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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.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Annunciation: The Tiniest Change

"How blessed you are."

"Let it be to me as you say."

And the tiniest thing changes.

The Ancient of Days becomes youngest of all. The One who holds all time and space in his hand lives within a young woman.

The One who slew Rahab, who dragged order from chaos, who throws thunderbolts that rend trees and buildings -  becomes the child of a defeated race. The Eternal One now subject to death.

This is the balance point. The bottom of the valley, the depth of the deepest ocean. The One who separated sky from sea, floats in the sea of the womb.

The tiniest thing changes. And the world will never be the same.



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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.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

The Will of the People

And in those days there arose a new religion and a new god. And the new god was called the Will of the People. And the prophet Nige said, when he had poured out libations of 99p Wetherspoons Special Nearly-Off and offered up the scent of Woodbines to the heavens, that the Will of the People was  a hard Brexit and people, set free from the rule of people they hadn't voted for like MEPs, would thank Mogg.

But there arose in those days a new judge over the land - one called the prophetess Theresa. And she had a gray face and said she alone could interpret the Will of the People. But whenever she heard the voice of the Will of the People she was struck dumb and bits of scenery collapsed and everyone shouted "Lo she cannot be a true prophetess for everything she does goes wrong.

But the prophetess only croaked "truly the wisdom of the Will of the People is foolishness to everyone else. Yet I alone hear its voice and will lead the people to a promised land where everyone is substantially worse off. And thus shall I have obeyed the Will of the People. For are not prophets without honour on their own countries?"

And people from other countries cried out to her, "you haven't got any honour over here, either."

And some people cried out saying, "where are the unicorns we were promised?" And others said this whole Will of the People thing was rubbish. But Gray Theresa said they weren't the people whose Will she would listen to.

And there came unto the well once too often a man called Boris. He had had two wives, and the woman he lived with was not his wife. And he said that he alone understood the Will of the People. But the only people who did not think he was an idiot were members of the tribe called Tories. And even that was only because, alongside Chris Grayling, he was a competent intellectual.

And a man long of beard and full of years cried out "follow me! For I alone have the Will of the People." And many followed him. But every time he needed to stand like  rock for what he believed, he cleared off to the allotment.

And so the leaders among the nation fought over what the Will of the People meant. And the people filled their garages with toilet rolls, and hoped they could still buy medicine when they reached the promised land.

When it's Gone, it's Gone

There's a promise and a threat in Isa 55.

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near

I was wondering about the rich young ruler. Could have followed Jesus, had to give up on his worldly wealth, couldn't do it. How did he feel as time went by? Did he hear about the crucifixion and think, maybe I got it right? Did he hear about the resurrection and think, what happened? Did he regret all his life that he spoke to the King of the Jews, and yet did not follow? How much money would it take to make up for that?

Or imagine the thoughts of the bloke in the song Alice... 24 years of not telling her how he felt and now she's off. And to make matters worse, his new neighbour is Roy "Chubby" Brown.

 Or remember the memo about the young Fred Astaire, which in rough terms said, "Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little."

Or the chap from EMI who said that guitar bands were on the way out. About the Beatles.


Or remember that a coach at Sheffield Wednesday decided that a young player called  Jamie Vardy would never make it. That's Premier League winning, England international striker Jamie Vardy, of course.

There's a time that God offers something, says Isaiah,  and there's a time when it's no longer there. As an English proverb says, you have to strike while the iron is hot.

God's offer is free, says Isaiah. The waters of the  Sea of Galilee  are  falling. The Jordan today is drying up from over-extraction for agriculture. But even in Old Testament times, Israel and Judah weren't places where water ran that free away from the Jordan. Wells are very important Biblically, as they were physically. But here, Isaiah says, is free-running water. Here's a place where
wine and  bread are true and free.

In that place, there were  other gods that they could follow. They could put their trust in other nations - in Egypt or Persia. But Isaiah says they'd be running after false gods and created things. There's only one source of  true goodness, and  only one Love that never fails.

 But it's a time -limited promise. Seek the Lord while he may be found - call upon him while he is near.  As the retailers say, When It's Gone, It's Gone.  Though, God being eternal and ever-loving, I guess the time limit comes from our side. Isaiah says give your love to God and receive God's love back - overflowing, free  and eternal. But your best bet  is to do so today. As otherwise the other, lesser substitutes may get in your way. The weeds may grow up where your seedling of faith is struggling. Get the sunshine and water of God's love, before you've given up your chance. I remember an old man telling me that he was so old and grown in sin now that God would never have him in Church. If a door had been closed there, maybe it wasn't God bolting the door.

For some it's receiving God's love for the  first time - seeing the chance to grasp it, and holding on, before you've gone past. For others may be a chance at deepening your love of God, of knowing more of God - of serving God in a new way. If you see it, and it's there then grab it, before you're gone away from it.

