Archives For December 2017

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a man of faith. Who like the rest of us, struggled from time to time. His poetry, some of which is tainted by “prescription” laudanum (the liquid variety of opium), can seem to us to be untouchable. Coleridge’s original meaning almost unattainable.

Kubla Khan being a quintessential example, followed closely by his ‘Aids to reflection: confessions of an inquiring spirit’ written in latter part of his life. The work starts out strong, but veers off in strange statements that appear unrelated to the whole.

Throughout his life Coleridge moved from Christian orthodoxy towards Unitarianism and back again. Ever since my first encounter with Kubla Khan, Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner and Frost at Midnight, I’ve had an interest in this wild–at-heart eclectic 18th Century Christian.

Reading Coleridge is an adventure. Over the years I find myself finding new depth in the way Coleridge expressed his theology through poetry. It’s his theology that interests me. Especially where it becomes obvious in certain portions of his work.

One of the less obvious poems where Coleridge expresses his theology through poetry is ‘Ode to the departing year’, written near the end of 1796. The poem is nine stanzas long and reads like a political sigh.

Coleridge’s tone is sombre, firm; paralleling the same, very human gasps for breath, found in the imprecatory Psalms, which call on the name of Yahweh for guidance and deliverance.

Reflecting on this piece R.A Foakes wrote:

‘in such poems Coleridge frequently falls into a sort of quasi-Miltonic heroics that morph into gothic melodramatics…but Coleridge was a man deeply engaged with the political problems of the time’.[ii]

It’s easy to agree because “Ode to the departing year’ was written during the late 18th Century, a ‘time of great political turbulence’ (Foakes, 2009:2).

The ‘French Revolution’ and its reign of terror, general turbulence in Europe, and war. A spiral of conflict triggered  by the beheading of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1793.

‘Ode to the departing year’ is rich in imagery. It could be mined for days, by anyone with a keen theological eye who has the gusto to read, reread and discover the many new ways the passages could be understood.

For example, in its closing refrain Coleridge ends with an almost introspective note to himself:

‘Away, my soul, away!
I unpartaking of the evil thing,
With daily prayer and daily toil
Soliciting for food my scanty soil,
Have wailed my country with a loud lament.
Now I recentre my immortal mind
In deep Sabbath of meek self-content;
Cleansed from the vaporous passions that bedim
God’s image, sister of the Seraphim’.[iii] 

Understanding what Coleridge means by ‘sister of the Seraphim’, and how it is used in this context is difficult to determine.

I presume he means that nations stand alongside Angels in close proximity to God. Like the Seraphim, humans can also stand before God [v]. Since in Christ, we are permitted to approach as freely as He has chosen to approach us.

The reference to Seraphim is strange. Does Coleridge mean the Seraphim of the Bible? If so, the image takes on a whole new picture when the historical context is applied.

‘The “fiery serpents” for which the Israelites feared the desert (Num 21:6–8; Deut 8:15) become further embellished as “flying serpents” (Is 14:29; 30:6). The serpents, designated by the same Hebrew word as seraphim, are distinguishable from them only by context (Is 6:2, 6). This pairing suggests that the image of a seraph may have had more in common with our idea of dragon than of angel’.[vi]

The reference to the ‘Lampad seven’ indicates light, candle or torch. Perhaps even Light bearer. Lampad is a term found in Greek mythology, a connection that Coleridge exploits in order to paint an image of blinding light.

‘‘Throughout the blissful throng,
Hushed were harp and song:
Till wheeling round the throne the Lampads seven,
(the mystic Words of Heaven)
Permissive signal make:
The fervent Spirit bowed, then spread his wings and spake!
”Thou in stormy blackness throning
Love and uncreated Light,
By the Earth’s unsolaced groaning,
… Seize thy terrors. Arm of might!…
The Past to thee, to thee the Future cries!
Hark! how wide Nature joins her groans below!
Rise, God of Nature! rise”

Coleridge may have borrowed from the significance of the imagery surrounding God’s heavenly throne in Rev.4:5:

From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. (Rev. 4:5, ESV)
From the throne came flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder. And in front of the throne were seven torches with burning flames. This is the sevenfold Spirit of God. (Rev. 4:5, NLT)

There are ‘torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God‘ gathered before His throne, along with the unique creatures (Seraphim) assigned to the task of protecting God’s Holiness.

