Usually I feel weary reading “Christian” comment on current affairs and I realise we are not in an age of wise christian reflection. Even the “Cranmer” blog has become dull and sometimes small minded but recently he adopted a new colleague “Brother Ivo” who sometimes shares enlightening gospel glimpses. Check this link and see if you find it helpful.
There is a new post on my theology blog on this topic. By and large, I do think church attendance is central to Christian living . Click here to read the post.
As usual, Steven Shapin adds something insightful to a faithful book review in the LRB. Looking at the amazingly popular Pseudoscience of “Worlds in Collision” (author Immanuel Velikovksy) through the lens of a new book The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe by Michael Gordin. But it is not just a review of a review. It is about whether we can even say exactly what Pseudoscience is and a look at how and why it becomes popular.
He kindly does not explore how Creationism (the biggest current Pseudoscience in the West) mirrors and repeats the same pattern – right down to creating a parallel Scientism to the one it parodies. I won’t say more – it would be redundant. Here is the link.
But what about all the references in Paul to running the race, completing the course and fighting the fight?
Firstly, all these are to do with the activity of training, running, fighting. That is real participation.
The Olympics are an elite sport spectacle. They are about spectating, not doing. The technology of Jet Planes, worldwide TV transmission and sponsorship by global brands means a billion couch potatoes can watch a few thousand elite athletes reach extreme levels of competence, speed and endurance (with the help of absurdly expensive specialisation). Throughout the West the rise and rise of elite sport has coincided with a sedentary pacification of the populace.
The most successful Olympic nation is the USA. Which also leads the world in obesity and use of “labour-saving” (i.e. laziness promoting) devices, cars and homes which are heated or cooled using appalling amounts of fossil fuel.
A dozen pitches used by our community for football, rugby etc. were destroyed to make the Olympic park. A pretty parable of what the “Olympic Spirit” does to healthy sport.
This would be a longer post but I am about to spend some time shouting at some pixels dancing on a flat screen while some loudspeakers relay a fatuous commentary and crowd noise to my ears.
No, there is no Gospel in the Olympics. If you want to disagree please listen to http://lighthousebaptistchurch.org.uk/our-faith/recorded-talks/ (The Gospel and the Olympics) first.
I am being asked by Christian friends to sign a petition against “Gay Marriage” and I do not want to sign it. Why not?
The argument is “the Government is passing a law to redefine marriage” and this is something I am meant to be excited about. But I am not surprised. The only surprise is that it is a Tory Prime Minister who is so keen to change the law since it does not seem a very conservative thing to do. As for definitions – every marriage is defined by the two partners and their wider family connections and not by a dictionary or an act of Parliament.
I suppose it depends what you expect from governments.
I expect them to represent the “zeitgeist” – the ruling spirit of the age. And I use the word spirit in the old and true meaning of the word. The Prince of the power of the air rules through them to a large extent. They are part of the “principalities and powers in the heavenly realms” and representatives of the world “which lieth under the evil one”.
The fact that Christians in this country expect them to uphold sexual morality amazes me. It seems to date back to the time of the Catholic and Anglican church settlements when the institutional churches had a deal with the Kings of those times. The churches ruled over family matters and spiritual things while the Kings raised taxes, fought wars and tried to extend their territories. So the King would support the “Church” (wrong word of course) and the “Church” would support the King. It was a wicked compromise but could be justified by drawing a false parallel between Britain and Old Testament Israel.
The Partial Reformation of the 16th century just replaced an international “church” with a national one. So kings supported the morality of the National Church while it provided ideological support for the Government of the day.
To this day Christian writers and speakers back the projects of our governments (pro-Democracy wars, our ludicrous monarchy and aristocracy and – the real powers in the land – bankers and the interests of international business). In return they expect the Government to uphold the moral order.
But something has changed. The Government doesn’t need the Church any more. The church tries to catch up with the Government agenda (female bishops, royal weddings, pro-”gay” noises, paeons of praise for any initiative which has a fig-leaf of morality in it) the truth is that the Church (including the non-conformists) just doesn’t matter.
Is this a tragedy? No, it is New Testament normality.
So what about this petition? It will fail, of course. Just as the “Keep Sunday Special” Campaign failed.
But my brothers and sisters did not organise petitions against the wicked war in Iraq or the continuing occupation in Afghanistan or the Bankers’ bailout or the enrichment of our country by wicked means. Just petitions about Sunday and Sex.
So it is “no thanks” from me to this petition. I do not have to marry a “gay” man. I do not have to officiate at such a “marriage” or recognise it. I do not have to attend one (though I wonder if Jesus might have).
I expect my Government to reflect the immorality of my culture and I expect to get in trouble when I do not participate in that immorality.