Saturday, 25 October 2008

weekend collection

Giles Fraser asks in the Church Times Why don’t humanists give value to humans?

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph writes about Peter Howson’s harrowing of hell.

Theo Hobson writes in the Guardian about the sex life of Adam and Eve in Face to Faith.

Stephen Bates asks on Comment is free Who would God vote for?

John Lloyd writes in the Financial Times about Uganda’s controversial pastors.

Earlier in the week, Andrew Brown wrote about The cult of personality.

Simon Barrow wrote a column for Ekklesia titled Beware politicians and ‘God talk’.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 10:36am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion
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Lloyd's article highlights an issue with any megachurch who thinks their priests are God and can use Malachi to justify their theology. Malachi is a direct rebuke against priests.

"It is you, O PRIESTS, who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’ “You place defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the LORD'S table is contemptible. When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong?" (Malachi 1:6-8)

Is it not wrong to be prepared to sacrifice GLBTs, is that not wrong? Malachi 1:14 "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal"

There’s more in Malachi 2: "“And now this admonition is for you, O PRIESTS. If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you... I have sent you this admonition so that my covenant with Levi may continue... a covenant of life and peace... But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi… So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law" Have we not all one Father ? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another? You have wearied the LORD with your words…”

Malachi 3 God will send a messenger, who will prepare the way before God and purify the Levites and refine them so the LORD will have souls who will bring offerings in righteousness which will be acceptable to the LORD… who will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear God. “I the LORD do not change.”

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 12:02pm BST

Fraser's comments against plagerism apply as much to modern day Christians as they do to humanists.

Humanists, who sought to take from the religious faiths the dignity and respect and claim that it no longer required "God", who are then willing to denounce life and reverence.

Priests, who sought to take from the mystics the dignity and respect and claim they no longer required "God", who are then willing to denounce life and reverence.

Humanists at least have the excuse of claiming they do not know God. Priests do not have that luxury.

Jesus, at the transfiguration was enveloped by the feminine dark cloud of the Divine Presence that is the Shekina and accompanied by Moses and Elijah and (as witnessed by two disciples heard the Voice of God say God was well pleased with Jesus). Souls such as the cherubim of the ark, the matriarchs and patriarchs, Adam and Eve, are not bound only to this earth and heaven. Such souls comprehend that God is for all of Creation, and the sanctity of all life (including non-human and the blemished).

Shame on those priests and their sycophants who failed in their attempts at global genocide.

God is right and just and merciful and God provides suitable accommodation for all souls. God loved before there was space and time, and Jesus was created by God to prove that love. God loved before Jesus, and God will continue to love even after Jesus and his Christians have shuttled off to their exclusive heaven.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 12:17pm BST

Is the link to Andrew Brown's piece defective --- missing initial h ?


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2008/oct/21/religion-anglicanism

Yes. Sorry. Now fixed.
S.

Posted by: american piskie on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 1:23pm BST

But humanists do give value to humans - which is why they believe that humans can make choices for themselves. That's what real value and respect means, rather than giving over one's thought processes to external beings.

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 3:34pm BST

Cheryl, you wrote: ""It is you, O PRIESTS, who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’ “You place defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the LORD'S table is contemptible. When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong?" (Malachi 1:6-8)

Is it not wrong to be prepared to sacrifice GLBTs, is that not wrong? Malachi 1:14 "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal"

I usually I don't respond to your postings, mostly because I try to steer clear of people who claim to have direct personal revelations from God, as your website makes clear you believe you do. This last comment of yours, though, begs for a response.

You've drawn a parallel here between gay people and "blemished" animals offered for sacrifice. Watch who you're calling "blemished," "defiled," "crippled" and "diseased," lady.

Posted by: BillyD on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 3:38pm BST

BillyD
"You've drawn a parallel here between gay people and "blemished" animals offered for sacrifice. Watch who you're calling "blemished," "defiled," "crippled" and "diseased," lady."

Having just conceded your point on Christian charity, whoops!

Cheryl sometimes uses comparisons that are maybe a little unfortunate, but she is firmly on our side, has her heart in the right place and I am proud to call her a friend.

