Storm Centres of History: Versailles, Revolution and Enlightenment

BBC Radio Devon – Pause for Thought:  Storm Centres

During the Pause for Thought recently, I’ve been talking about 7 places I have been to:  Storm-centres of history.

Today, we will go to the Palace of Versailles, Paris.

The place that speaks of kingship, revolution and Enlightenment.

Louis XIV’s reign set the events in motion that culminated in the paradigm shifting events that led to the execution of Louis XVI, and spawned the French Revolution of the late 18th century and the Modern period we know as the Enlightenment.

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Storm Centres of History: HMS Victory & Trade and Empire

BBC Radio Devon – Pause for Thought:  Storm Centres

During the Pause for Thought recently, I’ve been talking about 7 places I have been to:  Storm-centres of history.

Today, we will go to Portsmouth.

Last year I returned with my dad, to the dry-dock in Portsmouth that holds a very special piece of maritime history.  

We went for a couple of days to enjoy HMS Victory and King Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose.

Unlike my dad, I’m not a military person; and yet the sight of this magnificent ship – a wonder of 18th century ship-building and engineering, is breathtaking.

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Storm Centres of History: Cambodia

BBC Radio Devon – Pause for Thought:  Storm Centres

During the Pause for Thought recently, I’ve been talking about 7 places I have been to:  Storm-centres of history.

Today, we will go to Cambodia:

Possibly my earliest childhood memory of TV news, was seeing the unfolding genocide in Cambodia under the Pol Pot regime between 1975-1979.  From that moment on, a strange desire stayed with me that one day I would visit this beautiful land.

 

During the years I was a missionary with international mission agency Youth With A Mission, I met hundreds of people from all over the world; and some mission workers from Cambodia – this reignited my imagination again.

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Storm Centres of History: Parliament and Brexit

BBC Radio Devon – Pause for Thought:  Storm Centres

During the Pause For Thought this week, I’ve been talking about 7 places I have been to:   Storm-centres of history.

Today, on our final visit, we will go to the British Parliament.

On Wednesday 27th March this year, I attended PMQ’s with my father at the Houses of Parliament (with thanks to Torbay MP Kevin Foster and his team for arranging this)!

 

This date was significant.  This was the Wednesday before the Friday of the original departure from the EU.  It was very exciting to be there, which in the end, turned out to be not quite the bear pit I had anticipated.  

 

 

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Jurgen Moltmann on Complexity, Compromise and Concession in Society

Three years ago I published a post as I reflected on British politics in light of the Brexit phenomena; how words are a power-play and how extreme caution and wisdom is needed to avoid what it turns out, we have not avoided – a fractured country and an advanced political system that doesn’t know what to do.

As I write this, the UK is holding European elections, elections we never thought we’d have to partake, in light of the Brexit referendum.  I’m not interested in saying this or that about Brexit – good and true arguments can be made by both sides, but no-one is really listening to each other anymore, at least not in any substantive way.

What I am interested in, is not so much the specific thing that is a situational political event that our lives are living through, but a much wider fact of what it means to be a human being in a community/society like this:

I recently read these words of Jurgen Moltmann in his book ‘Man’ (p.96-97) where I was reminded that any human politics (Brexit included) form part of the much wider and deeper matrix and fabric of humanity:

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Praying for Palestinian Justice

The Wave of Prayer ministry enables local and international friends of Sabeel to pray over regional concerns on a weekly basis. Sent to Sabeel’s network of supporters, the prayer is used in services around the world and during Sabeel’s Thursday Communion service; as each community in its respective time zone lifts these concerns in prayer at noon every Thursday, this ‘wave of prayer’ washes over the world.
 
