Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Chadderbox Across the Estuary

Lara Crofter: So this is Lara Crofter in Grimfish on Radio Chadderbox soon to talk to some guests in Wykkyfish over the river about this coming week's religious affairs. But first, what's on your show in not too long Peter Levite?

Peter Levite: I'll be talking to the man who is so fed up with being confused with a Chesterfield supporter, called Rowan Chesterfield would you believe, that he has CHANGED HIS NAME [shouting] to Rowan Scunny so we now know he is a Scunny supporter.

Rowanov Treetri [in usual deep voice]: Ah, can someone remind me to telephone my wife after this programme? She is lecturing at the moment.

Lara Crofter: Can I hear one of my guests over there in Wykkyfish?

Peter Levite: The very next studio. Someone's put the mics on already! One of the hospital radio trainees. Ha ha! Bye!

Lara Crofter: Introduce yourselves then. Thanks Peter. One of you has changed your name too.

Rowanov Treetri: I don't normally apologise for speaking, though some say I ought to apologise for everything else I do, but I do on this occasion for, well, just speaking before I should have. Yes, I changed my name, from Rowan Tree and I am now Rowanov Treetri, the Archbishop of Anglicanism.

Lara Crofter: No less, and welcome to our esturial corner as you might say Arky bishop! Just to say, as regular listeners know, I can't actually see my guests over there. Before I introduce them all, and our other very important guest among them, why did you change your name then?

Rowanov Treetri: Well I thought it would be in honour of the honour I myself had received from the Russian Presidency after I wrote a book on Dostoevsky, one on the works by Dostoevsky.

Lara Crofter: Who's she? I've heard of Dusty Springfield, like. Is she Russian then?

Rowanov Treetri: She is, I have to say, a he, a man, a Russian man, and a writer and profoundly revealing of the human condition.

Lara Crofter: Not a singer then. Right well some might remember we did an outside broadcast at Dick, a very special place in the Ukray, UK if I can say it properly, and our producer thought, like, a day after Sunday, why not invite some of them people in to do like a sort of religious comment, and with anyone else like available, so not doing an outside broadcast they've all assembled in Wykkyfish. So yes the Arky bishop of Anglicanism, and the Arky bishop of Pokey Pokoh. Where's that?

Nicky Okoh: I am the Archbishop of Anglicanism, Nigeria. I am Nicky Okoh and I come from Pokey Pokoh.

Lara Crofter: Archbishop. And we have John Sackme, not Arch but Bishop of Imp, also gone over the river, and then a visiting Reverend Barrie Brokeback...

Barrie Brokeback: With my friend MacDavis, who travels around a lot these days.

Lara Crofter: And then some lovely locals. There is the Priest in Charge who is Reverend Father it says here Eric Crapton...

Eric Clapton: Clapton.

Lara Crofter: ...And his curate the Reverend Lynn Shea-Doyle, Reverend Len Sableur, Reverend Al Therys, and a Reverend Beacon Carrie Rabbit.

Carrie Rabbit: Deacon.

Lara Crofter: What a lot of Reverends, all for Dick! Around the table it says here is also a Reader Jurgen Havamass... What do you do then, read things?

Jurgen Havemass: I speak. I preach.

Lara Crofter: Says Reader here, and Kevin Slowburn to train to be a Reader. When did you decide that?

Kevin Slowburn: About thirty years ago.

Lara Crofter: So it's teaching you to speak, not to read.

Kevin Slowburn: Something like that.

Lara Crofter: A lot of chiefs, aren't there, for the indians? Er, Hugh Jorgan Rabbit, Paul Theo Chain, Flora Faunamor - that's a nice name, I bet you changed it.

Flora Faunamor: Why?

Lara Crofter: You didn't pay the phone bill?

Flora Faunamor: You do talk such utter drivel.

John Sendmehome: Why didn't the skeleton need a telephone? Because he had no body to talk with!

Lara Crofter: Harry Tickpaper and Dennis Menace. Gosh. I bet you're all crowded in there.

Dennis Menace: He's flapping himself, him you just mentioned.

John Sendmehome: How does a barber make phone calls? He cuts them short.

Lara Crofter: Anything happening then? In religion like?

John Sendmehome: You forgot me, John Sendmehome, Archbishop of the North.

