The deaths of five service personnel at the hands of an Afghan policeman they were training, illustrates the limits of trust in fellow human beings. Few betrayals result in such devastating consequences, but we all face choices when we become involved with others. To help another might involve pain and sacrifice, while to stand back is to become cold and insular. We cannot be wholly afraid to help others but at the same time, while giving freely, we must be aware of the dangers. As Jesus said, Be as wise as serpents, as innocent as doves.
Thursday, 5 November, 2009, 08:34 AM - BrookRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
I can't help it, I'm in love with my computer. When you have the kind of hectic, busy lifestyle that I have, it's inevitable. I'm constantly being contacted by my fellow celebrity Christian writers about really important things that just can't be put off. It's all just work, work, work. Even in the midst of my bubble bath the other day, my rubber duck had to make way for my laptop. My daughter complains that all I do is twitter and email.
I tried once to just sit still in a chair, let my mind go blank, and not have any interesting thoughts at all. But how can someone with my feverish imagination and dazzling intellect possibly be expected to not have any thoughts? I solved several of the world's pressing problems while sitting still in that chair.
The monastic tradition teaches us that it really is possible to just sit still and think of nothing. As the Psalm says, "Be still, and get on with worshipping me. Oh yes, that's better. More, more!" So I'm going to pray to the Invisible Magic Friend to cure me of my computer addiction, right after I've sent off just a few really, really important emails.
Thomas Peters, communications director for the American Principles Project, young, American and Catholic
Thursday, 5 November, 2009, 05:36 AM - Not TFTDRating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)
Hurrah for the State of Maine! In a victory for good common sense, the voters of that fair state have overwhelmingly voted against black marriage. As a hilarious, and I must say very satisfying addition, many liberal campaigners have been reduced to tears. I don't think I've ever had so much fun.
None of this is surprising. In every single state where black marriage has been put to the popular vote, citizens have sensibly voted it down. But watch out for the backlash, for we all know who the ultimate victims of all this will be, it will be we Catholics.
Hate filled black marriage campaigners are already venting their bile against the Catholic Church. Just because we ran a second collection at Catholic churches specifically to support the anti-black marriage vote, just because we raised up to a quarter of the campaign funds, just because Bishop Richard Malone took a principled, traditional, stance against this new fangled black marriage nonsense, we'll be the ones who are portrayed as prejudiced. The only thing blacks have to put up with is the continued denial of their civil rights, we have to put up with people saying horrid things about us. Oh the pain, the pain!
It's started already. In blogs all over the country I see comments like this one.
"Voters have bowed their heads to the campaigns which sew bigotry, hatred, and suspicion of their fellows. They have bowed to potentates in the Catholic and Mormon Churches. It is time that the legislature of Maine strip the Catholic Church of all its exemptions. It is time to dismantle those who seek through deception and fraud to repress others."
It seems that anti-Catholicism is truly the last acceptable prejudice. But it's not just extremists like the openly black blogger above who are fuelling this vicious campaign, even respectable black Catholic journalists are joining in the feeding frenzy.
"Using a tax-exempt church to raise money to defeat the civil rights of fellow citizens is not too shocking in the age of Benedict."
In a bitter twist of irony, it is the black marriage movement which portrays itself as seeking equality and tolerance. Apparently this does not extend to their Catholic oppressors. Such hypocrisy! I would have more respect for the black marriage movement if they spoke out against these vile outbursts.
We can expect the international conspiracy of anti-Catholic propaganda to wheel itself out over the coming months. The same sad old stories about paedophile priests, indoctrination of children and superstitious beliefs will be dusted off and aired, as if the Catholic Church was in anyway responsible for these. Then there'll be the smears against Catholics. Just for the record, here's what Bishop Baloney actually has to say about black people.
"The Church views marriage as the union of one real man and one real woman. We have voted against black marriage out of love for our black brothers and sisters. The Catholic Church remains devoted to preserving and strengthening the precious gift of marriage, as something given by God to white people. We respect people of all colors and simply hold to our traditional teaching that blacks are subhuman, second class citizens who should be denied equal pension, inheritance and tax status under the law. We do this out of love."
I mean, what's hateful or discriminatory about that? I'm sure it's what Jesus would've wanted.
Through the storm of abuse that will be hurled our way, we must remain resolute and true to our beliefs. We must ignore the power and intimidation of the black marriage lobby, we must ignore the suffering that we must endure because our belief in proper white love is more important and true than their human rights.
Southend registry office, last Tuesday. Me and Terry signing up for our civil rights. To our friends in Maine, keep fighting for what is right and just.
I don't know nuffin about banksh. (Hic!) Should we give 'em more (hic!) money, or take away shum money, or break 'em up and throw 'em out with all the cuddly toysh? Buggered if I know. (Hic!) You she, money'sh a terribly shpiritual fing. Must be 'cos bible's full of it. Jesush went on and on and on (Hic!) and on 'bout money. Being rich ish bad shays Jeeshush. Bad, bad, bad, bad, (Hic!), bad.
How'sh my penshun fund doing? Getting near to retryment now. Need to make sure there'sh (Hic!) enough for the odd little luxureees: a good book, a nice conshert, the odd bottle of sherry. Mushn't be too rich (Hic!) rich or I'll end up in hell, wif' no bottlesh o' sherry every again. Musht try to be good or I'll end up ash a goat, 'stead of a nice sheep. Baaaaaa.
