Monday, January 6, 2014

The Epiphany - an Exegetical Exposition.

The Feat of the Epiphany is a puzzling time, My Beloved Sinners, even for One as Learned and Righteous as Myself. Nor all does this terrible cold weather help things: chilblains serve little benefit when it comes to addressing the great mysteries of Biblical Theology, and whilst there is no denying a good snow blower will always be an integral part of any exegetically-sound sermon preparation kit, sometimes one can’t help noticing that those churches with the most altar-bling are concentrated near the equator. Where the only salt you’ll ever find spread on the road got there as result of someone’s hands getting shaky while making one too many margaritas.

Still, a Clergyman has got to serve where he’s been called irrespective of the weather (at least until he gets lucky in his search for somewhere better), and helping you all understand what was going on when Jesus’ parents permitted foreigners with a penchant for astrology to offer their child such a mixed array of gifts isn’t going to be made any easier by My complaining about the cold. So without further ado I’ve instructed My Ministry Team to venture outside and fetch more wood for the fireplace while I address the Greatest Problem affecting Contemporary Christianity today: what was going when Melchior, Balthazar, and Caspar came to pay their respects?

The first thing we need to ask is “What’s with their choice of presents?” Gold is obvious: even if the price has recently weakened a little, at $1,238.40 an ounce we can all understand why that particular star-gazing sand-pilgrim wasn’t immediately thrown out on his ear. But frankincense? Myrrh? Who gives new-born babies that kind of gloop? If they’d been serious about wanting Our Lord to smell better while simultaneously casting a nice oily sheen upon all those around Him the least they could have given is Old Spice and a jar of tanning butter. But myrrh doesn’t even have a vowel in its name – what possible good would that have been to poor Mary? And have you ever tried taking frankincense back to Walmart without a receipt? I have, and let Me tell you it wasn’t a “save money, live better” experience. Although being a Christian company they do sell firearms, so in the end we were able to negotiate an exchange instead of a refund, and at least I was as a sportsman able to go home with something capable of killing people for purely recreational purposes.

The key to understanding what happened here in Bethlehem lays in the fact that the Bible specifically doesn’t tell us what Joseph was up to at the time. Which forces us to ask what kind of man would be out of the house/manger while three foreign men (who almost certainly all had beards) traipsed around over the avocado & harvest gold shag-pile, sycophantically paying their obeisances to his teenage bride and her infant? That’s right – one who knows he’s not the father! What the Bible is really telling us here is that Joseph was wise to the fact that the "Y" portion of Baby Jesus' incarnate chromosomes came from God!

As everyone knows caring for someone else’s children is a wonderful thing on account of all the child support payments you can spend. But when that child’s father is God – owner of the cattle on a thousand hills etc. – Joseph was in line for a serious check heading his way each month. He wasn’t just looking at the usual windfall guys in his position can score, like enough to pick up some sweet wheels on eBay for the ’74 Mustang II that’s been sitting on blocks in the yard for the past three years while he gets around to restoring it. No sir, Joseph knew he was looking at the real thing – say a ’68 Dodge Charger just like the one Bo and Luke drove in The Dukes of Hazard. Except with the 8-track upgraded into something that allows you to play music illegally downloaded from the internet.

Once you understand who Jesus’ real father was the whole event we celebrate today as the Epiphany makes perfect sense. Joseph, like any man in his position, was out celebrating his good fortune with his buddies, and freelance religious fringe-dwellers were doing what they’ve always done: offering inappropriate gifts in the course of their search for God. Jesus and His Mother’s next visitor may just have been trying to sell discount aluminum cladding (“Ever thought of giving this manger a real face-lift you can be proud of?”) but you’d better believe the one after that was someone wanting to complain about how the weird foreign guys were lowering the tone of the whole neighborhood (“And another thing: those camels they tied up outside have kicked down my letterbox, not to mention how bad all that yellow snow is going to smell when things start warming up again!”). But what could anyone expect? Pretty much the next thing we hear of the Holy Family is that they’ve become refugees, which possibly means the three wise men’s presents weren’t that impractical after all. Because carrying something more age-appropriate and essential like a Hoppy-Days Baby Bouncer is kind of hard when you’re fleeing for your life.

