Songs of Praise 3b
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Songs of Praise and the cardboard church of Calais

 

“The Lord is here,” intones the vicar at thousands of services of Holy Communion week after week. Except He’s not: His Spirit might be brooding in the chocolate-box parishes of England, but the Lord is actually in Calais; walking the streets with the homeless, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, comforting the destitute and dying.

If the Lord were to visit the Vatican, He’d tear down the papal portraits and smash the marble statues, barking something about idols and dens of thieves. If He were to enter Westminster Abbey, He’d refuse point blank to pay a £20.00 admission fee, daring to remonstrate with the Dean about the righteousness of royal peculiars and the hollowness of the dead curating the dead. He’d attend no banquet at Lambeth Palace, nor feast on a state dinner at Windsor Castle. He’d decline invitations from princes to chat about the need for benevolence; and from prime ministers to pore over political policy.

He’d prefer instead to meet some of the Kids Company family – not the boss in all her Widow Twankey finery, but the kids, who have been stripped of care and ousted from their homes of fellowship. He might descend on an inner-city church; not to mount the pulpit and deliver a tea-and-biscuit sermon, but to serve hot soup and help pick up the detritus of drug abuse from the urine-drenched rags in the graveyard. He’d listen to tales of loneliness and misery, and then fall asleep in the porch with the stinking down-and-outs, shivering in a sack as the bitter night freezes upon Him.

This is the Church of Jesus Christ. It is for the poor, the weak, the lonely, dispossessed, hurting, grieving and broken. It is for the desperate and oppressed; the destitute and dying. Hold your nose and avert your eyes: it is the swarm of humanity in the cesspit of life. You might prefer to sing your songs of praise to private entrepreneurship as you bask in the benefits of economic growth. But the Lord sings His songs of praise in the cardboard church of Calais. The Lord is there. His Spirit is with them. Glory to God in the lowest.

  • John Adlington

    Amen to that

  • JohnMc

    I can’t disagree but what would he say to those ruining people livelihoods breaking into their lorries or causing delays so goods for other (perhaps equally deserving) have to be destroyed

    • dannybhoy

      The idea of ‘who is my brother’ can be stretched to the ‘nth degree, but unless this ‘brother’ has some idea of why you’re treating him kindly, he’ll simply take you for a fool.

      Our Christian brothers and sisters who are being slaughtered, decapitated raped and sold into sexual slavery may well forgive those who are ill treating them, but it won’t necessarily stop their suffering.

      To show kindness and compassion you have to have something to share. You have to live in safety and stability to be able to acquire it, and there has to be a system of morality to make it meaningful and possible.

  • Albert

    If the Lord were to visit the Vatican, He’d tear down the papal portraits and smash the marble statues, barking something about idols and dens of thieves. If He were to enter Westminster Abbey, He’d refuse point blank to pay a £20.00 admission fee, daring to remonstrate with the Dean about the righteousness of royal peculiars and the hollowness of the dead curating the dead. He’d attend no banquet at Lambeth Palace, nor feast on a state dinner at Windsor Castle. He’d decline invitations from princes to chat about the need for benevolence; and from prime ministers to pore over political policy.

    How do you know?

    • CliveM

      If Jesus of Nazareth was walking the streets today, he wouldn’t have to decline meeting the Popes, Princes and Prime Ministers, he wouldn’t be asked.

      • The Explorer

        It’s an excellent point, but since the Church is the body of Christ in the world, when Christ walks the streets today it is as his followers. When Christ Himself returns he will not need to walk the streets because he will come in his capacity as God.

        • CliveM

          Yes true, my comment however should only be taken in the context of HG’s article.

          Maybe God does walk amongst us, how would we know, if he chose not to tell?

      • Albert

        That is far too harsh. Why would Pope Francis, or for that matter, QEII, not want to meet Jesus. Even in the days of the greatest grandeur, popes still met people like St Francis.

        • dannybhoy

          They’d be down on their knees first, because when Jesus comes back He comes back as King over all the earth..

        • CliveM

          Albert

          Whilst not arguing with DB’s point below, my context is based on HG’s comments. Hence my description of him as Jesus of Nazareth. And that Jesus, the scourge of the hypocrites, the powerful would be to unsettling to the institutions of the Church and State.

          Of course it’s altogether possible he would invite himself to tea at the Vatican and then get the Pope to agree to divest the Church of its wealth and goods :0)

          • Albert

            I think the point is a disagreeable one. How do you know how Pope Francis would react to that? Some people, in his own time, accepted the admonition. Those who have been formed in his teaching are the more likely to accept him. And why pick on people like that? Jesus would show us all up – from the most humble liberal…

          • CliveM

            Disagreeable?

            I find it hard to imagine that any Church would find themselves having a cosy and ‘agreeable’ chat with Jesus. Not because all of them don’t have good people, but because all of them have fallen short (and are still doing so).

            Frankly I would probably try and avoid a face to face, wouldn’t you?

            Anyway, as I said to Explorer if he decided to walk amongst the immigrants, I don’t think the Churches, or the Governments would recognise him. Why would they invite him for a chat?

