Friday, December 25, 2009

Fr. Troll's Christmas Sermon

Contrary to what many people believe, My Dearly Beloved Sinners, there’s more to Christmas than just giving expensive presents to your Vicar. It is in fact a time full of wonder, a season of ever-unfolding mysteries.

Consider, for example, the wise men from the east. That we hear nothing further of them in Scripture is undoubtedly because the early church recognized the inappropriateness of their gifts, and decided to avoid any future contact. I mean to say, what kind of gifts are gold, frankincense, and myrrh for a male infant? What’s wrong with something more traditional, like cigarettes, handguns, and plenty of ammunition? And why didn’t they also bring Joseph something; say a Cuban cigar and DVD of babes in bikinis demonstrating the evils of communism? Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve never trusted men who give girly presents and feign an interest in astrology.

Or why were the names of Mary’s midwives not recorded? Perhaps Bethlehem’s medical services were also in the process of socialist transformation, and the nurses were doing a little moon-lighting on the side for cash? Or did Mary give birth alone and unassisted in the privacy of a public lavatory, thereby enjoying the very same right that Republicans are today bravely fighting to preserve for single and impoverished young women?

And the shepherds: why were they permitted to take up space in the infant Christ’s presence that could have been offered to more important people? Wasn’t there anyone in town who understood the basics of Strategic Ministry and the trickle-down effect? Or what happened to their flocks while they were away? Did the angels fill in during their absence? And if so do the angels work for the standard subsistence rate, or has heavenly unionization enabled them to collectively bargain for better conditions?

No; the more deeply one examines the events of this far off Christmas morning the more one is faced by questions. We may never know the answers, itself a great blessing to anyone seeking an interesting topic for their doctoral thesis, but one thing we do know: God is vastly more complex and wonderful than any of us can dare imagine. Otherwise it’s a certainty this whole messy incarnational mystery would have been rejected long before any little drummer boy could have even started playing his per-ruppa-pum-bum business. On his drum, ad infinitum. And as a special treat for you all I’m now not going to link to the Bob Seger version recorded in 1987. I’m Father Christian, and occasionally I do show mercy.

After all, it is Christmas, and I’d like each and every one of you to have a very merry day indeed. God Bless all of you!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Three steps to Greater Doctrinal Purity

Some people walk through a rose garden, and filled with joy by the glorious colors, are entranced by the music of the flower’s gentle fragrance, and wonder in amazement at the complexity of the world in which we live. Others see plant genitalia. Which were created on Day 3 of God’s 7 day project development phase.

If you’re not one of the latter group the Good News is that you’re facing eternal loving torture unless you immediately and totally change everything yourself. Billy Graham’s choir may have sung Just As I Am while the busses waited, but you’d better believe that Just-as-you-are isn’t nearly good enough for our gracious and forgiving Father in Heaven. Or at least it isn’t for his GAFCON representatives, of which I am unquestionably the Most Important.

Nevertheless; my caring pastoral heart has today inspired me to present a brief three-step guide to improving your miserably sinful existence. Following these tips won’t make you as righteous as me, of course, but as long as you’ve got a heterosexually-inclined penis they’ll certainly help you become a bishop in ACNA. Or a house-elf in Sydney, if you’re too sartorially challenged.

Step One: Find a local park in which Sinners are enjoying themselves and search for dog droppings.
Shout in warning to passers-by whenever you manage locate a piece of excrement, and rant angrily at every dog-walker you meet – particularly those in the act of picking up their pet’s refuse. Don’t worry if you live in an area where everyone cleans up after their dog: artificial prank droppings can be easily purchased over the internet, or better still keep a real one handy in your pocket and plant it when nobody’s looking.
Practice this regularly until you can no longer view any public recreation area without growing furious at the plethora of turds you know are lurking somewhere on the lawns. Lose sight of the park and it’s beauty, and remain focused on the faeces. Learn to take them personally.

