If you are, then it rather appears you can get away with murder...
Still, the bright side is that pleading that he is mentally ill will probably get him locked up for a much longer time than if he was actually convicted of murder. Or will it? Will he have a course of treatment, drugs and counselling and then be assigned his own community key-worker and bedsit? Is he really the mad one, or is it someone else?
My dear old mum was quite the connoisseur of the English language. She particularly enjoyed malapropisms and the ham-fisted way people on television (the news media especially) mangled syntax and meaning and quite often ended up saying something they REALLY didn't mean...
So, in honour of her predilection, and just to have a little piece of her still around, I hope to share with the few people who will read this, some choice examples as I come across them.
A small note before we begin - none of this is intended to offend or make light of any of the topics involved. My mother had quite a dark sense of humour, which meant she could laugh even in the most painful moments - it's not flippancy, honest, it's just englishness..
We kick off with yesterdays local news bulletin. The solemn presenter told us that they were continuing with 'a series encouraging us all to take bullying more seriously'.
Because, if you're going to do it, you might as well take it seriously! No point being amateur about the whole thing...
And, back-pedalling a few months, to the demise of the previous head of the Roman Catholic church, the BBC gave us an example that really came about because of having to do 24 hour news telly.
A correspondent was introduced with the words 'and now we return to Rome, for continuing coverage of the death of the Pope.'
Much to my surprise, the journalist didn't say, in a slightly non-plussed tone 'Er, well Hugh, he's um, still dead.....'
Glorious day today - Battle of Trafalgar being re-enacted in the English channel. Rather amusingly, politically sensitive types have renamed it 'A Napoleonic battle between the Reds and the Blues'. After recent exchanges of views in the EU between Mr Blair and Mr Chirac, I would have thought a sea gun battle might clear the air.....and it's not everyday that the Queen boards an ice-patrol ship.
... puritan writers.
No-one else I've read (save Spurgeon, and he gladly owed influence to them) can take a simple metaphor and make it such a stick-in-the-head spiritual gem. Jeremiah Burroughs, in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, takes the familiar scriptural notion of 'running after the wind' as a vain pursuit, and crafts this gem of an illustration..
Many men think that when they are troubled and have not got contentment it is because they have but a little in the world, and that if they had more then they should be content. That is just as if a man were hungry, and to satisfy his craving stomach he should gape and hold open his mouth to take in the wind, and then should think that the reason why he is not satisfied is because he has not got enough of the wind...
The point is clear, well-made, and I have found it most helpful since I read it, whenever discontent assails me to ask myself 'What have I been gulping down, and am I chasing more vanity now?'
Christianity magazine in the UK did an article some time ago (and probably many since, given that I haven't read it for a while because I come out in hives in most christian bookstores that stock it) on church streams.
Very funky and postmodern it was too. As far as I can see, there are three main rivulets all gushing together in this over-laboured water-metaphor. There's some overlap, undoubtedly, but in broad strokes, here's what I see...
1) Word faith - Kenneth Copeland, the improbably named Creflo Dollar and the like. This is what you mostly see on the 'God channels' in the UK (and the US for all I know). The influence of it is growing, largely because of this lovely 'seed-faith' principle, which perfectly fits with a consumer society. Sow money, you get a return - investment faith! Want a bigger return? Start 'sowing upwards' - sow into a successful ministry that you want to emulate..
2) Church Growth - or purpose-drivel. This is what I heard described as 'mega-church, mini-gospel'. Analgesic Christianity by very definition. Cell church seems to crouch round about here too..
3) Emergent - frustrated with a lack of depth, people have started groping wildly around for what seems to be missing. Variously, they seem to come up with candles, meditation, stained glass and chanting, old-fashioned liberal theology, rehashing the downgrade controversy(and not even realizing it) while still quoting Spurgeon when it suits.
Emergent seems to me to be an inevitable out-working of the church-growth gubbins. When you strip the gospel of it's power - relying on popcorn versions of the Word of God like 'The Message', eventually, people are going to start gasping for reality. Trouble is, we have this really wierd blind-spot about where we look for the water we crave. Instead of looking back at where thing started to go awry, we try to re-invent the wheel.
