Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 15 October, 2011, 08:51 AM - Be nice, Old age, Draper
Rating 1 out of 5 (Not 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.

The Care Quality Commission's recent report unearthed shocking levels of care among the elderly in English hospitals. It's the kind of thing that makes most of us very angry. There's a tendency to point fingers and scapegoat nurses for the deplorable way elderly patients are being treated.

Then I asked myself how many elderly people I knew. The answer was not many. Despite the increasing age of our society, I only really knew one elderly person and that was the old lady next door. I never help with her shopping or gardening. I rarely think about her, except when her TV is too loud.

There is no manual to learn kindness from. I realise now that I learned a lot these things from my grandparents, but that was at a time when generations tended to live closer together and had more interaction on a day to day basis. It never does harm to show more compassion. As a famous religious person put it, "The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better."

If we all show a little more care for the elderly then perhaps, when our time comes, there will be people who look out for us.

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Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 8 October, 2011, 08:43 AM - War, 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.

Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. Whether you have a faith or not, whether you have black hair or not, whether you have blue eyes or not, whether you have any other irrelevant characteristic that I care to mention or not, the question all are asking is, how long will this continue?

In the Old Tasty mint of the Big Book of Magic Stuff, worshippers of the Invisible Magic Friend frequently asked how long the suffering must continue before the Invisible Magic Friend will be a bit more friendly. This means that it is perfectly valid and natural to ask the question, how long? So please don't be worried about asking it.

In the New Tasty mint, Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, to love your enemy. We'll definitely get around to loving our enemy any day now, just not at the moment. It would be rather inconvenient to love our enemies right now. Loving our enemy is a fine, noble, worthy aspiration that we plan to achieve when the situation is right.

Back to the Old Tasty mint. The prophet Isaiah prophesied that we will all turn our swords into ploughshares. This will definitely happen, since Isaiah prophesied it, and Isaiah has a pretty good track record prophecy wise. We certainly do intend to beat our swords into ploughshares. It's all planned for, and when the conditions are right you can be sure that we'll go straight ahead and do it. Just not right now. The conditions aren't quite right at the moment.

It's important that we keep these aspirations of love and peace, otherwise we might start to believe that these wars might go on forever.

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Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 1 October, 2011, 08:15 AM - Draper
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little 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.

There's a big Christian festival coming up. Happy Harvest Weekend everybody!

In a weekend of glorious, unseasonal sunshine (except in Scotland), it's important to count your blessings.
Harvest may mean less than it once did - we can buy fruit and veg any time - but still you should count your blessings.
Andrew Bienkowski's book One Life to Give advises that the road to giving begins by counting your blessings.
Spend just a little time every day counting your blessings.
It's so easy to think about our wants rather than counting our blessings.
We all have breath, life. Most have shelter and a full stomach, so count your blessings.
The Big Book of Magic Stuff says to count your blessings.
So as you sit on your deck chair at the beach this weekend (except in Scotland), remember to count your blessings.

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Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 25 June, 2011, 09:38 AM - Be nice, Gibberish, Draper
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly 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.

The think tank, Google Ideas, is bringing together gangsters, religious extremists and Nazis to discuss what they all have in common. Well, I could have told them that - they want the same as all of us, a good fight. Let's face it, deep down, aren't we all insane religious fundamentalists? Who of us, in an idle moment, hasn't felt like flying a plane into a skyscraper, or blowing up an underground train? Which of you can honestly say, that you haven't wanted to capture a rival gang member, beat them to a pulp and slash their face with a razor blade? I certainly know I have.

Perhaps though, we have forgotten exactly what it is that we want to be violently psychopathic for? Some people give up and just don't bother fighting anyone. They despicably and lazily spend their time watching telly, not bothering anyone - the swine. This is where the Big Book of Magic Stuff is so useful. In Saint John's Gospel (in my opinion one of the very finest Gospels) Jesus says, "Don't be a violent psychopath, think about ME!"

In this way, most Christians avoid being violent psychopaths most of the time. And since Mother Teresa, whom we all admire so much, hasn't been quoted for a while, let's end with her words, "I'll give you a good fight."

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Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity 
Saturday, 18 June, 2011, 08:31 AM - Health, Draper
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little 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.

Teenagers who see their parent's drunk are twice as likely to binge drink. This illustrates nicely that the adage, "Do as I say, not as I do," is all but useless. Children follow their parents' example. And it's not just poor people you know. You might think it's just poor, stupid people that do this. Actually, some quite respectable, middle class Radio 4 listeners do this too. Yes, I know, shocking isn't it?

As any alcoholic will tell you, the first step towards recovery is to recognise that you have a problem. If you wake up on the floor at 2 o'clock in the morning every night then it might just be time to re-assess your drinking habits. In my case, the motivation was getting tiddly at a christening party, giving some champagne to my 4 year old daughter and then hastily having to leave. Naturally there's some danger involved in giving alcohol to a 4 year old, but much worse than that, it was ever so socially embarrassing.

