Saturday, 22 March 2008

opinions on Easter Eve

David Stancliffe writes in The Times about How an election in Sudan signals a new resurrection.

Earlier in the week, Andrew White wrote there about Iraq five years on.

Last Sunday, John Cornwell asked in the Sunday Times Are Muslim enclaves no-go areas, forcing other people out (hat tip Andrew Brown).

Christopher Howse explains in the Daily Telegraph Why the Big Bang is not Creation.

At Ekklesia Simon Barrow follows up on the article by Peter Selby linked here yesterday with Why the church needs a new foreign policy.

And he also wrote Resurrection is no Easter conjuring trick.

In the Guardian Danny Rich writes about how Purim is a timely reminder of past persecution of the Jews and the fragility of Israel in Face to faith.

Giles Fraser also writes there today, about A funny kind of Christian.

And in the Church Times he wrote about Trusting in God beyond my death.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 22 March 2008 at 8:17am GMT | TrackBack
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Michael Ainsworth's piece (Church Times 20 March 2008 p6) about the reporting of the assault he suffered deserves to be quoted I think, not least because of the question he raises about the motives and intentions of instant commentators.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Saturday, 22 March 2008 at 9:06am GMT

Stephen Hawking said on BBC that before the Big Bang there was nothing and by that he said that he meant absolutely nothing, not even time and space. He also said that the universe has to be maintained at a critical level or it will expand into cold barren nothingness or collapse due to gravity. He has also written a book "God created the integers".

Regarding the maintaining of the universe Sir Isaac Newton said the universe has to be fine-tuned every now and then by God. Stephen Hawking is now holding the Chair that was once held by Newton as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. My wish for him is that his own reasoning will lead him to the truth of God.

Posted by: cp36 on Saturday, 22 March 2008 at 9:08am GMT

A mixed bag for a mixed weekend.

Howse annoyed me. The article makes out that the universe is easy to understand and ignores the vexatious debates that have and still occur.

None of us now argue that the world revolves around the Sun, but many souls were murdered by priests for advocating this non-egocentric perspective.

Similarly, whilst most souls now accept evolution, some still purport it as a myth and all the fossil evidence as some cosmic joke that they should ignore.

Then we go on to contemplate the proposition that God is masculine and only the heterosexual masculine human is divine.

Then we observe souls who justify neglecting this planet, its occupants, and developing sustainable just solutions because God is going to "sweep this all away".

Sorry. This planet is still here, and so are its sentient occupants. God has no remorse about creating the feminine, humanity, the prophets, Judaism or Jesus. In fact, if required, God will recreate all of these things from scratch. So there is really no point destroying this planet, God will simply recreate it elsewhere.

Similarly there is no point in continuing to slander Cheva (Eve). Cheva understood that she was entering a marriage "for better or for worse". She knew that there were going to be problems and incidents, that is part and parcel of mothering an evolving planet. Perhaps theologians should contemplate that Adam wasn't ready for the commitments of being a husband and a parent and has resorted to negligence and slander to avoid his responsibilities. That's fine. Adam doesn't want this planet, its occupants or its mother. No problems. Divorce granted. Now Adam can't complain if Cheva goes off to find a mate who actually does want responsibility and genuinely comprehends "for better or for worse", knowing that the better after tribulations far exceeds bland boring predictable "safety".

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Saturday, 22 March 2008 at 10:36am GMT

It certainly is funny how certain "Christians" on this blogsite have so adamantly shaken their collective fingers at us Americans for the election of +Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, but ignore the horrors of our civic leader in the latter's pretense of being a "Christian". Then again birds of a feather.....

Giles Frasier's article is on the money.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Saturday, 22 March 2008 at 11:40am GMT

The Ekklesia article on resurrection is churning the issue around and around. It is simpler: is the resurrection in some way objective, subjective, or postmodern (whether there is neither objective nor subjective). Objective means independently continuous with the Jesus who died, no matter how people "live" the resurrection, whereas subjective means he was dead and people "live" the resurrection as believers. The postmodern means people in cultures tell stories as ways of making reality. I go with the postmodern, but if pushed to the subjective. The objective is bodily or spiritual, the subjective is spiritual only, and the postmodern finds terms like spiritual a problem as it is all about words, cultures and stories.

Incidentally if there was a resurrected entity continuous with a Jesus who actually died, then even if transformed the connection can only go backwards, as the person who died is the equivalent of the Star Trek captain and crew who go into the transporter to be energised and annihilated, for the ones reconstructed at the destination only to have memories of the ones who went into the transporter and died.

