Has anyone mentioned the Olympics yet? There's only 199 days to go, so I think it's important that I point them out to you, otherwise you might not notice.
That's why the Cabinet met at the Olympic site yesterday and David Cameron said, "Hey look at me, I'm at the Olympic park. Isn't that just great?"
I took a bus out to the Olympic park the other day and I can confirm that it really is there. Not only that, but there's a fantastic new shopping centre as well. The people of Stratford, East London, are now really happy and contented. Anyone who says otherwise is just one of those horrible cynics who can safely be ignored.
The really important thing about the park is it's legacy, like giving the local kiddies somewhere to splash around and have some fun in.
But "legacy" does not just mean buildings. It is much more than that. It is something that is hard to define, is much more intangible. What is the word I'm looking for? Let me see. Ah, yes it's SPIRITUAL!
Did someone say "spiritual"? That reminds me of the wisdom books of the Old Tasty mint. The wisdom books wisely speak of the wisdom of maintaining our faith legacy. Those who wisely maintain the wisdom of their legacy of faith are known as wise people, say the wisdom books. As it wisely says in one of the wisest of the wisdom books, "Those who wisely maintain the wisdom of their legacy of faith are wisely wise and full of wisdom, but those who foolishly discard the wise wisdom of the legacy of faith are full of foolishness and are fools."
Are you believing what I'm believing? Are you wisely wise as the wise wisdom book proclaims? Or have you foolishly discarded the wise legacy of faith and become a fool?
Long term isolation from others is not desirable for most of us.
A little bit of isolation can be good but lots of it is bad.
In other words, we like to engage with others.
In other, other words, we don't like to be in solitary confinement, or in yet other, other words, to be cut off.
I've seen people in solitary confinement, when the only person they were allowed to see was me. You cannot believe how terrified they were.
In other, other, other words we don't like to be lost in isolation.
Visiting friends in France recently, they now see Britain as isolated. They think that Britain only cares about its own self interest, unlike France.
Well who won the war anyway? Damned ungrateful French.
Early Christians used to isolate themselves in the desert in order to be holy. Then they'd come back as holy people. So we will come back to the EU as holier too.
The Old Tasty mint book of Proverbs says isolation is a bad thing, therefore it is.
In summary, using my initial words and not any of the other words, a little bit of isolation can be good but lots of it is bad.
Saturday, 3 December, 2011, 08:09 AM - MarshallRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
Ambassadors are in the news. Iran and Britain have decided to stop having ambassadors. The 2012 Olympics, on the other hand, have decided to have some royal ambassadors. They'll royally tell everyone that the 2012 Olympics are really royally great.
This got me thinking about ambassadors. Here is what I thought.
An ambassador is someone who speaks up for someone or something and says, "Someone or something is really great." They usually arrive at the place where they're going to do their ambassadoring and say, "Hello, I'm the ambassador for someone or something. Now it's time for me to get on with the job of saying how great someone or something is."
In the New Tasty mint of the Big Book of Magic Stuff, Saint Paul mentions "ambassadors" twice: once in his second letter to the Corinthians and once in his letter to the Ephesians. That's how important ambassadors are: Saint Paul mentions them twice. He doesn't mention them in his letters to the Romans, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, in his first letter to the Corinthians, in either letter to the Thessalonians, or to Timothy, Titus, or Philemon, but that doesn't reflect on how important ambassadors are.
As an Anglican priest I know that a person who is really good at saying how really good someone or something is, will be really good at being an ambassador for that someone or something, because a really good ambassador is really good at that.
That's my thought for today.
People use emails. To say things. To each other. MPs use them too. And other things, like Facebook. To communicate. To say things to people. People like to communicate. Communication didn't just evolve, or anything, to like, communicate, or stuff. It's a gift. From the Invisible Magic Friend. People communicate electronically. And in other ways. Sometimes not electronically. Although there's a lot of it about. Sometimes I meet with people. We talk. We communicate. Not electronically. Although sometimes we do. Some of them have families. Some have careers. Some have families and careers. And they communicate, just like I'm doing now. As a famous person whom you've never heard of said, "Yes."
Er... That's it really.
Saturday, 17 September, 2011, 08:54 AM - MarshallRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
All four miners in the Swansea Valley colliery have been found dead. The tension and grief in Rhos Community Centre, where the families waited, was almost unimaginable. Toys for the children, flowers and good wishes, arrived from all over the world.
At times like these, you are no doubt interested in the theological significance of "the pit". Theologically "the pit", as we theologians like to call it, is referred to in the Old Tasty mint as being cut off from the Invisible Magic Friend. You might like to go and look up Psalm 88 at this point. Unfortunately, the rather mean spirited BBC doesn't give me sufficient time to read out the whole of Psalm 88. Which is a great shame, I'm sure you'd enjoy it. Take this bit for instance.
Why, LORD, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?
Indeed, nearly all the Psalms are full of a great deal of people asking why the Lord hasn't done anything to help the long suffering worshipper, but they go on worshipping and praising him anyway and say what a great comfort he is to them.
If only the BBC would give me a bit longer. The one thing we reverends are really very good at is talking. I could fill the entire Today Programme with my readings and annotations from the Psalms. I'm sure it would be a great comfort to you all in this time of grief.
Don't forget to look on the bright side, however. Like many thousands before them, who died in desperation and darkness down "the pit" (as we theologians like to call it), they are now all happily together with the Invisible Magic Friend in heaven. Unless they're in the other place of course.
I'm sure this will be nearly as great a comfort to you as my readings and annotations from the Psalms.
