Monday 30 November 2020

Advice on Streaming Online Services

I know a lot of clergy and others have been struggling to understand the best way to stream online services. So here's a bit of advice out of our own hard experience here at the Beaker Folk.

In the early days we used to use Gribble to put our worship onto Groblol. We found it best to disambulate Gringe before defragging the Wildrive connector. This needed an RS232 welded into a skelt shamble. But remember to earth the skelt shamble, to avoid an overload of pink noise.  But even so, there were issues with temporal disjunctures. Especially at higher temperatures.

So now, for Beaker Folk services, we normally channel the AV through MoobCrush. This gives us bidirectional drain channels, but without a lot of overhead vizbleed.

If you're using a Snarklink, ensure the co-ax is cross-threaded. Ideally left-handed, although neutral bandwise is an alternative if you're in Croydon.

We like to channel our channels through YouTube as a downstream uplink, cross-furculated into DribFlan. Albeit we had a few problems degrommiting the backdribble, so we had to drivel the audiolink through NoseFlash and then it's just a matter of converting CMYK to BRB on the fly, and we're sorted.

Hope this helps.

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Sunday 29 November 2020

Awesome Things We Did not Expect - Advent Sunday

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you!
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry.  

How then can we be saved?
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.
Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look upon us, we pray, for we are all your people.
Our sacred cities have become a desert; even Zion is a desert, Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and glorious temple, where our fathers praised you, has been burned with fire, and all that we treasured lies in ruins.

After all this, O LORD, will you hold yourself back? Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure? (Isa 64)

A Marylebone Street at dusk

It's been a bit of a year. 

You remember back at the start of 2020? We sang Auld Lang Syne and shook hands in that weird way you do. How long ago was that now? seven or eight years ago?

And we've gone through all sorts, haven't we? First there was a virus we assumed there was only a problem somewhere foreign. Then we realised it was also over here. And then we were told it would be sorted in 12 weeks. And then it was going to be nearly normal by Christmas. And now it isn't.

And now we get less sunlight, it's harder to get outside where the virus doesn't spread so much. 99% of the population of England will basically be in lockdown next week, when we officially come out of lockdown. It's going to be a grim winter and a very odd Christmas. But we're promised no more tiers by February.

The grown-up, hard, long-haul thing we need to face is that the best thing we can do, on the whole, is batten down the hatches and protect everyone we can until such time as the vaccines and/or therapeutics start to make life safer. This is not a nice story - it means we have to accept that the economy is going to be on the slide for a while. Pubs are closing and a lot will never open again. A lot. This virus is going to change the face of our country, forever. And short-term we're stuck with not going the pub, not going round our friends' and families' houses.

It's no wonder people look for simple answers. Wishing away the virus, or pretending to themselves that people have died "with" the virus, not "of" it. Ignoring 50,000 excess deaths already this year in the UK, to tell themselves a comforting story. Wittering on about Herd Immunity when it's clear no country is anywhere near it. People demonstrating against Lockdown, in London and around the world - effectively denying the seriousness of the situation. It's because they want to tell themselves a happier story. They want the easy way out. Unfortunately, it ain't true.

Then these words from the Prophecy of Isaiah ring down the ages. It's looking from the perspective of the Jewish Exiles who returned from Babylon. The country they return to is wrecked. The Babylonians have planted other nations into Judah. Jerusalem is in ruins. The Temple - that great achievement of Solomon - is destroyed, and all its treasures gone. 

Like 2020, this wasn't the thing they were looking forward to. Their great return is not a triumph. It's a let-down. They haven't got glory. They've got the hard, hard work of rebuilding - while fending off their enemies and dealing with their own infighting. And the prayer goes up to God and it's so down-to-earth, and yet so faithful.

First up, an appeal - if only God will act quickly and make things simple - "O that you would rend the heavens and come down."

Then they remind God who God is. The true God, who has acted in history and done great things: the God who was faithful to the faithful. The God who can break mountains and overturn history.

Then the reflection of where they are: the nation has sinned And God was angry. So how can they be saved? When they're unclean and they aren't prayerful. And there's a vicious circle going on - God doesn't act, so the people don't pray, so God doesn't listen.

And then they return to God's nature. And they appeal. We are the clay - you are the potter. We are your creation. Thing about an artist making a creation - they always put something of themselves into the work. God, you made us - maybe you can re-cast us, re-mould us - but whatever you do, don't forget us.

Then they move on to an appeal to God's nature in what he has done in the past for Israel and Judah. These are God's cities that are waste - this is the temple where God's Name was praised that has been destroyed.

