Our most regal, gracious, glorious and majestic sovereign, who decides who gets to be an archbishop, is visiting Ireland. That brings me nicely onto Stanley Baldwin reading the celebrated and fascinating book, Ancient Law. One only has to select a sentence at random from this cracking good read to see why it has so consistently topped the best sellers charts.
The bias indeed of most persons trained in political economy is to consider the general truth on which their science reposes as entitled to become universal, and, when they apply it as an art, their efforts are ordinarily directed to enlarging the province of Contract and to curtailing that of Imperative Law, except so far as law is necessary to enforce the performance of Contracts.
I couldn't have said it better myself. No wonder Baldwin was such an avid fan of this inspirational work.
All the best prime ministers know their history and never repeat their predecessors' mistakes. That's why everything always gets better. Like Baldwin, they like to read Ancient Law. No doubt many of the revolutionaries in the Arab Spring have taken their lead from Ancient Law.
Understanding that the conception of Crime, as distinguished from that of Wrong or Tort and from that of Sin, involves the idea of injury to the State or collective community, we first find that the commonwealth, in literal conformity with the conception, itself interposed directly, and by isolated acts, to avenge itself on the author of the evil which it had suffered.
Who could fail to be roused by such words, to rush out into the street and demand freedom and liberty. I'll bet even the Chinese are shaking in their shoes! As it says in the Magnificat, the poor and the powerless will be made mighty - as generally happens all the time nowadays, and the tanks and armoured personnel carriers of hell shall not prevail against them (although they generally do unless some other tanks and armoured personnel carriers get in the way).
And the big news today, 2,600 years ago the Buddha became the Buddha. Happy Wesak everyone! Before he became the Buddha, the Buddha was just a normal person. After he became the Buddha he might have been something else, or possibly still just a normal person. Nobody really knows.
So what is Buddhism? Is it a religion, a philosophy, a way of life? Nobody really knows, but whatever it is, it all started when the Buddha became the Buddha, whatever that was. On that day, the Buddha became enlightened, or "awakened" as I prefer to call it. What is "enlightenment", or "awakening" as I prefer to call it? Nobody really knows, but whatever it is, it's the thing that the Buddha discovered when he discovered it.
Being "enlightened", or "awakened" as I prefer to call it, is the opposite of not being "enlightened", or "awakened" as I prefer to call it. It's when you wake up from the sleepiness that you were previously in, rub your eyes, stare out of the window and say, "Wow, I'm enlightened, or possibly awakened." It's a mixture of wisdom, insight, maturity, discipline and many other fine words. It's a recognition that you're all going to die, and I really am very sorry to point this out at the start of a beautiful, sunny Spring day on your way to work. It is something that lies beyond your normal experience. This is something that I can be quite certain of because I haven't experienced it.
So although nobody really knows what Buddhism is, I think you can see that it really is all the things that I said it was.
I trust this has been helpful.
Sex, sex, sex. Why does everybody keep going on about sex? You can't get away from sex. Everywhere you look, it's just sex. Did I mention that I've got an 11 year old girl? We danced to Rihanna's Only Girl in the World. I just want to mention Rihanna and Lady Gaga because they're always on about sex and mentioning them makes sure you know what a hip, cool, with it, sorta celebrity Christian writer I am.
TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, they're all full of sex. Even Thought For The Day can't stop talking about sex. It's as if everyone is just totally obsessed about sex. Sex, sex, sex. Well, as a celebrity, Christian writer, let me tell you a thing or two about sex.
You wouldn't have got Jesus going on a slut walk. Jesus didn't do that sort of thing. When a prostitute met Jesus, all the dirty, lecherous old men sat around in the room with their hands under their gowns, going "oh, isn't she disgusting," "yeah, what a tart" "yeah, I bet she does some really filthy things, she does." But the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend didn't say, "You're a nice curvaceous young prostitute, would you like to have sex with me?" That's because Jesus never talked about sex. He was far too holy to have sex. Not that there's anything dirty about sex, it's just that Jesus was too holy to have any sex.
Anyway, meeting Jesus was as good as having sex with him, not that Jesus would have sex with you, what with him being so holy, but it would make you feel like you were the only girl in the world, even if you were a boy. That's how good not having sex with Jesus is.
I wish everyone would just stop talking about sex.
Sunday, 15 May, 2011, 08:15 AM - Not TFTDAs several of my flock of sheep seem to live or work in Cambridge, I thought you may wish to know of a recent scandal that has rocked the Catholic community in that fair town. What could this scandal be? Has a priest been fiddling his expenses? No, much worse. Has a priest been fiddling with something else? No, much, much worse!