Step Two: Cultivate an appropriate facial expression.
Women should practice keeping their lips pursed in emulation of a cat’s rear end, although this is not recommended for men other than those leading prominent “ex-gay” ministries. Smiling should under all circumstances be avoided, and I generally recommend men simply endeavor to look like me: I realize this isn’t easy for those of you not as naturally handsome as myself, but that’s still no excuse for not trying.
Failing which the gentleman pictured below is admirable role model for those wishing to cultivate an expression conveying the love, mercy, and joy God shows to those who are truly faithful:

I believe he’s the founder of a missionary group with whom Bishop Quinine enjoys fellowship whenever he gets the urge to eat cheap curry and grope confused hippy girls in saris. Certainly only a foreigner would permit himself to be photographed unshaven, but with a little orthodontic work he’d bear an uncanny resemblance to Ted Haggard after a hard night of being “heterosexual with issues”.

Step Three: Enforce rules.
St. Paul (or somebody like him) may have redeemed us from the law, but that doesn’t mean there’s no place in the Conservative Christian’s life for countless petty regulations. Explode in anger when somebody stands at the wrong time during the service, or passively-aggressively undermine your Vicar when he omits a minor detail from your favorite liturgy. Commit the 39 Articles to memory, and send letters of complaint to the Bishop whenever you believe one of them are transgressed – or if the Bishop’s at fault send them to all their diocesan clergy.

Respond with pedantic fury when “off-topic” comments are left on blogs - especially if the blog isn’t your own. Leave warning notes on parish visitor’s cars you believe were inexpertly parked during church services. Argue incessantly over the doctrine of the Trinity with Unitarians. Photograph your neighbor’s trash to keep a record of when they don’t recycle properly. Refuse to accept illness as an excuse for someone not taking their turn on the roster to shovel snow from the church sidewalks. And never, ever allow yourself to consider the implications of God sharing our humanity through the birth of a baby one long-ago Christmas.

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A little Theology for Advent.

No quality is as vital to effective Christian ministry as a sense of balance. Indeed, I personally believe that if a Clergyman can’t ride a unicycle he should never be considered completely trustworthy.

Take Calvinism, for example. Were I not a Christian I too would find myself drawn to a doctrine proposing a proportion of sentient beings are created for no other ultimate purpose than eternal torture. Given a bad enough day I might even find His Name glorified by their misery, although I would probably first have to develop a strangely sexual admiration for bullies – remind me to contact little Matt Kennedy or the Ould Twins for help in this regard.

At the other end of the spectrum the Aminian/Wesleyan alternative is hardly an improvement, and as a Christian I also find it an unacceptable option. The idea of waiting on the sidelines while someone you love “chooses” to plunge headlong into hellfire might be admirably stoic, but try using that as a justification next time a toddler fries their hand on your kitchen stove (“He’d been warned about touching it in a series of books and letters written 2,000 years ago, so he’s only got himself to blame”) and see how the Child Protection Agency buy it. Nor will the vicarious atonement argument (“Yeah, but my son also burnt his hand, and he did it first”) carry enough weight to stop the court issuing a permanent injunction against you hosting children’s parties.

No my Dearly Beloved Sinners; the genius of Anglicanism has been to tread a path between extremes, and that’s why we’ve held together over the centuries. The lunatic fringes have been drifting off to furtive meetings in rented halls since the first Elizabeth was a princess, but the core has remained regardless. Bobby Duncan may be the latest defrocked cleric with dreams of founding a new Zion, but he won’t be the last. Nor should anyone ever let themselves get to impressed by the likes of ex++Akinola’s rhetoric: when you’re preaching abroad it’s easy to appear as if you’ve got things under control. The real test is what parishioners are willing to do for $50 and a packet of American cigarettes when they think nobody’s watching – and no matter what the extremists will claim you’d better believe that’ll go a long way in Abuja when Big Pete’s out of town.

Which is why mature Sinners know the Christian life is a lot like captaining a ship through an ice field: take things slowly, keep a clear head and sharp eyes, and steer a gentle course straight down the middle, all while keeping your mind focused on the real task at hand – not drowning. Crashing into icebergs and other immutable objects (like sexuality) is no way to reach one’s destination, as I’m sure Captain Edward Smith would testify were he still with us. And as I fear Prelates emulating his example today will learn the hard way. I'd like to say the average person in the pew will miss them when they've gone - but the truth is they won't. Although their travel agents ought to send a lovely wreath: it's an ill wind of dubious doctrine that doesn't blow gently for someone.