And then they recognise that God is sovereign, and put it all into God's hands. "After all this - will you hold yourself back? Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?" 

Which you could take as despair. Or you could see this as begging the answers - no, God will not hold back. No, God will not stay silent. No, God will not punish them beyond measure.

And so, in the ruins, of the city, in the wastes of their formerly great nation, the Jews will pick up spades and trowels - and swords - and start to rebuild. Their prayer has been dependent on God's faithfulness. And they won't chuck it at God and leave it - they'll start to work as if God will respond. They will trust in the God that did great things in the past, and they'll work as if he's working through them.

So here we are. Our churches are closed - but soon they will be open again in a specific and limited way. We stand in the tradition of those Jews that returned to Jerusalem - aware that the job ahead of us is huge, but God is faithful. We believe that the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Moses and Elijah and Isaiah - is also the God who is revealed in Jesus of Nazareth, who came to earth, and descended to the depths - and rose again. And if we believe in that Covenant God, that faithful God, that incarnate God - then while we know times are hard, while we face a future that is uncertain, we also know One who has been through the waters of death and has come out the other side. 

And we don't need the wishful thinking and the magical thinking, the miracle cures and the wishing-away and all the other ways there are to cope. We have a God who has faced the hardest things in the world and overcome them all.

So welcome to Advent. When we remember that life is not always easy. That there are no simple answers to our human condition. Life is a struggle - this year more than many. But God is faithful, we are his people - and Jesus is coming. Put your Christmas lights up early, if you like. Give yourself some cheer. Winter is swarming around us. But Spring won't be far behind. And a baby will be born, and laid in a manger, who is light to the world, who walks with us through the sadness, and brings us through a cross and resurrection to new life.

As a man waking in a dark night
runs to the window, and there afar 
sees the first gleam of dawn
and the morning star.

A woman struggling, now near her time,
feels the first birth-pangs, sure -  though fearing -
that through more pain to come
child-dawn is nearing.

And a world grown old in sin and blood
yearns for an answer and hopes so long
though all hopes fall to dust
hears an angel song.

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Wednesday 25 November 2020

Take a Break, Justin

"Dear Archbishop, now is not the time to take a sabbatical", says Karen Armstrong in the Guardian. Which I guess is a Guardian-Religious equivalent of the constant calls during summer holidays for Parliament to be recalled. She tells us that next summer will be a bad time for Justin Welby to take some time off (thus misunderstanding the full purpose of sabbaticals, which includes study) and tells us that "Jesus could not retire to cultivate his personal spirituality because he was perpetually besieged by desperate people".

I mean, he was certainly, in many Bible passages, surrounded by people with assorted needs. It's true. Maybe that's why he went out into the desert for 40 days, to consider his ministry. Maybe that's why he spent a lot of time walking around Judea and Galilee, with just his disciples - I'm assuming that he got a fair amount of downtime in between villages with desperate people. Maybe that's why he set out on a boat to cross Galilee. And went out to quiet places to pray. And why, at the critical point in his earthly career, he went off to the Garden of Gethsemane. But in general - maybe there's more about when Jesus was surrounded by desperate people - because that's the interesting bit. "Jesus goes for a walk for a bit" is a bit less exciting than "Jesus throws pigs out of a bloke and they all drown."

Frankly, if the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't have a break when he's due one - to study or write as well as rest - what example is he setting to everyone else? To the clergy who have spent the past 8 months, working in an alien environment to minister to their fellow-Christians, and who frankly need to ensure they get a break - after what will be a weird Christmas if not before? To people who work too hard, too long every day during the week? To a world that is obsessed with presenteeism, where so many people - even when they're on holiday - can't help dialling in to check where they need to get involved in their absence.

Most of all - turns out, if the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't take a break - he's not even following in the footsteps of his master.

Go on, Justin. Have a break. It's what Jesus would do.

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Tuesday 24 November 2020

The Fetishism of Christmas

Do you remember back to those heady days in July when Covid infection rates were falling? What days they were. Toby Young was claiming the epidemic was over, as if it had just happened magically and not due to a lockdown. This was before he had to fall back to "it's no worse than flu" type posturing, backed up bad bad arithmetic. Boris Johnson took credit for "getting deaths down", and said we should be back to "significant normality" by Christmas. 

