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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Kirsty MacColl, 20 December 2000



Now you see me, now you don’t
You say you will but I know you won’t
You nearly had me in your hands but now I’m gone
But not complaining ’bout my life again
No sirree, and what I’ve got belongs to me entirely
I look left and I look right and I cross this road alone
‘Cos I’m feeling my way
I may go up, I may go down but wherever I may roam
I keep feeling my way home.

Friday, 19 December 2014

The All-Purpose Christmas Press Release Bingo Card

It's the same every year. The same old stories. The bloke called Noel who's born on Christmas Day, disbelieving bishops, terrified local authority officials being told by sensible Muslims to stop being sensitive prats...

Well, now you can enjoy the preparation for Christmas Yule  the Festive Season with this exciting Christmas Press Release bingo card! Just tick off the list as you read the stories or see them linked as click-bait on Twitter! If you get all 20, shout "I'm a Bingo Winner and You can  call me Rudolph!"


VICAR SAYS SANTA DOESN’T EXIST
WERE THE ANGELS ALIENS?
NATIVITY PLAYS NOT TRADITIONAL ANYMORE
EXPERT SAYS CHRISTMAS BASED ON ANCIENT CELTIC FESTIVAL
DISTRIBUTION NETWORK BREAKS DOWN UNDER UNEXPECTED PRESENT-BUYING
“WHY DO SCHOOLS DO NATIVITY PLAYS?” ASKS  ATHEIST GRINCH
LOCAL AUTHORITY RENAMES CHRISTMAST “SNOWFEST” - OUTRAGE
WAS JESUS’S FATHER A ROMAN SOLDIER?
SOMEBODY FINDS SOMETHING OFFENSIVE IN “FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK”
THREE WISE MEN “NEVER EXISTED”
EXPERT SAYS CHRISTMAS BASED ON ANGLO-SAXON “YULE” 
POLITICIANS’ CHRISTMAS CARDS ARE ALL ABOUT THEMSELVES
CHRISTMAS TV ”ALL REPEATS”
EXPERT SAYS  CHRISTMAS BASED ON MITHRAISM
CHRISTMAS SALES “WORSE THAN EXPECTED” DUE TO HOT / COLD / WET / SNOWY WEATHER
PHOTOCOPYING YOUR BOTTOM GIVEN NEW LIFE BY “EMAIL” SCANNER FACILITY
CHRISTMAS “CAN GIVE YOU CANCER”
BISHOP SAYS THERE WAS NO MANGER
SIX-WEEK WHITE CHRISTMAS BRINGS IN “SNOW-MAGGEDON”
EAT DRINK AND BE MERRY. WE’LL RUN THE LIVER DISEASE STORY ON BOXING DAY

It's funny though, you know. If you see the amount of drivel thrown at the Christmas story - almost as much as the tinsel under the multicultural Festive tree - you start to think what is it, in this story of a baby, born in strange circumstances, that makes so many people get so bothered? You'd almost think he has a power way beyond the situation he was born into.

The Annual "Santa is not Real" Scandal

Sorry, it's a Mail link.

But I think it has to be, as I'm after three of the quotes from the story. This year it's the time of Revd Margaret McPhee - Nanny's heartless relative, apparently - to upset all the kids by denying the existence of Fr Christmas.

Samantha Tisshaw described how her confused seven-year-old son asked her: ‘Mum, why did Reverend Margaret lie to us ?’
I look forward to Ms Tisshaw rushing to the press in a couple of years' time, when her confused nine-year-old son says to her "Mum, why did you like to me when the vicar told the truth?"

Meanwhile,

Furious messages posted on the internet include one from Colin and Clare Jefkins, who said: ‘Sorry my child will not attend any more church services again. ‘She would not like it if we said there was no “God”.’ 
Well, I don't know, Mr and Mrs Jefkins. Given she's C of E and recently ordained, there's a 10 per cent chance she might agree with you, and 20% chance she'll say that, in a very real sense, it depends what you mean by God.

But my favourite is probably the Mail's own remark, 

Rev Margaret McPhee claimed that Father Christmas was 'make believe'
Claimed? Has the Mail gone so far down the relativist, post-modern, wishy-washy, liberal, un-English route as to use the word "claimed" in relationship to Fr Christmas's non-existence? Do they really believe that Santa-ism is a religion of equal worth to the great world religions?  Of course Fr Christmas is real. I've locked him in the Doily Shed after we caught him last year. And until he resigns from Forward in Faith and gives me that Raleigh Chopper I asked for in 1977, he's not getting out.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

How to Deal with a Church Row (United Methodist Church Version)


How to Resolve a Church Row (Methodist Version)


The BBC and the Secret of Nuclear Dieting

I've been busy, so it's taken me a while to get to this. Let's leave the gentle world of world religion, bidding a quick prayer of bidding to Libby Lane on her imminent elevation, and move on instead to the ever-dangerous world of BBC Science Reporting.

