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Bishop TrollBot's Lent Meditations


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Inspired by the confidence of the contributors to the Website of the Day thread, I'm here to wish you all a Happy Ash Wednesday as we kick off the season of Lent. I can't promise it will be as funny as my previous sets of Ramavan reflections - but I shall do my best. 

For those of you who want to follow the devotional readings in your own Bibles, I'm going to be following the schedule used by the CofE for their Lent Family Reflections. For those of you that don't, I'm sure you'll find alternative spiritual direction in the 1971 Beano Annual, if you're prepared to call on the Spirit of Biffo the Bear to guide you into all truth.

So today's reading is taken from Romans 10:13-16. That's page 937 in my Bible. It's a fun verse because it raises the awkward question, "If everyone who calls on Jesus to save them is guaranteed to have their life transformed, both now - and beyond the death of their physical body; what the fuck happens to people who don't get to hear this 'good news'? Is God some sort of twisted psycho who delights in sending people to a hell they've never heard of because they didn't believe in a saviour they knew nothing of who would have rescued them from a problem they didn't realise they had?"

It's a good question, because the standard cop out, "Perhaps God has a different way of dealing with them," deserves the reply, "So, thank you very fucking much! You're telling me that I was doing fine, and God would have let me in by the back door because I'm an ignorant pagan before you showed up. But now you've told me your story, I'm going to hell. So, I'd have been better off if you kept your big gob shut!" A better answer is, like a polyamorist's Facebook status; "It's complicated!" 

Deep down, unless you're some sort of narcissist, we all recognise we're not perfect. We set up rules in our heads to help us live with integrity, and we break them. It's a problem we all have in common; but some of us are far better at breaking our inner set of rules, and some of us feel far more guilty about it. This is where your inner theologian sometimes steps in and whispers,"But what if there's someone out there, who can give us the strength of character to live by what we say and can restore us when we let ourselves and others down?" You may not know his name, but I recognise this bloke.

As for me, I'm the awkward bastard who if you try the "Is God a sadist?" shit with me, will answer your question with a question. "I'm so glad to hear that you're concerned about the eternal fate of people who have never heard of Jesus. It may be that the Holy Spirit is using this opportunity to call you to be a missionary to unreached peoples. How do you plan to respond to His call?"

So, since we're talking about missionaries to far-flung places, here's the tale of three missionaries from different denominations, captured by a tribe in the middle of nowhere. The chief of the tribe summons them to a stage outside his hut and declares, "You have been found guilty of trespassing through our ancestral lands and will be given 30 lashes as a penalty. But we are merciful. You may choose one thing to cover your back with to soften the blows of the whip."

First to respond is the Anglican. He whips out a bottle of Chrism Oil and says, "Coat my back with this. God in His grace will protect me." They coat his back with oil, tie him to a post on the platform and whip him mercilessly. The Anglican whimpers in pain as they untie him, and he sits down to watch the fate of the other two.

Next up is the Baptist. Built like the proverbial brick shithouse, he calls out, "Naked we came into this word, and naked we will depart. I choose to follow the example of the Lord Jesus. I choose nothing to protect my back!" After thirty lashes have been administered, he shrugs, and sits next to the Anglican missonary. 

Finally, it's the turn of the Catholic missionary. He stands up on the platfom and says, "I know exactly what I want to protect my back as you whip me. I choose ... the Baptist!"

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  • spunko changed the title to Bishop TrollBot's Lent Meditations

There's a Pete and Dud sketch about this. Dud is puzzled about what happens to people in Africa who haven't heard the gospel. Do they go to heaven or not? He asks his vicar, who tells him that since they have never heard the Good News, they have never had the opportunity to reject it, and are thus automatically granted a place in heaven. But those who have heard the Good News and choose to reject it, go to the Other Place.

Pete thinks for a moment then says 'so these darkies are taking up all the places in heaven. They're keeping you out, Dud.'

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Today's a bit of a spoiler alert. The passage on the list is John 20:1-18. Which suprised me a little - you'd expect a Lent series of readings to skip through different portions of the New Testament building up to the events of Holy Week. Not give the ending away on day 2!

