Archive for July, 2007
If you know how to use it a little bias may serve you well.
I’m currently trying to develop a Biblical Perspective of Detective Fiction. Here are my thoughts so far: (sketchy so bear with)
- The genre/text reflects the creativity of God because He made us in His image as creative beings and gave us all gifts to use. Even non-Christians are given gifts by God. Their use of these still brings glory to Him because they are a reflection of His goodness and self.
- Crime is part of the result of the sinfulness and fallen nature of humanity. It is a distortion of God’s creation and damages our relationship to God and others.
- The detective genre gives us insight into our need for salvation. We need someone to intervene and save us.
- The detective figure represents a saviour intervening in the world to bring justice and eradicate evil.
- The detective is a reflection of a person who uses God’s gift of reason for the good of others. S/he shows a Biblical care/love for the wellbeing of others and glorifies God in his/her use of reason and love.
- The detective genre is in some ways a response to the dualism with which we see the world as being separated into material and spiritual realms. We now, in our humanistic society, hold a much more deistic view of the world – the spiritual realm is removed from us or irrelevant, or, if we are Christians we may think God is outside His creation (He isn’t by the way! it’s just we often think He is) – and feel the need to control evil. The detective genre is a response to this and acts as an expression of our need to contain evil and feel safe. The detective genre makes readers feel safe knowing a rational being can solve and contain crime/evil.
And this is about as far as I have gotten.
Any more ideas?
Here are more questions I am thinking of:
What should the Christian response be to crime?
Considering the Bible says, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” (Phil 4.8) should we, as Christians, read literature which takes for its subject crime?
In what other ways does Detective Fiction communicate Biblical truths or grand narratives?
If you have the answers to any of these questions, have more of your own or think my points [above] are dodgy and off track, please let me know. This is a real work in progress and I’d love to hear your ideas, especially from a Reformed Theological perspective. If you can support your ideas with the Bible, even better.
Also, let me know if you have any great Detective Fiction texts you love. What do you love about them and what do you learn from them?
Don’t you love how literature helps you think about the BIGGER things!
This week I have been privileged to sit under the teaching of Michael Goheen from Trinity Western University, BC, Canada. If you have the opportunity to study under him do so! He has been speaking to us about the importance of Christian Education and teaching from the view of the gospel, working back to creation. One of the most poignant lessons for me has been in Mike’s challenge to abandon our often very deistic approach to life and education and become aware of living life before a God who saturates His creation with his presence, continually.
Mike’s teaching has been reinforced by many things – as well as the Bible – around me this week. For example, my oldest little man had a dream a few nights ago. In his dream, my little man says, “God came back to earth but he didn’t take us to heaven, he just made everything new.” Then, in his dream, he saw God’s arms stretched out in the corner of his bedroom. “Everywhere I went, mama, I could see God’s arms and I knew he was always with me,” explained my little man. I have to admit to being surprised at this dream. God has not ever revealed Himself to me in my dreams but the content of this dream is very Biblical and I am struck by what a beautiful gift and assurance it is to my son. God is good!
As I was sharing with my little man what I was learning at the conference, he said to me, “Mama, that’s like my dream. I know that God is in everything. He is everywhere and that’s what it meant when I could see God’s arms stretched out everywhere.”
My little man has a great awareness that God is present in His world, in His creation and he knows that God is actively involved in his life. I forget more easily. I often fall into the trap of thinking that, as Mike describes deism, God is like some master watchmaker who has created a grand work in such a way that it no longer needs his intervention to run. It can function independent of him. But the Bible paints a very different picture of God. He is not a creator who is removed from His creation. He is in it. He creates and sustains it by his word. He is actively involved in everything that happens. I need to remember this and live my life corum Deo! Before the face of God for His presence is everywhere.
Apparently I’m incomprehensible!
What Ancient Language Are You?