Saturday, 20 August, 2011, 08:35 AM - Invisible magic stuff, Spirituality, Think of the children, MarshallRating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)
Weren't last week's headlines about young people just terrible! Every single one of them, except the Christian ones, were out rioting. Few can now afford higher education and fewer still will ever own a home. What has gone wrong with all modern youth, except the Christian ones?
Former Big Brother host, Russell Brand, speaking from Beverly Hills, and quoting Gandhi, criticised the lack of spirituality in modern youth. I agree with that, so he must be correct. And when I say "spirituality", I don't mean that wonder and awe that taps into the natural curiosity and enthusiasm of young people. No, I mean the much narrower, silly definition about invisible magic stuff.
Pope Benedict has gathered almost a million young people from around the world to worship him in Madrid. That's what I call being properly spiritual. Well done Pope Benedict! That's how to teach them right from wrong. You don't see Christians going out rioting.
You see, without Christianity, young people don't understand how to be generous or think of other people. They're just their natural, selfish, greedy selves.
Young people from Walsingham recently spent a week together being Christian. This is the kind of useful, constructive, insightful experience that more young people need to give meaning to their otherwise purposeless lives. All the ones that weren't being Christian were out rioting.
When modern youth look at today's adults, they see only the shallow cynicism of today's teachers, doctors, aid workers, poets, scientists and philosophers. No wonder their souls are empty and they go out rioting. How much healthier it is to see young people worshipping the leader of the greatest paedophile cover up conspiracy in the history of humanity. What an inspiring tonic it must be for these young people! Isn't Pope Benedict just fantastic!
We're having a bit of a rainy bit after a dry spell. I have only one thing to say. DON'T PANIC! This is all just a normal part of the Creator's created Creation. France is having a normal part of the Creator's created Creation too, as is Germany. In fact, all over the world, there are dry bits and wet bits and this is all a normal part of the Creator's created Creation.
I like to call creation, "Creation", rather than "nature", because a creation requires a Creator to create it. Calling Creation, "nature", is all a bit sciency and doesn't seem to imply any sort of creator to create it.
We can see that having wet spells and dry spells is a normal part of the Creator's created Creation by consulting the Big Book of Magic Stuff. There we find numerous tales of wet times and dry times, of floods and droughts, including one very big flood indeed. This is why faith is so important. We have faith that there is water. Jesus himself, frequently referred to the weather in both a practical and a metaphorical sense. "Looks rainy today," he would say in his godly, divine wisdom.
Thanks to having faith, we know that the Creator created water, as part of His created Creation, so that we could be alive. Without water we die and are no longer a living part of the Creator's created Creation. So let us be thankful and praise the Creator for creating water, and hydrocarbons and nitrogen and oxygen and phosphorous and iron and various other trace elements, without which we would not be a living part of the Creator's created Creation.
Makes you think, eh?
I love doing the Saturday morning Thought For The Day. People are so much more attent...
Olympics... work from home... can't build a car in the kitchen... I've never had a proper job... dentist... snacking... coffee... Gary Cooper...
Spirituality... chaplains in shopping centre... office... spiritual... time chatting... Saint Augustine said... work... pray... God... which means work... pray... God...
Ratko Mladic, who ordered the massacre of Srebrenica, has been arrested and should now stand trial. Horror and brutality on this scale is rare but still shocking.
That's where the Big Book of Magic Stuff comes in helpful. The Old Tasty mint is just full of stories about how war and killing and massacring are very, very bad - except when it involves taking control of the promised land from the wrong people - that's just doing the will of the Invisible Magic Friend. It even says in one of the psalms, "Please, please don't let them hurt us, Invisible Magic Friend!" In the New Tasty mint, evil King Herod slaughtered thousands of babies in case one of them grew up to be king. This definitely happened and was a very bad thing.
I don't think introducing fictional massacres to illustrate ones which still cause nightmares for many, is in any sense poor taste, so let's plough on. The visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend died on a cross and then resurrected himself. All the people who got killed in the Balkan conflicts will get resurrected too, so you see, there's a silver lining to every cloud. I'm sure this is what kept people going during those terrible times, or at least the Christians who were doing the massacring.
The Muslims probably kept going as well, thanks to their (wrong) faith. So you see how really useful faith can be in a conflict defined almost entirely by two sides of different faiths.
I think it would be appropriate at this point to quote from a Christian prayer. If any Bosnian Muslims who lost relatives in Srebrenica are listening, I'm sure this will be a great comfort to you - "deliver us from evil."
It's going to be a lovely sunny weekend. If you're like me, with ginger hair and freckles, you'll be spending it safely indoors, away from all that horrid sunshine. But not everyone is so sensible when it comes to dangerous ultraviolet radiation. Many teenagers use a sunbed every week, risking skin cancer in later life - all so that they can look healthy and tanned.
People have between 12 and 20 feet of skin. This would be even more useful if they had it in square feet so that it could cover a finite area. It is composed of about 70% water with most of the rest being protein. What a useful thing Thought for the Day is. Not only do you get the weather forecast, you also get scientific information about skin cancer and the composition of skin.
Skin gets mentioned in the Big Book of Magic Stuff. Bones get mentioned too. They even get mentioned together. The Big Book of Magic Stuff reminds us that our skin and bones are only temporary vessels that hold us before we go on to the afterlife. As an Anglican priest, let me just assure you that this definitely exists, despite what Rev Dr Grumpy Giles Fraser says.
And now, a brief song by Neil Young that mentions skin. It also mentions God and religion, which makes it a very good song.