Rev Dr Giles Fraser - Ex Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral 
Saturday, 5 November, 2011, 08:41 AM - Economics, Fraser
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

It isn't easy being a priest. You can't just pick the nice bits from the Big Book of Magic Stuff. You'll doubtless recall all the stories of genocide, barbaric punishments, enslavement, religious absolutism and misogyny that were regularly read out in church when you were young.

Imagine my horror, yes Horror, when I was asked to read Luke chapter 6, blessed are the poor and woe to the rich. My heart sank as I realised that I would be forced, forced I tell you, to preach about precisely the issue I had resigned over.

I'd like to use the metaphor of tectonic plates to describe the predicament of Saint Paul's and the street protests. It lets me use phrases like "fault line", which conjures up images of unimaginable forces and sounds all sort of grand and sciency. It puts theology on a par with geology and makes it sound as if theology actually has something to contribute to the debate about human inequality. These are much more compelling images than one gets from words like "confused", "irrelevant" and "hypocritical" when one thinks of the wider Church of England's response to the protests.

I'm not against capitalism, at least not any more. Anti-capitalists are just that, they are "anti" without having an alternative. The Church isn't like that. Unlike anti-capitalists we are against vast inequality, against rampant materialism, against poverty and suffering. But we are not just against them, we are for whatever the opposite might be, without getting into any specific solutions to complex economic questions.

In a very real and definite sense, the Church believes that it would be nice if everything were better.

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Great Uncle Dr Lord Indarjit Singh JP, CBE, Baron Wimbledon, Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations 
Friday, 4 November, 2011, 08:38 AM - Economics, Singh
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Isn't the financial crisis just terrible? This is far and away the worst financial crisis for at least three years. But what can we, and by "we" I do of course mean "you", do about it?

Well you can all start being a lot less selfish for a start. It's selfishness and greed that has caused all of this, and not the fact that the Greek government consistently massaged its economic statistics to hide a huge, growing, government debt.

Capitalism relies on man exploiting man, whereas communism does it the other way around. Wise words indeed. Words that should be heeded and acted upon. If only you had listened to such words in the first place then you wouldn't have got us all into this mess.

Mr. Jesus, surname Christ, who was not the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, told a story about a rich man and a needle. Jesus Christ was nearly as wise as a guru. Incidentally, there's a big Sikh festival coming up. Happy Guru Nanak's nearly birthday everyone! Guru Nanak gave a rich man a needle. In fact, all the great religions have rich men and needle stories. It's a mark of how truth permeates all great religions, and even not so great ones. Atheists don't seem to have any stories about needles, or even about sowing in general, which just goes to show how rubbish they are.

Anyway, back to you being selfish. What you need to do is be a bit more generous, particularly to people less fortunate than yourself. I cannot emphasise this enough. Do not, I repeat do not, start being more generous to people who are more fortunate than you. The wisdom of religion teaches us that it would be better to help those who are less fortunate than you. Helping people who are equally fortunate is optional.

You can start helping the less fortunate immediately. If you have several hundred billion Euros that you don't need, why not give them to Greece?

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5 comments ( 1077 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 211 )

Rhidian Brook, writer, celebrity and Christian  
Thursday, 3 November, 2011, 08:47 AM - Brook
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

And in breaking news, aren't Cathedrals just fantastic? I mean, like WOW! They're just so BIG! Isn't it just amazing to think that they're held up entirely by faith? I mean WOW! Just WOW!

The other day, me and a packed capacity crowd of over 20 people, were busy worshipping the Invisible Magic Friend in the magnificent Guildford Cathedral. During all this worshipping, my thoughts began to wander. I thought to myself, what about all those millions of people who are just dying to get to such a brilliant cathedral as this one but can't make it? They won't be able to go WOW! It must be just terrible for them.

