Tuesday, March 27

'Go, Conquer the World With A Towel!'

As a follow up from my last post, I realised that my most recent entry lacked of substantial depth - ye, right Ivonne, you wanna change the world, but how exactly? Last night I was catching up with the news. Apparently yesterday the people of Northern Ireland and the world witnessed history. The leaders of two antagonistic extremist parties sat down together in the same room to plan a better future for their country. As I was watching that, I couldn't help but feel patronised about a condescending piece of news and vague promises I feel like we have heard before... In his most recent entry,Wiggy mentioned the apparent lack of forgiveness and Christian attitude which could be potentially jeopardising the political reconstruction process within the N.Irish context. Also yesterday a group of infuriated university students from Rome protested against Fausto Bertinotti, historical leader of the communist party in Italy, in contestation of his false promises and his failure to stick by the ideals that got him into power in the first place. The caricature on the right (which allow me to say, does not massively differ from the original..) depicts Bertinotti, a man who portraits ideals, values, power which are, the more I think about it, like dust in the wind..fragile,imperfect and failing. Parallel to this, I have been reading up the Naked Pastor's sermon from last week-end about how, in front of the failure of human philosophies, secular theories, religion and scientific discoveries, God's perfection exceeds them all by far (Psalm 119:96)
John Newton's familiar lyrics are piercing my mind and heart this morning.

'Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I am found
Was blind but now I see! '

The author obviously knew that beyond physical slavery, we all are or we have been slaves to our own consciences, selfishness, vices, sins, fears. I am often astounded by the many radical and life changing paradoxes about Christianity. The poor who end up be
ing the richest; the humble who shall be lifted up; the paradox of being blind when you have perfect sight and to be able to really see even if you are blind.. The more I think about wanting to change the world, the more I realise that Jesus oughts to be my icon and inspiration. He acted out what some would call, "an invisible revolution" where people's lives, cultures and societies were radically transformed by a touch on the hand, a communal meal with wrong-doers and a washing of the feet of a bunch of dirty, illiterate and quick tempered fishermen. "Go, and conquer the world with a towel" is a brilliant command which masterly encompasses the essence of Christian 'revolution'. Unfortunately, it ain't my creation. John Glass, the top man in Elim in the Uk, preached this on my first day at Bible College.. five years later, I am beginning to understand the power of the paradoxal truth of Christianity more and more. Beyond philosophy, religion, politics, science,theories, I believe, the essence of Christianity is still the key to world change. Go and change the world not with a war, a cruisade,a big slogan, but with humility, kindness, compassion, grace, Love. (Of course, shout if you must!)


Brian Heasley said...

Yvonne, are you still at Bible college? Didn't know you were an elim person... great post.

Ivonne said...

Thanks Brian - I am surprised I've already got a comment,'coz I was still faffing with the post..
Ye, reformed AoG, Elim person for the past 5 years. I graduated May 2005 from college. Were you ever a student there?

Gorilla Bananas said...

"Go, and conquer the world with a towel"

I've heard that getting whipped with a towel is quite painful, but I don't think it would scare many people into obedience. Bribing them with cashew nuts might be a better idea.

Estelle said...

they say that one person can't change the world but we can change the world of one person!
Go, with humility!

Estelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

Doesn't Ann Coulter also believe Christianity is the key to changing the world?

Ivonne said...

Jay, I must say that I couldn't remember much about Ann Coulter, but I read up on her this morning and, from what I gathered, although we seem to believe in the same God and share most of the same values, you don't find me in agreement with her imperialistic/violent stands on terrorism and other religions. I share your same concern for impulsive campaigners hiding beyind the name of "religion". The Revolutionary I believe in was a King born in a stable, a Saviour dying on a cross, a man who changed the course of history by washing feet and serving others!!! (He didn't change the world by invading Afganistan!!!) ;-)

Ivonne said...

GB - I am a mean 'wet tea towel' fighter..guess that's an interpretation of my statement..lol!

Estelle: Humility indeed - that's were the real strength lies (that's why I've still got a lot to learn!!!) ;-)

Jay said...

Although we might have different ideas on your Saviour, I'm glad you and Ms Coulter don't share ideas on invading other countries and converting them :)

Baron Hashbrown said...

Have you considered the concept of revolution vs evolution? In this, revolution is the glamorous boisterous brother who dies in a blaze of glory but evolution is the one who is the most effective and lives to a ripe old age.

(I'm talking about social evolution rather than evolution of species by the way) Revolution can be a very dangerous thing as it must always fight against opposition, often a majority opposition and it does this through force (mental or physical). It reaches it's goal quickly but is generally short lived. Every political revolution in recent times has ended with a dictator. An enforced social revolution which may be against the wishes of the majority. Those I can think of, have either failed or show signs of crumbling.

Change in Iraq could have been a gradual process but a revolution (of sorts) has destroyed the country. Alternatively Russia and China are seeing a slow process of change which is peaceful but present equally large changes but over a period of time. It is successful because the changes are not physical but in peoples minds. Perceptions unlike governments do not change over night.