Coleridge’s words are a lament. Carried with this is a solemn prayer. ‘Departing Year! ’twas on no earthly shore My soul beheld thy vision!’ War and calamity appear to be what the closing year has brought upon his world.

It’s not just the year, but the era that Coleridge now sees as being brought to a close. For Coleridge this is the apocalypse. Hence Foalke’s comment about Gothic melodramatics that I mentioned earlier.

The only source of solace is in the one who commands Heaven and earth. Fixing eyes to heaven, even when ‘human ruin chokes the streams’; when ‘Ambition is marked in his war-array!’ and when nations take ‘mad avarice [as their] guide. [And] At cowardly distance, kindle with pride‘. 

Coleridge isn’t alone. Minus the Gothic melodramatics, Peter wrote with a similar grasp of the times:

‘The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.’ (1 Peter 4:7-11, ESV)

For the Christian, the New Year is also about an ending. It is a new beginning to the beginning of the end of all things!! With the New Year we are reminded that God owns time and space, just as He owns everything He created; and with that we are reminded that God entered time and space in Jesus Christ, and we have His promise that He will do so again for the final time.

The New Year also a good time to be reminded that faith is not a feeling. Faith is lived out through prayer and gratitude. Faith impacts emotions and as such it walks alongside reason. As such we should take a moment to reconsider all that we can be grateful for in the passing year. Laying down before God, like Coleridge does in Ode To the Departing Year, all that we may struggle with, giving over to God, also those things that have perhaps weighed us down or look to weigh us down.

With the New Year, we may not be able to see beyond the days ahead, but we are called by God to rest, recognise and acknowledge that He is the one who does. As the clock moves past 12 on the evening of 31st, may we too, sing with those gathered around His throne,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
  who was and is and is to come!” (Rev 4:8)

 


References: 

[i] Foakes, R.A 2009, Shadowy nobodies and other Minutiae: Coleridge’s originality in The Coleridge Bulletin,  The journal of the friends of Coleridge Summer new series 33 (NS) 2009

[ii] “beings who stand before God” (see Isa. 6:1–2), McGee, J. V. Thru the Bible

[iii] Coleridge, S.T 1796 Ode to a departing year in The complete poems, 1997 Penguin Classics, Penguin Group (p.126)

[iv] Ryken, L., Wilhoit, J., Longman, T., Duriez, C., Penney, D., & Reid, D. G. 2000  Dictionary of biblical imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Christmas Eve 2 Zero 1 Seven

December 24, 2017 — 1 Comment

Copywrite RL2017“Christmas Eve 2 Zero 1 Seven” is my latest original musical offering. Give it a thumbs up here or you can check it, and my other tunes out on YouTube.

What I like about this is the piano. The harmony and bass worked out okay as well.

I’ve been having some technical issues with my recordings since upgrading some of my equipment, so my newer recordings have suffered in the quality department.

If you’re following my musical art diary on YouTube it’s fairly obvious. I’m working on fixing that so the creative side doesn’t suffer as a result.

Anyways, Merry Christmas, folks. Thanks for tagging along with me this year.

May God bless you, keep you and bring to us all His best in the coming New Year.


 

The synoptic authors recall the sending forth of the disciples by Jesus.

Matthew, Mark and Luke discuss the event with particular attention to polarity. Their focal point is the contrasts between the ‘for, against’, ‘peace, swords’, ‘binding, loosing’, ‘finding and losing’.(Mt.10:14/Lk.9:3-5/Mk.6:811/Acts 13:51)

Within the texts Jesus employs an economic[i] and political rhetoric. We read words like labouring, wages, authority, power, court and persecution.Within this discourse the sender and the sent are engaged in an economic project of proclamation.

This could be viewed as an economic protest that is both transactional and transformational. Words such as ‘value, worth, pay, giving, receiving, work and reward’ all rotate in and around the commanded reordering evident within the text.There is a transaction taking place, it precedes the announcement of transformation. Accompanying the message is exorcism, deliverance and proclamation of true value and true cost.

We read the words “take up your cross” in recollection of the steps taken by Jesus from stable, temple, workshop, garden, cross, empty tomb, upper room, and the promise of His physical reappearing.

