Wondering what you think of this video, leaked on to YouTube on Friday (Sorry to my non-Australian readers for the Australian political content).
[UPDATE: Due to there being some confusion as to why this video was posted - I am interested in the implications this video has for Australian politics and the related 24-hour news cycle. Why is our media enthralled by a video of a politician swearing when there are far more important things going on in the world, including in Australia's domestic politics? What does it reflect about the climate of domestic politics?]
Everybody gets it right sometimes I guess.
What seems most disgusting is the way in which both Labor and the Coalition have played political games with asylum seekers:
The Labor Party – which was burnt by this issue at the 2001 election – is fearful of being viewed as ‘soft’ on border security…
A cable obtained by WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to the Herald says an unnamed “key Liberal Party strategist” told US diplomats in November last year that the issue of asylum seekers was ”fantastic” for the Coalition and ”the more boats that come the better”.
No doubt there will be more bankrupt policy rhetoric in the coming days and weeks with little, if any, concern beyond winning political points.
Whether you love him or hate him, I think Kevin Rudd gets it right here in his speech to the UN on Thursday, 23rd September, 2010.
Maybe K. Rudd can do more for the world as Foreign Affairs Minister…
“It is probably not the occasion for high statements of theology, but I’m sure you’d be disappointed if I didn’t add something, given it’s been the subject of comment over the years in which I’ve led this party. But to the great God and creator of us all, I thank him – or her – as well.”
- Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in his Farewell Speech, June 24, 2010.
When Kevin Rudd made a passing self-acknowledged theological statement in his farewell speech I’m sure he didn’t intend it to be the focus of his words. Yet for some Christians this pithy statement has become a mild point of debate.
I had a conversation a few days ago with someone who was airing their frustrations to me regarding a conversation they had been involved in. In their dialogue the other person had made it quite clear that we could not refer to God as “she” or “her” because God is male as denoted in the Scriptures, and even though he may transcend gender he is somehow more male than female.
I would, however, disagree. I would raise several points in protest. The first is that it is philosophically and theologically baseless to argue that a God who is transcendent regarding gender can be more of one gender. This is, quite frankly, the projection of one’s own gender values (outdated ones at that) and not any self-revelation of God.
Secondly, the Bible does in fact refer to God in female terms at different points. Of course there is the reference to God creating male and female in his image. More concretely though, just as the Bible refers to God with “male” images (Father, warrior, king, husband etc.), so too does it describe God as Sophia (Wisdom), a woman mixing yeast (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20-21), a woman looking for a coin (Luke 15:8-10), a hen gathering her chicks (Matthew 23:37) or one giving birth (Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 42:14). Perhaps most obvious is the Bible’s reference to God as a mother (Psalm 22:10; 131:2; Isaiah 49:15; 66:13).
Of course such descriptions are anthropomorphisms, and hold only the meanings we attribute to them. Perhaps though it is time we balanced our dominant anthropomorphisms of God with some more marginal ones…
One of our dominant anthropomorphisms is that of God being a Father. This, of course, is a male description. But I would argue that in the New Testament the term ‘Father’ is not intended to denote gender, nor even primarily to denote relationship (as is often said), but rather is a political term – the gods Zeus and Jupiter were called “father,” and the emperor was known as Pater Patriae (“father of the fatherland”). Could it be that Father is largely a comparative title, contrasting God with other ‘gods?’ My point is that this dominant male title is not adopted for its male-ness at all, but for its political meaning!
It makes little sense, then, to restrict our language and thinking about God to male terms. One of the beautiful things about the Christian God is that he transcends gender, race, culture, age etc. and rises above them all – let us not do injustice to our God by boxing him into our labels, language and anthropomorphisms.
Rudd may no longer be Australia’s Prime Minister, but I think he was on to something theologically…
(And maybe it’s simply ironic that Rudd’s successor is our first female Prime Minister?…)