You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Alternative Postmodern Unorthodox - It's all the same to me

An article in The Age covering the efforts of one "alternative" worship service in Melbourne.

Read it here

No disrespect intended but I am still finding it difficult to come to grips with the idea behind such efforts.

Best search phrases to date have been "alternative worship" and - yup, you guessed it - "postmodern worship".

Now I am looking not just for a "theology" or "rationale" for postmodern worship, but for a reasonable critique of its modus operandi (and if I can't find one I shall be forced to write my own, but I cannot guarantee that it will be "reasonable").

From my understanding, pomo worship concentrates mainly on the felt need of the worshippers, generated through artistic installations. This is a great distance, IMHO from authentic NT worship, which are the acts of Christians done in response to the saving work of Christ - the one true worshipper - for example, taking care of orphans and widows.

See Hebrews 12 for more.

Postmodern worship is a much a distraction from authentic NT worship as are the mega churches with so-called "worship leaders" who promise to "usher you into the presence of God."

This is a futile quest for the numinous apart from the everyday, when in fact there as followers of Christ there is no distinction between sacred and secular, as we are already always in the presence of God. And we cannot get any closer by our owns mean, whether these be reflective contemplations, enthusiastic Hillsongs or alternative worship installations.

These are human-made props that are intended to serve as a ladder to God, when in fact our ladder has already been nailed to a piece of wood.

His name? Jesus.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Tom's first law of Christian culture

Tom's first law of Christian culture:

Once something new has become familiar enough that it is no longer too threatening for Christians to invoke, then it has become so familiar to the general culture that it’s stale to the average non-Christian.

EXAMPLE: If someone says something new about God or religion in a less-reverent-than-we’re-used-to way, the reaction from Christians will be outrage and cries of “blasphemy” for the first ten years, and then finally “Well, it’s not so bad… You can find some good in it…” the next ten, and finally after the third decade, “Hey! Remember XYZ from 30 years ago? Well, we’re ‘cool’ enough to be able to ‘rap’ about it with you – even joke with you about it – without having any ‘hassles’ about it being irreverent!”

Discuss, class, with reference to Jesus Christ Superstar in the Sixties, Godspell and Monty Python’s Life of Brian in the Seventies, Kirk Cameron (of Growing Pains fame) in the Eighties, rap music (remember MC Hammer, anyone?) in the Nineties, and now The Matrix in the Double Zeroes.

Call No Man "Father"...

Surely someone with the surname “Abbott” should've foreseen the possibility of men’s genes ending up in unexpected places.

(For American readers: Tony Abbott, Member of the House of Representatives and Australia’s federal Minister for Health, is approximately – in politics, religious views, and personal style – the equivalent of Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum).

Four comments on this:

1. Didn’t more or less the same thing once happen to Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation?

2. PacĂȘ Mrs Donnelly, the withdrawal method is not “Vatican Roulette.” Rather, it's usually referred to as “the Queensland Rail method” (“we always pull out just in time”) or, by the Vatican itself, as “the grave sin of onanism” (since it's what Onan did in Genesis 38:8-10 -- albeit with his late brother’s widow, whom he wasn’t supposed to have sex with at all except for the specific purpose of giving her a child: see Deuteronomy 25:56). “Vatican roulette” is the nickname for the timed-abstinence method where the couple deliberately schedule their intercourse for a safe (read: non-fertile) time of the woman’s cycle. Its supporters prefer to call this method “Natural Family Planning,” because there's nothing artificial about it (since thermometers and vaginal temperature charts have been found growing on trees in the wild for millennia).

3. Objectively speaking, I would say this reduces to somewhere around 0.001% the Australian Law Reform Commission's hopes of persuading the Howard Government to put legislation before Parliament to outlaw DNA tests in disputed child-support cases.

4. After this episode, will Mr Abbott still want to base Australia’s constitutional arrangements on a system of government that places such a high premium on paternity being reliably evidenced?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Pope and the Da Vinci Code

Amidst all the current controversy about Dan Brown's da Vinci Code there has been a group of people over at who have been working indistriously on this problem for some time.

Some quotes from the article Cracking The Da Vinci Code:

"The author is Dan Brown. He is a former English teacher who has authored three previous books"

Go English teachers! Yeah! After years of reading dreary essays, stories and conspiracy theories from genertaions of glazed-eyed students, now Dan has the cahnce to inflict his on the world.

"Should other Christians be concerned about the book?Definitely. Only some of the offensive claims of The Da Vinci Code pertain directly to the Catholic Church. The remainder strike at the Christian faith itself. If the book's claims were true, then all forms of Christianity would be false (except perhaps for Gnostic/feminist versions focusing on Mary Magdalene instead of Jesus)."

Yeah! Go Gnostics! Go Feminist theology!Go anyone who wants to make up their own religion from works of speculative (science) fiction! Hang on, don't we already have scientology?

Apart from this the real tragedy is those who are prepared to give intellect and faith assent to the narrative found in The da Vinci Code (for which there is little historical evidence and much speculation and conspiracy theorising) and offer NO time for true christianity (for which there is much evidence and can readily withstand testing according to accepted standards of judicial, scientific and historical fact).