When Jesus points to cost it is true cost. We are found or lost in underlying the notions of presence, arrival, departure and acceptance or rejection. Acknowledging presence means we hear the cost of wrath, value, worth, or worthlessness, unforgiveness or forgiveness.

Here we see that life-is-proclamation. It is not just economic but political. The transaction has no monetary value and yet it becomes transformational. These distinctions are about the strategic advancement of the Kingdom of God which lies outside human conjuring.It is given and cannot be purchased.

We, the post-modern hearers of the texts are confronted by the weight of declaration and doubt. This is a heaviness which takes place in the recollection of John the Baptist’s  call to ‘Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand – God has come near’ (ESV)

In the reminder of the horror and shame of crucifixion, and John’s call to repentance, we are redirected to align our thoughts onto the polarity between acknowledgement – acceptance, and denial – and evasion (in a word, rejection).

For instance: we read of dust, feet, and wiping away.

Dust in its Anglo-European context is understood as confusion, disturbance, something worthless, a state of humiliation, particles into which something disintegrates[ii]. For the first century audience, dust would have been ‘symbolic’[iii].Reminding them that ‘divine displeasure rests on any place that refused the Gospel’[iv].

Dust can announce arrival and signify departure.The finite significance of dust is its strength as a silent symbolic act of re-ordering; possibly forgiveness. A loving push-back; an assertive handing back of the hat, label,or false accusation that doesn’t fit.

Dust as a declaration of disturbance points us towards distinctions. The qualitative[v]: God is the majestic giver of life and ‘humanity, in its misery’[vi] runs hard and fast towards and artificial light, believing in the ability and power of self to justify.The proclamation mentioned within the texts are not about preaching the ‘manifestation of God as an idea; but about acknowledging that the revelation of God as a whole is a spiritual reality[vii]

Proclamation here is a declaration of disturbance. Our self-reliance is disrupted; as such we are not left in our sin to wallow – because “God has drawn near”.

We are forgiven, raised and reminded, by proclamation, that this state of forgiveness is not about ignoring deliberate injury.  For sin is not justified or legitimised by forgiveness. Forgiveness acknowledges a wrong, and calls for a response, a re-ordering; change. Otherwise there would be no cause for forgiveness. For the sinner this means that we are justified by the final act of the forgiver.

Proclamation calls us to acknowledgment. Here we experience acceptance and see shadows condemned in the true light of ‘veritas’ and the true cost of forgiveness.  By doing this we drop the dust from our feet, stop feeding the echoes of the past and as a consequence find ourselves moved towards healing.

‘In Jesus Christ God comes forth out of the profound hiddenness of His divinity in order to act as God among and upon us…
…In Jesus the living God has spoken to us in accents we cannot fail to hear’[viii]

In repentance thought and speech must meet deed.We acknowledge the negative but assert the positive. In this sense diverse forgiveness, including the act of forgiving the absence of apology, is like exhaling dust, and inhaling grace. The act of removing the dust from our feet.


References:

[i] Green, J.1997 NICNT:The Gospel of Luke, Wm.B.Eerdmans Publishing Company, p.413

[ii] Merriam-Webster

[iii] Hendrickson, W. 1978 NTC: Luke, Baker Academic p.575

[iv] Ibid, p.575

[v] Kierkegaard’s ‘infinite qualitative distinction’

[vi] Barth, K. 1938 The Miracle of Christmas in CD.1.2:173 Hendrickson Publishers

[vii] Ibid, p.178

[viii] Ibid, pp.182-183

Originally posted 17th February 2014  ©RL 

Pol Pot was a Marxist, schooled in France; part of the French communists such as Sartre et.al.

As I noted in a quote  from Simone Weil on Facebook the other day:

“Marxism is a fully-fledged religion, in the impurest sense of the word. In particular it shares in common with all inferior forms of the religious life the fact of having been continually used, according to Marx’s perfectly accurate expression, as an opium of the people.” (Simone Weil, Oppression & Liberty p.165)

Weil was a fan of Marx, but chose to leave Marxism behind.

In the particular fragment the above quote comes from, Simone’s conclusions pull up alongside Roger Scruton’s in ‘Fools, Frauds & Firebrands (2015)’, and Jacques Ellul’ in ‘Jesus & Marx (1988)’.