I'm Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Liberal Conspiracy Exposed & Defeated

My apologies for the past few days’ silence, Dearly Beloved Sinners, but I’ve been away on a crucial diplomatic mission to the peaceful and prosperous nation of Uganda. Mind you, however, it’s not half the place it was when I last visited as a guest of dear old President Amin, but I suppose that’s to be expected, since he did have the other half executed.

Indeed, you’ve probably all read about how I persuaded the Ugandan government to to abandon the just principle of sentencing a tenth of their population to death, and I’ve no doubt you’ve been wondering why a Doctrinal Warrior of my standing has been seeking to subvert such a fine initiative, especially since there’s no denying that if ever a country hasn’t enjoyed its fair share of mindless bloodshed it’s Uganda. So I’ll let you all into a secret which explains why I was compelled to become involved: the proposed legislation was actually a liberal conspiracy!!!!

Now I’ve got to admit that I was also initially skeptical when Brother Richthofen and his friends from seminary told me this, but upon objective Biblically-guided reflection it became clear that they were right. So right, in fact, that I had to heed the call of my young Ministry Team member and his friends to prevent this apostate Trojan-horse from being enshrined in Ugandan jurisprudence.

As they explained, this law would have given legitimate grounds under international law for any Ugandan man with refined taste in cologne and the ability to dance, or any Ugandan woman with sensible shoes, a Subaru and dogs, to obtain refugee status in the western nation of their choice. Whereupon, as everyone knows, the very next thing they would do is head straight to the local Anglican/Episcopalian church and become valued members of the congregation. Thereby further reducing the voting power of congregants prepared to discriminate against potential Bishops and Parish Appointments purely on the grounds of the candidate’s God-given sexuality.

Can you see the implications of this, my Dearly Beloved Sinners? As Bishop Quinine pointed out, a massive influx of handsome Ugandans into our churches would naturally attract newcomers, particularly those seeking something just a little more funky than his own pasty visage. Liberal Western churches would flourish at the expense of Ugandan congregations perishing for want of musicians, choristers, and people capable of arranging the flowers in such a manner as to not invoke unpleasant memories of your great-aunt’s curtains.

No, Brother Richthofen and his friends were right: it was a conspiracy too evil for me to ignore. Not that achieving the eventual outcome was easy: a people raised in the Christian tradition of wanting to exterminate anyone not of their own ethic group aren’t easily shifted when it comes to persuading them to pass up an opportunity to whack someone so clearly different to themselves. And after all, who could be more different to a fundamentalist than someone who just wants to live and love as the person God made them to be?

I'm Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Did somebody cry "Wolf"?

Well, well, well – there are two new suffragan Bishops in Los Angeles, but since numbers have never been a strong suite for my genitally-challenged imitators at places like Viagraville, only the Rev. Canon Glasspool’s election has received any attention.

This is a pity, because it shows that my fellow Biblical Conservatives just aren’t getting worked up about women like they used to. Time was the mere thought of someone without a penis and hat at the front of the church was enough to have us all predicting the end of Christianity faster than Chicken Little could cry “The sky is falling”. Yet nowadays unless you’re somewhere like little Peter Jensen’s Sydney, nobody blinks an eyelid about clergy who don’t stand when they pee. Even the notion of them becoming Bishops is no longer enough to get anyone seriously worked up: sure in Britain the hard-core Anglo-Catholic groups comprising more fiddlers than the Boston Pops start screaming for “alternative” oversight, but everywhere else it takes more than girl-bits for a Prelate to be deemed unacceptable by those no longer members of our Church. Now those bits need to be in loving, monogamous, and mutually-supportive relationships with similarly shaped bits before we can all be worked up to start gibbering like monkeys.

