Bit of a strange Boxing Day morning for me.
First of all a pre-dawn phone call from Brother B on Skype, already ensconced at the pool side at the Hotel Splendide, on the slopes of Mount Kenya. As ever I'm not at liberty to divulge the contents of private conversations, so let's just say the old boy's feeling as frisky as ever. A splendid example to us all.
Clicking on the radio I stumbled upon a church service being broadcast from Prague - a city I like very much. You have to admit - some of those Christmas tunes are very good. Carols sung by choirs can be very uplifting. Carols played by brass bands are good as well.
As for the rest - oh dear.
Those dreary bloody preachers. I found myself thinking - what if Jesus was a pretty funky guy? What if he had a sense of humour, and lots of joi de vivre? What if he liked to sing and dance and party? What then would he make of the dull, po-faced, dreary people who profess to act in his name?
It's not that these people don't sometimes say some worthwhile things about the state of the world - but then the other religions all do that as well, as do atheists.
No - I think Jesus might forgive the fact that people acting in his name have created world-wide multi-national corporations, based on the Christian franchise, but I think he'd be damned keen, if he returned, to show how his message ought to have been broadcast, and how organisations acting in his name ought to be run.
With flair. With imagination. With intelligence. With joy. With wit and panache.
In fact Jesus must be wringing his hands in despair at the kinds of people who claim authority and ownership of his message. The Pope, for one. All Christian fundamentalists. The happy clappy nutters. The cultists. The Irish Christian Brothers (and Sisters). The brain-dead conservatives who make every church service and every funeral such an unbearably dull and frustrating experience.
Radio 5 Live Sports Extra was playing the Test Match commentary highlights on a loop, so I listened to it continuously for an hour or so. My oh my.
Boycott's first comment of the day was, "A draw will do this Test. I can't see how England are going to win this. And I'm supposed to know what I'm talking about. That's why I'm an expert."
When it was all over he said, " I'm so sad for Australia - there are tears running down my face . . . " Clearly a man - an expert indeed - who couldn't give a monkey's about being completely and utterly wrong. Especially after England had scored 157 runs for the loss of NO wickets.
It's undignified to gloat in these circumstances, so I'm going to make no mention of Australia's first innings total.
Continuing with the radio thing, Sandie Shaw was on Desert Island Discs. I can remember how popular she was back in the 60s, even though her singing style wasn't exactly . . . gripping - as far as I was concerned. Evidently she eventually decided for herself that singing wasn't really her thing. First she became a Buddhist, which gave her 'courage'. Then she became a psychotherapist.
She ended her second marriage because she needed to find a 'spiritual companion' . . .
To be fair to Rowan Williams, the Archbish said some good things yesterday:
Rich must shoulder their fair share of the burden, says Rowan Williams
• Archbishop of Canterbury gives his Christmas Day sermon
• The Queen highlights sport as a way of building communities
• Pope Benedict urges Catholics in China to have hope
See this? Williams says something worthwhile and meaningful. The Queen drones on about the importance of sport. The Pope tells Chinese Roman Catholics (who they?) to have 'hope'. Please!
There is a "lasting sense" that the most prosperous in society have yet to shoulder their load in the economic downturn, the archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday.
In a rebuke to the rich in Britain, Rowan Williams used his Christmas Day sermon to stress the importance of people working together to rebuild confidence and trust. "That confidence isn't in huge supply at the moment, given the massive crises of trust that have shaken us all in the last couple of years and the lasting sense that the most prosperous have yet to shoulder their load."
Williams also warned of hardship ahead and its likely impact on society. "We can and will as a society bear hardship if we are confident that it is being fairly shared; and we shall have that confidence only if there are signs that everyone is committed to their neighbour, that no one is just forgotten, that no interest group or pressure group is able to opt out."
Worth taking a look at this for the mad rantings of a CiF poster called MACDONALDBANK.