28 July 2010

Profit and Productivity

An interesting video: money doesn't motivate people to be productive. People are motivated to be productive when they can master challenges and make a contribution.

15 July 2010

If you can't abuse a child, ordain a woman instead

In another one of those instances where evil triumphs if good people say nothing, the Vatican appears to have shot itself in the foot today by pronouncing that the ordination of women is a grave sin.

And how did the Vatican do this? In what document did they choose to make this important pronouncement? Why, in a document written to deal with the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. Guardian Article here.

Apparently, on some Planet Ratzinger in a universe of parallel morality far far away, violating the stricture of Church tradition and ordaining women is equal in immorality to sexual abuse of a child. Wow, if that's the case then we really had better get cracking and make sure that we pounce on feminist theologians. We wouldn't them influencing anyone to think that women can usurp the priestly duties and stand as an intermediary between god and Man (capitalizations deliberate).

This has got to be one of the most egregious violations of common sense, decency and natural justice.

I really hate to appear to be some kind of Protestant who makes knee-jerk attacks on the Catholic Church for no good reason. Half of my family is Catholic and I studied theology at a Catholic university.

But sometimes you just have to stand up for what is right. I've heretofore refrained from speaking about the ordination of women in the Catholic Church because I felt that it wasn't my place. Now the Vatican is comparing the ordination of women to the sexual abuse of children. The Vatican has lost the plot although I'm confident that many millions of faithful Catholics have not.

This pronouncement is morally bankrupt.

12 July 2010


Here is an article from our local newspaper that narrates the stories of all the deadbeats in Northeastern Ohio who could perfectly well work if they weren't so lazy and didn't enjoy sitting around at home and doing nothing while taking the money of good, honest taxpayers.

Rolls of Needy Swell

For those who don't know me, I assure you that I am being facetious.

There is a recession on, people. There but for the grace of God go you and I. Pretending that "my" get-up-and-go in contrast to "their" laziness will keep me in a job is just a form of magical thinking.

11 July 2010

Broken Covenant? Not.

Would someone please explain to me how the following statement by the Revd. Nicola Jones at the Portsmouth Methodist Conference can be construed as expressing the view that "that the State of Israel by its 'oppressive actions' has broken the Jews' covenant with God"?

This report is about Christians listening to the cry from our Christian sisters and brothers. They cry out to us to help Israel and its occupation. The end of the occupation is the key to peace in this troubled land of The Holy One as is the renouncing of violence by all. All the peoples yearn for security but security only follows from justice, not the other way around. And justice is the prophetic priority for all God’s people, as students of the bible know well.

In the bible we learn of The Chosen People. Who are they and what are they chosen for? Genesis tells us again and again that God choose Abraham and makes a covenant with Abraham and his heirs. A covenant being a two-sided agreement with obligations on both parties, like marriage. God’s covenant with the Children of Israel, Abraham’s heirs, is that he will be their God and they will be his people if they walk humbly before God, obey God’s laws and are a light to the nations.

Of course, Israel today is not the same as Israel in the bible. In the bible, Israel refers to the people of Abraham’s descendants who are in covenant with God. Israel today is a modern, secular State, created in 1948. Where, if you live in the West Bank: Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, there is no freedom of travel, no freedom to leave the country and return, no freedom to plant your olive trees or tend your land, no freedom to marry and live together where you choose.

Last Sunday marked the anniversary of my ordination into The Methodist Church. It was 26 years ago (I was very young at the time!). For years I cherished the Galatians text: “In Christ there is no longer male or female.” Now I read it properly: “In Christ there is no longer male or female, slave or free, Jew or Greek – we could say ‘Jew or Arab’ – we are all one in Christ. We are heirs of Abraham and so inheritors of the promise to Abraham.”

Jesus, who makes with us a New Covenant which transforms us utterly, never speaks of the land or owning it; he speaks of the Kingdom and joining it and invites us to do so. He teaches us God is not a racist God who has favourites. God loves all his children and blesses them.

“What is it God requires of you?” asks Micah today. “To do justice, to show mercy, walk humbly with God.” So we look for the day when that is true for all of Abraham’s children – Christian, Muslim and Jew – that they can live together freely and know God’s justice and peace.

02 July 2010

A Thought on Immigration

Just a thought inspired from a snippet I read this morning. It's "interesting" how people get worried about immigration and "all those people coming into our country to take jobs away from us."

My husband is a UK citizen with a British accent living in the US. For 21 years, I was a US citizen with an American accent living in the UK.

Maybe people were too polite to say so, but no one ever complained to me that I was taking a job away from a native-born British citizen. Quite the opposite. A number of times, people complained to me at length about immigrants and then when I'd point out that I was an immigrant they said "Oh, but I don't mean you!"

In the same way, no one has yet challenged my husband about his immigration status to the US. OK, it's relatively early days, but I bet they don't mean him - that nice white man with a British accent - when they are worried about all those people coming over here and taking our jobs.

However, the ironic thing is that we were and are the people who are coming over here and taking away jobs from the native born. We are not doing the hard-grafting work that most immigrants do because native born sons and daughters don't want to do such hard work.

I'm pretty sure that it helps being white.