Apologies for the week-long hiatus in the blog - not that I heard many people complaining!! - but it was all a little "full" and other things needed my attention... not that there was any lack of things to blog about. I'll try and catch up a little over the next few days.
Two completely unrelated things that have caught my eye over the last few days...
1. I'm a fan of anything which helps me to see "me and mine" in the big picture context of the whole world in which we live - reminds me that beyond the concerns of my family, my church, my neighbourhood, my country - even of my continent - are 6 billion people with their own concerns... and a big God who knows the hairs on each one's head.
flickrvision is a wonderful 'mash' (semi-technical term where you take more than one web application and combine them to make something new) of flickr.com (where you can upload and view photographs) and google maps. It's worryingly addictive as every few seconds it throws up a random photograph uploaded in the previous couple of seconds from somewhere in the world (and shows you it on a map). In the last few seconds, for example, there have been photos from the USA, Japan, Brazil and the UK... You can even get it as your screensaver... [See previous remark about its addictive qualities - you have been warned!!]
2. Next is a rather scathing review of one of the books to follow in Richard Dawkins' footsteps in attempting to rubbish, ridicule and (presumably) remove religion - God is not great by Chris Hitchens. It's reviewed in the New Statesman (thanks to Mark Meynell's blog for the link) - hardly known for its pro-religious views - here's a snippet from the full review:
This book refuses to deal with the nuances of religious thought. It ignores the great moral and ethical struggle by theologians and religious leaders such as Paul Tillich or Karl Barth to root religion in contemporary society. It never confronts the anguish faced by those who recognise the impulses we carry within us for evil as well as good. Hitchens, unequipped to deal with other expressions of religious belief, tries vainly to argue against their authenticity. He writes of Dr Martin Luther King that "in no real as opposed to nominal sense, then, was he a Christian". He disparages the faith of Abraham Lincoln and assures us that Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor put to death by the Nazis for resistance, was the product of a religious belief that had "mutated into an admir able but nebulous humanism".
This is a cheap way to avoid the harder task of exploring the varieties of religious experience, of examining the motivations and beliefs of those who strive to live what even Hitchens would have to concede is the moral life. Hitchens is so determined to demonise religion that he would have us believe that self-professed religious leaders such as King or Bonhoeffer were not really religious.