Friday 31 January 2014

On birthdays

In my pocket I keep a small black diary. Like any diary it has a spot for each day of the year so that I will know where I have to be and what I have to be doing. I use it for meetings, class times, appointments, deadlines. Even with the diary close to hand, I make my way through life with only the vaguest notion of where I am meant to be and what I am meant to be doing. Without the diary I would be lost: I would never show up for anything: I would never be seen again.

At the start of every year I open the new diary and write my name in the front. Then I take a red pen and write down the names of the dead. Love of the dead is one of the Christian virtues and I have tried to practise that virtue with the aid of a small black diary.

Mostly it is the names of saints and people who have been saints to me. Liturgical saints like St Basil and St Augustine. Activist saints like Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King. Writing saints like Thomas Merton and T. S. Eliot. As well as people I knew and loved and decided not to forget. Ray Anderson. Mr Goldsworthy. My grandfather. My mother’s stillborn child – my sister or brother – whom I have wanted and missed my whole life. John the Baptist. St Francis and St Clare.

They are written in red ink on their birthdays, and I carry their birthdays around in my pocket.

In Christian tradition it is the date of a person’s death that is called the “birthday,” dies natalis, since our truest birth is not entry into this vale of tears but entry into the love of God. There is an Orthodox burial rite in which the body of a deceased monk is wrapped in swaddling clothes like a baby; the other monks gather around singing psalms, rejoicing through tears at their brother’s birthday.

Like all Christians I love the dead. But it is never easy to add a new name to the diary. This month I already had to add one name. And then a week ago I had to add another name because of the birthday of a saintly man from the community where I teach. He was our manager of finance and business.

He was at home when it happened. He had been chasing his little dog because it had run out on to the road. He was fearful for the dog’s safety and so he ran after it, calling it sweet names to make it come back to him. He chased the dog because he loved it. That is what caused the heart attack. The dog was saved; a saint was born into light. The dog was carried home; a saint was carried by angels.

If you’ve spent much time working in Christian institutions, you’ll know that you don’t get to meet many saints among the clergy or the institutional bureaucrats or the teachers of theology. But you often get to know saints among the workers who quietly support these institutions through their acts of loving service. Our finance and business manager, who devoted half a lifetime to serving our community, was a saint of that sort, a holy and humble man.

Now his name is in the diary. Now he has a birthday. Now every year I will remember him.

He was never the kind of person to seek attention, so he would probably be pleased to know that he does not get a whole date to himself in my diary. He has to share the spot with two other saints. His name is written in red ink underneath theirs: “Titus and Timothy, companions of Paul.” There is something very modest and self-effacing about those saints. The three of them have a lot in common.

I suppose as I get older more and more names will find their way into my diary. If I grow old enough, there might even come a year when the diary is nothing but red ink. No more meetings and appointments written in blue or black. No more deadlines, no more people to please or disappoint. Just a diary with the names of all my dead. Then there will be nothing left to do except to open the diary each day and to read their names (if I can still read) and pray for them (if I can still pray) and ask them to spare a thought for me too. My life would then become one unceasing festival, a wheel of birthdays slowly turning, a cloud of witnesses that thickens even as my own life grows ever thinner, lonelier, destitute of so many companions, so many faces I would love to see again.

And then, one bright day, my own birthday will come.

What that day will bring no one can tell. But I will keep practising for it in the meantime. I will acclimatise myself to the company of the dead. I will celebrate their birthdays. I will carry their names in my pocket.

Monday 27 January 2014

Tweeting the Psalms: Book I

I've been tweeting through the Psalms, with one tweet for each Psalm (using the hashtag #psalmtweets). I've just finished the first book of the Psalter and have pasted them below – in case you're one of those Normal people who don't sit around reading tweets.

Psalm 1: The bad life is a busy life, full of bluster and bustle; the good life is a reading life, full of the joy of Torah. 

Psalm 2: While the righteous sit reading (Psalm 1), the Messiah (who is their shade) sits too, observing history like an umpire.

Psalm 3: Surrounded by a thousand enemies, all armed to the teeth, I lie down for a nap while You disarm them, breaking their teeth.

Psalm 4: At night I lie down in the darkness, and Your face shines over me like a lamp.

Psalm 5: When I wake in the morning, Your love covers me like sunlight and receives my song.

