An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Friday, 29 April 2011

Analysis of the Royal Wedding Sermon

The sermon given by the Right Reverend Dr Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, at the royal wedding today was notable for the simplistic and faith ridden message it conveyed which cut across the pomp and splendour of the occasion. I am wary of preaching which extols the virtues of marriage to such an extent that it is beyond the measure of many but there was something in today's sermon which both married and non married people could draw upon. The folllowing part was particularly appealing:
"We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely the power which has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another."
The institution of marriage does not, in other words, have a monopoly on compassion, stewardship and societal obligations. We all do. That's the Christian faith stripped down to bare bones. Amen.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Why do we celebrate the 'violence at the cross'?

I am often asked by non-Christians about the sanity of celebrating the 'violence at the cross'. In other words some people see the crucifixion as a violent death (which it was) and wonder why Christians go to such lengths to honour this when Christianity is meant to be about peace. A good question, I think.
However, the question does presuppose that the crucifixion was all about a painful and lingering death which marked the demise of Jesus and nothing more. The questioners miss the point that Good Friday, though it is about thinking of the suffering Jesus endured, is also about the miracle of the resurrection. Goodness can come out of evil. That is the whole message of Easter which people miss.
In contemporary times, violence has become a pervasive element of our lives. The 24 hour news channels show us pictures of violence being carried out all over the world. Violence is peppered throughout our TV programmes, magazines, video games and those who can endure watching violence fuelled films like Scream are seen as macho. Children boast to each other about their high thresholds for being able to view horror films. How then do we inject compassion as an antidote to violence in these situations?
Religion has a great part to play here. It introduces the concepts of empathy, concern for the wellbeing of others and justice which are all human experiences that can counterract the endless appetite for violence. The 'violence at the cross' is a strong visual aid for helping us rewrite our faith narrative against injustice.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Pray for Christians in Libya

According to a report in 'Open Doors', a magazine serving persecuted Christians, there are fears for the safety of our faith sisters and brothers in Libya. An Open Doors contact in the country states that things are much worse than what we are watching on the news. This is alarming because what we are seeing on the news is bad enough. A little child lies in a Libyan hospital today seriously ill because of government attacks. Christians in Libya are a minority and are made up mainly of Africans who fear for their lives because of their faith and the fact that they are Black.
Please pray that a solution will be found quickly that will see the departure of Colonel Gaddafi from power.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Happy Mother's Day-What does being a Christian mum mean to you?

I am a Motherhood Activist and spoke at an international conference recently about the subjectivity of Motherhood. The traits of a good mother are always named as: being a good nurturer, being always there for your child, being supportive, endlessly patient, being loving all the time, always putting your child first over everything else and providing an environment of constant activity and fun.
The world we live in puts so much pressure on Mothers: mothers who don't work are expected to be constantly sacrificial towards the needs of their children because if mothers don't work then they must have all the time in the world to tend to their children; and mothers who do work must suffer the guilt of being away from the family home and never be bold enough to proclaim that work is an important part of her life. Religion/Christianity adds another layer of responsibility because Motherhood is seen as being next to Sainthood. The ideals of being a Christian Mom in analysed theology would have mothers competing with God to sit on the throne.
In my experience being a Christian Mum is a gift from God and, consequently, I truly believe that God allows us to be subjective in our approach to mothering but without us faltering from the paramount role of introducing God into our children's lives. Much of what is touted as 'Christian Mum' theories is no different from non-religious mummy instructions. Mother's Day should be about appraising our roles as Christian Mothers and realising that love and a level of parental control that provides boundaries for your children should be the main elements of your mothering framework. Weave your own motherhood story out of this and throw away the prescriptive writings on what you should and shouldn't be doing. I did it My Way and here's my child:
However, I am always mindful of the luxury mothers in the Western world have to contemplate on how and why we do what we do and, so, I especially ask for your prayers for those mothers in parts of the world who are watching their children die through extreme poverty. These mothers who manage to cling on to their faith are the true Christian Mums.
Happy Mother's Day.