Monday, 15 August 2011



An inevitable way for a disempowered population to physically scream their rejection of the oppressive and unjust structures that are preventing them achieving happiness/productivity? The stuff of Marxist revolution in the 1970s, and of punk bands and civil disobedience?

Or (in 2011): dead-eyed, mob-like and opportunistic.

Liberation theology spilled out of the former - Christ as proto-Marxist, armed priests, Gutierrez, Moltmann getting a drubbing for being white and affluent. Exciting stuff, that has morphed into Christian Aid (Life before death), Tear Fund and all sorts of muscular amillenial Christian movements.

What will spill out of the latter? National Service returns (todays press)? What?? Really?? Other movements and initiatives to mend 'broken Britain'? Tough love and bigger batons?

What liberation theology might spill out of last week? I found myself preaching on Bute about God's love for ALL humanity - even rioters and politicians - but without an answer about how to make it work. God loves us all - but how can the lives be transformed, the caring, mutually supporting communities (dare one call them churches) be grown and nurtured to embrace and heal a broken society. Why should the vilified ones, whoever they are, even care?

One can see why the old 'end-times' - 'God will fix it' card is tempting.

How did I end, to my lovely small church on a riot-free Scottish island?

"That," I said, "is where WE come in."

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Urban catwalk vs Bute chic

In Glasgow, Wellington, and his horse whose name I forget (Copenhagen, Wikipedia tells me), are decorated with that item of urban style - a traffic cone! With some physical challenge, usually alcoholically propelled, this has become so much the norm that photos like the one below (from are more common than ones without a cone!

Carol Walker captures a similar fate for Lord Kelvin - is there any statue in Glasgow that avoids an orange fluorescent bunnet? She thinks not!

It even spreads to Perth - the mainland trend for statue decoration... picks this one out, but fails to name it! (It's David Annand's sculpture with Willie Soutar's poem Nae Day Sae Dark engraved inside the ring)

But Bute has a different style for one of its stalwart citizens: Alexander Bannatyne Stewart, owner of Ascog Hall and " the time of his death Convener of the County of Bute, and took great interest in all things affecting the island. He was Commodore of the Bute Aquatic Club, and Flag Officer of the Royal Northern Yacht Club, whose regattas in Rothesay Bay generally terminated with magnificent displays of fireworks from Mr. Stewart's steam yacht." Quite a gentleman!

Today, he is mostly wearing a seagull...