          • Albert

            if he decided to walk amongst the immigrants, I don’t think the Churches, or the Governments would recognise him.

            If you mean, he’d be under the radar, then possibly, but only because of his low profile. But as for being among the outcasts etc., that’s where Pope Francis worked before he became Pope! He is someone who does want to be among the poor and marginalised. And to give a regal comparison, I really do think that HMQhas the same Christian attitude.

          • CliveM

            Albert

            I used the term “Pope, Princes and Prime ministers” not to target individuals but used them as representatives of institutions.

            Besides I liked the rhythm of the phrase.

            My point wasn’t about Francis or even specifically the RC Church, but how the institutions of the world would react and mainly, unless he generated a lot of press and became a ‘Celeb’, the institutions would be so concerned with being busy, they wouldn’t see, or if they did, understand.

            So in reference to Francis, It wasn’t a dig about him, BUT I suspect that unless Jesus knocked at his door, he would be obscured from Francis’s view by all the layers of Church bureaucracy and Priests and Bishops and Cardinals.

            And out of ecumenical fairness, the same would go for the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland!! Who also probably has a real concern for the poor.

            I’m not a great fan of institutions in the main.

          • Albert

            Okay, well that sounds a bit better. Institutions are made up of people, and many people remain good even in institutions. Certainly, the institution can provide a barrier between ordinary people and those at the top. But the Church in particular is good at overcoming that. I remember going to a do at which Rowan Williams was present as Archbishop of Canterbury. I remember seeing him literally sitting on the floor to be able to talk one to one to elderly people as there weren’t enough chairs for him and the elderly to sit on. It was so impressive.

            If our leaders knew it was Jesus they would want to hear from him. If our leaders didn’t know, but Jesus managed to get into such a do, or a papal audience etc. then clearly they would greet him.

  • alternative_perspective

    And he might even preach repentance, the sufficiency of his grace for life and the imminence of God’s kingdom. You never know.

    And personally, I feel that the rich need those messages just as much as the poor. Because spiritually, we not even beggars without him.

  • The Explorer

    Christ’s refusal to pay the £20 admission fee to Westminster Abbey. In ‘Matthew’ 17:27 there’s the strange story of paying the temple tax. Peter is to open the mouth of the first fish he catches, and in it will be a silver coin.

    Leaving aside how Christ would know the coin was there (an absurdity for those inside and outside the Church who see him as purely human; although not for believers) Christ seems to think the tax should not be necessary, but should be paid in order not to cause offence.

    And although he drives out the money changers from the Temple a few chapters later, he doesn’t attack the furnishings of the building. The veil of the Temple is torn in two only at his death.

  • Sybaseguru

    So what is the solution? On one hand we clearly can’t fit the occupants of Africa and the Middle east into Britain, and on the other we seek compassion for those born in less fortunate circumstances. If we go back to the OT we find people migrating to nearby countries in times of hardship (as Jesus did as a baby), but on a temporary basis. They were given desert land to work, but nothing else, and were generally given no say in the running of the country.
    Cameron has been careful to protect Foreign Aid, and it would make sense to use this to buy land in countries surrounding trouble spots and make it available to temporary emigrants to work on and farm. When stability returned, maybe years later, the land could be sold off. Our foreign aid budget would buy land to support maybe 1m families per annum on this basis.

    • Dreadnaught

      The solution is that while EU countries have dispensed with ‘internal’ borders the have neglected to address the security of the EU Border with non EU countries. EU should be footing the bill for enforcing the borders of the Med countries and and islands including ours. It is the EU that has created this deplorable state of affairs and should be having its fat overstuffed arse held to the radiator.

      • Ivan M

        A pound in Africa goes much further than a pound in the UK. The borders should be secured, endless needling of countries such as Russia, that do not endanger the UK should be stopped along with stupidly tagging along with the Americans on their neocon adventures. The money saved can be sent to the poor in Africa. But that will require common sense and a concern for the welfare of the British people.

        • Dreadnaught

          Get real man – Russia is buzzing us right now. Not just us, Scandanavia and the Baltic countries not to mention Ukraine.
          Money sent to to ‘needy countries’ as development aid hardly reaches the any of the poor sods who need it; it goes strait in the pockets of the megalomaniacs that are ripping it off for their own use.
          Sending foreign aid is just convenient conscience money as much for home consumption and keeping a presence on the world stage. Opening up fair trading accords and overseeing building programmes should be the way to help developing countries. Never heard of ‘don’t sent cash in the post’?

          • Ivan M

            They are buzzing you to keep you alert. Otherwise your air force would have nothing to do. Nothing ever happened when they were doing the same all through the Cold War. And maybe you should not be training Ukrainian units right on their borders.

            I agree with the rest of your post.

          • Perhaps the future of Christian civilisation rests with the likes of Russia and China.

          • CliveM

            That would be a depressing thought. If Russia is the most Christian civilisation, then mankind has truly failed.

          • Western civilisation is failing.

          • CliveM

            I’m not sure Russian civilisation is a big success either.