Lara Crofter: You're not on my list here.

John Sendmehome: I come along, you said I can come along any time I want. Give the Church, and me, some publicity. I ran over a dwarf coming here. I asked him if he was OK. He said "I'm not happy", so I said, "Which one are you then?"

Rowan Treetri: I and my colleague from Nigeria are going to Uganda very shortly.

Lara Crofter: So apparently some of you are going to Uganda very soon.

Rowanov Treetri: Indeed, this is the approximate timetable of our appointments for both the Most Reverend Nick Okoh here and myself, as I have just indicated.

Unknown voice: Drinks everyone? Just check - that was three teas, the rest coffees?

Nicky Okoh: I'm Nicky Okoh and I asked for cocoa.

Unknown voice: Can only do chocolate or Mocka Coffee perhaps.

Nicky Okoh: You make a mocka out of me and you pay for it.

Unknown voice: OK. Well we pay for it. Licence payers anyway.

Lara Crofter: What's going on? I thought you hospital radio types were told to keep quiet so you don't show up us professionals. This is Lara Crofter in Grimfish and my guests are in Wikkyfish, over the river.

Rowanov Treetri: That is most indeed very good thank you. Well, from memory, amongst the importance of sharing the Eucharist, we will have sessions on nurturing family life and building healthy populations, community health, healthy family relations, maternal health, HIV and AIDS, harmonious and dignified communities, about diversity and mechanisms for conflict management, on protecting and empowering the vulnerable - so that will be quite theological I think, the economic future in Africa and about the environment and food security, and indeed we have theological education with technology and the young, but also the disconnect between faith and practice, urban challenges, about what stops visionary, compassionate leadership, and there's church and politics, church being accountable, building partnerships, more on the global economy and leadership, and lots on campaigns, lots on an African Church voice, we'll do some visiting so I fancy seeing a Christian University, and we hear from the Archbishop of Uganda who is Henry Ree Oromombibi. Have I forgotten anything?

Lara Crofter [heard yawning]: Cause these holiday firms keep closing down, don't they, and your money's not secure.

Nicky Okoh: No you haven't and what she on about?

Lara Crofter: "You tourist," you said.

Carrie Rabbit: U2charist would be better. They are what the people want and they're not a fad, well not just a fad, doesn't entirely suit me but then who am I?

Hugh Jorgan Rabbit: Difficult to do without amplification. Loud and large is best for that sort of thing.

Paul Theo Chain: I don't see the Church recovering through these gimmicks, not if it doesn't tackle the fundamental questions.

Lara Crofter: You said "you tourist" and then they're going to gass away at this and that in Nigeria.

Nicky Okoh: It's Uganda! You Westerners have lost faith, lost belief; no wonder you have men sleeping with men and women with women and men marrying their horses.

Flora Faunamor: What? Don't bring horses into it.

John Sendmehome: I've heard of a new sport for residential homes where the residents can have a bet. Care horsing.

Nicky Okoh: It was on Anglican Average, a very reliable website that speaks the true faith. My predecessor, a powerful saintly man, of humble beginnings and towering achievements, the Most ever Reverend Aki Nolo: he said, if you want to read one Anglican website from UK, then read Anglican Average, because they also supplied his fantastic absolutely true speeches. And the website reported about the demand for three or four people all wanting to marry each other, and the man who wants to marry his horse. Where will it all end?

John Sackme: I think we have to be sensitive to the religion of the people and we are where we are, and have to explain as best we can what it is we have in a very challenging but rewarding missionary situation here at home.

Hugh Jorgan Rabbit: I could possibly record the different pitches of barks, the different speeds of the barking, and work out the theme through, and I'll do you a wedding march.

Carrie Rabbit: Woof woof! Keep that growl going.

Dennis Menace: But he's right though. Dogs in churches next.

Lynn Shea-Doyle: We do have dogs in churches, at times, for blessings, Dennis.

Nicky Okoh: So it is true. You have blessings for gays, lesbians, and now dogs!

Lynn Shea-Doyle: Not that sort of blessing. We don't have Hooker and Rover exactly coming up the aisle.

Flora Faunamor: Hey that's a good idea; can we do that?

Lynn Shea-Doyle: Well we could put out a flyer and see if there is any interest.

