Saturday, 15 March, 2008, 07:44 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
You reap what you sow, choices have consequences. Before St. Paul pointed this out nobody realised that choices have consequences. Now, every time you make a decision, you will be aware that your choices have consequences. Things cause other things. Bad things cause bad things. You've all been borrowing recklessly for years and now you're reaping the consequences. I'm not gloating, just because the vicarage was given to me for free doesn't mean I'm going to laugh out loud at all of those who've got themselves into too much debt. I'm not going to say I told you so, I'm far too humble for that. I'll just reiterate that choices have consequences and if your home and car are being repossessed it's your own fault. I really do feel that I need to make this clear. Consequences flow from choices. You choose things and things happen.
Fortunately it'll soon be Easter Sunday, when the invisible magic friend temporarily became visible so that he could sacrifice himself to himself to save us all from himself. Thanks to Easter Sunday there won't be any consequences after all.
Friday, 14 March, 2008, 08:34 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
Peaceful Buddhist monks, demonstrating peacefully, as Buddists always do, have been seeking a free Tibet. They wish to shake off the oppressive tyranny of their evil, communist, non-peaceful, Chinese overlords. The Buddha didn't say how we should respond to evil, communist, non peaceful overlords, but I'm sure he wanted it to be peaceful. The monks want to return Tibet to the idyllic, spiritual, peaceful existence that it enjoyed under the enlightened rule of peaceful, Buddhist monks. They wish to return to a simpler existence, where peaceful peasant farmers needed no academic education to work the land under the benign, peaceful, direction of their loving Buddhist monks and overlords. Tibetan serfs enjoyed being under the absolute control of their manorial lords and peaceful monks. They were close to nature, close to the soil, usually in it.
With great moral integrity, peaceful monks want to peacefully return to their proper, peaceful, place; masters of a peaceful feudal theocracy, with a monopoly on wealth, power and education; where the peasants are peacefully terrified into submission through ignorance, superstition and brutality. Where simple, peaceful, Tibetans will finally throw out the foreign occupiers of their peaceful, spiritual, land. Buddhism is the true religion of peace.
Thursday, 13 March, 2008, 09:01 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
It's the day after budget day and as a woudy webel I just want to say that all taxation is theft. As with all of you, I will of course minimise my tax bill using my accountant's advice. I may be a Christian but all those bloody little poor people aren't getting any more money out of me than I can get away with.
I think Jesus agrees. In a part of the gospel that for some reason isn't often quoted, Jesus makes it clear that the clergy shouldn't pay tax. When we're forced to by an unjust government, we should simply find a magic fish that has swallowed someone else's money and use that to pay the tax. I have no idea what this means, nor does anyone else, but clergy have been using other people's money to pay their taxes ever since.
Wednesday, 12 March, 2008, 07:46 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
Lord Goldsmith wants everyone to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen. This has been described as an offensive, puerile, half-baked, stupid, naive, ridiculous, unworkable idea proposed by a man who is so out of touch that he actually thinks the bulk of the British population see the Royal Family as anything more than an entertaining soap opera. I don't see this myself. What's wrong with forcing atheists to swear an oath of allegiance on the bible to the head of the Church of England? What's next? That it's silly for our head of state to be the hereditary right of descendants of William the Conqueror?
Oaths are never unconditional; even if the Queen orders the armed forces to do something naughty, they're still allowed to say no. Of course, when I say oaths are never unconditional, I mean except oaths to the invisible magic friend. These are unconditional. When you were baptised you promised to be a good IMF believer forever. You can't get out of that now just because you were a baby with no independent consciousness and someone took it upon themselves to make promises on your behalf. There were witnesses and they know who you are.
Tuesday, 11 March, 2008, 08:45 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
I wish to emphasise that I am in no way inebriated today, nor do I have any recollection of ever being so. There is therefore no need for this blog to include that childish slurred speech and oh-so-hilarious hiccups.
I am now going to explain the deep spiritual connection between Jesus and honey bees. Although this deep spiritual connection is by no means tortuous or contrived, I will require you to pay close attention.
Those of you who listen regularly to Thought For The Day will be aware that my Right Awful friend, Anne Atkins has already explained that city bees are more productive than lazy country bees. Coincidentally, bees get mentioned a couple of times in the 800,000 words in the bible. Samson, for example, gets some honey from the inside of a lion that he had casually torn apart earlier. He bases a riddle on this, with the usual hilarious consequences that we've come to expect from the Old Testament. Bees also get mentioned in a Psalm.
Now this is where some concentration is required on your part. I'm now going to cleverly combine both of these bee references with Jesus. Although bees do not get explicitly mentioned in the passion story, Jesus was in fact surrounded by his enemies, just like the swarm of bees in the psalm, and when he rose from the dead, something sweet came from something terrible, just like Samson's riddle.
With Holy Week approaching you will be able to look forward to many more of these profound and entertaining sermons (hic!).
Monday, 10 March, 2008, 07:45 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
Jodrell Bank is to be closed down. This will have a devastating effect on our ability to make new discoveries. We'll become blind to pulsars, quasars and black holes. Studies of dark matter, dark energy and the very origins of the cosmos itself will all be affected.
