Posts Tagged ‘spirituality and politics

19
Aug
17

Deja Vu and the SSM Issue.

As Australia continues on the slow road to (inevitably) legalising same sex marriage, there are continuing claims being made about bullying and abuse being directed at those supporting SSM.

That is despite the claim that 70% or so of the population are said to be in support of it. It is also despite the fact that the majority of the abusiveness and hateful commentary I’ve seen has been directed against “the religious”.

For examples see the comments after the article here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/17/religious-freedom-is-an-important-right-once-same-sex-marriage-is-legal-it-must-be-protected

 

One of those comments even suggests that businesses owned by people objecting to SSM should have some kind of identification placed in their windows as a sign of their beliefs.

 

For some reason that suggestion seems scarily familiar.

 

18
Aug
17

Pathetic Godless Cowards

Two terror attacks this week carried out by pathetic, Godless cowards.

CHARLOTTESVILLE

BARCELONA

One was quickly and strongly condemned by the US President, the other was reluctantly and half-heartedly “condemned”.
One was Islamist inspired. The other was home-grown, white supremacist inspired.

 

The following bible quote reveals the inspiration behind their cowardly acts (as well as the source of so much of Trump’s rhetoric).

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it

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Trump Swiftly Condemns Barcelona Terror Attack. Charlottesville? Not So Much.

He then promoted a fake story about mass murdering Muslims.

 (Article from Mother Jones)

With pertinent details still unfolding, President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday afternoon to condemn a terrorist attack in Barcelona, where a white van plowed through the popular tourist street of Las Ramblas, killing at least 13 people and injuring more than 50 people.

The president’s response to the Barcelona attack was far swifter than his delayed response to the white supremacist clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday and his initial failure to flatly denounce white nationalists. Instead, Trump blamed “many sides” for the violence.

Trump later followed up his condemnation Thursday with a second tweet that perhaps explains why the president was so quick to react to Barcelona and not Charlottesville. It should be noted that the story he cites below is fake.

Complete article here.

19
Jul
17

Who is the White Evangelicals’ “Christ”?

Despite holding the presidency and having majorities in congress and the senate, the republicans (the white evangelicals’ party of choice) seem to have no ability to deliver anything workable on healthcare. Their only agreement seems to be on their desire to remove “Obamacare”.

During the Obama presidency, while far too many professing Christians were lapping up (and sharing) anti-Obama rhetoric no matter what its source and veracity; one of the complaints that I couldn’t understand was the passionate “Christian” hostility to the idea of affordable health care for all US citizens. Whether or not the so-called “Obamacare” could deliver that wasn’t even the issue. A lot of “Christian” opposition I saw was against the whole idea of making healthcare accessible to those unable to pay for it.

This morning I came across the following, making some interesting observations and claims:

…until recently, most [US] politicians [were] insisting that US healthcare was the best in the world. In reality, the World Health Organisation ranks it 38th, behind Colombia (22nd) and Saudi Arabia (26th) and just above Cuba. The No 1 cause of bankruptcy in the US? Medical debt. And with more than 250,000 deaths a year, medical errors are the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. Obamacare has made things somewhat better, but there are still 27 million people without health insurance because they can’t afford it, and millions more who can’t afford the co-payment on prescriptions.

 

Rightwing Christian fundamentalism has had a devastating effect on women’s health. There’s little care for poor women or children once they’ve been born ; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 other industrialised nations are better than the US at keeping babies alive. Americans who say they are pro-life merely mean they are pro-birth. Republicans want to slash Medicaid – government help for those who cannot afford to pay – which pays for nearly half the births in the US.

 

full article here:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jul/14/attack-healthcare-policy-with-comedy-jonathan-lynn-yes-minister 

 

Considering the attitudes I’ve seen expressed by many professing Christians over many years, I have to wonder what kind of “Christ” do they think they are following?

Their “Christ” seems to be very different to the person I read about in scripture; their “Christ” seems more associated with partisan politics and political slogans and labels than in reaching out to the most needy people within society.

05
Jul
17

Cherry Bounce/The American Elections: An Invitational Exhibit at the William King Museum

I love this artist’s work: an abstract and symbolic expression of her Christian faith in paint and collage.

This is the latest post from her blog about some of her recent paintings.

grace carol bomer

Last year, guest curator Eric Drummond Smith invited me to be part of the “historical” show Cherry Bounce/ The American Elections at the William King Museum in Abingdon, VA. It was historical in subject matter–its theme the history of the American elections from George Washington to Barack Obama, the 44th President. His well-chosen title Cherry Bounce, an Appalachian liquor, alluded to either hope or despair as we anticipated the yet undecided outcome of the November 2016 election. It was historical because Nixon. jpegI was assigned the Nixon/McGovern race of 1972 (the Nixon poster called for “a sense of history, not histrionics”), and historical also because my own Christian faith believes all of history is a story with a divine plot and the post-Fall battle for power.