Well, I guess maybe a Boris Johnson family Christmas - with members of the family in different houses and nobody quite sure if anyone's going to see their dad.  But it's all about Christmas now, isn't it? The annual debate over "Fairy tale of New York" has started. Earlier every year. And the newspapers are speculating over what kind of Christmas will be allowed. Amid concerns that a "normal" Christmas will be out.

I guess it depends what kind of Christmas you think is out. Snogging the weird bloke in Accounts at the office party, for instance, a major part of some people's Christmas - that's a no-no. Pubs heaving with people who believe in no religion but are just glad of ten days off work - out. Packed Christingle services - no to them as well. Albeit you'd have to wonder whether the dangers of catching Covid outweigh the ever-present ones of spontaneous combustion.

The bit of Christmas Matt Hancock wants to preserve is where people see “some of their loved ones, but still keep the virus under control”. Which is a bit like expecting to leave the EU and simultaneously keep all the trade benefits. And who would believe in that? If you see more loved ones, you will have less control over the virus. It's pretty simple. 

I heard a chap on the radio saying he remembered the good old days when he was a child. When on Christmas Day his family would sit up late, playing cards for two pence stakes with his nan and grandad. And he wants the same experience for his kids. It's a lovely thought - I did the same as a child. Not with this bloke's nan and grandad, that would be weird. With my own. But what I would say is this. If you can make a sacrifice this Christmas then maybe playing cards with their grandad won't be a one-off. Why would you prioritise your own nostalgia over the safety of your father?

And then - for many people, isn't this Christmas just a fetish? When the reality is gran being sick on the couch after a forty-third Creme de Menthe, and the brother-in-law sulking because you forgot his other kid, and a friendly game of darts turning into a war zone and Monopoly boards flying through the air, while outside under a carolling sky the teenagers are setting fire to a car. Or was that just my childhood Christmases? The reality of a "normal" Christmas is hell for probably a third of the population. Maybe instead of worrying about the nostalgia-merchants we should be concerned for the ones that will be genuinely lonely and need support - a wave through the window, a chat from the other end of the garden path or, go on you techno-freak you - maybe a chat on Facetime (other methods of talking to people are available).

And then a Twitter lawyer suggested moving Christmas to February and all hell broke loose as Christians explained you can feel free to move getting together with Granny, but Christmas is still going to be 9 months after the Annunciation. While the sceptical people who aren't as sceptical as they really ought to be  - because they've accepted an unproven theory as unGospel truth - declared Christmas is really a Christianisation of Yule, Saturnalia, the feast of Sol Invictus, Mithras's Birthday, for all I know, probably the Day Isis got a Nosebleed, and Children in Need as well. It can't be all of those things. And there's no proof - proper proof, not hyopotheses, passed-on "facts" or supposition  - of any of these things. 

So it turns out the "Christmas is really Pagan" season has started early as well.

So enough's enough. The bling is going up tonight. This year, in keeping with the extended season of Lent we entered in March, we'd decorating the Moot House with illuminated pumpkins, gravestones and skulls. Remember you are dust, for to dust you will return.

I've got that right, haven't I? Or am I just celebrating Ash Wednesday at the wrong time as well?

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Friday 20 November 2020

Boris Johnson Saves Christmas

The nation is in a state of fearful confusion.

Many are scared of a disease that disproportionately kills older people. Those with medical conditions hide away. While a grinning fool called RumpleDalrimple wanders the country without a mask to hide his face, to everyone's pain and discomfort.

As the nights draw in and the weather turns cold, people are increasingly gathering together indoors - increasing the chances that they will pass on the disease to their families. 

Common sense would say that people should, out of care for the relatives, make this Christmas particularly low-key. Stick to phone calls and Internet chat. Stay within their own homes, or out in the open air. Avoid clustering together with people they've not seen for 12 months, in case they are unwittingly carrying the illness. Maybe even discover the age-old wonders of writing cards or round-robin letters. 

Where can the country find someone desperate to give some good news to achieve some temporary popularity? Someone who would put a few days of nostalgia and warm feelings above the sadness of deaths in the new year? Someone who lives day to day, prepared to get some pleasure now, regardless of what may be coming down the line?

Only Boris Johnson can save Christmas. 

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Thursday 19 November 2020

Better Names for de Montfort University

Back in the day, there were universities and polytechnics. But then all the polytechnics became universities, and had to come up with exciting new names. Luton College became Luton University and eventually (in a bid to cover its traces) the University of Bedfordshire. Whereas some of them went for association themselves with famous people. Anglia Ruskin University, for example.And Leicester Polytechnic renamed intself de Montfort University.

