Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Idol mockery from Paul Barker

Melbourne friend Paul Barker, vicar of one of the few really great Anglican churches in Melbourne (many are sunk deep in liberalism and mediocrity), wrote in to the Briefing about mockery and taunting. It's all on the website in the Interchange section along with a lot of other good letters, but I thought it was worth posting here too:

I like the comparison made in passing in the CHN about Emoting about Idols with Australia's cricket boasts. It got me thinking that perhaps we need some of the mocking chants that we hear at the MCG (presumably SCG too). When someone is taken off by police, there's the chant ‘You're going home in the back of the divvy van’. So some sort of variation on that to idols and false gods might be good: ‘You're gonna rust away; moths are gonna eat you up’. Or ‘You're going away in the back of a robber's van’.

A variation is the taunt: ‘Can't bat, can't bowl, can't field’. So, in line with Isaiah 46:1-4, we could sing or shout ‘Can't make, can't carry, can't save’.

Of course, there's also the taunts to fielders when they miss a catch (as well as to spectators who pass the beach ball to the police): You are a w*****. So an occasional chant in a liturgically appropriate time to idols and false gods of ‘you are a nothing’ could wake up a few congregations.

Mockery is, of course, biblical as evidenced by Isaiah 46 and not least by Elijah on Carmel. Indeed, in 1 Kings 18:27, there is possibly a euphemism mocking their gods for going to the bathroom, not all that different from the blunt cricket cry above.

Even a slow hand clap mocking idols might be an idea.

Taunts and chants lend themselves to kids songs so perhaps Colin Buchanan can be contracted to help here. Interspersed with some Mexican waves, I can see quite a future for liturgists and congregations. As well, I see a future for liturgical expression when the congregation can point mockingly, not to the dressing room when a batsman is out, but down to hell. Given the demonstrative nature of umpire Billy Bowden, maybe he could choreograph something for us? Signal a six to celebrate God; raising the finger when the idols fail. Of course, already cricket fans bow down in adulation at some heroes. We need to rescue that back to God.


I got ordained in Melbourne at the same time as Paul, and it is great to see him going on strong in the Christian faith. He became a Christian under Paul Barnett at Robert Menzies College, Macquarie Uni. (Paul was master at the college, and later became bishop of North Sydney)

No comments: