Monday, 21 April 2014

Militant atheists?

 So several prominent British humanists have written to the Times objecting to Cameron's description of Britain as a Christian country, saying this is not accurate. Well, I am pretty lukewarm towards politicians who bring up religion anyway as I am cynical enough to wonder whether the desire for votes lies behind the show of piety. I also think the objectors may have a point querying the christian nature of modern day Britain. However, I laughed out loud when I heard on the radio today that one of the signatories (can't remember who it was) had said he was "offended" because Cameron might be implying you couldn't be fully British without being Christian. Offended by something which may or may not have been implied - and most likely wasn't! Offended, really?
To quote the teenagers I know, "get over yourself!"
 They're an arid bunch at times aren't they? I really don't care for militant atheists any more than any other form of extremist.I suppose it is good to know that the different camps can be equally pompous and silly.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Sunday in Creole

I found this clip from the Patois bible online a few weeks ago. I was looking for examples of Jamaican Creole as we have to teach about pidgins and creoles for A2 English Language. I loved hearing such a familiar story in this form and hope you do too.
Happy Easter.

Friday, 18 April 2014

"He opened his arms of love upon the cross"

So goes a line in the liturgy. There are so many ways of seeing the Crucifixion, but one of the most accessible  interpretations  is that Jesus died to "show us how much he loved us", or to use scripture, that God so loved the world that he sent his only son. You might think that the line above from the liturgy reflects a relatively modern understanding- the touchy feely aspect of God rather than something more daunting and controversial, such penal substitution." Surprisingly though, the quote about opening arms is attributed to Hippolytus, right back in the third century.
                          Hoping you feel the embrace of Love this Good Friday:)

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Surprising Easter

Today, Maundy Thursday, has been my first chance to get some time to myself and to really appreciate the fact that it is Holy Week. A few weeks ago I planted some seeds- I'd almost forgotten about them until this afternoon when I found several small but distinctive shoots in evidence, tender green emerging through the soil.
Maybe it is just me, but I always feel a sense of delight and something akin to surprise when I see that a seed I've planted has grown. It is a tiny miracle that the shrivelled, tiny seed has that potential. Today it reminded me of the words of Jesus to his disciplines, "unless a seed falls into the earth and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it produces much fruit." Holy Week is a week of highs and lows and of surprise and paradox- meekness and majesty,  triumph from shame, life through death. It is a journey to the bleakest places, disappointment, fear, humiliation, rejection, betrayal, loss, grief, suffering and death, and then beyond to a garden where a tomb is transformed into a surprising symbol of hope and life because of the power of love and sacrifice. It is so outrageous as to provoke doubt, there is whiff of a conjuring trick and plenty of room for the doubting Thomas in us all.
Steven Turner cleverly plays on our ambiguous attitude to Easter in the poem below. By using the structure of a joke, he draws attention to our questioning, our inability to understand, our tendency to scoff or to dilute the message of Easter and, in his final "knock, knock", the message that Easter is not a riddle which we can fathom but a call to encounter the risen Christ for ourselves.

Poem for Easter

Tell me:
What came first
Easter or the egg?
or daffodils?
Three days in a tomb
or four days in Paris?
(returning  Bank Holiday Monday.)

When is a door
not a door?
When it is rolled away.
When is a body
not a body?
When it is a risen.

Why was it the Saviour rode on the cross?
To get us
to the other side.

Behold I stand.
Behold I stand and what?
Behold I stand at the door and

knock knock. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Vicars are just so multi-talented these days! (Don't worry, he doesn't break dance or anything...)