THIRTY DAYS APRIL 1997

NO SUN FOR FATHER

Participants at the forthcoming St. Albans Triennial Conference are being asked to indicate their choice of daily newspaper. The options are the broadsheets or “the-Soar-away-Sun” - world famous for its lack of vestments on Page 3.

Needless to say a spoilsport young member of the orthodox chapter has written in to Bishop Christopher Herbert to complain about this encouragement of “material which demeans women as objects.”

As the Sun would say:

“Well done Chris Herbert, the people’s “bish”. He knows what the guy in the pew likes, and thank the Almighty for a diocese where there’s still a few red blooded males in the pulpit!”

AGE SHALL NOT WEARY THEM

This year's Church of England Yearbook contains one or two errors (giving the suffragancy of Crediton and the Chaplaincy of the Fleet to clergy other than those actually appointed); some interesting understatements (Porvoo means “something of a shift” in our understanding of episcopacy); and interesting reflections on what it is to be young in the C of E.

The review by David Edwards, former Provost of Southwark (Runcie ‘53) describes John Garton, Bishop of Plymouth (Runcie ’67) as a “youngish” scholar.

This has caused much amusement in the south west. Fr. Garton was born in 1941.

The policemen are getting younger too.

HAPPY EASTER

Congratulations to Cullens the Grocer. Long before the hideous capitalist parasites of Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys built their invitations to clerical shoplifters on the outskirts of town, W.H. Cullen was the civilised High Street family grocer.

Now Cullens has moved into theology! Tired of the dreary breast beating miserable death cult of Good Friday they have produced a Fun Friday consumable. Out goes the tired old hot cross bun with its imagery of torture and suppressed anger. In comes the “Not Cross Bun” complete with currant eyes and smiley marzipan mouth.

Now why couldn’t the churches media group have come up with that?

WE ARE ALL GUILTY

Women’s World Day of Prayer used to be quite a sedate affair involving mainly women and prayer! Thanks be to Sophia, it is no longer.

The massed ranks of liberal matrons in the Home Counties have had, this year, the opportunity to pour out their collective angst in solidarity with their Korean sisters.

Wearing placards labelled “Patriarchy”, “Women as commodities” and “Victims of sexual slavery” well meaning members of the more advanced Mothers' Unions have been given the opportunity to repent of their “over concern with their family”, “failure to resist the system”, “seeking a life of beauty and extravagance” and being “victims of sexual slavery”.

Husbands who have noticed a reduction in the above mentioned activities may like to send for a copy of this life changing service from Women’s World Day of Prayer, Commercial Road, Tunbridge Wells. Forthcoming attractions include, “Who is my neighbour?” and “God’s tender touch” - at a church near you - soon.

TRUST IN ME

The Episcopal Church of the USA, proprietor Ed Browning, presiding bishop, is not in a co-operative mood. The New York State Attorney has received information from concerned Episcopalians, about the possible mishandling of Trust Funds valued between 180 - 220 million dollars.

Church officials concede that no independent audit has taken place since 1989 and, during this period, the funds were under the direct management of Ms. Ellen Cooke - now in prison for stealing 2 million dollars from the church.

Initial responses from church authorities indicated that 10 -20% of funds have been mishandled or “misdirected” and agreed to provide financial and legal information. Bishop Browning has now reversed this decision.

Ed, who once danced across a stage in a dunce’s hat claiming that the Pope was a “Cone-head”, will lead the Lambeth block vote in ‘98 to further enlighten the Anglican Communion.

JUDAS IS INNOCENT OK

“My client, Mr. Iscariot, had not the slightest intention of betraying his friend Mr. J. Christ on the aforementioned evening in the olive grove. He was merely arranging a secret meeting between the religious authorities and his employer with a view to resolving their industrial differences as to the rebuilding programme for the Temple. It is convenient for the anti-Semites in the early church to blame my client for the subsequent events which were wholly beyond his control and a source of great distress to him personally”

So runs the gist of an exciting new book by Prof. William Klassen, Canadian theologian.

This is exciting news and if we can only remove the references to the mob arriving with clubs and swords, and see the thirty pieces of silver as a temporary misdirection of temple trust funds, an acquittal should be a formality.

CANCEL CHRISTMAS

Congratulations to good old John Spong, Bishop of Newark and high priest of American liberalism. In a profound and convincing piece on the Internet he condemns the Christian Festival of Nine lessons and Carols.

“I do not believe I would allow this service again.......in a church where I was rector”. Why not?

It is a “Flawed theological concept” and “it undergirds an attitude to the Bible that I find uninformed and increasingly distasteful”.

What, as they say in the vernacular, is your problem bishop?

Apparently the service implies that Jesus fulfils the Old Testament prophecies. This, apparently, would require a well organised and controlling God.

No! The truth is that the Gospel writers composed Jesus's life so as to fit these ancient and, by this definition, largely irrelevant texts.

Any idea that God may have spoken and His Word been fulfilled is dismissed as “bad theology”, “mindless fundamentalism” and a “discredited view of the Bible”.

As usual no resignations are expected. After all it’s no more than has been taught in self respecting liberal theological colleges these many years.

HOW TRUE

An organist writes in with the following riddle which will strike a chord in the heart of many a parish priest.

Question: What’s the difference between a terrorist and an organist?

Answer: You can negotiate with a terrorist.

 

 

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