And of course, much like the nonsense about new apostles and so forth, when you try and relay a foundation, you just get stuck in the mud. Open theism is a jolly good example of this to me, and Tim Challies has a great overview of it http://www.challies.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/763 .
What I don't understand is the reluctance to 'hold fast to what is true' in so many of these 'streams'. They all make much of the fact that they are new, fresh, different from what has been taught before. Surely alarm bells should ring at this point.
This is no beautiful river... it's a polluted channel...
Thankfully, Living water never disappeared... but it isn't gadgety and it doesn't have bells and whistles. It won't give you a slot-machine God, it won't guarantee phenomenal numbers, and you can't make a clay model of it while sipping cappucino.
So, in case you're wondering, the reason this blog has been made possible is due to the nefarious workings of my pelvis - pregnancy hormones softening ligaments to the point of my joints actually separating. If you're thinking 'my, that sounds rather painful' then you're right on the money..
So far, I've managed a week and a half in hospital with it, but I'm currently at home, enjoying the english summer without the added bonus of an over-heated maternity ward. I say enjoying - learning patience is probably more accurate. The opportunity (read 'doctors orders') to flop about doing practically nothing lost it's appeal pretty quickly.
More time to muse, ha ha! So I did... given that I am in no small amount of pain (did you know it's possible to start dreading stairs?) my thoughts have been turned upon pain and its relief. When in hospital I had a positive goodie-bag of pain-relief to choose from - paracetamol(Tylenol to my transatlantic friends), Co-codamol in varying doses, Pethidine and even Morphine. Each of these had varying levels of success - and varying levels of side-effects. Bearing in mind the small baby within me, there was a fine line to be wobbled along.
I've now made the decision to rely solely on paracetamol and rest. The pills don't make an awful lot of difference, but maybe just enough to help me get by. So, basically, I've chosen pain... which is rather against the grain in this day and age.
Last Wednesday I had a false labour - nice hard, long hefty contractions and almost as soon as I was in there I was offered gas and air. I hadn't even got me nightie on.
It was another example of an analgesic culture... don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising people having pain relief, but we seem to run from the slightest ouch. I'm not Roman Catholic, and actually find the theology behind the idea of 'offering up' pain somewhat abhorrent, but the approach to pain itself is surely more healthy than just trying to blot it out.
Worthy old Jack Lewis famously called it God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world. He muses ten-thousand times better than I do, but the point is worth making over - pain mostly has purpose.
My dear Evanjellybean cousins specialize in analgesic christianity - promoting the God of life purpose and need-meeting. They offer programs, worship services, anaesthetic for the conscience.
But I wouldn't rate a doctor who gave me muscle-rub for cancer, so I don't rate a faith that doesn't tell me the disease is fatal and I need a transplant, and instead offers me 45 minutes of 'Jesus is my boyfriend' songs, a mild trance state and a pep-talk.
The reason the gospel is good news is that there be some astonishingly bad news to start off with. Feel the pain - it either means you need to seriously seek the physician of souls, or, if you already have, it means the wound is healing...
So, like, the only reason we'd want to educate our children at home is because the state system is a shambles? Couldn't possibly be a positive choice made based on sincerely held convictions about who is responsible for their entire upbringing and character building? Would that make it more of an informed choice, rather than a knee-jerk reaction? I'm guessing it's easier to set us in the reactionary camp than the legitimate life-choice.. wouldn't want everyone doing it... *shudder*...
Well, I don't really have time for this malarkey, but the blogosphere is just one of those net thingies that you should really have a go at once in your life... I've done message boards to death... witnessed my fast-typing fingers to death in chatrooms... so hey, pregnant and running a household from my enforced invalidity I may be, so what's another crazy and unnecessary pastime? Not as decorative as cross-stitch, sadly, but that's all down to my ineptitude in choosing a template, no doubt..