Psalm 6: At night I lay in my bed and wept; but it was Your heart (softer than pillows) that I rested on and drenched with my tears.

Psalm 7: I'm surrounded, defeated, ruined! Oh my love, rise up! Arise in Your beautiful justice and doom!

Psalm 8: The stars are a minor achievement (Your finger-painting). Humanity is Your masterwork; the stars gaze down admiringly.

Psalm 9: At the doors of death I met You and we rose together, singing all the way.

Psalm 10: They prey upon the poor, turning misery into profit; they think You (who live among the poor) will not see.

Psalm 11: When I am hiding from the world, Your eyes find me; You keep me like a secret.

Psalm 12: Lies, lies, lies! The whole world lives by lying. But You are allergic to falsehood; Your words are purest truth.

Psalm 13: "Why have You forgotten me? Why are You hiding?" (sung to the tune of Pharrell Williams, "Happy".)

Psalm 14: The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." I feel that way sometimes myself. What do You think?

Psalm 15: As my mother always said, wash your hands before you come to the Table.

Psalm 16: Even in hell Your song won't leave my heart. I will follow Your path out of the darkness, and sing my way to You.

Psalm 17: Oh look at me forever! And like a holy Narcissus I will study my reflection in Your eyes, and sink into You.

Psalm 18: When You saw me in hell You were furious. You struck like a thunderbolt; hell quaked; You plucked me like a flower.

Psalm 19: What the Law says, the stars say too; nature and Torah rhyme. (O let my heart rhyme with them too!)

Psalm 20: Some put their hope in politics and some in the economy, but we remember You.

Psalm 21: The family of Your anointed one will stretch its branches through history; the family trees of Your enemies will be shrubs.

Psalm 22: O why (I will shout Your name) have You (and the graves will be emptied) forsaken me (and all nations will praise You).

Psalm 23: My life is a day in the desert, but You know where the wells are; my death is a night in the desert, but the things I fear fear You.

Psalm 24: Even the creaking hinges sound like music when the doors swing open to admit You.

Psalm 25: My life has been one false step after another, and at every step I've only met Your kindness; Your love is my path.

Psalm 26: You are my only path (so judge me!), my only truth (so test me!), my only vision (so burn my heart clean!).

Psalm 27: Each day I seek You as if I'd never found You, and find You as if I never had to seek.

Psalm 28: When You were silent, my heart lay down in the grave. But You answered! And my heart stood up singing.

Psalm 29: The wind and the rain and the lightning and the flood – even in bad weather, everything reminds me of You.

Psalm 30: O You magician of the heart! You turn mourning into dancing, death into Disneyland, the howling of hell into a choir!

Psalm 31: Like a bird that sings once before dying, I will die into You and my death will be my song.

Psalm 32: When I finally got the courage to confess my sins, I realised You weren't even listening. You were singing to me.

Psalm 33: I will sing to You, Maker and Lover and Keeper of all things; I will take up a part in the song the whole earth sings.

Psalm 34: I cry (and You are near); I am destitute (and You are the light in my face); I am crushed (and You treasure my bones).

Psalm 35: Remind my heart of Your goodness. Remind my weary body how to sing. And I will teach every aching bone to praise You.

Psalm 36: Your Love is my mind's home; Your Wisdom is my life's well; and by Your Light (my sun, my lamp) I live and drink.

Psalm 37: You are my home, my inheritance of unaffordable real estate, my utopia; You are a world good enough for my children.

Psalm 38: When I forgot You, I lost myself. O remind me! Tell me Your name! Tell me who I am, and that's what I will be: Yours.

Psalm 39: Like a series of still images projected on a screen, each human life is only a frame: but You see the moving picture.

Psalm 40: Your Torah is planted deep in my body. Therefore I will speak. I will act. I will trust. I will wait.

Psalm 41: Because I remembered the poor (Your friends), You will remember me when my friends forsake me.

Monday 20 January 2014

Here’s-the-deal doodlings

by Kim Fabricius

Doctrinally, on the Trinity, original sin, and the resurrection, liberals condescendingly consider me conservative; on inerrancy, penal substitution and hell, conservatives consider me anathematisably liberal. Similarly, ethically, on abortion and assisted suicide – ultra conservative; on divorce and re-marriage, let alone same-sex relationships – ultra liberal; while my pacifism – “unrealistic” – bemuses or infuriates liberals and conservatives alike. God Hates Tags.

