Bayern, USA, Deutschland

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Germans not flocking to church this Easter

Deutsche Welle has a brief article on Germany and Easter.

I am sure pastors and churches in Germany would like to see church attendance rise, especially at Easter. Here in the American northeast, it seems as if Christians are of the same mindset as those mentioned in the DW article, with the same percentages even.

I have been told and taught that we are now living in a post-modern Western society. I am not so sure about that. There certainly seems to be a strong modern ideal in my corner of the American northeast. Post-modernism, while it claims to be a return to things spiritual as an essential part of the human experience, does not necessarily translate to higher attendance at religious festivals or even in an interest in faith or God.

We do seem to be living in a post-Constantinian Christian world and living more in a first century world, as far as the Church is concerned. That is not necessarily a bad thing. To be sure, it is certainly a more challenging environment where Christianity is one of many religious possibilities for people to believe. It is also an exciting time, where each challenge also brings with it God's blessings. Hopefully, it will be a time of less obession with numbers, attendance, and finances, and more attention and delight in people and relationships: people with one another and people with Christ.

Time will certainly tell the tale. Perhaps the classic Devo song from the very early 1980s sums it up best: We're all living in a post-post-modern world.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Christos aneste! Alethos aneste. Hallelujah!

Christus ist auferstanden! Er ist auferstanden ist. Hallelujah!

Kristus er oppst├ątt! Han er steget virkelig. Halleluja!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Battlestar Sonatica - Baltar's Theme

This piece was written for BSG to musically score Baltar's experiences on the Cylon basestar. It has a classical sound to it, but when paired with Baltar it has a requiem-like tone in regards to who he is and what he has done.

It is interesting that the official title of this is "Battlestar Sonatica" and that it was written specifically for Baltar's character. In an earlier blog I noted that BSG seems to focus on Baltar's fall from grace and his redemption.

A couple of weeks ago I watched some of the original BSG episodes from 1978. The original Baltar character is similar to the reimaged character. Both fall from grace and both are redeemed, although in the original series Baltar's redemption is not fleshed out completely or satisfactorily.

"Battlestar Sonatica" has a somber and sad mood. This fits Baltar perfectly because, although he is directly linked to the annihilation of the colonies and also responsible for signing (at gunpoint) the authorization fo the Cylons to round up and execute Human resistance fighters on New Caprica, Baltar experiences extreme angst and Anfechtung throughout the series. This occurs all the while when he is receiving visions from God. BSG did an excellent job keeping this tension, especially when Baltar (and we the viewers) were not sure if he was only a con-man, delusional, suffering a nervous breakdown, or really chosen to be an intregal part of God's plan for Humans and Cylons. "Daybreak" finally settled the issue: he was really getting guidiance and visions from God; he really was an agent in God's plan.

The weakness of the BSG series regarding Baltar's redemption is that there was no real, specific person who took upon him or herself Baltar's guilt and paid the price for his freedom. The closest we get is when he is on trial and Lee Adama becomes his lawyer. Lee's passionate arguments persuaded the jury to find Baltar "not guilty" of his crimes against humanity on New Caprica. The deciding vote on this verdict was Adm. Adama.

No human ever tried to save Baltar out of the pure goodness of his or her heart. Lee came the closest, but his reasoning for defending Baltar was not out of kindness or love, but because he believed everyone deserved a fair trial. Lee probably wouldn't have been too heart-broken had Baltar been found "guilty" because, after all, he got a fair trial.

In a small way, Baltar and Caprica Six are BSG's Abraham and Sarah characters. Yes, they imperfectly fit that description, but both Baltar and Caprica Six believe in a monotheistic God. In Baltar's case, he, like Abraham, left a polytheistic culture and embraced the one God. Baltar's farm on Earth is akin to Abraham's settling in Canaan -- the future promised land. If we play this theme out, then Baltar and Caprica Six are the forerunners in the BSG universe for monotheism. Like Abraham, Baltar is still a sinner while also a saint, albeit in Baltar's case his sins make Abraham's pale in comparison. Nevertheless, Baltar seems to embody the monotheistic concept, faith, and justification by faith when he deserved nothing but a sack over his head and a firing squad.

Baltar, then, becomes the character who embodies hope and deliverance from God. He becomes the character who embodies hope for all people. I read one blog where the person was upset that after all Baltar and Caprica Six had done, they get to enjoy a lush piece of land on Earth. Well, that's what happens to those who are redeemed and delivered -- they get what their actions don't deserve, they get grace instead of condemnation. This is the whole point of justification -- someone else merits our salvation. There was no mediator and propitiator for Baltar, but we have one who is called Jesus Christ. He suffered, died, and rose again for us. Praise God for His great gift.