But God's love is there, infinite and pure,  arms outstretched, bleeding  for you.  So if you want more of God's love, to know him better, today, then they're still there for you today. You don't need to apply for an extension.

 So come to the waters.  The bread  and wine are true and free. And they're telling of a love that, if you receive it, will never let you go.



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, 20 March 2019

Vernal Equinox

Please note this morning's Vernal Equinox service is delayed. We all agreed a service was a good idea but nobody could agree on what precisely we should do.

I'm now waiting until we get a spirit of compromise. Which is to say, everyone does what I say.

Still, soon be Christmas. As Evangeline the community's talking turkey said to me this morning.

Monday, 18 March 2019

A Song for Brexit

As the Brexit March goes into Day 3, and the marchers start to hope that a no-deal won't impact supplies of blister plasters and pile cream, we reveal the song sheet for the event.

Day 1 - "We're the Red White Army"

Day 2  - "Who do you think you are Kidding, Mr Hitler?"

 Day 3  - "Making Plans for Nigel"

Day 4 - "Just the Two of Us"



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, 15 March 2019

In Memoriam: Pat Laffan (Father Ted's "Pat Mustard"

So we say goodbye to the man most known in the UK as the father of hairy babies, deliverer of morning delights, and possessor of an enormous... Hnaef? Are you sure about this? A piece of menacing comedy so funny and absurd that it shines on 20 years later.

I'd like to think he will be carried to his rest on a milk float, at no less than 4mph, with a bunch of priests conducting the Mass on a low-loader alongside.

Whatever you do, don't let Dougal take the funeral.

Is there anything to be said for another Mass?



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, 6 March 2019

Ash Wednesday Service

On reflection, having a Sung Celebration of Ash Wednesday could have been seen as a bit inappropriate. Bit joyful, bit celebratory.

So I'd like to thank the Beaker Quire and Orchestra for being so awful. Every note missed, every chord more an aspiration than a resonant harmony. Every off-beat a bit off the beat.

Got us right in the Lenten mood.



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, 5 March 2019

William Hague and the Art of Leadership

You'll need a Telegraph account (though a free one will do) to read this gem from William Hague:

 "Sometimes it resolves a crucial policy debate – such as my own victory over Ken Clarke in 1997 that established a more Eurosceptic Conservative approach..... In the recent past, choosing the wrong leader could lead to a long spell in opposition."

 Well, we know what you mean, Billy-Boy. After choosing you, the Tories were in opposition for 13 years.

But it's true. A good leader is a pearl beyond price. As the Bible teaches us, a godly leader will lead a country to prosperity whereas an evil one will bring it down. You might not think that making your followers drink powdered heavy metals, slaughtering the neighbours, or making someone pregnant then ensuring the death of her husband, are signs of good leadership. But since that's what Moses, Joshua and David managed, then it's more comprehensible why the evangelicals in the US think Donald Trump can make America great again.

Hague tells his readers to get beyond Brexit and worry about  the things that really matter - crime, education, immigration. The last combining that great Tory conundrum, how to get cheap labour over here while simultaneously telling your voters you're totally against it. But honestly? William Hague telling the Tories to ignore Brexit and focus on other things is like arguing  about what colour to paint the living room wall,  and whether you need a new hall carpet or if laminate flooring would be better - when the house is on fire. And it was you who set fire to  the house.

So enough about  politics. I have my own leadership conundrums today. At a time of falling Beaker membership and lowered revenues, do we need the seating in the Moot House arranged in a horseshoe or more of a loose circle?



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, 21 February 2019

Turn to Your Neighbour and Scream

Much horror around the Community at the revelation that Justin Welby, at the General Synod, encouraged people to turn to their neighbours and share their joy in their faith. On its own an action to make one regret the Reformation.

I mean, this sort of thing is OK for Pentecostals. They can share their experiences of warmed hearts and salvation experiences. But Anglicans? At Synod? I presume a few were heartily encouraged by what they shared. And a few rejoiced in how they'd got the Victorian Society in to put one over the Church Wardens in their misuse of antique tea towels.

We had the misfortune a few years ago to accidentally invite someone from the AoG to lead a retreat day. I mean, I thought we were getting  the Archdeacon of Grantchester. Not the Assemblies of God. Towards the end, she invited us to share with our next-door neighbours what we'd learnt during the day.

I had to feel for poor Gerund, as Sedrick turned to him, and told him he'd realised that life was a pointless struggle, that death is the end, and the universe will end in screaming chaos. But there was worse.

Imagine the horror overcoming Stacey Bushes, as Burton Dasset declared he had realised he loved her as he'd never loved a woman before. Almost as much, indeed, as he loved his solar-powered desk calculator.

Stacey was in Aylesbury before she stopped running.