Saturday, October 29, 2011

Love's Labour's Tossed.

What’s in a name? It all depends: if your name is “Bill Gates” then it’s the confidence that nobody’s going to call the fraud squad when you feel the urge to pass million dollar checks. Or the name “Steve Jobs” means that when you die the world will call you a visionary for selling recordings to people who’ve already purchased them twice before. While, on the other hand, the undertaker rarely breaks out premium grade formaldehyde for people called “Jane Doe”. And if one's family name is “bin Laden” it’s probably best to abandon your lifelong dream of a career at West Point. Or on the Alabama monster truck circuit.

Indeed, My Beloved Sinners: some hack called Shakespeare may well have said “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, but when I told the peroxide blonde who does “special” waxing at Cindy’s E-Z Nailz ‘n’ Beauty in the mall that she is the fragrant personification of Rosa Rubignosa she slapped my face and screamed that a three month course of antibiotics had “done fixed that rash fo’ good an’ any folks sayin’ diffrunt are cruizin’ for a learnin’ from muh step-cousin which won trophies fo’ kickboxing.”

Hence I must now implore you to learn from a recent occurrence within my own Ministry Team. By way of catching up on what had been happening in the parish during my recent absence I was studying the Church office internet logs, when, much to my horror, I discovered Evangelical Eric (my miserable excuse for a Curate) had been googling everything there is to know about someone called “Billy Love”. Naturally, given my decades of selfless research into the sin in people’s lives, I have the gift of spotting a homosexualist nom de porn faster than you can say “Hugh Jorgan or “Dick Hunter. Or even “non-stipendiary Church of England priest”.

Hence I immediately knew – with the unshakeable certainty unique to those whose qualifications are in dubious theology (as opposed to godless liberal faux-sciences like psychiatry, medicine, psychology, or anthropology) when speaking on matters pertaining to sexuality – that my own Curate had been partaking of material featuring people making decisions with regard to their manner of life which involved engorged poles of man-flesh. And incoherent grunting. Needless to say the situation called for urgent pastoral intervention, and the rest of the St. Onuphrius' team were eager to assist (with the exception, I'm sorry to say, of Consuella, who just muttered something in Spanish about us "surely having something better to do with our time").

We began by implementing the the reorientation program Brother Richthofen and his Friends from Seminary have thoughtfully developed after being inspired by this well-balanced young man. (Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the end of his sermon. Neither can Bishop Quinine, who says there is something about the boy’s accent which always compels him to take the parish hounds out for a walk. Although curiously enough he generally forgets to take the dogs with him when he leaves, and only ever seems to get as far as the sports field change rooms.) Yet the wicked Curate continued denying everything. Instead of meekly repenting while we gently beat him about the lower limbs with facsimile editions of the Geneva Bible, Eric persisted in maintaining his innocence. In fact so pathetic were the boy’s shrieks as we (in love, of course) tightened his correctional thumbscrews that I even stopped and listened to what he was trying to say. And – would you believe – he kept insisting that this “Billy Love” is actually a Conservative Bishop in northeastern New York.

That’s right my Sinners; and have you ever heard of such a thing? Then, as if this wasn’t outlandish enough, he claimed this supposed Prelate is actually a faithful disciple of my own Ministry Principles: encouraging Episcopalians to embrace prosperity teaching; being rude (especially to those whom God has appointed to exercise authority over him); fraternizing with dubious friends - not to mention being really obsessed with homosexualists.

Of course we paid no heed to such a pathetic delusion, and while there’s absolutely no empirical evidence to show Eric’s reorientation therapy is proving successful, we all know that a little thing like that isn’t enough to stop our program soon developing into a world-wide and highly profitable venture. Especially since our anecdotal evidence shows it works perfectly, and once his new obsession with suicide settles down into a more manageable case of chronic self-loathing my Curate should be almost as functional as any other emotionally-crippled Conservative. Although it'll probably never be a good idea to allow him to watch figure-skating unsupervised. Which just goes to show how blessed he is that we haven’t been fooled by his fanciful tales of this erstwhile “Billy Love” actually being a Bishop – when it comes to Love one should always give more weight to preconceptions and cultural phobias than to the Gospels and the Holy Spirit.

Isn’t that right +Albany?

I’m Father Christian I teach the Bible.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yesterday’s Poo-poo (Remember Martin Ssempa?)

“Today’s news, tomorrow’s fish wrap.” That’s what my dear old mother always said, although she generally concluded the old truism with an additional line less common in these apostate and wicked times: “the day-after’s basis of a tasty seafood bouillabaisse for which your father’s Curate should be deeply grateful.”

Naturally I’d like to believe My Beloved Sinners faithfully strive to emulate my obsession with the most righteous men in Christendom. Yet the reality is that most of you are no less fickle in your admirations than the average evildoer, and when I make a hissing snake-like “Ssssss” sound all too few you respond by heartily cheering “Ssempa!” Indeed, the name that was a mere sixteen months ago synonymous with the inspiring cry of Eat Da Poo-Poo appears now forgotten as a host of my imitators from Rick Warren down try their hardest to avoid making any mention of their former best friend.

