Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Apostle Paul Charity Foundation - Urgent Request

Was way up north recently, further north even than Derby. What a barren place this far north is - driving through villages I passed so many empty faces, hunched shoulders, purposeless lives, street urchins covered in coal dust, old people watching our car with pleading expressions, grey bricks, small corner shops, brown corduroy trousers and wellington boots covered in actual dirt. No sooner had we passed through one town I found myself mesmerised by field after field of emptiness, dotted with occasional animals. Even the cows had haunted, empty eyes, dammit.

For those of us who live south of the Thames, this is heart-wrenching, and it was all I could do to urge James, my taxi chauffeur, to drive faster. As my shock increased, I just wanted to stop and buy them an avocado latte, offer them stable high-speed fibreoptic broadband, or handout some of my quinoa and pumpkin seed low GI healthy protein salad. But this was beyond my financial means and there is so much need.

So I’ve decided to start a charity fund for the needy up north. Please generously donate and we will see that every one of these people – and that is what they are don’t forget – can to try a taster of the new hemp and chia organic Fregola dish Waitrose are selling at the moment.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

From a "Devotional" I will never publish cos need to keep job etc

Day 4

Character. Not all of us have it. This wouldn’t be a very good devotional if we didn’t think a little about character, ponder how to improve it and look to those who offer us noteworthy examples.

To wit, I turn to a beautiful episode from the life of the greatest theologian of the 20th century, Karl Barth. Pope Pius XII allegedly called him “the greatest theologian since Thomas Aquinas”, whichis quite the admission for a Catholic, to which Barth apparently smiled and responded something about this proving the infallibility of the Pope.

Nice. Man had humour, too.

But Barth, and this is today’s lesson, also knew when to listen to criticism. In this case, his commissioning editors.

To cut a long story short, Barth had a bit of a dispute with a onetime theological friend, some dick called Emil Brunner.

Sadly, Brunner had lost his theological bearings, having begun to sacrifice chickens to Zeus, so Barth wrote a short, sharp response. In one of his less guarded moments he submitted the manuscript to the publishing house, “Theologischer Verlag”, with a bit of a wordy original title. Although admittedly unconfirmed, it ran as follows:

No, an Answer to Brunner, the Privileged Cis White Male with Bad breath and Dandruff Who Can't Get Laid Because His Face Looks Like It Has Been Repeatedly Hit With a Shovel. Sad.

At once, the publishing house advised caution. But despite the fact that Barth’s cause was noble, he was teachable; he listened to critique with humility. He heard the objection and hit the delete button (certainly a skill I have yet to master).

And within days, the book subtitle had been shorted, and it was published simply as No! An Answer to Brunner.

That, my friends, is character.

I think we all know the take-home point today, and it will be worth spelling it out for you to prayerfully ponder:

What book subtitle have you written that needs to be shortened?