Despite looming clouds, Glasgow’s Wave demonstration had a record-breaking turn-out. Thousands of people flowed through the streets calling for politicians to take action on caring for the poor and implementing climate reform. Reporter Lindsay Brown has more.
Leaders from the world’s richest 20 countries have reached new agreements in striking a balance between financial stability and a greener climate. This decision came as activists rallied nearby at the Put People First demonstration at a beach in St. Andrews. Correspondent Lindsay Brown was there.
I never knew that nervousness has its own smell distinguishable from plain old body odor until I found myself in this online media newsroom. There is virtue in this foul statement: we journalists care enough about our content to sweat hard. We want to get the facts right and nail the point into the mind of the audience in one svelte swoop.
Print and Online Journalism is an exhausting yet exhilarating module. I have not yet professionally written under a same day deadline in a newsroom, but I bet this module’s live rolling news days are an accurate simulation.
The stories we published to edinburghnapiernews.com on October 7, October 21, and November 4 covered an array of traditional news categories. Almost every story had a structure consisting of a fact-setting beginning, a problematic middle, and a hopeful ending. Our use of quotes injected reality and human touch into our articles.
I gained respect for my classmates while seeing them glare at their computer screens and hammer out their articles at caffeinated speeds. I admired their fearless telephoning to unassuming interviewees who are naturally inclined to refuse an interview at first approach, but then give way to a straightforward, trustworthy tone of voice.
Each reporter has his or her own voice, not only on microphone, but also in writing. Interviewing styles are as unique as individuals. I recall Rebecca’s soft tone as she asked for clarity in an answer. I remember hearing urgency in Neil’s voice, an enthusiasm that indicates the importance of the pending story.
Some phone conversations I overheard were definitely scheduled interviews. Tracy was concerned about getting natural answers from interviewees that knew which questions were coming. I was happy to hear our teacher Kate clarify that preparing interviewees with a general overview of what an interview will entail is perfectly acceptable and a good time-saver. I have learned that finding the balance between briefing an interviewee and providing overly-detailed insight depends on a reporter’s ability to gauge that person’s personality, frame of mind, and knowledge of the content.
As for teamwork patterns in this group, we are mostly independent creatures after we break from our morning huddle. The editor assigns stories, classmates may chime in to the brief dialogue with additional knowledge, then we reporters go off to source the story. Back at our desks, we listen intently to the narrative in our minds while we write, only breaking concentration to answer a classmate’s distress call.
“How do I get a picture from this website into my post? My time was up a minute ago! Help! It’s not working!…Oh, thanks for that. Sorry to interrupt you.”
“No worries, really.”
This is what teamwork means in the newswriters’ world and I extol it. In my younger days, I may have lashed out in anger at such an interruption, having allowed it to vanquish my inner narrative. A middle road response that I witness occasionally in class: “Uh…sorry. I don’t know. Wish I could help.” Meanwhile the apathetic speaker’s eyes never leave the monitor, but at least he or she did not rudely snap at the help-seeker.
When I was editor on the assessed rolling news day, I saw two young ladies donate their photograph to another writer’s article, even if it meant they were virtually out of time to find a replacement for their own piece. I instigated one of these interchanges myself while I was drifting from chair to chair, looking at articles in progress. As for the other few writers, I can only surmise that they knew each other’s stories before they began working as they covered different threads and angles of the same story. Preparation and open communication are vital for seamless variety in content and visuals, even in addition to an editor’s delegation of story topics. I could only imagine what overlaps in content there would be, not to mention last minute panics, if writers hoarded works in progress to themselves.
Thanks to the principle of standing by your word, an unlikely joint effort has occurred in Edinburgh South. When Edinburgh City Council mistakenly taxed Michael Henderson, 22, £800 too many, Nigel Griffiths, MP for South Edinburgh, corrected the charges and incidentally recruited Henderson, a Conservative, to pass flyers on the Labour Party’s behalf.
Since receiving the unexpected bill for £2200 roughly six months ago, Henderson had copied Griffiths on his emails to Edinburgh City Council. Griffiths, upholding his originally designed Contract to Constituents, interceded on Henderson’s behalf. Henderson wrote a thank you letter to Griffiths and, as a sign of appreciation, included a nonchalant nicety.
“I had written that if there was anything I could to do help him, don’t hesitate to ask,” Henderson said. “I didn’t expect him to take me up on it.”
Yesterday Henderson received a request from Griffiths to help distribute pro-Labour pamphlets. Henderson never communicated his political affiliation with Griffiths. “He pointed that since I had offered, he was asking,” Henderson said.
Griffiths is the first Labour Party MP for South Edinburgh. His Contract to Constituents states that he will help all his constituents regardless of their political party.
Henderson lives in South Edinburgh with three students, entitling him to a tax discount. He works full time and has lived with students for three years. The City Council taxed him as if he had not been living with three students.
When asked if he will actually carry out his pamphlet distribution task, Henderson replied, “I told him I will do it. I can’t go back on my word.”
