Thursday, October 11, 2007

Liturgy and Ethics

"One reason why we Christians argue so much about which hymn to sing, which liturgy to follow, which way to worship is that the commandments teach us to believe that bad liturgy eventually leads to bad ethics. You begin by singing some sappy, sentimental hymn, then you pray some pointless prayer, and the next thing you know you have murdered your best friend."
— Stanley Hauerwas, The Truth About God: The Ten Commandments in Christian Life, p.89

"We don't take the issue of liturgy anywhere near as seriously as we ought to do. I believe that the bad taste in liturgy and hymnody demonstrated by so many modern congregations should be every bit as troubling to us as their weak ethical and doctrinal standards... Beauty, goodness and truth stand or fall together. The aesthetical crimes that one witnesses in the evangelical subculture — look in the trinket or art areas of your local Christian store to get a sense of what I am referring to — are indicative of a rottenness in heart of the movement itself. The narcissistic aesthetic of much of the subculture of evangelicalism, seen in the appeal of kitsch and of art that involves little more than its own self-projections, is evidence enough of a serious departure from Christian orthodoxy."
- Alastair from

Monday, October 08, 2007

Is This Man God's Preferred PM?

Danny Nalliah of Catch the Fire Ministries has recently released a "prophecy" claiming that God told him to go and anoint Peter Costello as Australia's future prime Minister. I kid thee not. Read the "prophecy" at Last time I looked we went to Holy Scripture for guidance and not to extra-biblical revelation. Danny Nalliah likens himself to the biblical Samuel anointing the next king of Israel. Give me a break! He claims, "I will boldly declare that Prime Minister John Howard will be re-elected in the November election (if the Body of Christ unites in prayer and action) and pass the leadership onto Peter Costello sometime after." Notice the way he worms out of the implications of his prophecy NOT coming to pass (which by Old Testament standards would be his being stoned to death). It is only "if the Body of Christ unites in prayer and action" that the prophecy will come to pass! So in the end it is all about Pelagian self effort. Apparently we must "be willing to pay the price to see Australia come back to Jesus." Come on folks, we can do it if we just get together, pray hard enough and vote Liberal!

Is it the supposedly "Judeo-Christian values" of the Liberal Party that are behind our involvement in the war in Iraq which has seen conservatively 70-80,000 innocent civilians killed? We certainly should support the right to life of unborn children but what about the right to life of living children in Iraq and Afghanistan? Are they of less value? More die every day and the coalition government refuses to withdraw the involvement of our troops. Why do we persist in thinking that "Judeo-Christian values" only relate to matters of personal morality? To state that 60-70% of Labor Party members hold to "totally anti-Christian, extreme left wing ideologies" is outrageous. What planet does this guy live on? Is he saying they're all Communists? The Labor Party is about as centre-right as any party can be without being the Liberal Party!

As for Labor "supporting homosexuals" what are we supposed to do? Hate them? Marginalise them? Why shouldn't gay people have the same civil rights as other people? Perhaps we should put them all in special enclosures or make them wear a little symbol so we can identify them and single them out for special treatment. Rudd has made it clear that under a Labor government there will be no change to the Marriage Act that defines legal marriage as a union between one man and one woman for life. The Christian community does not believe that homosexual practice is in keeping with Christian moral and ethical teaching. That is our affair, and we have our own house to keep in order, but we can't enforce that teaching on the general population, any more than we can make it a law that all Australian citizens must attend church! Let's face it friends, we live in a liberal democracy, not a theocracy or a Puritan commonwealth!

I'm prepared to go on record to say that, in spite of Pastor Nalliah's "prophetic word," I for one will not be voting Liberal in the federal election and I certainly will not be spiritually blackmailed into doing so by a self appointed prophet. I cannot vote for a government that supports an unjust war, that refuses to engage in a genuine act of reconciliation with indigenous Australians, that places economic prosperity ahead of justice, and imprisons refugees in contravention of international law, all of which are contrary to "Judeo-Christian values."

For those who think I am slandering Pastor Danny with this post, you need to know that I have already made all of these comments on his website.


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