An ΙΧΘΥΣ rots from the heart up.

Those moment-of-truth selfies of Cameron, Obama, and Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela’s funeral got me thinking: how about a cartoon of, say, Osteen, Driscoll, and Hinn taking selfies at Golgotha?

When you listen to a sermon, ask yourself: Good News – or Good News-management?

On leaving the tomb, Lazarus “began to weep.” And in the following days and weeks, he lay “in bed in a darkened room … [and] could barely swallow water and barely hold down soft bread which had been soaked in water…. If he had come back to life it was merely to say a last farewell to it…. There was something supremely alone about him …; he was in possession of a knowledge that seemed … to have unnerved him; he had tasted something or heard something which had filled him with the purest pain, which had in some grim and unspeakable way frightened him beyond belief.” – A passage from Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary (2012). Shortlisted for the 2013 Booker Prize, the novella has been condemned as impertinent, hateful, even blasphemous. Which I consider accolades for an author who can so disturbingly depict such a hauntingly cruciform character. But perhaps you prefer your Lazarus marrying a local krasavitse and living happily ever?

Good people never think they are good people, and bad people never think they are bad people. Figure it.

There were several catastrophes to hit the US in 1978. In January, there was the Great Blizzard, also known as the Cleveland Superbomb, a natural disaster. In April, there was the collapse of a cooling tower under construction at Willow Island, West Virginia, a terrible tragedy. In November, there was the Jonestown Massacre, a horrendous moral evil. Oh, and a month earlier, in October, there was a theological catastrophe: the bombshell of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. No one died, but the fallout continues to be toxic 35 years later.

Michael Bird is bang on about the doctrine of inerrancy being a particularly American cultural phenomenon. Which should not be surprising given the theo-political identity of the US, the intricate interweaving of the biblical and American narratives: the thematic discourse of “the chosen people”, the myth of American exceptionalism, the ideology of missionary colonialism (aka “manifest destiny”), the oratory of the “indispensable nation”, and, morally, the holy republic, “under God”, incapable of doing wrong. There is also the neat fit between the “common sense” realism of inerrancy and good old Yankee pragmatism. Finally, observe the rhetorical violence, the crusading pugnacity, the Alamo spirit with which inerrancy is often deployed and defended – and the civil wars fought over it within evangelicalism itself – again, how quintessentially American. Yep, Inerrancy and America – Right or Wrong – they are an, er, infallible fit.

How do we know what the Pope is really saying, what he actually means? Perhaps a “Francis Seminar” could tell us, exploring the theological development of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, examining texts, written and oral, canvassing emerging traditions, and proposing criteria of authenticity. Then again, perhaps not.

Clerical vestments or casual dress? Thus the discussion in the C of E on the relaxation of canon law regarding liturgical attire. But surely I cannot be the only worshipper who has observed such hilarious examples of Anglican compromise as – peeping out beneath the cassock, chinos/jeans and trainers/sandals (with socks!). Oh, the sartorial solecisms of (male) vicars!

Some New Testament scholars suggest, as a felicitous rendering of δικαιοσύνη in Romans, the word “rectification”. But some Christians are so hell-bent on the ungodly getting eschatologically shafted that, for them, I propose a neologistic alternative: the word “rectalfuckation”. Yes, it’s obscene, but it has the merit of honesty, while also being luridly redolent of the iconography of the damned.

Worst Theology Fail of all time? Easy, Dispensational Premillennialism: for its ignorant literalism, its prophecy-as-prognostication, its insidious supercessionism, its Manichaean moralism, its battlefield-and-furnace apocalypticism, and its socio-political complacency, indeed right-wing extremism. An F flatters it.

As Pascal said, “All of our problems come from one thing: the inability to sit quietly in a room without being connected.”

Xeno’s Paradox: “I’m not a racist or a nationalist, but there must be limits to the immigration of swarthy people who can’t speak English. As Jesus said, charity begins at home.”