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Consider our hands washed.

In the light of all Reverend layman Howler has taught Beloved Sinners everywhere about the terrible plight facing tertiary-educated white Consevative-Christians in Uganda – namely that not only is global attention being diverted away from all the wonderful good they have done for that fine nation by encouraging native churchgoers to hate homosexualists, but that the world is now going so far as to hold them responsible for circumstances which have led to the passing of a piffling little law which will see people sentenced to life-long imprisonment for wickedly living as God sinfully chose to make them – I’ve been doing quite a bit of research into that wonderful nation.

Listening to what Ugandan born and educated Andrew Mwenda has to say seemed a good place to start. I fully realize that as one of Uganda’s most respected journalists, and founder of Uganda's premier current affairs news magazine The Independent, Mr. Mwenda can’t possibly speak as authoritatively about Ugandan affairs as a young fellow with very nice teeth (for an Englishman) and a whole two year’s experience lecturing in a Conservative Anglican Seminary in Kampala. Still, as you all know, I am a profoundly balanced man, and always willing to hear from as wide a range of evil-doers as possible, including those with opinions differing to My own - even though they are by definition always wrong. So it is with this in mind that I urge you to observe the following:



You’ll note that just after the three minute mark Mr. Mwenda unabashedly states:

This issue of hostility towards homosexuality is not African. The idea of criminalizing homosexuality did not exist in African culture. It was introduced here by Victorian laws imported and imposed on this country by British colonial isolation.
Now I don’t know what further credentials this courageous journalist has beyond having been published by the world’s most prestigious newspapers and winning the 2008 Internation Press Freedom Award, but this clearly contradicts Rev. layman Howler’s analysis. And since Rev. layman Howler is officially approved by Dobby Ould – a Trained Theolgian®™ holding an undergraduate degree from an institution overseen by someone who lost $160 million of his parishioner’s assets – there’s absolutely no way he could be anything but absolutely right. Which means there’s no need for anyone to give what Andrew Mwenda says a moment’s further consideration. Even if his track record does prove him to be as a brave a man as any of us can ever hope to encounter.

Consequently I then looked elsewhere in the Ugandan media, and began reading another Kampala newspaper: the Daily Monitor. However this resulted in significant disturbance to the St. Onuphrius’ Ministry Team: looking over My shoulder Bishop Quinine learned from the concluding paragraphs of this informative article that “recruitment of gays was rampant” at a major Ugandan university, and that men were being paid 800,000 Ugandan Shillings a month for switching their interest in smelly bits to the type that (mostly) dangle.

Honestly, with that kind of money on offer our Personal Prelate had already booked his flight and was in the process of packing his bags (you can’t imagine how difficult it is to fit a Mitre in a suitcase in such a way that it doesn’t come out resembling a gold-trimmed whoopee cushion). No matter how hard we tried it was impossible to make him see reason, and it wasn’t until I gently explained that what sounded to him like a fortune was in fact only about US$315 that he settled down.

Helping me restore unity to My team was the next article, headed “Iganga school expels 22 students over lesbianism”. A powerful piece, it outlined a terrible scenario in which students “had been found in possession of numerous sex toys, including artificial penises” – definitive proof if ever one saw it of shameless female homosexualism. But it was the comments to this article that really helped illustrate how the Anti-Gay Bill has absolutely nothing to do with western religious influence: the very first one read in full:
As if our country doesn't have enough problems, now our nation is gradually resembling 'sodom and gomorrah'. God pleaseeeeeeee, save our country!!!!
See? Not so much as a single mention of anything to do with Christianity! And since the phrase “sodom and gomorrah” is so obviously a reference to some kind of darkly ignorant traditional African cultural belief or practice I can’t for the life imagine how anyone could even begin to discern the influence of Conservative Biblical Evangelicals.

