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Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Political Deadlock

Strange behaviour from the Beaker Political Debate Group. They were meant to be working out a new "3rd Way" on Brexit. But to get their political activism inspired, they've spent the last 3 hours watching subtitled speeches by the first president of the Czech Republic.

They tell me they're just getting themselves in the right frame of mind.

But I reckon they're just Havel gazing.



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Post Modern Nativity

Thanks for the Little Pebbles' "Post-modern Nativity". Lovely.

An unusual and creative affair, to be sure. I especially liked the Angel's message to Mary: "Well he may be the Son of God, but what do I know? You'll have to find your own truth."

And the joy that, after Ian Paul, the baby is laid in a manger in the window in a Pets Are Us Nativity display and not in the obvious stable. There being no room, as Matthew tells us, in the kataluma, or mezzanine floor. Presumably because of the in-store vet and grooming parlour occupying that space. I'm not clear how the donkey would have got up the stairs to be groomed before the invention of the lift, but I presume the beasts of burden of the Ancient Middle East were probably more agile than the British variety, which is more at home on beaches.

The shepherds were woken mightily on that hillside as the angels sang their hymn of praise: "Is God, assuming a sentience pertains to what maybe we should the ground of being - or, one might say, the ground of what we believe, truly to be given glory, or  is that in many senses just a metaphor?"

 Which didn't scan as well as the last verse of "While Shepherds Watched" , I'll be honest. Especially sung to "On Ilkley Moor Bah't 'At".  And  the shepherds' flat caps were disconcerting. As were  the whippets o'er which they watched. But still.  It was lovely.

Then the Three Derridan Philosophers rode into town. When asked why they were on plesiosaurs, they replied that they didn't think they were out of context, before going off to  wonder what was meant by the concept of "kingship". 

And King Herod. Really. Turning up to put a  selfie of himself and  the family to put on Instagram? Before personally arranging the building of a wall round Bethlehem and putting all Galilean children in different stables to their parents? I'm not sure if there was some kind of satirical intent in that part of the  script.

Still, lovely. And I'm looking  forward to the lecture tonight: "Why did Stephen Fry make up all that Stuff about Jesus being like Mithras?"

 Lovely.

Monday, 3 December 2018

A More Christian Bling

Full marks to Young Keith for imagination. I mean, yes. I  had said I was fed up with inflatable Santas, singing ringing trees, illuminated reindeer and other such add-ons to Yule.

I said next year we'll go the full Jül with some serious Germanic influence. But this year could we see something a bit more in the Christian tradition?

And there it was, at the grand unveiling at 7 last night. In all its giant, inflatable, illuminated, festive glory. The massacre of the Waldensians.

Young Keith has put in a big shift overnight. We should have Santa enthroned on the Moot House roof by tea time. I never want to hear the kids scream like that again.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Soon and Very Soon

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory.
Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’’ (Luke 21.25-36)

Enjoyed the comments of Henning Wehn on, I think, the Now Show last week. He was talking about Brexit and remarked that, at the distance of 500 years into the future, the convulsions of the British people and politicians over Brexit would appear as just a blip in history.

And he has a point. Go back 500 years ago. 1518. Somewhat oddly, the year 1518 started in France on 4 April, and lasted until 23 April in what we would call 1519. In July, the "Dancing Plague" broke out in Strasbourg, and 400 people died after dancing for days. The English King, Henry VIII, was a devout Catholic monarch who would, three years later, write the "Defence of the Seven Sacraments" - the work that would lead the Pope to give him the title "Defender of the Faith". They didn't know what was coming!

The way we govern the country, the political map of Europe, the position of the Church - all have changed since 1518. We have drugs that Henry VIII would have thought were witchcraft. The gout he suffered from we could probably control with drugs and diet. Though we could maybe do less about his personality. But human nature doesn't seem to have changed. We still fear change, fear death and are less nice about each other than we should be.

Jesus told the disciples that all these signs would happen, and yet not when the end comes. That generation passed away - and they had seen wars, they had seen distressed, they'd seen the powers of heaven shaken - but they never saw the end. And in the 2,000 years since, we've seen the fall and rise of Empires that people thought would never end - churches and nations and powers rise and fall. The war to end all wars - and all the wars that came after that one.

And still we wait. In a world where we need to reduce our CO2 output to prevent terrible climate change, and yet the politicians, businesses and people don't have the will or the cohesion to do anything meaningful - we wait. As the United Kingdom wonders what its relationship with Europe will be in 4 months - we wait. As so many nations fall into populism, racism and mutual suspicion - we wait. These won't be the \End Times - unless this time they are - but Jesus breaks into this world, in love and unasked-for care, in cries for justice and concern for the poor. In treating each individual we meet as if they were Jesus himself.

So we can wait for the King to come in glory - but also remember that we meet him, in our fellowships, in every corner of our towns, in every part of the world. The King will come one day, and put all things right. And every day is the day when we can greet him, and put small things right.

Lift up your heads. Your redemption is drawing near.



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

We'll Leave it all Tidy

Don't worry about the roof
It'll last as long as no-one steals it.
The memorials are all in their places
Cleaned annually, remembering forgotten faces.
The funeral bier
is still here.
Last used in 1845.
A nice reminder
of when tradition was still alive.
The hymn books are old
But they'll last us out.
And this Christmas we'll put the tree up
For the Carol Service as it always was.
And we'll take it down Twelfth Night
Ignoring those modernists who say
It should stay till Candlemas.
And we won't move the pews
Or install loos.
We won't do anything to offend
Those who are no longer here.
We'll just keep it steady
Until the day we are ready
To move, ourselves, outside.
We'll leave it all tidy
when we've all died.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Church Small Ads

For sale: "Evangelical Theology" by Karl Barth. First page slightly creased. But none of the others.