William Lane Craig avers that even the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, which killed over 230,000 people, “would be great [his italics]” if God could use it to bring more people to Christ. Indeed, Craig exclaims, “Thank God for the suffering!” In The Doors of the Sea (2005), David Bentley Hart asks: Who would try to comfort the anguished Sri Lankan father, weeping as he recounted how he could not save four of his five children from the fatal flood, “by assuring him … that in fact their deaths had mysteriously served God’s purposes in history”? Answer: “Only a moral cretin.... And this should tell us something. For if we would think it shamefully foolish and cruel to say such things in the moment when another’s sorrow is most real and irresistibly painful, then we ought never to say them.” Sam Harris refers to Lane Craig as “the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists.” But which God is that? A Panglossian one. For Chrissake, New Atheists, man up! It’s the theodicy, stupid. Hart again: “It is a strange thing indeed to seek peace in a universe rendered morally intelligible at the cost of a God rendered morally loathsome.”

Revelation 3:20 (contemporary translation): “I stand at the gate and ring. Then, as I wait under the ominous eye of the CCTV camera, in the blinding glare of the LED security lighting, I hear your paranoid voice requesting my name, company, and purpose of visit. Then, as I begin to answer, I notice the pack of Dobermans in the yard. Upshot: even if you buzz me in – what, you think I’m nuts? – I’m out of here.”

I’ve always been a digressor in conversation, as one idea sparks another, which sparks another, which sparks another …; but if my interlocutors were patient, they usually found I’d land the plane, even if they didn’t like the airport. Nowadays, however, my wife tells me I either shuttle into space, or crash and burn.

It’s just been announced that the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols is to “receive the red galero”. I thought: “Lucky bugger – a papal gift of the finest strawberry Italian ice cream!” Silly me: it turns out it’s just a big fancy hat (much fancier than the one worn by Cardinal Ximénez [Michael Palin] in Monty Python’s fabulous sketch “The Spanish Inquisition”).

The natural world as we observe it, study it, indwell it, feel it – creationists actually hate it. Along with Gnostics and Manichaeans, creationists are Christianity’s ktisisphobes.

The resurrection has been called an eruption, an explosion, a cosmic convulsion, God’s “Yes!” to the universe. Make that a “Yes! Yes! Oh, yes!” and what do you got? Not your usual Easter apologetics, that’s for sure. But then your usual Christian sexual apologetics make shtupping about as seismic as rolling rice.

Reflecting on his debt to Pentecostalism, Brian LePort wisely observes, “Isn’t it funny how some of the things that were important to you during your most formative years remain important no matter how far you stray from them?” That’s certainly true of my earliest experience of Presbyterianism, as a child at the Old First Church in Huntington, Long Island: getting chucked out of Sunday School for throwing spit balls – and my high rate of recidivism – remains a massive milestone in my theological journey.

On January 12th I preached for the first time since my “retirement” on October 6th (on Matthew 2:18/Jeremiah 31:15). Over three months. I was nervous. I mean more nervous than usual. (If you’re not nervous when you enter the pulpit, you shouldn’t be there.) But I needn’t have been so nervous. It was like falling off a bike.

Contrary to contemporary conventional wisdom, studies show that lavishing praise on our children does not build up their sense of wellbeing and purpose; on the contrary, constant praise increases their anxiety and decreases their motivation. As Stephen Grosz observes in his multifaceted little jewel The Examined Life (2013), the best that we can offer our children is not praise but presence. And I wonder – wonder if our contemporary obsession with praise – praise worship, praise music, praise paraphernalia – reflects an infantilising not only of our faith but of our God; wonder whether God, who is humble, not vain or needy, desires not our praise but our presence; and submit that this presence, if authentic and mature, will include our adoration, of course, but also our pain and pathos, our doubt and despondency, our contrition and confusion, our anger and accusation. In short, less palms, more Psalms – the 40% conspicuous in liturgy by their absence.

She would have been 30 on January 9th:
A day that the sun never rose,
A day that the years cannot close –
Our Hannah still-born – and still mourned.
Three decades of living a lament and longing for a lullaby.

How does one get through a depressing grey, wet, and windy Welsh winter? By turning one’s thoughts towards Easter – because God, in his wisdom and grace, has (more or less) aligned it with Opening Day.

Thursday 16 January 2014

#CanonFodder: The shortest ever commentary on the whole Bible

Well I've finished tweeting my way through the books of the Bible, using the hashtag #CanonFodder ("canon fodder" meaning something like "Bible snacks"). I've listed them all below (thanks to Darren Wright for copying all the tweets into plain text). Although I suppose it's cheating, I've also made a few changes and improvements to the list below, though I haven't extended any of them beyond the mandatory 140 characters. 

