Humans the Hope of Advent?

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Humans the Hope of Advent?

Sunday begins advent. It is a week to ponder expectations, unfulfilled longings, promises made not-yet-kept. Is it worth waiting? Is there hope?

Read the stories below. I see smoke and mirrors (management consulting). I see ingenious explorations by the bored for the bored amounting to nothing (music score in last supper). I see the inane (Blintz with Giamatti). I see anti-religion smuggled into theatres as muted as religion is smuggled into theatres. (Hint: Read the books, don’t rely on the movies, whether we’re talking Golden Compass, Narnia or Lord of the Rings). I see atheism question for values without God. I see a quest for religion without God. I see televangelists who evidently do not fear the wrath of God.

So in this advent season I’d rather stake my claims on the not-yet-fulfilled promises of God, than in the tomfoolery of man.

Here is your sampler of stupid human tricks.

¢â‚¬¢ “What exactly do management consultants do?” Michael Kinsley said he asked this of a McKinsey recruiter many years ago. He said, “We provide expertise.” I said, “But you’re thinking of hiring me, and I have no expertise.” He said, “We’ll train you.” Kinsley concludes “Nothing about that interview dissuaded me from the view that consultants spend at least as much energy and brainpower selling themselves to clients as they spend doing whatever the client pays them to do.”

¢â‚¬¢ Maria Pala insists there is a 40 second-music score hidden in Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” “By drawing a five-line musical staff across the canvas, the loaves of bread and than ads of Jesus and his disciples form musical notes. The score reads right to left¢â‚¬¦
[Does Dan Brown know about this?]

¢â‚¬¢ Some of the most sobering evidence of our societal decline is found in Esquire Magazine’s “Man At His Best” interviews, where you will find inane conversations between young journalists who think it is hip to shape an interview around questions like those posed to actor Paul Giammati, “Are you normally a BLT guy? A blintz guy?” This interview is followed immediately by the column, “and the year’s five best reads.”
[Like I would listen to the recommendations of a magazine that posted “My Blintz With Giamatti.”]

¢â‚¬¢ Proudly anti-Christian, Phillip Pullman can’t be happy to learn that filmmakers are pinning the success of soon-to-be-released “Golden Compass” on their ability to transliterate his controversial anti-church elements to family audiences. They’ve even trotted out Nicole Kidman, evidently suddenly the poster girl for Catholicism, to defend the film. Kidman, who is Catholic, said she did not want to be involved in a movie that was anti-religious or anti-Catholic. “I come from a Catholic family so that’s not something that my grandmother would be very happy about, and I really don’t think that that’s what I’m involved in,” she told a news conference.”
[WOW is THAT compelling!]

¢â‚¬¢ It seems interesting to me that the burgeoning “Sunday School for a atheist’s kids” movement springs from their desire for help in teaching their kids values. So says Jeninne Lee St. John (TIME 12/3/07) who reports, “On Sunday mornings, most parents who don’t believe in the Christian God, or any god at all, are probably making brunch or cheering at their kids’ soccer game, or running errands or, with luck, sleeping in. Without religion, there’s no need for church, right? Maybe. But some nonbelievers are beginning to think they might need something for their children. “When you have kids,” says Julie Willey, a design engineer, “you start to notice that your co-workers or friends have church groups to help teach their kids values and to be able to lean on.” So every week, Willey, who was raised Buddhist and says she has never believed in God, and her husband pack their four kids into their blue minivan and head to the Humanist Community Center in Palo Alto, Calif., for atheist Sunday school.”
[Need I comment?]

¢â‚¬¢ That may explain the full page add taken out by the Unitarian Universalist Congregations. In bold print we read “Is God keeping you from going to church?” In smaller print are the slogan “nurture your spirit, help heal our world” and this verbiage: Maybe you’re uncomfortable with the idea of God–or at last someone else’s idea of God. Yet maybe you yearn for a loving, spiritual community where you can be inspired and encouraged as you search for your own truth and meaning. This is a church, you ask? Welcome to Unitarian Universalism.”
[I was asked to intern at such a church when I lived in New England and studied at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. Curious–I visited. If you like your sacred text to be an amalgam of feel good bumper sticker quotes strung together into a homily¢â‚¬¦this might work for you.]

¢â‚¬¢ Lest you get too smug–consider this news that associates “health wealth” televangelists with evangelicals–Republican Senator Chuck Grassley got on the mail lists of some televangelists–as a result six televangelists who TIME Magazine describes as part of the evangelical “subculture” are under investigation for misuses of donations: Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Eddie Long, Joyce Meyer and Paula White.
[WHY STOP THERE, I ask? What kind of theology drives someone to send donations to a televangelist who uses the public trust of tax-free donations to buy a private jet and multiple luxurious homes needs?]

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in November 28, 2007 by | No Comments »

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