On 15th September Baroness Warsi 2010 addressed the college of Bishops of the Church of England about how the government proposes to centre the “Big Society” around the contribution of faith and faith communities. My following text would be addressed to the gathering after Baroness Warsi had retaken her seat. Some of the events mentioned in the text have happened since her speech but they are included under artistic license.
Hear me oh you Woman of gentry, who charms the Bishops into silence with your bank of Mammon, are you searching for an Augustine to compose a theology for your Empire? How blind you are, thinking you will find me in the company of religious leaders, believing your time with them is divine, open your eyes I am amongst the poor and the powerless, the ones whom you demonise. I am amongst those whom you make homeless, the refugees you reject at your locked door.
Listen to this Pelagian shouting in the street. I am not ordained by the church, I have no institutional collar to choke or project my voice. Yet I dare to raise it - for I am ordained by God to cry out in the streets to “Let my people go.”
Oh ye shepherds heed my call and stay true to your calling. Let your bishop’s crozier be an oaken staff to guide and protect your sheep from the evils that surround them, not a bejeweled crook to punish and oppress the poor. Do not be afraid to “look strange or weird”, remember I called you to be in the world but not of it. Cling to my message of justice and remember how my prophets have always been treated, you are not called to media popularism. Overcome the desert demons of power, treasure and fame, for power corrupts and money speaks but not in my language.
You are to be the servant not the master of my people. Replace your mitres for crowns of thorns, for you are meant to have headaches in this world. Take off your gilded robes and re-dress in sackcloth and ashes. End your love affair with royalty, power and pomp. You privileged cling so tightly to the royal skirts yet ignore the children of Ignorance and Apathy hidden beneath them. Oh Bishop of Westminster remember you are called to amplify my voice into the world and not to be the voice of the temple beside your home, where people say “we’ve never had it so good” and ignore the suffering of the majority. They pride themselves on their political plans, thinking that their “fair society” is one of gospel justice yet they are turning my justice into poison. They are Babylonians putting their own people into exile with their “City Clearances”. They are fools, for the Godless one has more holy thoughts than they could ever imagine. Listen to me and live.
Oh my Bishops look at your Palaces. They should be lit up with my glory and warmed by my love yet they have become towering monstrous gargoyles devouring life from the world. Your ceremonial meals from silver patens steal food off poor peoples’ plates and your holy wine in silver chalices sucks water from their lips. Your maintenance schemes pour rain onto people's hopes. Oh how the world pays to maintain your glorious history. Stop dwelling in the past and allow the poor to live today. Look to me and live.
Oh my clergy how I am sick of your worship. Your electronic systems are deafening the silence in which you really can find me. Your sermons of academia lack the heart of my wisdom your arms reaching up to embrace me and yet refuse to embrace the neighbour at your side. Your performance worship that makes you and not me into the main attraction. Oh how you have polluted my gospel with the message of “Prosperity”, You cannot buy my indulgences with mammon, only with a contrite heart and a broken spirit. How can an altar where only some can afford the cost of membership be divine? I hate your religious festival when you celebrate the presence of superficial tat and tradition and not the incarnation of my Son. You share your expensive gifts yet forget the most precious gift of all. You huddle around your festive tables and turn your back on me outside, cold and hungry on the streets of the world. Seek me and live.
You bankers enclosed in your glazed vegetable, how loud were your lamentations when your city of Mammon fell yet you still have not repented for your sins and continue stealing from the poor to strengthen its crumbling foundations. Beware you who sell for a quick profit. You will be ruled by foreigners who will transfer your livelihoods leaving you redundant and homeless. You shall find foreign coins in your Christmas puddings, at the very heart of your institutions, taken over by Babylonians shattering your communities. How deafening were your cries for the innocent when your twin towers of Babel collapsed, yet how deaf you are towards the innocents you kill because of your tongue of capitalism and your unjust monetary laws.
Fallen is Britannia never more to rule the waves as she watches you elders make your own offspring into slaves to maintain your lifestyle. How dearly they must pay for the sins of their Fathers as they walk a long and weary path through life burdened down with the chains of debt that you have placed around their necks. Hear me you war lords who prefer to send your children and block their path into knowledge, how your children will hate you. Hear them cry out on the streets at your injustice and return to you in body bags.
Woe to you complacent couch potatoes, lazing around on your settees gazing at your gods of fame voting for your idols whilst retailers sigh “When will the programmes be over so that we can sell our impossible dreams and line our pockets?” Then you watch the suffering of the world with hardened, over-stimulated hearts - don’t just flick channels, wake up, you are watching your living and dying brothers and sisters, not a film. Your hearts should be aching; I made them of flesh not computer chips.
You adulterers lying on your beds, you do not ponder on my words. Remember the joy and fulfillment I used to give you before you turned your back on me. Oh how I yearn for you to repent and turn to me again. It breaks my heart to see you making love with your other gods of fame and mammon. They will give you no rest, no sleep. You will rise in the morning exhausted from a night's labour, not re-energised in my word and strengthened in my love.
O You devilish bitches of Prada who murder to make yourselves beautiful.. Who say “Bring me fresh ingredients from all corners of the globe - now.” without considering the cost to the earth. The time will come when you topple off your heels of superiority and cry in pain with your broken bones of depravity.
My prophets speak to you in so many ways, in art, music, word, nature and websites yet so often you stifle, suppress and silence those that dare to speak truth to power and dare to hold up a mirror to reflect your sins or project your gossip to the world. I invoke you to harden not your hearts but hearken to my voice. Look at the visions I have laid before you - Van Gogh’s starry night with its darkened church or his bible with the unlit candle. Walk through my gallery of life and open your heart to the meanings of the visions you find within it.
I called you not to be caretakers of your palaces but caretakers of creation, the real temple of this world. Instead you abuse it and fight over its treasures like spoilt children. How dare you call yourselves the greatest of my beings, you simpletons know as much as only one grain of sand on the beach of my creation. Look up beyond your manmade street lights to the stars in the heavens where my light streams to you from thousands of light years away. You think you control the skies and are free to drive your manmade paths yet see how the blast of just one of my volcanoes stopped you in your flight and one flurry of snow trapped you in your chariots. At any time my power can force you to remember your vulnerability. Yet it was you I chose to make for my companion, it was you I chose to become when I relinquished my heavenly powers and became a baby in your arms. It is you who I longed to be with when I reopened the pathway between our worlds. Oh my people recognise the truth that I am found in faith and not just “The Faith”, for my children are to be found in all creeds and cultures, how I love you all and long for us to be united. But I urge those of you who desire my second coming to stay true, for if you allow injustice to any of your brothers or sisters or do not take care of my creation to make my coming earlier, I will judge you and punish you for your wicked acts, not praise you for your impatience. Seek me in the unexpected places and times and I will surprise you with my presence with you now and always.