Note: This publication has been removed from Richmond.com’s spirituality blog due to it’s divisive effect on Richmond church communities. The final paragraph was censored and modified to include incorrect names. Below is the final corrected published version. Please double click on the article to download a larger viewing size.
The Bible and the US Constitution are the central texts that advocate the establishment of boundaries that protect and preserve the function and freedom of both the Church and of the State. The words within the US Constitution and within the Bible reinforce the necessary distinction between Christianity and secular government.
The exact phrase “Separation of Church and State” is not in the US Constitution. When Thomas Jefferson referred to a “wall of separation between the church and the state,” he was reassuring the Danbury Connecticut Baptists that the government would not infringe on their affairs. iThe actual First Amendment to the US Constitution states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and petition.
The two clauses that pertain specifically to religion are the free exercise clause and the establishment clause, which restrict the government from passing laws that interfere with religion, and prohibit the government from establishing a national religion. ii
These principles outlined in the US Constitution harmonize beautifully with the Bible’s account of the tension between God’s people and societies.
“Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth.” (Genesis 10:8)
The name “Nimrod” means “The Rebel,” as Nimrod served idol Gods.
“The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” (Gen 10:10)
Shinar was the region which was also referred to as Southern Babylonia.
“Babel” means “confusion.”
The word meanings in these verses demonstrate God’s lack of esteem for the societies established by mankind. The trend of God separating His people from societies begins in Numbers.
“As I see him from the top of the rocks, And I look at him from the hills; Behold, a people who dwells apart, And will not be reckoned among the nations.” (Numbers 23:9) iii
This trend continues throughout the Bible into the New Testament. Jesus addresses the relationship between Himself and secular matters in the following verses: “So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.” (John 6:15)
“Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.’” (John 18:36)
“Christ said of His followers, ‘Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.’” (John 15:19) “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16) “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Rom 13:1) iv
The Bible covers all topics in creation, and therefore references secular governments, but the US Constitution does not actually reference the word “God.”
For example, “So help me God” is not actually written in the Presidential Oath, which is described in Article II, section 1 of the Constitution. It has simply been tradition for the President to place his hand on the Bible during the oath and say “So help me God.”
Christians who, contrary to the advice of the Bible, attempt to officially integrate manmade politics with the realm of Christ are often left with anger and frustration.
Referring to “Socialists throughout our government,” Vic Bilson of the Jeremiah Project writes “Make no mistake about it… these hate filled anti-American enemies of your family will not give up their evil schemes until your children are destroyed.”
Hateful in his own wording, Bilson sounds slightly more credible in his advocacy for the merging of Christianity into the US Government when he quotes Jesus. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other…” Mr. Bilson used an ellipsis to omit the completion of the verse, which is “You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24) v
Jesus offers advice to those Christians who cannot distinguish the identity of their Master.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they were amazed at Him.” (Mark 12:17)
Poe’s “The Raven” is comprised of a self-pitying man’s lamentations for a lady named Lenore. Picasso’s “Guernica” depicts the bombing of Spain by German bombers. In the 2008 Whitney Biennial, British artist Ellen Harvey’s Museum of Failure: Collection of Impossible Subjects & Invisible Self-Portraits (2007) regards the shortcomings of humanity’s intelligence. These works all deal with the self-defeat of mankind against himself, against society, and against God.
Enough drudgery already! Where is the painting of a Christian man who has won victory through Christ? Why can’t there be prize-winning artworks depicting a triumphant man, happy and at peace?
Because that would not reflect the truth of mankind’s struggle. Jesus never asked us to deny our humanity. He never said “Follow Me and life will be a piece of cake.”
The universal struggle of human existence, which is the fight against death, is manifested in profound art. If a work of art does not embody that struggle and bring catharsis, it is not art. Rather, it is rubbish that reflects the pacification of our society, the giving up, the complacency, the selling out of our dreams. After all, indifference is a form of death. “Art reconciles man to his destiny, which is death. Not merely death in the physical sense, but that form of death which is indifference, spiritual accidie.”(1)
Struggle is what makes us real and alive. “Man is a contradictory being, a mixture of strength and weakness…living in a world which, like himself, is made up of opposites, of antagonistic forces that fight against one another without hope of truce or victory…permanently unable to form a whole.” (2) Great art embodies this universal truth of the human condition. It hits us at our core. Has anyone ever stopped dead in their tracks and gasped at the sight of a warm and fuzzy piece of art? Sentimental “art” makes us yawn, if we even look at it at all.
The true artist has a divine nature about him. He is keenly aware of the antagonism between essence and existence, essence being spirit, and existence, the everyday mundane we find in society. In Christian terms, this antagonism is the separation of man from God. The artist feels this antagonism as anxiety which will only relent when he brings this divine essence into existence, into his artistic form.
“The collective mind is like water that always seeks the lowest level of gravity: the artist struggles out of this morass, to seek a higher level of individual sensibility and perception. The signals he sends back are often unintelligible to the multitude, but then come the philosophers and critics to interpret his message.”(3)
Inspiration is personal to the artist, as each human life is a complex interplay of personal and societal processes of adjustment.(4) Unfortunately, the artist often cannot find a niche in society. It has no need for his art; hence the stigma of the tortured, lonely, and frustrated artist.