I would also add in here F.A. Hayek’s ‘Road to Serfdom‘ (1944), Richard Wurmbrand’s, ‘Marx & Satan (1976)’, Albert Camus’, ‘The Rebel‘ (1951) and for good measure, Jean Bethke Elshtain’s, ‘Sovereignty: God, State, & Self‘ (2008).

In an article called, A dark century’s blackest cloud, from November 2004, The Economist gives a decent summary of what an ideological allegiance made to Marxism demands, and the tragic consequences that follow it. The piece brilliantly summarises the pain caused by Pol Pot to the people of Cambodia. (If I could, I’d quote the whole thing).

“…it was the pseudoscientific certainty of Marxism-Leninism, that malformed child of the Enlightenment, which was chiefly to blame.
…All Cambodians were to become workers on the land. There were to be no wages. Meals were to be provided by collective kitchens (“unity of feeding”). Each Cambodian had to refer to himself or herself as “we”, forbidden to use the first person singular. When one region found it did not have enough food, supplies were not sent from better-off places; rather, the hungry were marched off to look for them.
Of course, it did not work. Up to 1m people died of starvation.”  (The Economist, 2004)

Marxism can be defined very simply as this:

Rich people manipulating not-so-rich people, into eliminating rich people, that rich people don’t like.


Further relevant reading on the snares of Marxism:

The N.Y. Times: Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. But in the last three years its economy has collapsed.

BBC News:  Venezuela protests: Man set alight as death toll rises

The Washington Post: It’s official: Venezuela is a full-blown dictatorship

Guest post by Josiah Luithui.

Christianity came to Nagalim about 100 years ago, and now 99% of the population in Nagalim is Christian. Then, we can be sure about this – Christmas is the most awaited and important festival of Nagalim.

It is the festival of joy and merry-making; a joy for the birth of baby Jesu and a merry-making of this joy. It is a season of rest and fellowship and gathering; a season when dear and near ones comes home from afar to be with their parents and family at home. It is the most precious festival for the Nagas.

In this festive season farmers take complete rest from farm works; students comes home from their schools/colleges/seminaries, and villages are once again full of merry-making voice and gathering. So, for the tribal Nagas who mostly dwells in villages, Christmas is the most wonderful and beautiful festival and time God has made for His people.

Let me tell you about how Christmas is celebrated in Nagalim.

Usually, the celebration stresses for 4-5 days, i.e., starting from 24th December mid-night program (this is to welcome the born of baby Jesus at mid-night) and the celebration goes till the 28th night. People gather in a place, usually the village football playground.

At night, since the weather is cold, people gather seating around the fire.

At 24th, mid-night, the whole gathering crowd goes for Christmas Carol, and at 1 am they will move out from the place where they are gathered. They are led by the village Torch bearer, followed by the Church choir master with his choir, and followed by the crowed. They will sing the Hymn songs and go door-to-door collecting the carol gifts. All these gifts they collected are done for auction in the Church after Christmas, and the fund is for the Church.

During day time, people gather from 10 am- 4 pm, they play different games and are rewarded with prizes- pen, cup, plate, exercise books, utensils etc. The games are usually played categorically, i.e., children, adult and old folks; also men and women.

Common games played are: race, volleyball and football. Nagas, both men and women, are football lovers. The program begins and ends with prayer; before the departure of the day, a very special kind of “delicious sweet” is distributed to the crowed, one piece each- called “Genikur,” which is made of sugar-cane juice- an apple size.

At night, people gather around the fire and there is competition: song, dance and drama, fashion show etc. The winners are rewards with prizes. The night program is from 7 pm- 10 pm. The program begins and ends with prayer and the delicious “Genikur.”


The most delicious and choice food for Christmas is “Pork.” Poor people buy 2/3 kgs for the festival; but this does not stop them from the joy of receiving baby Jesus. And, especially for children, Christmas is the time when they buy new: toy guns, barbies, and dress.

This is the time the parents spend their saving for children’s clothing.

To sum up, for the Nagas, Christmas is the one all-in-all celebration; a celebration of joy and merry-making, singing “joy to the world, the Savior Jesus is born.” Amen.


Josiah is a student of theology.

Servant of the living Lord Jesus Christ.

To learn more about Nagalim,

you can connect with Josiah @ the Facebook page Council of Nagalim Churches

The Flower Of The Holy Night

December 16, 2017 — 2 Comments

December 12 is National Poinsettia Day in the United States.

