Wednesday, 25 May, 2011, 07:42 AM - VishvapaniRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
It's the old story, the powerful brought down in disgrace, the popular become unpopular.
We all have our ups and our downs, our successes and our disappointments, our profits and our losses, our triumphs and our failures. The wind of fortune sometimes blows in our favour, sometimes against. The wheel spins, the odds are cast, you pay your money and you take your bet. Love blossoms and love departs. The seasons come and the seasons go. The sun shines and the clouds gather. Sometimes there is pleasure, sometimes pain. There is good, there is evil, light and darkness, heads and tails, happy and sad, life and death.
Stuff happens. Shakespeare and Enoch Powell both said so.
I'm not living in Marlborough any more, I'm living in (hic!) Wakefield. Wakefield hash a new art gallery. It'sh got lotsh of really good shtuff innit. (hic!)
Anyway, during the war, all the picturesh from the National Gallery got put shafely down (hic!) mines. Except shum got brought back. One of the onesh that got brought back was by Tit(hic!)ian. It was called Don't touch me, shpeshally there. It'sh a picture of (hic!) Jesus, newly rishen from the dead, telling Mary (hic!) Mary Magdlin not to touch him, shpeshally there. Thish picture expreshes the fact that Jeshus doeshn't wanna be (hic!) wanna be touched. Well would you wanna be touched after you've jusht rishen from the dead? Eh? Eh? Shtands to reason, doeshn't it? It'sh partical-irly applopliate to discush Jesus being (hic!) rishen and not wannin to be touched at thish sacred time of year, only one month after Eashter, when we all celebrate with maybe a little drinkie.
Did you shee what I did there? I went from talkin (hic!) talkin about Wakefield's new art gallilary, to the National Gallolly, to a painting about Jeshus. Washn't that neat? (hic!) God, I'm good at this.
The more I eshperience of multicultrul Britain, eshpecially the not-Anglican bitsh, the more I realise (hic!) ('scuse me) that other religionsh don't wanna touch Jeshus either. Muslimsh don't wanna touch him. (hic!) Hindus don't wanna touch him. Even atheists don't wanna (hic!) touch him.
Jeshus ish there for the whole world! The entire world is free not to touch him.
Yesh, I'm shtill shelbrating Eashter. (hic!)
Clifford Longley, a distinguished Catholic gentleman who talks a lot about religion, Platitude of the Year Winner 2010
What does the Big Book of Magic Stuff have to say about privacy laws? I want to refer to the Old Tasty mint, known by those who are informed about these things as the Hebrew Big Book of Magic Stuff. To make my example a little bit more entertaining, I'm going to quote it in the style of a snappy tabloid headline.
"Dirty King David covets his neighbour's wife, then does a bit more than coveting, then breaks yet another commandment and sends her husband to be killed in action. Cover up by book of Chronicles. Super injunction trashed by book of Samuel!!!"
Nothing remains secret long in Magicland. The Invisible Magic Friend soon found out, but it turns out the Invisible Magic Friend had already invested quite a bit of time and effort in building David up to start a royal line that his visible bit could eventually not be born into. So he made a deal with David.
"LOOK, I CAN'T GET RID OF YOU AFTER I HAND PICKED YOU MYSELF BUT I CAN'T HAVE YOU RUNNING AROUND COVETING AND MURDERING. SO I WON'T KILL YOU, I'LL KILL YOUR SON INSTEAD. I THINK THAT'S PRETTY FAIR DON'T YOU?"
There's no getting away from the truth. The Big Book of Magic Stuff tells all. That's how we know Jesus never had sex or went to the toilet, because it doesn't get mentioned anywhere and it mentions all the other bad bits, like him being arrested and the first pope and all the other apostles running away.
What this means is that the public have a right to know about the sex lives of footballers. The truth will set us free, or at the very least provide ten minutes of voyeuristic gossip.
Rev Dr. (hon. Kingston) Dr. (hon. St. Andrews) Joel Edwards, International Director of Micah Challenge, Human Rights Commissioner, Council Member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation
Happy Apocalypse everyone! It's already started in the far east and will be working its way round to you at about 6pm your time. Me and all the other holy people will be raptured up to heaven. At least so says Harold Camping, a fundamentalist preacher from the USA.
Phew! What looney! I mean, what sort of demented, bat shit crazy nutcase believes something as bizarre as that? Mind you, what can you expect from an ex-engineer. The second coming of the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, is of course as integral a part of Christianity as the virgin birth, the resurection, or the ascension into heaven, all of which are perfectly reasonable, well attested, historical facts. The second coming will also be a well attested historical fact some day. As a Rev Dr Dr, let me just assure you that no one can predict when the second coming will happen. Anyone that believes that is just nuts.
If we look in the new Tasty mint of the Big Book of Magic Stuff we find that Jesus expects you all to work hard until the surprise second coming. It's this fear of being found idling during the second coming that makes us all work so hard, doing productive things, like presenting Thought For The Day. I imagine people who don't have the good sense to believe in the second coming of the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend just lounge around all day drinking beer and eating crisps.
But anyone who says they can predict the date of the second coming is just completely unbalanced.
Has anyone mentioned Britain apologising lately? It's a question that should be asked. Should Britain apologise to everyone for all the bad things it did while it was Top Nation, especially to the Irish?
The answer is no. If we did that then everyone would have to apologise to everyone else about lots of things. Europe would have to apologise to the rest of the world for not treating them like Europeans. Catholics and Protestants, who nowadays famously get along so well together, would have to apologise for their fractious past. Men would have to apologise to women, straights to gays and so the list goes on and on.
How do we know that there is no need to apologise for the wrongs of previous generations? We know this because Jesus, the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, never apologised for the various genocides and enslavements performed by previous generations of Jews. We can't judge people of the past using modern moral values. Genocide was considered a perfectly respectable and proper thing to do in times gone past. Many of the most famous heroes of the day were genocidal maniacs. Just because leaders ordered the butchery of every single last man, woman and child who worshipped a false Invisible Magic Friend, there's no reason to believe that they weren't perfectly nice people.
Rape is rape. Nearly always by men against women. Often regarded as the spoils of a victorious army. Shockingly, a friend once asked how rape differed from sex. Sex is an act of love, of sharing. Rape couldn't be further from love. It is an act of domination, of imposition, a violation of a woman's body, an undermining of her worth and value. Is justice served if a rapist is offered a reduced sentence if he spares his victim the ordeal of a court case?
This is where the Invisible Magic Friend comes in. He loves us all as a husband loves his wife. He protects and honours us and we in our turn obey him. If we don't obey him, he fries us in hell for all eternity, but only because he loves us. Sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind. A famous prophet said so. So did Saint Paul and if Saint Paul said it, it must be right. Some people rather foolishly ask why the Invisible Magic Friend doesn't just skip the bit on earth and promote us all straight to heaven. To which I say, don't be stupid.
I'd just like to end with the phrase, "ravish me."
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, 07:15 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.