          • dannybhoy

            The Russians think it is.. ;0)

  • The Explorer

    Christ is born in a stable, but the New Jerusalem is pure gold, and inlaid with precious stones. If property is pernicious, why does God own the cattle on a thousand hills? He’s setting a terrible example.

    Surely our vision must somehow incorporate the high and the low, not one or the other?

    • bluedog

      Wasn’t it a thousand cattle on a hill?

      • The Explorer

        Psalm 50:10. “the cattle upon a thousand hills”. (AV) “The cattle in thousands on my hills”. (NEB) Take your pick.

        The point is, God owns stuff: and so violates a fundamental PC rule. If anything gets stolen, it’s your fault rather than theirs. If you didn’t own it, they couldn’t steal it.

        • All property is theft, Comrade.

          • bluedog

            All taxation is theft, surely.

  • IanCad

    Every so often YG, you remind us of our true obligations as Christians. Our prosperity and bickerings make it so easy to forget that He is our guide and pattern.

    Kudos to the BBC for doing this. These people are our brothers and sisters for we are all one in Christ. The political wrangling will have to be deferred.

    Twenty Pounds!!?? to nip into Westminster Abbey?

    I’m sure Our Lord would stroke His beard and sadly walk away.

  • “… the Lord is actually in Calais; walking the streets with the homeless, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, comforting the destitute and dying.”

    If the Lord is in Calais, then He’s one of the homeless, hungry, sick, destitute and dying.

    • Martin

      HJ

      What gave you that idea?

      • Martin, Jack grew up with this idea. We should see the Face of Christ in all those in need and endeavour to assist them.

        • IanCad

          One of the fundamental precepts taught in Catholic nursing schools. And, I hope, in all other Christian medical institutions.

          • Martin

            Ian

            Can you provide a scripture reference?

          • IanCad

            You’ve got me there Martin. But, if we accept the truth that we are all children of God, then we should treat the vulnerable, and those in our care as The Master would.
            Best I can do.

          • Martin

            Ian

            Are we all children of God? Can you show me where the Bible says that?

          • IanCad

            We are Children of God who accept that Christ is our savior.
            Also we are commanded to be merciful and not to judge.

          • Martin

            Ian

            Only those who are saved are children of God, and yes, we should be merciful. That doesn’t mean we should give handouts to every chancer, we should certainly judge those who are worthy, nothing in the Bible forbids that.

          • IanCad

            Agreed!

        • Martin

          HJ

          You may have grown up with such an idea but it has not basis in Scripture.

          • Oh, Jack thinks you’ll find this idea throughout the Gospel.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Thinks? I sthat the best you can do?

          • What? Now you want spoon feeding?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’m getting the impression you can’t justify your statement.

          • Matthew 25: 31-46.

            We show our love for Jesus by loving and serving other people.

          • Martin

            HJ

            On the contrary, we show our love by telling them of the salvation that God gives.

          • We do both, surely?

          • Martin

            HJ

            And you still have provided no support for your original assertion.

  • The Explorer

    If you look at the admissions policy for Westminster Abbey it says, “We never charge for people who wish to worship.” And there are all sorts of concessions. The Abbey is charging in its capacity as a world heritage site for those who wish to visit it in that spirit as they might a museum or a castle. It’s an old building, and maintaining it is expensive.

    • CliveM

      Maybe, BUT £20!

      • The Explorer

        Leeds Castle: £24. Warwick Castle: £24:60. WIndsor Castle: £19.20.

        • CliveM

          I was in Durham Cathedral last week. No cost of entry, but they did sting me for £5 to climb the Tower.

          If their hadn’t been a defribulator half way up I’m not sure I would have survived!

          I know it’s not Westminster, but these are meant to be public monuments.

          • Dominic Stockford

            And there was me thinking it was supposed to be a place of worship of God?

          • CliveM

            Yes that a good point. However as they receive public subsidy through tax breaks, they are also public spaces.

            Indeed I have heard this from the CofE with regards the justification for its tax advantages.

  • Dreadnaught

    The BBC at its all inclusive, diversity sensitive worst. They have no qualms about spending our fortune on phone number salaries for their chosen ones to tell us that we, just like the over crowded boats and Lilos, must be welcoming illegal gatecrashers and bogus asylum seekers as long lost family members – until we sink and ‘go under’ with them.
    We were quick enough off the mark to kick the Argentine invaders of the bloody Falklands and what about WW2; what was that all about then if not to secure our home-front?

    • Martin

      Dreadnaught

      The idea that Songs of Praise is about anything to do with Christianity went out long ago. It’s part of the BBC’s pretence of impartiality. It leans far more toward socialism, much like CoE bishops.

      • bluedog

        How many of the ‘migrants’ are Christian? How do we know that the church was not built by Muslims to feed on Christian guilt? St Taqqiya-by-Sea? Of course, the head of religious broadcasting at the BBC couldn’t possibly be a Muslim, could she/he? Oh, wait…

        • Martin

          BD

          Good questions, I have no answers.

      • James60498 .

        Excellent Martin.