Al Therys: I was reading a sermon on the Internet about animal blessings. I might use it.

Paul Theo Chain: I can't see a future with any of this. We need intellectual credibility.

Harry Tickpaper: What is it exactly that you want, Paul, and will you ever get it?

Flora Faunamor: Does any of it matter?

Barrie Brokeback: I'm now regretting my decision not to fly to Entebbe. These Ugandan bishops have met in advance, and affirmed their anti-gay side. Yet an African High Court Judge calls for justice with love.

Nicky Okoh: You are all in doing a different Anglicanism, one that we do not know or understand.

Paul Theo Chain: We won't get it from you.

Nicky Okoh: We in Africa are indeed a voice crying in the wilderness, our huge numbers and your declining numbers, and yes Anglican Church is very broken. Torn it is; down. We have to stop this coming to Africa. But we are the future. There is no homosexuality in the natural world God made...

Flora Faunamor: What?

Kevin Slowburn: What have I let myself in for?

Nicky Okoh:
And you Westerners are saying we must have homosexuality and the money, or have no money for development. Well, we will have to go poor and rely on that other money we get that allows me to get on all these aeroplanes and fly around the world. We'll talk about this in Entebbe.

John Sackme: I do think you are being unduly pessimistic. We have lots of small, faithful, dogged even, rural communities, with lots of ancient assets that we try to use in new ways, and cutting the numbers of clergy - yes - is essential but I can see a new future, and I think we are proud to be able to look ahead. But I am retiring.

Barrie Brokeback: Yes I respectfully suggest that you are one of those well intentioned bishops who yet does nothing, all in the quiet and in the background. It isn't good enough. You might not want to know about my lack of sex life or otherwise, but you stand by a regime that has bishops who want me to declare, and I won't.

Paul Theo Chain: No future like this.

Kevin Slowburn: I'm just coming into all this.

Lara Crofter: Ah Barrie Brokeback: now you're the one who's marrying that nice looking lad from Africa like was in the paper we looked at on the Breakfast Show. Is he with you now?

Barrie Brokeback: No, that's MacDavis. No, it is not a marriage; and both of them is at least some proof that there is homosexuality in Africa.

MacDavis: There's plenty in Nigeria, whatever they say.

Nicky Okoh: We don't want your money.

Barrie Brokeback: I'm not offering you any money. The only people offering you any money are those American right wingers you already rely on. Do you think China, India, the Far East, are growing because they accepted Western money for some sort of trade off with homosexuality? You're all paranoid.

Jurgen Havemass: Of course it all depends on the missionary inheritance of the different Anglican colonies, as they used to be. Some were more militant, some were less so, and South Africa had the Colenso controversy where, curiously, the breakaway is now an Evangelical Anglican Church and still separate from the Communion, and early example of division. Colonialisation, and history, runs deep.

Rowanov Treetri: The question is surely, what do we not have to do that would take us in directions we do not want to travel in, and how is it we can find some basis of convenental agreement by which, not that we force each other to one position, nor move to exclude, nor have a basis for exclusion, but produce a basis by which we understand a core definition of, perhaps, what it is to be Anglican and a process by which we can work through our differences over time without, necessarily, coming to a divisive resolution or maybe not quite any resolution after all, but to use such means as available, such as Indaba for example, to continue the process of seeing cultural difference and sensitively that and yet the faith that unites us.

Eric Clapton: We at Saint Chad's pray for good governance in Africa. It's almost always on our prayer list. Money goes there from governments and donations; it seems to vanish. If this sort of religion takes over, Calvinism, then I'm off.

Lara Crofter: Was that the Vicar of Dick? Didn't you have a name issue like Rowan Scunny, and Rowanov Treetri?

Eric Clapton: No.

Lara Crofter: Local gossip and the wolf?

Eric Clapton: That was when I was a curate in Wales. Just like they have Jones the Dole, Jones the Unemployed, Jones the Jobless, Jones the Do-Nothing, you know, to tell one Jones from another: I had my local name.

Lara Crofter: Crapton?

Eric Clapton: Clapton. Whatever I feel like it's still not my name. When I was there, people wanted me to play guitar, which I can't, so some called me Wolf instead so I wasn't like the other Clapton. In fact they called me Boyo Wolf.