Your Score: Linear B
You are Linear B. Even those who can follow you think you’re all Greek to them. Which, after all, is true – Linear B being the first known text for written Greek. To most people, you’re incomprehensible. But what do you care? You’re tough, hard, long-enduring and have greater nobility than most. Naturally, you don’t admit to borrowing extensively from your brother Linear A.
|Link: The Which Ancient Language Are You Test written by imipak|
But you guys understand me, right?
So, which ancient language are you?
I said I’d post in my holidays and now they are over and all I have posted is two memes. Sorry. I’ve had blogger’s block. Not because I haven’t had anything to write about but because I think I’ve had too much to write about and all my thoughts have been too complicated to express succinctly. This is the catch up post. If you can ride out the tumultuous waves of my thoughts here, you can wade out anything! Game?
Ok. So, there is absolutely heaps I have been thinking about lately. Some of it personal, some political. I’ll start with the political cause it’s easier to express. For those of you who hate political debate, know that I’d appreciate your thoughts and ideas anyway and that I do not intend for this to turn into an argument – although you can disagree with me – , it’s a reflection of my thoughts and an expression of ideas. 🙂
In teaching Studies of Religion to Year 12 last term I have been researching Islam. In the syllabus we are to study a person significant to the development of Islam and the impact of their ideas on the religion. We studied Sayyid Qutb.
Qutb is an intellectual who is interesting for many reasons. His ideas have been said to have influenced fundamentalist Islamic groups such as Al Qaeda. Australians may also be aware of recent claims that Qutb has heavily influenced the controversial Sheik Hilali, ex Grand Mufti of Australia. Yet Qutb’s writings contain a desire for morality that I know many Christians would agree with. For example, read the opening introduction to his book Milestones, the manifesto he was executed for writing:
Mankind today is on the brink of a precipice, not because of the danger of complete annihilation which is hanging over its head-this being just a symptom and not the real disease -but because humanity is devoid of those vital values which are necessary not only for its healthy development but also for its real progress. Even the Western world realises that Western civilization is unable to present any healthy values for the guidance of mankind. It knows that it does not possess anything which will satisfy its own conscience and justify its existence.
I do not know a Christian who would disagree with this. Qutb’s assessment of Western society is spot on. We are materialistic and immoral. Qutb is right. He is a very intriguing character. Intriguing but wrong.
Qutb’s soloution to the immorality and materialism of Western society was to establish an Islamic State governed by Sharia Law established through jihad if necessary. Despite many arguments as to what true Islamic jihad may mean, – namely a personal striving in the way of Allah – Qutb’s writings do define jihad in militaristic terms.
Knowing this caused me to think that we are really waging this ‘war on terror’ in precisely the wrong way. Any military attack on an organisation which adheres to Qutb’s philosophy is destined to make fundamentalist Muslims fight harder. It is clear that this is a war of ideologies. If we are to have any impact perhaps we need to develop ideas and philosophy that address the criticisms Qutb had of Western society. But we’ll never do that because we, in the West, love our materialism and immorality too much. So much that we’ll fight to maintain it. And sadly, we fight for the right to choose how we live our lives thinking we are free when really it is these very things that enslave us. Ironic.
What Qutb failed to note was that we are all immoral, East and West alike because this comes from within us not society, and no amount of military might can save us from this. Nothing can save us from this but the intervention of God Himself, not Allah because he offers no assurance of salvation, but Christ and Christ alone. Knowing this raises this question for me: What as Christians should be our response to the Sayyid Qutbs, Sheik Hilalis and Osama bin Ladens of the world? Is it worth engaging in a philosophical or militant battle? Should we simply recognise that this is a spiritual battle and pray? Should we do a combination of these things?
(I was going to go on with other complikated thoughts but I will leave them for later as this post is arduous enough, I’m sure.)
Last term I was creating posters on figurative language to go on the walls of my classroom. In the middle of composing said posters at school I had to abandon my desk, probably to make an essential cup of tea or something. While I was away someone made a few alterations to one of my posters:
“Peter Piper liked to
peck and tickle lepers.”