        But unfortunately you and I are among a small minority who can see that.

  • Dreadnaught

    We shall go down in the end.
    We shall not fight in France, we shall not return them on the seas and oceans, we shall wimp with growing dispair and in the airport lounges, we shall not defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall welcome them on the beaches, we shall not fight them on their illegal landing, we shall house them in the Premier Inns and in the boarding houses, we shall house them in the areas no longer affordable to our ex-servicemen and women; we shall never, hold a candle to the sacrifices of our passing generation.

    What a lark eh readers!

    • Dominic Stockford

      We are sinking, holed below the waterline, and our hope of salvation cannot be found in princes and men, there is only one, who by a miracle, may restore order. But why would he restore order to a nation which has turned its back on Him?

      • Dreadnaught

        To err is human to forgive is divine; or something along those lines.

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    the poor, the weak, the lonely, dispossessed, hurting, grieving and broken

    Temporary Calais resident Debora sounds far from poor and all the rest of it: ‘Debora Tadem, 27, whose family paid for her to be trafficked into Europe from Eritrea, crossed the Sahara into Libya. She said she was determined to reach the UK, saying: “England offers the fish, we will take the fish.”’

    In fact, she sounds rather unpleasantly greedy.

    • Ivan M

      The top people smugglers would have to be among the richest and most ruthless fellows in these countries. Apparently the routes they take are through failed states or failing states such as Libya and Syria. No prizes for guessing which bunch of troublemakers started the whole ball rolling.

      • Johnny Rottenborough

        @ Ivan M—That would be the bunch of troublemakers who destabilized Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and very nearly enlisted with the Saudi-led destabilization of Syria.

  • The Explorer

    I’m afraid I can’t visualise the opening paragraph. His spirit might be brooding in the chocolate-box parishes of England, but the Lord is actually in Calais, walking the Streets.

    Surely only his spirit is in Calais, as it is among the chocolate boxes? If he were actually in Calais, then it’d be the Second Coming and the immigrant issue, like all the rest of the World’s problems, would be at an end.

    • Ivan M

      Jesus was happy enough to let the Romans take care of administration and the borders. Christianity has no effective defence against the grifters and free loaders, who abuse it.

  • Martin

    If Jesus went to many CoE churches He’d tear down their altars, crosses statues and smash their idolatrous stained glass windows. He’s throw out the robes and place the pulpit in the centre. Not that the majority of parish churches are suitable for preaching, they have too many echoes for a man’s voice to be heard clearly.

    And how many people did Jesus heal and feed in His ministry, what percentage of the population received from His hand? He’d tell the sinner to sin no more and tell of the consequence of not believing Him.

    Yes, mankind is a swarm, a swarm of wickedness in a cesspit with the one standing on a lump thinking he is better than the one up to his knees. Yet God offers them mercy and none accept the offer.

    • CliveM

      Would he?

      I think he knows that stained glass windows aren’t idolatrous and that the crosses are a respectful symbol of the sacrifice he made for all mankind. I think his righteous anger will find many other targets.

      • Ivan M

        And maybe tick off the Sancho Martins who are usually found tilting against altars and idols, as though no one with a good printer or moulder in China, cannot produce a thousand reproductions for a few dollars.

        • CliveM

          Yes, but it’s better to have the original!

      • Martin

        Clive

        Of course the stained glass windows are idolatrous as are those shining effigies of an instrument of execution.

        • CliveM

          Saying of course doesn’t make them so. I know of no Christians who worship these images or suggests they should be worshiped. Some say that due to the subject matter they should be respected, but that’s not idolatry.

          • Martin

            Clive

            So you think that a representation of God is not idolatrous? By saying it is God you are already ascribing worship to it. And, since all Christians are saints, by selecting ‘saints’ you are clearly being idolatrous.

          • CliveM

            Who’s saying it is God? If people did, that would be different but I have never heard it so described.

          • Martin

            Clive

            Not sure who it would be if not God.

          • CliveM

            You don’t believe a representation is God do you? A wax work is a representation, but I don’t believe it to be the person it represent.

            I also don’t see anyone worshiping it.

          • Martin

            Clive

            Worship is not always visible, and have you not seen people genuflecting to the altar in churches? Remember, this is what is said:

            You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
            (Exodus 20:4-6 [ESV]

    • Dominic Stockford

      I’m with you on this Martin.

  • David

    People who can pay substantial sums of money, even by the standards of the west, for EACH stage of their long journeys are not poor.

    People who do deals, to be smuggled across borders, illegally, may be of doubtful moral shape.

    These young, well-off, often highly skilled, middle class men should be shoulder to the wheel, improving their own countries.

    We enjoy our prosperous, although far, far from perfect countries because previous generations, our ancestors both men and women, have doggedly put their shoulders to the wheels. But they demand it all and NOW !

    If western Aid policy had a shred of utility, effectiveness and coherence it would be deployed in the countries that many of these migrants are travelling from, to help improve their societies. But instead posturing western politicians throw it, seemingly randomly, in bucket loads at 3rd world countries, with no apparent monitoring of its effectiveness, let alone hands-on active management of its use.
    We even shower on regimes that have appalling records in abusing unpopular groups, like Christians in Pakistan. The west’s shame in this regard is great.