Thanks to everyone on twitter who followed this series – it was a lot of fun. And I believe I can now state on my CV that I have written the world's shortest (and most unreliable) commentary on the whole Bible. You can also read an interview about the tweets over at the Unitive.

Old Testament

Genesis: Under numberless stars an old man stands amazed; his wife cries out in the pain of childbirth, laughing.

Exodus: Barefoot on the hot sand, he stares into the flame and haggles with a god whose name he cannot say.

Leviticus: At the mountain they wait in love and terror, while holy words pass through them like a sword.

Numbers: Count the murmuring tribes, count their slain, count the wandering long years.

Deuteronomy: I love you, I love you. Not because you are so good or great, but because you are so lost and little.

Joshua: In the walled city a prostitute undresses to the music of trumpets and the sound of many feet.

Judges: As soothing as a therapist, she runs her fingers through his hair and says, "Now lie back and tell me everything."

Ruth: He wakes in the night to find a woman, a foreigner, touching his feet. He rubs his eyes. He had been dreaming of kings.

1 Samuel:
Grief + God = Samuel
Israel - Eli + Samuel = Monarchy
Monarchy - Saul = David
David - Jonathan = 0

2 Samuel: Victory! A riot of joy! The victor covers his face: O Absalom, my son, my son.

1 Kings: So, you really want a monarchy huh? Don't say I didn't warn you.

2 Kings: I told you so.

1 Chronicles: And behold, in those days all the begetting was done by the menfolk.

2 Chronicles: If we build it, he will come.

Ezra: When we saw the Temple we thought we must be dreaming, or that all our lives had been a dream from which we had awoken.

Nehemiah: When he read the scroll it was as if, after a long dementia, I remembered my name and wept to hear it spoken.

Esther: The orphan queen is glorious at her feast. In her glittering eyes are sex and armies.

Job: He scrapes himself with broken pots, cursing his mother's womb. In the distance, Leviathan circles silently in the deep.

Psalms: The invention of antiphony: when my heart broke in two, I taught both parts to sing.

Proverbs: What a fabulous woman! I'll marry her! (She left her fingerprints all over me.)

Ecclesiastes: Life is an empty sink. Someone has pulled the plug and all the meaning has drained out of it. So enjoy yourself!

Song of Songs: With the turtledove singing above them in the apple tree, the lovers took off their clothes and made beautiful poems together.

Isaiah: When the four corners of creation are picked up like a tablecloth, all the crumbs will slide into the middle, into Zion.

Jeremiah: The Word is at the bottom of the well, burning like a naked flame in the mouth of the weeping prophet.

Lamentations: A Bear Crouches. Destruction Envelops. Flee God's Holy Implacable Judgment! Killed! Lament! Mourn Nakedly! O Pray!

Ezekiel: Four flashing creatures, four wheels rimmed with eyes, one scroll, one Spirit, one Temple, one million creeping bones.

Daniel: I pray (each day) towards the city of the Son of Man; to him all kings (all things) shall bend like grass in the wind.

Hosea: She has given birth. Another son! Tenderly her humiliated husband gathers the little prophecy into his arms.

Joel: Through the cracks in our broken hearts the grasshoppers have come swarming in.

Amos: Hallelujah! The Lord is here! Run for your lives!

Obadiah: I made you as numerous as the stars. Watch now while I rub out every star and wrap the world in darkness.

Jonah: When the prophet disobeys, even the fish of the sea are against him. When Nineveh repents, even the animals fast and pray.

Micah: We call you a minor prophet. But you are mountains rising behind mountains; all the world's wealth is minor next to you.

Nahum: Grinning from ear to ear, he sings a lament for the fall of Nineveh.

Habakkuk: He sings of joy in God's salvation, his face wet with indignant tears.

Zephaniah: Cry out with horror, for I will sweep you from the earth. Cry out with joy, for I will sweep you into my arms.

Haggai: After the return from exile, the prophets spoke in prose. It took captivity to wring the poetry from their souls.

Zechariah: If only you could have lived to see the day he read your scroll, and loved it, and told his friends to fetch a donkey.

Malachi: You've got a new temple; now get new hearts to go with it, before the temple's Lord appears and turns the tables on you.

Deutero-canonical writings

Tobit: In godless Nineveh one man keeps the faith alive, one cold grave at a time.

Judith: Ever noticed how men can lose their heads over the sight of a pretty woman?

