When one looks at the twelve apostles, the first thing one notices is that they all had a penis. This is because they had to act "in persona Christi". How can they possibly act in persona Christi if they haven't got a penis? Christ had a penis, although he never used it for you-know-what. He never thought about you-know-what and so it never got you-know-what, but the point was it was still a perfectly normal, functional penis. It follows that all priests and bishops have to have a penis. I'm amazed at how many people don't seem to understand this straightforward theological argument.
Now some people have pointed out that, not only did Christ and his followers have penises, they had circumcised penises, so all priests and bishops should be circumcised. That's a silly argument. It's not a proper theological argument at all. I don't understand how any sane, rational person can think that, just because Christ and the Apostles were circumcised that priests have to be circumcised. It just doesn't follow at all.
A priest has to have a penis in order to have the magic power to transubstantiate, and in order to pass on his magic powers to other people with penises. Now it just so happens that the Pope doesn't think I've got any magic powers, even though I've got a perfectly good penis. So he's going to have to give me some new magic powers so that I can do some proper transubstantiation.
Yes the Catholic Church is the place for me, a Church that orders a more severe penalty for ordaining women than for getting caught with the altar boy. A Church that knows how to look after people with penises no matter where they put them. A Church that recognised the many fine qualities of people like Franco, Mussolini and Hitler.
Thank God I'm getting away from these fascists in the Church of England.
Saturday, 16 October, 2010, 11:30 AM - Not TFTD...at last, a leading politician has said what has been obvious to everyone else for decades. Sectarian education in NI must go.
As Peter Robinson very sensibly points out, no one would want to see children segregated on the basis of their colour, yet we tolerate the equally indefensible practice of segregating them by religion.
Now all we need is a mainland politician willing to say the same. With separate Islamic schools becoming increasingly common, we really are introducing the madness of racial segregation into our schools.
France is at a standstill. Mass protests have erupted over government plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.
I've searched the Big Book of Magic Stuff from start to finish. There isn't a single mention of what the correct retirement age should be. The entire Big Book of Magic Stuff, including the Old Tasty mint and the New Tasty mint is completely irrelevant when it comes to deciding the age for retirement. So my religion really has nothing whatsoever to say on the matter. You see, in those days, when they didn't have medical science to keep them alive, most people never got anywhere near retirement.
So what on earth am I going to talk about? Well I'm going to have to stretch things a bit and talk about the Sabbath instead. It's a sort of weekly retirement isn't it? A time of rest. The Big Book of Magic Stuff has got loads to say about the Sabbath, especially in the Old Tasty mint.
1. The Invisible Magic Friend rested on the seventh day, thus making it much holier than the other six days.
2. When the Israelites were wandering the desert they learned that the Invisible Magic Friend wasn't going to give them any Manna on the Sabbath 'cos they were supposed to be doing something much more important: worshipping him.
3. No one is allowed to go out on the Sabbath.
4. It turns out that some people don't do any proper worshipping on the Sabbath. They're to be put to death.
5. None of that wicked lighting of fires on the Sabbath.
6. Despite being told several times about working on the Sabbath, some bloke went to gather some wood. Well obviously he had to be stoned to death for such blatant non-worshipping.
The Invisible Magic Friend does seem to have mellowed a bit by the time the second bit of him became briefly visible. He revealed that all these piffling little rules didn't apply to him, what with him being God and all.
So there you go, a biblically sound recipe for a long, healthy and happy retirement.
Wantonly Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Reverend Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord...
Friday, 15 October, 2010, 08:28 AM - HarriesRating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)
Has anyone mentioned the Chilean miners yet? Yes I know Joel Edwards did but he's only an ordinary Reverend. I'm a Right Reverend Professor Bishop Baron Lord so I think I should add the full weight of my resplendent authority to the matter.
One miner said "I was with the Devil but gave my hand to God." See, they're bringing God and the Devil into this, so you can't blame us for it. We're just milking the story for every minute of airtime we can get.
Yes, I know the engineers and medics were all very skilled and stuff and I'm sure they did a wonderful job, but what you literally minded Radio 4 listeners don't seem to realise is that the Invisible Magic Friend works through the actions of others. It was really the Invisible Magic Friend who dug the escape shaft, designed the escape capsule and provided the miners with designer sunglasses. Saint Paul, who was right about just about everything, says so in the Big Book of Magic Stuff, so it must be true.
It wasn't the Invisible Magic Friend that ignored the safety regulations though, that must've been somebody else.
I'd just like to mention Saint Teresa of Ávila, a Carmelite nun (not to be confused with Saint Theresa of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun, or Saint Theresa of Los Andes, a Carmelite nun, or Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a Carmelite nun, or Saint Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart, a Carmelite nun). It's her feast day today and she wrote a really nice prayer. You are the Invisible Magic Friend's body, his eyes, his ears, his hands, his feet, his nose, his tongue and his naughty bits.
Whether you're religious or not, I think that prayer brings us back to the sober reality of life.
Thursday, 14 October, 2010, 09:14 AM - Not TFTDI really hope the young people who need to see this video, see it.
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010 ... his_vi.php
Rev Dr. (hon. Kingston) Dr. (hon. St. Andrews) Joel Edwards, International Director of Micah Challenge, Human Rights Commissioner, Council Member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation
Yesterday, 33 people of faith were saved from being entombed underground. They were full of faith when they went down the mine two months ago. Their faith didn't escape when the rockfall began and they first realised the terrible danger they were in. For the first 17 days, when only they knew they were alive, they kept their faith. Then, when they first made contact with the outside world, they still had their faith with them. Throughout the long, dark days that followed, they didn't lose their faith. Yesterday, when they were finally rescued, they announced that they still had their faith! Oh joy!
But wait, DANGER, DANGER faith people! You have survived adversity and kept your faith. Now you face the greatest danger of all. Now that you are alive and in good health, do not allow fame, attention and wealth to cause you to lose your faith. Think how terrible that would be. As Solomon wisely said, "A lot of people get very full of themselves." This might cause you to think that human courage, camaraderie, perseverance and ingenuity is what has saved you, rather than faith.
I am so overjoyed that faith has triumphed once again. Of course most of you belong to the Catholic faith, which is not quite the right faith, so I won't be joining you in it.