Lara Crofter: Have you seen the film The Company of Wolves? Neil Jordan, yes. Hey, something I know about!

John Sendmehome: A wolfman comes home for work, is moody and doesn't want his tea. His wife says, "It's the time of the month."

Harry Tickpaper: I went to see that with a Bahai woman. She found it scary, but it was just so contrived. Wolves and nudity and a very obvious studio for a woodland.

John Sendmehome: Why are people naked in laundrettes? Because it says on automatic washing machines: Please remove all your clothes when the light goes out.

Rowanov Treetri: You are the funniest Archbishop of the North that we have ever known, but please don't come to Uganda. Humm. On second thoughts, perhaps you should.

Lara Crofter: Anyway, someone told me this morning that you have a patrolling festival coming up at Saint Chad's in Dick. Let's talk about that, down at the religion coalface so to speak. What is it then, lots of traffic wardens, security people, all having a get together? Perhaps people we don't actually like and them getting a nice church party?

Flora Faunamor: More drivel.

Lynn Shea-Doyle: 'Patronal' actually; it means for the Patron Saint, who is Chad, and I'm preaching and haven't a clue what to say yet with all this Saints stuff.

Lara Crofter: You're an interesting lady, I think it's fair to say, and I've been reading all about you, where you've been and where you've worked all over the years. Began, as always, a Methodist?

Al Therys: You need a thorough Anglican upbringing to appreciate the liturgy. Being a Methodist is like being in half a Church.

John Sendmehome: A Spiritualist church has a notice on the door: 'To avoid confusion, ring the bell.'

Lynn Shea-Doyle: There's a lot of overlap, you know, familiar things shared between Methodists and Anglicans. You can start with biblical texts and the difficulty with the Bible is we can't read it as a rule book because we agree it is very difficult to take it literally...

Dennis Menace: I don't agree.

Al Therys: Can I write this down?

Lynn Shea-Doyle: And it's not wise to take literally so you unpick the text like you are taught when at university, and you can prove anything really.

Al Therys: I thought the idea was that we are supposed to believe it.

Eric Clapton: No idea.

Paul Theo Chain: How can we communicate with the sceptics out there if we think that? How can we combine sensible thought today and the most traditional numinous liturgy unless people stop thinking we believe in so many silly things like in the liturgy?

John Sendmehome: Do you know the significance of 668 in the Bible? It's the neighbour of the beast. I love being an Anglican!

Lynn Shea-Doyle: I supposed I'd say, haven't we changed since what we call Old Testament times and since New Testament times? Well I have, and I moved to Lincolnshire in the late 1970s - no it wasn't, the 1990s, into the region of Chad and that's when I became Anglican see.

Lara Crofter: Chad? Tell us about Chad. All I know is that he looks over walls and has a long nose. So you could preach about curiosity or eye sight. Trying to be helpful, like.

Jurgen Havemass: The standard of education today.

John Sendmehome: A parishioner got very excited when he finished his jigsaw in three months. It said on the box, 'For two to four years'.

Carrie Rabbit: I think what we need is more postgraduates.

Len Sableur: Chad became Bishop of York in 666, which might be unfortunate for the superstitious now, and his consecration was eventually declared irregular, so he quietly retired, being humble and saying that he had never been worthy of the office. Anyway, still, in 669 he was made Bishop of Mercia or the Midlands and he died at Lichfield in 672.

Eric Clapton: Good Anglo-Saxon stuff, but you can't rely on Bede. Too simple, straightforward, perhaps too much in the way of magical associations for the modern reader.

Harry Tickpaper: If you read it, its obvious he is giving bishops and the like supernatural powers. You can see that people thought differently then. Culturally Bede and the gospels have a lot in common, but have we with either? Yet you get a different attitude when it comes to the gospels, as if things were different then.

Paul Theo Chain: And how can we pass this on to the man and woman in the pew?

Harry Tickpaper: They do, that's my point.

Nicky Okoh: Proves my point. Proves it, proves it! Let me get over there and give you a blessing, to remove all the demons, and let me get to that Barrie Brokeback too... Lord, Lord we need you! Oh the power, the power of the Holy...

Harry Tickpaper: Sit down you twat. You are a stupid, premodern, magic-ridden, homophobic, tosser, a complete and utter knobhead.

