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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.

Friday, 15 February 2019

A Day in the Life (of a Vicar)

I ripped out pews today, oh boy.
Took several years to get the faculty.
And though the choir is rather sad
We've lots of space to use
Now we've got fewer pews.

I said the Mass today, oh boy.
Or would have if I'd not been on my own.
And so I said a midday prayer.
It was from Lindisfarne
Written by a bunch of folk who like to worship in a barn.

We had a PCC, oh boy.
They asked if we could re-instate the pews.
I said we voted years ago.
They said they didn't care.
They wish the pews were there.
I'd love to retire.

Woke up, fell out of bed
Stuck a collar in my shirt.
Put the kettle on and fed the dog
And looking up I noticed I was late
Took the coffee out the house
Made the church in seconds flat
To the side chapel for morning prayer
And twenty minutes later, still nobody was there.

I went to visit Ann today.
She's getting weaker. She won't last till Spring.
She didn't recognise my face
Still, in bread He was there.
She remembered how to say the 1662 Lord's Prayer.
I'm glad that I  was there.



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, 9 February 2019

Liturgy for Launching a Non-Existent Ship Belonging to a Virtual Ferry Fleet

Beaker Folk gather at a windswept, silted-up harbour on the Kent Coast

Archdruid: And so, we mark this special occasion. The symbol of our nation's preparedness for a no-deal Brexit. I name this boat the SS Failing Grayling.

The bottle of Venezuelan Champagne substitute swings in the air, hitting the side of no boat.

Archdruid: Rats. And I bought that specially at 'Spoons.

Hnaef: Oh look! Is that a mullet?

Archdruid: Only if the owner was drinking in there...

Hnaef: Not in the pub. In the water.

Charlii: No, that's just another drowned unicorn.

Archdruid: This is ridiculous. I'm going to phone the ferry company.

Young Keith: I'll have satay king prawns and an egg fried rice.

Archdruid: And so we join in the hymn of Glory for Brexit.

God help Grayling
He ain't no transport king.
There ain't no future
for England's dreaming.

A Brexiter stands looking across the Channel shaking his fist

Brexiter: Bloody French! I fought in the War against you!

Young Keith: Erm, I think they were on our side.

Archdruid: And you're not even sixty. You can't have fought in the War.

Brexiter: Don't you oppress me. I lost both bloody legs on Sword. First Walmington Home Guard. They didn't like it up 'em, Sir.

Archdruid: Look, do you want this bottle of Venezuelan Champagne?

Brexiter: Nice one. Quid off in 'Spoons. Two bottles of this and you could live through the Blitz like I did....

Archdruid: ...20 years before you were born?

Brexiter: You seen my unicorn?

Young Keith: He's in the harbour. Jumped off the side, misjudged the depth of the water. Apparently he expected that a working port for a no-deal Brexit would be properly dredged.

Beaker Folk leave quietly as the Brexiter sobs over his drowned unicorn, looking across the cruel sea towards the Continent he fought in the 1940s.



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, 8 February 2019

Christopher Chope: A Poem

Christoper Chope
Appears to be a terrible misanthrope.
When people are protecting women he shouts "Object" alone
But has no problem with the parliamentary motions of Peter Bone.



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 February 2019

John Humphrys to Retire: A Beaker Response

John Humphrys said "I should have gone years ago."

Yes.



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, 27 January 2019

Good News

“And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”" (Luke 4)

It's a bit sad. This, the earliest sermon in Jesus' ministry that we're told about. One sentence and, in this version of the English Bible, only nine words long.

Gives congregations a whole unrealistic expectation, I mean. Every preacher knows there's at least one member of the congregation who'll be checking their watch after 3 minutes. Shaking it after 10. Cross -checking with their neighbours' watches after 15. Pointing at a calendar after 20.

