I don’t write much anymore, lacking both time and inclination. The church doesn’t listen. By and large, I mean. The church I used to know has no ears for this, and there’s little point writing to them. The people on the outside, on the fringe, the ones who mistrust the church and cannot reconcile the Jesus they read in the Bible with the one that is preached at them from the pulpit — these people listen. But they already know most of the things I write about. On the other hand, I’ve found writing to be cathartic as well as helpful in processing my thoughts, as evidenced in the many pages of this blog. And I don’t read much on these subjects anymore unless they fall directly in my path, as when some asinine boneheaded comments are made on Facebook or in the pages of Christian publication or blog that gets passed around, and I sometimes still begin to compose a response in my head. Because I don’t write it, the response usually fizzles before it is fully formed since there is no audience for it but the converted. The unconverted do not wish to hear it, and sometimes it’s just outrageous. I shake my head and move along. There’s a lot of that during the election season.
On Facebook and in general conversation, I tend toward being cavalier and take a somewhat mocking tone about Trump’s popularity in the GOP primaries. “Dear America, you may see this as a primary campaign but the rest of the world sees it as an IQ test, and it isn’t looking good.” There’s so much there to find abhorrent that you’re left with a very small variety of optional responses once you’ve fought off the deer-in-the-headlights impulse. Maybe the most common ones are laughter and despair. Or fear. It has, of course, been pointed out that it’s cheaper to vote than it is to move to Canada, so I’d urge any American to vote responsibly. (Note on photo selection: a quick image search confirmed what I already suspected: there are no flattering photographs of Donald Trump.)
In our now time-honoured Sunday tradition, we turn to music. This week in my new series Hymns from the Radio Dial, we get political with a call for social justice from Psalm 137. It is most likely that we all remember Rivers of Babylon as a late-70s song by German disco group Boney M. In fact, the song was written and recorded in 1972 by Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton of The Melodians (1965-73), a Jamaican group in Kingston, the birthplace of reggae.
“Rivers of Babylon” was recorded for reggae record producer Leslie Kong (Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley) and became an anthem of the Rastafarian movement which, among other religious convictions, rejects western society as entirely corrupt, referring to it as “Babylon”, which is considered to have been in rebellion against “Earth’s Rightful Ruler” since the days of the King Nimrod. Rastas avow that “Zion” (to them Africa, especially Ethiopia) is a land promised to them.
The inauguration of Barack Obama last week caught a lot of attention, naturally. It’s the sense of a new day in Washington, DC that Americans are all-too-aware of, and the world is taking notice with the hopes of a renewed, kindler, gentler US of A. Some are suggesting this presidency marks a seismic shift — no ordinary change of power, but a milestone marking a change in the way things are. Obama’s effective use of the Internet in his campaign has been likened to Kennedy’s effective use of television, with Arianna Huffington going as far as to say that without the Internet, Obama would not be president. In many ways, it’s the fruition of Joe Trippi’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Revised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything.
Lots of stuff around on Obama’s inauguration. Christine Sine: An Historic Day; Scot McKnight: A Prayer for our New President, Barack Obama.
Transcript: Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address
Change has come to WhiteHouse.gov (see Before & After) — watch the new White House blog for updates. Transcript: Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address
And of course:
Today is Remembrance Day, and for the occasion, I’ve resurrected the oldest draft post in my arsenal… from back in 2004. I began with an idea jotted down and then thought it would be better left until the whole Iraq thing cooled down… but of course you know how that’s gone. Opening the post up for the first time in (literally) years, I see I hadn’t written as much as I thought I had, but the gist of an idea is there, and it’s percolated for some time now.
Earlier today, my wife mused aloud, wondering what those “prophetic types” are saying about Barack Obama being elected in the USA. I thought Grace choking on her scone in response to an appalling snippet of conversation concerning the rise to power of Barack Obama, “almost exactly like the Left Behind books.” No wonder she choked on her scone. I mentioned this “end times” idea to my wife as a suggestion of what these prophetic types might be saying. She made a mental note to ask a friend who tends to get told these things by people who thinks she cares. At least, that’s how my wife put it. So a few hours ago, Frank Viola tweeted a link that brought this whole question up again. Now by the way, Frank’s blog post today not only offered his view on the recent presidential election, he also named who he considers the top six Christian bloggers around, including yours truly. I’m not sure if I’m actually that good or if Frank’s a little deranged, but I figure it’s best not to press to far, just in case I don’t like the answer.
Today’s the day — the campaign is finally done, and we’re all just waiting to see what will happen while you sip your free Starbuck’s coffee. I have to say, I think we will miss the SNL intros that have been so good lately. While the world is watching you, it might be worth taking a few minutes to watch a couple of brief videos to prime your thinking about voting today. After all, if you aren’t doing it to participate in democracy and honour the political process, certainly you’d do it for a free cup of Starbuck’s Joe, wouldn’t you? (I hear it isn’t really poured by “Joe the Plumber”.) So Consider these:
McCain & Fey:
Palin & two Montreal comedians: