22 Dec

Dying by euphemism

A man in Dijon has been described as “unbalanced” after he drove his car deliberately into pedestrians while shouting Allahu Akbar. A very creative use of a word, that “unbalanced.” It makes me think we should revise our vocabulary when describing perpetrators of atrocities. So, we might say, Hitler was “a little bit naughty” when he slaughtered six million Jews. And Stalin should be excused for murdering twenty million. He was probably feeling “somewhat off colour old bean” and perhaps he had been taking painkillers.

Come to think of it, there are more than a few people in the world who must be – shall we say? – “not feeling too clever.”

In Nigeria they burn villages and kill the inhabitants, abduct girls, rape them and make them convert to their perverted religion. There are similar goings-on at the hands of chaps who are perhaps “not feeling too good” in Mali, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya. Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. While in Pakistan feeling “not quite top hole” causes devotees of the same evil cult to murder Christians, burn down churches and shoot schoolchildren dead.

I blame the NHS. How about you?

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16 Dec

C.of E. RIP

Ooh, we have got the willies!

I’ve seen some correspondence among my fellow believing Christians in what’s left of the Church of England in which they declare that they are dismayed by the determination of the powers-that-be to “fast track” the soon-to-be consecrated women bishops into the House of Lords.

Sex-discrimination, you might say, at the sacerdotal level

One of the letters I saw asked, “Does this mean the Church of England is  busted flush?”

Of course the Church of England is a busted flush and it has been so for decades: from the 1960s when it gave up believing the New Testament, the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth and Our Lord’s miracles; through the 1970s and 1980s when it replaced the matchless liturgy of the English Church with trash and doggerel.

And so into the 21st century and Archbishop Rowan Williams’ last sermon before he retired in which he told us that “The Church has a lot of catching up to do with secular mores.”

Whatever happened to “Be ye not conformed to this world…”?

And now, and according to Mullen’s First Law of Ecclesiastical Polity which states that every succeeding Archbishop of Canterbury is bound to be worse than his predecessor, Justin “Oil” Welby has gone and cancelled the 2018 Lambeth Conference of all the bishops from the Anglican Church worldwide

Why?

Because he can’t face the prospect of all those wonderful, faithful, orthodox, devout and true bishops from Africa coming to London and telling him that he’s got it all wrong about homosexuality and women in the episcopate.

So what will happen?

It’s easy to foretell because we have the model before us in the case of the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) which over the last three or four decades has become so secularised and accommodating of progressive values that it has ceased to be a Church in any sense of the word.

The C. of E. is now only the politics of the PC soft left, The Guardian and the BBC, with all its fashionable causes from socialism-lite, appeasing the Muslim fanatics and the pagan fantasy of global warming

ECUSA – and now the C. of E. – are frankly apostate – and proud of it

So what is the believing Christian to do? Rome looks increasingly dodgy under the virtual communist Pope Francis. Some of my friends look east to the Orthodox. For myself, I am content to discover a little authentic Christianity wherever it can be found: a faithful Protestant sect, a traditional  Anglo-catholic outpost, a chapel where the gospel is preached

Anything but this shameful, politically-correct, utterly secularised, completely compromised hypocritical, time-serving, contemptible shambles the C. of E has now become 

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15 Dec

Let’s all go to the manse

Well. I’m shocked and disappointed. I had always thought Methodism was a religion of peace and love – Wesley. peace be upon him. But now we learn that a despicable devotee of that faith has taken hostages and gone into a cafe in Sydney. Bystanders report that they heard his blood-curling cry, “Dear Lord and heavenly Father, we would ask thee for our harvest festival…for marrows and pumpkins, for courgettes and new potatoes…”

A local Catholic priest said, “They don’t drink, these Methodists, and that alone should have aroused suspicion from the start.”

Of course, this regrettable incident should be no excuse for Methodophobia. The great majority of moderate Methodists deplore what has taken place as strongly as anyone else.

However, we are bound to notice that, when we take account of these terrorist atrocities, they are all perpetrated by Methodists. Surely, on these grounds, we might tentatively suggest that there is something wrong with Methodism – a religion which states clearly that all those who will not subscribe to the chapel’s gift envelopes scheme should be beheaded.

Following this terrorist outrage, the government has, to its credit, taken a firm line and issued clear warning to the public. Avoid all bring and buy sales, all coffee mornings – which may sound innocent enough but which might on exceptional occasions result in attendees being denounced and their under-age daughters committed to marriages with dirty old Ministers and stewards of the collecting plate.

Above all, we must remember that these atrocities are not the fault of Methodism,which is a noble and life-enhancing religion

These atrocities are all our fault.

And so we come to our final hymn: Love Divine All Love Beheading…

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14 Dec

Wimmins’ Freak Show

Dear Ms Garvey,

I have long been a devotee of Woman’s Hour, but something strange and unwelcome has happened to it lately. The programme has plunged into self-parody and turned into something like a satire on wimmin. Yesterday, for example, I caught the last half hour. It began promisingly with an interesting feature about a woman brewery worker who secured promotion for herself by her competence and hard work.