    Amongst those at Calais they will be those who are genuine asylum seekers and who should be accepted, but our dysfunctional governments EU and national, refuses to sift and select.

    What we are seeing is a gross incompetence across the leadership of the west, I believe.

    • dannybhoy

      I don’t know why the EU acts like it does re the immigration epidemic. I only know that this country needs to get out of the EU, and start managing its own affairs again before it’s too late.
      The EU is playing ‘pass the parcel’ with the issues that really matter, whilst allowing Greece and Italy to bear the brunt of these first waves of invasion by refugees fleeing chaos and evil.
      Yes, we should help these people, but NOT in Europe. They need to be returned to safe, secure, sanitary and supervised refugee camps back in the Middle East and North Africa.
      This is not going to stop in Italy or Greece, but it’s quite possible they may become the first war zones in the battle for Europe.

      • David

        A sensible comment I’d say.
        The best way to help the countries is to retain the fit, able, young men who are often highly skilled.
        The unthinking, emotions ruled types, see only see the “suffering” at Calais. But to really help, to do the moral thing, a far more strategic examination followed by comprehensive humane action, and development plans are needed.
        Part of the problem is the anti-competitive protectionism of EU agricultural policies that prevent free trading between the rich north and the poor south.

      • CliveM

        DB

        Whilst internal migration might be helped by leaving the EU, this external migration won’t. The UK are signatories to a UN Treaty on the treatment of refugees and this Treaty is also protected by our courts.

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          But, AFAIUI, anyone claiming refugee status has a duty to do so in the first safe country that they arrive in.

          On that basis it is a legal impossibility for, say, a Syrian to travel from France to Britain and claim to be a refugee.

          • The Explorer

            They shouldn’t get as far as France; they should claim refugee status in their country of entry (typically, Greece or Italy).
            But didn’t Germans send Lenin across Europe to the Finland Station in a sealed train? My understanding is that the Italians have taken so many refugees that they are resorting to the same sort of tactic. They aren’t fingerprinting new arrivals, or giving them the chance to claim asylum; they’re just sending them on further into Europe without registering their existence.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “They shouldn’t get as far as France; they should claim refugee status in their country of entry (typically, Greece or Italy)”

            Exactly. I have read that the Italians make it easy for them to travel to the French border and the French make it easy for them to travel to Calais.

        • dannybhoy

          Oh!
          Well, in that case we’ll just have to stand by and watch it all unfold then Clive. Nothing to be done as you’ve pointed out.
          Got any popcorn?

          • CliveM

            DB

            is that the conclusion you come to. I would have hoped for a bit more commitment. I wouldn’t suggest capitulation when coming up against the first obstacle.

        • dannybhoy

          ” The UK are signatories to a UN Treaty on the treatment of refugees and this Treaty is also protected by our courts.”

          Clive, as a matter of interest, what treaties are ISIS and other terrorist groups busy planning our destruction signed up to?

          • CliveM

            DB

            You suggested that by leaving the EU, we would regain security over the Borders. I’m just saying there are other Treaties that need to be considered. Simply pointing out that leaving the EU doesn’t by itself resolve the problem.

            Frankly your point about IS in that context is irrelevant.

          • dannybhoy

            This is a blog, but it’s worth a read and cross check..

            https://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/isis-has-now-infiltrated-all-across-europe-and-is-waiting-to-strike/

            Then there’s the good old BBC..
            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-32770390

            Then there’s this..
            http://counterjihadreport.com/tag/european-union/

            and a Coptic view on what’s happening..

            http://www.voiceofthecopts.org/index.php/component/easytagcloud/137-module/ISIS

            I’d say ISIS is totally relevant.

            I’d say that when my country, my family and my way of life are under as serious a threat as they are in Iraq and Syria, and Nigeria..
            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/11/isis-affiliates-map_n_6849418.html

            I’d say it may be time to ignore treaties and concentrate on building our defences and going on the offensive.
            Remember the battle of Tours?

          • CliveM

            No I don’t remember the Battle of Tours. That would make you…….?

            See my comments to James Bolivar above.

          • dannybhoy

            Someone has to take a lead..
            http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/londoners-unite-to-save-woman-trapped-under-taxi-laura-fares-acts-of-kindess

            “Paramedics were quick to the scene, and as they decided what to do, they were helped by the quick thinking of onlooker Laura Fares.
            Otherwise we continEU playing “pass the parcel” whilst Greece and Italy struggle to cope…

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Clive, Assuming my earlier point about the duty of someone claiming refugee status is correct, then leaving the EU would go a long way to resolving the issue. Anyone turning up in Kent could just be sent back to France.

          • CliveM

            Hmmm, I think in practical day to day terms the problem would be the same. Yes we could send them back to France (eventually, but considering how woeful we are at getting rid of agreed illegal immigrants I wouldn’t expect it to happen in big numbers) but would they accept them? They may also become less willing to make even the little effort they are now.

