Tag Archives: football


Watching the (live stream) of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly last week, a face from the past popped up to ask a particular question during a debate.

I hadn’t seen him for many years, but he used to be a Minister in the town where I live, before he moved elsewhere.

He would pop into the local Infirmary (where I worked as the full-time healthcare chaplain) now and again, to visit the hospitalised members of his congregation.

Several times, when I was chatting to certain patients who worshipped at his church, they would remark on what a clever man he was, with a wide ranging knowledge of just about everything.

“You know” someone would tell me, “he’s even abreast of the day time soaps on TV, and has been keeping me up to date with them”

Another patient, “You know that antiques programme on the telly at 3 o’clock?  Well, Mr D was able to tell me that someone who had bought a piece of junk in a car boot sale for a couple of quid, had it valued by an expert at £500”

And so on.

Of course, they all missed the point – Mr D wasn’t out working every day, but was sitting in his Manse, watching afternoon TV!


Many years ago, Helen and the boys and I were driving somewhere on a particular Sunday morning – probably setting off on holiday with my in-laws in Suffolk (presumably because I had to be around on the Saturday for a wedding)

En route, I was amazed to see so many of my own Kirk members, including some Elders, walking their dogs, washing their cars, going to the supermarket…..with about 10 minutes before their “home” church service was due to start.

The cliche is true, as so many are, “When the cat’s away….”


Now and again, when ministering in Trinidad, we had a two hour Saturday morning discussion/training session for church Elders.

For one of these – held in the first week in July – I received a lot of apologies for absence.  The meeting itself was poorly attended.

Trinidad is four hours behind British time.  Last week in July. London – 2.00 pm.  And in those days, guess what happened in SW19?  Yep, the Wimbledon men’s finals. (shown on TV)

It was only on the Sunday morning, that some of my Elders (post service) asked, “Did you see that Match?  Wonderful!”  oops!


Lastly, a ministerial friend who was Presbytery Business Convener, sent in his apologies to the Clerk, saying that he was unable to attend the Meeting “for family reasons”

Aye, the “family” was his fellow football team fans!  There was a big European game that evening – and not only did he attend, but was caught on (TV) camera.  Ouch!



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Glesga fitba’

Once a neutral went to a Celtic-Rangers game, standing (this was a long time ago) between two rival sets of supporters.

A Bhoys fan turned to him and asked, “Hey Jimmy (in Weegieland, everyone is called “Jimmy” – even women), you supportin’ the Huns?”

He answered in the negative.

“Guid, pal, so yous fur the ‘Tic?”

Again, the guy said that he wasn’t.

A Rangers fan who was standing to the other side of him, bellowed at him, “Then what the **** are ye doin’ here, ya ****in’ atheist?!!”

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He’s apparently good at crosses


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December 11, 2014 · 10:21


A minister who was very focused on his work, especially through his membership of and involvement in Church practice and procedure committees, and who had a deep loathing for all things “frivolous”, was left totally cold with the wall-to-wall coverage of the World Cup in the media.

“Dear Lord, I hope and pray that there is no football in Heaven”, he mutterered to himself one evening, prior to retiring for the night.

Suddenly, he heard a still, small voice – the voice of the Almighty!

God said, “Fear not, my son and my beloved and faithful servant; there is no football in Heaven”

“Father, my loving Father, I praise your Holy Name, and I thank you for this.”

Then God said, “My son – you will be well pleased with this: there is a mega-Presbytery in Heaven, the largest that the human mind can envisage”

“My Lord and my God, this is wonderful”

“Yes, my son,” replied the Almighty, “And I bring you good tidings of great joy – you are to be appointed Presbytery Clerk there next Monday at 7.00 pm GMT”




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June 20, 2014 · 00:00

They’re wondrous at crosses

Ernesto Ortiz, from the new Papa Francisco team, reacts after missing a chance to score against Trefules. Photograph: Victor R. Caivano/AP





Associated Press. via the Guardian
Monday 14 April 2014 09.53 BST

A new Argentinian football team named after Pope Francis and meant to promote non-violence has played their first official match in a regional league … a 2-2 draw in which four players were sent off.

