It isn't easy being AB of C. He's had to deal with The Women, and worse still, The Gays, making a nuisance of themselves and insisiting that they be treated like real human beings. I bet he envies the Pope who can just tell troublemakers, "Shut up, we're not changing, end of."
At his first press conference, the AB of C announced that he longed for Christianity to capture the imagination of our culture. Who can deny that Christianity has become ever more part of our imagination?
Saint James says if you're friends with the world, you're the enemy of the Invisible Magic Friend. This means that if you have a choice between people's needs and the rules laid down in the Big Book of Magic Stuff, the orders of the Invisible Magic Friend must always come first.
The AB of C recently went to Rome, where the proper version of Christianity can be found. There, he discovered that Great Gregory sent monks to tell Bede the Venerable to go and invent England.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica will no longer have a print edition.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica was a big book full of knowledge and a great symbol of civilisation. Can you think of any other big books children? Yes, the Big Book of Magic Stuff! It's even better than the Encyclopaedia Britannica and it's still available in the printed edition.
Writing was invented by those clever Mesopotamians, but cuneiform wasn't really appropriate for writing down the Big Book of Magic Stuff, that's why the Hebrews invented the alphabet. It's thanks to that invention that you all know that you were created in the image of the Invisible Magic Friend, except for not being invisible or magic and sometimes not over friendly.
Then that nice Mr. Gutenberg invented the printing press. The Big Book of Magic Stuff could now be owned by anybody. Thanks to the march of progress, Europeans could now print heresies and fight religious wars over them.
Finally we come to the internet and electronic book readers. Once again, knowledge about the Invisible Magic Friend is spreading thanks to a new medium that he curiously has only now made available.
We Jews love all these new techie toys but we remain the people of the Big Book of Magic Stuff. It's just not the same venerating a Kindle. So we still have thousands of scribes, usefully employed creating a handwritten Torah.
Have I ever mentioned the importance of the Lessons of History? History is really important. It's by studying history that humans have been able to avoid making the same mistakes over and over and over again.
Lots of people need to use food banks (run by Christians) in the UK, and the numbers are rising fast. It's shocking that, in our own country, there are people who need the help of we Christians. We Christians normally only have to help poor foreigners.
I spent a couple of weeks in a food bank with some fellow Christians. We Christians heard tales from people who suddenly found themselves destitute. As well as their financial situation, many suffered the anguish of a sense of failure. As a Baptist minister I've obviously never felt that but, as a Christian, I can imagine it must be terrible.
It takes a great deal of courage to walk into a food bank run by, and donated to, by we Christians. But no matter how successful we are, even we Christians, we all remain dependent on others. As we get older we, including we Christians, often need to rely on others for our personal care.
We also need the love of others and the love of the Invisible Magic Friend. It takes a great deal of courage to admit that we need the love of the Invisible Magic Friend, but we do, and by "we" I do of course mean "you". Are you getting near the end of your days on this Earth? Do you have the courage to admit that you need the love of the Invisible Magic Friend? Or are you a hopeless coward who pretends that human love is enough? We Christians, who run all the country's food banks, are courageous. Are you as courageous as we are?
You know that we religious types don't like to say we told you so, but in the case of eating red meat we Hindus told you so. The experts might recommend red meat in moderation but I say why not go the whole way? Get rid of red meat, white meat and fish altogether. What did that innocent little lamb or cute little piggy ever do to you?
Welcome to Akhandadhi Delia's organic vegetarian kitchen. We've got all sorts of delicious recipes for you. You'll be amazed what you can do with a good selection of grains, beans and lentils. For something extra special, you can always add a root vegetable or two. The ancient Hindu Big Book of Magic Stuff defines two types of food. There's "variety", that leaves you feeling satisfied and wanting a good doze. Then there's "boring", which means vegetable stew every night that leaves you feeling lean and hungry and ready to do a whole night's worth of meditating about the Invisible Magic Friend. Which would you prefer?
But why stop there? Plants have rights too you know. There they were, not harming anybody, happily photosynthesising, when suddenly a huge metal scythe removes all their vital greenery. How would you like that to happen to you? It isn't very nice is it?
So I recommend not eating at all. It will keep your body lean and pure and it's good for the environment too!
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 08:02 AM - TilbyRating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)
I'm a very broad minded, liberal, tolerant sort of Canon. I'm all for equality. Equality is brilliant. I think everybody should have equality.
Gay marriage is just going that bit too far. Both Catholic and Anglican bishops say so, so I must be right. It all boils down to who owns marriage. Is it society or the Church? I'm not going to come straight out and say it's the Church. That wouldn't make me look like the kind of very broad minded, liberal, tolerant sort of Canon that I am, but I will say this: marriage has been a sacrament for at least a couple of hundred years, and we owned it even before that.