An interesting choice of name. I mean, in the middle ages, some of the Oxford and Cambridge colleges and other such institutions ended up named after some unsavoury characters. I don't mean Jesus, or St John. I mean like my own, "King's Hall and College of Brasenose", where the king concerned was presumably Henry VIII. Albeit he was a bright young kingling when Braseonse was founded so nobody knew the horrors to come.

But Simon de Montfort is quite another matter. We all know what he was. A mass-murdering, anti-semitic rebel, who made himself king in all but name, and massacred the Jews. And ultimately he ended in utter failure Makes you wonder why anyone would ever have thought him a good idea.

And now the students union have very sensibly decided that maybe the university could be named after a more suitable candidate. Needless to say, the comments below the Leicester News article are mostly decrying the suggestion for "wokery", "snowflakes", and "rewriting history". And we could discuss the fact that "rewriting history" is basically "history". But I dont think anyone's suggesting rewriting history here. They knew what he was like when they named the place after him. And let's face it, it was well known in the 13th century that de Montfort was an anti-semite and a failure. He ended up dying in battle. His head was chopped off, his testicles arranged around his nose, and then sent as a gift to Roger Mortimer's wife. Which I suppose solved the problem of what to give her for Xmas. But gives you weird ideas of what they could have used for the university's logo.

 But the real irony is that the people complaining about the suggested renaming are almost certainly supporters of Brexit. And Simon de Montfort was the absolute epitome of an unelected European bureacrat, coming over here and changing our laws without our say so. And while he did put together the prototype of a House of Commons, he did so in a desperate attempt to shore up his support, while coincidentally funneling money into his own accounts.

So time to rename the place. To help the good people of Leicester, here are some suggestions that would all be better than "de Montfort" to precede "University":

  1. Richard Attenborough
  2. Graham Chapman 
  3. Sue Townsend
  4. Thomas Cook
  5. Arthur Russell Wallace
  6. Lady Jane Grey
  7. Henry Bragg
  8. Errol Christie
  9. Gary Lineker
  10. David Gower
  11. Showaddywadd
  12. Caroline Ashurst Briggs
  13. Emile Hesketh
  14. Not the other Leicester
  15. Bill Maynard
  16. Una Stubbs
  17. David Icke*
  18. Gok Wan
  19. Cornershop
  20. Englebert Humperdinck**
  21. Walkers Crisps
  22. Martin Corry
  23. Willie Thorne
  24. Richard III ***
  25. Syd Lucas
  26. Peter Shilton
  27. Colin Hall **** 
  28. Dunelm Mill ***** 
  29. Joseph Merrick
  30. Pukka Pies

* be popular with some of the people complaining, at any rate

** the singer, not the composer

*** the cathedral seems quite fond of him

**** only mayor of Leicester whose trousers fell down at a public event

***** just to upset Durham, really

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Monday 16 November 2020

Spreading the Word, Spreading the Plague

A church in Islington has been closed by police after it attempted to hold a service despite Covid regulations. The pastor, Regan King, has argued that, although he is breaking the law, he is not a law breaker. Which, if nothing else, makes me wary about the logic he may employ in sermons.

I understand why churches argue their services are necessary. Our spiritual needs are very deep. In our different ways, we crave meaning. Many of us find that through religious acts. Some through acts of charity - Regan King's church has been very generous in feeding people through this crisis, so we can commend them for that.

Jesus said, "when two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst". Two or three is a number than can be easily achieved in a household bubble, or in a (legal) meeting of two people in the park. You don't need 30 people in a building. And you certainly don't need to argue 15 of them are "assisting with the service" in your "pushing the guidelines to their absolute max". 

I mean, firstly this is about the law. We have a duty to obey laws - even ones that stop us doing what we like. Unjust laws we can debate. But this church isn't bravely worshipping despite persecution - as otherwise we'd have to assume the government is also persecuting pubs, fashion retailers and nail bars. 

It's about love. You show love by feeding the homeless. Yes, you do it by meeting their spiritual needs. But you also do it by not gathering a group of people into one place during a pandemic, increasing the chances of someone passing on the disease. And thereby increasing the chances of someone outside the gathering catching it next week - an elderly relative, a homeless person you were supposed to be serving, a patient in hospital. And since it spreads virally - and since many carriers have no symptoms - somebody can be dying in your local hospital, four weeks after you held a service that you thought had no consequences.