Sabeel Wave of Prayer – Thursday 31st May 2018
During the ninth consecutive week of the ‘Great March of Return’ more than 100 Palestinians, including seven children were wounded by Israeli snipers along the border in Gaza. There is a desperate shortage of drugs and medication for the treatment of the wounded in Gaza as a result of the ten year Israeli blockade.
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Lord, we continue to pray for the safety of the Palestinian protesters and their commitment to non-violence. Dear God, we pray that those who have been injured in the protest may soon recover and that the families who are grieving for their loved ones may find solace.
Lord in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer.
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The Israeli Knesset has proposed a new bill which would make it a criminal act to film or photograph an Israeli soldier on active duty. The bill is supported by the right-wing Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and if passed, those found in violation of the law could face a prison sentence of up to five years. Palestinian journalists view the law as an attempt by the Israeli government to ‘escape punishment and international justice’.
Lord, we pray for the safety of all people who risk their lives to document the human rights violations of the powerful. We pray that journalists may still be able to report the truth of all they witness in the occupied territories.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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Last Friday, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition from six human rights groups to declare that ‘the Israeli military’s regulations that allow soldiers to open fire at unarmed civilians is unlawful’.
Lord, we continue to depend on your mercy and justice as Israel validates the use of violence against Palestinians through legislative means. We pray for the protection of those who exercise their right to protest against the occupation.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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On Thursday, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Defence Minister, said in a statement that he plans to seek approval for the construction of 2,500 Israeli settler homes in the occupied West Bank.
Lord, the Israeli government continues to demolish the homes of Palestinians and ruin their crops as well as appropriating their land to build illegal settlements for Israelis. We pray that the international community would undertake to hold the Israeli government to account for flouting international law. We ask that due process would be brought to bear on any attempts to colonize the West Bank.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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Last Sunday, May 20th, the Palestinian residents of the village of al-Aqaba received demolition orders from the Israeli forces. They were informed that twenty homes would be demolished within a period of sixty days as they were alleged to have been built without the requisite Israeli construction permits.
Over the weekend, Israeli settlers raided Palestinian vineyards in the Hebron area and used electric saws to cut down over 1700 vines. The settlers also spray-painted threats on the walls around the vineyards.
Lord, Palestinians continue to fall victim to the policies of the Israeli army and politicians. We pray for the safety of Palestinian villages and for renewed strength for the farmers who have lost their vines just months before the grape-harvest. Have mercy on the Palestinian people Lord, as they grow weary.
Lord in you mercy . . .
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Three toddlers were found dead in the Palestinian town of Bethany east of Jerusalem. Initial investigation by the police shows that the three children, two sisters and a friend, trapped themselves in an abandoned car while playing and died as a result of suffocation during a heat wave.
Lord, we pray for the families of Youssef, Raneem and Rahaf as they mourn the deaths of their beloved children and ask that they would find comfort in their grief.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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A Palestinian teenager died on Wednesday after succumbing to wounds sustained during protests in Ramallah.  Adi Abu Khalil was only fifteen years old when shot in the stomach by an Israeli soldier last week.
Lord, the Israeli occupation continues to target Palestinian children and teenagers. We pray for your spirit to comfort the family of Adi as they grieve for their loss. We pray that soldiers firing live ammunition at children would, one day, be held accountable for their action.
Lord in your mercy . . .

He Gave Them…..

A brief quote from a brilliant piece by Stanley Hauerwas a few years ago here:

Jesus was crucified because he embodied a politics that threatened all worldly regimes based on the fear of death. And so Easter has profound political consequences.

“Jesus was crucified because he embodied a politics that threatened all worldly regimes based on the fear of death. And so Easter has profound political consequences…

…He gave them a new way to deal with offenders – by forgiving them.

He gave them a new way to deal with violence – by suffering.

He gave them a new way to deal with money – by sharing it.

He gave them a new way to deal with problems of leadership – by drawing on the gift of every member, even the most humble.

He gave them a new way to deal with a corrupt society – by building a new order, not making the old.

He gave them a new pattern of relationships between man and woman, between parent and child, between master and slave, in which was made concrete a radical new vision of what it means to be a human person.

He gave them a new attitude toward the state and toward the “enemy nation.”

Stanley Hauerwas is among the several great speakers at the 2018 BMS Catalyst Live day events in Bristol and Birmingham:

 

2018 CONTRIBUTORS

David Bebbington – Professor of History at Stirling University and Visiting Professor at Baylor University; creator of the ‘Bebbington quadrilateral’, his definition of evangelicalism

Baroness Elizabeth Berridge – Member of the House of Lords, with a wide range of interests including international freedom of religion and belief

Ron Choong – Theologian of science and biblical archaeologist; Founder and Executive Director of the Academy for Christian Thought in New York

Ruth Gledhill – Editor of ‘Christian Today’, author and commentator; previously religious affairs correspondent for The Times

Paula Gooder – Director for Mission Learning and Development in the Diocese of Birmingham; previously Theologian in Residence at the Bible Society

Rosie Harper – Vicar, Chair of the Oxford Nandyal Education Foundation, writer and activist on issues of justice and equality within and beyond the church.

Stanley Hauerwas – Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law at Duke Divinity School

Harry & Chris – Harry Baker is a world poetry slam champion, and his childhood friend Chris Read is a jazz musician; together, they are the wonderful Harry & Chris

Rula Khoury Mansour – Lecturer at Nazareth Evangelical College; specialist in conflict resolution

Amy Orr-Ewing – Director of Programmes for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics; Amy will be speaking on her doctoral research on the work of Dorothy L Sayers

Adrian Snell –  Musician; Adrian’s music is renowned worldwide, with albums including ‘Alpha and Omega’ and ‘Song of an Exile’. Adrian will be speaking on his amazing work as a music therapist, as well as playing live

Anne Wafula Strike MBE – Anne was the first wheelchair racer to represent Kenya, where she was born; she has since become a Paralympian with Team GB, has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours and is an author and sporting ambassador

And finally, Catalyst Live 2018 is hosted by Mark Woods – consulting editor of the Methodist recorder, author, commentator and very good friend of BMS!