Sunday Sermon: Bear Grylls and the Bee

Sunday Sermon: Bear Grylls and the Bee September 1, 2019

‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.’

Beloved faithless, today I use the Gospel of Mark 16:15-18 to illustrate that Jesus, between the time he allegedly rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, was being a tad economical with the truth.

Bear Grylls after the bee got him.

We know this because of various media reports this week that Bear Grylls, above, the born-again Christian, adventurer, TV presenter and poster-boy for the “cynical and manipulative” Alpha Course, almost died after he was stung by a bee.

The father of three sons – Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry – Edward Michael “Bear” Grylls got himself entangled with the Alpha Course a few years back.

So did a friend of mine, Robert Stovold, who was chucked out of the course.

I was thrown off an Alpha Course at Church of Christ the King (CCK) for asking critical (but perfectly reasonable) questions. People who favour biblical literalism and the idea that the Earth is only 6-10,000 years old don’t take kindly to an informed sceptic such as myself (I have three degrees in the biological sciences, and attend such courses in order to debunk pseudoscientific nonsense). I’ll never forget the ‘Holy Spirit night’ I attended on my first Alpha Course. One of the organisers came to me with a message from God: ‘God wants you to be less critical’. I’ll bet he does! As Corporal Jones would say, ‘They don’t like it up ’em!’ 

Grylls, before he got born-again, was a very naughty boy.

I behaved badly at school, perhaps in part because Dad was working very hard, and often late. My mum, as his assistant, worked beside him.  I remember once biting a boy so hard that I drew blood, and then watching as the teachers rang my father to say they didn’t know what to do with me. My father said he knew what to do, and came to the school at once. With a chair placed in the middle of the gym, and all the other children sitting cross-legged on the floor around him, he whacked me until my backside was black and blue.

The American Entomologist offers this explanation:

Gods punish people with insects for bad behavior.

Notwithstanding that observation, I end this short sermon, brothers and sisters in reason, with the opening of It Ain’t Necessarily So, written by Ira Gershwin:

It ain’t necessarily so
It ain’t necessarily so
The t’ings dat yo’ li’ble
To read in de Bible
It ain’t necessarily so.

Oh, and with this “Bible is bullshit” video:

• My thanks to Robert Stovold for inspiring this sermon by providing the opening biblical verse.


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  • CoastalMaineBird

    I guess nobody told him that Mark 16:8 was the original ending of the story:
    “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”

    Then the church re-write department got involved (some 200+ years later) and decided that ending was unsatisfactory, since if nobody said anything, nobody would know.

    So they tacked on a few post-mortem appearances, and the suggestions about snakes and poison.
    But it’s….. FAKE NEWS.

  • barriejohn

    You’re forgetting about “dispensationalism”. It answers a lot of awkward questions!

  • Götterdämmerung

    Grylls is a known for faking some of his so called survival TV stunts, just what we’d expect from an arrogant liar for Jesus. I saw part of one of his TV shows where he asks Barack Obama to pray with him, poor old Obama looked very uncomfortable, probably because it is rumoured Obama is an atheist.

  • barriejohn

    Obama was caught unprepared there. The answer is: “You go ahead and pray if you wish; I have no objection”. I’ve learned from experience to have this one ready, because they think that if they catch you on the hop you can be steamrollered into joining in with them, and that, to them, is a victory.

  • Broga

    The Church Re-Write Department was incorporated into the Church Plagiarism Department and is now still hard at work. Wherever there is a good story they will lift it and call it their own. With a tweak here and there, or even a full on rewrite, they can get a result. The similarities between the Jesus myth and mythical gods of various stripes is well known for those with an open mind. And, of course, a frequent update is essential as they attempt to square the circle. With reluctance, and despite heavy work with with fiery stakes and dry brushwood, they eventually had to let go of the sun circling the earth.

    But so what? The word of God, King James version preferred, remains the immutable truth.

  • larry parker

    Naming kids Marmaduke and Huckleberry is child endangerment.

  • Jim Jones

    Even I know Matthew 6:5-6

  • Illithid

    Not quite as bad as Dweezil and Moon Unit, but.. alright, it’s just as bad.

