Blog Archives

Guid Grief – the Guild!

Sky Pilot

My colleague, Fraser Aitken  found this photo advertising the Lion King and said, “A recent photo of the National Guild President inviting the audience at the Annual Guild Rally to participate in some action choruses!”

Fraser  thought it was funny (as do I)  but some prude on Facebook  thought it was  in bad taste

was very poor taste!Image

View original post

Leave a comment

December 6, 2015 · 23:13


Sky Pilot

Caravaggio(b. 1571; d. 1610)   The Incredulity of Saint Thomas( c. 1601–1602)


“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.”

It’s commonly held that Thomas didn’t accept the Risen Christ’s offer, that his empirical world-view was superseded by FAITH; and so, because of faith, he believed.

This wonderful painting by Caravaggio would suggest otherwise and that Thomas did, in fact, take up Christ’s invitation.

Is Christ almost FORCING Thomas to carry out his  earlier declaration, “unless I… place my hand into his side, I will never believe”?

Look at the furrowed brow on Thomas’ forehead; Christ’s strong grip of his wrist- is there hesitation here?  Does Christ have to force a hesitant Thomas when the latter is actually with him.?  Is this Thomas effectively…

View original post 46 more words

Leave a comment

April 8, 2015 · 18:40


A young girl’s parents decided to take her to visit a new church one Sunday morning.  As a small bribe, they told her that if she were good during the service they would take her to her favourite restaurant afterwards.

During the pastor’s rather fiery sermon on the destination of the good versus the destination of the evil he asked, in a rather loud voice. “And where do you think those who live a pure, just and good life before the Lord are going to go?”

The girl stood in her seat and cried out, “To my favourite restaurant!”

Leave a comment

June 27, 2014 · 18:25

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. (Matthew 25: 35,36)

Mother Teresa once said:

At the end of life we will not be judged by
how many diplomas we have received
how much money we have made
how many great things we have done.

We will be judged by

“I was hungry and you gave me to eat.
I was naked and you clothed me.
I was homeless and you took me in.”

Hungry not only for bread
but hungry for love

Naked not only for clothing
but naked of human respect and dignity

Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks
but homeless because of rejection.

Leave a comment

June 24, 2014 · 08:44



Joe, age 85 and Mary, age 81, decide to get married.

As they discuss their plans, as they wander through town, they pass a branch of Boots.

Joes suggests that they go in.

He addresses the man behind the counter:  “We’re about to get married. Do you sell heart medication?”

Pharmacist: “Of course we do.”

“How about medicine for circulation?”

“All kinds ”

“Medicine for rheumatism?”


“How about suppositories?”

“But of course”

“What about vitamins, sleeping pills?


“Everything for heartburn and indigestion?”


“Incontinence pads?”


Joe:  “Great!  We’d like to use your shop as our Marriage gift registry.”



Leave a comment

June 23, 2014 · 13:54


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”




Leave a comment

June 20, 2014 · 00:00


Americans Will Tolerate a Variety of In-Laws. One Exception: Atheists.

By Amanda Marcotte


Believers only, please.
Photo by wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that political polarization in the United States has reached levels only seen during the Civil War, but when it comes to our own families, we’re not quite as divided. One of the questions Pew asks to gauge how seriously people are taking their identity politics these days is how upset would you be if an immediate family member—say, a child or a sibling—married someone outside of your identity parameters. The good news: Americans are okay with their family members marrying someone who isn’t in their “tribe.”

There are all different kinds of tribes, of course. When it came, for instance, to the question of how you’d feel if your family member married someone with a different party affiliation, the vast majority of Americans responded that they’d feel either “happy” or that it “doesn’t matter.” Even for strict partisans, this was mostly true. Strong conservatives approved of a family member marrying a Democrat 70 percent of the time and strong liberals approved of marrying a Republican 78 percent of the time. Similar numbers turned up for identity markers like “gun ownership” or “went to college,” with most people being indifferent to these factors when it comes to bringing new people to family holiday dinners.

Other good news is that opposition to interracial marriage, at least overt opposition, is also fairly low, with only 11 percent of Americans balking at the idea of a new family member of a different race. (How likely you are to bothered by racial mixing rose with levels of conservatism, with only one percent of strong liberals opposing interracial marriage and 23 percent of strong conservatives doing so.) And Americans are even more welcoming to foreigners, with only 7 percent of respondents opposing marriage to someone born and raised outside of the U.S.

There’s one group, however, that continues to cause fear and loathing across the land: atheists. From Pew:



Pew Research Center

Though Pew does not dig into this, the anomalous hostility to atheists above pretty much all other groups likely speaks more to ignorance than hatefulness. Most non-believers don’t really talk about it much in their day-to-day life, because why would you? That means that most believers may think, probably incorrectly, that they don’t know any atheists, which makes it easier for ugly stereotypes to fill in the blanks. Perhaps the growing movement of visible atheists will help erode some of the fearful ignorance and provide a few families with a path out of grace before Thanksgiving dinner. All the atheists I know are all for digging right into the food.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today.


Leave a comment

June 16, 2014 · 22:35


World Scripture


The Golden Rule or the ethic of reciprocity is found in the scriptures of nearly every religion. It is often regarded as the most concise and general principle of ethics. It is a condensation in one principle of all longer lists of ordinances such as the Decalogue. See also texts on Loving Kindness, pp. 967-73.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

1. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Leviticus 19.18

Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.

2. Christianity. Bible, Matthew 7.12

Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.

3. Islam. Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13

A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.

4. Jainism. Sutrakritanga 1.11.33

Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.

