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Sunday, October 3, 2010


Three or four times a year I pick up a few gigs from a hospitality agency and work as a waiter. I don't do it for the money – it's far too meagre; rather, I do it for the adrenalin rush and the opportunity to do something that makes me a whole lot more anonymous in the big scheme of things. Once a few glasses of wine and conversation are mixed together most people at functions pay scant attention to the face behind the hands that place and remove their fare for the evening. The other night I worked a do at a farewell for Year 12 at an up-market private Sydney girls' school and one of the punters made an exception to that strong rule.

While taking a break he struck up a conversation with me. It turned out that this corporate lawyer had an interest in philosophy and church history. I mentioned some classes I've taught over the last few years linking the former subject with film. He relayed a renewed enthusiasm for the first 30 minutes of The Matrix after I demonstrated its uncanny resemblance to Plato's Simile of the Cave. I asked him what his daughter was going to do after completing her final exams and he told me she planned to take a year off, a so-called 'gap year', and travel.

The philosophy behind this phenomenon is for young people to gain some insight into worldly matters and make them a better, more diligent student. (As an aside, my time before attending university was less of a gap, more of a yawning canyon. It took me more than 20 years before I thought I had something to contribute to academia.) This is something our least favourite theological college should take on board as part of its entry requirements. The students and graduates I've met seem to have quite an unworldly persona about them, with some transferring from university to the theological classroom without so much as stopping to take a breath.

Greg Clarke's latest journalistic folly evinces such a far-removed attitude to plain things. Dear old Gregory appears to really have lost touch with the common folk. It appears he's forgotten to follow the most trustworthy of how-to manuals, the Gospels, and emulate his saviour's three years of speaking with ordinary (and not so ordinary!) people about earthly and heavenly matters. Gregory, and just about all Sydney Anglican egg-heads, takes what is clearly an accurate adumbration of earth's history and uses it as an excuse to parade his allegiance to atheist and heathen ideologies. His most recent attempt in September's Eternity to deconstruct Genesis 1 and 2 surpasses any other analysis in its incorporation of postmodernal gibberish that I've previously read. A few of Gregory's paragraphs will be sufficient to see that the man has forgotten his audience. Gregory writes:

“Genesis 1 portrays the act of creation as speaking words. It reveals a God, unlike the pagan gods of other creation myths, so elegant and potent that he can simply say a word and make things real.

“Genesis 2, the second account of creation (and Bible-believing people have no problem with getting more than one perspective on things!) doesn't put the creation together in the same day-by-day, element-by-element, manner as the first account. Rather, it gives us a literary portrait of what it was like for humanity to enter the world. And God the Creator is here described more like an artist, perhaps a performance artist, sculpturing humanity from the dust of the earth, forming shaping, and then breathing the spirit of life into the clay.

“The first account is like a hymn, a structured poem of creation; the second account is like a drama, an unfolding play of God's creative desires.

Well, Gregory, as a piece of reporting in a small-town rag on a performance by a local amateur drama group, it may cut the mustard, despite your predilection for cliché, but for theological commentary all I can say is, “You dear idiot Greg Clark”, to borrow one of the Apostle Paul's under-utilised wake-up calls. Further, to the Church at Colossae, Paul scolds them for their stupidity, their blockheadedness, over “spoiling the faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. Such stuff is at best founded on men's ideas of the nature of the world and disregards Christ!”

Greg, mate, brother, who has bewitched you? My advice is to drop the pseudo-intellectualism – you sound like a dork - grab hold of some common-man thinking, and go back to the basics: God created extremely quickly and perfectly because he's the most wise, intelligent and loving being that there is. God has told us this in his Word. One does not need a PhD in Literary-speak, like Greg has, to understand this.


neil moore said...

I wonder why Greg didn't have his creator god of Genesis 2 sprinkling fairy dust here and there? Surely that is a concept the world is familiar with and therefore more palatable for it to receive?


Critias said...

So, Genesis 1 is a myth! He refers to 'other' myths, so it must be. But myth is about ignorance, not revelation. If God couldn't tell us what happened that makes him the creator that he refers to throughout the Bible, then what style of God is he?
To adopt the 'Genesis 1-is-myth' idea is to remove it from revelation and remove God's actions from history and the real not a God involved with us, meeting us, being with us, at all.
Whence the gospel, Greg?