Thought starters from Mick Pope’s “All Things New: God’s Plan to Renew the World.

SOME THOUGHT STARTERS FROM MICK POPE: All Things New: God’s Plan to Renew the World,  Reservoir ViC, Morningstar Publishing, 2018.

p67 We are being made homeless in judgment over our failures to bear the divine image…to tend the garden.

p69 …One significant issue with computer games is the way that violence is portrayed, in particular what Walter Wink calls the “myth of redemptive violence”. This myth suggests that violent acts can solve problems, save people, and bring lasting peace. [in Walter Wink: The Powers that Be: Theology for a New Millenium, New York Galilee, Doubleday, 1999, p. 49]

p70  Why do people want to spend so much time in games and not in the real world? p70. [cf the Second LIfe phenomenon including the many problems that have arisen within it.   See Wikipedial article]  p71 American game designer, Jane McGonigal, claims that ‘reality is broken’ and that games can change the world….why should we needlessly spend the majority of our lives in boredom and anxiety? [Jane McGonigal: Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, London, Vintage Books, 2012 cf Margaret Wertheim: games and the internet are, for some, a replacement for heaven. [Margaret Wertheim: The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A  History of Space from Dante to the Internet, Sydney, Doubleday, 2000.

p74  Raymond Kurzweil, futurist and inventor and Google’s Head of Engineering has predicted that we will achieve a complete map of the human brain, allowing us to enhance our own intelligence using nanobots, tiny robots at or close to the scale of a nanometre (10-9 metres); Human and technology will no longer be separate, but one….

p75 Will technology provided the magic beans to fix all?

p81  The American Doomsday Preppers …heavily armed survivalists building isolated bolt holes in the wild with stores to last a siege and weapons to protect it.  The unprecedented comfort, ease, and freedom form violence that Stephen Pinker boasts of, is perhaps not as stable as we might think. Whether or not you believe climate change played a role in Hurricane Sandy, the fact that some residents in New York City armed themselves with booby traps, baseball bats, and bows and arrows in The Walking Dead style to protect themselves from potential looters, shows that our civility is paper thin…what might the church look like, should society start to crumble around us?  

p83   The Bible was written for us, but not to us. What I mean is that there were original human authors who wrote to original audiences. [eg in Revelation 3..the letters to the seven churches….we are not free to randomly twist the text to our situation in a way that is not faithful to the original meaning.

p107   Our priestly role is one of mediation between God and the world. And what a bad job we have done of this.  When church leaders abuse women and children and try to cover it up, we do not mediate between the world and God.  When we join with empire oppress indigenous peoples and take it upon ourselves to try to extinguish their culture and languages in the name of the gospel, we do not mediate between the world and God.  When we refuse to acknowledge that we worship on stolen land, we do not mediate between the world and God. When we sell a message of consumerism that looks little different to that which the world offers, we do not mediate between the world and God. When we treat the environment as disposable and ignore the fact that we are undermining the beauty and variety of the natural world, and ability to support human flourishing, we do not mediate between the world and God….

p108  Let’s face it: the sorts of Christians who most want the power to reign on earth are the ones who should be casting their crowns  before the throne. Here in Revelation 5:10 is a message of encouragement for those who suffer under the impacts of war, famine, climate change, human misrule and cruelty. It is a message for Palestinian Christians who suffer under Israeli rule while American Christians fund the resettlement of the Holy Land in order to bring about the Apocalypse. It is hope for Kiribati Christians whose homes are disappearing beneath the waves. It is hope for Chinese Christians persecuted by their government…it’s time we started to feel uncomfortable in Babylon if we want to feel comforted about ruling on earth.

p138  …This is not to say that only westerners are sinful.  However, given that we have exercised the power of empire over the majority of the world for centuries, burnt fossil fuels for longer, and used resources more intensively, we bear a particular blame for the state of the world.

P143   Donella Meadows, who was an author on the 1972 Limits to Growth report, describes the growth obsession as “one of the stupidest purposes ever invented for any culture.” What kind of assumptions about human beings and the world is encapsulated by an exponentially growing curve? How can such a thing be made green, sustainable, or smart? IN the 1860’s, social thinker,  John Ruskin, declared that “there is no wealth but life…That country is the richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy beings.”

P172  Who are the four riders of the apocalypse? Michael Gorman sees them as representing a chain of events that is all too well known in human history, including military conquest and the breakdown of peace; death, economic injustice, famine and the disease that follows. Not only are these events permitted to happen but are a direct judgement on sin. Gorman stressed that we must not divide human sin and divine punishment: this is a ‘false dichotomy and asks for an unnecessary choice.  [Michael Gorman: Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness. Following the Lamb into the New Creation, Eugene OR/Cascade Books, 2011]

p177f   Food Justice….farmers are forced to buy into a system where the seeds sold are non-renewable, under patents, and they ensure ‘an absolute monopoly and an end to our diversity.’ [Dr. Vandana Shiva & Ruchi Shroff: Seed Satyagraha: Civil Disobedience To End Seed Slavery, New Delhi, Navdanya, 2015, p5]

p180f  In praise of the vegan diet.   A recent study has shown that a vegan diet “ is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidiification,  eutrophication, land use and water use [Damian Carrington: “The Guardian, 1 June 2018]….For those not ready to take the vegan plunge, at least try reducing  your meat and dairy intake. 

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