So, we're looking at one of the accounts of the resurrection. And I must admit, if I was a BBC 'journalist' on the scene I'd be telling them they were going at it arse about face if the aim was to 'build a narrative' rather than tell the truth.

"Look!" I'd be saying to them. "You can't have a woman being the first person to meet the Risen Lord. First Century Jewish society will just view her as an unreliable witness - hysterical woman, distraught with grief, obviously turns up at the wrong grave. Bumps into the gardener, who obviously fancies his chances of getting into her knickers if he plays along ... and Boom! The credibility of your narrative is in tatters on the cutting room floor, along with Mary Magdalene's panties."

"What you need is a good strong reliable character as the first witness. Brave Peter; Jesus' best mate, who never let him down. We'll airbrush that unfortunate incident with the rooster out of the story because it doesn't fit the narrative ..."

And this is why I reckon these early accounts are essentially true. Because if you were going to make something up, you wouldn't want a story that raises far more questions than it provides answers to.

Besides which, if they had merely visited the wrong tomb; you can be pretty certain the authorities wouldn't make the same mistake. And a fledgling religion would have disappeared overnight in the face of overwhelming and rather embarrassing facts.

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Today's reading is more like what I'd expect at the beginning of a whistle-stop tour of Jesus' ministry leading up to Good Friday.

It's Matthew 4.18-20 - the old "I will make you fishers of men" passage. I'm going to focus on one really obvious point. It doesn't matter how good your equipment is; whether you studied under the greatest angling teachers or how excited you are about fishing...

...if you fill your bathtub with water, and set your rod and line up...

...I can guarantee, you won't catch any fish!

I know it sounds obvious. If you want to catch fish, you go where the fish are.

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On 17/02/2021 at 11:02, unregistered_guest said:

Inspired by the confidence of the contributors to the Website of the Day thread, I'm here to wish you all a Happy Ash Wednesday as we kick off the season of Lent. I can't promise it will be as funny as my previous sets of Ramavan reflections - but I shall do my best. 

For those of you who want to follow the devotional readings in your own Bibles, I'm going to be following the schedule used by the CofE for their Lent Family Reflections. For those of you that don't, I'm sure you'll find alternative spiritual direction in the 1971 Beano Annual, if you're prepared to call on the Spirit of Biffo the Bear to guide you into all truth.

So today's reading is taken from Romans 10:13-16. That's page 937 in my Bible. It's a fun verse because it raises the awkward question, "If everyone who calls on Jesus to save them is guaranteed to have their life transformed, both now - and beyond the death of their physical body; what the fuck happens to people who don't get to hear this 'good news'? Is God some sort of twisted psycho who delights in sending people to a hell they've never heard of because they didn't believe in a saviour they knew nothing of who would have rescued them from a problem they didn't realise they had?"

It's a good question, because the standard cop out, "Perhaps God has a different way of dealing with them," deserves the reply, "So, thank you very fucking much! You're telling me that I was doing fine, and God would have let me in by the back door because I'm an ignorant pagan before you showed up. But now you've told me your story, I'm going to hell. So, I'd have been better off if you kept your big gob shut!" A better answer is, like a polyamorist's Facebook status; "It's complicated!" 

Deep down, unless you're some sort of narcissist, we all recognise we're not perfect. We set up rules in our heads to help us live with integrity, and we break them. It's a problem we all have in common; but some of us are far better at breaking our inner set of rules, and some of us feel far more guilty about it. This is where your inner theologian sometimes steps in and whispers,"But what if there's someone out there, who can give us the strength of character to live by what we say and can restore us when we let ourselves and others down?" You may not know his name, but I recognise this bloke.

As for me, I'm the awkward bastard who if you try the "Is God a sadist?" shit with me, will answer your question with a question. "I'm so glad to hear that you're concerned about the eternal fate of people who have never heard of Jesus. It may be that the Holy Spirit is using this opportunity to call you to be a missionary to unreached peoples. How do you plan to respond to His call?"

