Wednesday, 4 February, 2009, 08:19 AMRating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)
Oh dear. Poor President Obama has got himself into a pickle over his Buy American policy. It seems that pressures are already mounting to abandon free trade in favour of protectionism at home. This reminds me of the Hindu story where bandits chase their victim into a priest's home. When the bandits ask where the victim is, the priest responds, "Here he is. It is with great sadness that I have to hand him over to you to be killed, but on the plus side, I haven't lied to you, so my principles and integrity remain intact."
This just goes to show that dogmatically sticking to principles is a Bad Thing. On the other hand, abandoning the principle of free trade when times are tough might also be a Bad Thing. So sometimes abandoning principles is a bad thing and sometimes it's a Good Thing. It all depends really. It depends on what we Hindus refer to as "time", "place" and "circumstances". If the time, place and circumstances of your principle abandoning would result in good things, then it's a Good Thing. If, on the other hand, the time, place and circumstances of your principle abandoning would result in bad things, then it's a Bad Thing. So that's how you know whether it's a Good Thing or a Bad Thing to abandon a principle.
As Groucho Marx said, "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them, I have others."
Oh, and I'd just Like to add that I'm also in favour of saving the planet. That's a Good Thing.
Tuesday, 3 February, 2009, 08:40 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
I have the tremendous good fortune to be lecturing you the day after the Children's Society report confirmed what I have been telling you all along. You have to love your children. I know its boring and time consuming and there are better things you could be getting on with, but if you want them to turn into well adjusted adults like me then you're just going to have to get on with it. You had the children, now you have to pay the price.
Children are less happy now because you parents don't pay any attention to your children any more. You shower them with your ill-gotten wealth, but starve them of the affection that they so desperately need. It was different in't olden days. 'Ee by gum we was poor but 'appy, wit oor 13 yr old doon pit an' little baby Tommy cleaning chimneys, but we gave nought boot lov t'em - right oop 'till them died a consoomption for t' lack a medical care.
If you want further proof, Jesus happens to agree with me on this, and in this instance I believe Jesus is quite correct. Jesus said only children could get into heaven. Adults are far too cynical and critical and just moan all the time. Jesus said invest in him. Give him all your pocket money children, because remember, the price of heavenly real estate always brings a healthy return on investment. The share price just goes up and up and up. I can't quite find the quote at the moment but I'm sure he said that somewhere.
Relationships are the only things that last for eternity, except for angels, souls, heaven and my Invisible Magic Friend, which also last for eternity and definitely exist. As a Vicar's Wife you can trust me on this.
Monday, 2 February, 2009, 09:59 AMRating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)
The Holy Land isn't very holy at the moment. It's full of religion. Unfortunately it's the wrong type of religion - the religion that divides people rather than the good sort which is usually so good at emphasising our common humanity. Every war that Israel wins creates bigger problems with an escalating price to pay. There are small efforts at building bridges between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but they are swamped under the sectarian hatred that emanates from both sides. Each new generation must learn to hate anew. If the Invisible Magic Friend would just stop people hating for one generation, then I'm sure we could just sort it all out ourselves after that.
Sunday, 1 February, 2009, 09:17 AMHot on the heels of Gavin Orland's email pledge, George James is determined to keep up the momentum by creating a new pledge, this time to deliver an alternative, secular, TFTD.
There have, of course, been previous attempts to do this, such as the HSS' Thought For The World series, but a great many new people have come around to our way of thinking as a result of the recent publicity. A Secular TFTD website, created specifically in response to this, is one way of capitalising on that publicity and keeping up the pressure on the BBC.
George isn't asking for much: no more than 30 contributors, in return for which he'll put in all the work of creating a website and publishing daily contributions for at least a month.
Saturday, 31 January, 2009, 09:35 AMRating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)
Yippee! We're all going to get faster broadband. In a fantastic new initiative, the government has announced that it would be really great if this happened, and expressed the wish that somebody else should do something about it. But will 2Mb/s make you happy and fulfilled? All over the internet the cry is going up, "Where is the spirituality in broadband?", because spirituality is what you need to make you happy and fulfilled.
My favourite bits of the Old Testament are the Wisdom books. All the rest are rubbish. Here's one of my favourite bits from my favourite bits. He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. In other words, people who don't understand things usually just keep quiet. You can see this on discussion forums all over the place, where people of limited understanding exercise restraint in speaking their opinions and offering advice.
Friday, 30 January, 2009, 08:37 AMRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
How refreshing it is to be delivering this short few minutes of calm reflection in the midst of an otherwise totally secular programme.
America thinks it can talk to Iran, if only the Iranians would be reasonable. The Iranians think they can talk to America if only America would be reasonable. I myself, as an Unprecedentedly Reverend Lord, have seen this lack of mutual understanding myself when a group of visiting Iranian MPs lectured us on all our faults. I suppose that's what you get when talking to a theocratic dictatorship. Thank goodness we Reverend Lords live in a democracy with the Queen as head of state.