…to get me to blog again! I can always tell by the amount of memes she [Kim] tags me for because I’m sure she doesn’t really want to know what kind of pans I like but here we go.. For Kim ’cause I love her!!!!
1. What is your favorite OUTDOOR memory, before Kindergarten?
EASY. My Grandfather – aka Gargi, who died when I was 6 – used to spoil me rotten! To him I was his Dresden plate. He loved me & I knew it!!!!! My first outdoor memory is of me waiting on the steps outside for my Nan and my Gargi to arrive. I remember sitting in the warm sun on the concrete steps playing with leaves and any insects that happened to wander by when my Nan and Gargi arrived, walked up the stairs, promptly smothered me with kisses and handed me the BIGGEST punnet of fresh strawberries I had ever seen! My Gargi stooped down and handed me the punnet saying, “Stay out here and eat these, Katie. But DON’T share them with your dad!” With wide eyes and tingling taste buds I felt like Eve being tempted in the Garden of Eden with the forbidden fruit and wondered if it could possibly be true: Did Gargi really say I was to sit here alone and selfishly eat all of the strawberries? Knowing how much my dad loved strawberries too, I wrestled with guilt but as the temptation was more than I could bear and I sat quietly on the steps so that noone would find me and I ate every single strawberry in the punnet. Without sharing. When the punnet was empty, serpent like I slinked into the kitchen where my family sat and I confessed to my grand deception, gluttony and selfishness. To my surprise my family laughed, scooped me up with cuddles and told me it was fine, the strawberries were all for me because I loved them the most. I felt like I would explode with love and I knew my Gargi loved me much. So much!
2. Do you find history fascinating and if so, which historical period are you most likely to explore?
History. Hmmm. Yep, it fascinates me how people can study it and love it. I would love to love it and have tried to many times but there are so many details that need to be remembered when you study history and I feel like they clutter all my ideas and bury me somewhere in a pile of dust long, long ago.The only way into history for me is through an object: an art work, a novel or an artifact. I love to learn about things and the period they came from but history for history’s sake is as dry as King Tutankhamon’s tomb. As to the period, any time as long as it is relevant to something tangible. I love studying Irish History through literature.
3. What period of art do you prefer and who is your favorite artist?
One period of art? Sheeeesh! One favourite artist? Sigh.
Ummmm… I love art! Just one? Okay, I love the expressionists for their use of bold colours and their attempt to capture the way objects and experiences make them feel! The heightened colour and emotion appeal to me because I feel things strongly. However, I don’t like abstractions. I like the subject to look as it actually would but to be tinged and heightened by the artist’s response. Chagall would have to be my all time favourite painter. His works are passionate, emotive and religious. Oh, and beautiful and ethereal… I could go on…
4. What kind of vacuum cleaner to you own and would you recommend it to someone who is looking for a vacuum cleaner that is strong enough to pick up little red Vizsla hairs without locking itself to the expensive oriental rugs in the process. (not that I know anyone looking for a new vacuum cleaner solution. . .)
Rainbow. A so, so old version of this. Yes, perfect. A great vacuum cleaner.
5. Tell me about your favorite pan, if you have one. Speaking of pans, have you ever made crepes? If so, what is your favorite filling?
I cook everything in this pan! I love it!!!!! It’s beautiful to cook in, washes well, looks good. But only buy it if it is on sale because it is too darn expensive for a pan, in my opinion.
I have not made crepes myself but my favourite filling is chicken and mushrooms in white sauce, with asparagus on the side. Yummo.
