Rev Roy Jenkins, Baptist Minister in Cardiff 
Saturday, 11 February, 2012, 09:01 AM - Sport, Jenkins
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I wonder if any of you have heard of someone called "Harry Redknapp"? For those of you who haven't, Mr Redknapp has been in the news lately. He has just been aquitted of tax evasion and many are now speculating that he might be the next England manager. Yes, Mr Redknapp is a manager of a football team. The job of England manager is the dream of all football managers. It inevitably ends in glory and means years of joyous adulation from fans and press alike.

Harry Redknapp is a bit like Jesus really. Jesus picked his Judean first eleven, affectionately known as "The Apostles", carefully. A twelfth member of the team turned out to be playing for another team entirely.

Jesus would never be accused of tax evasion though.

a) He was the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend and didn't do wrong things.
b) He was known to associate with tax collectors and other sinners, so tax collectors were unlikely to investigate him.
c) He never had a spare £200K or a bank account in Monaco named after his pet dog.

But it wasn't all encouragement and trying to get the very best out of the people he gave some magic powers to. There were some tough words too. Very tough words. Very tough words indeed. Tough words that some people would prefer not to hear. That's how tough the words were. I've run out of time, so I can't tell you what those tough words were, but believe you me, as tough words go, these were as tough as tough words can possibly be.

12 comments ( 1212 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 217 )

Rev Rob Marshall, an Anglican Priest 
Tuesday, 10 January, 2012, 08:37 AM - Faith, Spirituality, Sport, Marshall
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

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?

10 comments ( 859 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 313 )

Rev Canon Duncan Green, Church of England Olympics Co-ordinator, LOCOG Head of Multi Faith Chaplaincy Services 
Monday, 26 December, 2011, 08:11 AM - Christmas, Sport
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

There's only 215 shopping days left to the Olympics. But don't panic. Me, and my Olympic standard multi-faith staff are training round the clock to make sure that the 193 Olympic chaplains are in peak physical condition.

While thousands of athletes are running round in circles, throwing things, splashing about in the water, or kicking and punching each other, the Olympic Multi-Faith Chaplaincy will be praying that their religion wins gold. May the best religion win.

At this special time of the year, when we remember the True Meaning of Christmas, the birth of the baby visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, let us extend a hand of welcome to all the peoples of the wrong religions that will be visiting us this year. Friendship, generosity and hospitality is something that comes naturally to we people of faith. It's something that non people of faith could really learn from us.

7 comments ( 628 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 416 )

Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 22 January, 2011, 10:28 AM - Sport, 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.

Has anyone mentioned the 2012 Olympics yet? We'll soon find out what is to become of the Olympic Stadium. West Ham want to keep it as it is, so that they can host athletics events as we promised when we made the bid. Spurs want to buy it so they can tear it down and build a new stadium. That would make it one of the most short lived Olympic stadiums ever.

Berlin still has their 1936 Olympic stadium. It's a building that stands for something because there, Jesse Owens famously infuriated the Führer by winning four gold medals.

Speaking of Olympic stadiums, Cathedrals are really popular too. They're so big and architectural and have so much space in them, and people just come and wonder in awe at them. It's not just because they're so big and architectural though, it's because, like the Berlin Olympic stadium, or the 2012 Olympic Stadium if Spurs don't knock it down, they stand for something. People understand that it can be so peaceful in a Cathedral when it's not full of tourists understanding how peaceful it would be if they weren't there.

As Saint Peter famously said, people are like living stones except they're organic and tend to move about more. It's people, people, that give buildings meaning. Just as Jesse Owens gave the Berlin Olympic stadium meaning, so all the tourists make cathedrals peaceful by not being there.

6 comments ( 496 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 530 )

Rev Rob Marshall, an Anglican Priest  
Saturday, 8 January, 2011, 10:04 AM - Sport, Marshall
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Isn't the English defeat of the Aussies at cricket just fantastic! It's all so spiritual and theological and philosophical and stuff. I mean I don't want to be accused of hyperbole or anything, but this is probably the greatest victory for England in the history of anything. This glorious victory of the invincible England Cricket team will be written into the annals as our finest hour. What a humiliating defeat for poor old Australia. No, really, you mustn't laugh.

