Sunday 11 July 2010

That Synod Speech

Master of Ceremonies: Archbishop, bishops, clergy, ladies and gentlemen, the Archbishop of the North.

John Sendmehome: I'd better give you a copy of my speech 'ere by gum so you can check my doctrine as I go along. I'd hate in the present atmosphere to be regarded as heretical.

Master of Ceremonies: Ah that's a good idea you cynic you.

John Sendmehome: It's a paradox of our time that we know the price of everything and the value of nothing. For example, how much does our own Archbishop cost, and have you ever thought of his value to the Anglican Communion? This man, my friend, has such modesty: asked his job once when in India, he said, "I am a clerk in Holy Orders," and so the man said, "Can you just check me tax returns?" Here in our global village we are trying to engage with Anglican recovery, from what we see as some kind of meltdown from enormous speculation. We try thus to get to what is true and what is value, and separate such from what is vanity. We are not talking about leadership like familiar characters in the Old Testament that takes a bribe; we do hope however that they take an interest. However, it is the over interest and the huge speculation that annoys me. It was not legal in the Old Testament: you don't make a profit out of misery, which is why when the Daily Torygraph makes a profit out of Rowanov's misery, my Yorkshire flat hat gets even flatter as I bang my head with my fist. You just don't know how hard he works: like what's the difference between Rowanov Treetri and the M1? You can turn off the M1. This man does not even have the respect granted to their Lordships by the Magna Carta, which incidentally with an h used to be a ferry linking your province with mine, Archbishop, and is now reduced to being a pub in our limited service economy. Well we make a living through what we get and a life through what we give, and our living is pretty miserable and needs sorting out, and your life has become very religious lately, Archbishop - a living hell. I'm not just asking whether you, Archbishop, add value, but what you add to the whole of our ecclesiastical life as we try to recover this Communion, and here we are, at Synod, where we have direct decision making in our own local Church, where we can contribute to how we do things internationally. And we are local. He is my friend, this man. I was taking him around York, and a bus came along and I told him, "This is a one man bus," so Rowanov said, "Well you get this one and I'll get the next one." Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, the bus driver on the road gets dignity, worth, fulfilment and is not just about adding value. And we as Archbishops should get fulfilment in what we do but it is increasingly like we don't.

It is not just about being consumers or rights in consuming but a different kind of rights. or the duty that binds us and won't let him resign. Good work is not necessarily paid employment. A Yorkshire friend of mine went to an attractive lady on the corner and she said, "Do you want a blow job?" and he said, "Will it affect me benefits?" We want to do work and do it well, and John Paul the Second reminded us that we should be not be subjected to this kind of 'Buy one get one free', not like we get in the Church in England, with two Archbishops for the price of three. We don't want to be known as the Morrisons Church, where they say BOGOF, or to be seen as Ikky, although Ikky once had a very good mission statement that it replaced in the 1990s with some lesser text focussed on shareholders - and the company then did less well. Now medicine is like fire control to forest management, but our lives get longer by caring for ourselves and having mutual respect, and I just wonder how all this media criticism is cutting the life expectancy of this man next to me.

This man here is a prophet, not making a profit, but so talented is he that if he were a chef he'd make excellent profiteroles. Chocolate can be ethical, like the Quaker Trinity ha ha of Cadbury, Fry and Rowntree, when they housed their workforce rather well on the backs of rotted teeth and children getting a high in the classroom. Profit alone can cause war, said another Archbishop, when Archbishops made social statements and were heard in general, unlike now when we are all specialists. But this Archbishop's role is specialist, not as a chef but as a theologian and an ecclesiastical fixer. He speaks often and says much, almost as if some profit maker not prophet giver would charge for hot air. If you breathed out they'd charge you for it, and you need to rethink shareholder maximisation. It is like a man says to his wife: "Pack your bags, I've won the pools," and she asks, "What should I pack? Where are we going?" and he said, "We're going nowhere. Just pack your bags and get out." Such is the price of a wife, not her value. Wealth is there for our common citizenship, like believing in God the creator - and not all hierarchies are bad, and ours certainly isn't, we two at the top like a Dave Cameron and Nick Clegg, they also trying to sort out their economic problem, though I warned about this in The News of the Screws. Cuts, cuts, cuts. Surely we need to invest in people, not cut - a strong public sector, not a society of individuals. Don't throw the individuals on the scrap heap. What will happen? What numbers of bishops do we cut - no, we don't, we add to them all the time, don't we. It gets us closer to God: and for that we should speak the truth, in thought, word and deed. We have to believe people are telling the truth: Quasimodo was running down the street chased by a group of kids in Hull. He stopped and said, "For the last, time, I haven’t got your football."

So at this point I want to offer not a football note but a footnote. I write in The News of the Screws and so we know what journalistic honesty means. But we see spin and misleading opinions. Blogs are appalling in the way they have democratised opinion and undermine hierarchies and how they have mushroomed in their carelessness and propaganda to mislead about my friend and dear colleague, one Rowanov Treetri. I say enough is enough, so I shall stop my high speed sermon very soon. He possesses a high regard for truth, which is why he has private opinions but speaks public opinions - let that be the controlling factor, and of course Anglicans say much in their liturgies they don't actually believe any more. It deeply saddens me that there is such a general disregard for truth. When it comes to Anglican business, I wish we could apply high ethical awareness regarding our controversies, but in putting Anglicanism back together again we have to consider bureaucracy first over the inclusion of the people. given worldwide prejudices. And here, in this Synod, we shall consider fixing having women as bishops, and making sure that the old hierarchy can continue, if you accept our amendment or something like it. We have a long tradition of recognising women within the hierarchy in Anglicanism, you see. Two old ladies were at Evensong when a streaker jumped out of the choir stalls and ran down the aisle. One lady had a stroke, but the other one couldn't reach.

Whatever, I hope that my own philosophy of life is consistent with the New Testament. In the name of the Father, a Son and something else. Amen. Oh it's not supposed to be a sermon. Was I doctrinally sound?

Master of Ceremonies: I couldn't keep up.

John Sendmehome: Couldn't keep up? Did you hear about the lorry that delivered viagra to the dairy by mistake? Produced a huge knob of butter.

Gentle applause followed.

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