Skip to main content

Singing The Songs of Zion in a Foreign Land

Poor Jeremy Corbyn, so misunderstood and so much hysteria.

stevebell160915pic from here

So, over in the UK, a chap who doesn't believe in God and doesn't believe in the monarchy, and this is a matter of public knowledge, is considered unpatriotic for remaining respectfully silent while standing when "God save the Queen" is sung.

The fact is the media and apparently at least some of the public expect politicians to to be hypocrites and are offended if they are not. And yet surely singing a song in a display of religious and monarchistic sentiment you do not share is far more offensive? Isn't that just acting? Is it better to sing the song mindlessly or tongue in cheek than to be thoughtfully and respectfully silent?

While the concern that God's policy towards Queen Betty has now been changed is probably overblown, I think we should be concerned that those who think Corbyn should sing the anthem think so little of prayer that they encourage the mouthing of the words for the sake of impressing onlookers. (Hmm something in the Bible about that in Matthew 6 somewhere . . . ) For Corbyn, I can understand him being pragmatic about this, after all offending a deity you don't believe in is no offence at all, but for all those who believe the anthem means something, their hypocrisy is now on full display.

By the rivers of Babylon the exiled people of God refused to sing the songs their hearts couldn't bear. Corbyn is now in a foreign land, dragged from the radical periphery into the media spotlight. If he is not careful the demands of his captors to perform what he does not believe will be his undoing.  His integrity has been his greatest weapon. If he doesn't keep that he'll be nothing but another hypocrite mouthing words that mean nothing. Unfortunately his apparent willingness to start singing songs with his toes crossed inside his shoes is not a good start.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

That one time Jesus got the Bible wrong

It's so typical isn't it? You are preaching all day long, training your disciples, sparring with the Pharisees, encouraging the poor and down trodden, healing the sick and casting out demons, all day, day after day, and even when you go up a mountain to get a rest the crowds hunt you down and follow you up, and then the one time you get a bit muddled up with some of the details of a biblical text . . . that is the one they write down in the first gospel - verbatim. At least Matthew and Luke had the good sense to do some editing. But Mark, he always had his eye on giving the public the "historical Jesus" whoever that is supposed to be . . . warts and all. Thanks a lot Mark!

Some think I made the mistake on purpose, just to show the Pharisees up.

For some there is no mistake worth mentioning, only a slightly ambiguous turn of phrase.

Others think I am doing something tricky with Abiathar's name, getting him to figuratively stand in for the priesthood.

It really has…

Thor Ragnarok and Parihaka: Postcolonial Apocalypse

Thor: Ragnarok is a riot of colour, sound, violence, humour, sci-fi and fantasy. As a piece of entertainment it is the best Marvel has produced so far. As in many of Taika Waititi's films the plot often seems secondary to the humour and a number of quirky moments seemed only to serve for a quick giggle. I left the theatre overwhelmed by the sensory experience, but ultimately unimpressed by any deeper meaning.

It wasn't until the second morning after my trip to the movies that I woke to the realisation that the movie could function as a profound postcolonial metaphor (I do some of my best thinking while alseep, also it can take me a while for the penny to drop). Unfortunately a quick google showed me that I was neither the first, nor the second to have this thought.

[Spoiler Alert!]

It's easy to miss with all the other stuff going on but Thor undergoes a postcolonial awakening during the film as he slowly realises that his beloved Asgard and its dominion of the nine realms …

Dale Martin does Mark

Dale Martin is an important and frequently controversial NT scholar. Those of us who can't make it to Yale to hear him teach can access some of his lectures, in fact his entire introduction to the NT course, through the magic of the internet.

Here he is holding forth on Mark . . .