If you're one of those people, then DON'T PANIC! It suddenly occurred to me, in the middle of all that worshipping, that if you don't have access to a magnificent cathedral like Guildford Cathedral, then you can just worship the Invisible Magic Friend at home! Yes, it really is that simple!

But you don't just have to take the word of a celebrity, Christian writer like myself though. I can prove it to you. Jesus, whom you'll no doubt recall was the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, actually said it himself. He said, "You don't have to go to the magnificent Guildford Cathedral to worship me. Feel free to worship me absolutely anywhere you like."

You see, Christianity isn't really about magnificent Cathedrals. We don't really need all these bishops and clergy to help us to do some worshipping. Right from the beginning, Christianity has been all about, simple, ordinary, worshippers, quietly worshipping away. What's really important, is that when you do your worshipping, you worship the right Invisible Magic Friend and not one of those made up ones. I just prefer to do my worshipping in a magnificent Cathedral like Guildford.

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Right Awful Anne Atkins - Agonising Aunt and Vicar's Wife  
Wednesday, 2 November, 2011, 08:02 AM - Gibberish, Atkins
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

Nothing I can say can possibly do justice to today's Thought For The Day. Even by Anne Atkins' supremely high standards, this was a masterpiece.

It can only be described as express gibberish: totally incoherent, a random jumble of juxtapositions of current events and quotes from Jesus. Jesus was even expressed in a kind of Anne-Atkins-speak: Oxbridge with a touch of what might be anticipated as language that appealed to we lesser commoners.

I normally manage to extract some sort of a coherent message from even the most woolly Thought For The Day, but today's chaotic gallop is quite beyond my meagre talents.

Anyone who feels up to translating this into something intelligible, by all means be my guest.

Listen, and wonder, at the sheer masterful, craftsmanship.

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Rev Dr. (hon. Kingston) Dr. (hon. St. Andrews) Joel Edwards, International Director of Micah Challenge, Council Member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation 
Tuesday, 1 November, 2011, 08:52 AM - Economics, Gibberish, Edwards
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Has anyone mentioned Christmas yet? There's only about eight weeks to go. On Christmas day a baby was born. Coincidentally, a baby was born yesterday too. A baby in the Philippines was precisely the 7 billionth person on the planet. That's just 12 years after the 6 billionth and 24 years after the 5 billionth.

At this point I'd just like to use some words like "geopolitical", "socio-economic" and "globalisation". Add in a pinch of "environmentally sustainable". These add a certain gravitas to what I'm saying and make it sound as if I have a vast in depth knowledge, on a wide range of subjects, commensurate with my Rev Dr Dr status, that I simply don't have time to explain to you on something as fleeting as a 3 minute radio slot.

Many of the figures in the Big Book of Magic Stuff were born, not just the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend. When they were born, they became part of the population, and a jolly good thing too. You see if they hadn't been born then they wouldn't have been able to do all the things they did.

Yes there are all sorts of niggly little problems with having billions more people on the planet, but look on the bright side, there are also billions more people to figure out how to solve those problems too. Simple really when you think about it.

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8 comments ( 965 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.3 / 236 )

Clifford Longley, a distinguished Catholic gentleman who talks a lot about religion, Platitude of the Year Winner 2010 
Monday, 31 October, 2011, 08:30 AM - Longley
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Now then, now then, Sir Jimmy Saville is dead. He did a great deal of work for charity. It just so happens that he was a Catholic. He received an OBE, then a knighthood, then a papal knighthood for his charity work. Did I mention that he was a Catholic?

He was a kind of holy fool. As it 'appens, Francis of Assisi was a holy fool too. So was John the Baptist. Dostoevsky wasn't a holy fool, but he did mention holy fools. The Russian Orthodox even have a word for holy fools. They call holy fools Euro-divies, which means "holy fools".

Saint Paul wasn't a holy fool, but goodness gracious he also mentioned holy fools. He said that wisdom was foolish and foolishness was wise. Which I think is very wise and therefore foolish, and therefore wise.