So, since we're talking about missionaries to far-flung places, here's the tale of three missionaries from different denominations, captured by a tribe in the middle of nowhere. The chief of the tribe summons them to a stage outside his hut and declares, "You have been found guilty of trespassing through our ancestral lands and will be given 30 lashes as a penalty. But we are merciful. You may choose one thing to cover your back with to soften the blows of the whip."

First to respond is the Anglican. He whips out a bottle of Chrism Oil and says, "Coat my back with this. God in His grace will protect me." They coat his back with oil, tie him to a post on the platform and whip him mercilessly. The Anglican whimpers in pain as they untie him, and he sits down to watch the fate of the other two.

Next up is the Baptist. Built like the proverbial brick shithouse, he calls out, "Naked we came into this word, and naked we will depart. I choose to follow the example of the Lord Jesus. I choose nothing to protect my back!" After thirty lashes have been administered, he shrugs, and sits next to the Anglican missonary. 

Finally, it's the turn of the Catholic missionary. He stands up on the platfom and says, "I know exactly what I want to protect my back as you whip me. I choose ... the Baptist!"

I enjoy Jesus' learned Biblical studies.

They offer posters a chance to ask questions of a learned religious bent.

For instance -

Does heaven have Netflix and Pormhub? The good pornhub, with the hot amateur girls who might not of known their moves had been put on interweb.

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On 18/02/2021 at 17:01, unregistered_guest said:

Today's a bit of a spoiler alert. The passage on the list is John 20:1-18. Which suprised me a little - you'd expect a Lent series of readings to skip through different portions of the New Testament building up to the events of Holy Week. Not give the ending away on day 2!

So, we're looking at one of the accounts of the resurrection. And I must admit, if I was a BBC 'journalist' on the scene I'd be telling them they were going at it arse about face if the aim was to 'build a narrative' rather than tell the truth.

"Look!" I'd be saying to them. "You can't have a woman being the first person to meet the Risen Lord. First Century Jewish society will just view her as an unreliable witness - hysterical woman, distraught with grief, obviously turns up at the wrong grave. Bumps into the gardener, who obviously fancies his chances of getting into her knickers if he plays along ... and Boom! The credibility of your narrative is in tatters on the cutting room floor, along with Mary Magdalene's panties."

"What you need is a good strong reliable character as the first witness. Brave Peter; Jesus' best mate, who never let him down. We'll airbrush that unfortunate incident with the rooster out of the story because it doesn't fit the narrative ..."

And this is why I reckon these early accounts are essentially true. Because if you were going to make something up, you wouldn't want a story that raises far more questions than it provides answers to.

Besides which, if they had merely visited the wrong tomb; you can be pretty certain the authorities wouldn't make the same mistake. And a fledgling religion would have disappeared overnight in the face of overwhelming and rather embarrassing facts.

Is the Easter Bunny a disciple?

If I eat my Easter egg now, do I go hell?

Which have bigger tits - catholic or prod Nuns?

 

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1 hour ago, unregistered_guest said:

It's Matthew 4.18-20 - the old "I will make you fishers of men" passage. I'm going to focus on one really obvious point. It doesn't matter how good your equipment is; whether you studied under the greatest angling teachers or how excited you are about fishing...

...if you fill your bathtub with water, and set your rod and line up...

...I can guarantee, you won't catch any fish!

I know it sounds obvious. If you want to catch fish, you go where the fish are.

I'd ban fishing

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5 hours ago, unregistered_guest said:

Today's reading is more like what I'd expect at the beginning of a whistle-stop tour of Jesus' ministry leading up to Good Friday.

It's Matthew 4.18-20 - the old "I will make you fishers of men" passage. I'm going to focus on one really obvious point. It doesn't matter how good your equipment is; whether you studied under the greatest angling teachers or how excited you are about fishing...

...if you fill your bathtub with water, and set your rod and line up...

...I can guarantee, you won't catch any fish!

I know it sounds obvious. If you want to catch fish, you go where the fish are.

I used to enjoy Biblical parables - this one is more for the single men of Dosbods.  

