Rev Dr Michael Banner, Dean and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge

If you or your children don’t have enough food, just say the Lord’s Prayer and ask the Invisible Magic Friend for some food. He may, or considerably more likely, may not, give you some.


11 thoughts on “Rev Dr Michael Banner, Dean and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge

  1. I really don’t want to minimise the matter of poverty, or to comment particularly on the statistics, but Banner introduced this TFTD with the statement that poverty levels hadn’t changed since 2000, and then immediately said, “In this situation of rising poverty…”. This, I assumed, would be the level of coherence we would get from the rest of it, and we weren’t to be disappointed.

    What we did learn, however, was that Christianity thinks eating is useful. And that’s not just one person eating, that’s everybody in the whole world eating, every day. This revelation comes from the fact, and it is an absolute and categorical fact, that the first person plural ALWAYS refers to everybody in the world.

    So, Christianity has sorted it all out. It has established that “the bread line” means exactly that – bread. If you are starving, you are poor. If you are not starving, you are not poor. This is the basis for Christian charity from the workhouses to Mother Theresa.

    It’s all in The Lord’s Prayer – five simple lines of simply brilliant simplicity:

    God is really great
    Would be better if he was here, though
    Can we have some food please
    Sorry about breaking all those rules about prawns and buggery and stuff
    Please don’t put a plate of delicious prawns in front of us

    As you can see, that really gets to the heart of all the world’s problems.


  2. ‘Phew! Someone’s conveniently produced another REPORT, so I don’t need to tackle any ‘of the moment’ news item. And this one is about POVERTY. Christians know all about poverty, because we’ve sat by and watched a lot of poverty going on for centuries; which is why I can speak in this detached way about those other people, who unlike me are mired in the poverty trap (Just in case anyone thought I was going to suggest rushing out and actually DOING something about it). It won’t even occur to me that some of my listeners might be living in poverty, because we all know that Radio 4 listeners are like me – comfortably off, careful with money, non smoking, non drinking, home- cooking, allotment holding, thrifty well organised types for whom poverty is just something they readvabout – in reports.’

    Poverty has many causes, it is the object of much effort on the part of people who really want things to change, politically, and practically within communities – there are churches running food banks and soup kitchens, and good for them. Sadly the old ‘Protestant Work Ethic’ no longer holds, as many in work still can’t make ends meet. Quoting an equivocal line from a Jesus prayer really isn’t going to change much.


  3. If it’s Invisible Magical Bread you’re after, just ask Banner’s Invisible Magical Friend.
    Remember, though, don’t just ask for yourself – when the IMF provides IMB, it’s for everyone… unless you didn’t ask for it – in that case, the loving IMF will watch you starve.
    It’s telling that Banner considers it worthwhile trawling through one of his habitual chantings.
    If it’s real bread you’re after, maybe IMFs could provide that but their track record is lacking so far (PB = 0).


  4. Apologies for a second post. I wanted to add that I’ve heard other theologians arguing that ‘daily bread’ wasn’t about loaves, necessarily, but inferred all the things that sustain or challenge the IMF’s people. This would include work, problems, challenges, relationships etc. I recalled this as Banner drivelled on and thought how easily the faithful can either aggrandise their scriptures, or impoverish them with literal readings.

    Also, Radio 4 did a programme a few months back about the depression in the USA. The researcher explained that the concept of the ‘Bread Line’ began with the queues of unemployed people waiting for free bread (day old bread) which a big Jewish bakery chain had organised to relieve some of the deprivation. I don’t think the proprietor was inspired by any words of Jesus.


  5. Impoverished desperate starving people are the Daily Bread of all religious orders. And it it out of the very shallow pockets of the poor that religious orders extract money to build and maintain their grand edifices and pay their comfortable clerics.
    I suggest Banner picks a different subject next time. Let’s hear his thoughts on assisted dying.



  6. “If you’re starving then my omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent deity who didn’t care to intervene and alleviate your suffering will magically feed you somehow, provided you get on your knees and tell him how great he is while remorsefully explaining how utterly pathetic you are”.


  7. Here is my thought for the day courtesy of the BBC complaints department reply to my latest TFTD complaint. In the reply, which is exactly the same as the four previous ones which convinces me that complaints about TFTD are treated with casual indifference, includes this:-
    “Thought for the Day” speakers are not questioned or interrupted on air, but their choice of subject and the content of their scripts are subject to careful scrutiny and frequent re-drafting in collaboration with an experienced producer working to strict BBC guidelines on impartiality.

    How can such a prejudicial programming slot be considered as impartial? And how bad must the original drafts be if the content we hear has been so carefully edited by experienced production staff working to strict guidelines?

    We need to be told.


    1. We’ve also been told they’re “rigourously edited ,” in the past, which anyone who actually listens would find very hard to believe. Fortunately for Religion and Ethics, very few Today listeners do pay attention.


  8. Perhaps Daniel Greenbaum can enlighten us on the ‘rigourous editing’ he has experienced next time he is on.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s