But after this it was all macabre and surreal. We heard form a woman who, thirty years ago, had joined the anti-nuclear protestors at Greenham Common and we learnt how she subsequently left her husband and turned into a lesbian. Well, it takes all sorts, I suppose. What was so disappointing about this item though was the lack of any intelligent examination of the unilateral disarmament supported by the Greenham women. No stray word of criticism or counter-argument was allowed to intrude. The women were spoken of in revered tones, as if they had been saints or goddesses. An intelligent thing to do would have been (at least) to ask the question, “But what if nuclear deterrence prevents world war? After all, the only country ever to have suffered nuclear attack was Japan – which did not possess a bomb of its own.” Instead, we had to endure what sounded like a grisly, sentimental sapphic love-in.

Next there was a trailer for BBC Sports Personality of the Year in which your listeners were urged to vote for a woman. But what if there are women who actually think that the best candidate is Lewis Hamilton, or that golfer whose name I forget? Isn’t it really rather sexist (and insulting) to ask your listeners to vote for a woman as it were a priori and without consideration of merit?

Then came a woman novelist who drank coffee and smoked a lot. She was mildly chided for her love of “the ciggies.” But what made me laugh was her admission that she smoked because she deplored political-correctness – when the whole of the rest of the programme was political-correctness incarnate!

The show ended with an item which had me transfixed in a sort of hypnotised stupefaction: teenage sex – though I hear the approved term is “gender” – change and a Woman’s Hour play about the subject. The extract we heard was so corny and gooey it might have been Kern Loach meets amateur dramatics.

All documentary and magazine shows benefit from the occasional oddity, but when the whole lot is so weird and untypical of what most of us take for ordinary life, then it merely becomes a freak show. And that’s a pity.

All good wishes

Yours sincerely

Rev’d Dr Peter Mullen

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12 Dec

Free to do what you’re told

I am ceaselessly impressed by the ability of the human mind to shoot itself in the foot, so to speak. Consider this…

The concepts of freedom and liberty have never been so bandied about. Those words are our contemporary shibboleths. Taken together with the word democracy, they form a modern, and of course secular, trinity, so we should always give them their initial capitals: Democracy, Liberty and Freedom. Whosoever will be politically-correct, before all things it is necessary that he hold this Secular Faith.

Even when it is easy to demonstrate that this Secular Faith amounts to a pile of gibberish and that it is immediately undermined by its own internal contradictions.

The chief contradiction is in this: never so much jabber about Freedom, yet the three most powerful and influential dogmas over the last century and more are all deterministic. I refer to Marxism, Darwinism and Freudianism.

Marx turned Hegel on his head, accepting the Hegelian dialectic but re-interpreting this as dialectical materialism. Under this, all our choices are illusory, for everything that happens – and this means absolutely everything that happens in our personal lives, our politics and our history – is determined by economic forces. How odd then that Marx should promote his version  of determinism and then urge us all to choose communism. Nice trick if we could do it, Karl!

Freud’s version of the deterministic contradiction famously took the form of a psychological dialectic in which the human mind consists of three sections: the Ego, the Superego and the Id. The Ego is our waking consciousness – the place where we would exercise our freedoms if these freedoms were real. But Freud goes on to say that the Ego is governed and directed by the other two sections, the Superego and the Id which are unconscious and over which the Ego has no control. So Ziggy, what’s free about free-association in the snake oil of psychoanalysis?

Darwin told us that our lives are determined by natural selection. Darwinism has evolved since Charlie’s days and now tells us – through such luminaries as Richard Dawkins – that we are the slaves of our genes. The contradiction again. So when Richard tells his wife how much he loves her, what should she think? My advice: “Don’t trust him, Lalla, it’s only his genes talking!”

This is all barmy enough already, but there is confusion the worse confounded. For many Darwinists claim also to be communists, and there are Freudians who are Darwinians too. (Choose – I use the word ironically, of course – any combination of these three deterministic ideologies that appeals to you).

What then follows is that you have set yourself not merely at the mercy of an internal contradiction in any one of the three, but the compounded contradiction involved in believing two or three  ideologies which are also the contradictories of one another.

Specifically, if unconscious forces are the basis of all that happens, then both economic forces and genetic forces are relegated to a place of only secondary consideration. Work your way through the whole unholy trinity. Perm any two from three…

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll

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10 Dec

Homo Factus Est

Archbishop Justin Welby has taken to writing in Radio Times where he says, “Of course, no gift, however pricey, can truly reflect the gift God gave the world in sending Jesus to share our suffering on the cross, bear the weight of our wrongdoing and offer us the hope of life.”

“Share our suffering on the cross”? Which cross is the Archbishop on then?

