Back again after 2 days off, I should be writing this every day but not everyday lends itself to journal writing. Went to the centrelink on wednesday. For those not familiar with the Australian unemployment system centrelink is the name used in Oz for unemployment, pensions and benefits. I have spent more then half of my life in and out of the place and I am comfortable with waiting in lines and explaining things to different people 3 or 4 times a day. The best way to deal with it is to bring a book, a book is better than a magazine or a comic because you look intelligent. The worst thing to do is look like you don't want to be there. Well that's not the worst thing to do the worst thing is to get angry and start acting out, when you do that you get treated very poorly. I am not saying that social workers are vindictive its just that if you treat them with respect and realise they have to deal with multiple cases over and hour they will respect you. Bringing a book is good because it helps pass the time.
What else happened? Not much really I walked a fair bit waiting for things to work out, they worked out I get more money end of story. Oh! that's right there were greeters at centerlink, two people directing traffic all the time. They were good and very helpful centerlink was not like this two years ago. I wonder if they watched the if Starbucks marketed like the church cause that shows up a whole load of wrongs.
I find this video hard to watch as it reminds me of many bad moments in many churches. I also realise that traditional church is all some people have got. But the point is made clearly and without any assumptions or allusions, if this is how you don't do it why do you do it? Well that can be answered by Topol.
And Topol's lines for the Jewish people in Russia could be substituted for most Christian church groups around the world. Tradition is very important without the ties that bind we would be merely a leaf blowing in the wind. If you have seen Fiddler on the Roof then you know that it is this very tradition that is threatened, especially from the daughters choice for husbands. He gives in to the first one and the second but the third crosses a bridge he cannot, marriage with a gentile. Tradition may keep you balanced but it also binds and restricts you to a defined and well known area.
And once again I end up at Mark 2:28 - 3:6 and the restrictions of the sabbath which in the context of Fiddler on the Roof keeps it in the Jewish family. Tevye has his traditions and the love of his daughters allows him to stretch them but not blow them out of all proportion. Its much the same with the first clip of the Starbucks church. Most churches could change and make small steps but not make a leap forward in understanding. What is required of them is to be true to God and his teachings not true to traditions that man has put around the truth that God has revealed to us.
In Mark the Pharisees are shown as being restricted by their traditional understanding of the sabbath. The restrictions they place on the HOLY DAY are binding and laughable at times. Jesus sets them straight that God wishes to set people free from such bondage. Yet what have we Christians have done? Not much better if the Starbucks video is true, which it is.
Where else in our lives have we restricted God to a tradition of our own making? Are our understandings of God so restrictive that He cannot work in our lives? This is something we need to dwell on with seriousness and a caution not to throw out everything and start from scratch. We have to have Christ at the center and hold his teachings utmost but also realise that God is consistent and unchanging. His message and mission have been unchanged from the beginning. Who we praise and worship will never change his teachings on how we are to live our lives are true and always will be. We may need to style it up and package it differently. To step outside our comfort zones once and a while to show we are in the world, but not of the world.
And just for fun here's the classic Matchmaker song.