Posted by: Pluralist on Saturday, 22 March 2008 at 5:23pm GMT

Pluralist.

Enjoy your Easter weekend. Go and read the Jewish mystics and oral tradition.

Jesus is either moschiach ben David or Jesus is a failure. Jesus either fulfills scripture or he makes a mockery of scripture.

The Torah God created Hebrew/Judaic thinking, not Hellenic or Greek. Those who espouse Greek mental models demonstrate contempt for the God of the Torah.

www.torah.org has a nice article this Easter weekend targetted at males who think they are "above" the feminine of this world.
http://www.torah.org/learning/drasha/5756/shemini.html

On your question "if there was a resurrected entity continuous with a Jesus who actually died..." There are souls of planetary guardian/transcendent forces who are not bound by space or time. Both John the Baptist and Jesus were incarnate of Holy Spirit and not bound by space or time. Once incarnated, such souls can go forwards, backwards or sideways with impunity.

To deny this is to deny the scene at the transfiguration where Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus before John, Peter and James within the cloud of the Shechina.

It is one great amusement to watch conservatives recount the "errors" that Abraham, Noah, Sarah, Jacob or Leah made. Such souls do not die, and any soul who criticizes them for "failing" is laughing stock in the Great Assembly.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Sunday, 23 March 2008 at 9:58am GMT

Slightly O/T but John Dominic Crossan was on Terri Gross' Fresh Air (a rebroadcast) on our NPR on Friday, talking about Jezus and crucifixion, an historcial view.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88675603

Posted by: Jay Vos on Sunday, 23 March 2008 at 10:42am GMT

Choirboyfromhell writes:

"It certainly is funny how certain "Christians" on this blogsite have so adamantly shaken their collective fingers at us Americans for the election of +Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, but ignore the horrors of our civic leader in the latter's pretense of being a "Christian"."

I think there are two problems with this, Choirboy.

(1) The structure of this board doesn't allow anyone but the owner(s) to introduce a topic, and therefore the only opportunity to discuss Bush, or any other politician, is if Simon posts something referring to him.

(2) The board is intended for discussion of matters relating primarily to the Anglican Communion, and, being based in England, is perhaps inclined to focus especially on the C of E. The appointment of Bishop Robinson and the controversy which followed are matters of interest to Anglicans throughout the world, and matters on which they may feel they have a right to participate in decisions. They may see the political fate of Bush as a matter for Americans, and may also be aware that Americans can be decidedly "prickly" about perceived foreign interference in, and even adverse comment about, ther domestic politics.

Posted by: Alan Harrison on Sunday, 23 March 2008 at 5:48pm GMT

Hi Choirboy.

Alan has made some good points.

You might want to take some time and browse the internet. US Christians, and Christians generally have shown some huge shifts in their thinking in recent years.

If we had to rely on winning over the ultra-conservative leadership within Anglicanism (or any other faith or philosophy for that matter), then humanity would be doomed.

What we have been able to do is have the debate, expose their core paradigms that mould their thinking, and demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt their paucity.

That is exactly what Jesus did to both the religious and secular leaders in those times.

The conservatives never champion change, they are the ones who try to hijack it after the event and water it down into some insipid tea that isn't worthy of the cup that holds it.

The forces that fight against life on this planet are often more successful when they divide and conquer and divert souls' attentions from the important truths. For example, God's everlasting covenant of peace that is meant to apply to all of Creation, just as the Sabbath is for all of Creation.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Sunday, 23 March 2008 at 6:41pm GMT

Alan: I might have been misunderstood, but my take on the non U.S. evangelical scolding of TEC about the election of +Gene Robinson seems to fail to understand that parallel forces within the U.S. are largely supportive of Bush's international policies, that Giles Frasier so rightly questions. I think that those outside of the U.S. do not comprehend the existence and the power of fundamentalist Christianity that has 1). eroded "mainline" Church attendance, and 2). led the way in a rightward shift of (already right of center compared to Western Europe) of politics internally here. And I am quite sensitive about the double standard of TEC cries of interference and our government's violation of such.

Perhaps I'm preaching to the choir, and perhaps I've said something that has been either misconstrued or poorly written.

I agree, TA doesn't allow (and nor should it, as it's been largely irrelevant until the Frasier article) topics of international politics.

Bottom line, I think Frasier is as many of you in the U.K. would say, bang on.