Granted, one can still occasionally find news of the most modest man in Kampala since Idi Amin proclaimed himself “Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea” – if you only click on one link in my entire homily make it this one - but not even the happy nepotists and house-elves of Mordor, who have gleefully proclaimed Uganda ”the future of evangelicalism” (and you thought the past was miserable?!), seem eager to keep Pastor Poo-poo’s name on everyone’s lips.

Which is why I’m so deeply grateful to the young man who took the trouble to register the Blogspot name Quidra in order to leave a comment on a homily I posted back in June 2010. At the time of his missive’s reception the boy’s profile had been viewed a massive two times: now over a month later I see the count has now already reached five, so he’s clearly on his way to becoming a living global meme for all that Pastor Ssempa represents, and it’s with this in mind that I reproduce his marvelous effort verbatim:
all u people are wrong about this. but if you think you can tarnish pr. Martin's reputation, you have got it wrong. and watch out because our Lord is watching. you may cover your self with titles as fathers but stop taking your flock astray. do not mess with Pr. Martin for trouble awaits you. so watch out.
What more can be said? Although I must add that I doubt it’s possible for anyone to do as much for "Pr." (Prior?) Martin’s reputation as he has himself. As the author’s fine grasp of punctuation, grammar, and capitalization illustrates, Martin Ssempa’s congregation is largely comprised of students at Uganda’s oldest university, which last month was closed indefinitely following industrial disputes by both students and faculty. The parish mission statement (“TO PREVENT AIDS AND MENTOR LEADERS THROUGH CHURCH PLANTING ON AFRICAN COLLEGE CAMPUSES”) summarizes the Great Commission with an eloquence Jesus so obviously lacked. But it’s the fact that little Martin Ssempa’s flock at Makerere Community Church refer to their spiritual gulag as “MCC” that really has our sidesman Professor Sigmund jumping up and down…

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

UPDATE: For a fascinating report on the whole mess of poo-poo that's currently little Martin's life visit GayUganda here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Evening Palate Cleanser (Chocolate Jesus)

Given the folks at one of my flaccid imitators appear regularly obsessed with the many dangers of an unclean palate it seems only right that we also kick off the weekend with a little aural oral hygiene courtesy of Archdeacon Tom Waits.

Even if as the result of a terrible childhood accident you're incapable of enjoying anything not played by a praise band, at least listen for the reference at 0:27 to "an immaculate confection". If only Graham Kendrick was blessed with such eloquence...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Behold the Captive is Released!

Just when I was growing convinced the only way my freedom could be regained would involve an earthquake (possibly caused by the small thermo-nuclear device Brother Richthofen’s Friends from Seminary have begun assembling from stolen smoke detectors), a miracle intervened in the form of a threat involving something far more unpleasant. That’s right - Alex Jones!

You see, My Beloved Sinners, once the FBI became serious about the alleged similarity between my DNA and that of an extraordinarily handsome and obviously learned Biblical Christian of whom I’ve never heard, Bishop Quinine contacted a few of the young agents to whom he ministered back when J. Edgar Hoover still took a personal interest in ensuring each of his most senior officers was a man’s man. After reminding them of how much he’d hate to have to tell Alex Jones the truth about what really happened in Roswell on one warm July evening back in 1947 (we all know drinking Thunderbird with mescal chasers can produce the occasional adverse reaction, but how could anyone have possibly expected it to kill the poor bug-eyed little aliens?) they immediately agreed there was no need to further investigate the matter. Especially as retesting found my DNA samples prove I’m actually a 22 year old lingerie waitress, with absolutely no relationship to a certain brilliant Orthodox Leader with unique skills as both a parachutist and parish fundraiser.

Consequently I am now once again free to minister to highways and byways of my wonderful parish. Dear old Ichabod Springs may not be blessed with the beautiful panoramic scenery of Akron, Ohio, and we don’t enjoy the mild, pleasant winters of Minneapolis (nor the gentle, balmy summers of Yuma, Arizona), and we mightn’t, for that matter, have the unforgettable public architecture of Natural Bridge, Alabama, but even so there’s still nowhere else on God’s earth that I’d rather share the sound of my weed-whacker at half-past five in the morning.

Indeed, so charming a place is this town so blessed as to be called my home that there can be no doubt of the role it has played in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s alleged decision to retire next year. For years there’s been no secret about Rowan’s yearning to join My Ministry Team in an honorary capacity (given young people just don’t get excited by the idea of a five hour lecture on Dostoevsky the way they used to - personally I blame video games – there’s no way the parish could justify his appointment him upon a stipendiary basis), and so after the past few years of monkeying around with the Primates (as opposed to primating around with Monkeys?) it looks like the young man finally feels qualified to join us.

But now, My Beloved Sinners, I must break your hearts by returning to tasks more important than teaching lost and ignorant evildoers such as yourselves. You wouldn’t believe the amount of correspondence awaiting my urgent attention – and it’s not just all emails from Russian women proffering psycho-sexual pharmaceuticals at a fraction of the legitimate retail. No indeed, the first task once this homily is evangelistically displayed upon the intertubes will be to advise a delightful little man of the cloth who has been simply begging for my assistance. In fact he may well be someone with whom many of you are familiar: he lives in Charleston and is generally known as by the name of “Bishop Quisling”...

 I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.