Many of you will know the famous tune:
"BLA BLA LA LA RA TA DA LA DI LA DI LA TADA TADA."
But no, this is not my rendition of Copland's Appalachian Spring or indeed of any recognisable tune known to man. This was originally a tune written by religious folk with the opening line, "It's just great to be poor."
David Cameron has promised us all lots of lovely poverty and I think that's just fantastic. There's going to be job losses, evictions, marriage break ups, longer waiting lists, larger class sizes. It's going to be back to the good times for those of us in the suffering and poverty industry. You see you've all become too materialistic, buying loads of stuff that you don't need, thinking that consumption buys happiness, maxing out on multiple credit cards, purchasing banks. It's a common mistake among Radio 4 listeners with their fast cars and their new phones and all the latest digital gadgets, who have no regard for the finer things in life. And has it made you happy? As a Reverend Dr Canon Chancellor, let me just tell you, no it hasn't.
Less stuff means less things to do and that means you will have more time to be spiritual. You'll have more time to explore the simple pleasures of life, like talking to the Invisible Magic Friend. And with all that extra money burning holes in your pockets you'll be able to devote more of it to something genuinely useful, like church for example.
Although there are many, many undoubted benefits to you becoming poorer, and thus more spiritual, we don't won't you to become too poor. We wouldn't want you to become so poor that you became dependent on church handouts for example or couldn't afford to contribute to the great work of the church. We need to keep your spare money for important things, like the upkeep of our many historic buildings, the hard working clergy that inhabit them and their somewhat underfunded pension fund.
So please, take this opportunity to become a little poorer but not very poor.
Why, why, why, why, why? I mean why? Why? Whose fault is it? As it says in the Big Book of Magic Stuff, it's all your fault. Why? That is the question, as Shakespeare said. Or alternatively, as Coleridge said, The motive-hunting of motiveless Malignity. Or alternatively, as just about everyone asks, why?
People don't ask why good things happen, only why bad things happen. This proves that everyone understands that the Invisible Magic Friend made all the good things but is not responsible for any of the bad things, even the ones he inflicted on Job as part of a bet with the Invisible Magic Baddy. But don't take my word for it, or even Shakespeare and Coleridge's (which I'm able to quote thanks to my excellent classical education). Proper physicists like my brother also think the universe has laws because the Invisible Magic Friend made it that way (did I mention that my brother was a physicist?).
I believe that when we die we go to heaven (obviously all friends of mine do). Shakespeare, Coleridge and all proper physicists all agree that I'm right, so it must be true.
Happy nearly World Cup everyone! Pubs and clubs all over London, and possibly some other parts of England, are getting ready to welcome hundreds of fans to share in the communal atmosphere of England surging to glory and another historic victory.
This urge to be part of a community (which you will know from a certain Rev Canon Dr does not exist) shows that we are not all selfish materialists. This is a truth that is often repeated on TFTD. Just go to a certain blog, click on "Categories" and select "Materialism". You won't get any entries at all!
So now that we know that people want to be together, why is it that they don't want to be together in Christian Churches? Could it be that people think it's boring and a lot of bollocks? Surely not! There must be some other, deep, as yet undiscovered reason for this lack of enthusiasm for church, this malaise that effects our once proud Christian land.
The Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral has written to those who attend his church, complaining about them not going to church enough.
"Can't people see how much fun it is to come to church? Why would anyone not wish to hear my wise and entertaining sermons? You've seen how good TFTD is, you could have even more of that!
"I'm fed up with people saying they're 'spiritual but not religious'. Nonsense, you can't possibly be spiritual without coming to hear me on a Sunday morning. It's pure selfishness, not putting money in my collection tin. Anyone would think I am completely useless, have nothing to contribute and was not worth the salary that I'm paid. I mean just how wrong can you get?"
Isn't the indiscriminate massacre of people in Cumbria just terrible? Why not come to a Christian church, perhaps make a few pounds donation, buy a candle or two?
Isn't the indiscriminate massacre of people in Cumbria just terrible?
How? How could this happen? How could someone, that friends describe as a "nice bloke" just snap like that? Well, let me explain. You see, long ago, a bunch of so called intellectuals (often humanist and secular and ugly - not at all the sort of people you'd like to spend the night with) had something called "the Enlightenment". They thought that thinking rationally was a good thing and that everyone should give it a try. But now we know differently. Neuro-scientists, whose efforts clearly owe nothing to Enlightenment thought and whose discoveries I will now use to lend authority to what I say, tell us that there are different bits of the brain.
The bit that's emotional reacts faster than the bit that's rational. There's a very good reason for this, and it's nothing to do with the emotional bit evolving earlier and needing to react quickly to perceived threats, it's because the Invisible Magic Friend made us that way. A really good Jewish prophet prophesied that people would snap and go on a murderous rampage just like Derrick Bird did. So you see, science has now proved what my religion predicted millennia ago. This just goes to show how brilliant religion is and what a load of rubbish the Enlightenment and all its scientific thinking was.
So, now that you know how really, really useful religion is and what a load of rubbish secular, rational enlightenment thinking is, let's turn our thoughts to the poor people of Cumbria.