            Not saying I’m happy with the situation, simply saying the answer goes way beyond pulling out of the EU.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “I think in practical day to day terms the problem would be the same”
            I think it is a matter of political will. AFAIUI, all refugees who apply in this country could be denied immediately and deported straight away. However successive governments have chosen not to do that because of the political furore it would cause.

            “but considering how woeful we are at getting rid of agreed illegal immigrants”
            I think that a large part of that is that once they enter the ‘refugee’ system then they have all of the umpteen legal challenges open to them. If they were denied access to the system in the first place it would be legally very easy to remove them, but politically very hard.

            “[The French] may also become less willing to make even the little effort they are now.”
            I suspect the opposite is true. They currently make it easy for people to pass through France to Calais knowing that they want to get here. If the French authorities knew that we were not taking any more of them I think the French borders with other EU countries (especially Italy) would become a lot less porous.

            My understanding is that the Australian government has reduced the flow of people to almost zero, largely by saying that anyone who is picked will not be taken to Australia but is processed somewhere else (Fiji?).

            Suddenly the prospects are not so rosy and the risk of drowning en route is still there are fewer people are willing to take the chance.

            A related thought:
            http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2015/07/open-thread-26/#comment-356776

  • preacher

    The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was, according to my Bible for one & all. The Rich, the comfortable & the poor & destitute. Whoever will come humbly to the Cross & turn from their sins can be washed clean by His Blood.
    The irony is that the rich & the comfortable don’t seem to feel the need of a saviour, they may claim to be believers & even attend Church services when the mood takes them. But their prosperity has become a trap. The cage may be guilded, but a cage is a cage. The rich young ruler asked Christ what he must do to inherit eternal life & Jesus told him. He was a good man – but the price of eternal life was more than he was prepared to pay & Jesus watched him walk away with sadness.

    The poor are neither more nor less precious to God than the rich, their needs will resonate deeply with the Compassion that lives in the heart of all true believers but if we provide for all their physical needs but neglect to tell them of God’s love, we are condemning them to remain lost, cut off now & forever from God’s grace & mercy by substituting our social good works to cover for our fear of scorn & rejection.
    Our deeds should be the result & outworking of our faith. There is no compulsion for anyone in receipt of our help to feel that they are under pressure to accept God’s offer & we should remember that they have free will to choose or reject it.

    In Conclusion.
    I don’t believe Christ would go on a wrecking spree, even if some of our religious establishments leave a lot to be desired. But I do think we often need a kick up the posterior to wake us up to what the gospel is really all about & surprisingly enough many of us would discover a new excitement & challenge to the mundane lives we lead that would in God’s strange way make us more happy & contented.

    • dannybhoy

      “But I do think we often need a kick up the posterior to wake us up to
      what the gospel is really all about & surprisingly enough many of us
      would discover a new excitement & challenge to the mundane lives we
      lead that would in God’s strange way make us more happy &
      contented.”
      I partly agree but we still have to have a base from which to operate.

      • preacher

        Totally agree dannybhoy, the bases are already there though, it’s the troops who are sleeping, about time for reveille I reckon !.

        • dannybhoy

          Even in our military it takes a brave man to step out in breach of the party line and tell it like it really is..

          • preacher

            Yeah, Jesus had the same problem & His Disciples got a bit roughed up by their opponents. But thank God they persevered eh brother ?.
            Blessings. P.

      • Dominic Stockford

        The Jews lost their homeland because of their inability to remain faithful to God. Hmmm…..

        • dannybhoy

          Hmmm indeed.
          We as the Church have had our own moral hiccups..

          • Dominic Stockford

            Not saying we haven’t – but this nation. Well, wow.

  • Orwell Ian

    The migrant crisis is a human trafficking tragedy. There are doubtless many genuine refugees amongst the chancers, drifters, adventurers, criminals and terrorists. What is sadly lacking is a system of sorting the wheat from the tares.

    The BBC is up to its usual political opportunism with its Songs of Praise stunt. Manipulating the national conscience with the aim of unlocking the windlass to the drawbridge. Meanwhile the right wing press goes to the other extreme. All migrants painted as criminals, terrorists and Muslim. Reality lies somewhere in the
    middle, mayhem and chaos clouding perception of it.

    The latest madness among the extreme left and anarchists is to extended open borders to no borders at all. We are citizens of the world they say. Everyone
    should be able to live where they like for as long as they like. They are certainly not letting this crisis go to waste with their scheming to further the cause of International Socialism, with all that entails regarding redistribution of wealth. Dragging civilisation down to the lowest common denominator causes all to sink
    into equality of misery not build a brave new world.

    It’s unacceptable that Governments should be complacent when they find
    themselves roped in to the human trafficking chain by having to rescue sinking boats and bring migrants ashore in the EU. If they are not going to do what Australia did and send the boats back then then should find ways of stopping them from sailing in the first place. The social shock of this mass influx in Europe is far more widespread than Calais and if the EU doesn’t sort it soon the lawlessness which is already intensifying will spral out of control. . As the Australians say “It’s time to get a bloody grip mate.”

