Church

Life of Pi

Yesterday I went to watch Life of Pi, in 3D nogals… The visual effects are spectacular.



The film is about a 16-year old boy named Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, who suffers a shipwreck in which his family dies, and is stranded in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat for 227 days with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. With some interesting religious, spiritual and theological themes (which are syncretistic however) coming through, I was quite captivated and not sorry that I went. Most of the crowd at the theater however seemed to be heading to the Hobbit and Skyfall shows.

And like Yann Martel’s book, on which the show is adapted and based, the movie certainly provokes the viewer into thinking about God, in a world that is made beautiful and given meaning by Him.

And so it is with God.

 

Blog

Revisiting the Comments Policy, Again…

From the comments and a couple of e-mails now doing the rounds, perhaps it’s time to refresh our memories and revisit the Comments Policy in force here. But first, the disclaimer (again)

The opinions expressed here (by the author, i.e. Fr Stephen Smuts) and those providing the comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and/or official position of the Traditional Anglican Communion (in South Africa, or greater) or any other organisation for that matter.

The author is not responsible, nor will be held liable, for anything anyone says in the blog comments section. The author reserves the right however to exclude comments that are deemed to be objectionable and/or otherwise inappropriate.

The content of this weblog is provided for your personal use.

Links to external websites are provided for your convenience and do not necessarily signify an endorsement of the linked content.

Content, sources, information and links here do change over time.

THIS IS A CHRISTIAN BLOG and will reflect as such.

Now, from the Comments Policy:

Things that are sure to get your comment immediately sent into cyber-oblivion are:

1)    Insulting a holy, pure and perfect God (that includes His Son).

2)    Hate-speech.

3)    You are free to disagree with me but please: No vulgarities or offensive personal insults directed towards me or others will be tolerated.

Generally I don’t like to police the comments section but it is helpful to remember that you are a guest here. You will be treated as such. Behave as is befitting a guest.

Right? So, let’s get something else out the way while we are at it. It is pointless writing my Bishop about this blog or involving him. This is not an official mouthpiece of the TAC in Africa or abroad for that matter. He has, in the past, occasionally made certain recommendations to me on of the content and/or direction of the blog, which I always appreciate. He is a wise and godly man, and not uncritical either. Often, I post on matters which I am seeing, like the rest of you, at face value. I’m not privy to any inside information or the inner workings of the TAC. I never ask either because it is not my place. Remember, I am but a Diocesan Priest. That is all. I have no special position or standing. I’m on a need-to-know basis, and most of the time, I don’t need to know! I always ask for his permission first, before posting an Ad Clerum, and let me add that I am most grateful to be able to share them with the rest of the world – they are of the most popular and visited posts on the blog – good and edifying stuff.  I have always trusted him and his judgment but he is not one to meddle in the blogs. Prayer is more his thing, and he has, in any event, more than enough to do, visiting all the parishes dotted of over Southern Africa (and that over and above his busy work as Secretary to the College of Bishops).

Also, understand that in South Africa, we have a great constitution and enshrined therein is freedom of speech – a key component. We are not a police or totalitarian state (as was witnessed in our sad past). And neither is this blog. Here, people have the freedom and right to communicate and express their own opinions and ideas, unhindered.

What I guard against is pointed out in the comments policy, hate speech and the like, but generally, this is a forum for debate and discussion (albeit, at times, fervent and zealous discussion). What’s the point of deleting and sending off into cyber-oblivion, every comment that I disagree with (and trust me, there are plenty)?

For example, take Ioannes. There have been calls of late to have him blocked. He has never been rude to me, unlike say Mr John Bruce (the first and only person ever to be blocked here), who, seething with hatred, is vicious and lashes out, insulting whoever he feels like regardless. His inconsequential tablodic little blog, without place for comment, reads as a soap-opera, is useless, and serves only to spew out one-sided venom. Now, while Ioannes is passionate and argues well for his chosen position, many have attempted to counter and contended with him. I mostly ignore of his comments simply because he is not one to be swayed. I don’t know who he is or where he is from (in the world), but should he be censored or banned simply because he rubs us up wrongly or because we disagree, fundamentally? I think not. I do, however, wish we (all) could be a little more respectful of and charitable towards one another.

But again, all this has nothing to do with my Bishop. So please, stop fussing, and don’t bother him with the content or comments of the blog (unless, of course, you find some value (if any) in the work being done here, and wish to express your appreciation). He and I understand one another. I have even on occasion asked him if I should close down the blog (blogging can indeed be spiritually taxing). Had he said ‘yes’, then, and I’m being very honest here, I would have done so. Why? Because I am under authority, I respect his judgment in these matters, and I don’t want to be hindered, tied down, or in any way kept from my primary mission: being a good and faithful Priest. Remember: I am a Priest who blogs, not the other way around! All that I do is (all) because of Jesus Christ… And I exist, simply, to honour Him.

 

 

Church

Christians Have No Right to Refuse to Work on Sundays, Rules Judge

The Telegraph:

A new ruling by a High Court judge – the first on the issue in nearly a decade – says that Christians have no right to decline working on Sunday as it is not a “core component” of their beliefs.

The judgment – which upholds an earlier decision – means that individual Christians do not have any protection from being fired for not working on Sundays.

Campaigners said the decision puts Christians at a disadvantage to other religions and means the judiciary are deciding what the core beliefs of Christians can be, which they say is an interference in the right to practise religion.

The judgment was issued by Mr Justice Langstaff as he ruled on an appeal brought by a Christian woman who was sacked after she refused to work on Sundays at a care home.

Celestina Mba claimed the council she worked for pressured her to work on Sundays and threatened her with disciplinary measures – even though other workers were willing to take the shifts…

Mr Justice Langstaff, who as president of the Employment Appeal Tribunal is the most senior judge in England and Wales in this type of case, upheld the lower tribunal’s ruling which said it was relevant that other Christians did not ask for Sundays off.

The fact that some Christians were prepared to work on Sundays meant it was not protected, the court said.

The senior judge said that a rule imposed by an employer which affected nearly every Christian would have a greater discriminatory impact than one which only affected a few.

There was evidence that many Christians work on Sundays and this was relevant in “weighing” the impact of the employers’ rule, and the earlier decision did not involve an error of law, he added.

Campaigners said the ruling showed that Christians are being treated less favourably than people from other religions, such as Muslims, Jews and Sikhs. They pointed to cases where the courts offered protection to other religions even when only a minority of adherents were affected…

The judgment in Miss Mba’s case will fuel concerns that judges are promoting secularism. A report from the cross-party Christians in Parliament group warned earlier this year that there was a lack of religious literacy among judges, politicians and officials…

Andrea Williams, director of Christian Concern, said of the latest ruling: “The court in this case created an unrealistic test…

“The court seems to be requiring a significant number of adherents of the Christian faith to observe a particular practice before the court is willing to accept and protect the practice…

“In the past year we have seen mandatory tests of faith in relation to the wearing of crosses by Christians, belief about marriage between a man and a woman and now observing the Sabbath when in all cases reasonable accommodation could have been made.

“Such tests do not appear to be similarly applied to Muslims who are permitted to wear the hijab and observe prayers and Sikhs with the kara bracelet.”

The whole piece is here.