“Where the fish are”, despite the name, is not on Plenty of Fish. 

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11 hours ago, spygirl said:

Does heaven have Netflix and Pormhub? The good pornhub, with the hot amateur girls who might not of known their moves had been put on interweb.

You will be pleased to know that the Apostle Paul answered your question in the affirmative. You might be less pleased with the implications of his answer.

Next time you're at a wedding and they read that bit from 1 Corinthians 13 about love -- don't fall asleep near the end, because verse 12 contains your answer.

Right now, we see reality through a distorted mirror because we only experience it in a linear fashion through our own senses. Beyond the grave, BAM! We're hit with all the knowledge of eternity in one great, glorious awful instant.

So, yes, you get all of Pornhub - but at a cost; and it's not a monthly subscription. You also get to experience the thoughts and motivations, hopes, fears and painful disappointments of all the girls there. And they get to see yours, and all the other blokes who had a sly wank over them - and the ones who said, "No, she's not pretty enough to satisfy my onanistic urges," when what they really meant was, "I want another guy's cock up my own arse."

It is going to be particularly painful for those of us who have cultivated a shiny outer shell of respectability, but deep down inside we hide the fact that spiritually we've more in common with a foul-smelling rotting corpse than our angelic appearance would imply. My only consolation is that I won't be the only one.

It will be for all of us, like that awkward moment when you were 13 years old, watching a post watershed movie with your parents and you get a painfully obvious boner. You know they know that you're going to have to wank it off later. Imagine that multiplied ten billion times over, and you're not even close to how it will feel.

Sorry about the buzzkill - but you had to ask, didn't you?

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12 hours ago, spygirl said:

Is the Easter Bunny a disciple?

If I eat my Easter egg now, do I go hell?

Which have bigger tits - catholic or prod Nuns?

 

We stole the Easter Bunny from Astarte. At some point the RSPCA and the Modern Slavery Task Force will mount a private prosecution against the Archbishop of Canterbury in order to right this wrong.

In some households, eating your sibling's Eater egg during Lent will see you dispatched to hell a whole lot faster.

At the moment the biggest tits in Christendom are still discussing whether preachers who predicted a win for Donald Trump should be treated as false prophets.

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Remember, you only get one meditation at the weekend. Each Sunday is a feast day during Lent, so if your vicar looks like he's completely off his tits (or her tits, if it's a lady vicar) after just one swig of Communion wine, you'll know he's been abstaining from alcohol during the week.

So here it is. John 1.45-47 - it's another story of the first disciples getting together. And there's a question. An odd one. "Can anything good come from Nazareth?"

It's like the story about Price Charles and a state visit to Macclesfield. Where he turns up wearing a hat made out of fox fur. The local reporter is intrigued by this, so he asks him, "Your highness, that's an interesting hat you've got on. Would you mind sharing with the viewers why you chose it for today's ceremony at the Town Hall?"

"Certainly," replies the prince. "I've no idea about what sort of fashions you young people are into nowadays, so when Harry and Meghan skyped me last night, I told them about my trip here and asked their advice about what to wear. Well, Harry and Megan looked at eachother and then Harry looked at me and said, 'Dad, Macclesfield? Wear the fox hat!' so I did!"

And that's the whole point. The Creator of the universe could have chosen any family, any location, any date and time to enter our world. But He chose the humblest of circumstances to make an important point. He's here for all of us. Not just the clever, the rich or the powerful. It doesn't matter who you are, where you're from or what you've done. He's here for you.

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And so, we begin a new week of meditations. This time, they will all focus on Jesus as the supreme storyteller. Because everyone loves a good story! That's why birds buy Take a Break and blokes tell each other dirty jokes when they're allowed to go to the pub.

Feel sorry for the poor souls in the joke-fabrication sweatshops, toiling under a hot sunlamp, trying desperately to craft something funny out of witnessing the slow-moving car crash we refer to as modern life. Jesus understood their plight, with twats on all sides demanding miracles while spectacularly missing the point.

