Me and some other celebrities were having a bit of a party and it got reported in the newspapers. Now I was there, with the other celebrities, and I can tell you that lots of things in the newspaper were just made up. I know what you're thinking, shocking, isn't it?
It just goes to show that you shouldn't believe everything you read in the newspapers. On the other hand, people like me do believe everything we read in the newspapers. I mean, they can't make everything up, can they? Just because the one celebrity event that I have first hand knowledge of turned out to be misreported in the newspaper, doesn't mean they do that all the time.
It's because written accounts are so reliable that we can fully trust John's account of the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned 180 gallons of water into wine (it was quite a big wedding, with a lot of local celebrities present - I'd probably have been there myself if it was held today). You can tell from details like that, and the reporting of the time and the place, that this was undoubtedly true. It was witnessed by so many people that the first three Gospel writers didn't even feel the need to mention it.
If that isn't convincing enough, millions of people today, 2,000 years later, continue to believe it to be true, so it really must be. People even swear on it that they're telling the truth - it's that trustworthy!
The University of Central Lancashire, not to be confused with the University of Outer Lancashire, has opened an Institute for Dark Tourism Research. They want to answer the question, why do people visit places of great tragedy, like the concentration camps?
I visited the concentration camps as part of an inter-faith tour. We went to Dachau, Auschwitz and Birkenau where we saw the bleak reminders of the evil done there. One of the victims was my grandfather.
I did some meditation and said some Jewish prayers.
Is this all just morbid curiosity, or is there some purpose to it all? In my case, it is a matter of trying to face death, of viewing the world as it is, not just in its beautiful aspects, but also its darker side.
Should we have an elected Lords? Parliamentarians say mostly, although some say a little bit and some say not at all. Some said we should ask the people whether the people should choose the Lords, and some said we shouldn't ask the people whether we should ask the people to choose the Lords. David Cameron isn't sure whether we should ask the people to ask the people to choose the Lords and would rather just wait and see what way the wind's blowing on this one.
And will an elected House of Lords do what the elected House of Commons tells it to? Or will they think that because they're elected, they've got just as much right not to do what the House of Commons tells it to? The current House of Lords is filled with experts on all sorts of things, like theology. They are the nation's wise ones.
But what does it mean to be wise? Surprisingly, just being a bishop or even a professor, does not necessarily make you wise. The Invisible Magic Friend's Big Book of Magic stuff says that fear of him is the beginning of wisdom. Indeed, given his reputation for capriciousness, smiting, vengefulness, favouritism and genocide, regular doses of praise, obeisance and all round flattery might well be considered wise.
There's also wisdom in humility. As a Rev Dr Dr Prof, let me just assure you that humbleness is a sure fire indicator of wisdom. Saint Paul said so too. He said wisdom was the life, death and resurrection of the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, which if you think about it, actually means there is wisdom in humility.
So do you really want to elect people to the Lords who want to be elected in order to take power? Wouldn't you prefer Lords who are the humble servants of the people elected to take power?
Was Jesus gay? Rev Paul Oestreicher, a gentleman almost as distinguished as oneself, says yes. On the other hand, Matthew Parris says there's no such thing as gayness, and he should know because he is one, so Jesus can't be.
Some Church of England clergy think the CofE should go all out and embrace gayness. Other well known religions have still not fully embraced gayness, a tendency that no amount of camp outfitting seems to help with.
The CofE has a particular problem with gayness. Jews, Muslims and we Catholics can say what we like about gayness. Our religions can do everything they like to prevent gayness and can discriminate and persecute gayness to our hearts' content. The CofE, as the established church, might have to start being nice to gays. This would seem like a really good reason to become disestablished. Then, using proper Christian theology, they can be as horrible as they like about gayness too.
What's really important here is not things like human rights, equality and personal happiness or fulfilment, the question is, what does the Invisible Magic Friend think about gayness?
Brian here, in Southampton, an associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity where we envision and equip Christians and their churches for whole-life missionary discipleship in the world, seek to serve them with biblical frameworks, practical resources, training and models so that they flourish as followers of Jesus and grow as whole-life disciple making communities. Hi.
What do we Christians think of death? Nothing really. We just pass over to a different form of life where we live forever in Happy La-La land, smiling and praising the Invisible Magic Friend for not burning us all in hell for all eternity for not praising him enough. So we've got no worries about death. No concerns at all. Can't wait for it actually.
