Monthly Archives: September 2010

repenting about repenting

Over at Faith and Theology, Ben Myers has posted a sermon by Kim Fabricius entitled “Repenting about repenting.” It is definitely worth the few minutes read.

You can read it on his blog here.

In Matthew’s Greek the word is metanoeite (3:2). The traditional translation is “repent”. The GNB paraphrases: “Turn away from your sins.” Eugene Peterson’s translation in The Message cuts to the chase: “Change your life” (today we might say, “Get a life!”).

But let’s pause for a moment and take a step back. Keep Reading…

the gagafication of femininity

Ok, so let’s get some things straight before I start:

1) I am not a gender studies student, nor the son of a gender studies student, so excuse the simplicity or inconsistency of any comments I make;
2) I am not commenting on Lady Gaga’s music (in fact I am one of those rare males who finds her songs incredibly catchy and enjoyable);
3) I consider myself to be a feminist in a proper sense of the word (as opposed to the singular proper sense of the word which doesn’t really exist, and opposed to more contemporary misuses of the word).

Lady Gaga is no doubt one of the most influential figures in music today. Back in May Time included her in their list of Top 100 Most Influential People, and in June Forbes listed her 4th in their Top Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities in the World. Moreover in July Forbes again added her to a list, this time in the Top Music Earners of 2010 with Gaga at 7th on US$62 million.

Gaga’s influence is probably not the result of her music itself; such music is not all that dissimilar from a great deal of the RnB beat-laden pop currently filling the charts, and her lyrics are far from what you would consider intellectual, creative or inspirational.

On the contrary, Gaga’s influence probably stems from her self-proclaimed “revolutionary” approach to pop music, which in fact is not about music at all, but about an image, a persona, a fashion and arguably a worldview. This is not dissimilar to the place of Madonna in the 1980’s, whose music was arguably comparable with other acts at the time.

Gaga no doubt attempts to use her influence as best as she knows how (at least in one sense) in that she calls her fans “Little Monsters,” emphasising that they are “freaks” and “outcasts” (like her, apparently) and encourages them that they can find true freedom at her concerts (currently called “The Monster Ball”).

Apart from the (apparently unwitting) ridiculousness of her claim – the vast majority of her audience are pop fans, not drag queens or transgender people – there are a number of reasons to question Gaga’s approach to freedom, and in particular in regards to femininity. Keep Reading…

a christian does ramadan

So a friend and I decided to do Ramadan this year.

Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting (the ninth month in the Islamic calendar) whereby Muslims cease eating, drinking and sexing it up between dawn and sunset. It is both an act of devotion and good exercise in patience and humility.

Our aim in doing Ramadan was primarily that we would be able to use it as a means of having contact with local Muslims that we might become friends and also that we might engage in some form of inter-religious dialogue. Such dialogue is, in my view, extremely important, given the perception of Islam in much of the Western world over the past decade, and particularly its perception in my neck of the woods (Cronulla… remember the riots, anyone?).

But having crossed the halfway mark late last week, I realised that Ramadan is teaching me more than I bargained for. Maybe it’s best if I just list some of the things I am learning and experiencing: Keep Reading…

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