Thursday, April 5

"Isn't It a Pity"

I absolutely adore Nina Simone and her eleven and a half minute long interpretation of George Harrison's 'Isn't it a pity' on the live from the UK album is simply phenomenal. It is a beautiful song and a tale of raw human emotions. Through it one is encouraged and inspired to show a little more care in the way we live and we behave towards others. I have been struck recently by an exchange of comments I had with Steve, otherwise known as the eminent Baron Hashbrown, on changing the world and Christianity. The Baron is a really noble person not only by social status, but more so for his ideals and principles. His comments are always filled with kindness, compassion and grace. Steve declares himself as atheist. In the context of one of his usually compassion filled comments, prefaced by a declaration of non-religiosity, I responded by complementing his Christ like attitude and wording. That comment opened up a little debate whereby it was been pointed out to me that being a Christian does not mean being a better person than the rest. I partially agreed with this alleged accusation; nonetheless, I cannot help but expect and often witness the tangible proof of how faith enhances one's life. Coincidentally, Nina Simone also wrote another wonderful song on Martin Luther King. "The King of Love is Dead" narrates the story of the deeds and compassion portrayed by Dr King who through his Christian faith and a remarkable determination, shaped the course of contemporary history. The examples of Christians doing something good are copious and, surprisingly, not merely stuck in a time long gone. A couple of nights ago I was having a chat with a friend of mine who had visited a missionary friend in Thailand last summer. He was quite awestruck in describing how it is mainly Christians he saw working amongst the poorest and neediest. From personal experience, in all of my travels locally and internationally, I too have witnessed the compassion and affection that springs out of Christian communities across the globe. Above and beyond petty conflictual church policies, denominational division and past errors, the truths preached by Jesus are the ones that not only transform the lives and souls of the individuals, but which also enrich, promote, sensitise and challenge the behavioural attitudes of a community of believers. I believe all the mistakes and damages the Christian community has provoked over the centuries have got nothing to do with its movement funder. The Son of God become flesh not just so that we could have some more holidays in the Gregorian calendar (thank God for Easter and Christmas!) but also to challenge the world and change it forever. In this season, I can't help but think about God. The cruxifiction, the resurrection, the daffodils in bloom, the Easter eggs. The last one in particular makes me see God in His people - not much in the gesture of buying an egg for someone but for the growing involvement of many churches to get strongly behind fair-trade, abolitionism, social justice, debt cancellation. It gives me a lot to be thoughtful of, caring about and proud of.


Estelle said...

Social Action has always been a part of my christian belief system. But I am someone who reckons that Jesus was the first socialist -helping others regardless of class, race or creed. The pioneers were prophets, now we have to grab hold of their mantel and fly with the opportunity given to us all!

Re:Atheism - someone once told me that atheists don't exist, cos they have to believe in something to discount it in the first place!

Baron Hashbrown said...

Thank you for your kind words. You give me a lot to live up to! It's certainly true that you see the best in people and I think that's a great way to be.

I think that the vast majority of people are good and compassionate but most become so involved within their own little bubble that they do not think of anything else as important. I think christianity is one of the ways that can help people to expand their bubble to encompass the wider world. On the other hand christianity is a club and like any other it is very easy to look down on outsiders. I was quite shocked when flicking through a copy of 'The Watchtower' which had been planted in my hand last year, that it condemned 'false religions' as a source of most of the world's evils. To me this was inspiring hatred; surely the path to peace is understanding? I'm not suggesting that this is the view of all christians but just that this is an example of how a religion can build walls (or bubbles) as well as take them away.

My personal feeling is that I have no need for religion in my life but I understand why others do and a respect for that.

Re: Atheism - someone told me that if you can understand why you discount all other religions then you should be able to understand why I discount yours.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I'm not sure Jesus would have approved of eggs. They make an evil smell when they rot and they come from chickens, who have rather devlish faces. I think Jesus would have been keen on potatoes, even though he never tasted one.

Jen said...

here here on the egg count! I hate eggs. Down with them! I have to say though as a Christian, that is a label i choose to put on myself but of course it automatically means people will judge me by all christians or any christians they have known, seen or met. I choose to aim for an ideal-the ideal of Jesus, not of the writer of the watchtower or anyone else...baron what tempers ur decision to write off christianity? Are you judging us on that one author? Just a thought-trying to be provocative!

Ivonne said...

Thanks,Baron, I hope you know by now that I am also congenitally unable to lie, so a complement is always sincerely meant.

I must say that I am with Jen on this one: I am not a Christian because I have joined a club, I am a Chrisitan because I made a personal choice to follow Christ. The reason I go to a church, is for the innate human desire and longing to 'belong', to be part of a group of individuals who are like-minded. What secterian groups and hysterical masses get up to in a discriminatory/hateful attitude has, in my opinion, little to do with the life choice I have taken.. I always feel terribly ashamed of such behaviours which often end up discrediting the beauty of my faith.

RE: Eggs, I hope you all got that I was not referring to actual food, but to the Christian involvement in fair-trade campaigns especially at this consumeristic time of the year!!! (check out Stop the Traffic link).

Finally, with regards to philosophies and religions, I am willing to explore them all and make up my mind about them but what I am really interested in is not knowledge, but people!

Baron Hashbrown said...

Funny how my comments here and mine on rowing tied in together. It wasn't intentional. Ihave a lot more respect for religions these days. The friends I have made such as yourself speak a lot more sense than the vicars and theology teachers of my youth. Or maybe it's just me who has changed.

Jen, I don't so much write-off Chritianity but rather I do not have the belief, and what is religion without belief. I am not a christian for the same reason you are not a Muslim or a Buddist.

Surely the whole egg thing dates back to paganism?

Ivonne said...

Baron,you are most correct about the egg thing which, together with Christmas trees, originates with paganism.
I feel honoured to offer you a new take on religion as I am largely inspired by you on a number of matters.