Saturday, 31 August 2013

A new transfiguration

If I could wish for art to appear I would probably wish for a revised transfiguration. Put a middle-eastern Christ in the centre, flanked by Kierkegaard and Bonhoeffer. 

Donations of this artwork will be gratefully accepted. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Your Vote Is Not For You

This post is for Australian voters. When you vote on September 7, don't vote for your own benefit. Vote for the people who need the most help from society.

To put it another way, when you vote: don't vote for your own tax cuts at the expense of lower income earners; don't vote for your own comfort at the expense of the homeless or the disabled; don't vote for your own culture at the expense of the immigrant and the refugee; don't vote for your big plasma TV at the expense of the environment; don't vote for the economy at the expense of society; don't vote for you at the expense of people who need help.

Vote with enlightened social interest, not enlightened self interest. Vote for the common good, not your individual good. Vote for the benefit of the least in society.

All of these sound like great aphorisms and you could probably feel good about dismissing them because of that structure. But you shouldn't. You should follow them because that is the measure of our society and the measure of us as individuals. If you're Christian you'll know that
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27
The world would have you vote for yourself. It would tell you that you should vote for the people who will give you more money or make your house cheaper. Don't be stained by that. Instead, look after the people who need the most help. Look after them with personal actions and look after them with electoral actions.

And whether you're a Christian or not, you'll know that in Australia middle income earners are unaffected by a change of government. However, low income earners are always affected. Services are always changed after an election, moreso after a change of government. Some services are cancelled. Some are strengthened. Some are added. The people who need those services the most are low income earners.

So when you vote, change your mindset about who deserves the benefit of your vote. Think about the policies for the parties, not about how they affect you alone but how they affect the least in our society.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Sudden Increases in Church Offerings

From time to time, I find a quote that needs to be read in its entirety, and shared almost without comment.
"Thou plain man! I do not conceal from thee the fact that according to my notion, the thing of being a Christian is infinitely high, that at no time are there more than a few who attain it, as Christ's own life attests, if one considers the generation in which He lived, and as also His preaching indicates, if one takes it literally. Yet nevertheless it is possible for all. But one thing I adjure thee, for the sake of God in heaven and all that is holy, shun the priests, shun them, those abominable men whose livelihood it is to prevent thee from so much as becoming aware of what Christianity is, and who thereby would transform thee, befuddled by galimatias and optical illusion, into what they understand by a true Christian, a paid member of the State Church, or the National Church, or whatever they prefer to call it. Shun them. But take heed to pay them willingly and promptly what money they should have. With those whom one despises, one on no account should have money differences, lest it might perhaps be said that it was to get out of paying them one avoided them. No, pay them double, in order that thy disagreement with them may be thoroughly clear: that what concerns them does not concern thee at all, namely, money; and on the contrary, that what does not concern them concerns thee infinitely, namely Christianity." - Kierkegaard, Attack Upon Christendom.
Be wary of sudden increases in the offerings, pastors! You may have a Kierkegaardian protest movement in your congregation.