But you lot have to seriously consider the possibility that your existence will come to an end one day. I can't think of anything interesting to say so I'll just go over Lord Gould's Lessons From the Death Zone. Obviously I can't show you a You-Tube video on Thought For The Day but I can quote extensively from it.
"In six weeks I will be dead."
"This is an extraordinary experience."
"It's only when they say you're going to die, get used to it. It's only when that happens that life screams at you in it's intensity."
Another dying man at a hospice, spoke of challenging our assumptions, giving, needing, dreaming, laughing, loving.
A famous poet said something interesting about death too. In fact, it seems almost everyone except the Christian faith has got something relevant to say about death.
So whether you believe in Happy La-La land or not, the message is: live life for the moment.
Friday, 20 April, 2012, 03:09 PM - Not TFTDAs many of you will know, the government is creating elected police commissioners soon. One of their new responsibilities will be the purchase of help for victims of crime and help for witnesses at court. This funding is currently provided centrally to the Victim Support charity.
This will mean duplication of essential services between commissioning areas leading to higher cost and lower efficiency. There'll be less communication across the victim support service as a whole, leading to gradual fragmentation of the service and perhaps to a postcode lottery in standards. Worst of all, the funding of victim and witness services will become subject to the vagaries of local politics.
I'd like to ask you to sign this e-petition, asking the government to reconsider this role of elected police commissioners and if possible, help to spread the word.
More information in the comments section.
It's a very womanly thing to do, to speak as one woman, or in this case two women, to another, urging Asma Assad to stop the violence in Syria.
We women have always focused on individuals. I won't bore you with any Shakespeare this morning but will entertain you instead with the other benefits from my classical education. In the New Tasty mint of the Big Book of Magic Stuff, it is Pilate's wife who warms him against condemning an innocent man. This story is every bit as real as Lysistrata or Calpurnia. Oops, some Shakespeare popped up accidentally after all. Silly me, I just can't help myself.
Anyway, classical allusions done, it's now time to imagine a young, hot, passionate Anne Atkins, lately married, gaily frolicking in the summer sun, sweating profusely as my manly husband thrusts his way through his conjugal rights, both of us panting heavily until we cry out in an ecstatic climax. Then, nine months later, lying there, legs akimbo, enduring the pain of labour as the head of my first infant child emerges, ready to suck upon the teat of my lactating nipple.
Enjoy your breakfast.
Friday, 20 April, 2012, 05:37 AM - Not TFTDP.Z. Myers can deny it all he likes but the internet, like the Daily Mail, doesn't lie. Previously known as a respectable biology professor and atheist blogger, he has had his scandalous double life exposed. Shamefully, he is in fact a secret pointy hat wearer!!!
Thursday, 19 April, 2012, 08:01 AM - SacksRating 1 out of 5 (Not platitudinous)
Lord Sacks' reflections on Yom Hashoah, the jewish Holocaust memorial day. He points to rising anti-semitism in Europe and warns that hatred can be directed at any minority group.
A parody wouldn't be appropriate.
Shaikh Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim Chaplain Cambridge University (the Shaikh formerly known as Tim Winter)
And now for an insight into the headlines from a faith perspective: I've been to Indonesia you know? I visited this really bizarre temple where all sorts of loopy religions were practised as well as the only sensible one.
Britain is only just coming to terms with multi-faith prayer rooms. Blackburn Rovers have commendably turned one of their toilet blocks into a multi-faith prayer room. There, at half time, if the Rovers aren't doing too well, devout Methodists and Druids can pop in for a quick prayer to the Invisible Magic Friend.
Other football clubs have not yet been so enlightened, but give it time. Meanwhile multi-faith prayer rooms are appearing everywhere. They are places where people of all faiths come together in peace and harmony to worship their own Invisible Magic Friend, or, in the case of particularly wrong religions, friends.
The issue of what decorations, books and other religious paraphernalia should decorate these multi-faith prayer rooms, which welcome people of all faiths - no, honestly, they do - is one that has to be decided by someone. The question is who should decide this? The answer of course is that the correct religion should!
I find this all tremendously encouraging. It just goes to show the fantastic growth of all faiths in this country. Above all it should not simply be taken as a sign that motorway service stations will stop at nothing to try and attract you in to buy some fried chicken and fries.
So if you're driving along the motorway and find you desperately need to stop for a quick trip to the loo, why not make the trip complete with a visit to the multi-faith prayer room. No matter what you're religion, you're sure of a warm welcome from all the devout members of the correct one.