Tuesday 2 February 2016

Dunkin’ doodlings

Okay, so you worship the true God –
That don’t impress me much.
So you can say the creed, but do you do what’s just?
Don’t get me wrong – not to be impolite –
But you pray for a Day that’ll be as black as night.
– Amos, riffing on Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much”

I was thinking of weighing in on the #yourgodsucks fervour but decided on a root canal instead.  However, to be safe, I now begin the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Whoever …”

How have I manged to become and remain a Christian for 40 years? Mercifully, I have been spared religious experiences.

Praying isn’t going to get me to heaven, but other people praying for me just might.

Sign on the exit of a neonatal clinic: “Abandon hope all who leave here!”

Combining Tertullian and C. P. Snow: One culture is no culture.

When Jesus told Thomas, “Put your finger here,” he didn’t add, “– but first go and wash your hands.” Why then in some churches is there a whiff of soap and antiseptic?

In ministering to the sick, dying, and bereaved, a pastor should always keep in mind one question: WWJS? (“What Would Job Say?”)

In America in the 1850s, there was a political movement commonly called the Know-Nothing Party. Rebranded, it is now known as the No-Everything Party.

Conversation overheard at the first Republican caucuses: “Hey, is this Hell?” “No, it’s Iowa.”

Sorry, Pope Francis did not say (as the Protestant Pope Clive did) that pets may go to heaven. The traditional reason why there will be no final felicity for Felix is that animals do not have souls. Which is rather worrying for the Tea Party too.

In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, in Oceania there are the Ministries of Love, Peace, Plenty, and Truth. At Liberty University, there is the Ministry of Jerry Falwell Jr.

“Mindfulness” – or is it “Minefulness”? – that is the question.

A wise and humane misanthropy, which finds its voice in satire, has been overtaken by the gobby nihilism of the troll, all projected self-loathing fuelled by unfulfilled ambition and twisted envy.

When I am asked to give an example of ideology, I refer my interlocutor to the doctrines of biblical inerrancy and papal infallibility.

I hear that New Testament scholars at some evangelical colleges are discussing whether to attach a Spoiler Alert to the Book of Revelation.

The Law of Unintended Consequences should have dogmatic significance for Protestantism. After all, it is one.

It is an iron law of political leadership that the greater the crisis, the more contrived the gravity, the more unverifiable the narrative, and the more vacuous the cliché.

If you listened closely, you could hear a faint rumbling sound at the conclusion of the recent Anglican primates meeting: it was the sound of Réne Girard rolling in his grave.

Should On the Road, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Naked Lunch, and The Long Goodbye have trigger warnings for recovering potheads, LSD freaks, junkies, and alcoholics? For the first three, no. For the fourth, I couldn’t say.

The good news for me about the Age of Google is that just as my memory is beginning to go, I don’t need it anymore. In fact, no one needs to know anything anymore. Not, of course, that anyone ever did.

You work for a living, then you retire, then you work for a dying.

What should believers do with scepticism? Skilfully deploy it to hone our faith, lest discipleship be dulled by complacency or cant.

And if I should lose my faith? I will thank God for his surprising gift of unbelief.

In Gethsemane, the disciples cut and ran; later, at the palace, the crowd too abandoned Jesus to his fate. Pilate, taking pity on him, asked Jesus if he had a last wish. Followerless, Jesus said, “Could you ask my brother James to close my Twitter account?”


Alan K said...

As always, grateful.

Ronell said...

this is a great post, but I don’t think many of the religious preacher would like it.

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