For sale: four historic altar frontals. Still preserving the original bat droppings.

Free to a good home: Overhead Projector and 325 handwritten acetates in alphabetical order. Handwriting occasionally illegible.

For sale: A 19th Century vicarage. 5 bedrooms, 2 receptions, 2 bathrooms. Retaining many original fittings and the vicar. Please don't tell the diocese. We need the cash.

For sale: "Mission Praise" edition 1. 400 copies. God never blessed the vicar's faith and vision. The vicar blamed God.

For sale: Takamine electro-acoustic guitar. Buyer collects before the guitarist gets back from his autumn cruise.

Are you a spirit-filled church, living life in the light of the good news? Then would you like our vicar? You might be able to sort him out.

For sale: Church PA system. Maybe you can figure out how it works.

For sale: a ton of lead. The PCC thought we might as well get there before anyone else did.

Free to a good home: Hassocks and cassocks, hymnbooks, mattocks and billhooks. We've gone "low church", and the choir and the people that maintain the churchyard have walked out.

To let: 20 pews. We reserve the right to have them back when the vicar who removed them leaves.

For sale: Alternative Service Book.Unused.





Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Unremarked Life

On this day in 1963, Aldous Huxley,  John F. Kennedy, CS Lewis, and JD Tippit died.

I can't remember where I was when I heard that Kennedy died. It was before I was born. Likewise Huxley, which had the further reason for me not remembering because he wasn't very interesting to me, and Lewis.

But I remember where I was when I found out that J.D. Tippit died. I was sitting here just now, planning a blog post on why nobody ever noticed CS Lewis's death and checking my facts in Wikipedia.

Tippit left a wife and three children. As well as being a police officer he worked two spare time jobs as well to support his  family. He also fought in the liberation of Europe. He mattered as much as the other three but is remembered today only by the sort of people who are also tin foil wearing birthers and 7/11 deniers.

Well, we'll light a tea light for J.D. tonight. A man worth remembering because he died simply doing his job, for the city he served, for the family he loved.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Festival of Genre

After this morning's marking of The Presentation of Our Lady confused everyone, we're on more traditional Beaker ground for today.

Bearing in mind yesterday's analysis of a Creationist's inability to understand the concept of "genre", all our meditations will be on "genre".

We're not expecting to learn or grow our brains or anything. We just like saying "genre".

It's great, isn't it?

"Genre."

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Answers in Creation and Evolution

Premier Christianity publishes the 10 questions about evolution that John McKay of Creation Research would like answered by Christians who believe in evolution.
Oddly enough, the answers given aren't from a Christian who believes in evolution.  So, maybe I can help...

1. If the Bible was your only source, would you ever suggest that Jesus Christ used evolution?

The Bible isn't my only source. And it isn't a set of books about geology or, really, cosmology. God has given me a brain and a lot of sources - including the fossil strata I can see in the cliffs of Somerset, the little sea shells in the greensand of Husborne Crawley, radiocarbon and the measurements we can make of outer space.

To be honest if the Bible were my only source, I'd have to assume I were living in some kind of isolation tank, and would have to wonder what green plants, earth, dust, snakes and other people even were. And how I learned to read.

As for whether "Jesus Christ" used evolution, I refer you to Q3.

2. Why do you believe rocks containing thorns are millions of years old? 

Genesis isn't giving me a system for dating rocks. It's telling me something about the state of humanity in this world. We're here to care for it and each other. But every time we try to do things in our own strength we cock it up. We try to seize power thinking we're so clever and yet we constantly get it wrong. "There is no health in us."

But then if I wanted to find the age of the rocks that I found a fossil in, instead of reading a reflection on God's goodness and humanity's ability to foul things up, I'd use radio-isotope dating and comparison of rocks to others with similar fossils. And then if someone came up with a genuine, provable reason why this were mistaken, I'd reconsider the conclusions. Which is what scientists do.

3. Why would you believe that Jesus the Creator used such processes to create the world, and then hypocritically declared it to be “very good”?  (Genesis 1:31)

I'm a bit worried about the use of "Jesus the Creator". I know that the man Jesus is also the divine Word through whom all things were created. But before the universe was brought into existence, Jesus did not exist per se as far as I can tell. So to say that it was Jesus Christ who declared all things "very good" strikes me as implying that Jesus was teleported into this world rather than the union of God and humanity occurring at the conception of Our Lord.

Leaving this to one side, this world is good. It has beauty, the consistency and logic of the Logos himself. It is also terrifying and awesome - a world which knows the same pain that the Saviour bore.

You know, isn't it the case that the Saviour, in dying on the cross, is God kind of taking responsibility for creating a world where pain and suffering and death are the preconditions of a greater life? 

Because I'll be honest, when God (not Jesus) declared all to be good then, even if the Bible is literally and historically true, that good creation included a certain snake. And that weren't good, were it?

4. Why would God use a process which favours the strong over the weak?

I think there are two problems with your question. Evolution doesn't favour the strong over the weak. That's Conservatism. Evolution favours the fittest, at any given time, to reproduce. Let me give you a random example. The tiny little furry vole-like mammals survived while the dinosaurs all died. 

There's gnats all over the place - not least because Burton Dasset hasn't picked up the windfall apples in the Orchard - but where's a mammoth when you need one?

