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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life

  • Just Pray...

    The decision by cinemas to ban an advert featuring people praying the Lord's Prayer for fear of offending people, unspecified, who it is feared may be offended has, as is the way of these things, proved counterproductive - social media is flooded with 'shares' of the video (above) and some very clever and incisive comment, such as this by a Baptist minister friend in London:

    "If the Cinema won't show any adverts relating to any faith, and have refused to show the CofE "Lord's Prayer" advert before the new Star Wars film; what are they to do about the 176,632 people who declared themselves Jedi in the 2011 Census?"

    There is any amount of nonsensical "poor me' Christianity out there, that sees persecution at every turn, and I certainly don't see what the cinemas have done as persecution, just decidedly disappointing, given the BBFC and cinema adverstising board had approved the ad.  Some good comment online, and also a BBC article here.

    A prayer - or plea - for a society characterised peace, where basic human needs are satisfied, where mutual forgiveness is exercised, where people escape cycles of temptation and evil.... is that so terrible, so offensive to people who might not have a declared faith...

    And if Jedi is a faith, and the cinemas are studiously ignoring that, isn't it as a minimum a little rude and insconsierate of them....?

    So, we can have adverts for sugary drinks when the incidence of diabetes is rising; adverts for consumer goods that simply fuel consumerism, adverts for films whose values we may not agree with... but not one that simply expresses hope.... hmmm, sigh, hmmm some more.

    Here endeth the rant!

    EDIT some other responses, and different opinions...

    Nick Lear
    Archdruid Eileen

  • To what purpose...

    Last year, like lots of other people, I gave chocolate advent calendars and selection boxes to the local foodbank. I have done the same today.

    I know foodbanks aren't the answer to food poverty.

    I also know what it is like having to choose between buying food and paying utility bills - and not because I was on benefit but because mortgage interest was over 17% and wages frozen (late 1980s).

    And I know what it is like to depend on handouts because state benefits just won't cover everything... from free school meals to WVS clothes parcels, and even, if memory serves half a hundredweight of coal from an anonymous benefactor, my family was glad to receive help from others back in the 1970s when long term sickness prevented my Dad from working.

    An advent calendar or a choice of chocolate bars won't solve the problems of food or fuel poverty, but it might just bring a smile to someone's face and restore a teeny bit of hope.

    A woman once poured a jar of expensive perfume over the feet of an itinerant rabbi and was criticised by those who saw: "surely she could have sold it and given the money to the poor." The rabbi sighed, and observed "you will always have poor people. What she has done is beautiful." I like to think that some chocolate added to a bag of tins and packets might carry just a hint of such loveliness.

  • If a picture paints a thousand words...

    Cross-posting from social media....

    ... someone was asking about favourite images of Jesus, and I shared this one, which I often turn to at this time of year. It is a sculpture at St Martin's in the Fields, London, and was done for the millenium. The person I shared it with said it brought to mind the images of refugee children washed up on beaches... and I can see that.

    Whatever belief system (or none) we follow, this is a striking image... the hope that is born in every child and that, with the right conditions, will bring joy and love to this world.

    For me, the idea of a divinity who would do something so utterly ridiculous as to become a human infant, entering the messyness of human sin and finitude is a incredibly powerful. Historical fact, myth or mystery, frankly I'm not bothered too much - the truth of hope revealed in vulnerability, risking everything in the cause of love... that is worth telling again and again.

    Lots of sadness, anger, bewilderment and more being expressed on social media... and also lots of love, kindness, courage and hope. Advent is a complex and often misunderstood liturgical season but at it's heart is the refusal to give up hope, to trust that one day, one day, the waiting will be over and peace and love will fill a renewed creation.