I'm the Bishop of Shufrock. It'sh what I do. (Hic!)
There's a big Sikh festival taking place - the Birthday of Guru Nanak, the man who first realised all the other religions were wrong and what we really needed was a completely new religion. He preached equality, which is why he's a Guru, especially gender equality, which is why there were so many female gurus.
There are no empty obsessive rituals in Sikhism like there are in all the other, wrong, religions. Nor is there any superstition, just belief in an Invisible Magic Friend and reincarnation.
Guru Nanak would have approved of all the good things today: arms control talks, treaties on global warming and generally being nice. He would have disapproved of all the bad things: selfishness, poverty, injustice and weapons manufacture. Approving good things and disapproving of bad things just goes to show why he's a Guru.
All people of faith, and I include the wrong faiths in this, approve of good things and disapprove of bad things. That's what makes us so much better than people who don't have a faith.
Happy All Souls Days everyone!
YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!! It's awful, it's terrible! Of course, as Christians it isn't really that bad, I mean it's not like death is the end or anything is it? But it's all so ghastly. The pain. The sorrow. The loss of one's loved ones. Not that it's really a loss. Saying they've just moved on, which of course they have, is small comfort. I mean it just sounds so trite and meaningless, doesn't it?
And will you all stop asking me for that dreadful so-called "poem". I want to do my own moving sermon, not the empty platitudes of a long gone predecessor. How can he say "death is nothing at all". It's the passing into emptiness, the void, the loss of all that was or ever could be. Oh my Gawwwd, it's all so depressing, it's so final. What's the point of it all? Why do we even bother? Everything seems so meaningless.
And all those young men who died in World War I, the hundreds that continue to die today. For what? OK, they pass into eternal life, but they're still DEAD!!!
But what's really important lives on. Yeah - bollocks!
[That was today's inspirational and uplifting thought. Just what you needed to start the week.]
Sunday, 1 November, 2009, 06:54 AM - Not TFTDRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
Dear Professor Nutt
In previous correspondence with you the Government has highlighted the value that we place on receiving high quality scientific advice from the ACMD.
It is precisely for this reason that we asked you to find evidence in support of a pre-determined Government policy that was acceptable to readers of the tabloid press. Your total failure in this regard raises doubts about your independence as a scientific advisor.
Not only have you singularly failed to produce the requested evidence, you have not even attempted to distort existing evidence. There has been no massaging of the statistics, no exaggeration of the significance of minor studies and anecdotal testimony, no attempt to suppress embarrassing data. All contrary to established Government practise. Indeed, I am left wondering what qualifications you have to fulfil this high profile role or whether you have any proper understanding of the role of science in informing policy decisions.
You may wish to take a leaf out of Sir John Scarlett's book. Sir John was given the far more demanding task of finding evidence of WMDs in Iraq, a task that he performed masterfully, working closely with such distinguished professionals as the Prime Minister's press secretary. The resultant dossier was widely regarded as the definitive statement of the threat posed by the then Iraqi regime, and doubted only by some dodgy journalists and one rather eccentric weapons expert, both of whom were soon disposed of. You will note that Sir John's career has blossomed thanks to this fine tradition of public service.
Your recent remarks have highlighted comparable risks among legal drugs and sporting activities. This is totally unacceptable. It is not your role to go around informing people about things and giving them facts. It completely undermines government policy. All of the evidence must be presented to the public through trusted, Right Honourable statesmen, such as myself.
It is for these reasons that I have lost all confidence in your ability to provide me with the evidence that the Government would like to see. Nor do I trust you to keep your trap shut about the true state of affairs.
I would therefore ask you to step down from the council with immediate effect.
Happy Halloween everybody!
Halloween, with its witches and ghosts and other incarnations of evil, is of course an extremely silly thing. I mean, what sort of sensible, rational person believes in things like that? You'd have to be completely barmy to believe something like that.
I'd like to talk about much more sensible beliefs. In particular, I'd like to point out that the spirits of our ancestors live on after their death, something that completely contradicts Halloween. There are a large number of irrefutable arguments that demonstrate this.
1. Every bereaved person who comes to my church thinks the invisible magic bit of their relatives is still alive. Such overwhelming agreement among such a diverse sample clearly shows that it must be true.
2. How could something as complex as a human being just cease to exist? It's completely impossible.
3. Instead of having the nice, simple, uniform beliefs that we used to have in this country, i.e. my beliefs, we now have a tangled mess of all sorts of different beliefs. This is all very untidy and clearly wrong. The only possible solution is for everyone to adopt my beliefs again.
4. Since the Invisible Magic Friend definitely exists, we can conclude he wouldn't allow our own invisible magic bits to stop existing.
Halloween, pffff! What a load of nonsense!
I was robbed once by some excited youths. They took my wallet and no more harm was done, but this gave me a small insight into what it is to be a victim of crime. That's why I have such interest in the Restorative justice movement. The Prison Reform Trust now wants the successful pilot scheme in Northern Ireland to be extended. Offenders often say it is harder to face their victims and confess their crimes than to go to prison. In Buddhism, "confession" has nothing to do with an Invisible Magic Friend, rather it's a recognition that selfish and violent actions cut us off from people. Acknowledging those actions is a step towards healing and the chance to move on.
Restorative justice goes beyond asking whether criminals are good or bad people and gives them the opportunity to learn a real moral lesson.