The same is equally true of the next comment, which quite correctly follows the plainly traditional African custom of laying all the blame at the feet of western liberals:
“Oh, you want to know sources of those toys? They are the numerous well facilitated NGOs including some religious sects and Embassies from Western countries mostly, based in Uganda. Probably, they already there in our pharmacies as well. They probably recruit mules in our society to disseminate such. Do you also check those students who for one reason or the other are given permission during school term to come out and return back to your school? Some parents delegate relatives or neighbors to visit their children at school. These could be the mules. This is yet another heinous war the ulta-liberals in the western decadent world are launching on us.”
Yet the smoking gun I needed came in the comments of another article (“British university cuts ties with Victoria University over gay bill”)
IF YOU CANT RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE THEN YOU OUGHT NOT BE RESPECTED -laughable!!! … THIS IS WHEN YOU WISH The late Field Marshal AMIN WAS AROUND- I bet he would make a physical statement
Just as we knew all along: Idi Amin was a Muslim (kind of), so obviously it’s Muslim missionaries who have been behind all the traditional African superstitions worming their way into the 100% Orthodox Christianity sweeping through Uganda. And since the exact number of his fellow citizens he killed “will never be accurately known” (never a promising epitaph, I’ll admit), it’s perfectly understandable that plenty of people remember him fondly enough to cite him when leaving comments in Uganda’s most popular newspaper. From which it’s only a short step to blaming him and his religion for what Andrew Mwenda calls “a primitive law”. Besides, isn’t it comforting to know that in doing so we can completely absolve ourselves from any responsibility for the bloodbath looming just around the corner?

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

Let Me start My first important homily of 2014 by wishing Beloved Sinners ever where a Happy New Year! Wherever you are, whether like Me glorifying god in a Christian nation in which socio-economically challenged families have better access to firearms than medical care, or living in abject socialist depravity under one of those godless regimes which can’t boast of having the industrial world’s highest first-day infant mortality rate, My heart-felt prayer is that the coming year will for you be one of abundant joy, health, and prosperity.

Indeed, you should all be assured this will be a good year, for 2014 has already begun in one of the most propitious of ways: this morning saw the arrival of an email which was not so much spittle-flecked as positively marinated in drool. Trust Me, Beloved Sinners, it was covered in more slobber than a St. Bernard’s favorite squeaky-toy, and epitomized the firm-yet-psychotic style of communication used only by Conservative Evangelicals and the criminally insane.

Driving My correspondent’s impressive spray were recent comments he (why is this kind of nut never female?) perceived Me as making concerning little Stanley Ntagali and the far-sighted nation of Uganda’s recent passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Impudently and obviously ignorantly claiming I have no knowledge such matters (in reality I was an expert on all matters missionary when this kid’s father was still striving to pray away the “impure thoughts” which ultimately led to his unfortunate conception), the boy suggested I should instead first read a piece by the Rev. Chris Howles, a young Englishman teaching aspiring Clergy at the Uganda Martyr's Seminary, Kampala.

Naturally My first reaction was heed the spirit’s plainly discernable call to track down the boy via his email’s headers, and thence lovingly administer the appropriate correction called for by such rudeness with clear Biblical exegesis, a commercial quantity of wasabi, and a pair of very sharp pinking shears. Further consideration, however, reminded me that this wasn’t the first young man to confuse an excess of testosterone with Christian zeal, and there can be no denying that something about his impotent rage was strangely exciting in a purely Biblical way. So instead I clicked over to see what someone with a whole two years experience with everyday Ugandan life had to say. After all, who could possibly have a better understanding of African society than a white tertiary-educated westerner peering through the windows of a seminary?

Like any True Conservative, before reading something I always first want to see who likes it. That way I can know whether what I’m about to read is good or bad, and whether it will be in My best interest to be seen as either praising or condemning it. So you can quite naturally appreciate my delight at seeing the second-from-the top comment came from none other than a euphoric little David Ould. As even the most Wicked of you understand, anything receiving accolades from a man so trustworthy worked as an accountant and can still find nothing reprehensible about the Jensens’ financial shenanigans has got to be good.

