From the category archives:

Stuff

Talking turkey

by Richard on December 25, 2014

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Noel: Maddy Prior & the Carnival Band

by Richard on December 24, 2014

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Pope takes Vatican to task

by Richard on December 23, 2014

BBC News: Pope Francis sharply criticises Vatican bureaucracy
Pope Francis has sharply criticised the Vatican bureaucracy in a pre-Christmas address to cardinals, complaining of “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and “the terrorism of gossip”.
He said the Curia - the administrative pinnacle of the Roman Catholic Church - was suffering from 15 “ailments”, which he wanted cured in the New [...]

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Democracy in the workplace: the Rochdale Pioneers

by Richard on December 21, 2014

Before I became a minister, I worked for 6 years in the Co-operative Movement. I am a democrat. I believe that if democracy is a just system for running a country (it is, isn’t it?) then by the same token it is also a just system for running a commercial operation. I know that many [...]

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Local boy makes Good, by Harri Web

by Richard on December 21, 2014

When Christ was born on Dowlais Top
The ironworks were all on stop,
The money wasn’t coming in,
But there was no room at the Half Moon Inn.
The shepherds came from Twyn y Waun
And three kings by the Merthyr and Brecon line,
The star shone over the Brecon’s ridge
And the angels sang on Rhymney Bridge.
When Christ turned water into [...]

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That night in Bethlehem

by Richard on December 21, 2014

Altan sing the beautiful gaelic carol ‘Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil’ (That night in Bethlehem).

Tip: you can use the tune even if you don’t know gaelic. It fits very well to ‘O little town of Bethlehem’.

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Mary’s manifesto — a hymn

by Kim on December 19, 2014

In Mary’s song of praise and peace
we call “Magnificat”,
a peasant maiden mocked the claims
of earth’s proud plutocrats.
An angel whispered, “You’re the one
who’ll carry heaven’s child.”
The girl, in fearful faith, said, “Yes!”
but barely forced a smile.
She went to see a kindred soul,
who praised what God would do;
yet Mary felt a deep unease
about the coming coup.
But then [...]

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Two things I find obnoxious about certain Christians at Christmas: not only, obviously, (1) the idiotic belligerence of some over the so-called “War on Christmas” (”Go ahead, punk, make my day: wish me ‘Happy Holidays’!”); but also, tiresomely, (2) the predictable sanctimonious pontifications and self-flagellations of others about in-house excess (”My fellow believers, remember the [...]

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David Cameron — Nativity angel?

by Kim on December 16, 2014

Letter published in the British daily the i on 16 December
Sir:
According to Vince Cable, “Conservative spending plans would reduce the armed forces to a ‘largely ceremonial role’” (15 December). What tidings of joy! It sounds about as probable as news of Herod inviting children to Christmas dinner, but if Mr. Cable is accurate, [...]

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Christ is Lord of all creation,
rules the universe in peace;
brings to judgement every nation
which would be the world’s police:
Lamb of God who lies with lions,
slain, he conquers Babel’s beast.
Weapons used for mass destruction,
tools deployed in [...]

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Advent: on (not) thinking about hell

by Kim on December 9, 2014

“Thinking about hell doesn’t help me to live the way I should. I believe this is true for most people. And thinking that other people might go to hell just feels evil to me, like a very grave sin. So I don’t want to encourage anyone else to think that way. Even if you don’t [...]

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He that can apprehend and consider vice with all her baits and seeming pleasures, and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet prefer that which is truly better, he is the true wayfaring Christian. I cannot praise the fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks [...]

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Advent ambiguity

by Kim on December 5, 2014

It’s all a bit vague. Advent I mean. All this hanging around, waiting … and waiting … and waiting. We know whom we’re waiting for, but notwithstanding the asinine prognostications and genre-illiterate signs-of-the-times readings of the witless, we don’t know the when, where, or how of his coming. Or perhaps we do; it’s just that [...]

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“Drum Major for a Dream”

by Kim on November 26, 2014

Above the shouts and the shots,
The roaring flame and the siren’s blare,
Listen for the stilled voice of the man
Who is no longer there.
Above the tramping of the endless line
Of marchers along the street,
Listen for the silent step
Of the dead man’s invisible feet.
Lock doors, put troops at the gate,
Guard the legislative halls,
But tremble when the dead [...]

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According to the latest research, “Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ has been replaced by Monty Python’s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ as the most popular song played at funerals [in the UK]” (MSN Entertainment News, 22 November).
This is terrific news for the Church — and Shakespeare too (vide infra). It demonstrates that, contrary [...]

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The parable of the two — good guys?

by Kim on November 18, 2014

On one occasion, a young man who knew his Bible went to Jesus to see if he was “sound”. “Jesus,” he asked, “what must I do to go to heaven?”
“That looks like a Bible you’ve got there,” Jesus replied. “What does it say?”
Waving the black book to which Jesus had pointed, the youngster answered, [...]

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Letter published in the Church Times, 7 November
Sir:
Summing up a YouGov survey, Professor Linda Woodhead observes that “whereas the clergy [in the C of E] are to the right of the population on ethics, they are to the left in politics.”.
But since when is the the political (Professor Woodhead mentions welfare provision and immigration) not [...]

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Poppies red and white

by Kim on November 4, 2014

Letter published in the British daily the i on 4 November.
Stefano Hatfield is right that honouring the dead is not an endorsement of war. But the suggestion that “innocent” commemoration is all there is to the symbolism of the red poppy is staggeringly disingenuous.
Otherwise why be so contemptuous of “those ridiculous white poppies”, [...]

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Hoot of the day (on the Rome Synod)

by Kim on October 24, 2014

“The conservative commentator Edward Pentin published an outraged piece in the National Catholic Register: ‘More and more there is talk in Rome that this synod is being engineered by groups intent on steering the Church in a heterodox direction, and increasingly evidence is coming to light that points to it.’ ….
“The thought that a synod [...]

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A bit of silliness for Monday morning

by Richard on October 13, 2014

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