I had a completely incongruous moment yesterday, watching the PMQs edition of The Daily Politics.  I was watching and listening to the interaction between David Cameron and Ed Miliband and out of nowhere came a thought I found myself in complete accord with.  I thought, ‘Thank God for atheists!’  I thought he did a very good job.  I hope he doesn’t lose it.  Unless it was an illusion . . . Blibbedy blibbedy blibbedy blip!  Pip pip, everybody!


I’ve been thinking about King David today.  I thought about when he said ‘blessed is that people whose God is the LORD’. I ended up thinking, as I have before, that perhaps he wasn’t the great king some people insist that he was.

What if Samuel decided he had to choose someone out of Jesse’s family, just to save face?  If the first king was wrong because out of God’s perfect will, how could David have been right, except for God’s allowance for a people who wouldn’t trust Him (as the Bible has it)?  Seeing that God didn’t want the people to have a king, why do the Bible writers speak in terms of good and bad kings?

I thought about the criteria of his choosing as a friend by Jonathan, as I have before.  He was chosen because he killed an enemy the whole of Israel seemed to be afraid of.  But according to the Bible it was being a man of blood that meant God did not allow him to build a temple for Him.  It was an act of youthful impetuosity, it could be said, which showed no place for diplomacy.  He grew in popularity with the people because of the number of people he killed.  It was said he was not like Saul, but would do all that God commanded him.  But he was so much like the person Saul wanted to be that Saul was jealous that David was popular as the saviour of Israel in the killing of enemies.  Saul was jealous that David excelled in killing and was therefore popular.

I had another thought as well. Saul is said to have sought the counsel of a medium, even though it was against the law.  He went in secrecy, apparently, and the witch of Endor was shocked when Samuel really appeared and she realised it was the king who was asking, and she begged him not to punish her.  When Samuel appeared he said that Saul and Jonathan would be killed in the next day’s battle.

Presumably, since he carried out this act of seeking the counsel of a medium in secrecy because of the law, and the next day he and his son died, the only witness to this prediction would have been the medium.  If she was shocked by a real apparition that would seem to indicate that she usually made things up.  So why not this?  Would she have revealed herself like this anyway, if it was against the law?  What could she have gained from this, and why is it that this only witness as I think she must have been, had her version of events included as fact in holy writ?  It is ceasing to make sense to me.  Perhaps I should read again.

OK, I’ve read again, and he took some servants with him.  Also, it is the teaching I have had from the church which gave rise to the suggestion that the woman of Endor must normally have faked things if she was so stricken by the appearance of Samuel at Saul’s bidding. In a situation like this it gets to the point where you are not sure where the inverted commas should go.

The rest is silence.


I bought an inverted cross a few months ago, to demonstrate my own dislike of having the cross as a fashion item, along with the increase of aggressive blasphemy and taking God’s name in vain.

The man I bought it from, at the shop, told me upside down was the way crucifixion normally happened, which was news to me.  A nurse at the hospital told me that as well, when he saw it.

I haven’t been able to verify this.  There are people who call it a Saint Peter’s cross, because tradition has it that he was crucified upside down.  I went to a quiet day a few months ago and saw the cross there, on the table, was upside down to the eye, and recently I have discovered that an upside down cross is carved into the papal throne.

But it is Peter I have been thinking about.  Is it possible that, having decided to crucify him, they were party to a gentleman’s agreement with him to respect his wish to be crucified upside down as he felt unworthy to follow his Master the right way up?  Is it possible they would have respected his wishes, given the way they treated other Christians at the time?  Unless it was in the ‘any last requests’ category.