Thursday, 27 July 2017

In Parables #notgb17

I was thinking about that bit where Jesus tells his disciples the explanations to parables, but "the crowds" only get half a story.

And I realised for the first time (for I'm a little dim) that the two groups don't have a Donald Trump style wall between them. These groups aren't as Lazarus and Dives who have a gulf set between them. Rather, they're potentially dynamic. Someone wanting to know the second half doesn't need to sit in eternal darkness, wondering who the goats are or what darnel represents. They just have to move themselves from the outside to the inside group. Then they can have the explanation.

Which goes against 50+ years of Church making itself accessible by simplifying; of dumbing our theology to God as our dad and Jesus as our boyfriend. Of simple theology and burying mystery and hard stuff. Of floating paper hearts in paddling pools at All Souls when we should be considering the Fear of Israel and praying we are saved from the wrath to come. We can just put things in our own way, half-explained. And if people want to know more they can ask

To that end, this year's Beaker Folk stream at #notgb17 will be "Preach the Gospel. And don't worry if they don't understand it." The keynote speaker will be Drayton, who will be speaking on the hymn "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood." Vespers will be in the Syriac tradition. And in keeping with this conceal/reveal model of parables, people proving by their donations that they are true believers will receive an English translation.

Just giving page for #notgb17 in aid of Big Issue Foundation

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Vicars are Revolting

Gavin Ashenden, formerly one of 783 or so chaplains to the Queen, is threatening a "Vicar Rebellion" against assorted wrong things - according to the Telegraph.

But 23 clergy of some kind is hardly a "rebellion". That's more on the level of a minor upset at a chapter tea party. What's the collective term for a small number of upset clergy? A schismette?

Let's face it, Reverend G and his 22 friends ain't gonna 'hold the streets" in the worst clergy riots since the Popish Plot.

The article quotes the Revd Dr Sanlon of Tunbridge Wells. It doesn't say he is "disgusted". But I bet he is.

Still, I'm now anxiously awaiting them to drive some tanks in appropriate liturgical colours on Synod.

"What do we want?"

"Traditional Biblical sexual morality."

"When do we want it?"

"1523."

Leaning Into God

Today's Big Topic in the Moot House: "Leaning into God - What does it mean if we fall over?"

Leaks in the Church

A Folkstone Church discovers the cause of its leaky roof - a World War II bullet.

Worth watching to wonder why it didn't occur to the congregation at the time - there being a war one. But I suppose they could have been distracted by the Home Guard amusingly getting caught up in the bell ropes while shouting "Don't Panic".

Which reminds me - for those of Anglo-Catholic persuasion especially  - isn't the verger's attitude towards the vicar spot on in its portrayal? And shouldn't it have been stamped out back then?

I digress. The piece also has a niche bit of subtitling failure, as "flèche" gets rendered "flesh". You just can't find a subtitler with an interest in church architecture when you need one.

But it does remind me of when we had a similar problem with leaks. Took us months to find out the source. Then it turned out to be Denzyl on the Pastoral Committee, sharing what he shouldn't down the White Horse. We soon plugged that.

Monday, 24 July 2017

"Any Answers" - the Nation Speaks

Anita Anand: Welcome to "Any Answers". And we have a call from Eloise from Ealing.

Eloise: Hello, Anita

Anita: Eloise, you had something to say about the changes to the pension age for women?

Eloise: Yes. I'm just the age that will suffer from the latest Government change. And I think it shouldn't apply to me. It should affect people slightly older.

Anita: Thanks, Eloise. Anything else?

Eloise: Yes. I think people named after songs by The Damned should get extra pensions.

Anita Thanks.  And now we've got Arthur from Acton.

Arthur: Hello, Anita. I'm in Acton. And I've noticed that houses in Acton are more expensive than those in Herefordshire or parts of Alfreton.

Anita: OK Arthur. So what should happen to deal with this?

Arthur: I suggest a massive subsidy for people in Acton, to restore the balance.

Anita: Thanks Arthur.  Rodney from Rockingham?

Rodney: Like all the people in Rockingham I live on a hill.

Anita: So what do you think the Government should do about this, Rodney?

Rodney: Oh, nothing. I just thought the nation deserved to hear my beautifully modulated tones and incisive analysis.

**** Nation turns to Radio 5 and wishes the football season had started again ****

Service Commemorating the Obsolescence of Microsoft Paint

Archdruid: Woe are we. For the simple tool for drawing is no more.

All: What shall we do? Where shall we go?

Archdruid: No more shall we make graven images.

All: And save them in a variety of poor-quality formats.

Archdruid: For we don't want to pay for Photoshop.

