November 1998

30 Days

OBSCENE BUT NOT HEARD

The level of absurdity reached by political correctness in the United States of America was demonstrated in a recent news bulletin about the peep-show that passes for a Presidency. Announcing the imminent publication of several more pages of Monica Lewinsky’s “confessions from the corridor”, a straight-faced news reader gave forth thus:

“Miss Lewinsky’s testimony will then have been published in full. The only parts edited out, in order to avoid giving offence, are the Jewish jokes”.

Thank goodness for that!

 

FONTASTIC WEDDINGS

As the C of E struggles to maintain its share of the wedding market against fabulous holiday packages, romantic commercial settings and cash-hungry free churchmen, more and more bizarre tactics are coming into play.

Earlier in the year we reported on the enthusiasm of some of our more disturbed leaders for producing services for the blessing of fornication.

No doubt, once the “divorce” report is out, we may see some of our more entrepreneurial ecclesiastical enablers offering a loyalty bonus - “Marry here and get 25% off your next wedding”?

In the meantime how exciting to hear news of a church in Canterbury diocese which offers an all-in-one service for the family wedding. Apparently there you can make your vows at one end and then pop straight down the other to get your children “done” in the font. This saves the cost of two parties, avoids an extra, unnecessary, trip to church and makes the perfect family day out.

 

COST OF CONDOMS

For the last five years the saintly Fr Francis Gardom has organised a series of brilliant educational days called Keble Conferences. Conservative Evangelicals and Catholics turn up in the sure knowledge that they will be informed, challenged and stretched theologically. So it was with great confidence, that a goodly crowd turned up to the most recent one on “The permanent Diaconate” given by two women deacons.

The main paper was a decent historical survey with theological explication. The afternoon paper was much more newsworthy. Some of the audience were less than thrilled to find the speaker in favour of priestesses. Alarm mellowed to amusement when she indicated that the deacon should be in charge of the parish ( the lady’s husband is a vicar and no-one could be quite sure if this was a theological statement or a marital observation). Hanky-in-mouth time came when she announced that, as part of her social ministry and health awareness task, she and her husband had distributed condoms to the congregation! Presumably with the admonition “Go forth and don’t multiply”?.

As one departing elderly cleric remarked, “Most of the C of E is more in need of viagra than prophylactics.”

 

UNDESERVED THANKS

The Vicar and church council of a South London parish were touched to receive a thank you letter from the new Bishop of Southwark for their letter welcoming him to the diocese and assuring him of their prayers. Touched - but rather puzzled. No such letter had been sent.

It is true that the Diocesan authorities had urged their parishes to deluge their new lord and master with a spontaneous outburst of epistolary enthusiasm. Assuming the normal truisms of elections in a banana republic ( i.e. 100% turnout, 102% in favour of the Government) they had naturally assumed total compliance with the “advice” proffered. Now the Vicar has a real dilemma. Should he write to the bishop denying any such sentiments and thereby impress the Bargee of Tooting Bec with his honesty or fraudulently reap the unexpected benefits of silence.

PRAY....TAKE 6

Attenders at a well known southern rural retreat house were impressed to find themselves following in the spiritual footsteps of no less mystical luminaries than the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's. Six of London’s finest were gathered for silence, prayer and meditation. There was Brigadier “Cocoa” Acworth (the man who once rented the dome of St Paul's for a chocolate advertisement) the original brylcreem boy, Michael Saward, and the cathedral’s answer to Wesley Carr, Dean Moses. Sadly the lovely Canon Lucy Twinkle was not present.

Imagine the ordinary punters' surprise to see the guest list completed by several names corporately described as “T.V.” crew, Wall to Wall TV, Spring Place, London W5.

No doubt Jesus would never have written Matthew Ch 6 v. 6 if he’d known about future TV opportunities but let’s just hope (and pray) that this doesn’t turn out to be just another fly on the wall documentary about dysfunctional institutions.

 

RUM BRUM AND CARBONARA

As Britain’s second city celebrates the theatre of testosterone (the Motor Show), canons at the cathedral are bringing the churches' image right up to date. New vestments, made by Yvonne Bell and inspired by Archdeacon John Barton, include a Land Rover and Spaghetti Junction! In Burton's turbo charged imagination the vestments interpret Revelation Ch22 with Birmingham as the City of God! (This is in stark contrast to the commonly held view that, if you are very bad, when you die you go to Birmingham!)

The opportunity for further liturgical developments are endless - stoles with a lay-by on for retired canons, Little Chef motifs for the Provost and, of course, a cone for the Bishop.

As the Barely Literate Revised Bible (BLURB) has it:

“Jesus said, “I am the motorway of life” J14M6”.

 

POPE’S NOPE TO SWEDISH GROPE

The recent art display in Uppsala Cathedral is clearly another attempt by reality to outflank satire. The lady Dean of our sister church (Poorvoo et al) has given permission for representations of Our Lord Jesus Christ and St John the Baptist to appear in a pose of more than cousinly affection. The row has resulted in the Holy Father declining to meet the Archbishop of Sweden who was intending to drop by on a visit to Rome.

Needless to say the Swedes are presenting this as an attempt by the Pope to undermine ecumenism. Only the Anglican hierarchy could think that signing up with this bunch was a triumph.

 

CAREY WRECKED LAMBETH

Its official! According to Mrs Jack Spong the conference was wrecked by Carey - well it was for the liberals anyway. By exposing Spong’s patronising view of the African church and highlighting the rejection of the creeds it became almost impossible for large numbers of liberals to go along with him in the lobby. Carey, ranted Mrs Spong, was guilty of smear, hostility, aggression and was, at times, downright offensive! Surely not our George? Indeed it was not. Step forward Andrew, son of George and fearless reporter for the Church of England Newspaper - whose interview allowed Spong to spectacularly self destruct on the very eve of Lambeth. Nice one Andrew!

 

EFFECTIVE EFFEMINIZATION

Tired of your old dreary repressive sexually fascistic, male dominated liturgies? Then boogie on down to Gladstone’s old pad - St Deniol’s, Hawarden - in February next year when groovy Warden, Peter Francis (Former Provost of Glasgow) will be enabling your liturgical transgenderation.

The workshop - you just couldn’t invent it - is titled “Effing the Ineffable”?

 

ABBEY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN

At least they are for the directors of a furniture company in Surrey called Pew Corner. Westminster Abbey (Prop. W. Carr) has flogged them 800 chairs each with a certificate of authenticity signed by the Dean himself. They are being sold in the U.S.A. for a staggering 3000 each. The “Seats of Power” as they are described in the blurb are advertised as being there at the historic funeral of Princess Diana. What more could you want?

Still, as the directors of Pew Corner say, when raising their glasses to the great W. Carr himself “Chairs old Man!”

 

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