Courtesy of Rachel Mann, the @metalvicar
I just read a post on Rachel Held Evans’ blog about Christians and humour (which is worth a read in its entirety) and saw this GK Chesterton quotation:
This summarises something of the thinking behind this site.
Rachel has a few points in her post:
1. Humour works when it’s directed toward yourself
The vast majority of the jokes on this site are directed at ourselves. A good example is the Socially Awkward Christian Penguin.
2. Humour works when it’s directed toward your own community or culture
And our main culture here is the Church of England in it’s context in England. An example is in this Doctor Who article.
3. Humour works when it’s directed toward the powerful
Have a look at this article about Lord Carey.
4. Humour works when it tears down idols
How about this?
We hope we regularly make you smile but we also hope that sometimes we can be a prophetic voice in the church through our satire.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will be laid to rest in a televised funeral service expected to be watched by millions around the world. In accordance with her wishes, the entire service and broadcast was put out to competitive tender, creating the UK’s first privatised ceremonial funeral.
The funeral will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, as expected. However, this was by no means guaranteed and was confirmed only once the Corporation of London, underwritten by the banking industry, fought off very competitive bids from Holy Trinity Brompton and the O2 Arena.
The Funeral Service
It was expected that either the Bishop of London or Archbishop of Canterbury would officiate at the service. However, the tendering process enabled “any appropriate person” to undertake this task (as defined by Culture Secretary Maria Miller). The result was that Jeremy Clarkson will lead the nation in mourning using a liturgy based largely on Top Gear’s ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ feature. Lady Thatcher will be borne to the service in a United Parcel Services van with G4S providing the guard of honour. Guests will be provided with service booklets printed by the Daily Mail featuring a trademark scaremongering headline “Cremation of Former World Leaders Linked to Cancer and Falling House Prices”.
Unfortunately for lovers of Anglican choral music, the choir of St Paul’s was unsuccessful in the tendering process and so Gary Barlow will perform a new version of Candle in the Wind (Goodbye Iron Thorn) by Sir Elton John. The service will also feature a solo by Cher who will appear at her own expense in order to convince her fans she is still alive following confusion among her US fans on Twitter upon seeing the hashtag #nowthatchersdead and reading it as Now that Cher’s dead.
Lady Thatcher was most keen that the BBC should not automatically win the broadcast rights and would have been delighted to learn that the shopping channel QVC won the UK broadcast rights. They intend to run a ticker-tape at the bottom of the screen throughout their live broadcast selling memorabilia. In the US, Fox News has secured the broadcast rights and intends to use Louise Mensch and Sarah Palin as anchors, in order to tell US viewers about this pivotal character in the stories of the rise of Louise Mensch and Sarah Palin.
The most surprising result of the tendering process is that David Cameron will not give the eulogy. It was expected that the current Prime Minister would use his personal wealth to secure a worldwide audience for his tribute to Baroness Thatcher. However, he was outbid by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg who is expected to use the sermon slot to launch his much-anticipated Facebook Afterlife social network for the deceased.
As Clarkson will undoubtedly say during the service: “And on that bombshell, it’s goodnight to Baroness Thatcher.”
The Archbishop’s Justin English sketch saw Justin Welby posing as an inept member of the British comedy establishment, striding around city centres in the south of England and singularly failing to gurn, not accidentally charming and seducing a female assassin who had been sent to kill him and at no point tripping over into shrubbery in an amusing fashion.
“This was a travesty of one of Rowan Bean’s finest comedy creations,” said a clearly distressed Dawn Dibley, “and I think it is sad that Justin did not think about the many children who would have been watching at that time of the evening before the watershed and who love the Johnny English films which this was obviously intended to lampoon. I mean, Justin didn’t even swear or do any jokes about sex, and as far as some kids are concerned, that’s one of the things they most look forward to on Red Nose Night.”
Justin Welby’s Journey in Prayer continues until March 19th
Amid an entirely predictable result, there was mild surprise amid the results of the voting as the three Diocesan Synods of Ripon & Leeds, Bradford, and The Rest of West Yorkshire Nobody Knows Quite What To Do With voted on the proposal to merge central functions and devolve the actual business of equipping for mission to make it more effective.
While the Ripon & Leeds and Bradford synods voted the new ‘mission shaped Church’ proposals through as a no brainer, the Diocese of The Rest of West Yorkshire Nobody Knows Quite What To Do With voted against, with UKIP coming a strong second with their “At least we’re not some kind of Italian mission to Yorkshire Euro-Catholic plot” platform.
The Bishop of The Rest of West Yorkshire Including Those Bits You Assumed Were In Sheffield Diocese and the Other Bits Which Anyone With a Map Would Have Automatically Assumed Were In Leeds or Bradford and The Other Bits Which Are Almost In Lancashire said of the other Diocesan synods’ votes, “Obi-Wan once thought as you do. You don’t know the power of the Dark Side, I must obey my master.”
Sources close to the Vatican have hinted at the surprise anointing of former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as the new Pope when Benedict XVI steps down at the end of the month. Following the shock announcement of Pope Benedict’s retirement, the first occasion a Pope has resigned in over 600 years, it was clear to outsiders that something of great significance was afoot in the See of Rome.