The pastor says they were keeping to social distancing. Well, social distancing is a mitigation, not a prevention. It says that if we all follow the rules, we reduce the amount we spread. Masks only reduce transmission, and the virus has no concept that it needs to stop travelling when it reaches 2 metres from your nose. Every time we socialise, at whatever distance, we increase the chances of spreading the disease.

And the comparison with supermarkets is a terrible one. We cannot live on bread alone, sure. But we can only go a couple of weeks without it. And in an epidemic as winter approaches, we need all the good nutrition we can get. If we closed all the supermarkets, Regan King's not getting much of a congregation for the foreseeable future. We can wait to meet in buildings. It's hard - it's an exile - but it's doable.

In conclusion I think this church did what it did with all the right motivation, for all the wrong reasons. If love is what we are called to do, then let's love each other by keeping each other safe. Feed the hungy, give comfort to the lonely, and avoid spreading deadly, infectious diseases. What would Jesus do? Teach by example, and mostly out of doors. 

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Sunday 15 November 2020


I met a traveller from Islington
Who said—“Two vast and arm-less spectacles
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose bald head,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Domimandias, Cummings of Cummings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Geek, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

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Saturday 14 November 2020

Liturgy of Farewell - or is it - to Dominic Cummings

Archdruid: Rarely Beloved, we are gathered here today to bury the career of Dominic Cummings. Or, as he is known to his friends...

she checks her notes

Archdruid:, forget that.

All: He'll be back. Just like Arnie.

Archdruid: Let's take our wins where we can and enjoy it for now. 

Hymn: "Da doo-dom-dom" by the Dom-ettes

Psalm of Lament

All: Oh, how many are our woes.
And how great the fears before us.
For we pass through the valley of Covid
which runneth down to the cliff edge of Brexit
As those that are sitting in a shopping trolley 
pushed by a 15-year-old youth, out of his head on extra-strong mints.
And as our nation rages against other nations
and heads for the edge
yet our leaders, O England, are as jack-asses in the ruins
fighting amongst themselves for who is the true leader
when the terror is on every side
and the people perish for lack of vision.

A cloud of pantomime smoke, and Dominic Cummings appears in the midst of the Moot House

Dominic Cummings: Behold it is I! Dominic Cummings. Seer of sights, viewer of visions, dreamer of dreams, scourge of the Civil Service and geekmeister incarnate. Working class hero, wielder of whackos, herder of weirdos and superforecaster of superforecasts.

The Archdruid turns a fire extinguisher on him.

All: You didn't superforecast that coming.

Dominic Cummings: Foolish Archdruid! Know ye not who I am? I am the one that channeleth the spirit of the Masses. The spokesperson for those too gormless to know what to think. The one whose every thought is channelled in pure quantanium through the peptic synapses of my mind.

Archdruid: MA in History, weren't it, Dom?

All: Bald bloke from Durham, you're just a bald bloke from Durham. Bald bloke from Durham... 

Dominic Cummings: Minions! Do not believe this deceiveron in her pointy hat! Fall down and worship me - your true Edgelord of Edgelords. 

Burton Dasset: I worship you, O Edgelord. King of the Nerds and purveyor of poorly-understood science.

Charlii inserts a scone into Burton's silly gob, before he loses his immortal soul.

Archdruid: Cummings, you are fallen. Your days are over. Return to the pit from which ye slithered.

Dominic Cummings: Nice little 4-bed in Islington, actually... Listen - look at this bald head - consider my prophetic powers. I shall summon bears to rend your youths.

Archdruid: We're a rural congregation in the 2020s. Where do you think we're going to get any youths?

Dominic Cummings: Curses. Foiled again.

All: Poundshop Phil Collins. You're just a poundshop Phil Collins.

Archdruid: And Cummings.... I've always wanted to say this....... You have no power over me.

Dominic Cummings: What mean ye, witch?

Archdruid: We Beaker Folk are an official bubble. All the grounds, amenities, rooms in the Great House, the Stables block and the Dower House - are officially one property. But you come here - in defiance of the Rules of Boris Which All Must Obey - and sully our bubble with your fancy London ways and potentially your virus. Let me introduce you to Young Keith's Uncle, the Police Sergeant.

Young Keith's Uncle: I'm afraid you're bang to rights, sir. Would you like to accompany me to the station?

Dominic Cummings: Fool! Don't you know who I am?

Young Keith's Uncle: Aren't you Lee Hurst? When did you swap your checked shirt for that silly T-Shirt? And you're wearing it inside out. 

Dominic Cummings: I am enacting a parable! I do not follow the rules. I make them.