It's all about endurance, you see. It's about continuing to play cricket even when you don't want to play cricket any more (if such a thing were possible). The Australians just don't have that willpower to strive for ultimate victory.

Jesus was, of course, a big cricket fan. Together with his twelve man cricket team, he could often be seen having a quick innings by the Sea of Galilee, or bowling a maiden over on one of his frequent stopovers at Jerusalem. Being an Englishman himself, Jesus would have taken enormous pleasure at the pounding meted out to the Aussies. As Jesus himself said, "Blessed are the English Cricket Team, for they shall win the Ashes."

Saint Theresa [Ed: which one? ] was also a fantastic cricket fan.

David Sheppard, the late Bishop of Liverpool, often said that captaining the England Cricket team was what prepared him for being Bishop of Liverpool. "Frankly," he said, "I don't understand how anyone can be a bishop without first having captained the England cricket team."

Cricket is all about hard work, persistence, endurance, determination, forbearance, only breaking for tea. And it's not just true of cricket, the same can be true of some other sports too.

6 comments ( 1154 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 519 )

Soberingly Reverend Tom Butler, ex-Lord Bishop of Southwark  
Tuesday, 7 December, 2010, 08:59 AM - Sport, Butler
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I'm the bishop in reshidensh at a large public shkool (hic!), and by "plublic", I do of coursh mean "private".

D'ye know what? Well I'll tell you what. Shport ish sho important. Teenage boysh 'nd girlsh need to spend (hic!) to shpend loadsh o'time runnin around tiring themshelves out. They got sho much energy (hic!). If they don't use up all that energy in shport then they find other waysh to tire themshelves out.

The good shportsh playersh (hic!) always get picked for teamsh, but the rubbish ones might never know how much they enjoy shport unlesh they're forshed to play (hic!).

I watched shum boysh (hic!) return from their firsht crosh country run. "Well done!" a shixs former said to the boy who was shecond and the boy who wash eighth and the boy who wash 36th (hic!). "Being 36th inshtead of 37th could mean we win the cup. Now where'sh the little git who was 37th."

Shaint Paul (hic!), that great Chrishtion writer (hic!) that evry'un sho loves and admires, compared runnin to the raish fur heaven - shumbody hash to come (hic!) lasht.

Evry'uns lookin forward to the London Ollypics. What a great time to make kidsh play shportsh (hic!).

10 comments ( 1190 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 297 )

Oliver McTernan, director of the NGO Forward Thinking  
Wednesday, 30 June, 2010, 07:27 AM - Gibberish, Sport, McTernan
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Oliver McTernan here, from the NGO Forward Thinking, a proactive, demand-driven, facilitative organisation that works to promote in the UK greater understanding and confidence between the diverse grassroots Muslim communities and the wider society including the Media and the British establishment, to promote a more inclusive peace process in the Middle East, and to facilitate a global dialogue between the religious and secular worlds. Hi.

Has anyone mentioned the world cup yet? Just to follow on from the previous discussion about collecting Panini cards, FIFA are to look again at introducing goal line technology into the game. The head of FIFA has traditionally opposed this. "It would change the game by introducing more correct decisions," he said.

He has a point, which leads me seamlessly to what I want to talk about: the Invisible Magic Friend. Scientists have shown that technology is a bad thing. And these aren't just any common old scientists, these are neuroscientists, and at a top university too. So when they say technology is bad, you know it must be true. They almost have as much authority as the Big Book of Magic Stuff - that's how much authority they have.

By constantly interacting with technology, everyone is forgetting to stop and think about the Invisible Magic Friend. You can't think properly about the Invisible Magic Friend while playing Grand Theft Auto IV. The famous 18th century French Jesuit, Jean Paul de Cuisson, whom I'm sure needs no introduction, agrees with me so I must be right. The present moment has so many possibilities. Why waste it by doing things when you could spend your time more profitably thinking about the Invisible Magic Friend?

A lot of people ignore the present. They're constantly either in the future or in the past instead of being where they should be, in the now. You must learn to flap your arms like a pigeon so that you can soar above the clouds of things from other times. And when you get tired of all that flapping, don't allow your tiredness, weariness, laziness, bone idleness, indolence, apathy, procrastination, jealousy, distrust, hatred, greed, rage, murderous intent, lust, or desire for a beer overcome you.