Thankfully President Obama reads the bible. He's a realist who believes in the Invisible Magic Friend. He knows that if we just sit around long enough, the IMF will solve all our problems for us. This is called being "inclusive", making everyone feel wanted - a bit like Thought For The Day really - except for the inclusive bit.
Friday, 30 January, 2009, 08:23 AMRating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)
The reports of a ghost haunting a new hospital have to be taken very seriously indeed. These forces are very real and very dangerous. You can trust me on this, I'm a priest. The exorcism of evil spirits is not a job for an amateur and should not be taken lightly. It must be done with the approval of the local bishop, who will call upon the services of a fully qualified Chartered Exorcist from the Church of England's specialist Institute of Exorcists, Witchdoctors and Voodoo priests. Only those who have studied this subject for many years will know exactly how hard to bang bones together and how much holy water to sprinkle to scare off the evil spirit. The demon will be ordered to "Begone!" (in Latin of course, because demons only understand Latin - and particularly appropriate in this case because the apparition is believed to be a Roman soldier who forgot to go home when the empire departed, and now finds himself wandering a casualty ward in a slightly confused state). A really difficult exorcism can take days of hard work, battling the forces of Satan. I myself am far too timid and shy and would just scream and run away if I encountered a ghost, but I'm very glad you asked for my expert opinion on this and not some random deranged charlatan trying to justify his job.
Thursday, 29 January, 2009, 08:47 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
i skipped church Sunday. yeahhhh! dats da kinda cool, rebellious sorta celebrity Christian writer i am. me and da family went 2 da Natural... History... Museum. it was well wicked man! who best 2 tell ya that "evo-lution" is really hip dan a really cool, celebrity, Christian writer like me. but der's folks out der goin around dissing on darwin. hey! it's cool 2 b a Christian an' an "evo-lutionist". just look at me! der's even folks a dissin on ole grandaddy dave. hey! dat's NOT cool man. other folks are a dissin on da invisibl magik friend. cos der's, like an explanation for life an effery'fin, they say may b der's an explanation for other stuff 2. yeah, u wish! ma kid says, cos he's really cool 2 an weez really just best mates really, dat darwin and da invisibl magik fried is BOTH cool. yeaaahhhhh!!! awlrite!!!
Wednesday, 28 January, 2009, 08:56 AMRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
I won't be hiccuping or burping, or slurring my speech this morning as a certain juvenile blog is often wont to imply. I haven't had a drop of sherry all day so far. My contribution this morning is far too important to bog it up.
TFTD is a moment of spiritual reflection among the humdrum politics of the Today Programme. A chance to approach current events from a Faith perspective. This morning I want to spiritually reflect from a faith perspective on what a super place the House of Lords is, especially with me in it. The hard work of the day starts with one of the assembled Lord Bishops, such as myself, invoking the blessing of the Invisible Magic Friend upon our deliberations.
"Oh Lord, oooh you are so big. So absolutely huge. Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here I can tell you. Forgive us, O Lord, for this dreadful toadying and barefaced flattery. But you are so strong and, well, just so super fantastic."
I like to pay special attention to certain bills: how to get more Christianity into prisons, how to get more Christianity into schools, how to get more Christianity into other religions. Other peers have their own areas of
After a hard morning's revising it's off for a quick bite to the House of Lords' canteen to meet some lobbyists. The menu will be a simple affair.
Question in the House
Having a quick word with the Minister at their club
Pulling out all the stops and torpedoing a bill.
£80,000 + 5 years non-executive director on the board
I got my well earned place in the Lords through being such a fantastic clergyman. Others have to work their way up: a chat with the local parliamentary candidate, tea at the commons with the PM's political advisor, large brown envelope stuffed with cash hidden in the House of Commons' wash room.
This is called "Democracy" and is a good thing - at least for some of us.
Tuesday, 27 January, 2009, 08:31 AMRating 1 out of 5 (Hardly platitudinous at all)
It's Holocaust Memorial Day when we remember just where hatred and prejudice can take us. This year, remembrance took place in the City of Coventry, a city that suffered bombing during World War II, but raised itself from the ashes of destruction. It is a time when we remember that oppression of any kind, from school bullying to racist attacks, if unchecked, can ultimately have the most terrible consequences. In our multi-ethnic, multi-faith (occassionally) schools, this is something that modern children understand. Those guilty of racist attacks have been transformed by visits to Auschwitz, where they see the full horrors of such prejudice. I myself visited Auschwitz with the Archbishop of Canterbury, where we hoped to bring an end, through prayer, to the antagonism and violence that has plagued recent relations between the Church of England and British Judaism. This is a time to stand up to such hatred.