I am a painter who is conscious of this “grand narrative” called history. My statement reads, “Bomer is concerned with the human condition surprised by…

View original post 853 more words

22
Jun
17

Why The Church Must Love The Refugee” by Scott Gustafson

Here are a few excerpts from “Why The Church Must Love The Refugee” by Scott Gustafson.

Please go to the link at the end of this post and read the whole article.

_____________________________________

Research finds that churches are 2x more likely to fear refugees than help them

 

The biblical case is clear for the Christian: caring for foreigners, immigrants, and the refugee is an irrefutable mandate.

 

Though we gratefully enjoy the benefits of American freedom today, from a biblical perspective we are not entitled to it, for it is far from the norm in the biblical and historical context.

In our fear of losing our blessed, but uniquely American comforts and freedoms, we have conflated ‘Christian’ with ‘American’.

 

 

I pray that the church will not miss one of the greatest ministry opportunities in the history of mankind out of a fear of cultural change and an idolization of safety. Now is the time to be salt and light.

http://www.zwemercenter.com/why-the-church-must-love-the-refugee/

06
Jun
17

The Radicalisation Environment

During the ongoing coverage of the weekend’s terror attack in London, I saw the end of an interview with Australian Labor Party politician, and “global counter-terrorism expert” Anne Aly, who, in 2015, was the “only Australian invited to the White House to speak at a countering-violent-extremism summit”.

 

A phrase she used caught my attention when she spoke of the conditions that led young Muslim men to turn to the kind of violent extremism displayed in the London attack and other terror events before it.

 

She spoke of a “radicalisation environment”, and from the short part of the interview I saw, I realised that the term could also be used to describe a very common kind of experience – where a community of likeminded people create an “environment” that reinforces particular views and a particular way of thinking. Contrary views are excluded, creating an echo-chamber of ideas where their adopted views are never seriously challenged.

In the “old” days – (my younger days) the term brainwashing was often used to describe a similar process, and it was conducted by groups that were often recognised as “cults” – which were comparatively benign in practice (relative to the Islamists of today), presenting no violent security threat to the community at large despite the personal and family costs that often resulted.

 

While the above mentioned “radicalisation environment” (or brainwashing) can create, reinforce and validate violent actions (as per the Islamists), that basic type of environment isn’t completely different to the experience of anyone who takes faith in God seriously. It is easy to isolate ourselves within groups of people of similar beliefs where the validity of those beliefs is not seriously challenged

The most significant difference is the nature of the God in whom we place our faith. How we think about God and what we believe about God will affect the way we act in response to Him. Simply stated; obedience to a violent god will produce violent followers and obedience to a loving God will produce loving followers.

 

A similar kind of “radicalisation environment” can be found in political groups, and partisan bias becomes so entrenched that the faults in one’s own “wing” of politics can become invisible, as can good aspects of the other political “wing”. Those within that “environment” can easily find themselves going with the flow, turning a blind eye to things they wouldn’t normally accept because it is part of the environment they entered and settled within. By identifying as “conservative” because the “conservative” wing of politics has certain views of morality that we see as scripturally endorsed, we can also be prone to aligning ourselves with some ideological stand points that under scrutiny contradict other parts of scripture.

 

Not only are religious and political thought affected by the insularity of “radicalisation environments”, the influence extends to embrace wider cultural norms; where our own culture is seen as the best, and others are seen as lacking, or aberrant in some way. In the past this has been displayed on the “mission field” where westernised cultural standards, such as dress codes and fashion styles were pressed upon communities as part of the “gospel” being presented.

But religion, politics and culture are never experienced in isolation from each other; and the wrong mix has the potential to become toxic, with national, cultural and political identities blending with religious identity. So our particular nation and culture, or our political views, (in our minds) become more favourable to God than other countries, cultures and political viewpoints. Our group is seen as His group. Our standards are seen as His standards. Our ways are seen as His ways.

 

That can give unwarranted justification to any group’s actions that in reality may be far outside of God’s agenda, and even contrary to it.

02
Jun
17

as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone

I see this as a continuation of what I wrote in my earlier post a hate-speech whirlwind, particularly with regard to the bible reference quoted in it.

1 Cor 5: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.”

 

Consider the content of the talk in this video. Compare and contrast its message with common Christian attitudes and behaviours towards others.
Does it concern you (even before listening to it) that the talk is given by a Muslim woman?

 

The Muslim on the Airplane: Amal Kassir

 

After taking some time to make the above mentioned comparison and contrast, consider how often commonly expressed and displayed Christian attitudes live up to the content of this scripture excerpt:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.




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