All: And we don't like googling "GIMP", though it is free, because it's hard to pick the right page without having to wipe out our browser history afterwards.


Archdruid: How shall I tweak images just enough that they still look roughly like they're supposed to, but not so much I get in copyright trouble?

Trekkies: How shall we spend hours creating detailed pictures of the Starship Enterprise, one pixel at a time?

All: Don't you lot all have Macs?

Trekkies: Oh yeah. Good point. Just ignore us.

All: We usually do.

Archdruid: And so shall I resort to creating pictures in Powerpoint.

Charlii: And exporting them as PNGs.

Archdruid: Or JPGs.

Charlii: Or GIFs.

Archdruid: Or WMFs.

All: Enough of the different image formats already!

Trekkies: Actually, we think you'll find JPGs are as dead as DVDs.

All: We thought we were supposed to ignore you?

Trekkies: Oops.

All: Isn't your "Paint Gravestone" just the same idea as the BBC one only not as good?

Archdruid: Yeah, I copied it then changed it a bit...

All: ....to avoid getting done for copyright.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Church of England - Ahead of the BBC since 2013

The BBC has announced its salaries, and it is apparent that it systematically pays women less than men for their "talent".

There are some valid objections you could make and they go like this:

"Talent at the BBC gets paid too much" - you could make this argument, and the counter to it is that the BBC is competing in a market where it needs to pay what is appropriate. You can choose which is right - you could argue (in my opinion rightly) that I could read an autocue just as well as the average BBC newsreader. But there's a counter to it.

"The men at the BBC should be paid less, not the women more" - you may be right, see my comments about the market, above.

"Nurses deserve more than Charlie from Casualty" - you may be right, but we can't afford to pay them it. There's thousands of nurses and only one Charlie from Casualty.

"It's wrong that men should earn more than women for doing the same job." Yeah, that's unarguable. Consder this. The Church of England pays women bishops the same as men bishops. They pay women priests the same as men priests. More women are Self-Supporting, which opens up all sorts of disussion, and there's still catching up to do in numbers for bishops, but for the same job, men and women get paid the same. Likewise the Methodists and the URC. And the Methodists have been ahead for years. I'm sure that once the Catholics have a woman as Pope, she'll get paid the same as the male Pope.

The BBC, in short - that bastion of equality, progressiveness, fairness and all the rest - is way behind the churches. Just as it was behind the Anglicans (and miles behind the Methodists) in having a female bishop / superintendent / Time Lord. The Church of England - ahead of the BBC in equality since 2013.

Reasons why the Congregation is so Small Bingo

You may be a visiting preacher, you may be a visiting worshipper, or you may be the Bishop of Little Brickhill.  But one thing you can be sure. Wherever you go to church, the congregation size will be, according to the welcomer, vicar or steward, a bit smaller than could normally be expected.

Well, if you're a regular visitor you'll need something to relieve the sense of wondering why the congregations all seem to be avoiding you. So feel free to take this cut-out-and-keep "Reasons why the Congregation is so Small Bingo". When you have five in a line, shout "Half Empty House of God!" 

They’ve all gone away for the summer holidays It’s First Sunday. People do other things on First Sunday It’s pet service this afternoon  so they’re all busy grooming their animals There’s a lot of colds about at the minute It’s a Benefice combined communion. So nobody comes. Joan’s in hospital* The kids these days don’t come because of football They’ve all gone to Blackpool + It’s too hot It’s cheaper to go away after the summer holidays They’re digging up Church Lane and you’ve got to park in Church Close Kids these days just play on their Playstation X-box Ninjatendos They’ve all gone away before the summer holidays It’s the All Age Service Green Belt this weekend All the young ones are at Soul Survivor There’s a lot of hay fever about at the minute They all discovered Tinder last week It’s too cold These days we’re competing with Sunday morning telly It’s raining It’s a baptism so they all went to the 8am The children are away at camp It’s High Mass It’s Parade Service at the other church There’s a lot of bubonic plague about at the minute  It’s snowing They’ve heard the sermon before It’s Spring Harvest. So the Easter Day service is a bit dead They’ve all died.


* Replace "Joan" with "Elsie" as appropriate
+ Or appropriate nearby holiday location. Especially appropriate in residential retirement home communions.

"Bossy Woman"

Quite an evening yesterday as Marston Moretaine, at our Micro-Moot, said he was fed up with Charlii being "bossy".

Naturally Charlii asked for specific evidence as to bossiness.  Which Marstone told us was a specific example of bossiness. Took us quite a long while till we found out what he really meant.

When I say quite a long while, I mean: until now.

Turns out that when Marston said Charlii was "bossy", he meant she has opinions which she is prepared to support with reasoned argument.

We've had to put him in for re-training. This could take a while.