Saturday, 20 March 2010

unlocking the wonders

I’m thinking about the series ‘wonders of the solar system’ running on bbc2 Sunday evenings 9pm just now. The awesome realities it opens our eyes to. Number 2 on iplayer most watched when I looked the other day.
The rocking motion of the earth on its axis as it hurtles round the sun, producing the seasons’ sensual and visual spectrum of delight - the charm of spring flowers, the beauty of autumn colours. Directly linked. Or the ‘beautiful coincidence’ of the moon’s size and the sun’s distance from the earth, allowing the ‘perfect fit‘ that reveals the sun’s ghostly corona and the spectacular light show of a solar eclipse.
Massive physical laws at one end of the scale, producing the most delicate effects that enrich our lives. A moment’s reflection makes it hard not to be awed by the connection, and have a sense of ‘gift‘.
Because scientifically we understand nature better, does it have to rob that sense of awe the ancients had of a power and intelligence behind it? Like nature, isn’t the spiritual world a treasure house to be explored and unlocked to yield its delights? In the secular western mindset ‘religion’ including christianity has come to be seen as static, archaic and irrelevant. How may its potential as a world of wonder again be glimpsed, to kindle once more the kind of childlike amazement currently excited by ‘wonders of the solar system’ and its ilk?

Sunday, 7 March 2010

engaging with radio 1

I’m listening to radio 1 more. Pulses with energy. Cutting edge, new music at the fore. And reading ‘the gospel according to chris moyles‘. A big ego but talented, successful, 'powerful'. We believe in the resurrection, awesome power. The greatest radio station in the world. Gospels: who is the greatest? The least. How should the faith be lived out in a high-powered, competitive environment? ‘In new music we trust‘. Why not in God we trust? Why is God sidelined by popular culture? Or is he? Is it just the christian sub-culture, its sound and image, that parts of ‘the world’ including radio 1 reject? (they never played christian band delerious…) I’ve had a couple of mildly funny lines read out on jo whiley’s show. It feels like part of the way forward for engaging with popular culture: meeting the show where it’s at, joining the conversation, riding the wave.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

how the earth made us

Recently watched the bbc series ‘how the earth made us‘ with Dr Iain Stewart. One of those national geographic type perspective-expanding programmes. Struck by the mix of bounty, opportunity and risk in nature. For instance, the cyclical patterns of the trade winds, circling round the atlantic, and how the early explorers learned to exploit them to travel to the Americas and back again. Or continental plate boundaries’ resources of oil and water. But the same natural marvels, coupled with human folly or mistake, of course carry risk and danger too, and can cause great pain: earthquakes, volcanoes, shipwreck, disease and death on the slave ships. But we’re also given the capacity to improve things. I don’t really get the fixation some atheists have with the misconceptions of perfection and absolutes in God and in creation. Theology has developed a far more rugged and robust view of God and his relation to creation and his creatures. Akin to parent and child in ‘macrocosm’. Full of risk, pain, mess, but with a steady heartbeat of love and joy - strong, heady - pulsing through.