Rules for Reverends Vol III

December 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

21. Every Vicar’s surplice has a darker patch where it’s been slammed into a funeral director’s car door.

22. There is never a pen in your cassock pocket. Even when you know you left one there the last time you had it on.

23. There is a ‘right’ tune for every hymn. It’s just not the one you chose.

24. You should never take your diary with you to church.

25. Visiting on spec is a waste of time because no one is ever in during the day. Except for the people who are.

26. Everything stops in September. You thought that’s when it started, but that’s when your congregation (who are all retired) go on cruises.

27. You don’t have to make an emergency dog collar any more if you’ve forgotten the real one. Just say you agree with Archbishop Sentamu’s stand on these things.

28. People have long memories, and everyone is related to everyone else. Be careful.

29. The DAC is your friend, and the Faculty process will save your life (Anglicans only).

30. Who else can pronounce a blessing on people and say it’s work?

Rules for Reverends Vol II

December 3, 2011 § 1 Comment


11. Some different coloured raffle tickets are hard to tell apart.

12. The most emotional funeral visit is the one you’re not expecting to be.


13. Saying ‘yes please’ when offered a drink in someone’s home is an extreme sport.


14. You can’t help watching someone’s TV, even with the sound turned down.


15.  Being more interested in the parents’ Mercedes/motor bike/hi-fi rather than their baby is not good form on a baptism visit.


16. Just because you’re on Twitter doesn’t make you acceptable to the young.


17. You are not there to outshine the Bride, nor give the Best Man’s speech.


18. Organists are uniformly lovely, and uniformly misunderstood.


19. people who say they are sorry for disturbing you because you’re very busy really mean it, and really are.


20. No other role gets you involved in the highest and lowest points of people’s lives, especially not all in the same afternoon.


Rules for Reverends

December 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

One or two things I’ve picked up. Feel free to add your own.

1. The house you are looking for in the dark will be the one without a number.

2. You will receive your first complaint about a service you thought was brilliant within ten minutes of arriving home.

3. No doorbell ever works.

4. The only people who ring before nine o’clock in the morning are undertakers or Bishops.

5. The one time you answer the phone in an amusing way will be the one time you wish you hadn’t.

6. No dog which ‘just wants to play’ should be trusted.

7. You should always have a grace ready. Or ‘a few words’. Or (in Africa) a sermon.

8. You think that wearing a dog collar will get you a better deal, or give weight when you complain. It won’t.

9. In a PCC meeting even those you know well will say stuff that you wouldn’t believe.

10. No, it’s not a job. Yes, it is the best in the world.

Humour, offence and prophecy

November 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

There was an item on the BBC news this morning about how the treatment of wounded service personnel at Headley Court was going to do wonders for our Paralympic team. It’s here.

The Doctor in charge said this:

“This is a special group of young men and women with significant injuries. The likes have not been seen since Vietnam.

“We’ve got an opportunity to look at accelerating and making more efficient that process of learning to walk again where some patients have lost their limbs, but also maximising their efficiency and performance, which will have direct results for our Paralympic team.”

It’s inspiring and amazing. And it reminded me of something. A joke made by Jimmy Carr last year. He said that, whatever you felt about wounded servicemen, we were going to have a great Paralympic team in 2012. The story is here. He was attacked on all sides. Interesting then that a piece of straight news reporting should say the same thing.

If you analyse humour you take the humour out of it. But…it does seem to me that all humour offends someone (and I’ve experienced that myself in a small way). Some humour aims to shock, some is prophetic, some is uncomfortable. Jimmy Carr pushes all sorts of boundaries, and I understand the offence of his paralympic joke. But there was obviously a truth in it – that’s why many found it funny. Why then is the news story not offensive? It makes the same point in just the same words (apart from the expletive).

I guess I’m just pondering here on what offends us and why. I spoke about Pete Broadbent yesterday. Another Bishop (one he worked with) said once that the Synod was ‘Fascist’ and that Satan was alive and well and living in Church House Westminster). Righteous offence all round, but only the royal family one got a public reprimand.

I’ll examine myself to find out what offends me…and why, and how I might use language, humour and the soundbite to get a hearing, to get a laugh sometimes, and not to cause such offence that the truth gets obscured in doing so. I wonder what Jimmy Carr thinks of that news report now?

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