Rev Rob Marshall, an Anglican Priest 
Saturday, 25 February, 2012, 08:26 AM - Marshall
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

You will soon be able to buy the Sun on Sunday. The Sun is a newspaper. No, honestly, it is. So now you'll be able to read page three, seven days a week, including Sunday.

Noam Chomsky was seriously cynical about newspapers. As he famously remarked, "I was reading the Sun newspaper and I just had to ask, WOW! just take a look at today's page three!"

Newspapers like The Sun are now facing serious challenges from the internet and especially from social media. Page three must now compete with more diverse news stories such as, "Eric from Clapton is currently washing his car, although he may be reading page three".

The Middle Earth word, οβιτνευσιον or hobbitnewsion, was first used by J.R.R. Tolkien. It has a variety of translations but one of its more literal forms can be read as "hobbit news". This was the interpretation that J.R.R. Tolkien and some of the first film makers intended. So we see that news is not new and there has in fact been news for a very long time.

The launch of the Sun on Sunday, reminds us of the great tradition of war correspondents, who risk and often give their lives in places such as Syria and other trouble spots around the world.

With the internet, the Sun on Sunday, Lord of the Rings and the Big Book of Magic Stuff, it has never been more important to distinguish what is real from what is just utter fantasy.

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3 comments ( 582 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 163 )

Soberingly Reverend Tom Butler, ex-Lord Bishop of Southwark 
Friday, 24 February, 2012, 08:39 AM - Old age, Butler
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I think a dignity code for the elderly ish a jolly good idea. (hic!)

Long, long ago, when I wash a young curate, I worked in a parish. No, honeshtly I (hic!) did. Then I went to Africa. Then I came back from Africa. It'sh all very intereshting and exciting really. Anyway, after I'd left my parish to go to Africa (hic!) and then come back from Africa, I vishited the parish that I'd left to go to Africa and then come back from. This shtory isn't really about Africa. I'm only menshinning Africa so that I can tell you I came back from Africa after leaving to go to it. (hic!)

Did I ever tell you the shtory how I vishited an elderly lady in the parish that I'd left to go to Africa and then (hic!) came back from to vishit? No? Well there was thish elderly lady. I wash telling her all about how I'd left to go to Africa (hic!) and had now come back from Africa and how intereshting it all wash. Do you know what she shaid to me? I'll tell you what she shaid to me. She shaid she'd rather watch the (hic!) racing.

Everyone's different you see. It never occurred to me that she'd rather watch the rashing than lishten to me telling her how I'd left to go to Africa and then (hic!) came back from Africa. Each to their own I shuppose?

William Shakespeare shaid their were sheven ages of man, but that'sh rubbish. What did Shakespeare know? The only reason I mention him (hic!) him wash to shay how rubbish he ish. I'm not going to talk about Shakespeare any more. Thish shtory ishn't about Shakespeare any more than it'sh about Africa but if I didn't pad things out with these little irrelevant detailsh it might shound as if I'm not really shaying very much. (hic!)

Hindus got it right. Hindush shay there are four ages of man: stewing, louseholder, rage and ashcerbic, where you throw out all the cuddly toysh. And you know what? I'll tell you what, they're all equally important, espeshially the elderly, retired bit.

And that'sh what Chrishtianity'sh all about. (hic!)

Lishten/Read
16 comments ( 633 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 156 )

Muslim Attacks Atheist - Judge Blames Atheist 
Thursday, 23 February, 2012, 11:36 AM - Not TFTD
I know three posts in one day is pushing it a bit, but I had to point people in the direction of this latest piece of religious idiocy.

An atheist dresses up as Mohammed on a Halloween parade. A Muslim takes offence at this and attacks the atheist. The attack is witnessed by a police officer, the attack is filmed and the attacker admits the offence. The attacker claims he didn't realise it was against the law to assault someone.

It comes before a judge, who just happens to be Muslim. He refuses to admit the video evidence, dismisses the police officer's testimony and then proceeds to lecture the victim on how offensive he's been. The judge points out that in some countries he'd be facing the death penalty for having provoked the attack.

Oh, and he calls the victim some names just to finish things off. The case is then dismissed.

Thankfully this didn't happen in Britain. It happened in Pennsylvania.
8 comments ( 618 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 139 )

Theories about Faster than Light Neutrinos 
Thursday, 23 February, 2012, 10:10 AM - Science, Not TFTD
There was a rash of papers offering explanations for the faster than light neutrinos coming from CERN a few months back: variations on relativity, particles tunnelling through extra dimensions, multiple time dimensions, were just a few.