The key issue turns out to be one of ecumenism and practical interdenominational politics rather than theology. The appointment of Williams as Pope is seen by the Vatican as a way to build bridges towards greater Church unity, but not only with the Anglican Communion as might be assumed. As one Cardinal put it, “There is a great drive towards greater unity with the Orthodox Church, but the greatest stumbling block to progress has been that of facial hair. Basically, all the Orthodox and Coptic Metropolitans and Popes have lush beards and have teased our Popes for centuries that our Roman balls haven’t dropped yet and we can’t grow a decent beard between the lot of us. We’re sick of it, frankly, and since none of our Cardinals have decent beards, appointing known beardy Rowan Williams to exercise the Petrine ministry will get ecumenical dialogue on a more grown-up footing. And it will confuse the Ordinariate no end which amuses many of us here, too.”
Another known Anglican beardy, the blogger Archbishop Cranmer was unavailable for comment as he was turning too fast in his grave to type.
General Synod’s plans to introduce new EBACH qualifications for church musicians have been dropped, it was announced today. The proposed qualifications would have seen Associated Board organ exams and Royal College of Organist qualifications replaced by a new qualification, the brainchild of Michael Pob, the Church of England’s Secretary of State for Worship.
Pob’s plans for the new qualification would have meant that all church musicians, from Cathedral organists, to choirmasters and worship group musicians, would have to sit the EBACH examination after a 2 year course prior to being allowed to be involved in music making in Church of England services. “Standards are way behind those of other countries,” explained Pob, “and by narrowing the curriculum and focussing on the core skills of improvising in the style of J.S. Bach, accompanying hymns, reading figured bass to accompany Purcell anthems and composing fugues, my vision is of a return to a golden age of church music, probably the 1950s, or the 1740s.”
Worship groups had warned Pob that the proposed qualification was too narrow and did not reflect the range of musical idioms being used in Church of England services. “The EBACH did not meet the needs of most parishes,” explained Reverend Rock Sunderland, whose worship band Bon Jehovi employs a range of musical expressions lying somewhat outside the Baroque tradition, “and the idea of asking all members of worship groups to learn how to improvise double, inverted fugues is very old hat. Bass guitarists, you might be in with a chance of explaining that to, but for most worship group members, frankly, it’s enough of a challenge to get all of them to keep to the beat. Has Pob ever even met a drummer?”
The clergy transfer season ended today with a frenzy of unexpected, last minute transactions taking place between Dioceses.
The much publicised signing of the Bishop of Durham by Canterbury had already gone ahead before the transfer window closed, but in a last minute frenzy, the impending retirements of the Bishops of Liverpool, Exeter, Bath & Wells, Tewkesbury, Dunwich, Colchester and the Diocese in Europe coupled with existing vacant team slots in St. Germans, Lewes, Whitby, Blackburn and Manchester meant that the field was wide open for a major bout of surprise signings. This was further complicated when Ian Duncan Smith at the Department of Work and Pensions became aware of the large number of vacancies and attempted to insist that these were filled by signing the Crown Nominations Commission up to his flagship Workfare scheme.
Under the Government’s Workfare scheme, the disabled, the terminally ill and those unable to find paid employment (due to austerity forcing many businesses to fold) are made to work unpaid for large corporations in order to continue to receive benefit payments.
A Crown Nominations Commission spokesperson commented, “While the concept of working for less than subsistence level income and becoming ‘a slave to all’ is very much in line with the kind of servant ministry we seek from Bishops, we feel that making the terminally ill turn up to the House of Lords and General Synod will breach their human rights as it possibly counts as a “cruel and unusual punishment”.
Anyone wishing to become a Bishop was asked to write to the Crown Nominations Commission, enclosing a CV and a sworn statement that they were not openly gay, a woman or a conservative Evangelical.
The Church of England has today announced details of its much-anticipated High Speed 2 liturgy which will reduce the arrival time of Eucharist-goers at their Sunday dinner table by around 20 minutes.
Following the launch of the HS1 project last year (the leaner, pared down Eucharistic Prayers for Children), HS2 will further speed up all aspects of liturgy, thus enabling multi-benefice Incumbents to fit in at least one additional service each Sunday and worship groups to repeat choruses an additional 28% without ruining Sunday lunch.
Rural areas affected by the impact of the new liturgies have, however, expressed disquiet. “This HS2 development will blight some of the most beautiful countryside in England,” explained avid birdwatcher and wildlife campaigner, Bill Brooke-Garden, “there will be a constant buzz of clergy whizzing along country lanes in their barely-roadworthy old bangers.”
A spokesperson for the Church of England’s liturgical commission said, “Clearly we took these concerns of countryside campaigners and Tory MPs whose constituencies are affected into consideration but we decided to press ahead. This is a major infrastructure project in the world of liturgy which will mean that clergy productivity and user experience will be greatly improved by 2025. Future congregations can look forward to seeing clergy who truly will spend Sundays on their knees. Well, they will be by 8pm after nine services…”
In an article in today’s Maily Fail, the Secretary of State for Policy Based on Whimsy, Mr. Brian Jove, criticised clergy who had closed their churches due to snow last Sunday. “It really should be the case that churches are kept open wherever possible. Many hardworking people rely on churches being open to have somewhere to send other members of their family while they catch up on their X-Boxes and read the papers on a Sunday morning, and this kind of over-cautious approach panders to the sort of idle scroungers who enjoy having a lie in.”
Jove will introduce a Bill creating a new Sunday on a Wednesday in the summer for each snow Sunday missed. These days will be named Jove Days. Bri Jove’s draft bill will be consulted upon by his friends at dinner parties, and by leaders of private sector churches including G4Sunday but not by the Church of England as Jove points out that he “wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise for them, like we did over the gay marriage legislation.”