Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda  
Saturday, 3 September, 2011, 07:31 AM - Environment, Winter
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

There aren't enough houses in Britain. Last year we built the fewest houses since the 1920s. Some people own their homes. Others would like to to own a home, but they haven't got the money. Some are trying to save the money but aren't quite there yet. Some of the people who've managed to get themselves a nice home in a nice area, don't want any more homes built there, spoiling the nice area.

Where your home is is important to people. It was important to people in the past, whether they lived in an isolated dwelling, a hamlet, a village, a small town, a slightly larger town, a small city, a big city, or a vast metropolis. It's important to people today too.

You'll recall that Jesus of Nazareth came from somewhere. It was a place called Nazareth. That's why we call him Jesus of Nazareth, owing to him coming from Nazareth. Many other famous religious people came from places too.

In a place like Britain, I think everyone should have a right to a home. Otherwise they won't have anywhere to come from. Some people are just getting married and moving into their new homes. I do weddings you know. Other people die. They usually move out of their home when they die, making it available for somebody else who has saved long enough to get the deposit. Their invisible magic bits then move into their new, eternal, home, where they'll be happy forever, or possibly not. I do funerals as well you know.

6 comments ( 554 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 407 )

Rev Angela Tilby, Vicar of St Bene't's Church, Cambridge 
Tuesday, 30 August, 2011, 07:19 AM - Environment, Tilby
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Pay no attention to that man yesterday who said you were never closer to the Invisible Magic Friend than when you are with a beggar. In fact you are never closer to the Invisible Magic Friend than when you are in the countryside, with or without beggars. The countryside is where people are the most spiritual, which makes you wonder why we bother having churches.

There's a big fuss just now about building more electricity pylons in the countryside. The countryside isn't really the countryside, it's more a sort of agricultural industrial landscape. Hedged fields and thatched cottages are not what nature originally intended. They were created by humans and must be tended by humans in our efforts to tame nature and feed ourselves.

I may not be a fully paid up member of the Pylon Appreciation Society, but I like pylons: great big brooding metal giants bringing heat and light into our homes. Many of you may even by listening to Thought For The Day thanks to the power provided by a nearby pylon, and if that isn't an argument in their favour then I don't know what is.

I'd just like to finish an otherwise mostly sensible piece by talking about "communion", the City of the Invisible Magic Friend and the Garden of Eden.

6 comments ( 602 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 403 )

Dr Indarjit Singh CBE, director of the Network of Sikh organisations 
Tuesday, 9 August, 2011, 07:56 AM - Environment, Singh
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Isn't the violence in London just terrible! And now other cities, feeling a bit left out because London had all the riots and they didn't have any, have joined in too.

It all started when the police shot dead a young man carrying a gun. It raises legitimate questions about just how far the police should go when someone has a gun for perfectly innocent reasons. People in Tottenham often like to go grouse shooting for example.

I really wanted to talk to you today about the European Court of Human Rights' latest barmy decision that everyone has a right to a satellite dish. Apparently it breaches freedom of religion not to have one. I really do think this is the sort of thing that brings religion into disrepute.

Unfortunately there's been all this rioting, looting and civil unrest, which means that people aren't all that interested in the satellite dish story, so I won't bother to mention it.

What I will say is that if we had more religion, there wouldn't be all this rioting. You don't see rioting like this in more religious countries, do you?

3 comments ( 510 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 422 )

Akhandadhi Das, a Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian 
Wednesday, 13 July, 2011, 07:36 AM - Environment, Gibberish, Invisible magic stuff, Money, Akhandadhi Das
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

People are responding generously to the drought in the Horn of Africa. This gives me the perfect opportunity to talk about The Force.

The Phantom Menace teaches us that "Greed can be a very powerful ally." We must learn to control our greed, to take only that share of the world that The Force has given us. If we go on like this we will destroy our world. Mmm. Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing. How embarrassing. Master Yoda says we should be mindful of the future. Monsters out there, leaking in here. Weesa all sinking and no power. Whena yousa thinking we are in trouble? We must learn to cooperate. As anakin said, "Mom, you said that the biggest problem in the universe is no one helps each other."

