Sunday 25 March 2012

Doodlings: a(nother) Sequel

by Kim Fabricius

The homophobic Christian world should be applauding gay marriage.  If it’s anything like the heterosexual variety, there goes the torrid sex it finds so disgusting.  

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”  That’s Yeats writing seriously in the aftermath of the First World War, anticipating the fantastical apocalyptic prognostications of some churchmen on gay marriage.

I was recently on a radio programme discussing gay marriage with Stephen Green, the leader of Christian Voice, a notorious UK pressure group for Christian values (sic).  (Mr. Green supported the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009.)  He spoke first.  He tried to speak second too.  Which was fine by me: I could hardly have done a better job in discrediting his own position.

My own local church is discussing the blessing of civil partnerships.  There is an emerging concern that, regardless of the theological merits of the matter, we might become known as the church that does gay marriages.  On “not being ashamed of the gospel” takes on a new urgency. I am cautiously optimistic that the church will say Yes, but I’m keeping the room tidy for my old friend Failure, who is a frequent visitor to the manse.

In Jude the Obscure, Hardy uses the phrase “parson in embryo”. Now there’s a kind of abortion I could support.

Start the day by reading the latest news on the Republican primaries. As with Mark Twain’s breakfast of live frog, your day can’t get any worse – unless you choke with laughter and despair.

Mitt Romney is a Mormon, but Rick Santorum is different by only a subtracted letter.

Michael Stafford has recently referred to “the heresy of religious opposition to global warming”.  He is too kind.  Rowan Williams describes heresies as “near-misses”.  But while Arius and Pelagius were at least intellectually and morally around the target, the likes of Perry and Santorum, driven by self-serving economic and ideological interests, couldn’t hit the broadside of Crystal Cathedral with a laser-guided missile. 

It’s true that smart people seldom make the world a better place.  But then neither do stupid people.

Richard Dawkins and Alain de Botton: bad cop, good cop.  The one would have the church executed, the other given a life sentence of community service, ushering in a museum or concert hall.  I’d rather take the needle than become a cultural asset.

Tradition may be a wise visitor from a foreign country.  Or it may be an old, untraveled, chauvinistic fool.  Only an attentive conversation, patient with muddle, will tell, as we hear each other to approximate and provisional truth.

Christ is a stranger because I am a stranger to myself, but he is a stranger who is a friend.  That is why my existential homelessness should be not only a matter of woe but also of welcome: Christ bids me to be as hospitable to myself as I am to him, the amicable alien at the entrance to my tent. 

Shaw was wrong when he aphorised, “He who can does, he who can’t teaches.”  The teacher can do; if he doesn’t, it’s only because he wants tenure.

To get out of Afghanistan would be to dishonour the self-sacrifice of our young men and women.  In other words – as Doc Daneeka might put it – we honour the dead by ensuring that there are more and more dead to honour.

On drawing “large and startling figures” (Flannery O’Connor): an American kills a lot of innocent people and he’s a hero who is sick; a Muslim kills a lot of innocent people and he’s a terrorist who is evil.

What is the difference between Christ and us? His sinlessness, his obedience, his being filled with Holy Spirit? Yes, yes. Or: Jesus was awake. The disciples in Gethsemane is the human condition: we sleep.

Bultmannian versicle and response at Easter:
Minister: The Lord is risen!
People: He is risen in creed!

On the evangelical view of hell, you make your bed and you lie in it. The universalist may agree, but he insists that it’s a nap – and that the bed is King size (Psalm 139:8).

Everything depends on your image of God – and therefore, apart from the smile, on not using indelible ink on your pictures-in-progress.

“Cognitive Therapy”?  You mean “preaching”? 

Of course there are virtuous Christians who sit in boardrooms, and they can make a real difference.  After all, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea sat on the Sanhedrin.

Pundits write in the Good Church Guide about the “poisoned chalice” of Canterbury cuisine. Presumably because the sommelier is George Carey.

You’ve heard of LEPs (Local Ecumenical Partnerships).  The Anglican Communion is a GEP – a Global Ecumenical Partnership.  And I fear it will soon fall apart.  Which could turn the so-called ecumenical winter into an ice age.

You want a Christ figure?  Our old friend Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.  In the winter he’s performing miracles, in March he gets betrayed and crucified.  Some pundits say he may now be headed for either Jacksonville or Miami.  Florida – the descensus ad infernos.  Oops – I just heard the New York Jets signed Tim, so it’s straight ad caelos!

Life is the thesis.  Then comes the viva.

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