Each year in East Vancouver we celebrate mid summer with the Luminares festival at Trout Lake. The highlight of the night is a procession of thousands of home-made lanterns, with lanterns also flowing on the lake and fireworks lighting the skies. It is also a festival honouring the deities of the forest and fields, and while the wood nympths of previous years were missing, there was still much to see and delight in. This picture is of one offering of flowers before a woodland shrine.
A Ray of Hope?
In a long article yesterday, the New York Times tells the story of Rev Gregory Boyd who runs what they call an "evangelical megachurch" in Minnesota. While remaining a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, the Rev. Boyd has banned politics from his church and pulpit.
"Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.
“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross" ...
In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.
“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state. “I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.”
Mr. Boyd lambasted the “hypocrisy and pettiness” of Christians who focus on “sexual issues” like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson’s breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public. “Those are the two buttons to push if you want to get Christians to act,” he said. “And those are the two buttons Jesus never pushed.”
The church which he founded in 1992 had 5,000 active members before his sermons; one thousand left, horrified by his preaching. The good news -- the ray of hope -- is that four thousand have stayed. Further, Rev Boyd's move away from politics is not a solitary act:
“There is a lot of discontent brewing,” said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the “emerging church,” which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment. “More and more people are saying this has gone too far — the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,” Mr. McLaren said. “You cannot say the word ‘Jesus’ in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people. Because people think, ‘Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ‘activist judges.’ ”
Now, being the way I am, these are still not folks I'd be comfortable spending my Sundays with. But I certainly appreciate their attempt to turn the church back to theology and away from politics.
Stairway In Heaven
A warehouse in Kahului, Maui
Double Entry Bookkeeping
I just read that Bush has ordered aid to be sent to Lebanon. So, the US taxpayer subsidises Israel which bombs Lebanon which is then put back together by US taxpayer aid funding. Hmmmm.
Oh to be a middleman (i.e. a US defense contractor) with all that coin flowing!
Words of Wisdom...
"Western laziness consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so that there is no time at all to confront the real issues."
- Sogyal Rinpoche
I am just so bored with the news, that's why I don't blog here so often as I used to. I've been watching news for more than 50 years and, as Goeroge Bush would put it, it is just the same old shit day after day. One bully-boy nation beats up on a smaller foe; the UN says a lot and does nothing; the EU says nothing and does even less; the US (when it isn't the bully-boy itself) cheers on the bully-boy and sends ever more advanced weapons to help the peacemaking. I'm bored with it.
This is part of the Na Pali coast of Kauai
Back to Vancouver...
... from a beach in Kauai
Gone Cruising Again....
... this time around Hawai'i. Back later in the month with, I hope, a bunch of new pictures.