I play baseball. Could we do a trade? Bush for ++RW? We get to keep +KJS.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Monday, 24 March 2008 at 3:38am GMT

Pluralist: You may find my approach circumlocutory (I take it that's what you are saying), but if so that is because I was very consciously trying to move beyond the inherent problems of a statement like ""if there was a resurrected entity continuous with a Jesus who actually died...". The terms 'entity' and 'conscious' here are too closely tied to what we think of and experience as 'thingness' and 'self-awareness', whereas the whole point of God-derived resurrection language/experience, it seems to me, is that it transposes what we *think* we know (but probably don't with anything like the "simple" force we attribute to it) to a different register - beyond what is claimable in the now, but not beyond a vision of transformation in God's future. In summary, I do not think that reductionist physicalist accounts work (what people usually mean by 'objective') but I do think something substantial happened when 'God raised Jesus' that cannot be limited to a psychological impression (what most people usually mean by 'subjective'). And though we are inescapably immersed in narrativity (what people usually mean, if they have much of a clue, by postmodernity), that doesn't resolve anything except our awareness, hopefully, of the limits of language, logic and experience. This is philosophically complex, and of course I apologise for my inability to try and express and render it better.

Posted by: Simon Barrow on Monday, 24 March 2008 at 5:00pm GMT

It was good to see a link to Canon White's description of Iraq 5 years on. The western media seems to be totally ignoring this group of persecuted Iraqi citizens. While the news is filled with Shia and Sunni factions battling for their piece of the new Iraq, Christians are being martyred without anyone making mention.

Posted by: Chaplain Steven Rindahl on Thursday, 27 March 2008 at 1:46pm GMT

"Christians are being martyred without anyone making mention"

Given the support Bush gets from Consevos in the US, is this any surprise? To admit the mistreatment of Christians might cast doubt on what they seem to think is a latter day Crusade, and I use that word advisedly. I read a report a few weeks ago, in I believe it was Time, of Consevo soldiers who are actively hostile to non-Evangelical soldiers, and who actually say "In Jesus name!" before they open fire on insurgents! Such people are not going to acknowledge there are suffering Chrisitans, especially non-Evangelical ones, in Iraq, it'd destroy carefully constructed myth.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 27 March 2008 at 5:36pm GMT

"I read a report a few weeks ago, in I believe it was Time, of Consevo soldiers who are actively hostile to non-Evangelical soldiers, and who actually say 'In Jesus name!' before they open fire on insurgents!"

I would like to see that report. Having just spent the past 15 months there, and in the worst Baghdad had to offer, I saw nothing of the sort. What I mostly saw was frustration. In spite of that, the soldiers of my battalion were very protective of the local population. I think more so than the average person would ever expect.

Posted by: Chaplain Steven Rindahl on Friday, 28 March 2008 at 5:05pm GMT

"I would like to see that report."

I'll try to track it down.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 31 March 2008 at 3:42pm BST

Chaplain,
I have no idea if you are still around here, much less tracking this trhead. I have been unable to find an online link to the piece I cited. Until I do, I will not make this claim any more, without support, it is mere heresay.

I DID find this site:

http://militaryreligiousfreedom.org/index.html

which was cited in the article I mentioned. I am a Newfoundlander and am very aware, especially this time of year, how special interest groups can twist the truth to their own ends. It's just that the things they say are so in accord with everything I have experienced from Evangelicals, I have a hard time just ignoring it. If you're still around, I'd like your opinions on this group. Also, for the record, I am opposed to the war, since I believe that any country with a volunteer army has a responsibility to ask those volunteer soldiers to put their lives in danger only if there is a real threat to the nation. Anything else is disrespectful to their bravewry and self-sacrifice. I believe putting soldier's lives at risk in Iraw is a clear example of that disrespect. Again, as a Newfoundlander, I am well aware of how people's loyalty and patriotism can be manipulated and their bravery wasted by military and political leaders. Read about Beaumont Hamel, July 1, 1916.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 8 April 2008 at 7:17pm BST

Hello Ford,

I happened back to this thread to see if anything had turned up as to the article mentioned. I was not aware of the group you linked to but am glad to know of them. I am a big believer in watchdogs and have learned that many of our "supporters" are anything but. Regardless, you make valid points regard the grave responsibility of those in leadership and their war making decisions. May God bless our next president with exceptional discernment.

blessings,
Steve+

Posted by: Chaplain Steven Rindahl on Monday, 23 June 2008 at 10:41pm BST
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