It isn't confirmed, but it looks like the solution to the mystery may have been found. The timing discrepancy was due to... a loose cable.

When they tightened the cable properly, the faster than light neutrinos disappeared.

The nice thing about science is that it fixes its mistakes. Now if this was theology...
7 comments ( 476 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 163 )

Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Inter-Religious Studies, Assistant Principal for Religion and Society, New College on the Mound, University of Edinburgh  
Thursday, 23 February, 2012, 08:15 AM - Interfaith, Siddiqui
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

Racism is bad. It's not as bad now as it used to be. It used to be very bad, now it's just bad.

We all have prejudices. Now that I think about it, even non-white people can have prejudices. There's a tribalism in us that we all have to overcome. This innate tribalism isn't the result of evolution. That's such a silly argument that I'm not even going to mention it. Our tribalism is the result of the Invisible Magic Friend. He decided to make us different colours with different faiths, languages and cultures because he thought history would be more entertaining that way, as we "got to know one another".

I know a Protestant theologian whose daughter is marrying a Hindu. Now I know what you're thinking. How can a good Protestant girl, who quite properly believes in the only true Invisible Magic Friend, marry someone who not only has a different Invisible Magic Friend, but has lots of Invisible Magic Friends? It's unbelievable, isn't it? After the theologian had recovered from the shock and got up off the couch, he decided to permit the marriage on the grounds that his daughter's happiness might be more important.

As a Professor of Islamic and Inter-Religious Studies, I find myself troubled and challenged by this bizarre behaviour. Could I allow one of my children to marry someone with the wrong Invisible Magic Friend, or even worse, a Hindu? I'm really not sure. This is the kind of complex and difficult question that shows just how important my Inter-Religious Studies courses are. I might even raise the question at the next inter-faith buffet.

Listen/Read
18 comments ( 450 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 154 )

Rev Dr Michael Banner, Dean and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge 
Wednesday, 22 February, 2012, 08:17 AM - War, Banner
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy Ash Wednesday everyone! Yes, it's that jolly time of year when we all get to spend six wonderful weeks contemplating the suffering of Christ.

But it's not only the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend who suffers, lot's of people suffer. Whether it's war, famine, pestilence or natural disaster, all over the world there are lots of people suffering, just like Christ did. You don't even have to take my word for it, you can get all that suffering transmitted into the comfort of your own home.

Now, with the arrival of Lent, you can join in too. You can do your little bit of suffering to show that you really care. Just by giving up your favourite legally available addictive drug for a few weeks, you can show solidarity with Christ and everyone who suffers as Christ did.

Of course, you won't suffer the way a starving child in sub-Saharan Africa does. They suffer the way Christ did, which you won't, but at least as you forgo your evening glass of wine, you'll be able to say, I have given up my evening glass of wine, I know what it is to suffer.

But aren't we all enjoying all this suffering a bit too much? How many of us rush home from work to see the latest Famine in Ethiopia, or Somalia's got Pirates? I know I am. That's why I'll be giving up something for Lent, to show that I'm not just treating others' pain as a form of entertainment.

Lent is about recognising other people's suffering. It's got nothing to do with me showing how holy I am.

Listen/Read
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Iain Duncan Smith 
Tuesday, 21 February, 2012, 09:26 AM - Politics, Not TFTD
I wish to comment on some comments by the elite, who seem to think that shelf stacking at Tesco, for about a fifth of the minimum wage, is not a worthy career for an ambitious young person. I will use my own example to inspire those young people who are not too proud to start at the bottom rung of the ladder.

My university education took place in a town with an ancient and distinguished university that awarded degrees. After attending a nearby language college I realised that I had learned all that I needed to learn and saw no need to sit any exams or obtain any formal qualifications.

My working life started out in the Guards, where I served as a humble aide-de-camp to Major-General Sir John Acland. On leaving the guards, I married the daughter of the 5th Baron Cottesloe and spent some time considering my future career. It was at this point that I joined GEC-Marconi, where various official biographies used to state that I was a director. This turned out to be mis-remembered and my actual position at GEC-Marconi is now not mentioned by anyone, even on the internet.

With successful careers in the army and the defence industry behind me, I thought it appropriate to turn my talents eleswhere. I founded my very own property company which subsequently collapsed, whereupon I found myself once again contemplating where I could next be of service. I decided to serve on the board of Jane’s Information Group, a directorship that was real and not actually mis-remembered at all.

