CRISIS 46

LIFE
So......................
MR TRUMP

This is a letter sent to the elected President of the USA, Mr Donald Trump from a major US Christian source.
Council president offers post-election congratulations and prayers

United Methodist Communications umcpresscenter.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 9, 2016
Washington, D.C.: In a congratulatory letter to President-elect Donald Trump on behalf of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, Council president Bishop Bruce R. Ough sent a prayer and a plea for the nation to come together.

“We are a deeply divided nation in a world community marred by division, war and unprecedented forced migration,” writes Bishop Ough, following Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States. “This is a time for all Americans, particularly our political leaders, to put aside divisiveness and rancor and come together for the common good of this nation and the world.”

He further pledged that the Council of Bishops will work to “build bridges to understanding that will lead to overcoming the gulfs that divide the nation and the world.”
“I call to mind the best that is in us: we live under God; we are indivisible; and liberty and justice extend to all,” said Ough.

Gathered at St. Simons Island last week for their fall meeting, the bishops signed a Bible that will be presented to Trump following his inauguration in a tradition that dates back to the very first president of the United States when Bishop Francis Asbury presented a Bible to President George Washington in 1789. The tradition has continued with each subsequent president.

The full text of Bishop Ough’s letter follows:

Dear President-elect Trump:
On behalf of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, I offer congratulations to you, Mr.    Trump, upon your election as the 45th president of the United States. Further, I thank Secretary Hillary Clinton for the gracious way she has accepted the voters’ decision.

The Council’s prayers are for you, your wife, Melania, and your family, and for Secretary Clinton, her husband, Bill, and their family, after such a tightly contested presidential race.

We are a deeply divided nation in a world community marred by division, war and unprecedented forced migration. This is a time for all Americans, particularly our political leaders, to put aside divisiveness and rancor and come together for the common good of this nation and the world. Thus, we pray for the healing of the nations and for God to grant you wisdom, compassion, moral conviction, courage and protection in your presidential leadership.

The Council of Bishops pledges to contribute to all efforts to build bridges to understanding that will lead to overcoming the gulfs that divide the nation and the world. I call to mind the best that is in us: we live under God; we are indivisible; and liberty and justice extend to all.

In 1789, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury presented President George Washington with a Bible. The United Methodist Church has maintained this 225-plus-years tradition of giving a Bible signed by the bishops to each subsequent U.S. president.
The Council of Bishops is composed of 68 active and 97 retired bishops overseeing The United Methodist Church’s 12.3 million members in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. Mr. Trump, I look forward to an opportunity, following your inauguration, to present a Bible to you.

And so, I pray for you and our nation: Holy God, creator of us all, Send your Spirit of peace, justice and freedom upon us; Break down the walls of political partisanship and economic disparity, and make us one. Give us wisdom to walk in your ways. Remind us that your ways are not our ways; That your power and might transcend the plans of every nation. Teach us again to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Amen.

The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President On behalf of the Council of Bishops The United Methodist Church

MUSIC

  1. LEONARD COHEN

  2. NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS

tony jasper reviews

Oh there I was at morning prayer in the parish church, and we read Psalm 90, where yes, you find life expectancy in terms of three score years and ten, but for some of strength it can be four score, even  more. Back in my home with music as usual breaking the silence, it was to hear the sheer beauty of Leonard Cohen’s album You Want It Darker (Columbia) currently given rapturous thumbs up in the music magazines and newspaper columns, and as Neil McCormick notes in the Daily Telegraph “At 82, Cohen’s albums are still as rich and potent as ever.” And yes, is there a moment, a time, when this man has not delivered something special, and while some artists have a five year gap in releases why, this man, releases a third album in five years. And from our Christian perspective, he retains a desire to talk Jesus, and after all it was way back in the 1960s that this Jewish master of words, along with another Jewish songwriter Paul Simon, first explored their Jewish son, our Saviour, in many a beautiful lyric. Well, of course this is the man who so late in life found a worldwide smash hit with singers scrambling to record his ‘Hallelujah’ – a song movingly travelling the sometimes joyful, but often painful path of finding salvation. As with numerous songs it was savoured and permeated with religious lifelines and biblical allusions. They say there are now over 300 recordings listed of this song. And here on his 14th studio album his half-spoken, often gruff whisper, brings more of the same, but freshly served. And oh, if anyone wants to know how to arrange and adorn musical accompaniment, and utilise backing vocals without over-powering, take many plays of this record – from the opening almost monastic murmuring to Hammond organ lurking, to aching violin, to those coat enveloping femme back-ups, and even on track four ‘doomy’ guitar licks that can take you back to rock ‘n’ roll years. This the work of his son Adam.

