Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I spill all

Following John Prescott's shock admission last week that he use to suffer from bulimia (I still can't believe it), it seems like every celeb in Christendom is trying to follow suit. Only today we have TV presenter John Stapleton saying he was also once a serial hurler.
Not one to be left out, I freely admit that I chucked my guts up spectacularly once after 5 pints too many in 1984. Can I be famous? Please?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Expect the unexpected

I've been stunned into silence by two news items that have frankly been making me question the way we're programmed.
It's weird: when forming a view on what's possible/likely/probable/improbable in the future we all fall back on years of what's happened in the past. And yet life has a growing habit of throwing up surprises.
An intentional pun which brings me to Item 1. If you'd asked me last month what was more likely ...
A: a flying saucer hovering over Ballinamallard while Sinn Féin paraded down Main Street to commemorate the 1981 hunger strikes, or
B: Ian Paisley caught french-kissing Mary Lou MacDonald in a layby near Drogheda, or
C: John Prescott suffering from bulimia
... I'd have blown a fuse deciding between the first two.
I mean, that's so way off the scale of unexpected it's unreal. But it pales into insignificance compared to Item 2 which is Bertie Ahern announcing that the members of his cabinet all burst into tears when he told them he was resigning.
Sorry. I can picture Ian and Mary Lou shielding their eyes from a garda's flashlight, but Biffo Brian blubbering bye-bye Bertie is just too awful to imagine.
Seriously, what does he take us for? A tear or two quietly shed by his more shockable colleagues may be expected, but Éire's entire collection of government ministers inconsolable with grief because the teflon taoiseach has finally realised he can't explain away all that dodgy donation income is stretching imagination too far.
But then we said the IRA wouldn't disarm and that Paisley would never stop saying never. Be surprised. Be very surprised.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Faith alone is useless

Tony Blair's in the headlines again, this time urging people to put faith in a central position in solving the world's problems. He's half right. Good to see him urging people to look to matters spiritual, because our rudderless world is crying out for a moral datum, but the truth is: faith cannot feed Somalis, faith cannot disempower Belfast drug barons, faith cannot stop social decay.
Only God can.
Tony Blair speaks of the role his faith played in his premiership and says he didn't like to talk about it because, "frankly, people do think you're a nutter". Lots of room for cheap asides there, but he's right of course: talk about God and people look for a straightjacket or, at best, a hidden agenda.
And in this statement too, Blair doesn't mention God once. He talks about the virtues of faith. But faith, without highlighting the object of faith, is dull theory. When thrilling audiences of potential travellers, which airline explains the laws of aerodynamics? No one buys theory, but people everywhere hunger for God's loving care.
Wouldn't it be great for a Christian leader of 'world' proportions to stand up and tell us how brilliant, how utterly fantastic, God is; how, even though we're endemically nowhere near up to the job of pleasing him for anything more than fleeting instants, he reached into our world with the answer to the human dilemma which millennia's worth of our best philosophers have failed to find an answer to: himself in human form.
Imagine a world, or even a bit of it, transformed by the liberating realisation that, even though we're the scum of the earth, God has chosen to love us.
Makes lectures on faith sound a bit limp, eh?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bertie goes, but who comes?

So an taoiseach has jumped on his sword as the Mahongate noose tightened.
The bit I loved was not the way he glorified all his political achievements, nor was it the way all the Fianna Fáil leaders-in-waiting crowded in round him to ward off any last-minute change of heart - the bit I loved was the way Brian Cowen shouldered Dermot Ahern out of the way for a front row position as the party lined up for the cameras. Tongue out, shimmy to the right and then whoomph, dead meat. Ah well, he is the tánaiste after all.
Democracy at its finest?