Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
"The priest asked the congregation to revise St. Mark 17 and master it, so that they could discuss it the next Sunday.
On the D-day, he started his sermon by asking those who had read the chapter to raise their hands. He then asked them to stand up for recognition saying they were God's chosen."
You know what happened next, right?
Friday, May 18, 2007
For years, Falwell, Robertson and Dobson dominated the Christian message. But now, some younger evangelicals are complaining that the old message focuses more on what Christians are against than on what they are for.
I got a sense of this at Northland church, talking with Robert Andrescik, 35. He observed that Jesus spoke far more of helping the sick and the poor than he did of sexual morality. And the people Jesus rebuked were not the sinners, but the religious leaders.
"The message there is, if we're living it, and we are compassionate ourselves, that will draw people unto God more than these vitriolic sort of attacks," he said. "If we're going to be like Christ, we have to embrace these compassion issues."
And of course all of this has political implications. James Dobson, one of the old guard, has declared that he will not necessarily vote in 2008 (thank you Julie for the link).
In a piece published on the conservative Web site WorldNetDaily, Dobson wrote that Giuliani's support for abortion rights and civil unions for homosexuals, as well as the former mayor's two divorces, were a deal-breaker for him.
"I cannot, and will not, vote for Rudy Giuliani in 2008. It is an irrevocable decision," he wrote.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Marches through the city, always a marking of territory, are carefully negotiated. Cross community projects take years to bring about but around and outside the city walls new shopping centers have sprung up. Tourism is an industry.
In Bogside, the center of Nationalists in Derry, a mural known as "the death of innocence," a butterfly, once a single color, now is painted in full color. The murals have been a place of change and healing. As a quote (adapted from Archbishop Tutu) on the website says:-
"A wound must be cleaned out and examined before it will heal. It is the unexamined wound that festers and finally poisons. Our murals shows the wounds. It is true public art, an open book to be seen and read."
The Museum of Free Derry offers a different perspective on history but this diversity of museums is a good thing to remember a divided past. Lord Saville's Bloody Sunday Inquiry initiated under Tony Blair has yet to make its final report.
There's a new Polish community in Derry. 1000 have applied to join the new police force. A new ferry (2002) links Greencastle across the Foyle with Northern Ireland and it has brought a new connections. Protestants see the southern ecomony as impressive and they envy it. No longer is it seen as "a priest ridden banana republic" as Ian Paisley once described it. Families speak openly of their relatives in the republic.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Overall, I am reluctantly impressed with my ebook. Yet I write this on a busy table crammed with books - mostly for my Radio 4 programme Start the Week, as it happens. There's a brilliant new biography of the young Stalin, John Major on the history of early cricket (fascinating plates in both), Mark Tully's new book on India, and Timothy Phillips's book on the Beslan massacre, which is really a book about Russia and the Caucasus. Over there is a picture book on war graves (very moving), and a book from the 1930s about Walter Raleigh for a radio project. And at any minute, the doorbell will go and the very first bound copy of my own new book, a history of modern Britain, will arrive - I hope. And the truth is that all of these give me pleasure of a kind I won't find on a screen. All my life I've somehow assumed that simply owning books like Tully's, or the Stalin biography, made me a better person. Well, that didn't work, but the instinct remains.
Meanwhile, my advice to the makers is to refine the page-turning just a little more, offer a battered blue cloth-bound wallet and, above all, make it smell - just a little musty, please. Or dank. You could offer a choice. But it's clear enough that after all the waiting and the over-hyping, the ebook is arriving. Before long you are going to see them being carried nonchalantly around. And after that some of you, at least, are going to buy one.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
A past like Giuliani's betrays a level of self-indulgence that, if nothing else, suggests that more fireworks are in store and that the show will be long-running. We'll all be strapped into front-row seats. Giuliani's psychodramas may or may not tell us about the sort of leader he'll be, but we've already been forced to think enough about the sort of man he is. (The prospect of President Hillary Clinton and four more years of her marriage leaves me with a similar sense of dread.) All elections are trade-offs. But when a candidate starts off with a loutish and loathsome past, chances are good that his time in office will be marked by missteps and distraction and that he'll be more irritating and less effective as a result.
Just how much weight do we give to the personal lives of candidates running for public office?
"So hope for a great sea-change on the far side of revenge/ Believe that a further shore is reachable from here/Believe in miracles and cures and healing wells."
Here's the Independent today on "The Miracle of Belfast" and some local reaction from the Belfast Telegraph.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Mr Paisley declared: "In politics, as in life, it is a truism that no one can ever have 100% of what they desire. They must make a verdict when they believe they have achieved enough to move things forward.
"I can say to you today that I believe Northern Ireland had come to a time of peace, a time when hate will no longer rule. How good it will be to be part of the wonderful healing in this province today."
A participant in the peace process says that understanding the enemy is the key to peace. And here's Kenneth Kearon's take on the relevance of this day for the Anglican church: its at the local level.