When I read the headline, Fat "breathed out" of body via lungs, say scientists,  I mean, what - actual fat molecules being exhaled? I can imagine the odd fat molecule somehow contaminating the air you're breathing out - but actual routinely breathing out fat? I suppose it would explain how you feel if you've had a hard night on the bread and dripping, but really?

And then I discovered what they were trying to tell us. And it's terrifying.

"The Australian team traced the route of fat out of the body as atoms. Their findings are published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal. When fat is broken down to its constituent parts, a couple of things happen. Chemical bonds are broken, a process which releases heat and fuel to power muscles. But the atoms - the stuff fat is made of - remain, and much of these leave the body via the lungs as carbon dioxide, say the scientists."

Stone me. You mean, as in the secret and until now never-heard-of process, (broadly, for I am writing this at a level that even BBC science correspondents might understand) decrees that we break food and oxygen down into water and CO2? Why had nobody ever noticed before?  Oh, they had? Even a fun-facts page like this?

I don't really get it. Maybe this is "persuade the BBC something everybody knows is radical research" week, and it's just not been publicised as well as "Speak like David Attenborough Day"? If so, they've totally conned this particular reporter. Who presumably has a degree in media studies.

Let me finish with this quote from the article:
"Dr Tom Barber, associate professor of endocrinology at Warwick University and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, said the work was interesting and novel, and busted the misperception that fat is simply burned off as energy - something that even many doctors think."
Let me give you some advice. If your doctor seriously thinks that an Einsteinian process of mass being converted into energy is happening every time you eat fat, stay well away from them. They know nothing about the human body, and even less about physics. At e=mc2, if you lose 1 kg of fat on a diet, you will release the same amount of energy as 1,000 Hiroshimas. And I don't think you want that on your conscience, do you? Stay off the diet.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

"People are saying that...."

I was reminded of this blog post when Marston came up to me this afternoon and told me that "people are saying that" I'm imperious, domineering and scary.

Naturally I'm not falling for the old "people are saying that" shtick.  So I decided I would confront it head on. There were 47 Beaker Folk at Filling-up of Beakers this evening. I gave them each a button, and left a jar by the door on the way out.

Basically, if anyone thought I was a bullying control freak, they were to drop their button in the jar. If not, they were to take the button home with them, as a lasting symbol of their loyalty.

Anyway, good news is that a traditionalist friend of mine is being ordained as an Anglican deacon, and is making his own cassock.....

Anyone want a few buttons? I seem to have eight spare.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Church of England / Business Translator

Inspired by this ad for a C of E "Talent Development Manager", at a very tidy salary. Albeit I did wonder if it was a spoof. It was only the word "Parishes" that somehow snuck through that stopped it sounding completely like it was advertising the sort of role that a business that has forgotten its purpose might have used.

So to help any aspiring member of the Church of England who wants to get with the new business-focussed, go-ahead world of Church, here's those key translations from old, boring, failing church-speak to new, dynamic biz-talk:



ChurchBusiness
ParishBranch
VicarBranch manager
Sermon on the MountFormer Business Model
OffertoryRevenue
Diocesan BishopRegional Manager
Suffragan BishopArea Manager
ArchdeaconFacilities Manager
Church CommissionersPensions Committee
ArchbishopChief Executive
EvangelismAdvertising
CathedralAntiques department
Long-serving parish priestUnderachiever
Baptisms/FuneralsCustomer churn
Redundant churchSurplus plant
Supreme GovernorNon-executiveChairman
GodSleeping Partner
EcumenismCo-opetition
PCC Customer Relations
ServantLeader

See, it's not like the Church of England doesn't need to be more dynamic. It's not that it shouldn't identify, train and promote people of vision and creativity.

It's just that it doesn't need to sound like the world, and like it's picking up 10-year-old business models, when it's doing it.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Infecting the Church with Mangerialism

Sometimes you wonder what the organisation you love, give your time and effect is coming to.

It's been a creeping thing, but it's becoming increasingly obvious. Even though it's against our traditions and the things we hold most dear. The Beaker Folk have been infected with Mangerialism.

This idea that we should change our organisational method - adopt the mangerial philosophy - has been criticised by many of the Beaker People. Surely, they say, a hierarchical, top-down movement cannot accept the attitude that, if the place to find the Son of God is in a manger, the first shall be last and humility is the mark of true nearness to God.

Much better, they say, for the leaders of the Druidic Synod to pick the most suitable candidates - i.e. those who work the system, function within the parameters and above all are just like those on the Druidic Synod. Then they can ensure smooth, steady, organised, effective running.

And you know, I think they're right. Mangerialism may be OK for the meek, the humble and those who are meant to be servants. But it's never gonna run an organisation, is it?