Pope Brian and the Empress of Everything

Pope Brian. It has a nice ring to it.

When I declare myself Empress of Everything – which should be a piece of cake seeing how easy it is to become a bishop these days I shall declare Brian my main man and he shall go forth and conquer vast continents – set up shop (or church) and systematically rape and plunder on my behalf and send me back the loot. He has that pioneering spirit and if it weren’t so last millennium I’d give the idea some serious thought. Although I suspect he might be rather high maintenance – by the time the populace of his conquered domains had offered the pre requisite ‘surprise’ gift giving to his Popeness there might not be enough loot left over for moi – which obviously is the whole point of the exercise. And that cargo cult mentality can get so draining – even for an empress.

Sure, they’ll give me their houses, sons and a short brutish life of unending labour but in the end I’ll still have to come up with the beads and blankets. Just like Brian will. There’s a lot of talk of abundance and entitlement in Tamakiland - any person coming from a developing country may be forgiven for wondering where greed and the story about the fat guy and the eye of the needle comes in, although I have just heard that Bishop Brian is building a religious theme park in west Auckland with a giant upside down needle buried in the earth so that he’ll be able to get his 4 wheel drive and fishing boat right through it. Kidding. Brian, please don’t put a Christian fatwa on my head. I’m really not getting in your face – I might find that difficult what with the Tsunami-like hairdo and all those body guards. Going into exile can be so tedious but I would have to if you do that silly haka and hair gel thing you boys do outside my door day and night. And while we’re on the subject of intimidating; Boys, (and it does seem to be all boys) how hard is it to point to a car park on a Sunday morning? You do not need an earpiece and a walkie talkie. One could almost be forgiven for thinking many of your new Spiritual Sons had swapped one gangland culture for another. Instead, as punishment for my heresy you can explain to me the error of my ways on the next $40,000 cruise you take. I promise to take notes. Other religions don’t seem to suffer from the obsession with loot that you TV Christian evangelists seem to. Buddhists don’t fixate on ‘getting more things’ – they will tell you life sucks, you’ll suffer – get used to it, go give your stuff to poor people. Harsh – yet fairly accurate. The nuns who despairingly guided me through my Hare Krishna years and ate half a mouldy apple for lunch, weren’t real big on ‘abundance’ either. They spent their lives in service to God by being in service to the whole of our grubby, seething, endlessly needy humanity. I made fun of them then, but had a huge begrudging respect for those feisty upholders of social justice. Asking an ex-prison warden who the toughest person on Paremoremo’s notorious D block was in his 25 years experience, he answered, surprisingly, ‘a 5 foot zero nun who ran their social services’. Those old girls really walked the talk.

With Bishop Brian, I see only talk and way too much hair product. I don’t see a lot of real sowing or serving. Other than the serving of self variety. I hear him preaching the gospel of capitalism.
The logic goes ‘if you follow us and live right, (our way), and don’t have any gay friends you too will have a two door garage and a fishing boat just like self-made Bishop Brian. Can’t wait. The problem is – when life happens like Brian loses his millions in a property scam or his wife runs off with some guy called Lorenzo she met on the cruise ship or his sons turn out gay– would he ipso facto have lost his spiritual mojo or mandate? If Brian got poor – would Jesus (or his followers for that matter) still love him?

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