Saturday, 18 June 2011

A few more doodlings

by Kim Fabricius

The really scandalous thing is not that the church is a whore but that the state is her pimp.

Ambrose ordered Theodosius to do penance for slaughtering a few thousand Thessalonians as payback for killing the local governor, and the emperor obeyed. Imagine that: a church with balls, and a commander-in-chief with conscience. On second thought, forget it: it’s too much of a stretch.

So the former head of the IMF Bank is accused of raping a chamber maid. I blame the corporate culture: the IMF suits have been screwing the poor for years.

So genetics suggests that we cannot be descended from a pair of biblical parents. But there is no need to panic and abandon a literal interpretation of Geneses 2. We just have to accept that it may have been Steve rather than Eve after all.

Prophets of an imminent apocalypse always remind me of the gag where Groucho Marx borrows ten bucks from a guy and promises to pay him back on the second Tuesday of next week.

I hear the USCCB Committee on Doctrine has just given its Nihil Obstat to a book that inspired its judicious response to Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God (2007): Pierre Bayard’s Comment parler des livres que l’on n’a pas lus? (2007).

In the UK, Health and Safety Law has now become so invasive of church life that we should soon expect seminary curricula for eucharistic presidency to contain a practical on the Heimlich manoeuvre.

As Burke said, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing – about the mobile phone.

If the best argument I know for hell is Rob Bell being interviewed by Martin Bashir, the best argument I know for universalism is Rob Bell being rubbished by Jamie Smith.

The church in the UK is not in decline because people no longer believe in God, rather people in the UK no longer believe in God because the church is in decline.

Alister McGrath recently gave a lecture at Swansea University. Except that it took the introducer so long to read his CV that there was only time for the question-and-answer session.

The New Atheism is an epiphenomenon: it is but the smoke above the factory of market capitalism.

In the wilderness the devil tempts Jesus with a series of choices. By the seaside Jesus says to four fishermen “Follow me!”, an order, not an option. Nothing is more alien to serious Christianity than the contemporary ideology of choice.

Who is the greatest living theologian? That’s easy. Ask any evangelical undergraduate: C.S. Lewis.

The two best theologies of creation to come out of the US in recent years are Gilead and The Road. Point-Counterpoint.

As Doctor Johnson said, “When a man is tired of Barth, he is tired of life.”

Were the Coen brothers to make a film on the life of Jesus (which they could appositely entitle Blood Simple, or O Brother, Where Art Thou?, or Intolerable Cruelty, or No Country for Old Men, or A Serious Man), who would be your leading actor? Remembering, of course, that he will play Judas.

It is said that ministers much prefer taking funerals to marriages. Nowadays, however, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Western culture is in such a state of death-denial that were I to say, presiding at a committal, “Is that knocking I hear?”, no one would think it was a joke.

Was the killing of Osama bin Laden a calculated assassination? Put it this way: to eliminate soldiers who weren’t up to the task, the Navy SEALs rehearsed the operation with a guy wearing a WWJD t-shirt.

I have wearied of counting the reasons why I am not a real Christian: not enough water at my baptism, not enough feeling at my conversion, not enough threats in my sermons, not enough honey in my hymns, not enough support for the Republicans, not enough opprobrium for gays, antipathy towards Muslims, disapproval of the feckless. Have I forgotten anything?

I have two recurring nightmares: in one, David Bentley Hart is telling me off; in the other, I don’t have a dictionary.

R.S. Thomas called God’s adversary “the Machine”. That’s his metonymy for PowerPoint.

After you’ve read a few poems by Kevin Hart, you’re never quite sure whether to pray or have sex.

What’s the difference between a myth and a legend? Hermes is a myth, Myers is a legend.

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