Saturday, 26 May, 2012, 09:25 AM - Courage, hope, perseverance etc., Invisible magic stuff, Sport, MarshallRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
There are lots of amazing people. There are amazingly brave people, amazingly creative people, people with amazingly endurance, amazing talent, amazing amazingness.
There's Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese human rights activist. He's amazingly brave.
Then there's Jessica Ennis, the sportswoman who's amazingly sporty.
Wes Anderson's amazing too. He's an amazing director.
There's just so many amazing people being amazing at stuff. It's just amazing.
Which brings me neatly onto this weekend. There's a big Christian festival coming up. Happy Pentecost everyone! Shortly after the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend went up into space on a cloud, the particularly invisible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend came down as tongues of fire and the apostles were filled with the spirit. The more filled with the spirit they became, the more they started to talk funny. In the end, they were so full of the spirit that some people mistakenly thought they were drunk. But they weren't drunk, they were just very full of the spirit.
And in conclusion, this is why people are inspired to do amazing things.
The Olympic Torch, a great symbol of light, has arrived in Britain.
Light and darkness, darkness and light, these are in many ways opposites. Ancient Greek mythology understood the difference between darkness and light. I can get to mention Zeus and Prometheus here, whom you will doubtless recall, were made up. For them, one was dark and one was light, in many ways symbols for all that is dark and all that is light.
The gnostic gospels, which you will doubtless recall are not proper gospels, used darkness and light, night and day, sunset and sunrise as symbols of the battle between darkness and light, night and day, sunset and sunrise.
The Olympic Torch, a great symbol of light versus darkness, day versus night, sunrise versus sunset, will be carried around the country by 8,000 runners, some of whom have a faith. They have faces, hands, noses, big toes, but are nevertheless, in many significant ways, different people.
The Olympic Torch will end up in Stratford, where athletes around the world will compete under the Olympic Flame, a great symbol of light versus darkness, day versus night, sunrise versus sunset, where what is to be revealed will be revealed.
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.
And in Argentinian sports news, River Plate beat Boca Juniors 6-5 in their Superclásico match three weeks ago. I was there and the Boca Juniors were stunned that they did not win when they thought they had the right to win.
The John Bell American tour then moved on to the United States, where a lot of the "Grand Old Party" as the Republicans think of themselves, are looking forward to winning the presidential election later this year. They too think they have a right to win. With such leading candidates as Mitt Romney, a man with admirably flexible opinions, and Rick Santorum, a man with no flexibility whatsoever, who can blame them.
But it's not just sports fans and politicians that think they have the right to be heard without criticism, religious leaders do too. Some even think they should have a reserved slot on the radio where they can talk, uninterrupted, every morning at just after 7.45 in the morning.
They're precisely the sort of people who had Jesus executed. They think they know all there is to know about the Invisible Magic Friend. When the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend comes along and tells them the truth, they can't handle the truth. He's not the genocidal, Jewish maniac god that the Chief Rabbi told you about last week. He's actually the god of peace and love and all things cuddly.
You can trust me on this, I know all about the Invisible Magic Friend.
I wonder if any of you have heard of someone called "Harry Redknapp"? For those of you who haven't, Mr Redknapp has been in the news lately. He has just been aquitted of tax evasion and many are now speculating that he might be the next England manager. Yes, Mr Redknapp is a manager of a football team. The job of England manager is the dream of all football managers. It inevitably ends in glory and means years of joyous adulation from fans and press alike.
Harry Redknapp is a bit like Jesus really. Jesus picked his Judean first eleven, affectionately known as "The Apostles", carefully. A twelfth member of the team turned out to be playing for another team entirely.
Jesus would never be accused of tax evasion though.
a) He was the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend and didn't do wrong things.
b) He was known to associate with tax collectors and other sinners, so tax collectors were unlikely to investigate him.
c) He never had a spare £200K or a bank account in Monaco named after his pet dog.
But it wasn't all encouragement and trying to get the very best out of the people he gave some magic powers to. There were some tough words too. Very tough words. Very tough words indeed. Tough words that some people would prefer not to hear. That's how tough the words were. I've run out of time, so I can't tell you what those tough words were, but believe you me, as tough words go, these were as tough as tough words can possibly be.
Has anyone mentioned the Olympics yet? There's only 199 days to go, so I think it's important that I point them out to you, otherwise you might not notice.
That's why the Cabinet met at the Olympic site yesterday and David Cameron said, "Hey look at me, I'm at the Olympic park. Isn't that just great?"
I took a bus out to the Olympic park the other day and I can confirm that it really is there. Not only that, but there's a fantastic new shopping centre as well. The people of Stratford, East London, are now really happy and contented. Anyone who says otherwise is just one of those horrible cynics who can safely be ignored.
The really important thing about the park is it's legacy, like giving the local kiddies somewhere to splash around and have some fun in.
But "legacy" does not just mean buildings. It is much more than that. It is something that is hard to define, is much more intangible. What is the word I'm looking for? Let me see. Ah, yes it's SPIRITUAL!