So, my name is Brian, and I've been off the booze now for nine months. Only another three months to go and then I can get plastered again, but in the mean time I feel great. I just want to make it absolutely clear that I'm not passing judgement on those of you too weak willed to do as I've done. I'm not trying to impress you with my virtue or my strength of character or anything like that.

Not only is my health and well being improving, so is the example I'm setting my daughter. God, I can't wait until she's grown up and I can get pissed again.

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Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity 
Saturday, 5 February, 2011, 09:13 AM - Environment, Materialism, 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 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.

Ed Milliband says we now face the prospect, that for the first time in a hundred years, the next generation will be worse off than their parents.

At this point I'm supposed to wax lyrical about the benefits of a more spiritual lifestyle, how a nice walk in the woods is so much better than more material possessions, how it is better to store up treasure in heaven and all that. It would be such a cliché to do so that obviously I want to avoid doing that at all costs.

But what if we could teach our children to live better lives with fewer resources, which they'll have to now that we've consumed them all. In a way, we'd be leaving them a great legacy.

"My son, I leave you a world with less oil, less fresh water and food per person and a dearth of other non renewable resources. Everything for you will be more expensive and there are many things you will never have at all. What a great opportunity this is for you to learn to be frugal, to consume more responsibly and lead a simpler, yet spiritually more fulfilling life."

What is the point of accumulating wealth in this life, when we should be storing up treasure in heaven? As Ecclesiastes (one of the nice books of the Big Book of Magic Stuff that we do so like to quote here on Thought For The Day) says, in the end you're all going to rot.

You can't take your vast accumulation of possessions or your hard earned fortune with you. Be contented with what you have accumulated in the next life, which will be so much better than this one.

Rejoice, oh next generation, for you will be able to live better for less.

(Thank the Invisible Magic Friend I managed to avoid all those tiresome clichés.)

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Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 29 January, 2011, 09:31 AM - Be nice, Draper
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)



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.

Ordinary people are out on the streets in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. We should never underestimate the courage of ordinary people. Ordinary people in the West often do underestimate the power of ordinary people to change things.

Many ordinary people like you, spend a lot of your time trying to prove that you're not ordinary. But really you are just ordinary. Very, very, very ordinary indeed. And being ordinary is contagious. Ordinary people just spread ordinariness among other, ordinary, people.

Philip Zimbardo writes that many ordinary people are actually heroes in waiting. While many conform to the rules in an evil situation, such as the Stanford Prison Experiment, or Abu Ghraib, there are always some ordinary people who resist, who become heroes. The ordinary people who have risked their lives in ordinary street protests are such heroes.

They can inspire ordinary people like me, by which I mean you, to be less ordinary. Take Jesus for example. A perfectly ordinary messiah, part of a perfectly ordinary Invisible Magic Friend. He inspires me to love my neighbour as myself. It's his very ordinariness that makes him so extraordinary.

Perhaps the ordinary people in the Arab world will inspire you to be a bit less average, boring, mediocre and just plain ordinary.

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Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 22 January, 2011, 10:28 AM - 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 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.

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Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 9 October, 2010, 09:01 AM - Democracy, Draper
Rating 1 out of 5 (Hardly platitudinous at all)

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.

Liu Xiaobo has won the Nobel peace prize, much to the annoyance of the Chinese authorities. He has been repeatedly jailed for standing up to China's authoritarian regime, proving time and time again that he is willing to risk his own fate in order to stand by the principles of freedom, democracy and accountability.

The Charter that he co-authored, accidentally omits any reference to Jesus, the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend. That's a shame as the Church through the ages has always been a big fan of freedom, democracy and accountability.

While we're on the subject of freedom, democracy and accountability, Jesus said, "What greater love hath (Ed: Jesus had a bit of a lithp) a man than that he lay down his life for his friends." Obviously this isn't meant to be taken literally, but refers to any human rights protester who languishes endlessly in prison.

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Brian Draper, Associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity 
Saturday, 2 October, 2010, 09:37 AM - Draper
Rating 0 out of 5 (Not platitudinous)

True wisdom is rare, but we instinctively know it when we find it.

Kate Green was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. Fearing one night that she might not see the dawn, she wrote down 100 things that were her last hopes for her husband and two young boys.

Always kiss the boys goodnight.
Teach them to be on time and to mean what they say.
Eat together at least once a week around a dining room table.
Teach them a musical instrument.
Teach them to respect women.
Always make up within a week, life is too short.
Mummy liked walks down the river bank.
Mummy wanted to hand feed a robin.
Grow a sunflower now and again.

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