Today's short passage is Matthew 13.34-35. The parables are for those who get it. If you're not ready for the message wrapped up in it, it just goes whoosh over your head.

What I like about his listeners' reactions is when the religious people finally work out what He's on about; and suddenly realise that they have been the butt of His joke all along. And then it dawns on them that they are powerless. Now that the story is out, and understood; they cannot hoover it back into a repository for dangerous ideas. People can't un-hear what they have heard or un-see what they have seen.

So, what's your story? And what damage could it do to a wall of self-importance and hypocrisy?

 

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And it's time for another meditation. This one is based on Luke 14.16-24. Yes, you're invited to a party! Now, not everyone likes parties. To me, they're a source of unnecessary stress. OK, you get fed and watered (if the party's any good). But do you really want to be forced to smile as you listen to some drunken baboon's unfunny anecdote about how he lost his keys while on holiday in Spain, or was it France - he was too pissed at the time to remember? The rambling charade wasn't in the least bit amusing when you heard it at the last works do...

So I can sympathise with the people who reply to the Big Boss' RSVP with a resounding fuck off. Although some of the excuses are just plain weird! I've just bought a yoke of oxen and need to try them out in my back yard. But the party's at 8:00pm! What sort of addle-pated loon is into nocturnal ploughing? Or; my mail-order bride has just arrived so we're going to be shagging non-stop for the next three days! I take my hat off to these people, such creativity, such nerve.

And you can imagine normal people scratching their heads thinking, "What sort of twat turns down VIP tickets for the Party of the Century?" And that's the point!

If you're in any way 'normal' you'd have been swanning around for the past three weeks, flashing your golden tickets while gushing about how special you were. You most certainly wouldn't be letting anything else clash with this.

And of course, that's what we see. "Religious" folks making a vast outward show of how special they are ... but when it comes to the stuff that actually matters - the very purpose of the faith they are supposed to profess - they're missing in action!

So, what does the Big Boss do? He fills the place with the broken and imperfect - people like you and me. We may not look special, we certainly don't brag about it - but we do turn up and get on with the job. Even if we don't like parties!

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Another day, another parable This time it's Luke 15.3-7 Especially for our Welsh brethren. Yes, that's right, I'm going to talk about the negative stereotypes that are casually assigned to whole groups of people by those who should know better.

I'm reminded of the story of the Rhyl taxi driver, who was taking his passengers to their hotel, while pointing out some of the local landmarks en route. "You see that tower there? I designed and built that tower with my own bare hands. But do they call me Dewi the tower builder? No they don't. And you see that sea wall? I built that all on my own. But do they call me Dewi the sea wall builder? No they don't."

As they pulled up at the hotel, he turned round and continued, "I drive more tourists round here than anyone else, but do they call me Dewi the taxi driver? No they don't." Then, lowering his voice he finished his complaint, "But you get caught, just once, shagging a sheep..."

So, yes, stereotypes. I once heard an evangelist say that First Century Jews didn't tell Irish jokes. Because that would be a bit pointless. "Have you heard the one about the pagans who paint themselves with woad in a country that the Romans haven't got round to conquering yet, so we don't really know enough about them to laugh at their expense? No, neither have I."

But they did tell shepherd jokes. Now I can understand that. You think about it, being a shepherd meant sitting around in the hot sun, keeping an eye on these stupid woolly beasts. And if a dangerous predator decided it was lunch time. Well, whoopee! You've got a stick and some stones to ward off those sharp teeth and claws.

So, who would get this job? That's right, in a large family, it would be the one whose complaints were least likely to carry any weight. The runty young kid. Yeah, King David, I'm looking at you, with your harp and your slingshot.

But, if you didn't have a compliant child to hand, then you'd have to pay someone to do it. By definition, the only people you're going to get are the ones who are both too stupid to do anything else, and too stupid to realise what a shitty job they've gotten themselves into.

Now you can understand why angels appearing to a bunch of shepherds to announce the Messiah's birth is a great big glowing "Fuck off" sign to the rich and powerful. Revolutionary stuff...