Well, forgive him a clumsy locution, a slip of the pen, a slip of the brain. We all do it. But there are profound matters behind Welby’s muddle.

Principally this: the differences between ourselves and God are not negligible but greater than we can imagine. Christmas is that time of year when leftie clerics offer us their sermons about God’s condescension in his willingness to be born “into poverty.”

As if the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity’s kenotic act in the Incarnation were the more remarkable for that he was born in a stable in Bethlehem rather, say, than as Mayor of Clacton.

In fact Jesus was not born “into poverty.” Joseph was a respectable craftsman of the middle class and the lowly place of Jesus’ birth was a temporary inconvenience owing to the census.

There are even more important considerations than this.

St John’s Gospel opens with the shocking announcement that the Word became flesh. The Greek word is not soma (body) but sarx (flesh) which means something much lower down in the order of things; something very nearly despicable. This terrible miracle cannot be apprehended, let alone comprehended, by the naked intelligence. That’s why it is accompanied by signs in the heavens: the star, the angelic chorus. The closest feel we can ever have for it is in those nativity stories in St Matthew and St Luke, in St John’s mystical prologue in the first fourteen verses of his Gospel – and in a sublime musical composition such as Bach’s A Christmas Oratorio.

How else to describe the event in which the sublime Creator of the starry heavens and of all that there is became something that is the next thing to filth, for our sake? Then the sinless one suffered the consequences of sin. This is a world away from the chummy bathos in such phrases as “shared our suffering.”

There is no suffering like unto the suffering of Jesus Christ.

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.

The miracle is, as C.H. Sisson said, “That he came here at all, where no one ever came voluntarily before.”

Et Incarnatus Est.

You are here to kneel.

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03 Dec

Perfectibility: are we there yet?

On every visit to the National Gallery, I’m always drawn to the early Italian paintings. They are in room 51 in the Sainsbury Wing. I was in there for an hour and a half yesterday.

As the 14th century ends and we come into the 15th, it is hard not to notice a change in the style of these paintings. Whereas Giotto and his contemporaries express theology in their creations, the later masters begin to be interested in something like personality. In one of the earlier paintings, we see the crucifix growing out of Mary’s womb. This is neither surrealism nor pornography, but the doctrines of the Incarnation and the means of our redemption in one vision. This is typical of these earlier paintings. They express dogmas by means of pictorial analogies in much the same way as the contemporary Dante expressed dogmas by means of poetic analogies in The Divine Comedy.

Of course, there is theology in the later paintings too but, over a period of about a hundred years, there is much less symbolism and much more naturalism and the beginnings of humanism. And so the dogma of Original Sin comes to be replaced by something approaching the idea of man’s perfectibility: not the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, but the human form divine. T.E. Hulme put the matter exactly:

“You get the first hint of it in the beginnings of the Renaissance itself, in a person like Pico Della Mirandola. You get there the hint of an idea of something which finally culminates in a doctrine which is the opposite of the doctrine of Original Sin: the belief that man as a part of nature was after all something satisfactory. You get a change from a certain profundity and intensity to that flat and insipid optimism which, passing through its first stage of decay in Rousseau, has finally culminated in the state of slush in which we now have the misfortune to live.”

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01 Dec

“Islam is Peace”

Bless me father, for I have sinned. I’ve been reading The Guardian again…

“Muhammad has become the most popular name for baby boys in the UK. The list of the top 100 baby names of 2014 showed Muhammad has risen 27 places from last year to claim the number one spot for boys. There is a surge in Arabic names generally, with Nur a new entry in the girls’ top 100, jumping straight to number 29, and Maryam rising 59 places to number 35. Omar, Ali, and Ibrahim are new to the boys’ top 100.”

The 2001 UK census showed a population of 1.6 million Muslims. In April 2008, the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that the government estimated the Muslim population at 2 million or 3.3% of the UK population. This represented an increase of 400,000 in seven years. The 1951 census showed the number of Muslims at less than 22,000. Therefore, between 1951 and 2001 there had been an annualized increase of 31,500 Muslims in the UK; but in the seven year period between 2001 and 2008 there was an actual annualized increase of 57,000.

There are 44 million Muslims in Europe, excluding Turkey; 1.7 million in Paris; 1 million in London.

In the interests of “balance,” I turned from The Guardain to the Daily Telegraph: “Census figures reveal a startling shift in Britain’s demographic trend with almost a tenth of babies and toddlers born in England and Wales being Muslim. The percentage of Muslims among the under-fives is almost twice as high as in the general population. Less than one in 200 over 85s are Muslims – an indication of the extent to which birth rate is changing the UK’s religious demographic.”

As I noted yesterday, the former Bishop of Oxford wants Islamic prayers to be included in the Coronation service so that Muslims will feel “embraced.”

If the Queen lives for another twenty years, will the Muslim Council of Great Britain – founded 1997, motto “Islam is Peace” – let us have any Christian prayers in the Coronation of the Queen’s successor?

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