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The Human Race and the Body of Christ

Aside

We know the Human Race.
We know the Body of Christ.

Are we as a church, aware of our body?
Each of its members, all of the parts, the structure and interdependence of it all, its flexibility and ability to grow.

Could we describe humanity as a community or body?
Could we describe the church as a community or body?

Is the world in chaos.  Are we literally a race to be alive today?  A race for comfort, health, supremacy, safety.

Does the church reflect this “race”?

Or, are we as a church, an actual community, an actual body.

How Healthy is the world.
How healthy are we?

Sportianity: Sports instead of Jesus

Sports as religion?

Sports like religion?

Though I would mostly disagree with the claim that sports are literally a form of religion, as some scholars would attest, I certainly believe that sports – specifically professional sports – have characteristics of and fulfil some religious functions.

Myths, legends, ritual and tradition, sacrifice, sacred sites, ineffability, and community. These words conjure up thoughts of experiencing religion just as much as they do of sports.

I’m curious if Christians are aware of and if they should participate in the “religion of sports”.


Following a team: the stats, scores, and players (and their twitters’), being glued to the TV, Internet, or a smartphone (yes, there’s an app for that) for the latest information on trades, rumours, news, prospects (reading the paper and sports magazines works too), wearing a jersey (or something more extravagant), regularly attending games (often with a rather high ticket price),

making an event or a whole day out of a game and the traditions/rituals that come a long with it, having a sense of belonging, ownership, friendships and community built around a team, and an emotional connection.  All these things, and more, are the ways that people invest their time, money, and energy into sports or a specific team.

None of these things seem inherently bad.

But, as a Christian, I question whether professional sports are taking too much our time and if it is a god – how much do these things mean to us?

I question whether we should be proud of, cheering for, and supporting organisations that: spend (tens or hundreds of) millions of dollars on players salaries, commodify people (athletes), promote violence or suffering of self for ‘winning’ (though making money is actually the goal of the organisation), as well as promote the sexualisation of women, the achievement of stardom, and the ethic of winning above all else.

What do you think?


To note: I’m very much in favour of sports on a local and/or amateur level.  Fitness is important and there is plenty of fun to be had!  I love playing intramural hockey and ultimate frisbee.

KONY 2012

(click here to watch the video on Vimeo, or click the photo to watch it on the KONY 2012 site if you have no idea what’s going on).


As Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and social networking sites have massively and virally spread the news of KONY 2012, I’m curious of how things will move from here.

This article from enough (‘The project to end genocide and crimes against humanity’, which has partnered with Invisible Children and Resolve for the KONY2012 campaign) features a Q+A with Jason Russell.  This quote is the most important thing to keep in mind, in answering, “What’s the dream for KONY 2012?”, Jason Russell answers:

“The ultimate dream for KONY 2012 is that it becomes a tipping point for conversation, and that people will make a commitment to stop at nothing by making sure Kony is known in their circle of influence, whether it’s their family or office or school. The dream would be for Kony to be captured, not killed, and brought to the International Criminal Court to face trial. The world would know about his crimes and they would watch the trial play out on an international level, seeing a man face justice who got away with abducting children, raping little girls, and mutilating people’s faces for 26 years.”

I fear of an Bin Laden-like response if his death occurs (don’t get me started) … but there is hope, because of the people behind this, that Kony will stand trial.

Giving funds to the cause is interesting though.  I’ve already seen at least one reddit commenter who is concerned with IC’s budget (see page 6).  Yes, they spend a lot on Travel, but I think that it’s worth it – there needs to be someone filming, and visiting all the villages and cities across Uganda, DR Congo, South Sudan, and Central Africa in making their cause more legitimate to a North American audience.  I’d say Jason Russell has good intentions and is making good use of donated funds, unless I see something a lot more questionable.  You can also see “Where does money donated to Invisible Children, Inc. go?” on the FAQ of the IC site.

The North American-ness of the cause is also interesting…

The site features the pictures of extremely American celebrities and almost exclusively American politicians.  The site also only allows people to purchase their kits in dollars (as opposed to Euro’s, etct.).  I’ve already read of folks overseas really wishing they could help out with spreading the word and buy posters.  If they wish to succeed world-wide the KONY campaign needs to start appealing to the worldwide audience.

This cause also seems very dependant on the US military – a branch of the US government that I’m not terribly fond of.  It’s as though they need support from the US military to track down Joseph Kony.  Which, in all likelihood is close to the truth, considering how much technology they have (I’m assuming the resources of the Uganda military is slightly less than the US…).  The video glorifies these 100 US military advisors – as though they will end the conflict once and for all.  It makes the US military look like a good and upstanding humanitarian force.

Jason Russell sure likes his bazookas...

Can’t the UN assemble a peacekeeping force – much larger than the 100 US military ‘special operations forces’ – to track him down with US (or UK) surveillance help?  I like the concept of multiple nations coming together to create a joint peacekeeping force, would more people and more support really help in seizing Kony and freeing the children?

I think the cause is great.  I hope it catches on.  I hope Kony comes to trial at the ICC.

I fear of too much hope in the US military.  I fear that people want Kony dead.  I fear of things that tear people apart over bringing things to justice: like finance – but it better not be ignorance.

Here’s an article of two survivors of Kony’s Lords Resistance Army that lived alongside him.

The tracking system they’ve made is pretty legit.

This article from 2009 is a really great critique on the directors of Invisible Children and their mission.

And Visible Children has gotten a lot of hits as well.