The other is - God uses all sorts of processes we don't think are nice or fair, or where the balance is in the favour of the strong. The Babylonian exile. The death of Jesus - a process that favoured the strong over the weak. The persecution of the early Christians, which spread the Gospel across the world. In fact, we see God on earth most of all on that Cross where the strong triumph over the weak- but then find the victory overturned.

5. How do you reconcile the truth of God's word with millions of years?

By not making irrelevant comparisons. God's word is about God's purposes and our meaning, eternal destinations and our inability ever to fit quite right in this current world. Geology and cosmology tell me how the earth came about, not why.

6. At what point did humans become humans?

Don't know, couldn't know, don't care. As our Lord almost said to Peter about St John, that's someone else's story

7. Was Jesus mistaken?

[Why did Jesus base his teaching on marriage by using Genesis 1 & 2 as literal history?]

It doesn't make any difference to what Jesus taught whether he thought Gen 2 were literal history. The story of the Good Samaritan isn't literal history as far as I'm aware but the moral is pretty clear.

8. How can we trust God?

[Why should we trust God to keep trouble out of the new earth if God created it through evolution, death, disaster and woe?]

According to Genesis, God created a world that had the potential for, and a causal agent of, the Fall - which caused all sorts of problems- in it. Yet that world was "good". I trust God because God's Word entered the world, journeyed with us, and died like we do. That makes God authentic for me.

There's also the slightly worrying thought that, if God were weird, random and chaotic, we'd have to trust God in that as well, because God is God. I don't believe that, however much it make look that way some times. 

9. If evolution is true, then why didn't God simply tell us that?

The 6 days in Genesis are telling us nothing about how the world came about.  But in the middle of a polytheistic world, where the Babylonians thought the world was created after a battle between the gods where a sea-dragon had her body cut in half, Genesis tells us that the true God is one, the creation is ordered and - unlike those religions that compared a pure spiritual realm - the universe is good. Trustworthy, reasonable, capable of scientific investigation.

The Bible also doesn't tell me about nuclear physics, fluid dynamics, viruses or the American continent. But I'm pretty confident they exist.

10. What would the Apostle Paul make of the theory of evolution?  

He was a clever bloke. I'm sure he'd have got it. And like many pre-modern thinkers he was capable of dealing with illustration and analogy.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

A Less Religious Christening

Well I think it mostly went well this morning. The family didn't want a "religious" christening, and the Beaker Folk wanted something a bit lively. And so the dry ice in the font was lovely, and the way the holographic laser set-up made a beautiful three-dimensional fountain shame, spiralling above the centre of the Moot House.

The music was well chosen, I thought. Chosen to ensure that the visiting family knew all the songs from their school days. So "Bob the Builder", "The Wheels on the Bus", and "If I were a Butterfly". All played on the pheromone. Not really sure how Burton managed that, and it was a bit disturbing. Simple mistake though. I asked if he could play the theremin.

Hnaef preached the sermon. I say "sermon". He was keen not to use any theological terms, or any religious language that the family and their guests wouldn't understand. Actually, maybe an in-depth comparison of Old English with the C++ programming language was less theological than was actually required. But at least, in accordance with the strict precepts of a Beaker sermon at a baptism, it was only three minutes long and didn't mention God.

So not a bad experience all round. The family really felt welcomed, and I got an invite back to their party afterwards.

During the service, I felt somehow something was missing. Now I've had a few hours' sleep after the party I've just realised. We should have somehow involved the baby.



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Monday, 12 November 2018

That Shameless Plug Time of the Year


As the storms of Brexit swirl about, the President of the United States worries about his hair getting wet and the Spice Girls reunite without Posh, you're probably wondering which would be worse - "No Deal", World War 3, or Spice World 2 - The Revenge.

And it's in these dark times leading up to Christmas that people tend to think "what book can we buy for Aunt Myrtle that is amusing, compact, and reasonably priced on Amazon?

Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is the book for you. Amusing, reasonably priced, and fitting neatly into any stocking. The vicar thinks the congregation is the problem - and vice versa. The congregation drunk has a pumpkin on his head and everyone wonders why children are allowed in the service.  Especially the children.

From Amazon and The Bible Readers Fellowship.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

If You Want to get Ahead, Get a Celt

Exciting archaeological discovery that the  Celts, having decapitated beaten enemies, would embalm their heads for show.

I dunno. That next service "in the Celtic tradition" is gonna be hard to plan.

But it confirms our view about Christmas tree decorations. The Beaker tradition maintains that, when celebrating Yule (or, as they knew it, Loughtanzer), the ancient Celts would hang their enemies' heads from pine trees - making sure to take them down after Twelfth Night. They believed that on the thirteenth day the heads' souls would return and strike the pine tree down with root weevils. And who needs that?

When Christianity took over, it kept the tree but decided the heads were a bit du trop. So the Christians experimented with pumpkins but, realising they weren't actually known in Europe at the time, fell back on inflated pigs' bladders. To those who said that inflated pigs' bladders were hardly festive - especially for the pigs connected to them - it was pointed out that Calvinism was now in, and this was as good as it got this side of Glory.

And so things remained until a German glass-blower, trying to create tinsel that wasn't made from a yard of rats sewn together, accidentally produced a beautiful, round, perfectly useless globe of glass to hang on the tree. And the journey from Celt's enemies head hanging in a pine forest to pointless Christmas decoration was complete.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

No Brownie Points

A lot of Beaker Folk asking why we didn't have the uninformed youth organisations at this morning's "parade" service.

It's quite simple. We didn't tell them it was on.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Halloween Weekend Schedule

Beaker Folk have been getting a bit confused about the schedule for this Samhain weekend. So to set it out nice and clearly:

We moved Halloween to tonight, and we will celebrate by burning the Wicker Person  and dancing round dressed as Donald Trump and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Representing those who live in large houses and live off the poor.

