Rhidian Brook, writer, celebrity and Christian  
Saturday, 24 July, 2010, 08:32 AM - Brook
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Facebook is BIG. It's really, really, really BIG. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think The Church Times website gets a lot of traffic, but that's just peanuts compared to Facebook.

For a while I, as a celebrity Christian writer, was on Facebook. With my extensive network of friends and colleagues it seemed the natural thing to do. It would satisfy my need to belong, to be heard, to share information and stay in touch.

But then the novelty wore off. It was all so banal and tedious and irritating and a complete waste of time. I really didn't need to know that John was in the "Quick Bite" cafe having a coffee and an egg sandwich with ketchup while waiting for his dental appointment. I had better things to do with my time, like some really useful celebrity Christian writing. I realised that, far from getting to know people better, Facebook served an entirely different purpose - it was the place on the internet where all the people I didn't want to stay in touch with went.

So I resigned from Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg pleaded with me to stay. Without a celebrity Christian writer like me, quality would inevitably nosedive.

"Without you, we'll only have 499,999,999 members. Please Rhidian - don't do it. I beg you."

But his pleas were in vain.

"Mark," I said (I call him "Mark" because that's his name), "Mark, your web creation is an offence to my Invisible Magic Friend. He commands that we know each other face to face, not through a computer screen (darkly) and a keyboard. Know you not that the face is the window into a man's soul? And I include women in that. The psalmist says Do not hide your face from me?"

"Yes, but taken in context, the psalmist was referring metaphorically to God's favour, it wasn't a literal reference to the face of God."

"Shutup. There's that bit in Corinthians about seeing face to face."

"Aha! Once again, if you take it in context, this is purely a literary device, an allegory for perfection rather than..."

"Look I'm doing this Thought For The Day, so why don't you just bug**r off back to Facebook."

The End.

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John Bell of the Iona Community 
Friday, 23 July, 2010, 08:20 AM - Sex, Bell
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Isn't the media just shameful? The way it treats gay people is just appalling. Every time gay people appear in TV dramas it's always in a negative light. They're portrayed as promiscuous, predatory or a figure of fun. I mean, tut, tut. I can't think where they might have got this prejudice against gay people from.

Contrast that with we Christians. We actually pray for these people. What many people don't seem to realise is that many of these people are just ordinary people. Some have even done good things, like write some really good tunes, or write some very readable books. And what would we do for hairdressers and fashion designers without gay people? The thought is simply outrageous.

Yes, Christianity is right out there, leading the moral crusade for gay rights. Just because someone has the wrong sexuality and is morally reprehensible is no reason to portray them negatively. All portrayal of gay people in Christianity is done in a totally non-patronising way and is always done in the best possible taste.

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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  
Thursday, 22 July, 2010, 09:24 AM - Health, Edwards
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Depression is a bad thing. And it's not just me that thinks so, scientists think so as well. Thankfully, depressed people can be very creative, so we can all enjoy the benefits of their gloomy moods. In the arts, entertainment and philosophy, some of our greatest works have come from people bordering on the edge of suicide. That's why depression is such a good thing. Even people who aren't depressed themselves have written some jolly good dramas about those who are, thus providing us all with endless hours of entertainment.

One in five of you will suffer depression at some point in your life. It will be thoroughly unpleasant both for you and anyone who comes in contact with you, but on the positive side, a very small number of you will write a fantastic sonnet or record a really, really sad, depressing, miserable, but very good song. Perhaps even as good as one by Elton John.

If you're feeling a bit under a cloud, then you're in really good company. It doesn't actually say anywhere that the prophet Jeremiah (who really was the best prophet there ever was) suffered from clinical depression, but I suspect the Babylonian captivity left him a bit down. Elijah got a bit depressed from time to time. He'd cheer himself up by slaughtering a few rival prophets from another, not so good, Invisible Magic Friend, or having some bears maul some kids for shouting "Up yours baldy".

Finally there was King David, a hero to people of all faiths including Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists. Even people of no faith are always saying, "Gee, wasn't Kind David just brilliant? That guy really knew how to deal with a bit of depression."

So don't just think about the down side of feeling depressed. Think of all the good things that come out of it as well.

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Right Awful Anne Atkins - Agonising Aunt and Vicar's Wife  
Wednesday, 21 July, 2010, 08:43 AM - Women, Atkins
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Jolly hockey sticks everyone! My hockey mistress made me take off my second hand school uniform skirt because it wasn't fashionable.

I just hated the privately paid for, exclusive, classical education that taught me to play music and quote Shakespeare and the bible. Every streetwise, urban jungle, savvy middle class street kid like me did. Don't you just hate that bossyness? That shrill, domineering, lecturing, hectoring, sermonising, holier than thou tone?