I owe Kim a restaurant meme. The 5 best restaurants in my local area – Sydney, Australia – are debatably:
Mash Café, Glenbrook
This Café has the best breakfasts and I love their ‘Winter Warmer’ Organic hot chocolate with chili, cardamom [& marshmallows, if you like] . It’s great to sit in the warmth of Mash, just at the foot of the Blue Mountains, and eat the most delicious food in the company of good friends. This is one of those cafés that you could retreat to for hours and just keep ordering the occasional warm drink, that is if you can resist the delicious food on their menu. This is a café with a conscience that delivers quality food with great ethical values. They are fair trade and all tips go to the sponsorship of three World Vision children. Oooh, and they’re friendly to our children too! The kids menu is also great and children are given pencils and paper to colour in while they wait…not that you have to wait very long ’cause the service is great too. Oh, I wish you were all nearby so we could run off for a while to Mash. What would you order?
Tasman’s in the City
This restaurant has just closed down I’ve heard which is a terrible shame because the food there was delicious!!! Now I’m too cranky to talk up their food, not that it needed talking up. I can’t believe they’re shut! Grrrr!
Bottom of the Harbour Seafoods, Balmoral Beach
This is one of those Cafés in which the waitresses don’t make a single note about your order but manage to get it perfectly right every time! I am always impressed when that happens and know that the food is going to be awesome. And it is. I went here the other day with a friend and I casually asked if they had any Berry Frappes. The lady taking our order said they don’t usually make fruit frappes but she could whip one up for me if I liked. “Sure,” I replied wondering what strange version of a Frappe I’d receive. I was not disappointed. I had the best frappe I have ever tasted. Yummo! It so should be on their menu! My friend ordered calamari which was also the best calamari in the world. Amazing! If you’re ever in Balmoral – go!
Hayashi Teppanyaki Restaurant, Castle Hill
Because sometimes you should be allowed to throw food at each other.
I am a fussy restaurant eater so that’s all I can think of right now if this is to be a list of the best! Sad, I know, but I am going out for dinner tonight so perhaps I’ll find another restaurant to add to my list then. For now, my number 5 will be:
The Book Haven– one of my favourite bookshops because it contains a delectable assortment of literary treats and treasures that I just cannot wait to sink my teeth into. With books stacked up in piles all over the floor as there is no room left on the shelves it is also a complete mess – not unlike my house after a dinner party – which makes it exciting when you actually find something you want! AND the shop owner can get me any book from anywhere in the world in about 2 weeks! I love it. Food for the soul! Yum!
Books are food, right?
Oh, now the tagging:
I would like it if Ish played – even if he plays in the comments section here – because he is from Tasmania and I soooooo miss Tassie food! I’d love to hear about his favourite eats in Tassie. He may even like to write a poem about them! That would be awesome!
I would like to hear about the 5 best places to eat in Africa from dekker when he returns.
I would also like to know where one4jc eats when she’s out and about on her motorbike! Congrats on getting your license!!!
Ellen is a bit of a traveller, so I’d like to see which places she chooses from anywhere.
And finally, because I made Island Sparrow hungry in my last post, I’d like to read about her favourite places to eat on PE Island.
If I haven’t tagged you and you’d like to play, please do!!!
The other night I went to a… actually, I’m not sure what you’d call it but it was a birthday for a magazine. An artsy event in which you stand in a mostly blank space amid piles of artistically placed newspapers, rub shoulders with artsy people and eat cheese by the wheel with big chunks of bread torn off freshly baked loaves while trying various wines, scoring numerous freebies and generally congratulating editors etc on how fabulous their magazine is 12 issues in. At least, I think that’s what you’re supposed to do.
I was there with a couple of friends listening, looking and wondering what it all meant and as confessional presentations were given in the dark, I came to see that as well as being a celebration of the magazine, this was a celebration of philanthropy. Many of the people speaking had given up their fancy pants jobs in fancy pants places where they earnt enough money to buy fancy pants so that they could make a difference to the world beyond. In the words of one of the speakers who was a furniture designer, he had come to realise that “the world really didn’t need another chair.” And you know what, it is true: there are already lots of chairs.