August Magazine

The August Magazine 2009 is now available to download from the Multimedia section of this site. Happy reading!

Spam

It’s annoying when spammers latch on to one of the posts on this blog, circulate the weblink, and lots of different people use the link to flood my inbox with spam. At the moment I’m being plagued by Russians! Seriously! I don’t know what they are advertising, probably something to do with dirty deeds, but it’s all Russian to me and I don’t understand a word of it.

I is seriously sick that I’s had to delete a couple of fit posts. Sorry!

Smile in the Face of Swine Flu

From Janette:

PROTECTING YOUR PARISH WITH SACRAJEL’

Swine Flu fears gripped St. Auggie’s on 26th July when a warning from the C of E Bishops was conveyed to the congregation. Precautions such as behaviour at the Peace and hand cleansing by everyone at the altar were resurrected from the days when congregations were threatened by the Black Death. A quantity of antiseptic gel was quickly procured by Roberta from the Pound Shop and the Eucharist progressed pretty much as usual apart from those who wanted to monitor Colleen’s cough!

Kenny, always the entrepreneur, saw opportunity in the gel and also in the dispensing of the stuff. Since no such product specifically existed for use on the altar perhaps one could be appropriately constituted with a special liturgical flavour.

How about calling it SACRAJEL’ and launching a world wide advertising campaign?

The Parish is so fit and well

Our Rector uses ‘Sacrajel’

Sin and germs he can dispel

A miracle is ‘Sacrajel!’

And ,of course, we could link it to our forthcoming LYCIG project to bring lapsed members back to church:

Come share our antiseptic smell

The stuff is anti sin as well,

Sending swine flu straight to hell

Be good or you will go as well!

We could brew up the gel in our new hall kitchen and Ghislaine and Teabag O’Neill could bottle it for export – it would certainly keep them from gossiping! OK, Kenny, let’s get it up and running before Sir Alan grabs it!

New Hymn?

In the light of much of the theology that has been put my way over the past few days, I’m considering the following hymn which MadPriest unearthed.

I thought this catchy little number from Westboro Baptist Church (sung to the “We Are The World” tune) would be appropriate for the Protestant Reformers among us.

You’ve crossed the line
you won’t heed this final call
Evil world, you’ve come together as one
See your soldiers dy-ying
Oh you claim God’s blessing you
that lie, the greatest lie of all.

You can’t go on
pretending day by day
that the God of judgement is dead and gone
You are all a part of
the devils family
and the truth
you’re all headed straight to hell

(Chorus)
God hates the world
and all her people
you every one face a fiery day
for your proud sinning
It’s too late to change His mind
You lived out your vain lives
Storing up God’s wrath
for all eternity!

Well you knew God’s Law
But you disobeyed it all
spent your lives
chasing your lust and lies
Serving all your i-idols
fag beasts and bloody flags
fires of hell are waiting there for you

(Chorus)

I thank MP for the material. Better than Shine Jesus Shine any day!

Rosan Boyle RIP

Rosan died on Wednesday afternoon. Her funeral will be in St Augustine’s at 10.30am on Wednesday morning of next week. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Wrong Kind of Christian? from Ekklesia

Evidence that church schools are routinely discriminating against Christians as well as those of other faiths, and no faith, came to light today with the news that a girl has been turned down for a place at a Wrexham faith school because she is the wrong kind of Christian. Ashton Padley, 11 years old, has been trying for some months to get into St Joseph’s Catholic and Anglican School in Wrexham. She has been refused admission, despite the fact she comes from a Christian family and her father is a lay preacher, reports the local newspaper the Evening Leader. Her parents said Aston had been turned down on the grounds that she was not a from a Catholic or Anglican family. Their experience is one shared by many other families who are rejected by church schools up and down the country because they aren’t Christians. Under British law, church schools, although funded almost entirely by the taxpayer, can give priority in admissions to families who attend churches linked to the school. Ashton’s parents have both been Christians for some time and, along with their daughter, regularly attend the evangelical Kings Christian Centre in Mold, which is a member of the Evangelical Alliance. “Although he has not been ordained, my husband has been a lay preacher for a number of years and has preached at a number of churches in the area” Mrs Padley told the local newspaper. “Given this, we find it bizarre that we cannot get our daughter in St Joseph’s.” She added: “We have appealed against the decision but, a few weeks ago, we lost the appeal. “The situation seems so unfair when I have heard it said that some other parents get places at faith schools by simply having their child baptised and then taking them along to church a couple of times. “Aston is a very bright child and has had a glowing report from her headteacher and we wanted to get her into St Joseph’s for its Christian ethos. “I know we are not the only parents in this position and it seems like discrimination against other Christian faiths.” Mr Padley said: “During the appeal the headteacher of St Joseph’s defined a Catholic child as a baptised child. “But, in my view, baptism might mean a great deal or it might mean nothing to some people. “Our foremost reason for applying for St Joseph’s was because of its Christian ethos rather than its academic record. “I want to see the admission policy to faith schools changed locally and nationally.” Christian campaigning groups that highlight alleged discriminination against Christians are unlikely to take up the case, as the same groups habve also defend vigorously the right of church schools to discriminate in admissions. Some religious groups however, including the religious thinktank Ekklesia, are part of the coalition Accord which aims to make admissions policies fairer for faith schools and eliminate discrimination against Christians, as well as those of other religion and no religion. Jonathan Bartley, co-director of the religious thinktank Ekklesia said: “It isn’t just those of no faith who lose out as a result of the discriminatory policies of faith schools. “The reality is that churches have fought hard to maintain the right of church schools to discriminate not just against those of other faiths, and no faith, but against their own. Hopefully now through this case more people from the churches will realise that the law needs to change”

Congratulations

Brilliant news! Susie and Ross Hannah had a little boy this morning, 8lb 2oz, and a grandchild for Margot and Tim. Blessed be God forever!