In his Apostolic Letter Summarily Pontificate, His Holiness, Fuhrer Benedict XVI, gave parishes the option to say the mass in Latin without the permission of their bishop. This mass is variously known as the Trident Missile Mass, or the Extraordinarily Formed Mass.
The Trident Missile Mass allows traditionalists within the Catholic Church to enjoy the older style mass, where the priest faced the wall with his back to the congregation and spoke in an ancient language that no one understands. These traditionalists typically believe that the modern Catholic Church has become a bit too pinko, lefty, limp wristed and liberal and really needs to get back to the good old days when spare children were handed over to the care of the church and never heard of again.
One of the defining characteristics of the good old days was that the sanctuary was the exclusive preserve of the priest and the altar boys. Girls, who suffer from the common genetic affliction of not being male, never appeared in the sanctuary during mass. This then is the source of the scandal that has so shocked the congregation at Cambridge: the priest has allowed girls to serve during a Latin mass. Several members of the congregation were so outraged that they walked out in protest. Many, having heard rumours of this upcoming depravity, refused to attend. The existing male servers have, perfectly understandably, resigned in disgust at this dangerous innovation.
As Fuhrer Benedict's predecessor pointed out.
Pope Gelasius condemned the evil practice of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Innocent IV strictly forbade it: ‘Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry.’
- Pope Benedict XIV, Encyclical Allatae Sunt, July 26, 1755.
Damian Thompson reminds us that no less an authority than Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, has ruled:
Neither the service at the altar by persons of the female sex nor the exercise of the lay ministries, belong to the basic rights of the baptized. Therefore, these recent developments, out of respect for the integrity of the liturgical discipline as contained in the Missale Romanum of 1962, are not to be introduced into the Extraordinary Form
See? We must have respect for the liturgical discipline of the Roman Missile. Cardinal Burke says so. How much more disrespectful can you get than introducing girls?
What, you may ask, would any right minded priest want with girls in the sanctuary anyway? I mean yuck! They're so decidedly not masculine. Now, I wish to make it absolutely clear that the church is in no way misogynistic. Women play a full and valued role in the life of the church. Floors have to be cleaned, flowers have to be changed, the priests need their meals cooked and their bottoms wiped. There are thousands of ways in which females can contribute in important and meaningful ways, but they can't have everything. Servicing the priest is traditionally an exclusively male role.
Saturday, 14 May, 2011, 08:39 AM - WinterRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
Isn't the Queen just fantastic.
God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.
She does her duty. She's now nearly done her duty as long as Queen Victoria. Long live her gracious majesty Queen Victoria! God bless ye maaaarm.
In doing her duty, the Queen is following the stern voice of the Invisible Magic Friend. Doing your duty isn't popular with the younger generation. Soldiers, the police, fire service, nursing, teaching - you name it, youngsters these days are just bone idle and don't want to do their duty. Not like her majesty, who always does her duty. Even when the whole country went temporarily insane over the death of Diana, her glorious and most noble majesty did her duty.
Despite her horrible anus she continued to do her duty dutifully. Some weird people seem to think that having a hereditary head of state who must be born into the Windsor family is a bizarre idea, but even they think the queen does her duty.
There can only be one reason why this short, plain woman who writes the most boring speeches can be so popular. It's because she does her duty. Duty's a good thing and the Queen does it wonderfully. I can't think of anyone who does her duty the way the Queen does her duty. The one thing you can be absolutely sure about, is that the Queen always does her duty, because it's her duty to do her duty, which she does most dutifully. You know, I could squeeze in a "Sir" after the "Canon", I was head of BBC religious propaganda after all.
The Big Book of Magic Stuff says it's your duty to obey the Invisible Magic Friend. So if you want to be like our amazing and most august and distinguished monarch, you should do your duty and obey the Invisible Magic Friend and those who speak for him.
That's not the only place where the Big Book of Magic Stuff mentions duty. In the New Tasty mint, Saint Paul tells us that it's our duty to be nice to our slaves. I'm sure the Queen, who always does her duty, is nice to all of her slaves.
God bless yer most dutiful Majesty!
I want to talk to you today about the art of Ai Weiwei. Which brings me on to religion. Religion is very much like art. It is subversive, not at all part of the establishment. It asks all the difficult questions and even makes up some answers.
Believe it or not, there are control freaks out there who want to tell you what to think. That is why they are so afraid of religion. When you have a religion you are free to think what you like. Free, FREE, FREE I tell you! You are free to have an Invisible Magic Friend. Free to ask, what if there is more than this world? Eh? Eh? What if? Eh? Makes you think, eh? A famous poet asked that, so there. What a disappointment it would be if this dull, uninteresting universe was all there was.
