Wednesday 5 September 2012

Doodlings du jour

by Kim Fabricius

God is wise, God is just, God is merciful, God is omni-this and omni-that.  And, of course, there is the awesome holiness and glory of God.  But it is a great pity that no doctrine of God I know includes among the divine perfections the silliness of God.  There – put that in your Piper and smoke it.

Of course I am aware that there is a deep sorrow in the heart of God, and an irreducibly tragic dimension to human life.  I’m not a fantasist.  So in a Picassoesque portrait of God, by all means daub a tear.  Just don’t forget the polyhedral grin from ear to ear to ear.

It is widely acknowledged that God is a dancer, but not so well known that God prefers break to ballet – and ballet in the style of Miss Piggy.  But God is not Lord of the line dance.  Line dancing is the choreography of hell.

Someone kindly asked me if I ever considered doing stand-up.  Only ex cathedra.

Each of us may get our 15 minutes of fame (Warhol), but nowadays you’re lucky to get 15 seconds of truth – and counting…

Luther said that “faith is under the left nipple”.  So too is politics – if it’s got heart.

Some ministers boast of increasing congregations, others despair of diminishing ones.  Same pastoral pathology.  We should, however, remember that Jesus started on a mountain with a sermon to a multitude, and ended on a hill with a homélie-à-deux, one of whom heckled.

WWJD: not what would Jesus do, but why would Jesus do it – that is the question that might give us some loft on an ethical trajectory.

What’s the difference between the kingdom of God and the church?  The kingdom of God is an asshole-free zone.  Jesus said, “Don’t be an asshole: this is the law and the prophets.”

There are some churches that, for their παρρησία, should have crash helmets in the pews – and others, for their bullshit, Wellington boots.

It is never pleasant to be called anti-Semitic, but when the epithet is hurled at you when discussing the colonising of the West Bank, best not take it personally: the abuse is really just a truculent compliment to the cogency of your argument.

The most hateful and violent people are also the most fearful and joyless, and therefore the most to be pitied.  That is why our enemies need our prayers of love and forgiveness.

We should have the lack of self-consciousness of a dog, and the acute self-awareness of a cat (cf. Jesus).  But with our contemporary “How do I look?” narcissism on the one hand, and our culture of lies (not to mention our inveterate propensity for self-deceit) on the other – well, it’s hard times for being human.

That we also live in a culture of fear has been well rehearsed and documented (pre-dating 9/11, by the way).  One harbinger of the passing of this particular social pathology will be the reappearance of the hitchhiker.

I often visit what the British now call “care homes”.  Actually they are harbours.  A few boats may be moored, a few others drifting close to shore.  But most are out at sea, and some right on the horizon.  The people on board are waving their arms.  But in greeting, farewell, or panic and desperation?  They are too far away to tell.  One imagines the Lord gently calling to them, “Ahoy.”

Will Self.  What will?  Whose self?  It’s hard to believe that this isn’t a satirical nom de plume of the sharp, iconoclastic British writer – but it isn’t.  And it gets better:  Will Self has kids named Luther and Ivan.  Seriously.

Drugs in sport?  The London Olympics were a paradigm example of sport-as-drugs, a media-injected amphetamine spectacle (cf. Guy DeBord).  The BBC even tried some uncharacteristic crack-pot patriotic cheerleading – though Gary Lineker was a broadcasting barbiturate, wasn’t he?

Jonathan Edwards – no, not the American theologian, the British athlete – won the silver medal in the Triple Jump at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and then the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Games.  He still holds the world record – 18.43m – set at the World Championships in 1995.  Edwards was a charming, photo-friendly evangelical Christian, and a real psalm and dance was made of his faith at the time in marketing Christianity to young people.  Then Edwards lost his faith.  Now, in the London Olympics, Mo Farah has won double gold in the 10,000 and 5,000 Metres.  Farah is a charming, photo-friendly Muslim.  So…  

Moral: (pace Augustine, ambivalently, on Victorinus) the Celebrity Gospel will get you a gold medal in the Mug’s Games. 

Romney – and now Ryan.  Sweet Jesus, Mary, and Smith!

Tea Party politics are rewriting the science books: Moronic Design in biology; Continental Catastrophism in geology; and in physics, Even-Darker Matter, the Beelzebub Particle, and the Theory of Anti-Gravity (the Trickle-Up Effect).

If you want to see how utterly ridiculous is the theopolitical narrative of American exceptionalism, take a look at the tragi-comic version now playing in Russia, with its own themes of God, soil, and family, and its own cast of characters – messianic ruler, high priests, and court prophets with their hananiads – likewise drawn from the Christian Right.  Not to forget the scapegoat to secure national identity.

Idea for a Nativity Play this Advent: A Hard Time We Had of It, featuring the Three MagOi! from the East (who are arrested and tried for singing a punk Magnificat in the Temple); with King Vladimir (a Rufus T. Firefly of a figure), the Head of Secret Police and High Priest Kirill (famous for his miracle of the “immaculate disappearance of the watch”), and Pontius Syrova (renown for her laconic FOTF judicial rulings), stage extreme right.  The curtain closes as the MagOi! are escorted from the city “by another road” to a crib in Siberia.  Alternatively, a Passion Play suggests itself, with the same dramatis personae, and an opening scene entitled “Riot in the Temple”, followed by an unfolding plot of arrest, show trial, and punishment for crimes against religion, civic and sacral. 

The opulent, the desperate, and the bored are the meat and drink of superstition.  Hence its current obesity issues.

Imagine (if you can) in every café, mall, stadium, airport, the sudden vanishment of all handheld technology.  Imagine (if you dare!) the massive manual shock, feelings of forsakenness, and contorted looks of anguish and utter vacuity.  Only one artist could paint this horrific picture: Hieronymus Bosch.  It is called ipocalypse.

Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must watch with joy and wonder the curveball of Sandy Koufax.  

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