My Godson fixes me with a beady eye. “If I finish my peas, do I get a sticker?” I was on holiday, taking the twins on a Progress to meet their northern relatives, and visiting friends en route. Every fridge I saw boasted a sticker-chart, and every meal seemed to go the same way, coupled with endless negotiation about getting dressed, sharing toys, doing jobs, and behaving in general. The more enterprising children would have shocked Luther with their creativity in conjuring up fresh sticker opportunities. They reminded me of those cartoon Catholics of yore, who played the system by figuring out that sinning generates more God points than leading a blameless life, because it enables you to get grace top-ups through confession and absolution.
Sermon preached before the University of Cambridge at Great St Mary’s on 14 October 2012
Maybe it’s not done to open a University Sermon with a reference to the rather lavatorial Viz magazine. But had you noticed that it has become a place of great theological insight? I think the God cartoons began shortly after the furore over the Muhammed cartoons. One that particularly stands out for me concerns the Super-heroes, Super God and the Son of Man Wonder. In the cartoon, they arrive at the scene of a variety of disasters, where they have to sit idly by, to avoid interfering with free will.