Following on from last year's montage, here's to 2007, the goodness, the badness, and the downright ugliness demonstrated in actions and words. A small prize goes to whoever can name every pic or story represented.
I remember an episode of “The Waltons” that had quite an affect on my then rapidly developing sense of justice and morality. It was set in the late 1930’s and the local reverend had arranged a good old book burning, telling folks to bring all their German books for the fire, it would be an act of rejecting that evil Nazi philosophy, of cleansing a community from the very words that would lead to such dreadful warfare. I remember John Boy protesting, and the crowd shouting him down, until he pulled a book from the fire that hadn’t caught yet and asked if anyone spoke German. A little elderly lady steps forward, a German immigrant if I remember, a woman who’d been ostracised by the town. She reads the beginning of the book in German, then translates it; “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...” This scene impressed itself upon me, and is probably what formed in me lasting unease about censorship, and a sense (not unquestioned) that free speech, access to literature a
Our current Sunday morning teaching series is called "Red Letter Commandments", and takes a look at the places in Matthew's gospel where Jesus gives a commandment that we feel is still relevant to us today. Last week I preached on Matthew 5:38-42 and Jesus command to us not to take revenge, but to engage in creative nonviolent resistance. This week I was speaking from the following paragraph Matthew 5:43-47, Love your enemies. I remembered that I had once read a sermon from Dr King on that text, and so I read it again in preparation. It is an amazing sermon, far better than I could have aspired to, and I shared that fact this morning. I quoted from one section, and said that I would share the text from my blog for those who'd like to read the whole thing. This is a transcript from a recording made November 17, 1957 at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama. Right in the heat and turmoil of the civil rights movement. I pray his call to radical love will
This year we're taking inspiration from Psalm 84. We're regularly using this image from Anneke Kaai's remarkable collection of works inspired by psalms. You can buy these as a book, along with the Message translation and the artist's explanation, entitled " The Psalms, an artists impression ". Here's her thinking behind this piece, which we have turned (with the artist's permission) into a postcard to give to the folks here at Tabernacle Baptist Church Wolverhampton. The poet lives far away and longs to travel to Jerusalem, to the Temple, to be close to God. He thinks of the birds that fly around the Temple grounds, building their nests, even in the Temple pillars. This painting shows the head of one of the pair of copper pillars at the Temple entrance. The pillar was called Boaz (cf. 1 Kings 7:15-22) and had a lily-shaped capital, decorated with a pattern of seven interwoven chains and pomegranate shapes. A space high up in the cap