Saturday, April 11, 2009
I offer this poem by John Updike as an Easter meditation.
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not papier - mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
— From Telephone Poles and Other Poems by John Updike
© 1961 by John Updike
John Updike's take is that if all there is is all we can control, we are dead to truth and beauty, and most to be pitied. This Easter, my prayer for you is a deep encounter with the truth of the Risen Christ - a true human (like you and me) and also true God. As his body has been raised into glorified perfection, so shall ours be. And as his body is one, may he also make his church - his body on earth - to be one. Amen.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Does your church make long-term mistakes in doctrine & practice for short-term payoff?
Don't expect them to be around much longer. Especially when they call killing off the next generation 'a blessing'!!!
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
The liberties we enjoy in a democracy are inseparable from freedom of expression. The exercise of that freedom makes demands on us all. Nowhere are those demands more highly charged than where religious groupings believe their faith has been insulted.
Those sections of society that are unable to tease out the relationship between freedom of expression and self-restraint, or to understand that, when offence is given, challenge — rather than violence or prohibition — should be the response, pose a threat to the fabric of a democratic state.
FREEDOM of expression is a dearly bought and cherished attribute of democracy. Respect and consideration for the sensibilities of others should be equally valued. The freedom to hold an opinion does not confer the right to express it regardless of context. Neither does personal or collective offence necessarily license prohibition of offending material.
There is no right to be protected from offence, but there is a right — even a duty — to engage in debate, and thus to challenge the giver of offence. It is through debate that we learn what may be tolerated and what must be proscribed. Violence of speech or action short-circuits this civilised usage, and gives rise to oppression, fear, and resentment.
Prohibition has reinforced the idea that violent protest is the only response to falsehood....defamation must be met with dialogue. Neither tolerance nor self-restraint is learned under the rule of the censor.
Monday, April 06, 2009
St. Richard of Chichester’s Prayer
Thanks be to you, my lord, Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits that you have given me;
For all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
O, most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know you more clearly;
Love you more dearly;
And follow you more nearly. Amen.