Friday 15 February 2013

Dissident doodlings

by Kim Fabricius

The pope tweets – and then retires. You think that’s a coincidence?

The 2013 Super Bowl was the eschatological full Monty: two weeks of purgatorial tack, including Bible-bashing bullshit; the heavenly butted Beyoncé at halftime; two teams elegantly beating the hell out of each other; even a power blackout, surely God’s judgement (Katrina-lite) on the Big Easy’s hookers, gamblers, and gays.

Let’s get this, er, straight: God does not hate fags. God not only loves gays, he likes, enjoys gays, delights in their company (cf. James Alison). God does not hate fag-haters either, God loves homophobes too. Maybe (with Alisonian generosity, though it’s a stretch) God even likes them. It would be nice if they would return the favour.

Any reservations I had about gay marriage – ever since I gave it any thought, I have always supported the blessing gay unions – have finally dissipated after observing the way it has divided the Tories and undermined their chances of winning the next general election. I mean, that’s got to be providential, right?

An NRA national convention is not a pretty sight: a spectacle of mass mensicide.

Initially horrified to hear that there are American churches where you can bear firearms at worship, I now think, hey, at least there’s always a chance that someone will shoot the preacher.

Responding to an excerpt from an interview with N.T. Wright in which the British scholar speaks of the incredulity with which the developed world regards the religious right’s opposition to a national healthcare system, one blogger commented: “Yes, of course American conservatives want more sick and dead people. That’s it exactly.” He thought he was being ironic.

In the early 70s I settled in the UK as an expat. Today I’d be an asylum seeker. A recurring nightmare is that I am in a holding cell at Heathrow awaiting rendition.

Know your Bible, keep the commandments, exercise self-control, choose a righteous lifestyle (for sin is a matter of choice and you’re responsible), keep yourself pure (for the world is corrupt), grow up (don’t be a baby), suffer in silence, be a good citizen, fear hell, keep it simple. Recognise your kind of Christianity in these ten, er, propositions? Don’t let it worry you that a Pelagian could tick all the boxes.

A Pelagian is an Augustinian who has never grown up.

It figures that Marilynne Robinson is a Calvinist: her writing is irresistibly graceful.

I really like Anne Lamott, I do. I sense a soul-mate (getting wrecked and reading recklessly opened her mind). But now that I have read three of her many books – well, you should read it too.

Imagine having a “personal relationship with Jesus”. Exactly.

For some complementarians, it’s wasn’t Adam and Eve, it was Adam and Jeeves.

The Bible, of course, is a library, not a book. Still, you may read it from cover to cover – though the wisest theological and literary strategy is to start at the end and work backwards, for that’s the only way the Bible really makes sense. 

It embraces the intellectual, the somatic, and the improvisatory – the restlessly probing mind, the desiring body, the spirit in pilgrimage – and the full range of the affections – praise and joy, anguish and lament, acceptance and protest. That is why, for me, jazz is the epitome of (dreadful term, I know) Christian music.

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Of course: the political and electoral systems of liberal democracies are a game, a game that’s fixed, a game of two haves.

The only good argument for Establishment I know is that Rowan Williams now sits in the House of Lords (as [the Red?] Baron Williams of Oystermouth) – admittedly beside the atrocious argument of George Carey.

If the living dead are zombies, then the dead living are …? Fundies, I guess (cf. Jaroslav Pelikan on the “dead faith of living people”). Call them pistiscides.

The question is not WWJD but WIJD.

On the kingdom of God belonging to children, after he had finished the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Now let’s play pretend …”

The good news is that grandchildren are the most wonderful creatures in the world. The bad news is that you’ve got to have children to get them.

Favourite word-play of all time: Obit anus, abit onus. – Schopenhauer, on the death of a woman to whom he had been paying disability allowance for 26 years after physically throwing her out of his apartment.

Speaking of Schopenhauer, I’ve just been re-perusing a collection of his works – for light relief after finishing Robert Martin’s biography of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Opening Day for the Mets this year is April 1. You couldn’t make it up. Mind, it’s also the day after Easter, and the day my wife had a quadruple bypass four years ago. Hope springs eternal!

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