April Clemmies  
Sunday, 6 May, 2012, 05:42 AM - Clemmies
Well, it's that time of the month again: Clemmie time!

Not a bad crop at all this month. Unusually, Rev Lucy Winkett managed to appear twice. Her first outing explored the frequently brought up topic of art and religion, religion and art, religious art, arty religion etc. She topped this with the revelation that religious people are just so much better than the rest of us, which is why they're in charge.

Not to be outdone, Anne Atkins also appears twice this month. First we learned that the concerns of Pilate's wife were every bit as real as those of two fictional speeches from women in plays. Then we learned that Jesus approves of us having a sense of smell.

Both women have two extraordinarily platitudinous contributions this month. Oddly enough, the remaining ones are all from different men. This proves that the Koran is quite correct when it says that a woman's testimony is only worth half that of a man.

Mostly Irrelevant Vincent Nichols lived up to his title by being... well... mostly irrelevant. He waffled on about what a brilliant Christian David Cameron is, how Christianity is a religion of peace, tolerance and love (except for they who shall not be named) and finished by reminding us of the FACT, the definite 100% historical, no doubt about it, I'll eat my boxer shorts if it's not a FACT, of the temporary death of the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend on the cross.

Shaikh Abdal Hakim Murad was delighted at all the "multi-faith" prayer rooms that are popping up all over the country. In time this will make us as tolerant as Indonesia.

Finally, we had Rhidian Brook. Rhidian told us that the newspapers made up stuff about a party that he and some fellow celebrities were attending. Nevertheless you should continue to believe everything you read in the newspapers. In fact, you should believe everything that's written down in general, especially the Gospels. They're so detailed. If it weren't for all that detail you might think that some of it had been made up.

It's not often that we get a theme running through TFTD but there seemed to be one this month. Anne Atkins gave us the power of women's voices in the written word. Vincent Nichols was keen to emphasise the FACT of the crucifixion as depicted in the Gospels. Rhidian Brook seems to think that everything that's written down must be true, despite the fact that he himself writes fiction. Even one of the non-contenders this month, Graham James, claimed that stories acquire authority just by being written down.

Rhidian Brook combined this theme with spectacular cognitive dissonance. He actually started with a perfect example of just how unreliable the written word often is and contrived to use this as evidence that the Gospels should be relied upon. For this, he wins this month's Clemmie.

At the centre of the moon lies the primordial delicious chocolate hobnob, placed there by the great biscuit make itself for the afternoon tea of all mankind.

It is written.
5 comments ( 963 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 208 )

Vishvapani (a much nicer name than Simon Blomfield) - I'm ordained you know! 
Saturday, 5 May, 2012, 07:29 AM - Vishvapani
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

There's a big Buddhist festival coming up. Happy Buddha Day everyone!

On Buddha day we celebrate our release from captivity and making our way to the promised land. No, no-no-no-no-no-no-no that's some other religion. On Buddha Day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savio... No, no-no-no-no-no-no-no that's some other religion too. On Buddha Day we recall the teachings of the 6th Guru who... No, no-no-no-no-no-no-no that's yet another religion.

What is it we celebrate on Buddha Day again? It'll come to me, just give me a moment.

Got it! On Buddha Day we celebrate the Buddha achieving enlightenment. Many artists' impressions of the Buddha show him at the moment where enlightenment is first achieved. There are lots of descriptions of enlightenment, but they're all different, so giving you any of them won't be very enlightening. Whatever it is, it's what all we Buddhists strive for. When the Buddha first got it, he was seen to smile as he looked within himself and said, "Aha! That's enlightenment!" That's what we see on all the artists impressions of the Buddha.

Somehow I need to connect this with a news story. We're celebrating Buddha Day. There are depictions of the Buddha made by artists. Edvard Munch was an artist. He created The Scream. It's the exact opposite of someone who has just found enlightenment. That's very enlightening. Someone with $120m to spare has just bought one of the painted versions. That's pretty enlightening too.

Learning to appreciate depictions of the Buddha has led me to appreciate art in general. It's all very enlightening really.

6 comments ( 1052 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 216 )

Right Awful Anne Atkins - Agonising Aunt and Vicar's Wife  
Friday, 4 May, 2012, 08:13 AM - Atkins
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Aren't murder mysteries just fascinating? We all enjoy a good whodunnit. Take the death of Gareth Williams. It's the not knowing, the lack of a resolution to the mystery that is so troubling. It's the same with the missing girl Madeleine McCann. We're puzzled about what happened to her.

Can you think of a gruesome death that isn't a mystery children? Yes, it's Jesus! We know exactly, where, when, who, why, how. We have multiple, supposedly independent, eye witness accounts, written down only 40 years after it happened by people who directly knew someone who had heard about it. The fact that so many people believed it happened just goes to show that it must be true. After all, how could so many people be so gullible as to believe a story that it so utterly implausible.