Back in the days when children were encouraged to play “Cowboys and Injuns”, and simulating attempted genocide was considered healthy clean fun, nobody considered the idea of a Right Reverend woman possible. God-fearing Biblical Anglicans could enjoy decent family racism from the comfort of their own La-Z-Boy. Little did they suspect that they’d one day be too ashamed to admit what they once blithely watched on their 12” walnut cabinet RCA. And you’d better believe one of the actors in this little shocker didn’t mention it when he later scored a part playing a priest in Cheers. But times change. No matter how hard Clergy like me try to preserve society in a state of gullible-but-nasty immaturity, history proves our lack of success: when did your parish wardens last attend a lynching? Not a metaphoric one, but a real live (at the outset) Strange Fruit event? You’d better believe that if you’d asked that question in more than a few ACNA congregations seventy years ago you’d have got a very different answer to the one they’ll give you today.

Even nasty nose doctors in Colorado have to acknowledge times change: Dr. “Robroy” McLean’s medical forebears might have believed illness resulted from an imbalance in the four humours, but I'd like to hope his understanding of anesthesia has progressed beyond giving patients a shot of whisky and sharp blow to the side of their head. Or how many of those now furious about what’s happened in L.A. were once also bitterly opposed to desegregation?

From where I sit things all fell apart when Christian evangelists stopped carrying swords and purses. After that everything else just became a matter of relativism. Speaking of which; can anyone help little Kendall Harmon find his sandals and scrip?

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Conservative Youth Ministry.

Advent is a wonderful time, particularly since I’ve always felt there’s something about the Christmas spirit that encourages creativity in our worship. Consequently I’ve utterly preoccupied with developing an exciting new liturgy for our Christmas Eve guest service, which will involve the congregation poking out each other’s ear wax with Eucharistically-blessed Q-tips

Meanwhile Bishop Quinine has become enthralled by the Furry Fandom, and after only a little persuasion (in which I don’t believe anyone was seriously harmed) he has members of the parish Young People’s Fellowship all making costumes. Personally I’m delighted to see their morally bankrupt western teenage values being replaced with something more wholesome – even if that something does seem to involve a lot sweaty yelping noises coming from an elderly Bishop in a Josie and the Pussycats suit.

Meanwhile I’d like to present a marvelous video featuring a group of obviously heterosexual young men, whose talent stands as living proof of how not every nation has followed our own tragic slide into degenerate liberalism. You’ve only got to watch this to see how wonderful life could be if our leaders would repent of their wickedness and return to the good old-fashioned family values still flourishing in foreign parts of the Communion. Like Korea or Virginia.

I'm Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tiger Woods: The Bible could have told him there'd be trouble

There’s no secret about the fact that I’ve never liked golf. Certainly those spiky shoes with the strangely arousing tassels are very nice, and I won’t deny I happen to have quite a collection which I very much enjoy wearing (particularly when visiting people with shag-pile carpets), but the game’s fundamental premise of publically placing things in little holes while in the company of Rotarians has always struck me as vaguely immoral.

Certainly 2 Samuel 23:21 makes it quite clear that the Lord intended clubs to be used for the purpose of striking Egyptians, not small white balls (although Jeremiah 51:19-21 does seem to suggest it’s acceptable to use them on other types of foreigners, as well as upon any drivers and their vehicles whom one should happen to find irritating - see verse 21). Consequently Bible-believing Christians should hardly be surprised to learn of all the trouble that Tiger Woods has found himself in: if someone’s going to disregard Scripture and misuse clubs made by firms with names like Titleist for purposes that God never intended clubs to be used they’ve only got themselves to blame when things turn nasty. After all, if people were meant to play golf God would have created Adam and tee, not Adam and Eve.

Of course what is most appalling about this whole sordid business is that since when have professional golfers had any right to impinge upon a territory once exclusively that of Conservative Clergyman and politicians? Their god-given vocation is to fly around the world winning tournaments and making squillions of dollars, and ours is to become embroiled in sex scandals. Their field produces famous sportsman like Jack Nicklaus, Paul Runyan and Arnold Palmer, while we have Jimmy Swaggart, Mark Sanford and Ken Calvert. They get holes in one, and we get one in holes – it’s the natural order of things. When did anyone give Mr. Woods the right to change it all? At this rate it's only a matter of time before he's imagining he's a Calvinist and blogging at Viagraville.

And now you’ll have to excuse me, My Dearly Beloved Sinners, because through my office window I can see someone parking in MY SPACE, and the Spirit’s calling me to find my five iron in a hurry…

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.