Trinity 5 Sermon

Some of you may be aware that today is the 12th July. For most of the people of the world it’s just another day, but for us in the West of Scotland and indeed in Ireland, it is a date etched in our brains.

One of the first songs I learned in Primary School contained the words, “And it’s on the 12th I love to wear the sash my father wore” Then ended up with words that suggested that someone, somewhere should have sexual intercourse with the Bishop of Rome. God help me, I didn’t know what I was singing about. Some of my classmates of old are still singing, and they probably still don’t know what it’s about! My father didn’t have a sash, and neither did my pal’s dads! But sing it we did!

Today, in the Gospel we had the head of St John the Baptist served up on a plate, and there’s a lot of truth in saying that there are some who will march this weekend, commemorating the Battle of the Boyne 319 years ago, who would gladly have the head of Pope Benedict served up on a plate too.

The thing is that if it was an anti-Islamic march then it would be banned! But even in this community, shortly, the flutes will play on our streets, the drums will bang, and wee girls will dance like Salome, twirling the cords of the various banners.

Not that the other lot are much better. There are some who would wish they could get away with blowing the said walk and all its participants to kingdom come in one fell swoop. Mass murder is nothing new to either camp.

Hatred of Roman Catholicism and hatred of Roman Catholic practice is an abomination to God. There, I’ve said it because it is the truth. Hatred of anything that is not Roman Catholic, Calvinism, Protestant and reformed is also an abomination to God. There, I’ve said that too, because it’s the truth. We take God Almighty himself and use him as an excuse for our hatred and division, and that is an abomination. I will have nothing to do with bigots and those who will perpetuate hatred in the Name of God in my country or in this community, whether Christian or not, for it is an abomination, and that’s the truth.

But telling the truth can get us into all sorts of problems. There are two types of people in the world we despise. The first are people who can never be trusted to tell the truth. The second are people who can only be trusted to tell the truth. Can you remember the first time you got in trouble for telling the truth? I can. I was four or five years old.

An adult was visiting our house, and they asked my dad why we didn’t come over very often to visit them. I chimed in, “I know. . . Because my mum says your children have dirty heads.” I once told a funny-smelling “old lady” that my mum would never have a cup of tea in her house. Well my mother had said it. “It would give you the bile”, she’d said. Eventually we learn that while we should always tell the truth, we don’t always have to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Some call this the art of the “white lie,” And there are many things and situations which, if we are going to fit in with society and be acceptable, we have to learn the technique of staying silent or telling the white lie. The truth be told? We usually don’t want the truth to be told. But sometimes, I believe, we need to tell the truth, even although we risk getting our head on a plate for our efforts. And we might offend. Well, tough! Because some things need to be held up as wrong, some things need to be held up as evil, and sometimes we need to be brave enough to stand and speak the truth.

And John the Baptist was doing just that. Sure, there were lots of things he could have accused Herod of doing wrong. His politics were more than a wee bit crazy, but eventually he did something that couldn’t be ignored, and John spoke the truth…. “You are in an adulterous relationship. You have stolen your brother’s wife and you must repent.” And it was because Herod was offending God and God’s law that he eventually spoke out. It cost John his life.

There were other things that could have been said about stuff in Herod’s life, but some things are worth dying for and others aren’t. We maybe have to pray for discernment. Discernment is important, because there is always a time to speak and a time to stay silent. But, if God is being used to create the sort of hatred and division in our society which we see at this time of year in this community then it must be condemned. The truth needs to be told.

If someone is destroying the fabric of the People of God, then the truth needs to be said.

If someone is even jeopardising the life and unity of this parish, then the truth must be told, even if it’s told in love.

If the Gospel itself is being twisted and used for means other than truth, unity and love, if it is making a mockery of Jesus and his way of love, then it is an abomination and worth speaking out against and maybe even dying for. We’re lucky that heads on dishes are not common sights, even on Dumbarton High Street.

Often, we are asked to speak the truth because it is necessary to do so, but so many of us shy away from it because we are afraid to offend, or afraid of the consequences.

What if Michael Jackson had had people in his life who weren’t afraid of giving offense, what if certain people who loved and cared for Jackson brought grace and truth together in his life, were firm and told him the truth about himself? What if they weren’t afraid that he might want their heads on a platter? Might he still not be alive today?

What about some of the drug abusers and performing alcoholics in our communities who continue to be enabled, simply because nobody is brave enough to stop it and hold a mirror up to their faces, and confront them with their unacceptable behaviour. I would have been saved a lot of pain had someone long ago had done that for me. Instead, it was all covered up with the words, “Oh! Father enjoys his wee drink!” And so our silence can often enable evil and unacceptable things to go on, we enable things to happen which are destructive to our communities, our friends and families because we won’t tell the truth. We’re frightened of the consequences.

Sure, we always need a spirit of discernment, but often it’s just that we lack the courage, and are afraid of the consequences. John the Baptist had no such fear. His love of God was such, that there were things that had to be said.

There are things that need to be talked about. Truths that need to be told, from world hunger, to Islamic and Christian extremism, from basic human rights, to racism and even homophobia.

And the truth needs to be told. But even in our little communities, and in our families, often the truth needs to be told in love, to save folk from themselves, whatever the consequences. We need to be brave, sometimes, to do that.