I am free to have random thoughts rattling around in my Rev Dr brain. That's what makes me so dangerous. That's why "they" want to suppress me, to prevent me from coming on Thought For The Day. But they will not succeed. Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better.
And in conclusion, that's what the art of Ai Weiwei is all about.
"This call may be recorded for training purposes." Somewhere out there, there could be hundreds of recordings of me screaming down the phone at the call centre operator. Even now, trainees might be sniggering at the mad vicar from Cambridge.
Many of us are beginning to suspect that the banks aren't really on our side. OK, the banks need to make a profit, they're businesses after all, but there used to be a certain level of trust in our banks. Looking after people's money was a serious business. The bank manager was a respectable member of the local community, almost as respectable as the vicar.
Trust in the banks can't be restored by changing the rules. Bankers are cunning and are experts at getting round the rules. What we need is more morality in banking. The Big Book of Magic Stuff has the perfect prescription for morality in banking. By banning banking completely, the Big Book of Magic Stuff ensures that no bankers will ever by tempted to wander into the vault and award themselves a few million pounds in bonuses.
The Victims' Commissioner, Louise Casey, has spent a year listening to victims of crime and what they have to undergo in its aftermath. As well as the emotional problems, many suffer large legal costs, or financial loss through time off work. As it says in one of the Hindu Big Books of Magic Stuff (of which we have many), "Any society where there is any badness is bad."
Someone should do something to help people who are suffering. There should be more caring, more support, more help. Someone should comfort them, give them more assistance, just do more for them and make more money available from somewhere. But since none of that's going to happen, there's always the Invisible Magic Friend. The Invisible Magic Friend has four arms, in which he holds four things. These are what the four things are: a copy of Woman's Weekly, a sausage roll, a toilet roll and an mp3 player. This is what the four things are for.
Woman's Weekly, to show that he is a modern Invisible Magic Friend who is in touch with his feminine side and therefore has authority over all, regardless of gender.
A sausage roll, to provide nourishment for himself and victims of crime.
An mp3 player, so that he can listen to music and soothe the troubled hearts of victims of crime, or play Schoenberg to the guilty.
A toilet roll, the universal symbol of comfort and relief, because with four hands it means that one hand can be permanently dedicated to using a toilet roll and doesn't have to share a hand with the one that eats sausage rolls.
It really is about time that somebody did something about victims of crime.
To the delight of all Today Programme presenters, the official Scrabble dictionary now includes "innit", "grrl" and "thang".
A government apology has been called for after it was revealed that Asian women coming to Britain were subjected to virginity checks. Obviously any woman who was not a virgin must already be married and so is ineligible to come to Britain and be married.
Government apologies are all the rage at the moment, as Britain apologises for being responsible for just about everything. We're still waiting to get our own apologies from the Romans, the Vikings and the Normans, but it's only a matter of time.
What is the connection between all this and scrabble? Well, the Scrabble dictionary is a book full of words. "Apology" is a word. However, it's not a very good word for a government apology. We need something a bit stronger than "apology", which is just a bit too limp wristed and feeble.
So we ask ourselves, what's the Scrabble word that Jesus would have used? Jesus, whom I can speak for personally as I am Inconceivably Reverend, would have used the word "repent". "Repent" is a very good word. It may not score very highly in Scrabble, but it was a favourite word of the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend and that's good enough for me. "Apology" just isn't good enough. Jesus says Britain must repent of ever wanting an empire in Asia ever again!
Monday, 9 May, 2011, 08:58 AM - BrookRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
Has anyone mentioned Osama Bin Laden yet? He's dead you know. Yes it's true, it happened only a week ago. Since then we've had a picture of the president watching the whole thing live on TV, and Osama Bin Laden watching himself, not so live, on TV. He didn't have access to Google so he had no other way of knowing what people were saying about him.
There's so much more to things than what we see on TV though. I expect we'll have a hit movie soon: "The Life and (mostly) Death of Bin Laden." You see, to get the full picture of what happened we have to make things up. Facts and accuracy can only go so far. That's why we need poets, film-makers and celebrity Christian writers like me.
Take Gore Vidal for instance, the author of "Julian", about the apostate emperor, and "Messiah" - how a cult can be transformed into big business. He wrote Live from Golgotha, a touching fictional account of a 400lb Jesus with an eating disorder, and Paul, a rampant homosexual and former Mossad agent who knows how to found churches and rake in the money.
Making things up is being spiritual. As the psalmist says I can't believe it's not butter - seems pretty made up and spiritual to me. If that weren't convincing enough, the Invisible Magic Friend knows everything. If that isn't made up and spiritual then I don't know what is.