Running with a few ideas for the remaining weeks of term 4, I settled on one which contributed to our encounters with cultures different to our own.

Combining craft, theology and horticulture, we looked at, painted, cut and pasted together the Poinsettia; otherwise known as the ‘Mexican Fire plant’ or the ‘Flower of the Holy Night’.

Poinsettia Collage 1_0

The resources included ‘Christmas around the World Scrapbook {Supplement}’ from Sarah Cooley, a TpT contributor, and a video presentation of Tomie dePaola’s book,  The Legend of the Poinsettia’. (Both worth checking out).

I didn’t have the room to advance beyond this activity supplement and launch into the scrapbook. I was, however, able to merge the activity into a hands-on discussion surrounding the history, theology and tradition.

Poinsettia Collage 1_solo 1

According to the official website for Poinsettia Day[i], the plant was renamed after American Statesman and botanist, Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851), who brought the ‘red-leafed plant into the United States’[ii] from Mexico.

‘Mexico’s relationship to the plant begins with The Aztecs, who called the plant “Cuitlaxochitl” meaning “star flower” and used it to produce a red dye. The sap was also used to control fevers. Mexico’s use of the plant to celebrate Christmas dates back to the 17th century.’ (Source)

Mexican tradition speaks about how the Poinsettia came to be an important part of Christmas celebrations there.

‘The flower connects to the legend of a young girl, distraught about not having anything with which to honour the Baby Jesus in a Christmas procession. An angel tells her that any gift given with love is a wonderful gift. Later the weeds she gathers by the roadside to place around the manger miraculously transform into the beautiful red star flower we think of as Poinsettia.’ (Source)

The Smithsonian Institute is also loosely connected to the Poinsettia with Joel Poinsett being a founding member of its progenitor, ‘The National Institute for the Promotion of Science’. An organisation later renamed the Smithsonian after James Smithson, its primary benefactor. ’[iii]

Should you receive or see a Poinsettia this Christmas, its history and tradition are good conversation starters.

As far as facilitating a homeschool lesson that includes horticulture, history, tradition and theology. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Related reading:

Poinsettia care tips


References (not otherwise linked)

[i] http://www.poinsettiaday.com/

[ii] Smithsonian Institute, A Smithsonian Holiday Story: Joel Poinsett and the Poinsettia sourced 13th December 2014

[iii] Ibid.

This post was originally posted on the 13th December 2014.

The Polonius Platitudes

December 14, 2017 — Leave a comment

Cross 3Whether Hamlet is referenced, like it is in the underrated Danny DeVito movie ‘Renaissance Man’ (Army Intelligence[i], or played word for word in theatre-to-DVD productions , I am a curious fan.

Next to Hamlet, the greatest lessons we learn within this play come from Polonius, the well schooled political advisor[ii].

Polonius’ platitudes and actions provide insight rather than just entertainment.With Polonius, Shakespeare rolls out the inevitable decline to any castle made of sand or well hatched plan for revenge.

His monologues appear within a set of dialogues. Lines that don’t fall within the range of the soliloquies assigned to Hamlet. They are different, unique and deep.When reading the play, it’s easy enough to mistake a form of reminiscing for remorse.

His words reflect a sense of sentimentalism. Carried forth on a quiet retrospection that gives voice to an understanding of interpersonal relationships. Wisdom accumulated over the years in his role as a devoted father, loyal diplomat and crafty politician.

Some examples of this are expressed in Polonius’ address to his son Laertes, and later to his daughter Ophelia:

To Laertes (abridged):

‘See thou character. Give your thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act. Be familiar, but by no means vulgar…
Do not dull thy palm with entertainment of each new-hatcht, unfledged comrade’
(Translation: steer clear of people pleasing for the sake of acceptance, not duty)
Beware of entrance to a quarrel…Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice.
Costly thy habit as they wallet can buy, but not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel often proclaims the man.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be: for loan often loses both itself and friend.
This above all, to thine own self be true;…Thou canst be false to any man.’
– Polonius (Act I/III: 20-77)

To Ophelia:

‘It seems it as proper to our age, to cast beyond ourselves in our opinions,
As it is common for the younger sort to lack discretion.’
– Polonius (Act II/ I: 87-II.14)

Polonius to Ophelia in front of the King:

‘Tis too much proved, that with devotions visage and pious action we do sugar coat over the devil himself’
– Polonius (Act III/ I: 24-67)

There is a lot that can be mined from Polonius’ role in the play. He has been corrupted. It is this mixture of light and dark; truth, half-truth and outright lie, all the result of activities which affect the storyline.