Sadly though, I’m afraid to say Rev. Howles’ essay failed to live up to the high expectations engendered by such irresistible titillation. In fact the young and evangelicaly toothy pedagogue’s thesis can be reduced into just one delightfully racist premise: that western Christians aren’t responsible for the natives’ hatred of homos – this act of the Ugandan parliament is actually just a hang-over from the dark days before missionaries came, when the people of Uganda were merely ignorant heathens.

That Howlers fails to mention that the three major proponents of the bill - “Family” member and western-educated politician, David Bahati; Californian writer and certifiable whack-job Scott Lively; and my dear old friend and correspondent Martin “Eat da Poo-poo” Ssempa – all enjoyed extensive western educations and are about as deeply immersed in traditional African culture as the Klan surely should in no way be seen as detracting from his argument.

Or at least not detracting too much.

Maybe.

Besides, he does get around to touching on these three wise monkeys way down in comment #59, although going on to say that his argument stands because “only one of them is a westerner” (while ignoring their educational backgrounds and financial supporters) probably doesn’t really add the air of probity to his work that he’s clearly convinced it enjoys.

Still, there’s always a bright side. Knowing that the next wave of Ugandan religious leaders are being trained in reasoning just as corrupt and morally bankrupt as the current regime, under the guidance of teachers just as specious as those who delivered us Orombi et al, shows spouting homophobia will remain a fast track to a Bishop’s hat (albeit one of dubious authenticity) for many years to come. And in the meantime anyone in Uganda who’s ever felt so much as the slightest yearning to dance on the other side of the hall would be wise think about taking an extended international trip.

Now.

Please.

Call me old-fashioned, but when Amnesty International starts getting worried about your safety it’s always a good time to move on. Or else the coming year might not be so great after all. No matter how many idiots send you an email on January 1.

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Stanley Ngtali - GAFCON Priorities in the Pulpit.

Since the day New Hampshire realized how good Bishop Gene looks in purple I’ve been telling people over and over again that the current rifts within Anglican Communion have nothing to do with homosexualism. Indeed, anyone prepared to look at the things exactly as I tell them to can plainly see for themselves that personal insecurities about dearly held patriarchal understandings of sexuality, power and what happens to excite clergymen’s wieners when they think nobody’s watching play absolutely no part whatsoever in the choice of Conservative Bible-Believers such as Myself to inconsistently interpret a few Scriptures literally.

Which is why my heart rejoiced when, while perusing Uganda’s Daily Monitor, I saw that the recently-passed Ugandan anti-gay legislation took a primary place in Kampala’s Christmas sermons. Christmas is, after all, a time when preaching must above all else focus on The Bible. While I can concede there might be a time for nonBiblical issues like human rights and social justice to be mentioned from pulpits in passing (generally in the context of pointing out all the stupid things liberals consider important), that time is not, and never has been, when more pressing issues are at hand – like the crucial gospel priority for all those present who are not normally part of one’s congregation to understand how much the Baby Jesus hates them for not having attended faithfully throughout the preceding year.

Once again Anglicans still canonically resident in the godless west should hang their heads in shame before those to whom Our Church’s future has been
soldentrusted. Pause in awe, My Beloved Sinners, before this published excerpt of Ugandan Archbishop little Stanley Ntgali’s Christmas homily:

“In Uganda, there are so many injustices like child sacrifice, domestic violence, drug abuse which are now a big issue in our schools... I want to thank Parliament for passing the Anti-homosexuality Bill. I want the world to understand what we are saying.”
The world - at least that to which Jesus referred when using the expression we translate as “world” - understands you perfectly, little Stanley. If children, women, and school students, are suffering why shouldn’t wealthy and powerful men like you celebrate the Savior's birth by giving thanks that yet another minority group has joined them in their persecution? It's those for whom the Incarnate God means something more than a just means by which to control others that find you incomprehensible.

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

ACNA - Now Bigger than Rome!