    • Dominic Stockford

      This is Britain no more, and any decisions about who may live here are no longer to be made on genuine Christian grounds, but on a simple “‘let them all in, look they ‘built a church'”. But given that their continuing stated desire is to break the law by entering a country illegally how sincere can anyone sensible accept that ‘church’ to be in the first place?

    • David

      Well said.
      I fear we are at the beginning of a section of the national journey, a steeper slope downwards.

  • Slack Alice

    An untypically sanctimonious piece from His Grace. Does he really believe that the choice of Calais camps for SOP was anything other than a cynical advert for the programme, with no sincerity at all behind the choice of venue. If they are sincere, let the next 100 episodes come from Africa, Middle East, Pakistan, Iran, etc etc where people are suffering for their faith on a daily basis.

    • dannybhoy

      Excellent.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Seconded.

    • David

      Splendid !
      A direct hit on the magazine !

  • The Explorer

    I believe one refugee (or whatever the relevant term for him) worked out how to breach the French security area by studying which numbers on the keypad were worn, and experimenting with the resultant combinations. He then walked the thirty-one miles of tunnel in darkness, dodging the trains, and was arrested the British end.

    Such enterprise and determination would be an asset to any country. The great tragedy is if he feels unable to use them in his own country of origin. (Which might be the case if he is a genuine refugee, rather than just an economic migrant.)

    • dannybhoy

      Or some sympathetic Frenchman whispered in his ‘shell like’…

      • The Explorer

        True; although to identify a sympathetic Frenchman is itself an astonishing feat.

        • dannybhoy

          Ha ha!
          That look of indifference, that Gallic shrugging of the shoulders..

          But then you have Medicin sans Frontiers….?

    • preacher

      On the other hand, if he was breaking the law to get here, we could have a lot of empty safes in the U.K. LOL.

  • Dominic Stockford

    With apologies to EP.

    We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 250,000 migrants, who will for the most part create enormous future growth of the immigrant descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre. So insane are we that we actually permit unmarried persons to immigrate for the purpose of founding a family with spouses and fiancées whom they have never seen.

    For reasons which most British people could not comprehend, and in pursuance of a decision by default, ones on which they were never consulted (and on which successive governments seem determined to prevent us being consulted), we found themselves made strangers in their own country. We find our wives unable to obtain hospital beds in childbirth, our children unable to obtain school places, our homes and neighbourhoods changed beyond recognition, our plans and prospects for the future defeated; at work we find that employers hesitate to apply to the immigrant worker the standards of discipline and competence required of the native-born worker, so scared are they of the ‘progressives’ cry of ‘racist’ hurled their way; and as law after law is changed or ignored in favour of those newly arrived on our once-great shores we begin to hear, as time goes by, more and more voices that tell us that we were now the unwanted.

    As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood”. That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of Europe, as the “swarms” of migrants pour into towns and cities totally unsuitable and unready for them, as well as being totally incapable of supporting and offering them homes, and as the pressures and the demands of such an influx of unsupported people begins to descend into violence, murder and death, I see that it is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come.

    • dannybhoy

      Right on Dominic. We must care for the poor and dispossessed, but we must also recognise when our own existence is under threat.

    • David

      You sound like both a realistic analyst of the present and prescient regarding the potential future. Most slumber on…..zzz
      I am glad that I have no children with futures to worry about, but I grieve for my country and culture, which is near lost I fear, due to treacherous and appalling leadership.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Cranmer has had a Damascene moment. He has come to the realization that
    Jesus does not fit with the wealthy, ornamented, ceremonial based
    organised religious groups. Let Christian freedom reign.

  • len

    Well said Your Grace…….
    The Lord Jesus Christ does not change and is doing now exactly He did as when walking amongst the people of the Holy Land.
    Jesus went were ‘the need’ was whether it was spiritual or material but spiritual hunger was the ultimate need He came to fulfil.
    Any one of us could become ‘an immigrant’ in their situation but for the Grace of God.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Of course, Jesus made a point of going to synagogue and Temple, and reading and preaching there. I wonder why he would change if he were physically here today?

  • Inspector General

    Christ in Calais? That will be the Sermon on the mount locomotive engine then, when he implored the immigration criminals before him to return to their homes and put as much effort into making something of their wretched countries as they did in breaking international law.

  • Inspector General

    Some, perhaps even all, of these wealthy travellers must be rather mystified. They come from countries where money in the form of bribes can get you anything. Anything at all. Yet there they are, shut out, thankfully. Perhaps they’re throwing themselves at trains as much in frustration as anything else.

    The prison population bears testament to England’s unfortunate decades of mass immigration. These types do have problems keeping to the white man’s laws. It would be a burden to them as well as us to expect even more to have a go. One does believe that we’ll never ever iron out the problems that alien immigration has given us to date, so why should we bleed further.