Young Keith's Uncle: I think you'll find, Mr Meldrew, that round here I am the Law. Now get in the Fiat Panda. You're coming with me. 

Dominic Cummings: I have failed the test. I shall diminish, and return to North London. And remain Classic Dom.

Archdruid: And so the forces of evil were diminished. And the people said Amen.

Hymn: Be bald, be strong. 


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Monday 9 November 2020

Liturgy of Special Pleading

Archdruid: Because of the way the Government left it too long ahead of doing anything, once again many of the things which make life worth living are shut down. And so together we join our voices in lament that we are unable to meet - and point out that our...

C of E clerics: ... churches

Tim Martin: ... pubs

Gym owners: ...gyms

Archdruid: ...are Covid secure. We provide a social service in our...

C of E clerics: ... churches

Tim Martin: ... pubs

Gym owners: ...gyms.

Archdruid: We bring people together safely in our...

C of E clerics: ... churches

Tim Martin: ... pubs

Gym owners: ...gyms.
Archdruid: And we claim to be an exception because what we do goes beyond mundane pleasure and simply existing. We offer people...
C of E clerics: ... God

Tim Martin: ... cheap pints

Gym owners: a sense of well-being.
Archdruid: And so while we all recognise that clothes shops, community centres, cinemas and night clubs weren't really Covid-secure, we bring our pleas that our...
C of E clerics: ... churches

Tim Martin: ... pubs

Gym owners: ...gyms.
 Archdruid: Are absolutely fine.

In a special plea that people realise it's not the individual activity that is the issue. It's the sum of all human interactions that spreads disease. If we can all reduce what we do for a while, we can all get back to what we do with more of us still here.

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Friday 6 November 2020

Liturgy of Goodbye to Geoffrey Palmer (1927-2020)

Hymn: "Love is like a butterfly" 

Archdruid: Sorry there's no liturgy. Bit of a cock up on the overhead projection front.

All: We didn't get where we are by not putting the right Powerpoint on the lap top.

Archdruid: Let us join in our confession.

All: Almighty and most merciful Father, bit of a cock up on the lost sheep front. Bit of a cock up on the the devices and desires of our own hearts front. Bit of a cock up on the holy laws front. Bit of a cock up on the undone things front. Bit of a cock up on the done things front. Bit of a cock up in the health in us front. Any chance of a bit of forgiving? And maybe a few potatoes?

 Archdruid: God who looks not on the cock ups on the life front, but would rather we turn from our cock ups and go forward into life with no cock ups, forgive us our cock ups, keep us from further cock ups, and ensure we go into the future life where there will be no more cock ups.

Hymn: As Time Goes By

Archdruid: Now let us raise a toast to Geoffrey Palmer.

All: Shouldn't really. Trying to keep a clear head. Double whisky. Thanks. 

Archdruid: Now may Geoffrey Palmer be blessed with the blessed, in the land where the butterflies are beautiful and there is no need to chloroform them, where retired Majors don't go red in the face and hate foreigners, where teenaged sons no longer sponge off their parents, and frustrated housewives have no need to roam in search of experiences new. And the cleaner doesn't moan about your moany music.


Archdruid: May God keep you from the Forces of Anarchy, wreckers of law and order, communists, Maoists, Trotskyists, neo-Trotskyists, crypto-Trotskyists, union leaders, communist union leaders, atheists, agnostics, long-haired weirdoes, short-haired weirdoes, vandals, hooligans, football supporters, namby-pamby probation officers, foreign surgeons, head-shrinkers, Wedgewood Benn, keg bitter, punk rock, glue sniffers, Play for Today, squatters, Clive Jenkins, Up Jenkins, Up Everytbody's and Chinese restaurants*.

All: And from racialists, Rear Admirals, Queer Admirals and Vice Admirals.

Recessional: Breakfast in America** 

* lists slightly edited from original for reasons of 2020s sensibility. 

** if you're the right age you'll get the joke.

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Sunday 1 November 2020

Terrifying Metaphors in Worship Songs - "My Lighthouse"

Just breaking off from burning the Wicca Person for Samhain to note that the Rend Collective song "My Lighthouse" is terrifying.

My lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness. I will follow You

The whole point of a lighthouse is to warn you about the rocks it's on. Basically, the whole message of a lighthouse is "don't come over here. You know where you are - that's a lot safer. You're in open water. I'm on the rocks. " Whatever you do, don't follow a lighthouse.  It's good to be on the Rock. But not to be on the rocks.

Kids, be safe. Don't follow lighthouses.

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