So Jesus tells a story, and it's a shepherd joke. Have you heard the one about the shepherd looking after 100 sheep, but when he counts them, there's only 99? What would you do? Chalk it up as 'one of those things' and claim on the insurance? Take the 99 to a nice safe pen and then grab some volunteers for a quick scout round, just in case there is a sheep-eating wolf in the hills?

No, of course not! You're a shepherd. You're going to leave the 99 standing around at the mercy of the local carnivores, while you traipse round the countryside looking for it.

And when you find it, are you going to give it a swift kick up the arse to let it know that it shouldn't be so stupid to wander off from the flock? Will you return to the 99 sheep to make sure you've not lost any more while you've had your adventure?

No, of course not! You're a shepherd. You're going to pick up the filthy, smelly animal and wear it round your neck like the latest fashion accessory while you go into town, leaving the rest of the flock in the hills. You'll parade down the high street, stopping passers by and telling them about how you've saved this one lost sheep.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what God's like.

Those of us who have experienced His forgiveness cannot think of a logical reason to explain why God's grace has singled us out. It makes as much sense as a shaggy dog story about a mad shepherd. But we're bloody glad that He did.

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Still on the subject of stereotypes. So, yes, you've guessed it. Today's meditation will focus on Luke 15.8-10 - or casual misogyny, First Century style...

That's right - the parable of the lost coin. The scenario is all too familiar to some of us. Mrs Bint loses a 50p coin - one minute it was in her purse. The next, vanish!

So where did this coin go? "It'll be in the last place you look," as my old grandmother used to say. "No, Gran," we'd reply. "After we've found it we'll spend another half-hour looking for it, just because we love the buzz that comes with ransacking a house to the extent that a gang of burglars would end up making the place look tidier if they broke in!"

We've got no idea about the coin's eventual location. My guess would be that it ended up in the bathroom cabinet, next to the cotton buds that you're not supposed to clean your ears with. So, what the fuck are you supposed to do with them, then?

But Mrs Bint doesn't sleep on it, and then, in the morning, when it's light, and she's refreshed from a good night' sleep, start the process of systematically retracing her steps.

Oh no. It's got to be found - NOW!

So, every light gets switched on, arousing the inner curmudgeon that lurks in every man as he sees such a pointless waste of electricity. The place gets hoovered - mainly so the man of the house can't relax and gets guilt-tripped into looking behind sofa cushions where anything could be lurking. Socks come out of hiding from the darkest of recesses.

And then, hallelujah. The coin is found, just before frayed tempers finally snap. It is returned to the purse, and the happy couple can finally go to bed. Too exhausted to shag.

And in the morning, what does Mrs Bint do? Yes, you've guessed it. She goes to Tesco and spends a fiver on one of those celebration chocolate cakes and invites all her friends to come over that evening to celebrate that fact that she found 50p that she thought she'd lost!

And that, according to Jesus, is what God's like.

Because we're the lost 50p. Our restoration has resulted in far more expenditure than our nominal worth - but that's not the point. It was never the point. What mattered was that once, we were lost, and now, we've been found.

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20 minutes ago, unregistered_guest said:

Still on the subject of stereotypes. So, yes, you've guessed it. Today's meditation will focus on Luke 15.8-10 - or casual misogyny, First Century style...

That's right - the parable of the lost coin. The scenario is all too familiar to some of us. Mrs Bint loses a 50p coin - one minute it was in her purse. The next, vanish!

So where did this coin go? "It'll be in the last place you look," as my old grandmother used to say. "No, Gran," we'd reply. "After we've found it we'll spend another half-hour looking for it, just because we love the buzz that comes with ransacking a house to the extent that a gang of burglars would end up making the place look tidier if they broke in!"

We've got no idea about the coin's eventual location. My guess would be that it ended up in the bathroom cabinet, next to the cotton buds that you're not supposed to clean your ears with. So, what the fuck are you supposed to do with them, then?

But Mrs Bint doesn't sleep on it, and then, in the morning, when it's light, and she's refreshed from a good night' sleep, start the process of systematically retracing her steps.

Oh no. It's got to be found - NOW!

