Sumptuously Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Reverend Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord...
Gaddafi is dead - somewhat muted hurrah!
In an ideal world he would have been tried for his crimes and given an opportunity to defend himself, but toppling a tyrant isn't easy and we can understand if he somehow accidentally got shot in the process.
We humans have an inherent sense of justice and fairness that no other animal has. It clearly couldn't have evolved so it must be because we are made in the image of the Invisible Magic Friend. Of course the Invisible Magic Friend is perfect and everything he does is just brilliant. We're not quite that good. We're frail and weak and flawed and imperfect and just hopelessly useless and drab and awful. When he was making us in his image he obviously made a few mistakes. No, that can't be right, forget that bit.
The Big Book of Magic Stuff is just full of cries for the Invisible Magic Friend to provide justice. As a Sumptuously Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron, let me just assure you that he fully intends to do that some day. Don't let the fact that he hasn't done it in the last two and half thousand years in any way put you off. Jews, Christians, and I'll even include Muslims, all believe that the Invisible Magic Friend is going to bring perfect justice into the world any day now - a year or two tops.
In the meantime, we confused, mistaken, utterly rubbishy humans will just have get by as best we can. Even though we don't live in that ideal world where tyrants are brought to trial, I'm sure those who have suffered under Gaddafi's ruthless regime, those who have needlessly lost loved ones as he desperately made everyone fight to the bitter end, will probably feel a small sense of justice this morning.
Human egg donors are to get more money. Hurrah! The more egg donors we can get the better. At the moment, donating eggs to create a new life is done mainly for altruistic reasons. Financial considerations don't really come into it. We don't want women selling their eggs on eBay do we?
The creation of a new life via IVF is something to be celebrated. If generosity and selflessness are part of this then so much the better. This is fully in line with the philosophy of Honey Nut Cornflakes Buddhism. Honey Nut Cornflakes Buddhism says that you should be sweet, crunchy and ever so yummy. You should be loving and generous and give all your possessions to the poor. This will make you very happy. The poor however will be very unhappy as they will now have all your possessions and won't be happy and destitute any more.
That's all great and fine and stuff, but given the happiness that a baby can bring let's encourage even more egg donations. So what's the big deal if someone makes money out of it? Sell them on eBay after all!
Tomorrow on Thought For the Day, Catherine Pepinster and Clifford Longley on why IVF is evil, sinful and a barbaric product of the Culture of Death so typical of the godless West. If only the Catholic Church were in charge to prevent this vile holocaust of murdered embryonic babies.
Wednesday, 19 October, 2011, 08:15 AM - Winkett
No Platitude of the Day today. If you Google for the grim video of the Chinese toddler Yue Yue, referred to by Rev Winkett, you'll see why. There are some things you just don't joke about.
Yue Yue is reported as dead by some news organisations, others report that she remains stable. Let's hope it is the latter that have got it right.
Rev Dr. (hon. Kingston) Dr. (hon. St. Andrews) Joel Edwards, International Director of Micah Challenge, Council Member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation
I just got back from Sydney and very nice it was too. For we International Directors of Christian organisations the globe trotting just never stops, especially when it starts to get a bit chillier here in the UK.
I spoke to an Anglican vicar in Sydney. We both agreed that the Church has always been the best place to be for women. When it comes to advocating feminism, I think everyone would agree that Christianity has always been at the forefront.
Imagine my shock therefore, when I returned to the UK, only to find the trampling of women's rights was all over the papers. At home, in the supermarket, cleaning the church, and various other places where one might find a woman, we find that women are struggling in this era of cutbacks.
It really is quite appalling that secular society finds it so hard to keep up with the church and its enlightened views on women. As early as 700 BC, the prophet Micah mentioned a woman, which just goes to show how seriously the Big Book of Magic Stuff takes women's rights. (One advantage of being called the Micah Challenge is that, with only seven chapters, it is a relatively easy book to memorise. The Isaiah Challenge, with 66 chapters, would have been rather too much of a challenge). The New Tasty mint is just choc full of hand maidens, maid servants, virgins, prostitutes, adulteresses and all the traditional roles of women.
Speaking as an ardent feminist myself I am the first to admit that the Church has not always been as perfect as it is today. Still, with it's long record of empowerment of women, I think we are in a strong moral position to lecture the rest of society on how it should treat its women.
And in the big news today, I was speaking at an important medical conference at the weekend. Famous authors, poets, lawyers and philosophers gathered to discuss medicine in front of an audience of health professionals. Modesty forbids me from mentioning that I was speaking too, but I was, which is how I know so much about it.
I must say it was very refreshing to see doctors willing to listen to me, and other lawyers, poets, authors and philosophers, telling them how to do their jobs. If only more professions were so open to being told how to do their jobs by me, and other philosophers, poets, authors and lawyers.
You see, patient care isn't just about administering medicines, it's about whole patient care. This is where Christianity is so very relevant to modern medical practise. In the New Tasty mint of the Big Book of Magic Stuff, Jesus, the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, was always going around healing people. His techniques, of touching them, spitting on them, casting out demons and demanding ritual sacrifice, were somewhat unorthodox by today's standards. It's also not entirely clear how his techniques work, although being the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend suggests that magic may have been involved.