The media cynically mocked Jimmy Saville for his eccentricity, his trademark shell-suits and gold medallions. But he gave away most of what he earned to charity in his spiritual, Catholic way. Guys and gals, as a Catholic he helped people in Broadmoor, in Stoke Mandeville, anyone in a wheelchair.

But enough about Jimmy Saville, who incidentally was a Catholic. I'd just like to say that the next thing I say is not about Saint Paul, but Jesus, the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend. Jesus said we must be like little children and that will make us really big in the invisible magic afterlife. Saint Paul did not say that. In fact, come to think of it, there were a very large number of things that Saint Paul didn't say.

Jimmy Saville retained many of those childlike qualities of holy foolishness and holiness. He was also a Catholic. How's about that then?

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The Computer Help Forum 
Sunday, 30 October, 2011, 10:06 AM - Not TFTD
Me. My browser can't access Google any more. I'm using Vista SP2. Have tried several browsers, all with negative results. Other computers on the same network don't seem to be affected.

User 1. I'm not having that problem.

User 2. Something may have compromised your windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts files. Edit it with notepad and see if google is being redirected from there.

Me. Thanks - that's a sensible suggestion, but that doesn't seem to be the problem.

User 3. I don't use Vista and I've never had that problem, but have you checked your firewall settings?

Me. Thanks, what firewall settings should I check?

User 3. Like I say, I don't use Vista. I did have a completely different problem once. I found that upgrading to the latest version of Firefox fixed it.

Me. OK - I tried upgrading Firefox - that didn't help.

User 4. What does nslookup say?

Me. I don't know, what's nslookup?

User 4. If you don't know how to run nslookup then you really need to get your system administrator to look into the problem for you.

Me. It's a home pc. I am the system administrator.

User 4. In that case you need to learn far more about network protocols and how they're implemented on Windows Vista. I can't be expected to provide assistance to a complete ignoramus like you. Goodbye.

User 5. Download the following 16 programs from different websites, all of which you've never heard of before. Switch off all your anti-virus, security and firewall protection. Run them with administrator privilege. That should sort out any virus problems you're having.

User 6. Make sure all your anti-virus and anti-malware software is up to date. Do a full system scan, shouldn't take more than about 6 hours. Reboot your system at least three times. That usually fixes most things.

User 7. What anti-virus are you using?

Me. I was on Avast but switched to Microsoft Security Essentials.

User 7. Ah, you're using the free stuff. No wonder you've got problems. As in all things, you get what you pay for. They're rubbish, switch to McAfee.

User 8. McAfee is rubbish, use Norton.

User 9. Norton is rubbish, use Kaspersky.

Me. Thanks to everybody who has taken the trouble to offer suggestions. Can I just ask, have any of you ever encountered this precise problem before? It's just that I'm spending a lot of time following all your suggestions but appear to be no closer to finding a solution.

All. Nope

User 10. I haven't read anyone else's responses, but have you checked your hosts file?

User 11. It could be a problem with your wireless router. Have you tried resetting it?

Me. But only one computer is affected, why would resetting the router help?

User 11. Doesn't hurt to try does it?

Me. OK, it's reset - no difference, but thanks for the suggestion anyway.

User 12. Have you tried just rebooting your PC?

User 13. It sounds like you've got a problem with your PC.

User 14. You have a virus that is redirecting all DNS requests for google domains to a third party. This is quite common and should be relatively easy to fix.

Me. Yes, I know I have a virus that is redirecting all DNS requests for google domains to a third party. How do I get rid of it?

User 14. Run a full scan of your anti-virus software.

Me. I've done that, with several anti-virus packages. None of them detect anything.

User 14. In that case you have no option but to reinstall Windows.

...

User 135. Yes I have seen this precise problem recently. You have the TDSS virus. Download tdsskiller.exe from Kaspersky anti-virus.

Me. Thank you. That worked.