I'll give the final word to

"It isn't a defense to say that The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction. Fiction can't change the basic facts about major historical figures without being subject to criticism. People would be outraged if Doubleday printed a novel portraying Adolf Hitler in a positive light. Christians have a right to be outraged when the basic historical facts about Christ are falsified. The criticism will be even more intense when a publisher releases a book parodying the most sacred beliefs of others in this fashion."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Fun and games in the land of cheese and clogs

An article about the new Dutch Groningen Protocol "a new set of guidelines ...that deal with ending the lives of babies whose medical conditions have supposedly sentenced them to a life of unbearable suffering."

Interesting read. Especially about euthanising children and the post-modern god of "tolerance"

"Never have we as a society talked so much about tolerance; never have we shown so little tolerance to those who do not fit our idea of what is clean or right or beautiful or democratic. We have long had trouble tolerating people of other races and religions, and economic and political systems that are different from ours. Now we are losing our ability to tolerate babies that don’t measure up."

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Failure to Grasp the Concept

If Mark Shea wasn't currently on blogging hiatus to finish his book A Catholic Discovers Matthew 12:48, it would be his office to link to this story below under the heading "Failure to Grasp the Concept". In Mark's absence, we perform this vital public service instead:

THE Irish Republican Army (IRA) said today it had offered to "shoot" those who killed a Catholic man following a pub brawl, but the victim's family rejected violence and wanted the case taken to court. The IRA, the main Catholic paramilitary group in Northern Ireland, said it had told the family it "was prepared to shoot the people directly involved in the killing of Robert McCartney", who died on January 30 in Belfast. His murder prompted not only a campaign for justice by his family but caused wide protests from areas of Belfast where there is traditional support for the IRA and its political wing Sinn Fein. [...]

-- Agence France-Presse, "IRA offer to execute killers" (9 March 2005)

"We're not a gang of killers! Just to prove that, we'll kill any of our members who commit homicide!"

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Daily Fruit

Just came into the inbox:

The sign of the coming kingdom will be the true man, the true woman - not the Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist. Religious people can say what they like, but this will not hinder the burgeoning movement of people and nations toward a humanity that strives for higher goals. And though these goals may seem weak and incomplete, God will still protect and preserve them for a new future.

An excerpt from a letter written by a pastor to his son working as a missionary in China.

I wonder what the son had to say. Time to pack up and go home? The message of Christ has already been said by Confucious, Buddha and Mohhamed.

Raise the Bleached Mullet

First we hear that former Van Halen frontsman David Lee Roth has swapped his striped leather pants for a New York paramedic's uniform:

Legendary Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth has stopped "runnin' with the devil" to do God's work -- riding ambulances in gritty neighborhoods throughout New York City to become a paramedic.

The famed rocker has cut his trademark blond mane and dropped his celebrity persona so he can ride unrecognized with ambulance crews in The Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn several nights a week.

Several weeks ago, the charismatic crooner saved the life of a Bronx woman who had a heart attack by shocking her back to life with a defibrillator.

The Post caught up with Roth last week as the 1980s icon grabbed a slice of pepperoni pizza after sitting for hours in an ambulance waiting for a call.

Just three days earlier, he had played to an adoring rock-'n'-roll crowd in Minnesota.

Roth, 49, initially expressed reservations about discussing his latest endeavor because he felt publicity "would diminish what I am trying to do here."

But the following day, he told The Post more about his new passion.

"I have been on over 200 individual rides now," Roth told The Post. "Not once has anyone recognized me, which is perfect for me."

"It has been an eye-opening adventure," said Roth, who asked The Post not to disclose which "very colorful neighborhoods" he works in because he doesn't want to draw attention to himself or his colleagues. [...]

-- Erika Martinez, "David Lee Roth a NYC Paramedic", Fox News (16 November 2004)

One pictures DLR correcting a colleague's inept CPR by screeching "You'll lose her in the turn!". But better not put him on duty talking would-be suicides into climbing down, especially not from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Now, I learn that former Sydney Swans football godling Warwick Capper is now a "nondescript road worker flipping a stop-go sign for $16.50 an hour":

[...] Warwick Capper has gone from one-time Sydney Swans sex symbol to nondescript road worker flipping a stop-go sign for $16.50 an hour.
Almost unrecognisable in a reflective top, sheriff-style cap and sunglasses, Capper began work last week with Queensland road management company Traffic Services Australia.

Capper, keen to downplay his latest foray into the workforce, expressed surprise when contacted by The Sunday Telegraph.

"How did you get that photo of me?" he asked of a shot of him at work. "Mate I'm not a council worker, I just drive utes for this private company. I don't do it fulltime, I only work for them a couple of times a month. How funny is that?"

Capper, who rocketed to prominence when he kicked 103 goals for Sydney in the 1987 season, insists he has not fallen on hard times.

"No way, I needed to do something casual because I'm very busy and I'm going away all the time," he said. "My wife started it all - she said: 'Stop being a big-head, go and get a job in the real world'. It's certainly been an eye-opener. Even though I don't do too many hours, it's a lot bloody harder than life as a celebrity." [...]

-- Peter Badel, "High-flyer working as stop-go man", (27 February 2005)

Cappa would be less wasted if he, too, worked as a paramedic. You can be durned sure no one would bleed to death with one of his tourniquets.

PS: Re Dawn Eden's sacking -- to complicate the picture, she's also ethnically Jewish and a convert to Christianity.