Thursday, 3 June, 2010, 08:22 AM - BillingsRating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)
Isn't the indiscriminate massacre of people in Cumbria just terrible? And so soon after other terrible things too? Fortunately the people of Cumbria have two things that can help: community and Faith. "Community" is a wishy-washy, indefinable, not very useful thing. It's the kind of word that frauds and charlatans and people with nothing really useful to say use. In fact, when I said it could help, I was in fact lying.
Faith, on the other hand is totally different. Faith is actually useful, unlike "community" which is just a lot of airy-fairy useless nonsense. Far be it from me to use the grief and tragedy of dozens of people to push my own beliefs but this is precisely the sort of time that Christianity is really, really useful. You'll find us all over the county right now, chasing ambulances, lighting candles, offering to bury people. Christianity does of course have a fully consistent and impressively intellectual foundation but now's not the time to go into all that.
All the friends and relatives of victims can take comfort from the undoubted fact that the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend suffered much worse than they did. There, doesn't that make you feel much better?
Community? Bah! Humbug! At such a time of tragedy, let's hear it for Faith! Hip, hip, hooray!
Happy Jassa Singh (no relation) Ramgarhia birthday everyone!
Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was a brave, noble, fair Sikh leader. He fought against the ruthless, bad, evil Mughal Emperors and their dastardly minions, who were from another religion that I'm not going to name but that's not as nice as Sikhism. He also fought against the evil, ruthless, bad Afghan invaders, who were also from a religion that's not as nice as Sikhism.
It was because the people loved the Sikhs that Sikhs rose from being a tiny, persecuted but good minority, to eventually becoming sovereign rulers of the Punjab. Indeed, even the Afghan warlords admitted that Sikhs were brave, noble and fair and deserved a bit of Afghanistan, until the Taliban took it off them by getting more love from the people than Sikhs got.
As American commanders take charge of British troops (in a move that in no way reflects on British leadership and is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about), Afghan leaders are meeting to discuss how to involve the Taliban (in a move that in no way implies surrender or that we just can't be bothered any more).
Coalition forces need to gain the love of the people the way Sikhs did in Punjab. Otherwise the Taliban will gain the love of the people instead and they'll end up back in charge.
Tuesday, 1 June, 2010, 03:33 PM - ClemmiesThere are really only two contenders this month. The first is Rhidian Brook with his truly awful, irritating prose.
The other one can only be, with what must be a very strong contender for Platitude Of The Year 2010, Clifford Longley and his assertion that the Roman Catholic Church really isn't that bad when it comes to its treatment of homosexuals. There are several documented cases of it actually treating homosexuals with a modicum of respect. It's really quite nice to homosexuals if you look carefully. Indeed, it's quite fair to say that the RCC is at the very forefront of seeking to liberalise and equalise gay rights and always has been.
Well done Clifford! Show them how it's done!
Isn't the violence against the Gaza aid convoy just terrible? We don't know exactly what happened yet, but we do know that ten people are dead and many more, including Israeli soldiers are injured.
When is violence acceptable? Some say, only as a last resort. Others say, only as a first resort, before all other diplomatic channels have been explored.
Jesus was a pacifist, or possibly not. It rather depends which bit you read and which policy you would like to justify.
Gandhi and Martin Luther King were definitely both pacifists, just like Jesus, except when he wasn't. Sometimes pacifists deliberately provoke violence, like when Gandhi's supporters volunteered to be clubbed to death by the British Empire to show what uncivilised brutes they were. Maybe that's what the Gaza aid convoy had in mind?
It's enough to make you want to have a small glass of sherry.
Recent events in Bradford have revived older memories of the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, and his targeting of prostitutes in Sheffield.
Jesus was a big fan of prostitutes and regularly hung out with them. Although there was none of "that" going on, absolutely no hanky-panky whatsoever. Nothing more than an occasional foot massage with rare and expensive oils. Certainly nothing going on above the ankle. In fact, I'm quite certain that, despite being a true man, Jesus never let his hormones get the best of him. That would be a most un-Messiah like thing to do.
Anyway, back to prostitutes. My first parish was in the red light district of Sheffield. Night after night I had to endure that revolting parade of female flesh. Many were on drugs and, finding that nursing as a career did not provide an adequate income, had resorted to selling themselves in order to fund their drug habit.
Given the physical abuse suffered by many sex workers, some parishioners were sympathetic. Others had more Christianly concern for the effect that kerb crawlers and discarded condoms would have on property prices.
I am now going to reveal to you the startling truth that I discovered as a young vicar in Sheffield: prostitutes are people too! Presumably this is why men pay to have sex with them. The price commanded for sex with non-humans is considerably lower (so they tell me). Now that you are aware of this fact, you will realise that drug rehabilitation programmes are important. I'm sure the new money saving government will attach a high priority to them.
Monday, 31 May, 2010, 06:39 AM - Not TFTDAbdus Salam was one of the giants of 20th century physics. He won the Nobel prize for his work in helping to unify the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces. He made outstanding contributions to teaching science in his native Pakistan and throughout the world.
After his death, his body was returned to Pakistan. The inscription on his tomb initially read "First Muslim Nobel Laureate", but because he was an Ahmadi Muslim, declared "non-Muslim" in 1974 in Pakistan, fanatical clerics had the word "Muslim" removed to leave the ridiculous inscription "First Nobel Laureate".
Ahmadi Muslims have their passport stamped "non-Muslim" so that they, just like the rest of us kaffirs, can never visit Mecca or Medina and can never fulfil their religious obligations.
The madness continues.