The heading for my last post of 2020 raised the question whether 2021 might be better than 2020.
Cue, of course, the question of how we define the good, better or worse of one year compared to another.
The first six days of this new year were a bewildering global storm of worsening news about the Pandemic combined with unheard of political disruptions in the USA (note: the last storming of the US Capitol were by the British in 1812).*
On the other hand the first 18 days of 2021 in NZ have been a brilliant mix of superb summer sunshine, excellent cricket, cracking America's Cup challenger racing and holding the Pandemic at bay (just ... we all recognise that we may yet be overrun by new variants of the virus). The following photos are snaps from part of our holiday - water and sunshine, always a winning combo!
In the wider Anglican world I see news about a female bishop for Kenya.
In 2021 I hope (at the very least) re Trumpianism that Christians really, really address the question Who is Lord? This article is a timely and apt comment on the Jesus-less-ness of Trumpianism.
I read some great books while on holiday - all of which in their own way reinforced the absurdity of ever, ever ascribing to any national leader some kind of exalted status - and took quite a few notes towards possible talks later this year.
Let me not burden you with all my notes. Here is one notable passage from an author not always given star rating on "orthodox Christian" charts, Rob Bell:
"The first Christians had a way of talking about this massive movement, bigger than any one of us, that's sweeping across human history: they wrote that God is in the process of moving everything forward so that God will be over all and through all and in all and in another passage in the Bible it is written that God does what God does so that God may be all in all.
For God to be recognised as all in all then, we will become more and more aware of the uniting of all the depth and dimensions of being - from the physical to the spiritual, from the seen to the unseen, from matter to spirit and everything in betweeen - as we see more and more of the universe in the single, seamless reality it's always been."**
That is, a little bit of Colossians and Ephesians could go a long way to helping Christians around the world make appropriate "course corrections" in 2021 - corrections needed if we are not to be the laughing stock of the world.
I also read Andrew Shanks, Hegel and Religious Faith: Divided Brain, Atoning Spirit, London/New York: T & T Clark, 2011. This book hurt my brain because I am not a rocket scientist. I do not profess to understand much about Hegel. Possibly Shanks has made me think more favourably of this enigmatic thinker.
Probably Hegel and Bell would get along fine!
Certainly Christians need to think very big in our conception of God and what God is up to in the world and through time.
See you next week ...!
*See, by the way, helpful comments in the comment thread to the previous post, from Bowman Walton who lives in the States, on the whole situation re Trump, Trumpians and Trumpianism, including Christian allegiance to Trump.
** p. 187, Rob Bell, What we talk about when we talk about God, New York: Harper, 2013.