One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the orang-utan was reading two books – the Bible and Darwin’s Origin of Species. Surprised, he asked the ape, “Why are you reading both those books?” “Well,” said the orang-utan, “I just wanted to know if I was my brother’s keeper or my keeper’s brother.”

You see, there’s a chap called Will who has a blog and he’s taken to asking about God. http://willonce.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/god-maybe/

Well worth a look.

But one big problem is not God, or god or whatever. It’s what you worship. Looking at Christianity it’s actually pretty easy, you get two commandments.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

OK so doing this is the tricky bit.

But the problem comes because we go off and worship other stuff. Think about the words we use to describe the process, ‘Pop-idol’, we idolise things. In a Christian context we give them the worship that we ought to give to God. (Worship, expression of reverence and adoration)

Even outside a Christian context, this following of idols is still the sign of an unbalanced life. To follow this through, to get a grasp of it, the question you have to ask is ‘Why do I get up in a morning.’ “The alarm clock woke me” doesn’t count as an answer because you let somebody set the alarm clock.

Another similar question, a way of trying to find out what you really worship is “What do I spend my money on.” Again this is a question that’s easy to side-step. Most people could honestly answer ‘the rent,’ or ‘the mortgage.’ But let’s say that someone answers the first question by saying ‘I get up in the morning to earn money to pay the rent’ and the second question by saying, ‘I pay the rent’, you’re forced to question just how empty their life is.

Compared to these, the person who gets out of bed because he quite likes his pointless job, and then spends far too much money on following his football team, buying wide screen TV and wider screen TV and yet more satellite subscriptions so he can watch more football almost has an interesting and fulfilled life.

But these are our idols, the football, the latest gadget, the next smart outfit, the next exotic holiday. The problem is that if we’re not properly grounded, if we don’t have a centre to fall back on, we can disappear into some dark place following our idol. There was a piece in the paper about Mr El-Erian who was working the sort of hours only the very poor or the very rich achieve. He was brought up short by his daughter presenting him with a list of the 22 important events of her life that he’d missed.

This shocked him. He’d made work his idol, his daughter had managed to ground him, to pull him back from that dark place and he’s now working more sensible hours and spending time with his family.

This blog was provoked by the news that one Dale Bolinger, aged 58, an NHS nurse from Broadstairs, Kent, has been jailed for nine years for grooming a 14-year-old girl who he planned to kill and eat. His comments included the phrase, “I do not find children sexually attractive but I do find them interesting as a food source.”

It strikes me that someone has followed their idol into a very dark place indeed. It also occurs to me that someone has a serious job on if they’re going to ground him. Would you send in a priest or an atheist?

So whether you believe in God or gods or Richard Dawkins it might be time to do yourself a favour.

Facebook has all sorts of sites where you answer ten or a dozen questions and it’ll tell you what sort of person you are.

I’m going to ask you only two questions, and I won’t tell you anything, for judgement is not mine.

Why do you get up in the morning?

What do you spend your money on?

Know thyself.

know thyself

as inscribed in the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi


There again, if you want any common sense, ask the one who knows her role with absolute certainty

As a reviewer commented, “Once in a while a book really gets to you. Jim Webster’s book Sometimes I just Sits and Thinks has done just that to me. Jim is a farmer in the English county of Cumbria. His sense of humour shines throughout each episode. If you come from farming stock as I do, this is the book for you. In my mind’s eye I was out there with Jim and his faithful Border Collies Jess and Sal. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book…”

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14 thoughts on “Gods?

  1. M T McGuire September 26, 2014 at 10:11 am Reply

    Very true… the amount of idols I have… I just hope I’m grounded enough. Although in my favour, at least I haven’t contemplated eating anyone.There must be a gentleman who is profoundly mentally ill.



    • jwebster2 September 26, 2014 at 10:33 am Reply

      According to the report, the psychiatrists have checked him out and he isn’t suffering from any mental illness. He’s perfectly sane and reasonable about his wish to eat children! He’s just so far from home the only way he could phone home is to ask for a reverse charge call

      • M T McGuire September 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

        Surely though, if he wishes to eat children then, by definition, he can’t be sane.

      • jwebster2 September 26, 2014 at 11:32 am

        The same thought had occurred to me, but as a mere layman (an interesting term in itself) my opinion may not count for much

      • rootsandroutes2012 September 24, 2021 at 7:24 am

        When you say ‘an interesting term…’ I assume you mean qualifying ‘layman’ with ‘mere’. There’s nothing wrong with being a layman, and in the sense that ‘laos’ refers to the whole of God’s people, I’d consider myself one – despite the collar.

      • jwebster2 September 24, 2021 at 7:56 am

        There was a serious element of irony in the use of the term 🙂

  2. Will Once September 26, 2014 at 10:55 am Reply

    Nice post!

    There is a strange thing about our laws. We have to prove someone sane – even of the most heinous crimes – before we can convict them.

    Just as someone has to be pronounced healthy enough for the death penalty to be carried out.

    And you sometimes have to ask – how on Earth did we get to this point?

    • jwebster2 September 26, 2014 at 11:34 am Reply

      Because shooting first and asking questions afterwards never works as well as we hope it might?

      It’s a good point Will. I think at the heart of it there’s a fear of being unfair, of kicking the man/woman/monster when they’re down

  3. Tidlidim October 1, 2014 at 10:16 pm Reply

    I like this story about Mr El-Erian 🙂 Not so much about the other dude though. Very thought provoking, Jim. Now I’m off to sort out my priorities 🙂

    • jwebster2 October 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm Reply

      I’m glad the other dude isn’t my responsibility to deal with to be honest.
      But you’re right to look at your priorities. I think it does us good just to stop and spend time working out what does matter to us.

  4. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt September 24, 2021 at 3:51 pm Reply

    I get up every morning to write. I spend my money on small luxuries like a helper and the necessities of life, so there will be enough for the necessities during the long life I hope for.

    Seems strange, when every day is full of physical pain and brain fog, but there you have it.

    • jwebster2 September 24, 2021 at 4:07 pm Reply

      But you have your road you intend to walk, and it is a road you have mapped out. It is not a rut you have drifted into and follow for lack of the initiative to clamber out

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt September 24, 2021 at 4:11 pm

        It is not. It is a daily choice, and I am satisfied, even on those days where nothing seems to emerge from the darkness. But, oh! when it does.

        I ask myself sometimes, given all that has happened, whether I would do it differently, and always come to the same conclusion: I wouldn’t have been able to write this. So, no.

        There’s no arrogance in that – just a simple statement of fact. I hope I’m allowed to finish.

      • jwebster2 September 24, 2021 at 4:14 pm

        “Yet is it far better to light the candle than to curse the darkness.” 🙂

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