We've arranged for our local supernatural terrors to make their traditional appearances this weekend. Black Shuck should be scaring the wits out of unsuspecting drunks about midnight tonight. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn should be dancing in the Big Meadow at 6.30 tomorrow morning. And Hern the Hunter is ever so grateful for the date change, as it means he was still able to get into London during the week to continue his career as a web designer.

Then tomorrow we will celebrate All Saints Day with a New Orleans jazz ensemble. Or we would. But they can't make it. So instead it's the Comb, Paper and Spoons Quartet, with Dolorez guesting on Kazoo.

Then Sunday at 6 pm, we roll through into All Souls Night, when we remember those who've left our presence to go into a more blessed place. We will consider in particular David Cameron in his shepherd's hut, and Nigel Farage with his LBC show. And we will be asking the modern equivalent of the Turing Test: If you are debating with Katie Hopkins or Julia Hartley-Brewer on Twitter, how could you tell if there were a real human being answering?

Which leads nicely into Monday as the first day of the traditional Beaker feast of "Pre-Yule". Or, as we're calling most of November this year, "26 Days of Black Friday". Tea lights will be half price in the Beaker Bazaar, Mrs Whimsey's Doily Company has a two-for-the-price-of-three deal on all multipacks and I'll be desperately trying to keep the bling off the Moot House roof until at least mid-month.

Have a great Transferred Samhain! It's the most wonderful time of the year!


Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

A Thought for Halloween

We aren't the lucky, special ones: alive while so many are dead.

We're just slightly behind them in the journey.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Pumpkin and Wine

Budget was a bit of a shock. Obviously no complaints about the tax cuts for rich people, but that's only gonna pay for the wine duty increase. Oh well. "Qu'ils buvent du gin", I guess.

People are asking me about the kid's Halloween party. And I know last year people were terrified by the appearance  of those orange vegetables, formed into a resemblance of human heads, their faces gazing with that awful grinning leer.

But personally I see no reason why we can't re-use the Donald Trump costumes. Not when we're trying to save money for wine.

Did I mention the wine duty?



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Autocor-wrecked

Apologies for the terrible mix up last night over the "special" service. A dreadful autocorrect error on Denzyl's iPad when he created the rota.

Yesterday evening should have been Bible Sunday. Not Bublé Sunday.

We will be providing counselling.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Special Service for the Clocks Going Back

Archdruid: Peace be with you.

All: And until we meet again, may you be held in the palm of God's hand.

Archdruid: You what?

All: We couldn't sleep so we did without you.

Archdruid: OK. Well you lot push off. I'll stick and and take the service for the people who put their clocks forward instead.





Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

On St Crispin's Day

As the full moon sets through the mists towards Woburn, and the sun rises in its misty glory towards Bedford, I feel proud to be English!

For today is St Crispin's Day - and Agincourt Day! And what could be a more fitting day than Agincourt Day to celebrate Brexit!

Agincourt - that dramatic British victory in the midst of the Hundred Years War. Which erm ended in a dismal defeat for the English, as the Crown lost all its continental possessions and gained just Calais. A story of honest Englishmen led to disaster by the vanity, greed and folly of their leaders.

After which the weakened English turned on each other, in the butchery of the Wars of the Roses.

At least the Hundred Years War produced a saint! Albeit she was French.

But still, let us Remember Agincourt!

After all, it's more comforting than remembering  OrléansPatayFormigny, and Castillon.

And now we sing "Happy Birthday" to Wellington from the Perishers.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Traditional Celtic Service

This morning's worship is "Traditional Service in the Celtic Style". With CDs.

So according to Snodgrazz we're gonna sit (in a circle, cross-legged, natch) in the Moot House, listening to the rain fall on the tin roof, and sing haunting melodies telling of God and Nature.

I guess they must be pretty old CDs?



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

A Poem for the Feast of St Kirsty

An empty bench in Soho Square
If you had come you'd have found me there
But you never did
Because you're dead.
Killed by someone who used a corrupt legal system to evade justice.
Like the entitled and powerful so often do.
And I'm so sorry baby.

Melissa Sparrow (Mrs)

Nativity of Kirsty MacColl (1959)

I just woke up. And realised that as we have passed the last day of summer, and it's nearly Halloween, it's time to say thank you for the days when we had someone with an angel-like voice. Hard to believe it's been 18 years. Maybe it's imaginary.

But the clock goes round. We thought we'd maybe plant a fabulous garden in her memory. But when Terry the gardener gave us that quote I said don't come the cowboy with me, Sunny Jim. I've still got the bill from that Foret de Mimosas you said you'd finish. You just haven't earned it yet, baby.

Bloody nightmare, that Terry. Every time he's meant to be working for me, he's lying down on the beach. You call him and say when will the job be finished and he tells you the next day, but tomorrow never comes. And then, when he's been a big boy on a Saturday night, sure enough here comes that man again, hoping to make a few quid. But come 3 o'clock he's knocking off and I'm telling him, don't go home. And all I ever wanted was the work done. Am I right?

Later on, some may say it's the end of a perfect day. But if they, in their innocence, suggest it's time for the annual Mambo de la Luna in Kirsty 's memory, I'll have to say, I don't think so. In these shoes?


Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

The Beaker Festival of Brexit Britain

News reaches us that, as the Tory Party's levels of incompetence reach the depths best described as "Jose Mourinho", Theresa May has decided that she wants to hold a "Festival of Britain".