Remember: your focus determines your reality. Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential to a Jedi's life. So you might say, that we are encouraged to love. Dangerous and disturbing this puzzle is. Only a Jedi could have erased those files. But who, and why, harder to answer. Meditate on this I will.

The relevance to the drought in Africa is obvious.

10 comments ( 1180 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 467 )

Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity 
Saturday, 5 February, 2011, 09:13 AM - Environment, Materialism, Draper
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Brian here, in Southampton, an associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity where we envision and equip Christians, and the leaders, churches and organisations that serve them, with the biblical framework, practical resources and models to engage biblically, relevantly and vigorously with the issues they face in today’s world. Hi.

Ed Milliband says we now face the prospect, that for the first time in a hundred years, the next generation will be worse off than their parents.

At this point I'm supposed to wax lyrical about the benefits of a more spiritual lifestyle, how a nice walk in the woods is so much better than more material possessions, how it is better to store up treasure in heaven and all that. It would be such a cliché to do so that obviously I want to avoid doing that at all costs.

But what if we could teach our children to live better lives with fewer resources, which they'll have to now that we've consumed them all. In a way, we'd be leaving them a great legacy.

"My son, I leave you a world with less oil, less fresh water and food per person and a dearth of other non renewable resources. Everything for you will be more expensive and there are many things you will never have at all. What a great opportunity this is for you to learn to be frugal, to consume more responsibly and lead a simpler, yet spiritually more fulfilling life."

What is the point of accumulating wealth in this life, when we should be storing up treasure in heaven? As Ecclesiastes (one of the nice books of the Big Book of Magic Stuff that we do so like to quote here on Thought For The Day) says, in the end you're all going to rot.

You can't take your vast accumulation of possessions or your hard earned fortune with you. Be contented with what you have accumulated in the next life, which will be so much better than this one.

Rejoice, oh next generation, for you will be able to live better for less.

(Thank the Invisible Magic Friend I managed to avoid all those tiresome clichés.)

3 comments ( 1025 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 562 )

Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet  
Friday, 7 January, 2011, 09:03 AM - Environment, Science, Pepinster
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Have you cut down on your meat consumption? We have. I mean I don't wish to boast or anything, but it's our way of helping all those poor people around the world who can't afford food.

The world's rapidly increasing population is putting a huge strain on agricultural resources. Obviously placing any constraints on population growth would be a really bad thing. The Catholic Church's wise and benevolent policy of never-ending exponential growth in the number of babies born, means that those clever sciency types are just going to have to get their fingers out and figure out some way to produce a corresponding exponential growth in food production. The world's agricultural capacity really is infinite, if only those lazy food technologists would stop lounging around in their labs all day and do something useful for a change.

As always, religion provides the correct approach when science fails us. All we need to do is do it the Jesus way, feeding 5,000 with fives loaves and two fishes, leaving twelve baskets left over. This was such a success that he did it again, this time feeding 4,000 with seven loaves and a few fishes, leaving seven baskets left over. This is only part of a long tradition of miraculous food making. There's manna from heaven, and water from rocks, never empty flour and oil supplies, the solution to peak oil, and of course, Elisha's cheap version of Jesus' tricks,

Now I'm not suggesting that we use miracles to solve the world's food problems, that would be just silly. What we, i.e. "you", have to do, is cut down on resource intensive foods like meat. You need to follow my virtuous example in this respect. That way the the Chinese and Indians can eat meat instead.

9 comments ( 765 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 510 )

Satish Kumar - Editor of Resurgence magazine and Buddhist scholar  
Tuesday, 28 December, 2010, 09:02 AM - Environment
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Fifty years ago, I read that Bertrand Russell had been jailed for organising mass acts of civil disobedience against the bomb. Thus inspired I decided to walk to all the then four nuclear capitals. Everywhere I went I was greeted by friendly faces, kindness and friendship. Each of the leaders of the nuclear powers received me graciously. When I asked them never to build any more nuclear bombs, and to get rid of their existing ones, they smiled and said they would think about it before pointing me in the direction of the next city.

