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.


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.



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.