Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Death, the inevitable party pooper is himself a real blight in coming to terms with the extremities of our life. Is the hope that singed hair on burning pyre, tore skin by pawing lion and sat in cold barred rooms alive today? The hope that sings of the other place an eternal dream that dies not here. The way we pray - our existence save, indicative of who we are, shallow, blind, a gust of wind, a whirlwind about to end.
Scientists from Cornell University in New York have produced what is believed to be the first genetically modified (GM) human embryo, the British Times Online edition reports. It was destroyed after five days. The announcement of the experiment’s results have already sparked controversy in the scientific community, with some saying this is a way to a new eugenics.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I got quite emotional over the last week reading different articles in “The Witness” (local rag). The one article was an obituary of a 98 year old woman by the name of Irena Sendlerowa. There is a very small and seemingly insignificant photo of her but looks are deceiving. This lady was a Polish resistance fighter during the Second World War who organized the rescue of 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation. She smuggled these children through sewers, in ambulances, under her skirt and she hid them in monasteries, with foster parents and in orphanages. She was later arrested and tortured by the Gestapo, but never gave details of the resistance movements work, nor revealed the children’s name. She was saved on the day over scheduled execution. I also read an article about Madonna the pop star diva who plans to build a multi-million- dollar girl’s school in Malawi for underprivileged children this year. It is on the same scale of what Oprah Winfrey has done in South Africa. Which boasts a state of the art facilities, laboratories, a yoga studio and beauty salon. The latter took my breath away for a moment as I tried to see the importance of a Yoga Studio and Beauty Salon for underprivileged children, but maybe I am way too Methodist! The question is – Who gave the most? The answer is quite obvious in my eyes – the one who sacrificed the most.
A young person in our confirmation class this week made a statement that I think is important to unpack. We were appreciating the characteristics of God especially as understood in the Old Testament and we came to the notion that this God we believe in must be a God of Justice. And we started to unravel what Justice means. I tied it into our understanding of God’s call to love our neighbour. And one youngster posed the question, “Why should we love somebody if they don’t deserve it, if they have made bad choices or are lazy. Lets say I have worked hard to achieve what I have got – why should I have to give to those who don’t deserve it?” A good lawyer this young man will make but not a good lover I am afraid to say! I don’t think it is a question of the young but it is a question of any hard working, law abiding, moral seeking person seeking to understand why others don’t pull up their socks. Justice should be to reward the hard working, the righteous, the upstanding! But, this God of the Old Testament continue to bring undeserved Justice again and again. It is especially difficult for a young person to appreciate how privileged they are. They haven’t yet come to see the deprivation of other peoples beginnings and the lack of resources available to them, not of their own choosing, but of their unfortunate circumstances. I thank God, that Jesus claimed to be God. That Jesus was able to give us another take on this God who loved the most undeserving. Sometimes there is no more undeserving than those who think they are deserving but God loves them nonetheless.
Lets be objective for a moment. If somebody comes to you and says, “I sacrifice my life for you,” or if they give you a gift or do something for you that costs them dearly, what is your true view of them? “Weird”, “Psycho”, maybe terms that come to mind. Bringing over a Pizza when you return from a long journey may be considered kind and thoughtful but sending over a catering company to do your dining room up with candle light, serving Peking Duck with Crème Brulee for desert might make you wish you never came to live in that particular neighbourhood. Christian love may seem for some to be way out of line and embarrassing and we need to be careful how we “Love our Neighbour.” Our needs and motives to be loved ourselves can easily get in the way of loving our neighbour effectively. Our dependence for love, care, and acceptance might lump us in the weirdo category if we don’t watch out. Our love is from a love that is given freely with no strings attached. We ‘truly’ don’t want the glory and so it is easy to give space when space is due, just wave when a wave will do, but be able to surrender everything when everything is due. Those who have seen the movie the "The Cable Guy" will understand.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The search for spiritual direction in a group of people is somewhat troublesome to say the least. We all have our different opinions on things, we have different impressions as to where it lead us and depending on our exposure to historical tradition and scholarship we read it at different literal levels. I like the term ‘selective literalism’ (not sure where it comes from) to describe the way we engage with this ancient giant of literary writings - the bible. We love to read those parts we like and hardly ever read those sections that contradict our impression of God and God’s ultimate desire. So when we come together as leaders or people who are concerned about doing things in ‘Godly’ ways we are often forced into a conflicting situation due to our alternative ‘God directed’ views. What normally happens is that all who think this way congregate in this camp and those who think differently in the other. Stalemate! How certain can we be that our’ take’ is the right one? I believe the more invigorated we become that we are ‘right’ and they are ‘wrong’ is the first step to becoming a religious exclusivist. So how do we do it? How do we help a group of people ‘listen’ to God and make plans to do ‘God’s will’. I would love to hear how diverse our approaches may be.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Just read chapters 6-10 of Joshua and I have been horrified by the slaughter and religious justification to horde the wealth of the nations destroyed by Israel. In fact it is very off putting to think that this is even in a book that some regard as sacred as God himself. There is no justification in my conscience to slaughter men, woman and children because you think God wants their property and land. We see this today in countries like Zimbabwe and Iraq where people are abused because of the ideals, religious bigotry and the political aspirations of their leaders. It is even worse, the hypocrisy of those who use God as an excuse to justify genocide. Lets be very careful when we use this term “biblical” as God's word to justify our next genocide!