Hubert and God

The great Hubert Reeves, French-Canadian astrophysicist, educator, and possessor of a very handsome beard and hairstyle (i.e. like mine), is much quoted on the Internet –

“Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshiping”,

This reflection has been met with disapproval and consternation by many people whose weltbild is perhaps narrower than it should be.

By our very nature as humans, we all need to define our understanding of the nature/existence/being of ourselves, and so of God.
Of God, because deny it or not, we all possess an innate “knowledge” of something we call (or try not to call) God.

Defining God is no easy task.

It’s not easy because it really cannot be done – any definition we come up with is very subjective simply because it is something that we have come up with using our intellect, reasoning, experience, preconditioning, education, and so on.

Humans are not good with objectivity.

Martin Luther, in my opinion, came up with one of the better definitions of God back in the 16th Century in his “Der Große Katechismus (The Large Catechism)”, where he examines the First Commandment, thus –
“ ‘You are to have no other gods’. That is, you are to regard me alone as your God. What does this mean, and how is it to be understood? What does “to have a god” mean, or what is God?Answer: A ‘god’ is the term for that to which we are to look for all good and in which we are to find refuge in all need. … … …. Anything on which your heart relies and depends, I say, that is really your God.

Now, a few centuries later, we ask ourselves, “on what do I really rely?”
Perhaps the accepted doctrines of the Christian Church, formulated over the years by councils of churchmen?
Do we place blind faith in the stories we were taught as children?
Do we rely on the changeable promises and lies of rulers and politicians?
Or do come to see our universe and world as that without which we wouldn’t exist, couldn’t exist, and never would have existed, and so place our awe and reliance there?

It might seem obvious, but they aren’t simple questions.

I started my education in the biological sciences, and after more than 20 years working in that field I decided to change course and study theology as well.
I have a theology degree and some higher qualifications in that discipline.
For the past couple of decade I have been an ordained clergyman (that is, a “Rev”).
After all these years I still find the questions of the nature of life and God to be fascinating, difficult, and hard to answer, important questions .

When Hubert Reeves said “Man is … … unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshiping”, I, perhaps surprisingly because I am a Christian theologian, would say that he has got closer to the answer than most theologians I have read or met.

(I am retired, but I am still uncomfortably aware that my bishop, ex colleagues, and most of my congregations will not be delighted by my observations here.)

Yes, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the best pattern for human living and his life and words are more than worthy of devotion and adoration – “worship” if that’s the word you like to use.

That kind of worship is good and necessary – but it is essential for us to have awareness and life outside of the scope of our simple faith and worship.

God is not just an anthropomorphised concept – a stroppy old bearded man sitting up in the clouds – a little god created in our own image.

We have no idea of who or what God might really be other than in our imaginings.

We simple creatures need myths and legends and religion – Creation Myths, miracle stories, ethical practices, good living, hope and so on.

But if we use these good things to build a fantasy universe, we are robbing ourselves of our humanity and potential, and we exploit and destroy the world that gives us life, and end up killing the God we wish to understand and love.

The Beauty Trade

Have you noticed how so many of the products to be used in the shower have such small writing on their labels?

What most of us don’t do is wear our spectacles in the shower.

It’s a challenge folks!

To aid in our pursuit of clean heads and glossy hair Joy, my wife, has taken a marker pen and written large-print labels on the bottles that can be read under warm running showers without the aid of reading glasses.

In doing so, she has unintentionally summarised the whole beauty industry …

CON & SHAM

Springish Winter

It’s a beauteous sunny day in Nairne, in South Australia’s sunny Adelaide Hills.

Beauteous, but I’m not suggesting that it’s warm or anything approaching warm, however I have a jumper and am sitting wearing it with the house’s doors and windows open – Celebrating winter.

A cooling breeze, with “a taste of spring-time on its lips”, has come in playing with my aged whiskers.

Because I am a caring and sharing senior citizen, I am sharing beautiful strains of classical music with the neighbours 
(OK – it’s not “classical” per se, but rather Robert Plant [“Pictures At Eleven”]),
but “classical” sounds so much more sophisticated and fitting for an aged and sophisticated gent such as myself (and that album is a classic of its kind.)

Sounds of Spring in Winter

I wonder what the poor people are doing? 
… probably, like me, they are wondering how to pay both the Council Rates AND the electricity bill both due this month.

Meanwhile 
“Down at the station where the trains come in” 
… all is well, and time for a (low carb) sandwich and a cup of tea.

Ahhh – nice!

MODERN TIMES – A DAY IN MY PRE-RETIREMENT LIFE

(from my daily notes back then)

Anonymous Young Woman: –

“Why are you putting those signs up in front of the church? – I was going to park there!”

Anonymous Church Pastor: –

“This Morning we have a funeral, and we need this space for the hearse and mourners”

AYW:-

“But I always park here – it’s close to the School and the Coffee Shop!

ACP: –

“Well, I’m sorry, you can’t today – perhaps you’d like to park in the church car park just there.”

AYW:-

“I don’t know why you seem to think you can take over the whole street – I like parking there – it’s convenient!”

ACP:-

“But it is not on the street, it is off the street by the church’s front door, and it is church property – for church use – we don’t mind you parking there on days when we are not using the grounds, but this morning we have a funeral, so we need to use our grounds for that purpose.”

AYW:-

“Well, that is arrogant and grossly unfair! No wonder people are stopping coming to church anymore! … I’ve got rights too you know … I pay my taxes – I am a local … …”

ACP:-

“Calm down, calm down –

Taxes have nothing to do with it, and neither does where you were born. This space is owned by the members of this congregation (and you are not one of them). Sadly, this congregation has a funeral here today.

It is sad and hard time for the family, and we can make it easier for them if we don’t get in their way.

This off-street area is the place where the hearse and the immediate family park their cars …out the front of the church.”

“I have said you are welcome to park in the car park – it’s only 5 metres away – I’ll even open the gate for you.”

AYW:-

“Humph! You can keep your church! “

(stomp … stomp … stomp … brrrrmmmmm ……..)

ACP

“Sigh!”

The Question

Rabbit wrinkled his nose. “I have a question”.

The Major frowned at his furry roundness.

“What?”

“Can I talk?” puzzled Rabbit.

“What?”

“I mean, do I have the capability to converse – one to one or to a group of listeners, sharing my thoughts and feelings, my fears and joys, my wants and needs?”

“What?”

“I’ll take that as ‘No'” lamented Rabbit.