Did someone say "spiritual"? That reminds me of the wisdom books of the Old Tasty mint. The wisdom books wisely speak of the wisdom of maintaining our faith legacy. Those who wisely maintain the wisdom of their legacy of faith are known as wise people, say the wisdom books. As it wisely says in one of the wisest of the wisdom books, "Those who wisely maintain the wisdom of their legacy of faith are wisely wise and full of wisdom, but those who foolishly discard the wise wisdom of the legacy of faith are full of foolishness and are fools."
Are you believing what I'm believing? Are you wisely wise as the wise wisdom book proclaims? Or have you foolishly discarded the wise legacy of faith and become a fool?
Rev Canon Duncan Green, Church of England Olympics Co-ordinator, LOCOG Head of Multi Faith Chaplaincy Services
There's only 215 shopping days left to the Olympics. But don't panic. Me, and my Olympic standard multi-faith staff are training round the clock to make sure that the 193 Olympic chaplains are in peak physical condition.
While thousands of athletes are running round in circles, throwing things, splashing about in the water, or kicking and punching each other, the Olympic Multi-Faith Chaplaincy will be praying that their religion wins gold. May the best religion win.
At this special time of the year, when we remember the True Meaning of Christmas, the birth of the baby visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, let us extend a hand of welcome to all the peoples of the wrong religions that will be visiting us this year. Friendship, generosity and hospitality is something that comes naturally to we people of faith. It's something that non people of faith could really learn from us.
Brian here, in Southampton, an associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity where we envision and equip Christians, and the leaders, churches and organisations that serve them, with the biblical framework, practical resources and models to engage biblically, relevantly and vigorously with the issues they face in today’s world. Hi.
Has anyone mentioned the 2012 Olympics yet? We'll soon find out what is to become of the Olympic Stadium. West Ham want to keep it as it is, so that they can host athletics events as we promised when we made the bid. Spurs want to buy it so they can tear it down and build a new stadium. That would make it one of the most short lived Olympic stadiums ever.
Berlin still has their 1936 Olympic stadium. It's a building that stands for something because there, Jesse Owens famously infuriated the Führer by winning four gold medals.
Speaking of Olympic stadiums, Cathedrals are really popular too. They're so big and architectural and have so much space in them, and people just come and wonder in awe at them. It's not just because they're so big and architectural though, it's because, like the Berlin Olympic stadium, or the 2012 Olympic Stadium if Spurs don't knock it down, they stand for something. People understand that it can be so peaceful in a Cathedral when it's not full of tourists understanding how peaceful it would be if they weren't there.
As Saint Peter famously said, people are like living stones except they're organic and tend to move about more. It's people, people, that give buildings meaning. Just as Jesse Owens gave the Berlin Olympic stadium meaning, so all the tourists make cathedrals peaceful by not being there.
Isn't the English defeat of the Aussies at cricket just fantastic! It's all so spiritual and theological and philosophical and stuff. I mean I don't want to be accused of hyperbole or anything, but this is probably the greatest victory for England in the history of anything. This glorious victory of the invincible England Cricket team will be written into the annals as our finest hour. What a humiliating defeat for poor old Australia. No, really, you mustn't laugh.
It's all about endurance, you see. It's about continuing to play cricket even when you don't want to play cricket any more (if such a thing were possible). The Australians just don't have that willpower to strive for ultimate victory.
Jesus was, of course, a big cricket fan. Together with his twelve man cricket team, he could often be seen having a quick innings by the Sea of Galilee, or bowling a maiden over on one of his frequent stopovers at Jerusalem. Being an Englishman himself, Jesus would have taken enormous pleasure at the pounding meted out to the Aussies. As Jesus himself said, "Blessed are the English Cricket Team, for they shall win the Ashes."
Saint Theresa [Ed: which one? ] was also a fantastic cricket fan.
David Sheppard, the late Bishop of Liverpool, often said that captaining the England Cricket team was what prepared him for being Bishop of Liverpool. "Frankly," he said, "I don't understand how anyone can be a bishop without first having captained the England cricket team."
Cricket is all about hard work, persistence, endurance, determination, forbearance, only breaking for tea. And it's not just true of cricket, the same can be true of some other sports too.
I'm the bishop in reshidensh at a large public shkool (hic!), and by "plublic", I do of coursh mean "private".
D'ye know what? Well I'll tell you what. Shport ish sho important. Teenage boysh 'nd girlsh need to spend (hic!) to shpend loadsh o'time runnin around tiring themshelves out. They got sho much energy (hic!). If they don't use up all that energy in shport then they find other waysh to tire themshelves out.
The good shportsh playersh (hic!) always get picked for teamsh, but the rubbish ones might never know how much they enjoy shport unlesh they're forshed to play (hic!).
I watched shum boysh (hic!) return from their firsht crosh country run. "Well done!" a shixs former said to the boy who was shecond and the boy who wash eighth and the boy who wash 36th (hic!). "Being 36th inshtead of 37th could mean we win the cup. Now where'sh the little git who was 37th."
Shaint Paul (hic!), that great Chrishtion writer (hic!) that evry'un sho loves and admires, compared runnin to the raish fur heaven - shumbody hash to come (hic!) lasht.
Evry'uns lookin forward to the London Ollypics. What a great time to make kidsh play shportsh (hic!).