And that's so relevant to the Gareth Williams and Madeleine McCann stories.

12 comments ( 687 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.4 / 296 )

Rhidian Brook, writer, celebrity and Christian 
Thursday, 3 May, 2012, 07:06 AM - Brook
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I was burgled this week, while I was in the house. This made me angry. It isn't just about the stolen goods, it's about the violation of my property. Although I wasn't physically assaulted, it felt as if I'd been beaten up. Then the questions started. What if they'd been armed? What if they came back? I became more cautious and more suspicious.

Then I asked myself, what would the Invisible Magic Friend think? Well, he want me to pray for the two thieves. Yeah, in your dreams, Invisible Magic Friend. Then again, there's no real need to pray for them. The visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, temporarily died so that he could forgive them, which was really brilliant of him, wasn't it?

Meanwhile, I'll bolt the door in future.

5 comments ( 1370 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 224 )

Shaikh Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim Chaplain Cambridge University 
Wednesday, 2 May, 2012, 06:56 AM - Murad
Rating 1 out of 5 (Not platitudinous)

As this is essentially a eulogy for a friend who was brutally murdered, once again a parody would be inappropriate.

6 comments ( 747 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 210 )

Tuesday, 1 May, 2012, 07:40 AM - Invisible magic stuff, Edwards
For the first time in, I don't know how many years, I over-slept.

Anyone got any idea what Thought For The Day was about?

[Update - OK, a bit late today, but I agree, this deserves to be graded so it can be considered for a Clemmie.]

Rev Dr Dr Joel Edwards

Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

The Queen's Gallery is exhibiting some of Leonardo Da Vinci's anatomical drawings.

That's great because it allows me to say words like "anatomical", "meticulous" and "renaissance" and phrases like "cirrhosis of the liver."

I get to rattle off a whole load of admirable professions: sculptor, mathematician, engineer, architect, inventor - and he did some paintings too.

Yet despite his genius, Leonardo Da Vinci, a meticulous, renaissance polymath, thought the soul was located in the brain. Yes, I know, it's easy to titter at such naivety, but you have to understand, renaissance polymaths of genius didn't have the advanced understanding of the soul that we have today.

You can't blame a meticulous, renaissance polymath for being that gullible though. He got it from Aristotle, an ancient Greek, genius, philosopher and meticulous polymath. He thought the soul was located in the brain too.

Having astounded you with my amazing, in depth knowledge of renaissance and ancient Greek geniuses, I now want to go on to correct their erroneous description of the soul. In fact, this whole first half of my talk, the bit about brilliant renaissance and ancient Greek polymaths, was entirely so that I could talk to you about the soul, of which their ideas were incorrect.

The soul is not in fact located in the brain. The soul is actually your invisible magic bit, created for you by the Invisible Magic Friend. It was created in the Invisible Magic Friend's image as you can see from the fact that both are invisible and magic.

How do you lose your invisible magic bit? How does the invisible magic bit die? Does your invisible magic bit go to heaven? These are huge questions that even a meticulous, renaissance genius like Leonardo Da Vinci got wrong.

Now for a little Thought For The Day joke to lighten the mood a little bit: the soul is not restricted to "soul music". Ha ha! Oh you gotta laugh!

The invisible magic bit is stronger than death, although it can die. I say that so that you'll be mystified by my in depth theological understanding of invisible magic stuff.

The invisible magic bit is capable of great things and also of great silliness, especially when it's drunk or having a bad trip.

When the invisible magic bit's drunk or having a bad trip, it definitely isn't in the image of the Invisible Magic Friend.

20 comments ( 894 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 17 )

From Norwich, it's the bishop of the week, Swankingly Reverend Graham James, Lord Bishop of Norwich  
Monday, 30 April, 2012, 08:50 AM - James
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Isn't the Levenson enquiry just fascinating?

No say a lot of young people. "Rupert who?" they ask.

Sales of newspapers continue to decline rapidly. Yet what is written in them continues to set the news agenda. We tend to invest more authority in what is written than what is said unthinkingly in idle conversion. An insult delivered in the heat of the moment can be easily ignored. A written insult, that someone has put some real thought and effort into, is more widely appreciated.

Scriptures are written down. That's what makes them every bit as reliable as newspapers. If Rupert Murdoch had been around in Jesus' day he would have written the letters of Saint Paul, or even the Gospels. They really are that authoritative.

Much of what is written these days is on social networks or texts. They are meant to be casual conversations, but they have the permanence of the written word. So be careful what you write.

4 comments ( 418 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 266 )

Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 28 April, 2012, 08:17 AM - Spirituality, 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 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 disciplemaking communities. Hi.

