Ruminations

The chewy thoughts of a queer Christian

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The Death of Sun Myung Moon – Part III: Up and Away

Rev. Moon’s funeral, or seung hwa ceremony, was held on Saturday, 15th September. Seung hwa does not mean funeral, but rather ‘ascension’: it was Moon’s own teaching that they are to be happy occasions, celebrating  passing into the co-existent spiritual, heavenly realm and affirming belief in the afterlife. But how will this day be remembered in years to come?

Bringing in the coffin

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The Death of Sun Myung Moon – Part II: Very Charismatic

This is a reflection on the life, rather than the death, of Sun Myung Moon. Often when I hear people from outside the Unification Church commenting on Rev. Moon and his Chuch, they mention that he is ‘a very charismatic leader’. Will it survive without him?

Rev. Moon at rest

Rev. Moon at rest, 6th September 2012

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The Death of Sun Myung Moon – Part I: When I Heard the News

I found out when I stepped in after work. Despite being a former member of the Unification Church (about which, see my story), I still have contact with members now and then. His health had been ailing for a number of days. He had finally died.

Rev. Moon

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Man of God

It occurred to me the other day, that aspiring to be a man of God is a strange thing. If you aspire to be a great businessman, or a great philanthropist, or a great politician, people get it. If you aspire to be a great man of God – people don’t get it anymore. We don’t do God, as Alistair Campbell (aide to Tony Blair) once put it.

Orthodox Priests

We live in a society of specialists. We have the car specialists, and the science specialists, and the phone specialists. We have the hair specialists, and the history specialists and the mathematics specialists. And generally, their fields don’t overlap. The mathematician won’t comment on history, and the geneticist won’t comment on paleontology.

It’s a funny thing. Mostly because, by becoming a specialist in God, by making God the thing you do, you limit yourself and your usefulness to whatever small section of society agrees with your idea of God. And somehow, because of that, God has become fair game. That is to say, everyone and anyone can and will comment on God. It’s a thing you have to decide on, and it’s a thing surprisingly few people will say ‘I don’t really know much about that kind of thing, so I can’t really comment’.

And this, I think is rooted in one idea: you can’t be an expert in God. Either because God does not exist, or because religion is up to the individual to decide on and no expert can decide for you or tell you otherwise.

But why? And is that even true?

You’ve got to be yourself

I called this blog Ruminations. When cows chew and chew and chew on grass, it’s called ruminating. This is a question I’ve been chewing on for a long time:  What does it mean to be yourself? Can we ever really be free?

These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.

And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.

And thus your freedom, when it loses its fetters, becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.

– Kahlil Gibran: The Prophet, On Freedom

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Straight Acting Gay

Quotes from the world of internet dating:

“I’m pretty straight acting, but that’s a term I don’t like, because I’m not acting.”

What does this mean?

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Grassroot

“So do you think X is hot?”

“Ummm… I’m gay.”

That is exactly how it went.

I had not planned it. I had not carefully thought over the words. I had not considered his views or my image.

I was shocked at myself. Every time you come out, it’s different. Coming out is a continuous process and a continuous choice, not a one-time event. This time I was direct, spontaneous and for the first time, abruptly presented with my (still relatively new) identity.

“Do you know, you’re my first gay friend? …If you’d told me like two years ago I would have been, like, ‘I hate you’.”

Changing minds, one at a time. This is what a social revolution looks like on the ground.

Pride

Inspiring as they may be, I don’t think Pride Marches really further the social acceptance of the LGBT community.

Christianity: enemy of gay rights?

The Church of England’s Moral Welfare Council… in 1954 became the first religious or political organisation to call for legalization [of homosexual acts], and the Council’s secretary, the Revd D. Sherwin Bailey restated this view in evidence to the Committee. When in 1960 the House of Commons defeated a motion for legalization, one of the major arguments used by the advocates of reform was the fact that the Anglican, Methodist, and Roman Catholic churches all supported a change in the law. During the parliamentary debates of 1965-7, defenders of the status quo fiercely attacked the churches for failing to stand up for these allegedly Christian laws.

– Hugh McLeod, The Religious Crisis of the 1960s, p. 43

People just assume that religion has always been against homosexuality. People assume that Christianity always lags behind social change. People assume that Christians never take the lead on important social issues.

Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall Riots of 1969 are generally considered the beginning of the gay rights movement. In America, that is.

Need I remind you that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist Minister, and that many leaders of the civil rights movement were also ministers? That William Wilberforce, leader of the emancipation movement in Britain was Evangelical extrordinaire of his day?

And now I learn that the biggest churches in Britain supported the legalisation of homosexuality against the popular opinion of British parliament in the 1950s – a decade before it even began to be spoken about! Why does this come as a surprise? How is it that people got the idea that religion is somehow inherently backwards?

Why God Has to Exist

Somewhere in The God Delusion, Dawkins proposes a thought experiment. A universe without God, he suggests, would be very different from a universe with God. And for this reason, science and religion are not entirely separate from each other, dealing with separate spheres, but have an important area of overlap – that is, the existence of God.

Try to imagine, if you will, two parallel universes – the one with God and the other without. Are they different?

Grand Universe by Antifan Real

The experiment sounds very simple on the surface but is actually very difficult. For either an atheist, or a theist, I think the construction of a universe opposite from what you believe in is very hard. But I think that it is not just difficult to imagine a universe without God: it is actually impossible for one to exist.

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Toe-dipping in the internet dating pool

Following my post on d-d-d-dating I haven’t really blogged any updates on what I’m actually doing, other than thinking about it. But there is progress! (Sort of.)

I have signed up on an internet dating site so I can make contact with comely young gentlemen seeking the same.

So far I have contacted no-one. Internet dating is strange. Why?

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