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.
As the great spasm draws to a close the anticipation of relief is (for me) quite delicious.
For over a month the dream world of the Olympics held us in sway and the infantile obsession with sport became a kind of religious orthodoxy. Millions have worshiped at the Sign of the Twisted Tower and felt part of “something bigger than themselves”. They have shared days of awe and wonder.
Like pilgrims to Mecca they will talk about their “hajj” for years to come. Like returnees from Rome and Santiago they have their souvenirs to remind them for years of their pious journey, the signs of their souls’ devotion.
Perhaps we should be glad that the aesthetics of worship have been commandeered by Coca Cola and the International Olympic Committee. The institutional monstrosities of traditional religion have been outgunned by the humanist celebration of elite excellence. This religion does not demand blood sacrifice or war on unbelievers. It is all harmless fun isn’t it?
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.
Important people watch their watches;
Important people dress to impress;
Important people are serious but not sad.
So I’ll look important,
While I smoke,
In the rain.
I am am fed up with dear old WW. It has been impossible to avoid him and I am sure many a church member is tired of the “topical” references to his 200 year old Act by lazy preachers. Nearly half of all references mistakenly credit WW with abolishing slavery when all he did was to make the trade illegal.
He may have been (marginally) good for some oppressed people but I think he did the churches considerable harm. They began to see their mission in terms of civilising the British through publicity campaigns and social engineering. The moral crusading of the 19th and 20th centuries continually hyped and lauded the achievements of the Clapham sect (while generally ignoring the work of quakers and rationalists) as it rushed down the blind alley of social meddling in the name of Jesus.
Everything was cast in terms of abolishing the next “slavery” (child labour, votes for women, even banning alcohol in the name of setting free the slaves of drink). The current application of the slavery model is things like forced prostitution and chinese manufacturing.
Am I in favour of these bad things? No, but we already have a criminal code which should be able to deal with wrongs done in our jurisdiction and I doubt whether we can do much about China.
And I do not remember Jesus calling his disciples to do all this stuff.
The liberation of Black Americans came when THEY began to insist on taking their freedom. Most liberties have to be taken rather than given.