Keep reading what she writes, even if you don't feel the need to comment, I hope you'll come to see it too.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 7:51pm BST

Merseymike

Be careful. There are good and bad humanists (and the continuum in between), just as there are good and bad Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists...

Humanists are just as capable of dodgy thinking as any other category. In fact, it's when people think that since they belong to a category that they can no longer have dodgy thinking that they usually end up making the worst blunders. Look at our current debate with conservatives, we have too many priests claim that the grace of Jesus saves them from sin and makes them infallible. That's how their solo scriptural interpretations went so far off the track.

The good news, they went so far off the track that they thought like Satanists, which gave us an opportunity to put down the same protections and yet offer the same grace to both camps.

Basically, it's firm Momma time "Play nice and you can play with others. Be nasty and hurt others, and you will be put in the "naughty" corner/box for a time to calm down, or permanently if you can not/will not repent of aggressive behaviour".

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 8:26pm BST

Can we stick to comments about these articles please.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 8:46pm BST

I applaud Hobson's efforts to be frank about human sexuality, but I am less convinced and celebrate less - his bringing all the standard old baggage along with him as he adventures into frankness.

Using Augustine as special religious authority for us is at first an obvious gesture - except that Augustine's views of an alleged completely voluntary (therefore, pure) sexuality before the mythic disobedience in the primal garden is not only now dramatically and newly opened up (to modern inquiry based on modern evidence). Quoting Augustine is presuming the baggage instead of inquiring newly into the baggage.

Such a method simply begs all the questions that many modern believers are now weighing long-term: Is our sin problem best truly imaged by our sexuality, our embodiment?

Whether we believers in Jesus of Nazareth will ever be able to heal the Great Rift in our thinking which casually, thoughtlessly results in such presuppositional Great Suspicion of human embodiment period - well all that remains to be seen. Great reams of new genetic and biological data flood out. We surely have to keep trying to correct old errors. Hopefully, our thinking will be unfettered, not bound by enchantment in closed, old suspicions, fears, disgusts which cannot be further scrutinized.

Too many of our old ideas simply presume a keen, unique prurience (often embarrassingly voyeuristic, if not also often tinged with punishment and control issues which strike passing S&M notes?).

Maybe masturbation still stirs automatic pilot negatives for poor Hobson. But Hobson's fallen, satanic masturbation is hardly necessary believer truth, let alone final believer truth.

No matter what manifestation of embodiment and sexuality we try to understand, ethically, theologically, a lot of Hobson's baggage is of very little real help.

A method clue? Hobson simply presupposes just the sort of automatic bad faith, displaced neatly to sexuality, that is actually first built into his unexamined negative narrative methods. A presuppositional transfer that neatly moves the method's baggage onto sex as our subject. So - neatly displacing.

A data clue? Much data now tells us that sexuality is innately linked to pairbonding on possibly genetic levels, for many animal populations and for many human populations. One cannot thus keep pitting one against the other, Categorically Either/Or, presupposing one innately bad or satanic and the other innately vulnerable to showing God.

Categories, negative suspicions in full, automatic presuppositional pilot flight are not final believer truth.

Posted by: drdanfee on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 9:02pm BST

Thank you, Giles Fraser, for your insightful article on the difference between the secular idea of humanism and that of the Christian. I have long thought that the fact of the human Incarnation of Jesus should tell us that God, too, is a humanist - (not withstanding God's and Christ's divinity). Otherwise, why would God have bothered to create any of us in the Divine Image and Likeness of God's Self?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 26 October 2008 at 12:49am GMT

"Many of these pastors are global figures, constantly travelling, setting up churches, preaching to vast audiences. They are a kind of global intelligentsia: and – this is central – these are modern people. They use modern media, they provide good entertainment, they create megachurches which are all-embracing institutions: a world in which you can live.”
- John Lloyd: article for the Financial Times -

Does this sound anything at all like the modern phenomenon of the re-asserter Global South/Gafcon renewal enterprise, I wonder? Just asking!

The new 'Prosperity Gospel' so attractive to those who have little or nothing, is the exact opposite of the spirituality of 'Magnificat'. It's promoters link giving to the expectation of material prosperity. This might work if the money goes to the poor - but not when it is devoted to enriching the preacher.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 26 October 2008 at 1:31am GMT
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