Ever aware that there are whelk stalls all over the country that May and her party of malcontents and philanderers would be incapable of running, and that David Davis couldn't run a party in a brewery if he could even stay awake long enough, we think the Beaker Folk had better do this for her.

So in the best traditions of MK's Winter Wonderland and the New Forest Lapland, we're piling in regardless of talent or vision. Let's face it, that's not done Liam Fox any harm.

The centrepiece of the whole thing will be the giant floating polystyrene map of the United Kingdom in the Duck Pond. It's carefully designed so that Northern Ireland and Scotland can both be towed away if required.

The Tunnel of  Love is a wonder. A go-kart going through an underpass. However we're afraid that we can't allow anyone to use it as Boris Johnson has a block booking. Still, we do also have the "Boris Bridge". With one end on the bank of the pond near Duckhenge, and the other end just floating into space. Frankly, like Johnson, you can swear blind it goes anywhere you like. But, if you do ignore the "Remoaners" telling you that it's a death trap, poorly-conceived and a disaster, you can get in the shopping trolley, and be catapulted over the bridge, waving your Union Jack, and plummet off the end into the mud.

Sorry it's not a proper garden bridge. But the spider plants got caught in the frost. Which is odd. When the experts from the Met Office warned us the temperature was going to drop on Friday night, Michael Gove told us to pay no attention.

The good news is that the Beaker Festival of Brexit Britain will be using hi-tech to facilitate your frictionless entry into the park. All you need is your passports, birth certificates (to prove you're not foreign - some foreigners apparently have British passports these days), vaccination certificates, and your dental records (in case we have to retrieve you from the mud after you've gone on the Boris Bridge). We're hoping that some people will be able to get into the park within a week, at low season.

Those of an ethical nature will be pleased to hear that the Beaker Festival of Brexit Britain will serve only vegetarian food. This isn't really because we're against meat-eating. It's just we're assuming all the sheep farmers will have gone bust, and it will be too expensive to import meat from the Continent. Nevertheless, you can expect a fine range of seasonal British fare. Or, if it's August, basically blackberries. Sadly the "Regional Foods Stall" will be depleted by the loss of EU subsidies. We do however hope to get at least one Cornish Pasty, so we can all remember what they were. And the aforementioned whelk stall will be selling off very cheap sea food that has been turned away after queuing at Hull for a month.

We're really looking forward to welcoming visitors to encounter our most exciting attraction - "The Abyss of Doom". That's not a roller-coaster. It's just what we'll be looking into by then. Still, you can be distracted by the park comedian, Nigel Farage, as he runs around the park in his Union Jack underpants trying to persuade us this is all a really good idea.

But the opening night is going to be great. As a tribute to the wonderful work that this Government has done, we will have a march-past by the entire British Army. Given what we'll be able to afford by then, and the generally nostalgic concept of Brexit, we're expecting this to consist of an undertaker, a green-grocer, an incontinent, a boy with a scarf and his "uncle", all led by a bank manager. You may be wondering why I've not mentioned the shady spiv who always makes money out of dodgy practices, but Jacob Rees-Mogg will be too busy with his offshore interests to worry about our theme park.

The Fesitval of Brexit Britain. Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1951.




Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk. And now amazingly well-priced.

"Books are my Bag"

We've been asked by the Bible Reading Fellowship, publishers of the fine and now eminently affordable "Writes of the Church", to give a bit of a plug to their campaign, "Books are my Bag", in support of publishers and bookshops.  Bookshop Day is Saturday 6th October.

So here's the poster: you can find BRF at Twitter as @brfonline, Facebook as @thebiblereadingfellowship or using the hashtag #brfauthors


Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Politics, Technology and Science Roundup

Great excitement as the Tory Party find their conference app has revealed full details of MPs' personal details and whereabouts. Which would suggest that Marina Wheeler at some point has hacked it in an attempt to find out where the heck Boris Johnson was. Apparently user history shows that while everyone else in the world logged in to become Minister for Food Supplies for a few hours, Johnson has just spent the last 24 hours swiping right.

Still, on the bright side I'm now in possession of all the personal details of Michael Gove. Turns out he's a shiny-faced liar whose ambition is a different order of magnitude to his talent, and whose expression resembles one of those scary ventriloquist's dolls. Who knew?

Meanwhile, a professor tells us that particle accelerator experiments could compress the whole world into a sphere 100m across. Michael Gove assures us we're all totally safe, as the Astronomer Royal is an expert so there's no need to listen to anything he says. While Theresa May has assured us that, at that scale, the Irish border will by definition be frictionless. There won't be the space for the infrastructure. And David Davis is reflecting that, if the earth were reduced in scale like that, even he could have raised the energy to travel the 15 inches to speak the EU over the last 2 years.




Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Monday, 24 September 2018

The Autumn Egguinox

Well that's 24 hours most of the Beaker Folk could have done with not losing like that.

All comes down to what I'm gonna have to call a non-segguitur in the Daily Eggspress. Warning - that's where this link goes. Don't read it. You'll probably catch Breggsit.

But in the article we are told,


"On the day of the equinox, the length of day and night is almost exactly the same, which has led some to believe it is the perfect day to balance an egg."

What nobody is telling us is precisely how the amount of daylight led anyone to think "I know - what I really need to do is balance an egg". I mean, how do you get from one proposition to the other? There is no obvious connection. But wait. There's more.

"Although it is perfectly acceptable and possible to balance an egg on any other day of the year, this could be a fun exercise to try out with children – preferably with hardboiled eggs."

