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!

Mods & Bokkers

Genetic Modification of Plants – has it gone too far?

I found this in a supermarket
– startling evidence that genetic engineering of food crop plants has gone overboard! …

Ask yourselves, what results could we anticipate if crumbs from one of these modified crops were to blow into the fields of farmers growing straight normal Bok choy? I shudder to think!

Isn’t it time geneticists stopped playing Divine Baker?!

The Awful Artful Case Of The Missing Mojo

I’m bored with my landscape impressions, expressions, and abstractions.
My oil paints and canvasses don’t have that tempting siren call they should have.
No need to bind me to a mast with my ears plugged with wax to stop me answering the call to spend my precious time doodling and splurging in my studio.
My brushes and knives sit idle. My turps evaporates alone.

It’s a post-mid-life-crisis… surely that’s what it is – introspective ennui.

The last exhibition was praised by a good number of people, both in words and by a few sales.

Yes, but for me, seeing my paintings hanging together was something of a let-down
– it’s not that they were poor paintings – people assure me that they are good, some “very good”.
It’s just that they made me feel a bit 😑
(flat, bored, disappointed, unsatisfied.)

An experienced artist friend tells me that this is normal. It’s the usual feeling experienced by artists after an exhibition, and it’s good news.

This certainly has been my experience after the few exhibitions in which I have participated.
But “good news”?
Maybe, maybe not.
Perhaps this let-down is the thing that keeps the creative juices flowing.
I hope so.

Really, I want to get on with painting new works, but I just can’t get my mojo working.
The blues are all very well, but I should use the yellows and reds too.

I’m thinking I should explore semi-figurative abstractions more like this one from 2016.

The Mamre Incident’ c 31X24cm (painted surface) – oil on Arches Oil Paper – Ant Fox 2016

… or even like this (but better, of course 🙂 )

Trees and Rocks … from my sketch pad – sometime in the 1970s

Or am I whining about nothing?
Just wasting my time?

Expanding My Horizons.

Time for my midday luncheon crept up on me.
Art Pepper was blowing beautiful sounds from my old Altec horn speakers,
and the sun shone happily outside on this perfect autumnal day in sunny Nairne.

On such a day as this, an old man’s fancy turns to bacon.
“Ah” thought Fox, “a bacon sarnie would go down a treat!”
So, in my never ending quest for a better and healthier dietician pleasing diet,
I placed a frying pan on the cooktop, the toaster on the bench, and attacked the fridge … I removed the usual suspects – Bacon and Cheese, because what more could a bloke possibly want?

Well, my eye was caught by a wee Tupperware ® container – in it were two pineapple rings left over from a dessert Joy had prepared on the weekend.
“Hmmmm” I thought, my imagination sparked.
So I removed them from the container and threw them into the pan with the bacon.

At this point, those who know me outside the blogosphere should be a little surprised.
After all , I am one of those annoying people who rails against the use of pineapple on a pizza.
Such a practice is abominable, if not in the eyes of God, certainly in the eyes of Ant Fox. I have been known to ridicule people for ordering pineapple on their pizza.
I have threatened physical violence on those who attempt to serve me with such.

“Time to expand my culinary horizons”, I thought.
“This could be a food experience akin to a revelation”, I mused.

I eagerly constructed my midday delight – White bread toasted on one side only, fried Adelaide Hills bacon, cheddar cheese, and fried pineapple rings.

Yes my horizons were expanded.
My eyes were opened!

Once I really, really disliked pineapple on pizza.
Now, thanks to today,
I really, really dislike pineapple on bacon sandwiches as well!

Not A Dirty Story.

Currently on Australian TV (and probably on non-Australian TV) there is an advertisement for a popular brand hand sanitiser where two small boys are refused service at the icecream van until they have sanitised their hands.

Am I the only person uncomfortable with this?

In the coffee shops and supermarkets I see young mothers cleansing the kids with these chemicals. I see people wiping their cafe tabletops with impregnated sterilising cloths before they sit down and order. Homes stock up on anti-bacterial fluids and sprays.

It’s a dangerous thing, y’know.

I am certainly not an anti-vaccination person – exactly the opposite in fact …please VACCINATE YOUR KIDS! – it is important for them.
But please think before you stop them playing in the mud, playing with the dogs, and getting dirty.
That play and dirt is a kind of natural vaccination, it’s a resistance builder.
Hand sanitisers over-used do the opposite.

Before I became a Flâneur, Artist, Photoist, and retired idler, I worked not only in the church, but in science too – for more than 20 years.
I have studied biology and microbiology – I know stuff (OK – not as much as I did, but enough).

If you manage to knock out 99.5% of harmful bacteria from your cooking surfaces, what do you have left?
0.5% of the population of those harmful bacteria, that’s what.
The thing is, that 0.5% of bacteria are the ones that are strong enough to resist the killing agent with which you’ve hit them.

By doing this continually, as the manufacturers suggest, you are weeding out the weak bugs, who form the majority, and selecting the strong ones – the resistant ones
… you are line breeding a population of strong pathogens
– you are aiding the evolution of strong bugs!

Remember – 0.5% of 1,000,000 bacteria is still a big crowd of 5000 bacteria whose population may double every 20 minutes or so
… that means that in less than 3 hours you’ve got more than you started with
– but they are the strong ones.

I’m not saying “Don’t use cleaning products”.
I’m suggesting that none of us over-use cleaning products.

Don’t be scared.
Look after yourselves, your children, and your homes
– but please don’t get carried away.