User 136. Well, I'm no expert, but I reinstalled Photoshop recently and the completely different problem I was having went away. Couldn't hurt to try, could it?
10 comments ( 600 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 256 )

Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet 
Saturday, 29 October, 2011, 10:36 AM - Economics, Invisible magic stuff, Money, Pepinster
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

When Giles Fraser was installed as Canon Chancellor of Saint Paul's by a fully trained team of professional Canon Chancellor installers, we had a really good church service to celebrate.

Attending this heretical Protestant sect's cathedrals can be tremendous fun. In fact, attendance at Anglican Cathedrals keeps on going up. This is because more and more people are waking up on a Sunday morning and saying to themselves, what I really need this morning is a good Anglican service, and it's not at all because all the smaller parish churches are being forced to close due to dwindling congregations.

Now that Giles Fraser has resigned we're not having such a big party. Then again, there'll soon have to unplug Giles and install a new Canon Chancellor, so we can have a big party again over that.

Cathedrals are places where the Holy Spirit does his stuff. The Holy Spirit is the particularly invisible third of the Invisible Magic Friend. Although he does occasionally pop up as a dove or as a flame floating in mid air. These are the kind of details that lend such credibility to his existence.

There was also a visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend. Has anyone mentioned recently that he threw the money changers out of the temple? Well he did. The Vatican - you know the place stuffed with priceless treasures - has pointed out that capitalism doesn't seem to be working very well at the moment. I really don't think anyone would have spotted that, so thank goodness the Vatican is on the ball as always.

And now to leave you with one of those mysterious and seemingly meaningful statements that make it sound as if I've just told you something profound and wonderful.

"That is the tension that Christianity holds at its heart."

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Great Uncle Dr Lord Indarjit Singh JP, CBE, Baron Wimbledon, Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations 
Friday, 28 October, 2011, 08:30 AM - Gibberish, Lessons of history, Money, Singh
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

There's a big Sikh festival this week. Happy Bandi Chhorh everyone! Bandi Chhorh celebrates the 6th Guru's release from prison by the evil Mogul Emperor (who belonged to another well known religion).

This is exactly what is happening today in the Eurozone crisis. I think Sikh history has got much to teach us on how to restore confidence in Greek and Italian government bonds without imposing a politically unpopular cost on the people of Germany. All Angela Merkel needs is a cloak with 52 trillion tassels attached.

You know, as I was elevated to the Lords, some of my fellow lords, suggested to me that, when I spoke in the House of Lords, I might want to address their lordships on matters pertaining to Sikh interests. Nothing could be farther from the teachings of being a Sikh. I intend to poke my nose into absolutely everything, bringing the wisdom of the Gurus to everything from economics to constitutional reform.

As a Lord, it is my intention to speak for all you non-Lords out there, the ordinary, lordless people, except the ones of you who go rioting and are probably very bad people who don't have a respectable faith like Sikhism.

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6 comments ( 826 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 215 )

Reverend Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James Piccadilly, just down from Fortnum and Mason 
Thursday, 27 October, 2011, 08:38 AM - Winkett
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Gaddafi has been buried in an unmarked grave because he was bad. Other brutal dictators have suffered similar fates. It prevents fans of brutal dictators turning it into a shrine.

Other people get buried in unmarked graves because they are the victims of brutal dictators. Many of these people had a faith of one sort or another, although many didn't. The connection between having a faith, or not having a faith, and being the victim of a brutal dictator, is not one that I'm going to go into in any detail. It's just something that I thought I would mention: that many of the victims of brutal dictators had a faith, although many didn't.

Jesus was buried in an unmarked grave. Well, no, actually he wasn't. All his fans knew where it was. So when the Empress Helena said, "I'll give a bag of gold to whoever shows me Jesus' tomb," there was no shortage of offers, and they built a great big church on the site. But apart from having a huge basilica on the site, it's pretty much the same as an unmarked grave, and thus relevant to the unmarked graves of many people who had a faith, and some who didn't.

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