That's right. According to the Daily Express, someone has the job of deciding on what days it is acceptable to balance eggs. The discovery that it's every day must be reassuring to those Eggspress readers who once accidentally balanced an egg on the Summer Solstice and have been wondering ever since if they committed some dreadful faux pas.

But the thing about the Equinoxes is, they're actually really boring. You've got an average amount of daylight. The sun rises and sets in very average places. The  temperature is a bit above average in September but then it's a bit below average in March. So that balances out.

But it was that or another game of Connect 4. So what the heck, thought the Beaker Folk. Let's have a crack at it. Oh the egg-citement as we started.
12 hours later, covered in yolk, not a single balanced egg. That's when some fool remembered all the own-brand Advocaat we couldn't face last Christmas.

Six hours of increasingly powerful snowballs later, we started making our own from egg yolks, sherry and lemonade.

I'll be honest. It's been a rough day.
But we'll try again in March. And I think I've got the solution. Next time we'll try balancing them on the blunt end.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Writes of the Church

One of those periodic, slightly-more-evident book plugs...

As Christmas comes near what could be a better present than a book that lets your friends, family and "Secret Santa" workmates laugh at themselves and the church?

And what could be funnier (and now at a much more competitive price) than the book that came from the blog that came from this blog, Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews

Get over to Amazon  and see the amazing reviews! The new and improved price! And the book itself - funny in anyone's money.
 

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Autumn Equinox - an Apology

I'd like to say sorry to the Beaker Folk we've dragged out of bed to celebrate the Autumn Equinox on the 20th, 21st and now today. We were wrong each time. I blame Autumn Frenzy caused by falling leaves and too much pumpkin for tea.

We've now augured  the auguries, sounded out the sages and read the runes. And Googled it. Autumn Equinox is definitely tomorrow.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Brexit Survivalism

It's weird times. The Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership comments that Brexit has hit the Partnership's profitability. And the Government's Secretary of State for Sticking Pens in Your Own Eyes steps up to tell us that eroded profit margins in a company that imports most of its wares has nothing to do with the pound dropping because the Government is determined to turn us into a low-grade, draughty, Singapore. The party that used to be for business has turned into the party that cares more about defending the delusions of the racists and idiots who lied to a nation.

Having seen the Government's latest attempt to scare the European Union, through telling them how much a No-Deal Brexit would hurt the UK, we thought it was about time we dealt with the subject of Beaker Survivalism. After all, the original Beaker Folk managed to survive -  often into their thirties - without insulin and a ban on roaming charges, so why shouldn't we today?

Now living back to nature is something people have varying abilities at, so we're banding people. Please join the appropriate group according to your own limitations:

 "Good old boys (and girls)" will be studying how to do an appendectomy in the John Lewis Room.

 "Nature Lovers" will be learning how to gut a chicken, in the Farage Garage (the one with the dodgy door)

 "Veggie Experts" please gather in the Rainbow Room for "How to tell a Mushroom from a Toadstool". I'm glad to say Hnaef is back from hospital now after his dry-run the other day. I think "dry-run" is actually his euphemism for the symptoms after eating that Death Cap.

"Dominic Raab" level - please gather in the Daily Express Room for your guide on how to find  your bottoms  with two hands.

The special course on running a whelk stall  has been cancelled. David Davis was to have run this course, but he over-slept.



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Friday, 7 September 2018

The Latter-Day Freemanites

Made a mistake mentioning Glen Freeman, the #smilesontheline man, didn't I.

Next thing I know a bunch of Beaker Folk have set up the Latter-Day Freemanites, a society dedicated to spreading happiness by standing around grinning gormlessly at people. Even as I write I can see one, scaring the traffic in School Lane. They're planning to send missionaries to the darkest, most spiritually-empty places on earth. Flitwick, Dunstable, Nottingham. You know the kind of place.

As their worship centre, they've adopted a little lean-to shed next to the Quivering Brethren chapel. Which is going to be interesting on Sunday, as the Brethren walk quiveringly to church, being grinned at by the Grinning Brethren.

It's gonna be a long weekend.



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Ban this man from the Tube

Picture the scene. A summer's morning in Harrogate, in God's own county. My companion and  I were off to York to visit the many wand shops for which the Shambles is now so famous. So, it being a nice day and planning to visit one or more of the fine drinking establishments with which that fair city is blessed, we took the train.

It was one of those trains which has some seats arranged around tables, while others, coach-like, face all in one direction. So naturally we, being inveterate southerners, sat where we could look happily at the seat back in front of us. We were safe from unwanted eye contact. In a happy place.

At the nearest table seats, a man was regaling two women with stories about the history of the line, the peculiarities of the signalling, and the fine details of the loop from Leeds to York via Selby. (I may have made some errors here - I do not claim to be an expert.) After a while we -  and everyone else in the carriage - became quiet as we realised an awful truth.

This man did not know these women.

It turns out that even in Yorkshire, where it is expected that complete strangers should say "hello" if they meet on long-distance footpaths, this was a bit much.  Immediately a Snapchat group was formed by the other people in the carriage, as we discussed the practicability and legality of tying him to the line at Knaresborough.

Which brings me to data consultant, Glen Freeman. Who should be banned from the London Underground.

Mr Freeman sees it as his role to get people to smile at each other on the Tube. Now firstly this is clearly against God's law. The Tube is not a place to smile. Not a place for making eye contact. It is a place to gaze hopelessly at the smiling face of Sadiq Khan as, resplendent in his yellow bikini, he advertises his total failure to improve the cycle network. A place never to be caught out without a convenient device to hold your attention away from other people. These days, normally a phone. But the lack of signal or wi-fi means that paper editions of the Metro and Standard still cling on. And some people still keep themselves really safe from unwanted attention by reading the Bible, Koran or other holy book of choice.