Society does not adequately recognize the need for art or art education. Complacency and feeling good are our highest ideals. Industrialization, mass production, population explosion, information technology, and Prozac have deadened our senses. Society has achieved the pacification of the struggle for existence, the very struggle that gives meaning to art.
The poet Baudelaire felt a complete revulsion for daily urban life…for the unseemly and nauseating business of the world. In Baudelaire’s poem “At One O’clock in the Morning,” the speaker “moves all too easily through that world and even participates in it, and his own complicity especially repels him.” The poem ends in a prayer for divine inspiration. “O Lord God, grant me the grace to produce a few good verses…”(5)
So, mankind, as an individual and society, is destined to fall due to a flawed nature, and profound art reflects that. But what about Christian art? Christians have a savior, and through Him they have hope and eternal victory. Doesn’t Christian art deserve awards for depicting this profound truth?
If the artwork depicts the struggle of Christ on our behalf, and is beautifully rendered, then it certainly can be award-winning, profound art, truthful and optimistic. Still, without the struggle, we cannot identity with it.
Salvador Dalí’s “Christ of Saint John of the Cross” portrays Christ’s victorious struggle on the cross. The painting depicts Christ as transcendent and glorious. Dalí explained its inspiration: “In the first place, in 1950, I had a ‘cosmic dream’ in which I saw this image in color and which in my dream represented the ‘nucleus of the atom.’ This nucleus later took on a metaphysical sense; I considered it ‘the very unity of the universe,’ the Christ!”(6)
pg 35 Art and Alienation, Read, 1967, Horizon Press
Lindsay Brown is a freelance photographer and writer. She earned a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and will be earning a Masters in Journalism next year from Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland.
Have you ever seen the people holding pro-life signs on the corner of Grove Ave. and Boulevard? Christian groups are spreading a pro-life message to all who pass by the Richmond Medical Center for Women. Mount Gilead Ministry, Life & Liberty Ministry, and Good News Freewill Baptist Church demonstrate in front of the clinic regularly.
“Some people call it demonstration and that’s fine. Honestly, we’re called by God. It’s a ministry,” says Fred, of the Good News Freewill Baptist Church.
I visited them on a cold Wednesday morning to get a closer look at what they do. Four other volunteers wearing sandwich boards stood with Fred and were ready to hand out literature warning of alleged abortion-related lawsuits linked to the clinic, as well as evangelical comic strips and Human Life Alliance publications.
I did not see any passersby accept a handout. One young woman rushed past a man trying to hand literature to her and screamed, “Why? So they can live a life of poverty and suffering?”
He shouted back at her by quoting scripture, but it was hard to hear him over the response of another member’s voice proclaiming that enemies of God will be cast into a lake of fire.
I witnessed another interaction that involved a woman who was driving out of the clinic’s parking lot. A member of the group called out to her “God bless you!” She responded by saying “God bless you, too,” while extending her middle finger. Fred chuckled, “Is that the middle finger blessing?”
I was beginning to wonder if true dialogue in this ministry on the corner of Grove and Boulevard is rare. Fred, who has been a familiar face out front of the clinic for years, says that plenty of conversations have occurred. Although not verifiable, he stated that 9 out of 10 women who come to the clinic claim to be Christian. “To hook their attention, we’ll ask ‘Can you pray with us?’ I read a bible verse to a preacher’s daughter who was here with a friend. She listened. I listened. I shared.” Fred and other group members also reported that some women have left the clinic and given them a thumbs-up or have said to them, “Thank you for being here.”
Their signage ranges in tone from compassionate, “Mothers need love not abortion,” to condemning, “Abortion is Murder, Murder is Sin.” Another sign depicts graphic medical imagery, which, if aired on television, would be unsuitable for young children and sensitive viewers. Some members of the group have a peaceful presence, like Fred, who wonders when Dr. Fitzhugh will take him up on his invitation for coffee, while another man in the group declares, “Something is obviously wrong with your soul if you come here! We cannot have fellowship with those who partake with the devil!”
A woman who wishes to remain anonymous described to me her RU-486 medical abortion experience in 2006 at the clinic. “They showed me the ultrasound. I was 16 days pregnant.” In reference to the counseling session, she said, “A caring nurse sat with me and quietly asked me questions about my life. She let me talk for a long time. She recommended that I take the weekend before making a decision.”
Jill, the clinic’s coordinator, said, “Some [women] decide not to have an abortion after counseling. We help teach them prenatal care and we handle adoption through here.” The clinic also offers routine gynecological services and distributes birth control. It is not affiliated with Planned Parenthood. When asked if the demonstrators out front affect the daily routine of the clinic, Jill said, “Our staff is pretty much used to it, but some patients are visibly upset when they first walk through the door, and when the staff asks them why, they say “because of the protestors.”