As a Reverend Canon Doctor and Director of the Centre for Ethics and Religion, Lancaster University, let me just assure you that these problems pale into insignificance when we consider the effect of Jodrell Bank discovering intelligent life on other worlds. Forget about the implications for science, technology and our understanding of the universe, what really matters is what affect this will have on my precious, and right, faith.
First we'll have to start combing biblical texts for bits that show that the Invisible Magic Friend was telling us this all along. Next we'll communicate with our alien neighbours. Our number one priority will obviously be to find out who their gods are. We'll listen patiently and in detail to all they have to say before explaining that they're wrong and that they must all convert to the correct religion if they're going to be saved. Think of all those poor aliens who don't know about Christ!
Saturday, 8 March, 2008, 09:50 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
I used to be head of the BBC Department of Religion and More Religion. I was an important man. A man with the power to hire and fire, the power to tell others what to do. I had a budget. Then suddenly, one day, you're too old. You're a pensioner, fit only for your slippers and your cardigan. Now I just want to make it absolutely clear that I'm not at all bitter about this. I'm not in the least bit resentful that some young whippersnapper, some inexperienced pup barely out of nappies saw fit to take my job. I'm not even going to remark on how much better the department was when I ran it.
We all have to take our turn. The Department of Religion and More Religion is a heavy burden for any man to take. It's so much easier to be President of the United States, with a nuclear arsenal at you disposal and leader of the free world. I mean it's obviously a doddle for 71 year old John McCain. You couldn't possibly ask someone, who was a whole eleven years younger than that when he was forced to retire, to head a BBC department. The powers that be at the BBC seem to think so anyway.
Time was when people used to look up to their elders. They used to value the wisdom and maturity of people like me. Just look at Ian Paisley: First Minister of Ireland in his eighties. There's wisdom and maturity for you. Then there was Methuselah, 969 years old when he died. My god, I've got centuries left in me yet.
The invisible Magic Friend loves those of us who are in our prime. I know this because he told me so. Apparently he also has some affection for those who have not yet reached our advanced state of development. Personally I can't stand the little punks.
Friday, 7 March, 2008, 08:07 AMRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
Blasphemy is gone. Hurrah! One more step towards separation of church and state. It was so discredited that even the bishops voted to get rid of it. Blasphemy was all about power, the power of the state backed by a creator and lawgiving god. Buddhism doesn't believe in rubbish like that. Ours is a rational religion that believes in arguing to defend its truth.
Although we don't believe in invisible magic friends, we do believe in being spiritual. I don't know what this means but I do know it's a really good thing. Being secular on the other hand is a bad thing. Bad secularism. I don't know what this means either, but I do know it doesn't contradict being happy to get rid of blasphemy. You can't be secular and spiritual at the same time. If you're secular then you're only materialistic. You just think about fast cars and getting laid all the time. Secular means bad. Parking on a double yellow line is being secular. Not buying your mum flowers on mother's day is being secular. Secularism causes materialism. They're the same thing. Bad materialism, bad secularism. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.
Remember, spiritual Buddhist good, secular materialism bad.
Thursday, 6 March, 2008, 08:18 AMRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
Those clever scientists are using a neutron scanner to try and uncover Da Vinci's Battle of Anghiari. This is so exciting because we have to search so hard to find it. Just as we had to search so hard to find the solution to that eternal mystery: what was C.S. Lewis, that amazing, fantastic, really really good, Christian writer, actually talking about.
I'm a big fan of science. Science nearly proved that the resurrection happened when they carbon dated the Shroud of Turin. Unfortunately this stunning piece of evidence turned out not to prove the resurrection after all, but since it's obvious it must've happened it doesn't really matter anyway.
The Invisible Magic Friend likes to tease us by giving us obtuse clues and contradictory instructions, and then burning us in hell for all eternity if we don't figure out the puzzle. What a wicked sense of humour he's got. There's lots of evidence for this. He came all the way down from heaven, turned water into wine (I told you he liked a skinful), healed the sick (at least those who could get close enough) and finally resurrected. I know, it says it all there in the bible. Just how much proof do you need? You must be really stupid not to believe that!
Wednesday, 5 March, 2008, 08:37 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
Good Morrrrning. Jesus was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton. He loved to hang out with the boys and have a god bevy. In his lighter moments he liked to chill out, "Hey, like, it's all really cool man. Don't worry." He would undoubtedly have loved Rembrandt Square in Amsterdam, where for some reason patrons seem to be less concerned with alcohol. St. Paul liked to get plastered too.
Despite all this, getting drunk is a bad thing. Puking up in the town square is very undignified and leaves a horrible mess. You can't go around being aggressive to police officers at 2 o'clock in the morning. So here are St. Paul's handy tips for cleaning up British pubs.
1. Name and shame anyone who urinates in the street by publishing their names in the Oban Times.
2. Pubs should be made nicer.
3. People who go to pubs to consume alcohol should be asked to leave.
4. Pub landlords should not just be seen as people who sell alcohol. They should become community leaders and builders of a more caring, respectful society.
There we go. Sorted.