BELOW PAR “MESSIAH”
Excited Millenarians looking for the consummation of the ages were offered a possible candidate at Augusta, Georgia recently. Responding to “Tiger” Woods's extraordinary golfing triumph in the “Masters” tournament, his father, Earl, prophesied:
“This young man will transcend the game and bring to the world a humanitarianism which has never been known before. The world will be a better place to live in by virtue of his existence and his presence.”
A rare example of a halo in one?
It was St. Jerome who once bitterly complained that, in the early church, they had “wooden chalices and golden priests and now there are golden chalices and wooden priests”. Prophetic or what?
In a final bid to stop the rapacious logging of the forest, go-ahead Ministerial Development Officers amongst Thailand’s Buddhist monks are advocating the ordination of trees!
Their plan to lay hands on 50 million trees and robe them in orange monastic garments could provide either the most remarkable answer to falling vocations or the occasion of the greatest martyrdom in history.
During the interregnum, following the retirement of its parish priest, a catholic parish, deep in the northern province, decided to vote on Resolutions A and B. They were duly passed.
The Bishop, relieved that the PCC had not had the wit to pass “C”, duly sent them a man who was “agnostic about the issue”, but would “respect their views”. (This will have a hauntingly familiar ring to catholic parishes up and down the land.)
In this case the man was genuinely agnostic and prepared to live with the parish’s stated view. On receipt of his contract he was, to his surprise, called over by the bishop.
“Do you know what your priority is for this parish?”, enquired the caring prelate.
The priest’s mind had scarcely time to assemble the range of ministry, mission, worship, restoration etc. when his Father in God spat out impatiently....
“It is to get them to rescind “A” and “B” within your first year. Is that clear?”
Transparent might be a better word.
The Oxford Diocesan monthly newspaper, “The Door”, recently dedicated several pages to “Mission and Ministry to Men”. Much of this took a robustly traditional approach to attracting men through tried and tested avenues i.e. food (Men’s Breakfasts) and sport ( Christian soccer teams). However quite the most fascinating piece of research has been done by a lady called Venetia Horton who has discovered that men will talk about their feelings and faith more openly in the showers after a match. And there in the centre spread photo under the pink banner headline, “Rough Stuff” is a picture of two naked young men in shower fellowship having a “heart to heart about things that really matter”.
Alarmed by the prospect of hundreds of well meaning clergy descending on the male changing rooms of our land - which could be widely misunderstood - 30 Days suggests that all would be “Aqua Apostles” receive proper training in “Power shower evangelism”.
ON TAKING “THE MIKE”
Traditionalist vestries/sacristies may wish to modernize by incorporating the following Vesting prayer, crafted by the Department of Liturgical Latin at Lancing College:
Ad Vocis Promptorem, dum fibris se implicat:
Domine qui tetigisti os meum et dedisti verba tua in ore meo: fidem ex auditu latius per aures et corda diffunde.
For the Radio mike as he gets wired up:
Lord, you have touched my mouth and set your words upon my lips: spread far and wide in ears and hearts the faith that comes from hearing.
(cf Jeremiah 1:9 and Romans 10:17, Vulgate)
All of which recalls the charming story of the late Mervyn Stockwood, Bishop of Southwark who, at the beginning of an outdoor celebration of communion, tapped the microphone and, believing it not to be working, cried,
“There’s something wrong with this mike!”
To which, with true Anglican Pavlovian response, the congregation enthusiastically replied
“And also with you!”
NOT SO AFFIRMING
News of the radical Women’s World Day of Prayer service (see 30 Days in April) has prompted a correspondent to come forward with the following info.
Fresh from the triumph at the aforementioned service the new radical cleric at the local affirmatorium was preaching at the Lady Day celebration and warming to the subject of ending the oppression and sexual slavery of women in marriage he rounded on the beleaguered remnant (6) of a once thriving MU and told them that their married state was no better than cohabiting or chosen single parenting.
This is marvellous news for the F in F parish up the road who have welcomed a growing tide of refugees and now rejoices in its highest MU membership for thirty years.
PSALM 18 v. 29
Even the most hard-hearted orthodox must have felt a glimmer of compassion for Dr. Carey the other week as the papers faithfully gave front page coverage to the full colour picture of the fragrant Peter Tatchell holding his hand. Apparently this was entirely involuntary on the Archbishop’s part as Tatchell and his velvet hooligans had scaled the walls of Lambeth to ambush the Primate and confront him with his oppressive theology in front of his honoured guests.
As the “Arch” clung tenaciously to his guns another paper was publishing the confessions of a London priest who had lived with his male partner for twenty odd years with, he claimed, the full knowledge of three successive Bishops of Stepney.
And who were the honoured guests at Lambeth thus surprised?
None other than 60 senior reps of the Anglican Communion brainstorming on how to prevent the 1998 Lambeth Conference being sunk by divisions over “Tatchellism”.
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