Friday, 22 April 2011

Cross about palms

What a lovely week it's been so far! Almost unbroken sunshine. I know we're only having average temperatures by Sydney standards - but it is only April. However farmers, gardeners and water-power generators could do with some rain.

Sunday brought some good news with Lewis Hamilton winning an exciting Chinese Grand Prix - and both the Williams' cars completing the race, for the first time this season! Maldonado, their new driver, was lapped, but at least he made it. I enjoyed too the Palm Sunday 'Songs of Praise' with some good interviews and a new song I'd not met before, The Light of the World (Stuart Townend's, not Tim Hughes' version) sung by Cathy Burton - Cathy Burton singing 'The Light of the World'.

Talking of Palm Sunday I was alerted to the almost unbelievable story of Colin Atkinson who has been moved from his electrician's job with Wakefield District Housing for displaying a small Palm Cross in his van - for the past 15 years. One account I read said: "... following a complaint from a tenant, who suggested that the cross might offend other faiths, Colin has been put under huge pressure to remove the cross from his van, and company rules have been amended since the dispute to ban personal items. So far Colin has refused - and he is now being investigated for his alleged failure to comply." I can't believe the complaint came from an adherent of any other faith than atheism, as, in my experience, people who are passionate about their own faith seriously normally appreciate others who are serious about theirs giving it expression. Burkas and phylacteries don't 'offend' me. In fact they provoke me to examine the depth of my faith. It's when power politics attaches itself to religion, as a perverse form of self-justification, that problems arise. The old-firm rivalry between Celtic and Rangers in Glasgow is to do with unhealed political wounds, not about different views of the eucharist. If there's anything that a palm cross represents it's Jesus' rejection of the way of power. The palm being waved as a banner in a victory parade is twisted into the cross - the symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation. 
Photo: St Giles' Church, Aintree
It's a myth vigorously promoted by enemies of religious belief that faith is the root of conflict. In fact, it has always been the same: the desire for power. As Andrew White has been showing in Iraq, the only route to reconciliation begins with understanding and sharing faith.


  1. It's a myth that faith is the root of conflict. In fact, it has always been the same: the desire for power.
    Wow! What an interesting thought to think through. You're probably right

  2. Happy Easter, Anita. Wherever you're celebrating it, Christ is alive!