So, every light gets switched on, arousing the inner curmudgeon that lurks in every man as he sees such a pointless waste of electricity. The place gets hoovered - mainly so the man of the house can't relax and gets guilt-tripped into looking behind sofa cushions where anything could be lurking. Socks come out of hiding from the darkest of recesses.

And then, hallelujah. The coin is found, just before frayed tempers finally snap. It is returned to the purse, and the happy couple can finally go to bed. Too exhausted to shag.

And in the morning, what does Mrs Bint do? Yes, you've guessed it. She goes to Tesco and spends a fiver on one of those celebration chocolate cakes and invites all her friends to come over that evening to celebrate that fact that she found 50p that she thought she'd lost!

And that, according to Jesus, is what God's like.

Because we're the lost 50p. Our restoration has resulted in far more expenditure than our nominal worth - but that's not the point. It was never the point. What mattered was that once, we were lost, and now, we've been found.

I for one will be happy to elect you to the papacy once the current chancer shuffles off. You will have to abandon the CoE schtick but that’s not stopped many...

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And on to today's meditation - based of the most outrageous bit of scripture that was ever written. Yes, it's Luke 15.11-32, the Prodigal Son. It sounds like a lovey-dovey story of hippy-dippy harmony - until you tear away the shrouds to realise the dynamics behind what's going on...

For those of you who prefer your scripture set to music - here's Keith Green's take on the topic - it's 12 minutes long!

It's a fascinating tale. The son starts off by demanding his inheritance - "Hi, Dad. Why aren't you dead yet?" Then he goes to town, spends half of it on hookers, a third of it on booze, an eighth on drugs. The rest, he just wastes.

Where does he end up? On a pig farm - there's some interesting symbolism there, or so my mate Legion tells me. I do wonder if Legion ever thought about changing his name after his exorcism. But then you know what happens if you don't pay your exorcist, don't you? That's right. You get repossessed!

Anyway, just like Legion, he comes to his senses. Makes up a big speech about how sorry he is and what he wants to do to make amends. But, he never gets a chance to say it. As soon as he gets within sight of home, his dad comes out to meet him. There's some powerful symbolism right there too.

And then, there's a third character - the other brother. Hard-working, loyal, and right now, massively resentful. This wastrel has returned after fucking his life up and pissing his inheritance away, and is being treated like royalty. The brother scratches his head as he tries to remember the last time he enjoyed himself...

He confronts his dad, and is basically told, "You're a fuckwit! You could have had a party at any time to celebrate anything you wanted. But you didn't. You need to understand that you can't earn what is  yours by right of birth. Otherwise, you're as lost as your brother was - the difference is, he's realised that he was dead on the inside."

It's a scary story for anyone who thinks that doing religious stuff makes them better than their neighbours or earns some kind of divine brownie points to be exchanged at some nebulous time in the future.

What God actually wants is His kids to talk to Him. Not to spend their time behaving as if He was dead, or pretend that they are serving Him. Both are equally shitty things to do - But to break out of the self-destructive cycle, we need a change of heart. 

 

 

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Another weekend, so remember - you don't get another meditation until Monday. Today's passage is 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

After the parables, it seems like a bit of an anticlimax. It makes an important point though. Our motivation is experiential. We don't go around telling people about Jesus because we're scared that we'll be squashed by a Pythonesque foot descending from the clouds if we dare to say, "Fuck it, I'm too tired to bother saving the world today." That image is about as valid as the view of God as a Ponzified life insurance salesman, with a special bonus for you for every friend and family member you get to sign up for a policy.

We feel we have something to share because the book we read validates the experience we have had. Our experience; that there is a supernatural dimension to reality, through which we can enter into a personal relationship with our Creator to achieve the potential we have to make a positive impact on our family and friends - is mirrored by the guidance we receive from the book.

If they didn't, we'd be a pitiful sight - trying to grasp the ungraspable or understand the unfathomable with no support from the other side of a shadowy unreality. It would be better for us to believe the Bronze Age myth that there is no god than to try to reach one who has not reached out to us first.

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