What I learned most from my walk was the connectedness between indigenous peoples and the great earth mother goddess. We are all one, the people, the sky, the birds, the mountains, the forests, the rivers, the deer, the earthworm, the tiger, the storm, the volcano, the earthquake, the flesh eating bacteria - all are one. In the great mid-Western plains, I sat in a teepee with a young man of profound, ancient wisdom and primeval dignity, who had opted for a simpler life and who subsequently died due to lack of an appropriately profound, simple, ancient medical intervention. This wise intelligent way of life has much to teach us about living in harmony with nature, of which we are all part.

Today, nuclear proliferation is everywhere. Some might say that my 8,000 mile walk was therefore a failure. Not at all, I say. If I hadn't walked to all those cities, the Environmental movement, with its campaigns to oppose atmospheric Chloroflourocarbons and man made global warming would never have happened.

We are all connected and interdependent. So excuse me while I take the car from this radio studio where I have broadcast to thousands. There are trees in desperate need of a hug.

9 comments ( 1105 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 531 )

Rev John Bell of the Iona Community  
Monday, 20 December, 2010, 08:23 AM - Environment, Materialism, Bell
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

Everything's just me, me, me nowadays isn't it? Children want all the latest gadgets, games and fashions. Every single one of them is just totally selfish and self-absorbed.

I'll tell you where they get it from, they get it from their parents. Recently we've seen grown ups throw tantrums over not getting the World Cup or not being guaranteed to win the Ashes (whatever they are). Now we hear people complaining about the snow.

People go out, selfishly trying to get to work and making a fuss when the "authorities" fail to keep the roads clear. Doctors, nurses, midwives, bakers, truck drivers, gritters, shop assistants - you name it, they're all driving around and getting stuck in the snow, instead of leaving the roads clear for really important people, like TFTD presenters getting to the BBC studio in Glasgow.

Well I've got news for you, you're not omnipotent, you weak, mortal, foolish nothing you. Only the invisible Magic Friend is omnipotent, and you know what, he's having a good laugh at you all just now. If you're digging the car out to do some shopping for the old lady next door, or desperately trying to get to the hospital because your mum's slipped and broke her ankle, he thinks it's hilarious.

Whether you're a believer in Darwin or seven day creation, both of these equally valid theories say that you're a nobody that got added in after the rest of creation. You're not in control, there's nothing you can do about the weather, so just accept it.

And as if your own personal selfishness was not enough, you've all ruined the planet with global warming and none of you care.

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

24 comments ( 1432 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 548 )

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, Baron Aldgate  
Friday, 11 June, 2010, 07:09 AM - Environment, Sacks
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a symptom of our ever more desperate search for oil. As Ronald Heifetz pointed out, there are two types of problem: technical, that can be solved by a doctor or a mechanic, and adaptive, where we need to make lifestyle changes.

We should be using smaller more fuel efficient cars, running on a greater diversity of fuels. As in so many other ways we are living unsustainably.

Clearly, this is what the story of Adam and Eve was all about: that we should consume hydrocarbon fuels in a responsible and sustainable manner while continuing the search for more environmentally friendly energy sources. (Oh come on - I had to squeeze the bible in some how.)

9 comments ( 1141 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 290 )

Reverend Rob Marshall, an Anglican Priest 
Saturday, 1 May, 2010, 07:07 AM - Environment, Marshall
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Isn't the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana just terrible? BP says it's terrible. Local people say it's terrible. The U.S. government says it's terrible. It's just terrible.

Birds are getting caught up in it, fish are getting caught up in it, and people who catch fish are getting caught up in it. I saw some fishermen once. They worked very hard, just like their fathers before them, and their fathers' fathers before them and their fathers' fathers' fathers before them.

In the case of an environmental disaster like this, we naturally turn to theology for answers and theology tells us it's just terrible. Some of the Psalms are really nice and say things like how pretty nature is and wasn't the Invisible Magic Friend clever to create it that way. The Invisible Magic Friend gave us this beautiful planet to look after and he's not going to be at all happy if we cover it in the oil that he left safely buried underground. He'll think that's just terrible.

7 comments ( 989 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 241 )

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