    By the way, there are no benefits to the country from these people coming over to England. None at all. Only liabilities. Everyone has been lied to by the multiculturalists, who are still very much around, even if they are in hiding just now in the cupboard under the stairs, avoiding finger pointing accusations after our many ethnic child abuse scandals and bomb plots…

    • Ian

      And the benefit you bring to us is….. I’m trying hard…No… Can’t come up with anything. Perhaps unfettered garbage producer?

      • Inspector General

        {SPLUTTER!}

        Who the bloody hell are YOU?

        • He seems to be familiar with your writings and musings, Inspector.

    • michaelkx

      inspector I say again if some if not the majority hate Christians so much why come here? the rule of the UN and EU is if you are a genuine refugee you claim at the first safe country you come to, as most of them are follower of Islam and come through safe Islamic country’s first that is were they should claim asylum. I am certain the EU and UN would then help with the problem of caring for Genuine refugee’s.

      • Inspector General

        One suspects genuine refugees are extremely thin on the ground in Calais, Michael. If they are to be found there at all, that is. One was reading on BBC news online about a fellow from West Africa who’d been trying to get out of the continent for a startling 10 years. He’s now in his late twenties, and has decided to go back home. Has the sense to realise the while he was following his dream, life was passing him by.

  • Inspector General

    The Songs of Praise team hired a few heavies for their sojourn in the camp. Obviously the love these migrating chancers bring with them is somewhat suspect then.

    Anyway, have the production team gone now?

    Good

    No cameras around?

    Even better

    While the blighters are out at the tunnel bringing it to a standstill (again), let’s burn the place. Everything. Shacks, tents, bedding, equipment, personal possessions, church…

  • Anton

    Your Grace will be a nonconformist yet.

  • Ian

    All this fuss over songs of Praise? It’s not an endorsement of immigration legal,or illegal but a recognition of humanity. Some folk need to square their faith with’love your enemies…neighbours….’

  • Royinsouthwest

    I certainly hope that Christ is with the would-be immigrants in Calais but does that mean that they should be our responsibility? Their neighbours are French, not British. Lots of desperate people were trying to reach Australia by boat but the Australian government has put a stop to that. Has the Australian policy really increased human suffering in the countries the immigrants are coming from? The present policies of Britain and other EU countries just encourage more people from Africa and the Middle East to risk their lives to get here. Is that really a good thing?

    How many schools, doctors’ surgeries, dental surgeries, hospitals, bus and train stations, police stations, parking places, supermarkets and other shops, etc. does a typical British city with a quarter of a million inhabitants have? Should we be planning the equivalent of a new city of 250,000 people every year just because of immigration? What else could we spend the money on?

  • len

    Seems to me there are some justifying ‘walking by on the other side’

    “A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side” (Luke 10:31) If Christians do this what makes them any different (or in some case worse ) than those ‘of this World?’
    The intervention of the West in the Middle East has made bad conditions considerably worse and we in the West must bear some responsibility for the immigrants fleeing for their lives from the barbaric death cult ISIS.We cannot just ‘walk by on the other side’ even more so if we call ourselves’ Christian’.

    Unless the West deals with ISIS (the problem they created) the immigrants will continue to come probably in even greater numbers.

    • Martin

      Len

      I’m not so sure that the West has the means to deal with Isis.

  • Inspector General

    “Nice”? What a nice word, so beloved of by youth. Where are you spending your gap year then? Digging wells for Africans or lounging on a Thai beach for 10 months…

  • I’ve spent the last two days organising a collection of clothes, sleeping bags and shoes which are being taken across to Calais by one of the aid agencies. There are 5000 people sleeping in makeshift shelters in Calais at present. The vast majority are not economic migrants, they have come from Sudan, Afghanistan, Eritrea, other war zones. And I curse the cock-eyed immigration laws in this country, which by forcing us to take an uncontrolled number of economic migrants from EU countries have made it impossible for us to deal fairly with the ones who genuinely need our help. I don’t know what the solution is, but I have no faith in the will of our politicians to even look for it.

    • Inspector General

      Shame on you sister. If these ‘refugees’ are really so desperate, they could always sign in for France.

      • Frankly, that’s not the bit I have any power to deal with. But if they haven’t any shoes ( and a lot don’t) then I see no “shame” in sending clothes and shoes when the French aid agencies are currently overwhelmed.

        • Inspector General

          Ah, a woman’s concern for the welfare of the so called needy. Very feminine. Totally misguided, but very feminine. The heart triumphs over the brain, and more importantly, what is right.

          • Matthew 25:35-40New International Version (NIV)

            35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
            36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
            37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
            38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

            39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

            I don’t see our Blessed Lord requiring a determination of whether the people involved were deserving or undeserving, nor who had the right to decide it. The instructions are pretty clear.

          • Inspector General

            Unfortunately Tibs, we are beyond the bible as it does not mention how to deal with a swarm of law breaking mobile parasites..

        • Coastliner

          They have no shoes? Oh dear – they had better try to sell their I- phones to buy a pair then.

  • Inspector General

    Not a teenager then. So that leaves you being a rather silly thing. Goodbye.

    • Ian

      Finally you realise that you have nothing to say! Best wishes….