Starting to worry about getting out to Karitane for Grace’s memorial service on Saturday afternoon.  I think I shall have to contact the people out there to see if they can connect me up with somebody travelling out.

Two lectures on this week:

Transforming the Rainbow Serpent into the Rainbow Spirit

An attempt to create an aboriginal theology in Australia.  The theologian Norman Habal met with Aboriginal Elders to formulate a theological document based on Genesis chapter 1.  For the Rainbow Spirit Elders, as they called themselves, the Rainbow Spirit is the same as the Rainbow Serpent.  The Lutheran Church objected to confusing the serpent from Genesis with the serpent from an aboriginal cosmogony.

The representation in art of the Rainbow Serpent is the wandjina, a phallic symbol representing the male/female human being.  I wondered if this is the equivalent of the Adam in Genesis, created in the likeness of the first ancestor (god), before being separated into male/female bodies.

The criticism of this theology is a fudging of context.  The Rainbow Serpent is a generative force involked in initiation ceremonies across Australia to allow youths to enter into kinship groups, rather than the first ancestor of the Genesis story.  So does this mean that Christians, in their own initiation ceremonies, baptism and confirmation, create new kinship groups?

Creative Responses to Extremism

If you go looking in Dunedin you can create your own public lecture time table.  This week’s lecture from the Centre for Theology and Public Issues was a discussion on recent events in Norway where a blond Norwegian from uptown Oslo killed 80 people.  The monster turns out to be one of us, a member of the minority dramatically imposing an agenda on the majority.  Instead of dividing the Norwegian people the act has united the majority as recognising and embracing the Muslim community that lives among them.

I wonder if Anders Breivik is another sick figure like Clayton Weatherston, or the death of the New Zealand girl by her English boyfriend, or Osama bin Ladin watching videos of his speeches in hiding.  The trial means his derangement, if it is so, does not excuse his motives.  The investigation slowly reveals his darkness to scrutiny in  the light.  His extremism must justify itself.  There is a challenge for the limits of freedom of speech.

If violence is an unacceptable alternative for individuals then why is it acceptable to nationstates, the representation of the lawgiver, to act with the instrumentality of violence.  We live with the acceptance of such instrumentalities in our daily lives, in drama, and at play.  So, is peace studies the end-goal for a just world?  How would my nation respond to a similar atrocity in our own country?  Not very well, I suspect.