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Friday, 21 June 2013

Parking our 4x4 on Uther Pendragon's Lawn

A very poor piece of journalism by the Telegraph on an alleged attempt by the Church of England to recruit pagan members.  So bad, I suspect it will be corrected some time in the next day or two.

Mostly it's just obviously drivel - just literally doesn't make sense. Most of the people who have commented on the piece have followed the "Christianity stole the Pagan festivals" line, and that's drivel, as well. Drivel that has been repeated on TV by Stephen Fry with respect to Mithraism, so people assume that it's true, but that just makes it posh, smoothly-delivered drivel. So mostly there's a lot of drivel about.

In fact, the piece does not actually go far enough. What the Telegraph has not discovered - but I am now at liberty to reveal - is that the Church of England has secretly been training its crack missional priests, in combined exercises with the Beaker Folk, to enable them to mingle with the Stonehenge Solstice devotees. The plan was to spread the Anglican word undercover.

It all started when a representative of the Church of England hierarchy - whom I shall identify only by their "pagan name", Raven Aurora - came to me and said,
"Eileen, there's 50 million people in this country don't go to Church. And several thousand of them are neo-pagans. It's pretty obvious where our priorities lie."

And so we embarked on "Operation Greenwood". The training has been gruelling:

  • We encouraged them to reject Tonsure Collars, and move towards flowery skirts / trousers and tie-dye T-shirts. Although, to be fair, that had happened before we got our hands on  most of them. It was only the female Anglo-Catholics who took some persuasion. They're a tough bunch. They've got to be.
  • It took six months of gestalt therapy to crack their tendency to wear socks with sandals. Eventually, we got them wearing trainers without socks as a compromise.
  • We trained them to resist the urge to respond to "Peace, Man" with "And also with you."
  • We realised that raising your arms to salute the sun, looks rather like the action many of them were already adopting at the altar. So this was just mostly a matter of wearing a different colour of robe. It was just the Charismatics needed calming down. Last thing the people at Stonehenge wanted, was some people waving their arms around and being over-enthusiastic. They'd have stuck out like a sore thumb.
  • We encouraged them to change their beliefs. Or, in some cases, to adopt a few. We realised some of the "Sea of Faith" crowd were in danger of coming over as dangerous liberals to the neo-pagans.
  • They had to learn that eggs are for putting on standing stones at astronomically important times of the year - not for coming up with silly illustrations as to why they might relate to Easter.
  • They adopted names like "Daisy", "Moonflower" and "Marigold". This wasn't particularly to blend in - it was just something some of the Anglo-Catholics were doing already, and they thought everybody else might like to try it.
Everyone left shortly after Fr Willow started his sermon on "Parallels between neo-paganism and the  Psalmic rituals of the 2nd Temple, with particular reference to the work of Jurgen Moltmann".
The result of our training was that, this morning, and without anyone noticing, fully 25 percent of those present at Stonehenge were card-carrying members the Church of England. One in particular is currently the joint favourite with Jeffrey John to be the next Bishop of Durham. You could recognise him by the bald head, multiple piercings and the way his whole body is covered in tattoos. No, not Jeffrey - the other one.
We hid a full-size canon of Salisbury Cathedral in the Heel Stone.
Members of the Wiltshire Constabulary on duty this morning were heard to remark that there was a different variety of weed being smoked this morning. Well, that smell would be unfamiliar. It was Fr Aloysius, of St Sebastian's, with some rather nice Prinknash Abbey. You can take the priest out of Oxford, but you can't take Oxford out of the priest.

6 comments :

  1. Eileen for an 'Archdruid' you clearly know far too much about the Church of England - i think you may yourself be an undercover infiltrator? -

    wonderful blog made my day ;o)

    as one of those at the centre of this story it may help to know it was lifted from a feature on the Today prgramme http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b02x9f4j go to 1:25 in - and yes i did say Pagan Church but in a wider context? such things of course vanish with repetition - though happy to defend the phrase - and of course not a church of England plot at all ..... ah yes it's those dangerous fresh expressions of church

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    1. Having heard your comments, it's fair to say a fair amount of nuance was lost from 7.25 this morning to the Telegraph page.

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  2. Pope Francis has announced an Ordinariate for pagans. I will try and report on this later, when I've finished walking the alligators.

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    1. One of those druids bore a stunning resemblance to a priest of my acquaintance in the current Ordinariate. Francis clearly moves fast.

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  3. That news comes just as Mrs Cholmondeleys black cat next door gave birth to six black kittens, each with six toes.

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  4. Well, we could always send you OakWyse, er, the ex-Rev. Melnyk, to help out.

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