Kevin Slowburn: Can't you be more theological?

John Sackme: The sentiment is maybe understandable but should not be usually statable between what we think privately and do publically.

Rowanov Treetri: Ugh.

Lara Crofter: Actually this is family radio and perhaps whoever you are using that language leave the studio.

[The door is heard swinging]

John Sendmehome: Adam and Abel walk past the Garden of Eden. "We used to live there, Abel," says Adam, "before your mother ate us out of house and home."

Len Sableur: Well let's try and edify further.

Jurgen Havemass: Good idea.

Len Sableur: Bede, who wrote the Ecclesiastical History of the English - and I have several copies - says Chad was a holy man, modest, learned in the Scriptures, and one who was careful to practise all he found in them. We should thank God for St.Chad who received a monastery at Dick, probably, from the King of Mercia. There is Chad and there is Higbald and there is Gilbert. And there are other big names of the area, like William of Gossle. It's just a pity that they didn't have photography at the time to show what they looked like, like we can display the PCC. It's all about these people who gave local Christianity character. Lara mentioned Chad and a wall. There's the Rector of Dick who once called his wife a wall. The plaque says, 'Such walles doe build God´s house, true living stones.' Thus he said the people like his wife are the church. Not that every woman in a church has their man in their church, or every man has their woman in the church. Let's not forget Bishop Tozer, in much more modern times, because he went to Central Africa, and rebuilt a local church in 1888 that I used to be in alone before I joined this team.

Eric Clapton: Team?

Bishop Sackme: What team?

Rowanov Treetri: It always revives me to hear about a local church situation or to read or indeed write a book. Most interesting and quite, I dare say, exhilarating.

Eric Clapton: Absolutely. And the point is perhaps this. We do admittedly think differently from the Anglo-Saxon times, but it was those times that formed us, whatever the Celts may have claimed about those roots (as culture supersedes DNA, I would suggest), including what the Welsh said to me in my then walk of faith; and the Church cannot be based simply on the past, but the tradition that blesses the hallowed ground on which, I think, we walk, as laid by such as the Anglo-Saxons and from whom we take what, each of us, can draw upon as we one and another go along on our own particular pilgrimages. Chad is a grounded figure, and so different from the Victorian period as illustrated in so many church windows: that 'bought-out-of-a-catalogue' stuff which commemorates countless nineteenth-century parish worthies up and down the land. The red glass is the colour of cheap raspberry jam, the yellows remind you of sherbert lemons, and the blue is that particular shade of blue which they used to make glass Domestos bottles out of. And the pictures are a bit like an ecclesiastical photofit or a Mr Potato Head kit.

Len Sableur: Stick to talking about what you know.

Eric Clapton: I am not a Quaker.

John Sendmehome: A man became a Quaker. Beats sitting around and doing nothing.

Len Sableur: I mean, I'll do the windows.

Eric Clapton: You did Chad. Anyway, alright, I'll give you a cloth.

Len Sableur: I know I did Chad.

Rowanov Treetri: Such local saintly knowledge and activity, the people on the ground: inspiring, and I cry for Wales.

Lara Crofter: George Hudson, are you going to rescue me?

George Hudson [on Scunny Station]: You'll find it's quite dry when it doesn't rain Lara. Is Peter Levite on next? I'm looking forward to that man who changed his name to Rowan Scunny.

Lara Crofter: I'm glad you said that. Can I say thank you to my guests... Hang on, who are you?

[The studio door swings in the Grimfish studio]

Barry Wappentake: I am Barry Wappentake, the Bishop of Grimfish, and I should have been here.

Lara Crofter: You're too slow. We've finished. And they're over there.

Barry Wappentake: Well, I shall have words.

John Sackme: I shall have words.

John Sendmehome: Is there another word for synonym? Why is there no other word for thesaurus? Only asking.

Lara Crofter: We've all had words and we'll no doubt hear from some of you all again, here on Radio Chadderbox. Tomorrow I talk about the skydivers who sleep when up in the air: apparently they switch off half their brains while they are doing it.

Flora Faunamor: I know about this.

Lara Crofter: They'd better wake up or its omelettes for everyone! Baggy Trousers, from Madness.

Jurgen Havemass: The standard of education today.

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