Browsing articles in "Culture"
Oct 16, 2011
neil

Joan Bakewell on why the sexual revolution was a mistake

“I never thought I would hear myself say as much, but I’m with Mrs Whitehouse on this one. The liberal mood back in the 60s was that sex was pleasurable and wholesome and shouldn’t be seen as dirty and wicked. The Pill allowed women to make choices for themselves. Of course, that meant the risk of making the wrong choice. But we all hoped girls would grow to handle the new freedoms wisely. Then everything came to be about money: so now sex is about money, too. Why else sexualise the clothes of little girls, run TV channels of naked wives, have sex magazines edging out the serious stuff on newsagents’ shelves? It’s money that’s corrupted us and women are being used and are even collaborating

Oct 12, 2011
neil

What have the likes of Rowan Atkinson and Ricky Gervais got in common? Fraser Nelson thinks he knows

Fraser Nelson in last weeks Spectator magazine takes issue with the condescending tone of Rowan Atkinson;

Rowan Atkinson, the comedian and actor, this week denounced many of the clerics he has met as being ‘smug’, ‘arrogant’, ‘conceited’, and ‘presumptuous about their position in society’. He shows no mercy to the clergy, and shows no doubts whatsoever about his right to judge the church.

There are smug priests, of course, just as their are smug architects, smug engineers, smug police officers, smug politicians and, whisper it, smug comedians. No member of the priesthood, for instance, would sit behind the wheel of a sports car valued at £2 million, still less prang it, as Mr Atkinson did last month, No ‘clerk in holy orders’, as vicars used to call themselves, would attempt to raze a perfectly good house in Oxfordshire to the ground, and build in its stead a monstrous glass and steel edifice, as Mr Atkinson wants to do, in defiance of the wishes of local people. Some fuddy-duddies might consider this sort of behaviour to be arrogant. His unhappy neighbours might even suggest that Atkinson himself was a touch presumptuous about his own place in society. Perhaps Mr Atkinson is above hypocrisy.

Modern comedians have become a secular priesthood. They have their own customs and rituals, and their own language, which is not always friendly. There is a strict hierarchy among TV comics, and at the top of the profession, an untouchable, cabal, far grander and more self-important than any circle of bishops.

Many comedians like Atkinson are rich beyond their dreams. Most real priests, by contrast, live humbly, and dedicate their ministry to the lives of others without expectation of reward. If Rowan Atkinson is keen to continue his new vocation as a lay preacher, he would do well to learn from their example.

 

Oct 11, 2011
neil

Why Monty Python wouldn’t make the Life of Brian today

An article in today’s Telegraph

Oct 8, 2011
neil

Which city is the capital of the world?

Intelligent Life from The Economist asks which city has the right to be called capital of the world.

Oct 7, 2011
neil

Is David Cameron right about gay marriage?

The Telegraph reports on the growing number of voices within the church opposed to Cameron’s attempts to legalise gay marriage.

Oct 6, 2011
neil

‘Death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it’ – What motivated Steve Jobs

With the sad news of the death of  Apple co-founder Steve Jobs quite a number of people are quoting from his commencement speech given at Stanford in 2005.

Here’s a sample (full text available here)

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.’

For any Christian reading what stands out is that what motivated Jobs, at least in part, is the shortness of life and the inevitability of his own death.

Apart from the events of Easter day Jobs is surely right to say ‘death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.’ But Christ’s resurrection changes everything. Because of him we can truly ‘think different’.

Jesus not only escaped death, but defeated death and transcended death. What a tragedy that it appears that Jobs never came to that understanding.

 

 

Sep 30, 2011
neil

More drama from Rob Bell

Some would say that Rob Bell has been writing fiction for some time now (yes, I know, only a joke). But this is an interesting development.

 

Sep 25, 2011
neil

The Christians who hit hard and then thank God

Of the numerous articles, publications and pictures about the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand here are three of interest and inspiration to Christians.

1) Euan Murray, who plays for Scotland on his decision not to play on Sundays.

2) ‘Godzone’: Rugby-themed Gospel produced by TSCF

A gospel of Luke, ‘interspersed within the book are a ten testimonies of high profile rugby players from around the world – Brad Thorn (current All Black), Deacon Manu (current Fiji Captain), Euan Murray (current Scotland player), Jason Robinson & Nick Farr-Jones (World Cup winners), Doris Taufateau (NZ Black Ferns World Cup winner), David Pocock & Sekope Kepu (current Australia players), Pierre Spies & Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira (current SA players)’.

 

3) A photo (courtesy of England’s Andy Gomarsall) of Fijian and Somoan players huddling together for prayer after their match.

 

Sep 23, 2011
neil

Independent reviews Dawkins new book – ‘untrue, absurd and dangerous’

Did you witness Jeremy Paxman’s sycophantic interview with Richard Dawkins about his new book ‘The Magic of  Reality‘ on Newsnight a week or so ago?

If you did might well have shared a general and growing frustration that Dawkins keeps getting away with writing bad books and making quite a bit of money from it in the process (including another £10 from me for this new book).

In one sense, Dawkins is a great help in the Christian cause because he helps to ensure that ‘God’ and ‘religion’ are centre-stage.  Having said that I did enjoy this review in the Independent which does a good demolition job of the weak arguments presented in the book.

Sep 22, 2011
neil

What if all your dreams come true? If you’re Michael Stipe, the answer is disillusionment

After yesterday’s announcement that REM were splitting after 31 years my mind was taken back to this quote.  In September 1996 NME published a review of REM’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi. In what must be one of the most extraordinary cd reviews NME wrote;

What if all your dreams come true?

If you’re Michael Stipe, the answer is disillusionment.  Of all the maladies that can strike you down, disillusionment is the darkest. Disillusionment is neither trust betrayed, nor hopes shattered.  Disillusionment is far worst. It is all of your goals attained, all of your ambitions achieved, all your hopes fulfilled and yet there is no satisfaction.  No peace. Disillusionment is the hollow realization that the fault resides within yourself, that even with everything you’ve ever wanted you are an incurable emotional vacuum.

Most of us will never get to be where Michael Stipe is, will never find our dreams fulfilled only to discover it means f- all.

 

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