Archive for the 'Faith' Category

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Public Platform

OK, so you have a chance for a national platform.

What are you going to do? What are you going to say?

Antony Gormley, of Angel of the North fame, has a new project up his sleeve. And maybe up your sleeve too.

Angel of the North - Antony Gormley

Angel of the North - Antony Gormley - photo Alastair Cutting

The Fourth Plinth, in the North-west corner of Trafalgar Square is the only one that does not have a permanent sculpture on it.

The Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, an initiative of the Greater London Authority jointly funded by the Mayor of London and Arts Council England, has commissioned Antony Gormley/One & Other to produce a new work of art, and for it, he is planning to use 2,400 individuals each allowed on to the plinth for just one hour each, between July & October 2009.

One & Other

One & Other

How do I get onto the plinth?
You will be put onto the plinth by means of a special mobile lift designed for the purpose.
What can I do when I’m on the plinth?
You are free to do whatever you like, provided it’s legal!

What will I do, if I get the chance to be on there? Well, I think something visual, as I think something audio isn’t going to work well. I might, if I get selected, pursue a long-held interest in signing, possibly trying to use some British Sign Language. Wife & No.2 daughter are already well on in evening classes, and I am rather jealous. And without being offensive to those of other religions, I would like to do something on the plinth – should I get the chance – that reflects my Christian faith.

Well with the opportunity of such a national platform, being set on such a pedestal, what would you do?

When I got my application in, they were still under the 2,400 required (see above) – but fear not, all places are going to be randomly apportioned, making allowance for gender and approximate area distribution across the country. So if you would like to join in, than apply by clicking below. Looking at the regional map, after the first 24 hours, over 5,000 had applied, and proportionately, if you were from Northern Ireland, you stood the strongest chance of gaining a place.

One & Other

Amongst previous occupants of the Fourth Plinth is the beautiful Alison Lapper, in the white marble sculpture by Marc Quinn:

Alison Lapper Pregnant sculpture by Marc Quinn - photo Kokeshi

Alison Lapper Pregnant sculpture by Marc Quinn - photo Kokeshi

Made as she was pregnant and expecting her son Parys, Alison (an artist in her own right) has brought him up on her own, even though she was born without arms. The sculpture and the person are both exquisite; a moving, breathing Venus de Milo. Alison, like so many, is able in ways that I and others are not; and dis-abled is such an inappropriate, ill-informed and presumptive descriptor.

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Jesus’ Facebook Passion

Loving the ‘Jesus’ Facebook Passion’

Jesus Facebook Passion

Jesus Facebook Passion

that has mysteriously appeared via Peter Ould’s blog. You will love it or hate it…

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Pro- or Anti- ?

Is it possible to be pro-Palestinian without being anti-Israeli? Or indeed vice-versa?

Israeli/Palestinian Flags

Palestinian/Israeli Flags


Over the years, medical students from the Edinburgh’s Medical School have supported the international work of the E.M.M.S., the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society. In the late 1950s, my parents were two of the young medics who were due to be joing the team at the hospital at Nazareth in the Holy Land. Had they done so, then it is quite possible that I might have been born in Nazareth, and as famously – dubiously – quoted of Jesus: “What good thing can come out of Nazareth?”

Nazareth

Nazareth, and the E.M.M.S. Hospital

Sadly, the unexpected death of my grandfather meant my mother temporarily taking on his G.P. practice, and there was a change of plan – and India is where my parents subsequently ended up serving. My childhood and upbringing was less Middle Eastern, and more South Asian instead.

However, though I have not yet managed to fulfill my ambition of visiting the Holy Land (despite managing to wave that direction from both the Suez Canal and from Cyprus), this pre-natal episode has left an indelible mark on me, and a deep interest in the country’s history and culture. Nazareth remains a fascinating place; a predominantly Arab Israeli town with a population of 65,000, made up of aprox. 2/3 Muslim population, and 1/3 Christian. The Arab/Palestinian situation is a melting-pot of complexity that I cannot begin to understand, even if it remains such a draw.

And yet (as I sometimes comment to Jewish friends & colleagues) my boss is a Jew, and Jewish culture so permeates the Christian faith too. Much of the theological training that remains with me focused on it. I love discovering more.

Last week I came across a book review, with an Israeli/Palestinian theme, posted on a blog site. The review was a little heavy handed on it’s treatment of the book author’s position. But it was the subsequent internet flurry that worried me most, as various sides began to lay blame at each others door.

Pro-Israeli and Pro-Palestinian accusations were leveled.

It became unrepresentative, and unhelpful eventually, which is why I have not linked to such an unhelpful spat. In the end, I could see significant arguments on both sides. I wanted to be pro- both.

Does being pro- one side of a ferocious debate necessarily mean that one must be anti- the other side? Does that exhibit the appalling naïveté of a distant observer, unaware of the depth of the real issues? Or sometimes, can one be so close to an issue that we think there only is one way forward, and it has to be mine?

I am more Pro-Palestinian; and more Pro-Jewish, the more I hear.

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By Jiminy

‘scuse my French…

There I was, watching the 1939 Wizard of Oz, and suddenly Dorothy exclaims “Jiminy Cricket”!

Was I watching the right film? Had there been yet another random tv channel switching incident? (A frequent occurrence in a household with teenage girls, where I am only allowed ‘the gadget‘ after others have gone to bed.) Isn’t Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio? And which came first? Oz, or Pinocchio?

Jiminy Cricket

Jiminy Cricket

Which came first – what here is chicken, and what is egg? A quick glance on Wiki, and the slightly surprising answer is that Oz was out the year before the 1940 Pinocchio. But even that was not the first, as Judy Garland herself had used the same phrase in the 1938 film ‘Listen, Darling‘. Suddenly, I seem to be in to film textual criticism. Even earlier references apparently include the 1930 film Anna Christie.

Is it possible this expression ended up in the final edit through the casual use of the phrase by a teenage actress, and the director says ‘Yes, keep it in!”?

I had either forgotten, or maybe never really knew, that Jiminy Cricket was coined as an alternative ‘euphemistic expletive’ for that other JC. Not sure one should use a euphemism for his name. He seems happy enough for us to use it, with respect, as it is. Jesus.

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