To put it another way, people are naturally cautious.

8 comments ( 1212 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 354 )

Akhandadhi Das, a Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian 
Wednesday, 23 June, 2010, 07:45 AM - Gibberish, Materialism, Money, Sport, Akhandadhi Das
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Has anyone mentioned the World Cup yet?

Someone said there's an England match on this afternoon. But why do people get so excited about football? After all, it's only a game. It's not as if most people's lives are going to be significantly changed by the result this afternoon. Yet enthusiasm for the game is a worldwide phenomenon. Did you know, there are more members of FIFA than the UN? Not a lot of people know that.

As it happens there is an ancient Hindu text that explains people's obsession with football. A football game is in fact an illusion that doesn't really exist. Fans give themselves over to that illusion and start to get excited when they imagine England get possession and get upset when they lose possession. This is like life in general, which is another illusion, this time taking place inside the illusion of the football game.

The more we tie ourselves to material things, as many non-Hindu Radio 4 listeners tend to do, the more we get caught up with this illusion within an illusion within an illusion that is materialism within life within a football game. In fact, it is widely known that poor people are much happier than rich people. So George Osborne yesterday was actually just trying to spread a little happiness around.

So, now that I'm aware of the illusory nature of football, please, please, please, please can we get through to the knockout stage? Please?

9 comments ( 1219 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 313 )

Brian Draper, associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 19 June, 2010, 07:23 AM - Sport, 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.

Has anyone mentioned the World Cup yet?

It can be a frustrating experience being an England supporter. You never quite know what you're going to get. But after, all it's only a game and we know how to lose graciously. After all, we've had plenty of practise. So well done Algeria! (Grrrrrrrr!!!!)

Speaking of football, life never quite gives you what you expect. As the famous Algerian goalkeeper (and incidentally an atheist and Nobel laureate), Albert Camus observed, it can seem positively absurd.

I remember as a young theological student, just setting out on my lifelong study of the important and practical field of theology, one of my classmates' pregnant wife died in a car accident. It all seemed so useless and random and meaningless. A naive, foolish and less theologically trained person might even conclude that there was no loving Invisible Magic Friend, listening to our prayers and helping us through life. But I knew better. I was not weak willed, as some lesser mortals are. I did not lose faith. I knew that if I just kept repeating the profound theological argument, "there is and Invisible Magic Friend - there is, there is, there is!" that I would eventually convince myself.

The Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that life is pointless, that all our efforts are futile, that we pass through life and are forgotten. What the book is reminding us is that life is not pointless, that all our efforts are not futile, that we pass through life and are not forgotten, because there really is an Invisible Magic Friend whose plan for us just happens to look exactly the same as it would if he weren't there.

So the moral of all this is: relax, enjoy life and remember that there's more to it all than England not winning the World cup (again - grrrrrrrrr!!!).

4 comments ( 401 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 257 )

The holiest footballer in England 
Friday, 18 June, 2010, 04:39 AM - Sport, Not TFTD
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

In a moving and profound statement to the press yesterday, Wayne Rooney described the rosary beads that he wears round his neck during training "It's my religion," he explained helpfully. Doubtless his sacred talisman bestows blessings not afforded to other, less religious, players.

Speaking the day before their World Cup match against Algeria, the plucky England striker, who was booked for swearing at a referee in the run up practise matches, sought to advertise his devout Catholic faith. But as an exemplary Catholic footballer, Rooney's trip to South Africa has not been without controversy. There was the (alleged) example of his taking a pee on a posh golf course. However, at least it wasn't as bad as the infamous visit to the 52 year old hooker and grandmother, known as the Auld Slapper. This was a youthful aberration at a time when he was a much less holy footballer than he is today.

Rooney's passionate faith is long held. Once, when asked what he would do if he couldn't play football, he explained that he wasn't really much good at anything else, so maybe he'd be a priest. It is a faith that he shares with other great Catholic luminaries, such as Middle East Peace Envoy, His Hollowness Saint Tony of Bliar, and with earnings to match. The cost of his £4.25 million mansion almost covers the amount he's being sued for by his former management firm.

Proudly sporting his tattoo that reads "Just Enough Education to Perform", Rooney, with his deep Catholic faith, is an inspiration and a role model for the youth of today.
1 comment ( 506 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 241 )

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