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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Definitely Not Greenbelt 2016

Once again the Beaker Folk have travelled up to Graham Heartland's "Not GB" festival.

Got here early yesterday morning. Albeit turned out we really were a bit early. No stewards, no tents, no cars, no happy campers. Just owls.

Scary creatures, owls. We locked the coach door and sang comforting songs till day broke. I say "comforting". Six hours of " Kum By Ah" got a bit much, to be honest. Then a bloke came and knocked at the coach door.

Turned out because of the hi viz, he assumed we were the construction crew for the authentic "Greenbelt 1986-style" toilets. And I didn't like to argue. Not least because, with the Beaker Folk busy digging enormous holes in the ground, I could nip off and put the Archdruidical Tentiplex up in peace, without Marston tying himself up with guy ropes while helping. Funny thing, last year, the number of times he did it you'd think he enjoyed me having to untie him while swearing at him.

Did make me wonder why he was still putting his tent up by day 4.

Anyway. They all asked how come I'd dragged them out into the virtual countryside to engage in manual labour. So I told them they were actually digging ritual pits into which people would later be making offerings. Seemed to persuade them.

So today we've just been to early morning worship with the Isle of Wight community. They're like the Iona Community except every act of worship ends with ritually cursing Ofsted.

If you want to attend Not GB 2016, you can find Graham's blog here. The Twitter feed is here.

And most importantly #notgb2016 is a nonprofit, virtual organisation. All of its revenue goes to the Big Issue Foundation. And you can just give here.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Only Pub in the Village

Going through a village last week and saw the last pub had been boarded up, fenced off and was going through a metamorphosis into four apartments and three executive homes.

And I felt something should be done.

We need some really strong laws to stop this sort of thing happening, ripping the hearts out of local communities. So, in accordance with the book of 1 Kings, I thought I'd propose that the last pub in a village only be converted to housing at the cost of the firstborn of those responsible.

Yeah, but we're talking property developers, ain't we. 

Wouldn't make the slightest difference. 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Uncivil Celebrant

I'm now registered as an Uncivil Celebrant for weddings. 

It's like being a Civil Celebrant. But you get to say rude things about the bride and drag up episodes from the groom's past he'd rather not think about. 

Got a bit edgy today though. I accused the congregation of being a bunch of scroungers who were on the sick while perfectly fit to turn up to a wedding.

Didn't get anything in the collection.

The Spirituality of Gardens

A Japanese gravel garden is a wonderful spiritual thing. Simple, yet able to carry the most wonderful messages through the patterns in the gravel. A nice flowering cherry and some wind chimes will set the ambience off a treat.

So if all Beaker Folk could please gather at the Archdruidical Lodge at 9am please. That ground's got to be flattened, a foundation put in and 5 tonnes of gravel carried through from the car park.

It's not often we allow ordinary Beaker Folk to enter the Druid's Garden. So please reflect upon this privilege. And work quietly.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Christian Voice's "Sideboard of Weird"

Everybody knows about the Daily Mail's "Sidebar of Shame". Mostly links to lightly-clad young ladies with comments like "hasn't she blossomed" or somesuch.

But the Christian Voice "Sideboard of Weird" is even worse. I attach a* copy of the ads they list. Bear in min these are "sponsored links" - not any old rubbish like you might get at the bottom of "Writes of the Church".

Knowing "The Name of Your Angel?"  What part of the Bible does that come from?

"How to know God" and "Free Coaching" - are these related?

But the ones that did for me were the bottom three.

"Over 40s Dating Website" and "Widows Dating Online" (presumably not with other widows, which would cause poor performance in the diving). But those two together caused me to read the last one as "Instant Grandma Checker". Freudian or just failing eyesight? Either way, if you're on an over 40s dating website, best check your grandma.

In case you're wondering - the Gaylord in the Isle of Dogs is an Indian restaurant. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Though I suspect this may be an interesting case of an advertising algorithm horribly misfiring.

* Low res, cropped, definitely not in breach of copyright under fair use

"Going Gay" and Losing the Diving

Good piece from Cranmer on rather a crass tweet from the Twitter account of Christian "Voice" (or possibly "Christian" Voice) to which I'm not going to link.

The tweet implying that Tom Daley had lost the diving because he had turned gay came in association with another that - by pointing out Tom Daley's fiancé is older than him - kind of implied (without actually saying it) that there was something further creepy about the whole business.

Daley has, since unexpectedly turning gay, won a bronze in the synchronised diving. I assume that the sight of Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow, hugging while dressed in nothing more than budgie-smugglers, pushed the owner of the Christian Voice account into some kind of spasm. After all, the account had mostly shown an obsessive interest in the sexual organs of Caster Semenya - way beyond anything that would be regarded as merely a scientific inquiry into whether her victory was legitimate.

The trouble with "Christian" Voice is that it puts us in a bind. If we disagree with them we draw attention to them. If we ignore them, people might think Christians are all like that. But if hanging around with a gay bloke can turn you gay, I'd advise against hanging around with Christian Voice. You might turn all bigoted. And then you'd never win in an Olympic diving event. It would be so distracting. I mean - if you were in the changing rooms you wouldn't know where to look for the best.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Beaker Stall at Greenbelt Cancelled

Our special Beaker Yurt for Introverted Intuitives at Greenbelt has had to be cancelled.

It's not that the people running it didn't think it was a good idea. They just couldn't be bothered to work out the fine details like what colour to make the tent. Marvis was last seen in Aspley Heath, wondering whether fruit flies get obsessed about how many legs they have.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Church Committee Subtitles

"We tried that before and it didn't work"

- Nothing has changed in the last 40 years. At least, not in this little world.

"We don't want to do anything that upsets people."

- A slow but quiet decline is preferable to a noisy change.

"People are saying"

- I am saying, but that doesn't sound very impressive on its own.

"With the greatest respect"

- Your opinion ain't worth a pile of dingo's kidneys

"I have been a member of this church for 60 years"

- I have no real argument but RESPECT MY AUTHORITY

"I believe the Spirit is saying"

- I have no real argument but RESPECT GOD'S AUTHORITY

"Does this need a faculty?"

- I have a great respect for the fabric of the church building and we should consider things properly.

"Sometimes we need to stop talking and arguing about what people want, and make the decision that is right for the church.

- I'm the bloody vicar, I am.*

"Does this need a faculty?"

- I'd like to delay this proposal for 12 months, by which time I'll get the other nay-sayers onto the committee

"I have brought a petition?"

- I've asked all the people who agree with me.

"If we do (X) Old Maisie won't come to church again."

- Old Maisie came to church last at Septuagesima 2001. She refused to come back because she didn't like the shade of green in the altar frontal. But her objection to (X) would be completely rational.

"I have some Any Other Business"

- I have something out of left field that means nobody will get home till midnight.

"If this mission is successful - will we have enough parking?"

- I hate change and this is the best I've got.

"Archdruid Elfride would never have allowed this."

- Elfride is dead, if indeed she ever existed, so you have no way of arguing with this. We loved Elfride. Like we will love you. Once you've gone.

"I don't understand why the diocese thinks we should pay so much."

- I believe that vicars can live on fresh air and sunshine. And why do they need families?

"Should we refer this to the Property Committee?

- Should be a good 6 months delay without even trying.

"And now for the Mission and Outreach Committee."

- Grab some popcorn. This will be a 30 minute explanation of why they've not met lately.


"Let us close the meeting in prayer"

- Probably the way we should have started it.


* (c) Monty Python (more or less)

Steering Commitee Update

Bad news from the Steering Committee.

The slalom was just too tricky. Always a problem when there's 4 people steering. Cones and flags everywhere.