Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday - Jesus, Jerry Springer and jockeys' teeth

George Friderick Handel I'm sitting here listening to a BBC Radio 2 programme commemorating the 250th anniversary of Messiah coposer George Frederick Handel, which concentrates on that most famous of his oratorios; we're waiting for At the Foot of the Cross presented as a meditation "of words and music" on Good Friday by Ken Bruce, featuring excerpts from Messiah.
Father Brian D'Arcy - click to see biography
The BBC's not an organization that likes making life easy for Christians, but BBC Radio 2 is - mostly - an exception, a sweet oasis in the antitheist sea. The reason? The watchful eyes of Father Brian D'Arcy and Canon Roger Royle, with the powerful backing of TCanon Roger Royle - click to see biographyerry Wogan, who once described himself as "an agnostic who knows enough Greek to realise what the word means". The only nod to God on terrestrial TV today is the classic Greatest Story Ever Told featuring the chiselled Scandinavian features of Max Von Sydow - on Channel 4, whose claim to fame was once showing a man drinking a pint of his own vomit.
James Nesbitt as Pontius Pilate in The Passion - click to go to the BBC website
Saying that, I can't fault the BBC for its worthy but somewhat speculative The Passion about the last week in Jesus' earthly life, but this does not amount to a get-out-of-jail free card regarding its airing in 2005 of Jerry Springer - the Opera, which it defended stoically in the face of the most complaints about a single programme in the Corporation's history, many of them centering on the disgusting befoulment of the characters of Jesus and Mary.

I perhaps wouldn't be so implacable about the opera had the fictionalised Springer moved on to further musically mine controversial material; what pops readily to mind is tha modern-day child bride, from the site - click to read Ali Sina's discussion on Aisha's agee marriage of Mohammed to Aisha when she was six or seven. I don't see it though, because Mark Thompson, former head of C4 and Director-General of the BBC since 2004, believes that Islam, as a minority religion, "should be treated more sensitively than Christianity". A shame - I had some rhymes for the librettists: crocodile, volatile, juvenile... (I'm not being facetious: it would be an opportunity to open a debate on Jesus' liberating views on women, and contrast St Paul's struggles to transcend the gender politics of his time.)
Liam Treadwell, 100-1 winner ofthe Grand National, click to read Anita Singh's article for the Telegraph; thanks to PA for the photo
But what really sticks in my craw is that Ofcom is gearing up for a full investigation into an interviewer's remark about a jockey's teeth after 2,000 complaints - compare with the 63,000 that Jerry Springer attracted.

But it's not all negative. This is Good Friday, when we celebrate the major engine in the machinery of salvation that God set in motion when he told Satan in Eden that a descendent of Eve would seriously rain on his parade. And what a wonderful day to learn, from Stephen Adams on the Telegraph site, that the carbon-dating exercise performed on the Shroud of Turin in 1988 based on a sample of cloth that was repaired in the 16the century; and Ray Rogers recorded a video shortly before his death in 2005 admitting that "it has a very good chance of being the piece of cloth that was used to bury the historic Jesus".

face on the shroud of Turin: click to read Rod Draper's article at Crunchy Con

Make your own the mind of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God,
did not count equality with God
something to be grasped.

But he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
becoming as human beings are;
and being in every way like a human being,
he was humbler yet,
even to accepting death, death on a cross.

And for this God raised him high,
and gave him the name
which is above all other names;

so that all beings
in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld,
should bend the knee at the name of Jesus

and that every tongue should acknowledge
Jesus Christ as Lord,
To the glory of God the Father.


  1. Amen.

    I've been looking for a picture of the Shroud in sepia tones for quite a while now. Thank you!

  2. No bother; or, as we said in Glasgow, nae borra!

    I thought about writing Amen myself at the end of the quote, but decided not to because St Paul never wrote it.

    I hope you all have a very good Easter Sunday tomorrow.


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