I'll bet you all got really excited over the London Marathon last week. I'm sure you were all running in it, or at the very least, if your weren't running it yourself, you almost certainly knew someone who did. Or if you weren't running in it yourself, and didn't know someone who was, even though you almost certainly did, you would even more certainly have sponsored someone who was. Or if you weren't running in it yourself, and didn't known anyone who was, and hadn't sponsored someone, you undoubtedly got caught up in all the excitement of the big day, or watched it on telly or had some connection with the London Marathon. I'll eat my boxer shorts if you didn't!

Sadly, people die running the marathon. The question is, why are we sad when a young person, trying to help others, taking part in a fun day out, suddenly dies? Why on earth do we care? Why are we moved? Why do we get emotional about it? What is it that tugs at our heart? Why aren't we selfish and self obsessed and cold and uncaring?

The answer is, it's being spiritual. It's like Fabrice Muamba who had a heart attack while playing football. Everybody prayed really hard for him. Doctors, paramedics and nurses spent hours praying over him, and thanks to being spiritual he got better.

You don't really need to listen to any more of this thought because it's basically just me saying what I already said on the BBC website.

3 comments ( 1895 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 249 )

Godfrey Bloom MEP 
Friday, 27 April, 2012, 03:04 PM
Just got my copy of this week's Newsline and have come across the ghastly Godfrey Bloom MEP for the first time. I sincerely hope it's also the last time. Mr Bloom wrote an article defending the hotel owners who didn't want to serve a gay couple.

It's factually inaccurate, but contains such splendid observations as: "Especially, those as shallow as we have now; many bred from that appalling 1960s and 1970s generation."

Well, that should see off about a quarter of his electorate.

NSS Executive Director, Keith Porteous Wood, emailed him asking him to make some corrections. He got an email back from his secretary telling him not to be impertinent. Mr Bloom did reply in the end though. Here's what he wrote. It's quite astonishing.

1. A business, any business, in a free society, should be allowed to contract freely or decide not to contract, with whomever it wishes. This is a basic principle of civilised society, and it makes the UK and places where the influence of the British Empire have decisively and lastingly touched, such as the Commonwealth, superior places to live in. If the Christian hotel want to only contract with Christians of evangelical stamp, or even Assemblies of God Pentecostal evangelical stamp only, or Plymouth Brethren only, it is their business, not yours.

2. The coercion by government diktat does not become less despotic when it is blandly called 'the law'. The law may be an ass or an asset. Adolf Hitler made many laws for his inglorious Third Reich, and duly eliminated millions of Jews and homosexuals, but the fact that they called it 'the law' merely proved that the law can stink off the page of the book to high heaven, if I may use so telling a phrase to the Secular Society. If the law be not moral it is a bad law: it is no law. Politicians exist to change bad law, even those in the EU Parliament.

3. Western civilization was founded upon Christian values, not secular values. Your society is unnecessary and misguided, and contributes to the decay of Western civilization. Your principles are parochial, subject to the lobby group de jour, and limited to the mere wrangling of passing technicalities in legal terms. You are negative not positive in your approach. We know what you are against very clearly, if you are for anything positive, I have yet to divine it, if I may use so telling a term replying to the Secular Society. Please disband yourself.

4. Your points concern mere positive law, not substantive natural law based on true values. True values are based in natural law, which is objective, universal, and eternal in scope in application to human society. I am sure you are familiar with the pagan glimmerings of light which shine through in the famous exchange between Antigone and King Kreon in Sophocles' play, 'Antigone', which states precisely this in the 5th century BC. "Laws are for a day, but eternal principles cannot be changed." How else would we judge good and bad laws if a morality above it did not exist? Of course many parallel examples exist in Sumero-Babylonian, ancient Egyptian, and early Hebrew texts, among others, you may be familiar with some of them.

The new politeness regulations are arbitrarily suspended for all discussion of this arrogant, obnoxious twat.
10 comments ( 894 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 263 )

Coalition For Marriage 
Friday, 27 April, 2012, 07:31 AM - Not TFTD
This is getting plenty of coverage elsewhere, so I'll restrict my comments to Thought-For-The-Day related matters. The Coalition For Marriage petition starts with all the usual suspects, then at signature number 29 is our very own:

Lord Singh of Wimbledon (Director Network of Sikh Organisations).

Perhaps Great Uncle Singh will come on TFTD to explain to us why marriage equality will cause the skies to fall in and undermine the very roots of all things good and proper and moral. I'm sure one of the Gurus will have something to say about it.

Notable by his absence is the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks. He has been repeatedly urged to comment on the gay marriage issue and he has repeatedly stated that he will not do so. Some might say that he has not openly supported gay marriage, but that would be almost impossible for the Chief Rabbi given the views of many Orthodox Rabbis on the subject. I applaud Lord Sacks for at least not siding with the tide of intolerance.

It seems that Christianity in this country is no longer content with merely being irrelevant. There are exceptions, but judging by the size of that petition, it seems the Church has decided to self-identify as the nation's premier anti-gay hate cult.
12 comments ( 460 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 232 )

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