And it's important to note that Luke only tells us he "began to say". I expect there were hours more. Just because Luke doesn't tell us that Jesus name-checked six theologians the congregation hadn't heard of doesn't mean he didn't. Just because Luke doesn't record Jesus harking back to a pop song from 50 years ago to prove he was down with the kids, doesn't mean it didn't happen.  We likewise have no evidence that Jesus didn't reference a TV programme nobody else had watched, or give a particularly  clever explanation of the meaning of a word in Hebrew that he actually got wrong because he hadn't really understood the context.

All these things may have happened.

What we do know is this - that this sermon was grounded. He was in Nazareth, where he grew  up. Maybe Mary, maybe Joseph, maybe his brothers and sisters were there. The young men he'd grown up with. They knew who he was, where he came from.  What he said was going to have to be real.

 And we know it was scriptural. He  based his sermon on Isa 61. A passage about God restoring his favour to the people. A passage about freedom. About release from captivity - physical, spiritual, political.  About justice.

And we know it was about him, and about God's purposes, and about the Spirit of God. "You know the way  God said he was  going to act," says Jesus " - well. That's through me. "

Now we all preach. Some stand in pulpits and  some  wander round the nave because it's trendy  and some just talk about God to their friends. And if we take Jesus's lead, we'll preach about the power of the Spirit. We'll talk about the Father's  purposes and promises. We'll talk about justice.  We'll ground it in the Scripture, and in our own lives.

And we'll make sure it's all about Jesus.


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, 26 January 2019

The Archdruid's address to Trainee Druids

I'd like to welcome you back to the Community for this, the start of Hilary term. Now a few of you have been asking why we call it "Hilary". And the answer is of course that it upsets Hnaef.  I daresay where he went to college they had "Blunt", "Burgess" and "Philby" terms.

And some others are asking why this is the first residential of the year, so late in January. It's been a process of trial and error. But we realised if we held it any earlier, it caused problems for those trainee Druids whose Druids-in-Charge insisted on taking the full three weeks off after Yule. They'd turn up mid-January, having eating nothing but turkey curry, cheese selection boards, and chocolate liqueurs for the last three weeks, and frankly they weren't much use for anything.

Now I'll like to talk particularly to those of you who, as well as your training responsibilities, have full time jobs or small children - or elderly relatives - or all three. Take Sorchia, for instance. She rocked up for last night's Cider Reception still with milk sick down her shoulder, having dropped little Anenome  off with grandad for the weekend, after a full week's terror in the No-deal Brexit Planning team of a major importer. She missed this morning's Pouring-Out of Beakers through sheer exhaustion. Whereas Frangelika came here  after flying in from three weeks in post-Christmas "retreat", having done all   this term's reading in a beach in Goa.

 And it must be nice for Gardwulf. I know he's been  telling you all about how he's doing all the optional modules, including the ones on Dialects in Ancient Aramaic.  And don't get me wrong, it's brilliant.  And I'm so pleased he's got the time, having retired early from a formerly-nationalised industry with his pension paid up. It's great that he has  this chance. And he's a lovely bloke. We should all  take the opportunities we're given.

Next Beltane, we will solemnly sprinkle the holy water of the Husborne brook on the heads of our newly-fledged Druids. And it won't  matter if those with all  the spare time  got the best grades. And it won't matter if Sorchia still  has a bit of Play Doh she missed still stuck in her hair, as we hit each of  our trainee Druids over  the head with  the Blessed Mistletoe Stick.  They will all be as much Druids as each other.

Can someone please wake Sorchia up? She's drooling on Frangelika's shoulder.

Actually, no. Let  her be. I'm sure Frangelika will find it " formational".



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, 21 January 2019

Liturgy for Blue Monday

Hymn:

How does it feel on a Monday that's so blue
When it's eleven days to pay day
And the credit cards are due?

Archdruid: With hope we have looked to the skies

All: Yet saw no super-blood-wolf moon. Not even an ordinary-water-spaniel moon.

Archdruid: We looked for a red moon

All: But the only red thing is our finances.

Archdruid: Woe is us, for we have passed through Christmas and New Year

All: And the reckoning is upon us.

Archdruid: How we rejoiced as we drank that port.

All: How we enjoyed that eight-bird roast, even as we wondered where the ostrich came.