Now I'm not suggesting you are a political revolutionary! But the concept is true for anything. If you can change social perceptions you will have a far more effective result in the long term than a quick fix would achieve.

A good example is the drink driving campaign in this country. Twenty years ago, driving over the limit was considered a bit cheeky but most of the time something you could get away with. A long term marketing campaign has resulted in driving while over the limit being regarded as socially unacceptable. Individuals are judged as irresponsible rather than cheeky.

In the same way I would say (despite being atheist) that Jesus' 'campaign' was also evolutionary. He tried to change perception rather than cause a bloody revolution. If he fought a war he would now be long forgotten but the path he chose has meant his message is still remembered after 2000 years.

:-o Sorry for the essay, this must be the longest comment in history! Just a thought for you anyway!

Ivonne said...

Steve: first of all never apologise for long comments. I think very highly of you and I am honoured you would even bother to write in the first place!

Wow - what you wrote was excellent and I couldn't agree with you more on the concept of evolution rather than revolution - I have always been somehow concerned about revolutionaries whilst, paradoxically, I have always dreamt of making the world a better place..

My only concern with regards,for instance, to the Russian and Chinese situations is that of brainwashing propaganda as opposed to personal conviction and change in perception, like you mentioned.
The type of 'evolution' I would have in mind would, ideally, start from a change in the individuals who collectively make up an 'army' of world changers..if that makes any sense.

Sometimes it strikes me you claim yourself as atheist because of the goodness,compassion and care I can see in you, worthy of a real follower of Christ (if you allow me to say!) ;-)

So,here is another essay..thanks for expanding my horizon!

PS: Lovin' the Ben Harper's song!!

Ivonne said...

PS: am I right in thinking that someone has been reading Camus recently?

Baron Hashbrown said...

Haha! It's a long time since I read Camus. Not sure if I agree with him completely but then politically/socially/spiritually I have never found my niche. Perhaps I could flatter myself with F. Scott Fitzgerald's view that a first rate mind is able to hold two opposed ideas at the same time and still function...

I prefer to juggle ideas and follow no one but I will accept that I would be a worthy Christian as a complement :-D

Perhaps contemporary examples of Russia and China were not ideal but they do demonstrate a non-violent evolutionary transition just not necessarily in the right direction or by appropriate means. Quite different from the destructive revolutions that started them (although I wouldn't completely reject marxism in it's purest sense...)

I do believe that kindness like greed is an infectious thing and I'm sure your army of 'do-gooders' ;-) would be a noble one as long as it stays as a fight for justice and compassion rather than a religious crusade.

Ivonne said...

Oh dear! This is becoming the 'essay corner'!

Baron,you are so not alone in you juggling! We are citizens of the global postmodern world: bound to have a supermarket shopper attitude with regards to most issues (yes, even philosophy and religion like food, fashon, syles..)

I appreciate what you are saying about Russia and China, guess I just wanted to make a point about the dangers of power (wait until Bea gets into this discussion!).

Not to worry, religiosity has never been a goal of mine; kindness, compassion and a deep thirst for Justice are my drive.The fact that I believe that God has sensitivised me and enhanced anything good in me it's a different story, surprisingly at the core of it all.

Indeed, take it as a complement - I'll keep on wearing my red t-shirt and sing my little song! ;-)

PS: thank you for challenging me!

Jay said...

Ivonne: You seem surprised that an atheist could be as good, compassionate and caring as Steve is...

Ivonne said...

Jay, well pointed out - I guess my upbringing has brought me to believe that Christians should be kinder than most people..however,experience is increasingly teaching me that goodness and virtue are human qualities (which are sometimes enhanced by faith). You must think I am a prejudist monster...;-0

Baron Hashbrown said...

No, you were right Ivonne I'm a right bastard really.

Ivonne said...

Steve: what are you on about!?!?! I think you are ace! Thought I had made my point and given you praise a whole 5 comments ago or something!!! ;-)

Baron Hashbrown said...

I'm trying to save my reputation here! Please see http://el-hashbrown.blogspot.com/2006/10/on-being-cad.html

Ivonne said...

Baron,you of all people should know that kindness is not a synonim for weakness or boredom! If anything it gives a great deal more pleasure and interest to life! Live to the full indeed, not like some wasted drunken bohemian squanderer who abuses others for his own pleasure and gain! Funny post,btw! However, if you'd like me to I could lie about you and saying that you are a dreadful chauvinistic cad!

Baron Hashbrown said...

Thank you. Nothing can make one more of a cad than getting a bad reputation without even earning it... ;-)

John Glass said...

Hi Yvonne

Really interesting Blog. Trust you aqre doing well

John Glass

Anonymous said...

Hey Ivonne, this is John Owens from college. Can you remember Peter Davies giving an awesome sermon on the towel in first year? The other day I found my Michaelangelo calender which you kindly gave me and I wanted to thank you for it again. I still love the renaissance culture greatly. I asked James Smeed if he had your number but he must've gave me an old one as no reply when I text, then I randomly found you on here. Are you well? How did you enjoy your final two years at Regents? Many blessings. John