  • Huckleberry Seed has had a pretty good career as a pro poker player.

  • larry parker

    Never heard of him. I’ll look him up. I use to follow pro poker a little and maybe can name a dozen or so players. Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson were my favorites.

  • Barry Duke

    Could’a been Marmalade and Dingleberry 🙂

  • larry parker

    Hey!!! (shakes first) Those are my kid’s names. ; )

  • Jennny

    I was a fan of the books of the endurance feats of Fyonna Campbell who walked round the world so liked Grylls adventures too, I think he was one of her support staff…till I read that during his series on extreme survival adventuring he stayed in hotels every night of the filming…yup, another liar-for-jesus.
    Edit to add, oops, it was another now well known survival celebrity, Ray Mears, not Grylls…they were on TV around the same time…so linked in my poor old brain!

  • Broga

    Or perhaps a strong strain of “Twatism” in the parent. Twatism: a condition where the sufferer is so besotted with his/her own importance that he/she has lost all awareness of sensible behaviour and inflicts problems on those around him/her. It is often found in “people of faith” who wish to demonstrate their God given importance.

  • barriejohn

    But Ffyona lied as well – she accepted lifts!

    https://www.outsideonline.com/1913496/truth-be-told-they-lied

    “Nobody knew, nobody was hurt, I rationalized.”

  • Jennny

    Oh, wow, never knew that! Am always skeptical about such things usually. I watched ‘Life Below Zero’ till one of the solitary wilderness dwellers overturned her snow mobile and made a big thing of being alone, injured and helpless out in the snow…no mention of camera+production team and probs state-of-the-art plane with her to get her to a good hospital!

  • rubaxter

    Feck&#8203ing bees need to up their game!

  • rubaxter

    Clotworthy and Fishpond also come to mind.

    Heaven help the family where the parents don’t realize naming their kids after Shakespearean characters wasn’t meant to include the Dogberrys and Bottoms.

    https://www.bustle.com/articles/169571-20-shakespearean-names-you-should-never-give-your-baby

  • CoastalMaineBird

    For those like me who don’t memorize the chapter:verse numbers:

    And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    I don’t know if that’s the most-ignored instruction in the whole rotten book (since we don’t know who follows it), but it’s certainly up there.

  • Bravo Sierra

    Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
    From a worn-out picture that my mother’d had
    And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye
    He was big and bent and gray and old
    And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
    And I said: “My name is ‘Sue!’ How do you do!
    Now you’re going to die!!”

    — Shel Silverstein

  • barriejohn

    My dad always used to say that! When John Noakes climbed Nelson’s Column, a camera crew went with him, but no one ever thinks about that. THEY had to lug equipment with them! I’m very sceptical about all athletic achievement these days.

  • rubaxter

    Tacked it on ‘… in their own idiom” so those Evul Satanic Textual Analysts could tell it was ‘Merely corroborative detail …”.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86771bbf9da415fc12527e15612f95ff2ae5fcf5068aa3799f7231ebf2cd49f0.jpg

  • Duncan R. Bryson

    Better than a boy called Sue.

  • Dhalgren

    Ugh…Zinnia Jones is a terrible representative for the LGBT community… isn’t there anyone else that could’ve been used to finish this short article? She promotes herself as a scientific researcher (which she isn’t) and constantly contradicts herself while promoting very scientifically/medically unsound ideas…

  • barriejohn

    It’s an excellent video, and her points are well made.

  • Were you shaking first off, before tying those words? Was this tremor due to becoming slightly agitated?

    Maybe some meditation is in order – but otherwise you could have mixed a good Bond-style “medium dry martini” in the recommended fashion.

    https://youtu.be/cW5GtjG0aE0

  • larry parker

    Oops. Too much vitamin r.

  • Not to worry*– its often considered more healthy to supplement one’s intake of the recommended vitamins than to imbibe, too often, a good “medium dry martini

    I’m presently watching, from a streaming service, The Terror season one (based on the writing of Riddley Scott). Due to a shortfall of vitamin C (a daily ration of lemon juice being only just so), poor health is just one affliction affecting the commanders and crew on the ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

    ( * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_worries )

    https://youtu.be/pjq7Gl_hhPY