It is not a place to smile or be happy. You don't want to look up from Boris Johnson's latest piece explaining why the whole world is to blame for Brexit and not him, to see another gormless, self-entitled twerp grinning in your direction. This is your miserable time and you're allowed to own it. God didn't make Londoners to be happy.

I'd like us, if you will, to conduct a thought experiment. A man who has adopted Mr Freeman's philosophy of smiling at strangers is stood on the platform at Oxford Circus. It's around 10pm on a Thursday evening. And the first carriage as a train pulls up contains two South London gangs, earnestly comparing post codes. The second carriage holds a bunch of Hoxton Hipsters and another of Bermondsey Barristas, all wondering who's gonna start something and say something rude about the other group's favourite Bolivian Ocelot Coffee.

The third carriage contains a young woman. She has a bag of shopping, and the look of someone who has just broken up with her partner.

Which carriage is our man on the platform going to get in? Whom will he choose to smile at, and encourage to smile back?

And that is why Glen Freeman, and his dangerous ideas, must be banned from the Tube.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Where 2 or 3 Are Gathered

An unlikely trinity was invoked during the intercessions this morning as Norvik prayed for "Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees Mogg and Donald Trump", that they might continue "their good work."

Charlii butted in to suggest that people should offer their own prayers, immediately then commending to the Lord the work of Vince Cable and Chuka Umunna. While a seemingly delirious Chaznay prayed for Sadiq Khan to be forgiven for hovering over London in a bikini.

Before we knew it, the whole Beaker Folk were chipping in with prayers for their own particular political party or agenda, including the Palestinians, "all Zionists", the Revolutionary Communist Party and the cast of Eastenders. The intercessions fell apart into a giant fight.

From now on, prayers for the Government are strictly to be that both the Government and the Opposition be granted godly wisdom.  No more, no less, without written permission from me or Hnaef. I hope that's clear.

On the subject of the notices, Norvik's other unexpected contribution of the day, at 8pm we are having a beetle drive.  Not a rally.



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Friday, 24 August 2018

#notgb18

Once again the Beaker Folk have packed up the Moot House for the August bank holiday and headed to Not Greenbelt, the virtual arts festival run by Graham Hartland every year in aid of the Big Issue Foundation. You can support them here, and follow the fun on Twitter here.

This year we've got the excitement of "Post-modern Church Finance" by Norbert Dranesqueezer. In which he tells us the importance of making savings regardless of what they cost. The Spaniel Quartet will once again be performing their award-winning "Howling at the Moon" set. And Amos Starkadder will be speaking on "What Mark Driscoll lacks in manliness, charisma and Quivering."

 Gonna be a great weekend.



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

The Pebble Martyrs

Much mention in the papers of the holidaymaker who removed pebbles from a beach and had to drive back to avoid a £1,000 fine.

Well, that's obviously an inconvenience for them. And I'm glad they didn't get fined. But we have to pause at this point, and remember those martyrs of the Beaker People who have been shamefully persecuted through the years for gathering the symbols of our faith.

There was Shapmir, who was gored by a bull while looking for four-leafed clovers. Never smiled again when he sat down. And Grewitt, the famous 19th Century Semi-Druid, who was frightened by a duck while gathering feverfew. Not to mention Grolbor. He was collecting teasels for an inspirational meditation on the cruelty, and yet beauty, of nature when he got one in his beard.

But the most relevant to the news item  is the sad case of Archdruid Aelfwine, In need of inspiration for a "Pre-Modern Evensong" she took her followers down to Bude Beach one afternoon and collected 16 bushels of the finest pebbles.

The Lord of the Manor in those days, Sir Trelawney Poldark, apprehended the worshippers as the dragged the stones up the beach, had them arrested by the Yokel Militia, and imprisoned them in a small cell near Morwenstow. In cramped, damp conditions, drinking water that dripped from the walls and eating only the stale bread that the local ducks had refused, the Beaker People realised conditions were actually better than living in Aelfwine's Moot House. It was years till they agreed to come out.



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Tears of St Lawrence

Knew this was a mistake. The "Wonders of the natural world" bunch wanted to sit up and watch the shooting stars last night.

Lots of quoting of Psalm 8. Lots of "when that lonely speck of dust, having flown around the cos-moze for millennia, dies in beauty, we want to be there for it."

 Lots of running around the kitchen garden at 3 am under the influence of Pimms, shouting "Wheee! I'm a meteor!"

 They're all out on the front lawn now, , faces still eagerly pointed upwards, fast asleep in their deck chairs.

It's pretty unlucky for them really. Despite the rain we've had the last few days, the automated sprinkler system is still about to come on.

I should really switch it off.

I really should.



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Boris Johnson is a Dangerous Idiot

I'll be honest. I was worried.

The thing about Boris Johnson is, he plays that likeable toff so well. So when he does a really good act of being simultaneously a racist, and yet that lovable racist who isn't really a racist, he's standing up for women's rights, I worry. And I think - have we been nice to him in the past because he's dead good about being the thinking person's Roderick Spode?

Nope. All good. Boris Johnson is a dangerous idiot. And an idiot's idea of what an intelligent idiot looks like. We're OK.

Boris Johnson  is a dangerous idiot. Carry on.


Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

The New Services Board

Bad news re the new services board.

We'd thought it would be good to have a services board. You know, like proper churches. All the regular acts of worship painted up. Weekday services on the left, Sundays on the right.

Got contentious though, didn't it. Because the people who work during the day, and mostly attend on Sundays, they wanted the weekdays on the right and the Sundays on the left.