5. Confucianism. Mencius VII.A.4

One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire.

6. Hinduism. Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8

Tsekung asked, “Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?” Confucius replied, “It is the word shu–reciprocity: Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.”

7. Confucianism. Analects 15.23

Leviticus 19.18: Quoted by Jesus in Matthew 22.36-40 (below). Mencius VII.A.4 and Analects 15.23: Cf. Analects 6.28.2, p. 975.

Comparing oneself to others in such terms as “Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I,” he should neither kill nor cause others to kill.

8. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 705

One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.

9. African Traditional Religions. Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)

One who you think should be hit is none else but you. One who you think should be governed is none else but you. One who you think should be tortured is none else but you. One who you think should be enslaved is none else but you. One who you think should be killed is none else but you. A sage is ingenuous and leads his life after comprehending the parity of the killed and the killer. Therefore, neither does he cause violence to others nor does he make others do so.

10. Jainism. Acarangasutra 5.101-2

The Ariyan disciple thus reflects, Here am I, fond of my life, not wanting to die, fond of pleasure and averse from pain. Suppose someone should rob me of my life… it would not be a thing pleasing and delightful to me. If I, in my turn, should rob of his life one fond of his life, not wanting to die, one fond of pleasure and averse from pain, it would not be a thing pleasing or delightful to him. For a state that is not pleasant or delightful to me must also be to him also; and a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?

As a result of such reflection he himself abstains from taking the life of creatures and he encourages others so to abstain, and speaks in praise of so abstaining.

11. Buddhism. Samyutta Nikaya v.353

A certain heathen came to Shammai and said to him, “Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.” Thereupon he repulsed him with the rod which was in his hand. When he went to Hillel, he said to him, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; all the rest of it is commentary; go and learn.”

12. Judaism. Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Sutta Nipata 705: Cf. Dhammapada 129-130, p. 478. Acarangasutra 5.101-2: Cf. Dhammapada 129-130, p. 478. Samyutta Nikaya v.353: The passage gives a similar reflection about abstaining from other types of immoral behavior: theft, adultery, etc. To identify oneself with others is also a corollary to the Mahayana insight that all reality is interdependent and mutually related; cf. Guide to a Bodhisattva’s Way of Life 8.112-16, p. 181; Majjhima Nikaya i.415, p. 465.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

13. Christianity. Bible, Matthew 22.36-40





1 Comment

June 2, 2014 · 12:24

Hans Memling, Triptych of Earthy Vanity and Divine Salvation

Hans Memling,
Triptych of Earthy Vanity and Divine Salvation (front),
oil on oak panel, ca. 1485

Hans Memling was born in Germany and later moved to the Netherlands to study under Rogier van der Weyden. He follows the religious symbolic traditions of van der Weyden, and this triptych focuses on the idea of “Memento mori,” a Latin phrase that translates to “Remember your mortality.” Memling’s triptych shockingly contrasts the beauty, luxury and vanity of the mortal earth with images of death and hell. The three panels on the front of this triptych show a beautiful nude looking in a mirror, flanked on either side by images of death and the devil

‘Degenerate churches were described in the Westminster Confession as ‘synagogues of satan’.’ Photograph: Musee des Beaux-Arts

Leave a comment

May 30, 2014 · 11:33

The Kirk and Independence – Leader in The Scotsman newspaper

Leaders: Kirk limited in its power to heal wounds



The debate at the Church of Scotland General Assembly. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Published on the 20 May 2014 in the Scotsman


IT WAS right and fitting that the Church of Scotland debated independence at the General Assembly yesterday. The Kirk has always been a crucible in which the future of the nation has been argued and discussed with intelligence and passion, and yesterday’s session produced some thoughtful observations on Scotland’s date with destiny.

Also to be welcomed was the Kirk’s recent decision to hold a service of reconciliation in Edinburgh’s St Giles’ Cathedral on 21 September. In this, the Church was responding to a letter from the Queen calling on people of faith to “work together for the social good of Scotland whatever the outcome of the independence referendum”.

There is little doubt that the tone of recent public debate has become markedly polarised and fractious. That is only to be expected, but it is a cause for concern. There has been much talk in this referendum of the importance of retaining the “social union” with England, but just as important is the social union between Scots within Scotland. The Church of Scotland is committed to a position of neutrality on independence. However, its members said it was important to reflect on issues dominating public life. Few would disagree either with the Church’s concern over the potential for rancour and divisiveness to persist after the vote, or its desire to promote reconciliation. And it is easy to underestimate how big a task this may prove.

But it is only sensible to recognise there are limits to the Church’s role in this initiative, and to its power to pull the country together. The Church has a positive part to play and its role as an exemplar should not be underestimated. But there is a limit to the extent to which the Kirk can be a healing power for all Scots after the independence referendum vote.

Scotland today is a much more secular country than was the case even just a decade ago. It may still adhere to values that generally coincide with Christianity, but attendance at church is increasingly a minority pursuit. And among those Scots who still adhere to religious observance, that observance is split across many different faiths and denominations.

The Church of Scotland, through its Articles Declaratory underpinned by statute, can justly lay claim to its historical role as the national church. But if there were ever days when it could speak for the whole nation, those days are long gone.

In the light of this reality, caution should also be exercised over the Kirk’s request for special recognition in the drawing up of a constitution for an independent Scotland, should that moment arrive. The Kirk can and should be a positive force for good in Scotland, and an important voice in the national conversation, but in the 21st century it has no claim to preferential treatment – or even inclusion – in a modern Scottish constitution.

Leave a comment

May 21, 2014 · 10:05