Jesus clearly believed in this holistic approach to medicine. In at least several cases he told the patient to go home and rest, although in many others he had done such a great job curing them that he let them keep on following him instead.
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.
Abundantly Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Reverend Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord...
Friday, 14 October, 2011, 08:51 AM - HarriesRating 3 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
Isn't it great to have Friends. No, I don't mean the TV series, I was thinking of people we know who are, well... friends.
The Defence Secretary has a friend. David and Angela Dawes have suddenly discovered they have far more friends than they knew.
We can meet friends in lots of different ways: at university, at work, at the drama society, down the pub, as neighbours, doing charitable activities, on the bus, on the train, on the internet, at church, in the House of Lords. There are many, many ways to make new friends.
Friends bring fun and laughter into our lives. Friends can also bring consolation in time of need. Jonathan Swift had a friend, but she died. He was very upset because he liked his friend. Jesus had a friend called Judas, but he turned out not to be a very nice friend. We are all friends with the Invisible Magic Friend, which is nice because it means everyone has got at least one friend on Facebook.
And now a short poem.
I had a friend, he was gentle and kind,
He even was nice to my mother.
He sat on a stool with his ample behind,
Falling over one way or the other.
The Invisible Magic Friend really is the bestest friend you can ever have.
Aren't things just terrible at the moment? All this unemployment and the rising cost of living. Everything's just terrible.
But just cast your mind back to the good times. They were terrible too. It was just work, work, work all the time. Busy ordained Buddhists like me were just rushed off our feet. Everyone was so terribly materialistic. We, and by "we" I do of course mean "you", were constantly comparing ourselves with everyone else on the greasy pole, forever trying to outdo others. What you need (and I'll bet you never expected to hear this from a Buddhist) is a bit of meditation.
Me and the NHS have been busy trying to get people to slow down for years. I spend all my time rushing from one hospital to the next, desperately trying to get people to meditate or be mindful. It just never stops. When I'm not at a hospital I'll be at some doctor's surgery, or at a health centre. In between all that, there's Thought for the Day to squeeze in as well. I can't tell you what a relief it is that my Blackberry's gone down and I'm finally getting a bit of free time.
My advice to you is to meditate a bit, then quickly dash off for a walk in the park, look at the sky, watch the pretty birds, then quickly get back for some more meditation. Don't forget to get in at least half and hour of mindfulness before your next meditation session.
I'd love to help you out a bit more but you wouldn't believe the number of therapy sessions I've got lined up for today. The "slow down" business is really booming, even in these gloomy economic times.
And if you're unemployed? Well, just sort of enjoy the free time I suppose. Think of it as an opportunity to not be materialistic.
The youth unemployment figures today are going to be just terrible. They're going to be even worse than last month's youth unemployment figures. They were terrible too.
This is a terrible thing. To be young and unemployed is just terrible. Being constructive and useful is something that people like me take for granted, but just imagine how awful it must be to wake up every morning and actually realise that you had no useful purpose in life?
You may not believe this, but young people need to feel appreciated. They need to have ambition and a sense of direction in life. You should be at least 35 before you realise you're not going to satisfy any of those ambitions. It's a terrible waste to allow young people to be struck by this so early on. Somebody, somewhere, ought to think up a clever solution to this terrible problem.
Faced with this terrible problem, this is where Christianity is so terribly, terribly relevant. In the early days of Christianity there was a great deal of slavery. Slaves may have had very few rights but at least they didn't suffer the misery of youth unemployment. Christianity also invented the idea of human dignity. Before that, no one had ever had any human dignity and since then, everyone has had human dignity, even the unemployed youth.
Isn't it all just so terrible?
The Archbepop of Cadbury met with Robert Mugwewe yeshterday. (hic!) Robert Mugababy started off with the besht of intenshums. "Let'sh all be lovely (hic!) 'nd happy and let bygones go bye bye," he shed. "No more black aginst white or wheat againsht (hic!) block. Jusht one big happy family." Before he immediately started shending out gangsh of (hic!) armed thugsh to beat up anyone who dishagreed.
D'ye know what? I'll tell you what. Shum of those gansh've been beeting up Anglicansh! (hic!) Yesh, (hic!) no, really! Ye see there'sh thish renegit... rene martin... webel bishop Nolbert Kunonga. He's bad. Oh yesh he's very bad. He's a very bad bishop indeed. (hic!)
So our nice Arshbishup hash gone out there to (hic!) to have a word with Mishter Muvuzela. E'sh told him all about all the bad thingsh that've been happening to Anlicans. Mishter Mugbabies didn't know anything about it! No, nuffin (hic!) at all. Sho now it'sh all gonna be fixed and every'fin in Zimbabwe's gonna be alright from now on.
Brilliant bloke our Archbish. You now, I think thish calls for jusht a teenshy weenshy celebratory sherry. Why not indeed. (hic!)