Having had no previous interest in politics, it was at this point that I decided to become a Conservative MP. My wealth of education, talent, experience and connections, was such that I rapidly rose to become leader of the Conservative Party, where I served with distinction before returning to the backbenches again.

My career proves that, provided one is willing to work hard and stick with it, anyone can overcome an underprivileged background and rise to become a government minister. So just ignore what the elite are telling you and don't be too proud to work 40 hours a week for £53.
4 comments ( 925 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 207 )

Rhidian Brook, writer, celebrity and Christian 
Tuesday, 21 February, 2012, 08:39 AM - Art, Gibberish, Brook
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I was In Bruges admiring a painting of Jesus when my daughter said, "Oh no, not another painting of Jesus. Didn't they paint anything else then?" I had to smile at the simple boredom of a child. The answer is, no, they didn't.

Anyone who could paint in those days painted who they were told to, and they were told to paint pictures of Jesus: Jesus being born, Jesus being killed and occasionally Jesus doing other things apart from being born or being killed. Of course they were painted in a huge variety of slightly different ways but I have to admit, even I found it all incredibly boring.

Then it hit me. A lot of art and public works were done for money or prestige. How much of it was really done to glorify the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend? The more I looked around In Bruge, the more I came to realise that motives of adoration and praise become confused with motives of self aggrandisement. What an original thought this was. As a celebrity, Christian writer I thought to myself, is it possible that anyone has ever questioned religious motives before?

A retired bishop has got so confused about all of this that he's written in his book that he's confused.

Everyone's favourite earliest Christian author, Saint Paul, famously said that Jesus was the invisible image of the Invisible Magic Friend. Even by Saint Paul's standards that seems obscure. Fortunately it all makes sense when you realise that I haven't actually read the Big Book of Magic Stuff and the few bits that I have read I don't remember very well.

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5 comments ( 810 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 192 )

Unnaturally Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Reverend Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord...  
Monday, 20 February, 2012, 08:18 AM - Harries
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Private things, done by private people in private, should remain private. As private people, we all have private things that we would like to keep private. So we should respect the right of other private people to keep their private things private, so that they will respect our right to keep our private things private.

Public people who do things in private that affect the public need to be transparent. Even though they may have private things that they want to keep private, they may also have private things that need to be made public because they affect the public. A free press ensures that anything that public people do in private can be made public so that the public can know about the private things that public people do in private that might affect the public. However, there is a balance to be found here. The free press must not abuse their ability to make private things public if the private things that public people keep private ought to be kept private.

The Freedom of Information Act allows all sorts of things to be made public that used to be private. Public figures have to be careful what they do in private because the FOI act can make them public even if they want them to remain private.

The New Tasty mint records the words of Jesus: "Exclusive! Read all about it! I know all your dirty little secrets and I'm gonna tell everybody! So there!"

This would seem to suggest that the Invisible Magic Friend doesn't want anything to by private.

Makes you think, eh?

Listen
5 comments ( 910 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.8 / 172 )

Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet, POTY 2011 
Saturday, 18 February, 2012, 08:13 AM - Pepinster
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Far too many people are getting drunk at home these days. It's an utter disgrace. What do you think pubs are for? If you want to set an example, go get drunk in a pub instead. Getting drunk in public is the way you were meant to get drunk. Public drunkenness is what the Invisible Magic Friend wants, although I do hope people won't use that as an excuse to bring up that hoary old chestnut of the Soberingly Reverend Ex-Lord Bishop of Southwark and the cuddly toys. That really was just one incident. It was a long time ago and it's just not funny any more.

It's all the fault of the breathalyser. Thanks to this invention of the devil, people are afraid to go down the pub, get sozzled and then get behind the wheel of a car. All for fear of seriously injuring or killing someone.

But it's not just pubs that people aren't getting drunk in any more, they're not getting drunk in church either. Many church's are having to shut their doors most weeks, or even close entirely. Whatever happened to the sense of community we all had, guzzling down a bottle or two of Benedictine wine? I have many happy memories of over indulging and throwing up in the baptismal font, or at least I would have many happy memories if only I could remember anything.

So this lent, don't just give up drinking at home for six weeks, make a visit to your local and get drunk in the company of a bunch of complete strangers instead.

Listen/Read
16 comments ( 1083 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 159 )


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