Archive for November 2015

A Culture of Offense   1 comment

No, this has nothing to do with football or any other sport for that matter. These thoughts came to me as I read an article about cinema’s (movie theatres) in England banning a commercial, prepared by the Church of England. In the short clip a number of different people participate in a recitation of the Lord’s prayer. The commercial, which was scheduled to have played before the new Star wars movie, received the approval of every regulatory body during its production. Nevertheless, I learned from an article in Britain’s Daily Mail that, at the last minute, the permission was withdrawn on the basis that ” it might offend some people.”  The ban has prompted a cacophony of protest from every quarter, including from none other than Richard Dawkins, declaring the action to be ridiculous. But their actions are perfectly consistent with, what seems to be, our rampant culture of offense. One state university has proposed a resolution the every student has the right not to be offended. But where does all this end? It matters very little whether it is a cup in Starbucks or a cross on Mount Davidson some believe they have the right to declare offense and as a consequence have the offending item removed. Often the christian community are active participants as we wave banners and shout our protest at some movie or other media pontification.   But isn’t a significant amount of what we now define as “offense”  what we used to call disagreement or even dislike?  Has anyone ever suggested that it was even desirable to “like” or “agree” with everyone and everything?  I am not for one moment suggesting that there are not situations when it is right to express offense and ask or even demand change. But shouldn’t this be limited to occasions when an individual, their faith, race or culture is insulted or in some way denigrated?  We cannot permit each other to take offense at a persons right to be who they are,  have their beliefs and express them.  If we continue to permit people to suggest they have a right protest offense at anything that they see or hear that reflects a belief other than their own I suggest we are on the way to a society that will eventually be entirely devoid of meaning. Perhaps it is that very trend in our culture that we should take every opportunity, not to be offended by, but to resist in every way we can.

Seeing Beyond Politics?   Leave a comment

A great deal of ink has already been spilt on the current refugee situation by authors more eloquent and qualified than me. However it has struck me in reading  the positions of so many of our politicians and pundits that they really should not surprise us. Surely they are just what we would expect from a culture that has  firmly concluded that there is no God, faith is futile, and that reason and logic are the governing factors. I am not for one second suggesting that it is only those with faith who are committed to reaching out to the desperate and displaced but rather that, without faith, there is little in the framework of logic and reason to cause them to do so. The pursuit of logic and reason drives one inexorably to enlightened self interest which, fueled by fear, causes us to do anything we can to protect ourselves. Hence we hear impassioned proclamations of the need to keep away from us anyone or anything that might cause us harm and that to do so is the only responsible course of action.

My struggle however is with those who profess a life of faith and yet espouse a position that reflects this  fear rather than compassion. For those of faith, there is a God who voluntarily placed himself in danger, paying the ultimate price just to provide hope for all those, through the ages, who have routinely rejected Him.  A God who promises to protect and provide for us regardless of our circumstances. He calls us to follow him in reaching out unconditionally to those who are lost and helpless, offering them hope just as he has done for us. The challenge and responsibility for those who follow Jesus is so clearly set out in the article from Relevant Magazine and, of course, there is no logical reason to act this way. But how can we not reach out in love when we have ourselves received such amazing, selfless and unconditional love?

How is it then that we see such selfless sacrifice in  both those with and without faith? Could it be that there is, in each of us, whether or not we recognize it, a little of “the image of the invisible God” (Genesis1:27) and this results in a reflection of His character. It is my prayer that we will all, whether or not we acknowledge that”image” within us will continue to ignore the politics of reason and logic and open our doors and hearts unconditionally to those who so desperately need it

Posted November 20, 2015 by jolm15 in Uncategorized