When fellow Christians speak of the separation of church and state I find it’s necessary to tease out what they mean by that.
Do they mean church should only be overseeing the personal dimensions of life while the state overseeing the political dimensions of life, as in a two kingdoms model? Or do they see separation in more counter cultural terms, and seek to exercise power differently to the powerful, as in a rival kingdoms model? In other words, is the state a type of Jerusalem that we should feel at home in or a type of Babylon that we should feel like exiles in?
Personally I lean towards the latter. The kingship of Jesus is not limited to one dimension of life. Jesus is Lord of all dimensions of life. Jesus is the king of kings, or president of presidents if you will. I see it this way: we are to be loyal to the state only to the extent that it doesn’t conflict with higher loyalties … and we can be assured that at some point those loyalties will come into conflict. At that point we will have to choose between two kings. We can’t follow both at the same time all the time.
Isabel Mac Eachainn said that a widow woman at Tabal, Mull, had a cow ill with the tarbhan (swelling from surfeit), and she was wringing her hands and beating her breast to see her beloved cow in pain. At that moment she saw Calum Cille, Columba, and his twelve disciples in their curachan (little boat or coracle), rowing home to Iona. The widow ran down to the rudha (point) and hailed Calum Cille, and asked him to heal her cow. Calum Cille never turned a dull ear to the poor, to the penitent, to the distressed, and he came ashore and made the ora to the white cow, and the white cow rose upon her feet and shook herself and began to browse upon the green grass before her.
Go thou home, bronag, and have faith in the God who made thee and in Christ the Saviour who loved thee and died for thee, and in thine own self, and all will go well with thee and with thy cow.
Having said this, Calum Cille rejoined his followers in the curachan and resumed his journey to Hi. There was no one like Calum Cille, no one, my dear. He was big and handsome and eloquent, haughty to the over-haughty and humble to the humble, kind to the weak and wounded.
Parramatta Councillor Michael McDermott emailed me earlier today with the news that Parramatta City Council yesterday approved new banners for Christmas that actually reference Christmas! He's now asking you and me for help in sharing the news.
It demonstrates that reverse discrimination against Christianity, in the name of political correctness, can be successfully challenged if we're reasonable in the way we go about it. McDermott says he wants to encourage other cities "to look long and hard at how they are celebrating Christmas."
Have a look for yourselves.
These are the banners from previous years
These are the banners for this year
Spot the difference? The first lot remind me of the "Mr Hankie" episode from Southpark crossed with War of the Worlds. Are the second lot really so horrible in comparison?
McDermott says, "No one is offended by you doing this and your residents will love it." Even if they don't, I say, if we can celebrate Dwali as a community why not Christmas?
For more articles on Parramatta and Christmas
PDF article – Parramatta the First City of Christmas
Easter in Parramatta
Parramatta Council dumps Seasons Greetings signs
Okay, so only a few of you have heard of Raptor Jesus? Let me enlighten you then. Raptor Jesus is a 4chan meme that involves crudely photoshopping raptor heads onto Jesus bodies. The meme is popular amongst New Atheists and other critics of Christianity.
Here’s one example:
For more examples see Raptor Jesus Art. I suspect the meme evolved from a similar meme involving Jesus and dinosaurs.
As you’d expect, or maybe not, a mock-mythology has arisen around this, about the long-prophesied Second Coming of Raptor Jesus and of his adversary Satanasaurus Rex. The prophets of Raptor Jesus cry, “Repent, sinners and slow-moving herbivores, for the Velocirapture is upon you.”
Of course, the velocirapture should not be confused with Catnarok, which is more of a lolcat thing.
Huffington Post launched an interesting article on Mythology, Media and the Future of Hinduism yesterday. Here's an extract:
"At present, Hindu mythology is under strain from two opposite tendencies that are not entirely unrelated to broader debates about religion and politics in India and the diaspora. There seems to be a "didactic" extreme and an "experimental" extreme in present approaches to the tales of the gods. The didactic tendency views mythology as a litany of facts about history and geography. It shows up in some of the recent animated mythological movies. The gods are depicted like pop culture superhero figures while a pedantic voice lists facts about them. The experimental tendency, on the other hand, sees mythology as open to virtually any sort of reinterpretation without regard to virtue or intent. Some artists and intellectuals espouse this view, and end up assuming that any imputation of sanctity to mythology is inherently fundamentalist."
Remind you of anything?
Related articles on Hinduism
The Spirit of Hinduism
Folk Hinduism and Philosophical Hinduism
Trinity International Baptist Mission have just embarked on a series of articles on contextualized discipleship amongst Hindus. The first article is on obedience versus pragmatism. The image alone grabbed my attention.
What do you think of this painting by artist Tim Stewart? It is called 'Open Heaven' and seems to represent a Pentecost moment of some sort. What are some of your favourite images of Pentecost?
This evening I stumbled across the blog of Brad Thomasan, a graphic designer who's put together Sixty-Six Clouds, a visual exploration of word frequency in the Bible.
Brad describes it thus: "Each book of the Bible was individually imported into www.wordle.net to create a unique word cloud for all sixty-six books. The significance of word clouds is that they quickly present the gist of large bodies of written materials at a glance."
I think it's great. This one to the left here is from the Gospel of Mark, one of my favourite books of the Bible. Funny enough, Jesus, discipleship and movement words feature prominantly. Who would have thought 🙂
The most unique book was of course Song of Songs. Much to ponder there. In any case, check it out.
If you are interested in yoga, I highly recommend you check out Lisa Miller's article on The Clash of the Yogis. It seems secular spirituality author Deepak Chopra has been clashing with others on the Hindu roots of yoga and Miller makes some interesting observations about American culture in the process.
Personally, I think Chopra is being disingeneous. It's long been my observation that the hardest core of Hindu teaching is dharma, karma and reincarnation, not the gods of its pantheon, and since Deepak Chopra teaches dharma, karma and reincarnation his approach hardly qualifies as religiously neutral.
While we're on the subject of alien Christs, how many of you have seen this Battlestar Galactica version of the Last Supper?
As a science fiction fan I can laugh at it, but as a Christian I have to ask – Cylon as God? Could you get more theologically screwed?