So I'm against banning the burka. Women should be free to interpret their faith and wear what men tell them to.

Of course sometimes there are security concerns, at banks, airports that sort of thing. In situations like that a ban on the burka is something I'd support.

But then again, some Muslim women are scandalised at the thought of having to show their face. They'd feel like such brazen hussies. So I'm against the ban on the burka.

Then there was the wonderful work of Gladys Aylward (a Christian) who did so much to implement the Chinese policy that banned foot binding. So yes, banning the burka could definitely be a good thing.

Saint Paul, always a reliable source on what women should do, was very much in favour of women wearing bags. So, on balance I think I'm against the ban on the burka.

But there are women who are forced to put a bag over their head against their will. That's a bad thing, so I'm for the ban on the burka.

I don't think the ban on the burka will come here. It's not very British. And why is it not very British? Well because we're a Christian nation, unlike horrible, smelly old secular France. Christians never compell anyone to do anything. So I'm going to stick with Saint Paul and say that women should definitely be allowed to wear a bag over their head.

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Scientology not stupid 
Tuesday, 20 July, 2010, 06:24 PM - Democracy, Freedom of speech, Not TFTD
On a recent visit to London, Cardiff LibDem councillor, John Dixon, tweeted that Scientology was "stupid". As a result of a complaint, the Welsh public standards watchdog has investigated and has concluded that Dixon was likely to have breached the code of conduct for local authority members and will face a disciplinary hearing.

I have no doubt that readers of this blog will share my outrage and indignation, that one of the world's great faiths, promoted by such luminaries as John Travolta and Tom Cruise, should be shown such disrespect by an elected councillor. Thankfully, the story has now been mentioned on the PM Programme, where millions of listeners will now have had the opportunity to be equally outraged and indignant.

As a Rev Dr, you will know that I always do my utmost to respect the deeply held beliefs of people of all faiths. I would never, ever, call any religion stupid.

I would never call Scientology stupid.
I would never call Catholicism stupid.
I would never call Islam stupid and I would certainly never show one of those evil cartoons, like this one:



I would never call Anglicanism stupid.
I would never call Judaism stupid.
I would never call Zoroastrianism stupid.
I would never call Sikhism stupid.
I would never call Hinduism stupid.
I would never call Wicca stupid.
I would never call Presbyterianism stupid.
I would never call astrology stupid.
I would never call crystal healing stupid.

In fact, there is not one single system of beliefs that I would ever mock or ridicule by calling it stupid. Thank goodness the Welsh public standards watchdog is there to crack down on this shocking abuse of free speech.
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Soberingly Reverend Tom Butler, ex-Lord Bishop of Southwark  
Tuesday, 20 July, 2010, 08:58 AM - Health, Money, Butler
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Accorrrding to New Sshientisht, poor people live young and dies fasht (hic!). They have teenage pregnanshees then turn to (hic!) turn to the bottle or the lottery ash a way out. They don't live ash long ash ush effluent pipple, sho they 'ave to cram it all in a lot quicker, poor people do.

Ian Dunk'em Smiff 'nd Flank Flield ar' gonna change all that (hic!). They gonna revolvooshinise welfare they are. 'nd it won't involve jusht cuttin (hic!) benefits 'n gettin soshal services on the cheap frum faith groups.

In the News Tastymint you won't find nuffin about soshal iniquillill... analquallill... (hic!) unfairness. Nope, nuffin at all. Complete washte a time. The Old Tastymint'sh diffrint. That'sh got a proper God innit. He knew how ta deal wif teenage pregnanshees 'n (hic!) unmarried muvvers 'n shtuff like that.

Sho letsh 'ope Ian Dunkin Donuts comes up wif summin truly brandsh shpankinly 'nnnoviviv (hic!). We gotta giv poor pipple mor 'an jusht the lottery and the odd glash of sherry.

What? Oh, yesh please (hic!).

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Rabbi Lionel Blue 
Monday, 19 July, 2010, 12:04 PM - Gibberish, Rabbi Lionel Blue
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I've told you about Fred before. Many of you Radio 4 listeners have told me how you also secretly speak to Fred. Even atheists and agnostics speak to Fred, except they call him their conscience or their sense of duty. They very rarely call him Fred and they very rarely have conversations with him.

When I think of the ordination of women priests and the Holocaust I ask Fred what it's all about. Fred is very old, just like me, and he likes a bit of a snooze. "Wake up Fred! I want to talk to you about women priests and the Holocaust."

WHAT. OH YES, I REMEMBER VERY MANY HAPPY TIMES WITH PEOPLE, IN THE PAST. PEOPLE WHO HAVE PASSED IN THE PAST. YES, MANY HAPPY TIMES, GONE NOW, IN THE PAST.