Just to show We have absolutely no hard feelings towards the godless baptists who alerted the Dept. of Homeland Security to our Mission to Afghan/Iraqi Farmers in Need of Quality Superphosphates, the St. Onuphrius’ Ministry Team have followed Christmas Day with a wonderful concert outside their front lawn. I played a moving rendition of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” on the alpenhorn, which was followed by Bishop Quinine on his flesh-colored clarinet – an instrument he rarely plays but polishes on a daily basis. As I write this Brother Richtofen and His Friends from Seminary have just begun playing a nine-hour set of Mariachi/Techno/Death-Metal especially mixed to show our heretic neighbours how much we love them, and how we’ve forgiven them even though Our Loving Father in Heaven has fore-ordained them to an eternity of indescribable agony.

Even so, as much as I love young-people’s music when wearing industrial-strength hearing protection, it felt appropriate for Me to discern the spirit’s call to leave the celebrations prior to any further visits by the National Guard, and begin the challenging task of catching up on all the astonishing events which occurred during my absence. Undoubtedly one of the most amazing was young Pope Benny Ratsfinger announcing his resignation on account of “advancing years”.

Now you can call me old fashioned, but I’ve always said a man’s only as old as the person he’s feeling. And given Benny’s got Romans around the world positively aching to kiss his ring things simply don’t make sense. Especially when you consider His Popishness has a collection of man-lace big enough to keep that obsessive nut from Rhode Island who still leaves comments on everyone’s blogs fascinated for life.

No; you don’t have to be Alex Jones to recognize a conspiracy when it hits you in the chasuble. My Personal Belief is Benny was embarrassed at the way his franchise has been overtaken in global importance by little Bobby Duncan’s sect. Granted it’s been a while since I saw any actual figures {has anyone?), but who can forget all the hoopla a few years back, so by now they’ve obviously delivered on all the predictions of success made back then. Besides, it’s not as if the Apostate Heretics in the Vatican have their own online store (featuring not just one but two!!! different styles of lapel pin - Traditional and Contemporary), so obviously I'm right.

Besides, there can be no denying that The Archbishop of Canterbury’s meeting with Bobby earlier this year is tantamount to full recognition, which means there’s no longer anything dishonest about claiming ACNA claiming status as an Anglican Province. Although I do have to admit that by this logic Rome became an Anglican province way back in 1966, when Ramsay++ dropped by Paul VI’s house for donuts and a quick game of “I won’t mention Cranmer if you don’t mention Campion.” At which point you’ll have to excuse me: I’ve just received an email from someone born in Beijing, which means I’ve got to update our parish roll to include all 1.351 billion citizens of China.

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

God's Christmas Gift to You: ME!

Wicked as you are, My Beloved Sinners, the federal order preventing Me and anyone associated with My Ministry from accessing the internet has been lifted in what is undoubtedly the Most Wonderful Christmas Blessing of all time.

Indeed, at this time of year, when the Curse of Rampant Liberalism is stripping this most sacred of seasons of all Christian greeting-card manufacturers call holy, and an Army of Politically-Correct Apostates fight to prevent Bible-Believers from celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus by pressing each other up against the Xerox machine for a round of tonsil-hockey at the office Christmas party, this miracle proves that a wise and wily Clergyman can still redeem the darkest of situations.

Before we go any further, however, let it be categorically clear that there was absolutely no substance to the criminal charges alleged allegations which lead to this appalling persecution of the Gospel. Indeed, those of you not sufficiently filled with the holy spirit to believe everything I say without question may even have problems comprehending the extent to which such pernicious apostate liberal conspiracies exist in a nation where rich people can convince the poor that it’s in their interest to preserve medical insurance corporation profits at the expense of their own health. Yet, as anyone who’s ever skimmed the “Favorites” file on little David Ould’s browser can tell you, the Evil rampant in the hearts and minds of seemingly normal-albeit-rather-ugly apostate enemies of Biblical Christianity knows no bounds.