All through the Big Book of Magic Stuff, we see endorsement for the kind of marriage that I approve of. From Adam and Eve's only two sons and whoever they got married to but it forgot to mention, all the way through David and Jonathan, polygamy, what you can do with your slave girls, virgin births and Jesus actually attending a wedding.
Some people say that homosexuality occurs throughout nature, which just goes to show how wrong nature can be. Gays have got Civil Partnerships. They should be happy with that and stop making very broad minded, liberal, tolerant sort of Canon's like me feel uncomfortable.
Monday, 12 March, 2012, 08:35 AM - BillingsRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
What are we going to do with the unemployed?
On the one hand, we could view them as down on their luck, forced to live on benefits, the poorest in the land. On the other hand, we could view them as a bunch of lazy, work-shy, good for nothings who live off the taxes of hard working vicars like myself.
Which view does Christianity tend to in regards to poor people? Well, on the one hand, Jesus says to help the poor, to be kind and compassionate. On the other hand, Saint Paul says to knock them down, then maybe kick them about a bit. John Smith thought the same advice applied to gentlemen in his Jamestown colony who thought themselves too good to work. Interestingly, that little nugget of information is on the same Wikipedia page as the Saint Paul quote, which is quite a coincidence. Also on the same page is a bit about how Lenin agreed with Saint Paul, but I'm not going to mention that in case it confuses Christians. On the other hand, that means Lenin disagreed with Jesus, which just goes to show how evil he was.
How have we dealt with poor people over time? On the one hand we used to send them to the Workhouse, which was not very nice. On the other hand, now we don't.
I think we can begin to see a pattern in all of this. On the one hand we might want to come down hard on the unemployed. On the other hand, we might not.
Personally, I don't think I would like to compel the unemployed to do anything that an ordinary, hard working, Rev Canon Dr, such as myself, isn't prepared to do.
Today would have been the 21st birthday of Cpl Jake Hartley. together with Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19, Pte Daniel Wade, 20, Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, and Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, he died in a blast in Afghanistan this week.
I was contacted to find out what to do, I recommended some emergency prayers.
I would also like to say how very humble I am.
The last entry on Cpl Hartley's Facebook page was, "I'll be fine mum trust me."
Friday, 9 March, 2012, 12:07 PM - Not TFTDWe all know the Catholic Church has a fairly warped sense of morality. They "closed" their adoption agencies in England and Wales rather than face the theoretical possibility that a homosexual couple might walk into one. (In reality, those agencies are all still operating, just without the word "Catholic" in their title and without funding from the Catholic Church.)
You wouldn't think the Catholic Church could get much more petulant than that but they certainly seem willing to give it a try. Francis House, a homeless charity in Sacramento, has lost its funding from the local diocese. What crime, you might wonder, have the poor and homeless in Sacramento committed? Have they been pushing atheism, or worse, saying nice things about President Obama? Nope.
"We serve the poor. We don't have a litmus test for homeless people when they come in," said a spokesperson.
The diocese has supported this charity for many years, so what has changed? Answer: the director of the charity has changed. The new director is Rev Faith Whitmore, a Methodist. That isn't the problem, the Catholic Church is willing to overlook the fact that she's the wrong type of Christian. No, the problem is that Rev Whitmore is an outspoken advocate of a woman's right to choose and of gay marriage.
That's right, because the charity's director does not uphold Catholic teaching in these areas, the diocese has removed it's funding. Francis House won't collapse as a result, but it's enough to hurt, and it will certainly affect the poor and homeless that rely on its services.
As one Catholic priest put it, "If the bishops are going to de-fund every organization headed by someone who disagrees with their views on gay marriage, birth control and abortion, they are going to find very few agencies to fund."
Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Inter-Religious Studies, Assistant Principal for Religion and Society, New College on the Mound, University of Edinburgh
Growing numbers of us are living long enough to suffer from dementia. Those in the next generation are beginning to see that we too might end up as dependants, stripped of our memories and identities. For some, continued medication might help, but in the end death awaits us all.
Even though I know that heaven definitely exists and that, as a Professor of Islamic and Inter-Religious Studies, eternal happiness almost certainly awaits me, I'm curiously reluctant to go there. This world is of course fleeting and insignificant, but I do rather hope that in the eternity ahead, I can remember something of who I was here in this trivial, unimportant existence.
Thursday, 8 March, 2012, 07:59 AM - JenkinsRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
Prince Harry is in Jamaica.
He visited a school named after William Knibb.
William Knibb (a Baptist, just like me, as it happens) fought to abolish slavery.
Although slavery has been officially abolished, many people today suffer the same conditions as slaves did.
The visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, sacrificed himself to the whole of the Invisible Magic Friend so that the Invisible Magic Friend wouldn't enslave us any more. Yes, thanks to Jesus, and only 2,000 years later, the end of slavery could be in sight any day now.
I'm sure this makes current day slaves feel much better.