I often get nervous before going on stage. That's when I talk to Fred. "I'm nervous Fred. What if I make a mistake?"

YOU'LL BE ALL RIGHT. JUST THINK OF THE TICKET RECEIPTS.

And now for my customary witty little tale at the end. You'll love this one. A Rabbi asks his Rabbi, "Fred appeared to me in a dream. I know it was him and not just a dream because he said I was going to be the bestest and most spiritual Rabbi anywhere. What should I do?" The Rabbi's Rabbi replied. "Go and appear in everyone else's dreams and tell them to become your followers."

Well it's time for bed. Good night Fred.

GOOD NIGHT LIONEL.

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Platitude of the Day 
Saturday, 17 July, 2010, 08:01 AM - Vishvapani
Congratulations to Vishvapani who's getting married on Friday. I hope everything goes well and you and your wife-to-be have a wonderful day. May your life together be happy, loving and full of joy.

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4 comments ( 424 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 237 )

Rhidian Brook, writer, celebrity and Christian  
Friday, 16 July, 2010, 08:15 AM - Money, Brook
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Times are tough for us celebrity Christian writers. Things are getting so hard that I may have to cancel my monthly direct debit to charity. Didn't you know that I do a monthly direct debit to charity? No? Well, you do now. Do you do a monthly direct debit to charity? I'll bet a lot of you don't. Well, I do and I'm thinking of cancelling it, what with all this recession in the celebrity Christian writer market.

It's either that or cancel my critical accident insurance. That's in case I have a critical accident and can no longer support my family by being a celebrity Christian writer. My independent financial advisor advises me that paying money to financial services companies is always a wise and prudent thing to do and that I should screw the charity instead.

But I'm a Christian, and we Christians are not selfish. We think of other people and have monthly direct debits to charity. As it says in the book of Malachi, "Give me all your money and you'll be blessed. The LORD needs all your money, just give it to me."

I heard a preacher tell this to some poor people, "The best way to remedy your poverty is to give away what little you still have. Honestly, you'll get it back. No one ever ends up destitute by giving all their money away." And it was true - none of those who gave away their last remaining money were ever heard of again.

So I, a celebrity Christian writer, despite the tough times ahead and in defiance of my independent financial advisor, am going to bravely and selflessly retain my monthly direct debit to charity, because I'm a Christian.

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Changes to our Terms and Conditions 
Friday, 16 July, 2010, 06:55 AM - Not TFTD
By canon law, we are required to inform you of any changes to the terms and conditions of your membership of the Catholic Church. These changes do not affect your membership of the Church and you need take no action as a result.

In 2001, with its divinely inspired and infallible moral leadership, the Universal and Apostolic Catholic Church realised that raping children was wrong.

In 2005, aware that some hostile elements of the liberal media were being unduly critical of the Church's previous policy of secretly moving on child rapists, the Church took decisive action and banned homosexuals from becoming priests. Many homosexuals had joined the priesthood because they got to wear a dress in public and didn't have to get married. The priests who remain are now totally trustworthy and can safely be left alone with children, proving once again that celibacy, obsessive sexual repression, unquestioned respect for priestly authority and persecution of homosexuals really works.

Now in 2010, in the unlikely event that some dastardly homosexuals have escaped detection, we are introducing new guidelines to streamline laicizing child rapists. The Church's investigations will still remain secret and there is still no requirement to inform the civil authorities (although dioceses are "encouraged" to do so). In a reflection of just how seriously we treat this issue, we have increased the statute of limitations on child rape from 10 to 20 years and we've removed the need for a full Church trial. That's right, a priest can now be secretly removed from the priesthood up to 20 years after they stopped raping children. That's the kind of progress we've made in just a few short years!

Having dealt firmly and decisively with homosexual perverts and child rapists, we now include a brief note on that other perennial problem: women. Some women are getting a bit too uppity and are having delusions of becoming priests. Only men can become priests, for the very good reason that we say so and we're infallible, so there. So let's stop all these silly notions that a woman can have the power to transubstantiate. I mean, have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?

Once again, the Church is acting with its usual alacrity in response to a rapidly changing world. Anyone attempting a mock ordination of a woman commits a grave crime. (The ordination is of course impossible - women just can't have the same magic powers as men do - but the attempt is bad enough). As with child rapists and homosexuals, the priest responsible is laicized. In addition, both the priest performing the mock ordination and the harlot of a woman herself, are immediately and automatically excommunicated and condemned to hell.

Now, by treating both of these grave crimes in the same revision of canon law, we are not in any way suggesting that the two are comparable. The crime of ordaining women carries an automatic higher penalty with no statute of limitations.

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