Mind you, the whole situation escalated so quickly that even a Christian as wisely perceptive as Me was hard-pressed keeping up with things. When the Rectory was first locked down I was still far away in Merrie Olde England, consoling My Grief at the passing of dear St. Baroness Thatcher by ministering to a couple of most enterprising young Christians whom I met in a small theatre in Soho. (Who could have possibly guessed that the fall of immoral Communism would result in the relocation of so many creative liturgical dancers to London?) I had just delivered My moving eulogy at Saint Maggie’s funeral, in which I focused not so much upon how much her personal family values accomplished for communities in the north of the country, where she is undoubtedly loved and missed most, as I did on the bold manner in which she squandered the Britain’s North Sea oil wealth in pursuit of an ideological obsession. After which I reminisced about her close personal friendship with the equally lamented young people’s entertainer Jimmy Saville, as well as her tireless work on behalf of the Eastern European cancer industry.

So you can well imagine My amazement at finding upon My return to Ichabod Springs that the innovative and profitable Ministry I’d established just prior to leaving had fallen foul of a Godless piece of legislation called “The Patriot Act” - obviously something introduced by Obama and is cabal of Israel-loving Muslims. Who could have ever believed that something as innocent as a Biblically-sound initiative transhipping superphosphates to tribesmen in Afghanistan and Iraq (at a charitable 150% mark-up) would one day be considered treason? Here we were, helping ignorant heathens develop chemically-driven agriculture in the fervent prayer that one day their children would be able to enjoy the same tasteless tomatoes as we do, when suddenly the Perverted Atheists who control Washington were accusing us of supporting the manufacture of explosives in so-called-nations opposed to everything Jesus stood for – such lower taxes and an end to welfare for single mothers.

Unfortunately My protestations that the people we were assisting weren’t enemies at all (on account of them also not liking women in leadership or homosexualists) weren’t helped by Bishop Quinine explaining that this particular Parish Ministry had absolutely nothing to do with trade in armaments and explosives, which are handled by an entirely different Mission registered in the Seychelles and operating out of Lichtenstein. In fact for a while things were looking quite dark indeed for the light on the hill which is St. Onuphrius’.

But it takes more than the world's greatest superpower to keep this Doctrinal Warrior from Proclaiming the gospel, and during the course of a friendly interrogation session the senior investigator let slip the fact that he was himself the child of a Manse, and had some experience of the ways in which a Parish operates. At which point I realized he’d believe me implicitly if I blamed everything on My miserable excuse for a Curate, Evangelical Eric.

Sure enough, My plan worked! The investigator really had been raised the son of a Rector, for he fully understood the truth of My explanation that whatever goes wrong in a Church – be it, big, small, or cataclysmic and involving nipple clamps and the entire Altar Guild – IT’S ALWAYS THE CURATE’S FAULT!!!

And so, after Evangelical Eric obediently confirmed his guilt while being independently water-boarded by officers serving one of The Land of the Free’s dearest allies in the War on Terror, the St. Onuphrius’ Ministry Team are once more able to browse the intertubes in a faithful commitment to expose the evil lurking in men’s loins. Which is, I know you will all appreciate, the Greatest Christmas Present the World has ever received. Except, perhaps, for some small insignificant event a couple of thousand years ago involving a manger and a baby of dubious legitimacy. Whom I and the Conservatives who imitate Me promise to keep doing Our best to help everyone forget about.

I'm Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Monday, September 9, 2013

9-11 2013: No Show Today.

As you’ve probably guessed, Father Troll has been very much pushed to the sidelines of my life during the past year. In fact there have been times when I’ve seriously considered killing him off altogether; perhaps by being accidentally shot by while addressing an enthusiastic NRA rally, or as a result of some terrible explosion occurring while he and Bishop Quinine launch themselves into space aboard a home-made rocket in an attempt to become the first missionaries to Pandora. (How could those two not find themselves obsessing about physically gorgeous nine-foot tall blue people who’ve apparently never heard of the importance of misogyny and homophobia to spirituality? And since Avatar was produced by a company owned by Rupert Murdoch they’d have no problem convincing themselves it's not fiction: “I ask you, My Beloved Sinners, would the fine Christian who owns the Fox Network and The Sun ever present something which isn’t true?”).