Wisdom of Solomon: Surrounded by a harem of a thousand wives, Solomon yearns for his one true Bride.

Sirach: Adapt your life to Wisdom's discipline, for her yoke is easy and her burden is light.

Baruch: A pocket-size edition of the whole shebang – the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.

Letter of Jeremiah: Some advice about idols: if it can't clean the birdshit off its own face, don't worship it.

Song of the Three Jews: Inside the fiery furnace, the three boys were so cool that they struck up a tune to keep warm.

Susanna: A side-splitting tale.

Bel and the Dragon: Too much greasy food is really, really bad for you.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Esdras: It's complicated.

2 Esdras: Our dead children are playing hide and seek. Soon God will find them and they will come out giggling from their graves.

Prayer of Manasseh: This part of our liturgy was written by an idolatrous king. In church, even the gargoyles have a place.

1 Maccabees: The false god's broken altar is soaked in blood, for the Law has wielded a hammer.

2 Maccabees: It was God's wrath that made us feast and sing among strange gods. Now wrath is kindled into an apocalypse of mercy.

New Testament

Matthew: We thought his teaching was a mirror of God's Law, but we were wrong. The Law is the mirror, reflecting him.

Mark: Just as we were killing him, God whispered a secret. No one heard except the soldier who raised his bloodied hands in awe.

Luke: After careful research I have prepared an objective scholarly account of what happened. It all began with an angel...

John: Because we could not find the way to God, he used a spear to open a door in his side, and said, "Look, I am the way!"

Acts: Proof of the resurrection: the powers of this world submit to a handkerchief on which an apostle has blown his nose.

Romans: Adam lost it, Christ found it, the Spirit gives it, faith holds it, creation yearns for it, death yields to it.

1 Corinthians: When the last trump sounded we didn't hear it. We were too busy arguing and bragging about our spirituality.

2 Corinthians: O how I love you, you darling scalawags, you dear sweet blockheaded scoundrels, you infuriating puppies!

Galatians: We felt insecure without our chains so we hired experts to repair them. Then Paul came back, wielding a sledgehammer.

Ephesians: When the human race had split apart, God (who loves to renovate) took wood and nails and fastened it back together.

Philippians: Even in chains, Paul is freer than wild horses. Even in prison, his joy is boundless as the skies.

Colossians: God assembled all the pieces of the universe as one huge jigsaw puzzle, a perfect picture of Christ.

1 Thessalonians: In Christ there is no night but only one eternal morning in which the living and the dead awake and embrace.

2 Thessalonians: When I told you, brothers, that he's coming back soon, what I really meant was soonish.

1 Timothy: Dear Paul, Thanks for your letter & for all the advice. The part about wine: ok! The part about women: huh? Yours, Tim.

2 Timothy: The dying apostle writes his will: "To my dear son Timothy I leave all that I possess: my gospel and these chains."

Titus: Don't adapt the gospel to your life. Adapt your life to the pattern of the gospel.

Philemon: Then one day, for the first time in history, a slave and his master cried out in stunned recognition: "Brother!"

Hebrews: Look in the mirror to see the face; follow a shadow to find the thing; wade through blood to a place where bloodshed ceases.

James: Faith is a picture taken by the beggar at your door, not a selfie.

1 Peter: In the midst of a strange land all the strangers assembled in one place, and called it Home.

2 Peter: "Paul's letters are hard to understand": the calm judgment of a pseudonymous letter full of riddles and obscurities.

1 John: Love is the order of things; hatred is rebellion against reality.

2 John: Pure spiritual love is a delusion. Love has come among us in the flesh. It's with our bodies that we walk in love's way.

3 John: Oh my dear friend, I need to see you face to face to tell you what love means. Love can't be sent by mail.

Jude: If ever the world is burned to ashes in a nuclear holocaust, let the last human being recite the epistle of Jude, and die.

Revelation: When she finally arrived at the wedding, she kissed him and said, "Sorry I'm late. The traffic was hell."

Friday 3 January 2014

Doctor fathers

My son James was arguing with his cousin about whether or not your brains can leak out through your ears:

Cousin: My dad knows all about the human body, he's a doctor.

James: Well my dad is a writing doctor.

Cousin: Some doctors are scientists or explorers, they help people. Surgeons help people too, and children's doctors.

James: My dad is a doctor in writing. He helps people with [long pause] – ah, somethings.


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