A thought on suffering and the call for Christians

A reporter once asked Mother Teresa, “When a baby dies alone in a Calcutta alley, where is God?” She responded to him,

“God is there, suffering with that baby.  The question really is, where are you?”

This quote came up in a sermon I just read from a friend.

I don’t want to be cliché, nor do I want non-christians to be offended, I’m looking at Teresa’s response as a call for Christians.  Christians are called to a rather high standard: love your neighbour; give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back; welcome the strangers, feed the poor, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned.

Where are we when there is such suffering?

In Tom’s sermon he discusses how we are called to the margins, called into relationship, called to equal relationships where barriers are broken down.  We are called to have reciprocal relationships where we “walk with” the other, don’t have defined rules that can stifle the spirit of Christ to work, care, and show gentleness.

I like what Tom has to say about our society, our comforts, and the call of Christ:

One of the major faults of Jesusʼ society and ours is that
we push people out. We see certain people as having more importance and others as having less. This simply will not fly for Jesus. If there is any group or individual that we devalue, that is exactly where Jesus will go. This therefore is where the church of Christ and his followers must also go in order to serve.

We like to be with those who are at the centre. We like
to be with those who we know, those who aren’t struggling with money, who are self-sufficient upstanding citizens.

So the call to be yielded to Christ is a very scary one because we very much know where it will take us.

What do you think?

“Walking”: A somewhat poetic summary

Henry David Thoreau, “Walking,” from the Thoreau Reader.  A somewhat poetic summary.



Walking.

Words for Nature, absolute Freedom, and Wilderness.

Man as an inhabitant, part and parcel of nature.

Come sauntering: à la sainte terre.  Not idly or as a vagabond.

All the earth is our home; sitting idly in a house makes you a vagrant.

Come sauntering, as a crusade, reconquer this holy land from the infidels.

A faint-hearted crusade… but only if you are ready to leave all behind,

free.

Then you will be ready for a walk. Continue reading

Dr. James Orbinski, and the documentary “Triage”

Click the link for the full film: http://www.nfb.ca/film/triage-trailer/ *

It was an honour today to hear Dr. James Orbinski in my lecture today.  After hearing him, I felt compelled to do some research on him and came across the film Triage, linked above.

(for a brief bio, scroll to the bottom of the post)

Watching the film was not always easy, but I would say it’s a must-watch.  It ought to be noted that it must be approached with reverence — his journey is eye-opening, traumatizing, beautiful, and very real.  It’s fascinating to see him revisit the places he served, to see some people/patients who remembered him, and his old friends.  It’s troubling to see some of the damage that was done, along with the ignorance of a new hospital executive who had no idea of what occurred in Kigali and the state of the hospital during the genocide.

I don’t have regrets about the decisions [I had to make], I have complete outrage at the circumstances in which these decisions had to be made.  I still have, and I always will I think, a nearly uncontainable rage about what happened in Rwanda, in Somalia and in many other parts of the world and about what’s happening now in many parts of the world. To see mothers and fathers and children dying of indifference, dying of neglect, of abuse, of somebody’s political calculation, that that doesn’t matter. It fills me first of all with just profound sorrow that they have to live that and die it. And then it fills me with rage, frankly. And the question then is what do you do? What do you do with that?

He ends the film with these remarks:

On a personal level, I’m definitely writing for my children. I want them to know who their father is.  How I have really struggled to live in a way I think is right and that I feel is right, and I want them to understand there’s no perfect answer.  But there’s the right question, and theres a right way to live your question, and a right way therefore  to live your life.

There are so many crucial issues that have to be addressed: global warming, the war on terror, the use of torture, just a litany of issues. None of these issues will be addressed unless we take our responsibility as human beings and from a place that respects the dignity of others – including our enemies.  And I think this becomes more and more clear to me with each passing day.  This is the lens, this is the way with which to see the world.

He has witnessed the worst of what mankind can do: famine, epidemics of preventable diseases, war and its crimes, and genocide; political failure and the struggle to be fully human when it does; an endless catalogue of terrors, and in these things seeing himself, knowing that he might be merely a spectator to them, that he might suffer them, collaborate with or inflict them on others.

Watch the film, let me know what you think.

—————
Other information on Dr. Orbinski:

His work with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders) began in 1992, where he worked in Baidoa, Somalia during the civil war and famine,  in Goma, Zaire (Congo) with Rwandan refugees in 1996; and in Kigali, Rwanda, during the genocide as Head of Mission for MSF.

He then became the president of MSF in 1998 until 2001 and accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 on behalf of the organization.

From 2001-2004 he co-chaired the working group which created and launched the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi): a global not-for-profit drug development organization that develops medicines and other health technologies for diseases largely neglected by profit driven research and development companies.

Dr. Orbinski is a founding board member of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, and the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Canadian Doctors for Medicare He is a founding member of the editorial boards of Open Medicine and Conflict and Health, two new independent, peer-reviewed open access on-line medical journals that are committed to the best science and that see health in its larger political and human context. He also sits on the editorial board of Ars Medica, a new journal that explores the interface between the arts and medicine, and examines what makes medicine an art. (info from National Speakers Bureau)

He is now an associate professor of medicine and political science at the University of Toronto.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the U of T’s Massey College, and at the Munk Centre for International Studies where he is focusing on Global Health and international affairs.


* National Film Board of Canada = awesome.

The Occupy Movement

Occupy Wall StreetI’m certain there’s a lot of things I could say about the Occupy Movements – the original Occupy Wall Street, and the subsequent occupancies around the world, including my local Toronto – but I’d like to be somewhat brief in my thoughts (pithy enough to be engaging and to keep your attention). Continue reading