“The Irish experience would say that at the heart of reconciliation is engagement and conversation,” he said. However, the intent to talk is not enough, for “real reconciliation is very, very difficult. The sort of listening that enables you to enter into the experience of the other person and begin to see through their eyes.
“It takes courage” and requires “significant and symbolic gestures,” he said, and demands that one “accept things that you would have found offensive in the past.”
Although the rhetoric was worrying, Canon Kearon said he was encouraged by the conversations underway “where people have been engaged in dialogue in a public way across what looked like an irreconcilable divide.”
Saturday, May 05, 2007
"No doubt," continued de Solenni, "women need a voice in the Church, but it must be an authentic voice and not their voice made to sound like a man's."
Women, she stated, have a unique role in the Church and in society and that role should not be forced into masculine paradigms. "To do so," she said, "runs the risk of losing what is truly feminine -- not the femininity of fashion, but the varied femininity of women saints, whose personalities and strengths span just as far as those of men saints … if not more."
In the May 4th edition of the online Church Times, "Using Judas To Push an Agenda," Robin Griffith-Jones uses the word "handbagged" to describe N.T.Wright's rhetorical approach (to Gnosticism) in a review of his book, Judas and the Gospel of Jesus. I confess to feeling both "sandbagged and hornswoggled" reading N. T. Wright but not actually "handbagged" (yet).
We began with the Etruscan chariot (see picture) in the galleries above the atrium. Then we descended to see the bust of Constantine (below) which is one of the few explicitly Christian items on display. We moved on to the classic image of Herakles (top) in the atrium near the central fountain and thence to contrasting examples of Hellenistic interest in different types of humanity such as older and younger humans (the Old Woman is Roman, Julio Claudian 14-68CE and a copy of a 2nd Century BCE Greek statue, image thanks to the Met). We then crossed the atrium to the two small statues in a corner of the atrium devoted to intellectual pursuits of the Hellenistic age (bust of Herodotus and a seated philosopher). In a reconstructed night room (cubiculum nocturnum) just off the central atrium at the Greek and Roman exhibit yesterday we form a group picture. This room is Roman of the late republic ca. 50-40BCE from the villa of P. Fennius Synistor at Boscoreale, near Pompeii.Then we went to the treasury with its spectacular Hellenistic gold armbands of the 2nd Century BCE with triton emblems and the veiled the veiled masked dancer of the same period possibly from Alexandria. We finished with a funerary relief of a reclining married couple of the late Republic.
In the whole exhibit, there is an enormous amount of material that one has to make intentional efforts to comprehend. I tried to move chronologically from the Etruscan through the Hellenistic to the Roman. To do this one has to avoid entering the central hall at the beginning. However since the hall is the natural focus point perhaps the focus shouldn't be chronological. If the Etruscan material is away from the main focus, it is seen as separate from the atrium. All of this indicates challenges the exhibit poses. From the photo however, you see we had a good time.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
From December 2006 to July 2007, the exhibit Roma--Memorie dal sottosuolo. Ritrovamenti Archeologici (1980-2006) is at the National Museum of Rome. On display are 2000 or more archaeological artefactsun earthed in Rome from 1980-2006 in the areas of the Colosseum Valley, the Palatine hill, the recent Metro "C" archaeological surveys, and in the neighborhoods including the ancient roads of the Via Aurelia, Via Nomentana, Via Ostiense etc. A link to color digital images of newspaper reports of and artefacts from the exhibit has been made available by Martin G. Conde here, courtesy of Dott. ssa Sara Gavanovich, Rome (March 2007).
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Someone I know who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer withdrew from a chemotherapy protocol including oxalyplatin halfway through the treatment preferring to take her chances after surgery. The side effects of the protocol were intolerable. Would it not be better for someone to undergo a regimen that was tolerable and effective, given that any regimen is likely to have side effects?
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
From the article:-
Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of the New Republic, resisted a too easy identification of Jesus as a Jew. During a dialogue on messianism with the Catholic historian James Carroll, Mr. Wieseltier insisted that Jesus was not the most famous Jew in history, but the most famous ex-Jew; and that it was precisely his transformation into the Christ, the Messiah, that marked his divorce from Judaism. In mainstream Jewish teaching, Mr. Wieseltier said, the Messiah is not the apocalyptic figure that he becomes in Christianity, the herald of a new heaven and a new earth. "For Jews," he argued, "redemption does not mean the transformation of the world as we know it;" it is rather a criticism and improvement of the world. Quoting several medieval Hebrew texts, Mr. Wieseltier offered definitions of the Messiah as a worldly reformer and political leader, rather than a divine savior. He underscored the point with a contemporary image: "When the Messiah comes, he will be on CNN all day long."
By using Jesus to investigate what is distinctively Jewish about messianism, the dialogue between Mr. Wieseltier and Mr. Carroll offered the best answer to the conference's title question.
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