Stinking clergy

The clergy are like manure - excellent when spread all over the country while doing their work but when gathered together in a heap they stink.
- George Bell
Bishop of Chichester, England (1929)
as quoted in The Guardian 2.8.08

Hot air

The pastor put sanitary hot air hand dryers in the rest rooms at his church, but after two weeks took them out.
When asked why, he confessed that they worked fine but when he went in there he saw a sign that read, "For a sample of this week's sermon, push the button."

The secret of a good sermon

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible.
- George Burns (1896-1996)
US actor and comedian
as quoted on Musings of an Episcopal padre

Schoolboy Howlers 16

The Papal bull was a mad bull kept by the Pope in the Inquisition to trample on Protestants.
Source: Carinas blogg

St. Francis on proclaiming peace

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.
- St. Francis of Assisi

Young victims of anti-gay bullying commit suicide

Tragic news: An 11-year-old boy, Carl Walker-Hoover in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, hanged himself with an extension cord on April 6th, 2009. Ten days later, Jaheem Herrera, also 11, used a belt to the same end in his home outside Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Even though he did not identify as gay, Carl had been the victim of anti-gay bullying at the New Leadership Charter School for more than six months. Other students called him gay and a 'fag' and made fun of his clothes.
However, the school blamed the incidents on "immaturity". According to his mother, Carl was too scared to reveal who the perpetrators were.
The DeKalb County schools, where Jaheem attended elementary school, reportedly have an anti-bullying program in place. But one classmate reported witnessing a bullying incident in the boys room that was so severe that Jaheem passed out.
According to Jaheem’s mother, she repeatedly complained to school officials about Jaheem’s harassment, but nothing was done.
"New Leadership Charter School", indeed. New leadership is badly needed to prevent this from ever happening again! Bullying - for whatever reason, with whatever excuse, at whatever age - is just never acceptable!
Hundreds attend funeral for anti-gay bully victim (365gay 14.4.09)
Boy, 11, commits suicide after gay taunts (PinkNews 14.4.09)
Another Anti-Gay Bullying Suicide (Box Turtle Bulletin 21.4.09)

Plato on the real tragedy of life

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
- Plato
as quoted by the Episcopal padre

The redneck's pet fish

A redneck was stopped by a game warden just north of Kentucky’s Lake Cumberland recently with two ice chests of fish.
The game warden asked the man, "Do you have a license to catch those fish?"
"Naw, my friend, I ain't got no license. These are my pet fish."
"Pet fish?"
"Yep. Every night I take these fish down to the lake and let 'em swim 'round for a while. Then I whistle and they jump right back into this ice chest and I take 'em home."
"That's a bunch of hooey! Fish can't do that!"
The redneck looked at the game warden for a moment and then said, "It's the truth. I'll show you. It really works."
"Okay, I've GOT to see this!"
The redneck poured the fish into the river and stood and waited. After several minutes, the game warden turned to him and said, "Well?"
"Well, whut?" said the redneck.
"When are you going to call them back?"
"Call who back?"
"The FISH!"
"What fish?"
Thanks to MadPriest!

Finnish woman bishop - in Sweden

At last, a Finnish woman has been elected bishop! Sadly, this took place in Sweden...
Last week, Dean Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund (see photo) was elected Bishop in Härnösand.
She was born in 1947 in Turku, Finland, but was ordained in Lund, Sweden, in 1971 (women couldn't become pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland until 1986). A Doctor of Theology, Koivunen Bylund has been Dean of Uppsala since 1995. She has two children and one grandchild.
Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund will be consecrated in November in the Cathedral of Uppsala, together with the new Bishop of Stockholm, who is yet to be elected.
See the news in Swedish and in Finnish, and her biography on my blog (in Swedish).

Gandhi on "an eye for an eye"

An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.
- Mahatma Gandhi
as quoted on A man in red

Schoolboy Howlers 15

Methane, a greenhouse gas, comes from the burning of trees and cows.

Priests coming out of the closet

Last week, two ministers came out of the closet, one in Finland, the other in Alaska, USA.
On April 8, 2009, pastor Laura Mäntylä came out as a lesbian in the TV talk show Inhimillinen tekijä ("The Human Factor"). Her bishop, Eero Huovinen of Helsinki, issued a press release supporting her decision. More (in Swedish) on my blog Kalles kyrkliga kommentarer.
On Good Friday, April 10, father Robert Thomas came out on his blog Musings of an Episcopal padre.
Thank you, both, for giving a face to the plight of our non-heterosexual sisters and brothers in Christ! Blessings and strength to you both!

King sticks with love

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

The community of the King

The church as the community of the King must be a demonstration of the values of the Kingdom. We must flesh out what it means to love one another, to do justice, to serve others.
- Isabelo Magalit
Filipina theologian
as quoted on God's Politics

Gender neutral marriage in Sweden and in Finland

Earlier this week - on April Fool's Day, as it happens - the Swedish Parliament passed a law making marriage gender neutral. This means, that Swedish couples can get married regardless of whether they are two women, two men or one of each. I'm all for it, but I won't go into detail at the moment. Read the media (e.g. 365gay, PinkNews), will you!
Since the churches in Sweden have the right to marry people, a debate has sprung up regarding whether this right gives leeway to individual churches and pastors to refuse to marry same-sex couples. The (Lutheran) Church of Sweden, for instance, will come to a decision on the issue when its Synod meets in October.
Here in Finland, the society is traditionally far more conservative than in neighbouring Sweden. We have had registration of civil partnerships for some time now, but the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (not to mention all the other churches) is still struggling with the consequences of this fact. And same-sex marriage isn't even an issue!

"The End is Near!"

A priest and pastor from the local parishes are standing by the side of the road holding up a sign that reads, "The End is Near! Turn yourself around now before it's too late!" They plan to hold up the sign to each passing car.
"Leave us alone, you religious nuts!" yells the first driver as he speeds by.
From around the curve they hear screeching tires and a big splash.
"Do you think," says one clergy to the other, "we should just put up a sign that says 'Bridge Out' instead?"
Thanks to Sam!