Archdruid: Christmas is past, the winter's still with us

All: And we have not saved.

Archdruid: And Easter is late.

All: And Brexit is coming.

Archdruid: Still, there's Creme Eggs in the shops.

All: Don't mind if we do.

Hymn: I don't like Mondays

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Super Blood Wolf Moon

Those who have followed the life of this little community for a while will remember the Moon Gibbon Folk. These are the people who, misunderstanding the concept of a "gibbous" moon, believe the moon is inhabited by a giant gibbon, which at times of new moon, eats the moon. They also believe that, at times of lunar eclipse, the Moon Gibbon goes into a fighting frenzy, and the surface of the moon runs with the blood of slain Clangers.

So you can imagine the trouble I'm having as we look forward to tonight's Super Blood Wolf Moon.

The Moon Gibbon Folk are terrified. Convinced that the Moon Gibbon and the Bad Wolf will engage in a celestial battle of a scale unheard of since Guardians of the Galaxy II, that Clangers will be cast into space and the losing demi-god fall to earth where, like a monstrous Nigel Farage, it will sulk about not having a job, and threaten to start a new political party. LBC are rumoured to be planning to snap the creature up for a new phone-in called "Black Cabbies Loving Brexit".

I mean, these are the twerps who left a whole bunch of innocent monkeys shivering with cold  after thinking they heard the phase of the moon was "waxing gibbons". I have a terrible  problem knowing what to do with them - they can't all be Brexit Secretary. So we're going to lock them in a shed and play wild animal noises at them all night. I feel it's what they deserve.



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 God that Gets the Party Started

There's a scene early in the Vicar of Dibley. David Horton, expecting a bad-breathed bearded new vicar, invites the parish council round to his house for a drinks reception. And he ensures they're all very well supplied with cheap sherry. But then Geraldine the actual new vicar turns up. And Hugo Horton lets slip that David has some single malt whisky hidden away.

At which point the party really gets started. The scene is set for the rest of the series - the unexpectedly female vicar outwitting the reactionary bloke who thinks it's he that should run the place.

I dunno whether Richard Curtis knew the parallel he'd drawn here. But here's, 2,000 years earlier and in real life, Jesus arriving at a party. And they also have a problem with the drinks. To be exact, they've run out of wine. Major faux pas. They're gonna be the talk of the Galilean towns and villages for years to come - just like, to quote another Dibley tale, the day the pub ran out of crisps.

It's Mary who nudges Jesus into acting. And there's a lovely point here to me.  Jesus  thinks it's a bit early with the miracles. But he does what his mum says.

Now it strikes me there is a nice piece of practical piety to be learnt here. If you want God to do something for you, there is no harm in asking Mary to have a word with her Son.  Mary brought him into the world and here,  in Cana in Galilee, she launches him into his ministry.

But the way he reveals himself - as ever - is interesting. He could have had the jars brought into the feast, said some dramatic words, and the water turns to wine and everybody's amazed and knows who he is. But he chooses not to do it that way. Apart from anything else, he'd be taking the attention off where it should be - the happy couple.

Instead, he's off quietly with the servants. Doing something quite unspectacular - "fill the jars with water. Now take them to the master of the feast" .

And the water is made wine.  The disciples believe. The lowly servants wonder. And a new-made marriage has been blessed, even unknown, by the presence of God made human.

And Jesus does this using the jars that are for purification in the Jewish ritual. He is not rejecting the Jews. Not cutting a new religion off from  the centuries of faithfulness  that went before. Instead,  he's coming from his own starting place - a Jewish man, a son of Abraham and David, and opening God's love

You can  have your religion of rules - I'm thinking grumpy Christianity here, not Judaism, by the way. You can have the God that stands far off and judges and that tells you off  and makes you feel bad and that you can only fail. But you know the God I believe in? The one that enters into our lives. That went to  weddings. That takes the simple things - like that water - and transforms them into things that bring him praise, and us joy. That, when we run out under our own provision, brings us more, and better. I believe in  the  God that gets the party started.