Partly these feelings have been exacerbated by the passing of the golden age of blogging: there really isn’t the same amount of material to riff on that there was a few years ago. More so, however, they result from a number of changes in my personal life: with a number of projects of which I’m immensely proud growing apace finding 45 minutes to transcribe the rantings of a demented old parody has become harder and harder. It’s one thing to make those around me laugh by slipping into Father Christian’s voice and denouncing whatever has just caught my attention, but very much another to translate that into a few hundred pithy words which will both offend and amuse the appropriate people - who are themselves spread across a number of very different continents, cultures, generations, sexualities, and genders.

More importantly, the circumstances which gave birth to Father Christian have greatly changed. Akinola has retired to enjoy his sumptious retirement gifts, and his replacement has mercifully failed to sustain the buffoonery on a global scale. Jensen has stepped down to do whatever it is fundamentalist archbishops do once they’ve bankrupted their diocese, and even Venables is more in the category of “whatever happened to…” than he is a figure of influence in the church we love. Despite ludicrous predictions to the contrary, Duncan’s new “province” remains as much a part of the Anglican Communion as Scientology, and in terms of current growth only marginally more successful. All of which has often found me wondering if there’s still any need for Father Christian and his retinue? Perhaps having served their purpose it’s better for them to join those upon whom they were based into a well-deserved (albeit long-overdue) slide into obscurity.

Yet the reality is that fundamentalism is far from dead. To forget this is to risk forgetting lessons etched in both the blood of those killed 12 years ago, and the tears shed afterwards by all those who loved them. Bin Laden might be dead, and closer to home sites like Stand Firm might now be a pastiche of what it was five years ago (that there really does exist people who can keep a straight face while reading Fischler’s Facebook: Purveyor of Hate or Ould’s Sex and Jihad – the Failure of Modern Hermeneutics is beyond doubt, but I defy anyone to produce more than a handful who have finished elementary school and are not males with an emotional age of less than 25), but the evil old refrain continues regardless. People continue to reject and persecute others, and deny them basic human rights, because of a conviction that god says they’re wrong. Old men continue to grow in wealth and power by manipulating these convictions, and young men – for fundamentalism is above all else primarily a disease of young and immature men – continue throwing away their lives in attempt to find acceptance in the eyes of those whom they seek to follow.

In response to my last 9/11 post a young fellow from Sydney (why was I not surprised to learn of his location?) left a comment here expressing outrage at what he considered to be my unwitting concatenation of Wahhabist Islam with contemporary Evangelicalism and medieval Catholicism. He never responded to my explanation that there was nothing unwitting in the slightest about my having drawn a link between what are actually just different manifestations of the same obnoxious cocktail of insecurity, poor-education, ambition, fear, and pride. The theological minutiae of what the consumer then sticks down the front of his underpants is a most an after-thought: a gnat with which to garnish one’s camel.

As I said, the young man to whom my response was directed discontinued the dialogue, but I didn’t expect otherwise. Yet he has remained very much in my thoughts, as well as my prayers, and not least because I’m old enough to appreciate his earnest enthusiasm and to grieve at what becomes of his kind when the well of his energy has been drained by those who purport to lead him. And so it’s for his sake, as much as for those whom shared a chuckle from the other side of the aisle, that the terrible Father Christian Troll will live on. Probably not with the same frequency he once did, but hopefully once the chaos of the next few months’ deadlines have passed with more vigour than he’s displayed in the past year.

That’s because young men like him thrive on arguments, and in any case reason and logic have never played any part in the construct of their beliefs (regardless of how much they claim to the contrary). One can at best hope to rattle the cage of delusions a little, and then be there on the ground to support them when the bright shining future once promised by their golden calf of certainty has left them used up and alone. And Father Christian is one of the most effective means by which I’ve ever been able to rattle cage bars.

So until we next meet here, please take care to love those around you. Give thanks when those dearest to you come home from wherever they have been for the day, and make a place in your heart for those whom were on this day – or any other day – not so blessed. And remember that the God who makes the sun shine upon us all has no need for a faith which would leave others in the dark.