Yes, this man of 82 wonders what lies ahead of life, but if he talks death, he reflects on the squalor and misplaced adventures of humankind, and if I hear well, he says “ if He died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap’ . Oh, the irony, and indeed the song ‘Steer Your Way’ is the darkest track and not for digesting if by chance you feel down there in the pits of personal anguish. Perhaps I am not hearing aright, but on one level I remain uncertain as to what is in his mind , for the Jesus he finds now is not the misunderstood of early lyrics whose poetry and beauty passed unnoticed in materialistic scramble to find life,   but rather the One who has let us down: “Vilified and crucifies in the human frame/A million candles burning for the help that never came”. Maybe it’s because I want to shout the opposite in some form of contrition for a human race that shouts so many negatives. Maybe I am missing the point he wishes to make.

Skeleton Tree (Kobalt) is the latest so good album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Cave raised an Anglican, a choir boy, with a passion on his recordings for big religious themes, and musically far from adverse for bringing into play blues and gospel. Some years back he was one of the contributors to the innovative series of  what were termed ‘pocket canons’ of Scripture. At the time he remarked: “ When I started to read the Gospels, I found myself trembling a the things Christ said and the stories themselves. ”This is his sixteenth album and recorded before the tragic death of his fifteenth year old son Arthur in July 2015 but only now released this Autumn.  The still surviving NME nails it down well; it is, yes, a “ Beautiful and harrowing” listen – the record you get hooked on right away and stay there until its end. In the manner of an engrossing novel. As with Cohen he almost revels in the ‘dark’ side, as first instance on ‘Magneto’ he simply wretches in the bathroom as life seems no more than something to rid of. To be sure Cave treads a path that will thankfully not be for the many and yet, few will not notice snatches of themselves and life along the way. Born September 22 1957, the vocal Cave is a more rock orientated Cohen, half-speaking his lyrics, sometimes deliberately just saying his often gut-wrenching lyrics, for by and large happiness is not particularly his trademark. He to knows the secret of surrounding his style with evocative and creative backings, just say hear track three ‘Girl in Amber.’ This fine album starts off with ‘Jesus Wept’, a 5:49 running affair  that is given a distorted  murky background sound. Here he sees Jesus in the myriad lives of those for whom life and living is far from happy home times, from the West experience, but also to Africa where he says “belief in God gets you no special dispensation’ . Its followed by ‘Rings of Saturn’ in which he bewails the return of slavery for many women, exploited and abused, and more so in “the heaps of children, left” and by per-chance, though not pleasurable,  immediately making you think of the very young of the camps with no parents and so vulnerable. More than Cohen his voice is so expressive and painful, just hear track six ‘I Need You.’ Although the album is put down before his tragic loss, an awareness of this cannot be removed from the listening, and translated into even the title line, and the sense that for the moment as he sings ‘nothing really matters’ when something so central is taken away. The beautiful title song is about a Sunday morning There is grief on the track ‘Distant Sky’ in which he is joined by the vocal fragrance Danish artist Else Torp.  Here is a beautiful moment and it brings to my mind the Cohen wondrous song ‘Dance Me to the end of Love’ – a song played at the funeral of a dear friend of mine Tina, wife of Rob, taken too young. You will not finish this album without tears.

SEEN  THIS PAST MONTH

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    Pope Paul VI, instanced Robert Harris
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    Thea Fauve
  • Food makers’ relentless advertising and bloated products, full of unnecessary sugar and salt, contributed to many of the incredibly expensive chronic illnesses our health system has to deal with.
    Corby Kummer. (Subject USA)
  • What is the greatest threat to humanity? Climate change, pandemic, nuclear war? According to the 0xford philosopher Nick Bostrom, these things pale beside the danger posed by artificial intelligence.
    Ian Adams