The Papa Francisco team was founded by Jorge Ramirez, an admirer of the pope. It has 47 members and was set up in meetings at Ramirez’s house, located 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Buenos Aires, shortly after the archbishop of the city, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, was named pope. Pope Francis is an avid football fan and a supporter of Buenos Aires club San Lorenzo. He has no official connection to the Papa Francisco club.

The semi-professional team plays in the lower regions of the Argentinian league system, and chose the nickname: ‘The Saint of the South’. The behaviour on the pitch in the first game against Trefules wasn’t particularly saintly, though, as two players from each team were sent off. “Our motto is no hooligans, no violence and no insults,” said Ramirez, the club president.

The club could serve as a much-needed antidote for Argentinian football, which is plagued at all levels by violence and gangs known as barras bravas. Violence is endemic in the Argentinian game, and the Argentinian Football Association has been criticised for doing little to stamp it out.

The club was almost named Real Buenos Aires, in honor of the famous Spanish club Real Madrid, but eventually the idea of naming a club to honor the Argentina-born pope prevailed. The first match was played appropriately in Lujan, a site revered by local Roman Catholics. Its famous Basilica of Our Lady of Lujan could be glimpsed from the playing field.

Several players acknowledged it may be difficult to always be on their best behaviour. But it is clear they will try. “It will be a complicated thing if we insult others,” said midfielder Fabian Gaddi. “But the pope is Argentinian and he knows and understands us.”

Tags: Argentina, Americas, Pope Francis, Religion, The papacy

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At a Church of Scotland selection school (where candidates for the ministry are chosen) a good friend and contemporary, in answer to a question “If you didn’t wish to be a minister, what would you like to do?”

He answered “Play for Hibs”

The psychologist who interviewed him asked “So you play football?”

“I’m terrible at it, but you asked ‘What would I LIKE to do?'”

He got in and the Rev Dr W.  should, in his 60’s, consider pulling on his boots to help out the Hobbos!

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You Will Have Read This Before (but worth repeating)

In her radio show, Dr. Laura said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Schlesinger, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as quite informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman,

Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,

Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

P.S. (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian.)


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Fitba’ again

Fitba' again

this will be my prayer next May (2014)

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July 1, 2013 · 22:23

The Sabbath – 3: Eric Liddell


In an earlier scene in the movie “Chariots of Fire”, Eric Liddell and his sister Janet come across some boys playing football outside the church one Sunday.

Eric invites them to come back on the Monday morning, saying that he will join them in a game before he catches his train for London.

When Janet complains that he has enough to do, he tells her that he does not want the boys to grow up thinking that God is a spoilsport.

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April 28, 2013 · 11:16


The Meenister’s Log

One of the most ironic services I conducted was the interment of a Hearts supporter whose family plot lay in the shadow of Hibs Easter Road stadium – they were originally from that part of town.

We proceeded to the cemetery with his own family (some of whom were wearing Jambo colours).

His football scarf was placed on the coffin before it was lowered. And the last offices were performed.

For some reason, his family couldn’t help smiling – and one of them eventually said, “In the shadow of the Hibees stadium – he’ll be turning in his grave!”

I checked, just before we left the graveyard, that was not in fact the case.


There is great rivalry between the Old Firm supporters (Celtic and Rangers – though the latter are now in the third division of Scottish football)

The story is told of a game many years ago when a “neutral” found himself standing (in the days of terracing) between two sets of supporters.

He was being pretty silent as the match raged on in front of him.

A Celtic fan eventually asked him what team he supported and he answered “neither”

A Rangers supporter to the right of him said (he had heard the interchange), “Then what are you doing here, you f***ing atheist?”

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