Then some people said isn't it a bit occidocentric to assume all people read from left to right. So we got the mirror-writing suggestion.

And then someone said they thought the Sundays should be at the top and weekdays beneath. And somebody of a more fundamentalist nature asked whether we had begun marking special days and new moon festivals again.

And then someone said good point- where were the monthly services going?

And after a nine-hour Moot Meeting we finally reached a compromise.

So I'm pleased to say that the eight service boards have finally all been painted and screwed into place.

And I'm less pleased to announce that this has taken so long that we've actually already changed our pattern of services.

Still, as we take them back down, at least that means we can repaint them in different colours. When they went up, a lot of people complained about them all being blue. And I can't face another meeting.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

A Clerical Invention Looking for In-vestment

Life's not always easy for Young Keith. In his role of Assistant Deputy Executive Druid, he is always kept busy hoovering up glitter and cleaning up the Children's Area. While in his other role as Charlii's husband and father of their children, he is kept busy hoovering up glitter and mopping up milk vomit. And nobody ever asks him how he copes with both jobs, saving that particular question for Charlii. And then again, everyone still calls him Young Keith when he's now in his thirties.

So with such a busy life, he has realised he needs to get back to his hobby of creating unusual - indeed, some would say unnecessary - inventions for liturgical use. But he seems to be onto a winner here. In fact, we're hoping he might be able to get the Church Commisioners to provide some funding.

Keith is inventing a range of machines that will automatically put vestments onto Anglican clergy. It will, he says, be a godsend to those ministers that really don't want other vestry-dwellers fussing round them and adjusting their albs, balancing up their stoles, and generally making unwanted contact with them. A wardrobe-sized, humidity-controlled contraption that keeps the robes in perfect condition, the minister only has to stand on the right spot, and be beautifully accoutred in the correct liturgical colour for the day.

Obviously there's a lot of different formats of garment. And he's not rolling out the chasuble module until he's corrected the flaw that took the head off the department store dummy he used in testing. But he's managed to perfect the system for putting on the robes that are open at the front, and can automatically fasten up the  clasp for the wearer.

So as I say, I'm really happy for Keith. He's got a busy, stressful life. But he's developed a coping mechanism.


Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Friday, 27 July 2018

This is How Abusers Work

The papers report that the Prince of Wales supported Peter Ball when he was accused of abuse.

This is how abusers work. They don't just work on children and the vulnerable. They work on the strong and self-reliant. The Prince of Wales is no idiot. But he was groomed by Peter Ball. Every abuser has to pull the wool over the eyes of the strong as well.

So
If you think "I can't believe X would do that"
If you think "X isn't the sort. X is married with children."
If you think "X has admitted X was wrong in the past. I'm sure that will never happen again...."

You are putting yourself into the same position as Prince Charles when he couldn't believe what mean things people were saying about Peter Ball.

This is how abusers work. 

They groom the strong too.



Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

Rain Dance Postponed

Apologies. We had to cancel the Rain Dance this evening.

Those tin foil suits we made just looked a bit too... how can I say this.... attractive.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

A Pure Woman (John 20.1-18)

I was thinking about the subtitle Thomas Hardy gave to Tess of the d'Urbervilles.  "A Pure Woman". And how it upset the respectable Victorians - one publisher hav
"Noli me Tangere" - Correggio , Public Domain
ing already paid Hardy the advance for the novel then refused to publish it. Not just because of the sub-title. But it really underlined the way that Tess is a story of a woman who's constantly let down by men. OK, stabbing her lover to death in a Bournemouth boarding house was wrong. But she'd been pushed a long way, before she snapped.

Mary Magdalene has suffered a bit at the hands of men as well. Pope Gregory used as a helpful example of a repentant sinner - based solely on the way that she is mentioned in Luke 8, a chapter after a "sinful woman" that anointed Jesus with oil. And let's not worry about Dan Brown, eh? Or for that matter Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber. It doesn't help that so many women in the Bible are called Mary, as we try to work out whether Mary Mag was or was not (probably not) Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha.

What does the Bible tell us? That Mary was rich and independent enough to support Jesus. That Jesus had cast demons out of her. That when nearly all the brave male disciples had run away, Mary stood there at the cross, with Jesus's mother and with John, and watched her Lord die. She's not the supreme image of a repentant sinner - she's the embodiment of faith and love for Jesus. She's one who stuck with him - when all the others had fled. She is persistence and love and dedication personified.

And then very early on the first day of the week - Mary, among those who saw Jesus's last breath, who heard his last words - she's there again. Down at the tomb with a random selection of women and disciples. And she's the one who sees Jesus first.

She may have suffered at the hands of men through history. But not at Jesus' hands, as he gently says, "why are you crying?" And then, "Mary". And looking through her tears she sees her Messiah, her Saviour, restored to life but beautifully changed.  Though you wonder about the hurt of those words - "do not hold onto me" as he makes it clear to her that things aren't the same any more. This isn't just a restoration of the relationships he's had with his friends on earth. There's far more to do now than just hit the road again.

But Mary's going to be the first to take on the new job of what will now become the Church. She leaves the gardens, finds those useless, terrified disciples and becomes the first one to tell greatest news on earth to somebody else. "I have seen the Lord."

And so Mary Magdelene - among the last to see Jesus at his death. The first to see him alive. The first to tell out the Good News. The first apostle - sent to tell the message to the apostles. And the pattern of how the Church should always be. Faithful to Jesus, steadfast in despair, forever loving her Lord. And full of life, as it brings the Good News.


Want to support this blog?
Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.