Although he is outsmarted by Hamlet (who manages to convince a suspicious Polonius’ of his supposed madness), the affable Polonius navigates the whimsical nobility face to face. He is a confident man.  Speaking what is necessary rather than what is needed.

{Hamlet} – Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?
{Polonius} – By the mass, and ‘tis like a camel indeed.
{Hamlet} – Methinks it is like a weasel.
{Polonius} – It is backed like a weasel.
{Hamlet} – Or like a whale.
{Polonius} – Very like a whale.
(Act III. Scene II)

Polonius comes across as a man who doesn’t care about the difference between what he knows to be true and the lie he is upholding in order to maintain the status quo. Serving both the King, Queen and his own self-preservation.

There is a moment of irony which seems to suggest that Polonius has unknowingly predicted the path his downfall will take:

{Hamlet} – What did you enact?
{Polonius} – I did enact Julius Caesar; I was kill’d in’ the Capitol; Brutus killed me.
(Act III. Scene II 75-117)

Not long after this, rattled by confirmation of the conspiracy, Hamlet comes to confront his mother. Polonius, hiding behind a curtain in the Queen’s bedroom is then ‘slain’ (in self-defence?) by Hamlet.

Imaged by Polonius hiding behind an ‘arras’ {tapestry that divides rooms}.The scene plays on the deception which Polonius has been part of. Hiding behind the truth, his veiled participation in the great deception is unveiled. Polonius is silenced.

From this point on, the sand from which the castle  has been made begins to rapidly erode.

Hamlet’s objective in uncovering their deception by using it against them is only partly achieved. Revenge and cunning culminating in the tragic end of all major players excluding that of Hamlet’s close friend Horatio.

Is there a theological point?

Yes. Polonius is no martyr. What is seen on the surface is a veil of innocence, a hard-working loyalty; a wise, tolerant and considerate person. By all appearances a devout and pious man.

Polonius himself states:

‘I hold my duty, as I hold my soul. Both to my God and to my gracious king’
(Act II/II: 15-57)

In Polonius, Shakespeare reasons us with a warning:

 ‘Tis too much proved, that with devotions visage and pious action we do sugar coat over the devil himself’
– Polonius (Act III/ I: 24-67)

Hamlet PicThe point is that only a false grace sugar coats reality.

Instead the Christian understands that true grace testifies to a cost.

The existence of ‘judgement – the shadow side of the Gospel’. Justice hand in hand with the ‘lighter side of mercy’; where ‘light is seen in the midst of darkness’ – the ‘righteousness and the wrath of God.’ (Karl Barth) [iv]

God’s loving “no” enables us to say “yes” to life. If were not for this restraint we would devour ourselves and each other.

So it is with a parent to their child, who practicing absolute freedom would play in busy traffic – {based on the arguments against restraint of some within todays intellectual and political class} – if it were not for the restraint and instruction of loving parents the results would be catastrophic for the child.

Rather than finding a trusted friend, Hamlet finds a nemesis. Someone he must outmanoeuvre in order to get to the truth. In short Hamlet refuses to believe a lie. Saying ”no” by refusing to conform to the deceit of those around him.

The crux of the story encourages us to see the dangers of loving enablers; people who tell us what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear.

It moves us to see the problems caused by those who discount the events and impact which negative experiences can have on others.Those who are satisfied with appearances over substance. From there we walk away challenged to live wisely in extreme days (Ephesians 5:15-16). Encouraging those around us who might have misplaced a thinking faith in exchange for cheap grace and blind allegiances.

Next to Hamlet himself, the greatest lessons we take away from Hamlet, the play, come to us by way of Polonius.

 


References:

[i] Released in Australia under the title ‘Army Intelligence’

[ii] Machiavellianism finds its way to being the most likely among an assortment of other ideological possibilities.

[iii] The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Volume Two, Wordsworth Editions 1999

[iv] Barth, K. 1940 C.D II/I:121-122 The Doctrine of God: The Readiness of God Hendrickson Publishers