18 September, 2020

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Stable Truth: A Christmas Reflection

By Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Hard lessons

The birth of Christ has not changed the world but it offers hard lessons for those who work for change.

Herod, whom Jesus called the fox, is clever with words; nice words that serve his interests only. His request of the visiting dignitaries that they should inform him where the baby was, was not to worship the baby, but to exterminate him. His occupation of the Seat is not to be disturbed. The real man is seen in the failed man; unable to have his way but still in power, he punishes the innocent.

Stolen promises

Herod’s legacy is repeated in history. It is about deceit and the abuse of power. Power is first negotiated as nice power for clean governance. Thereafter things turn ugly. When questionable behaviour comes to light, deceit displaces promise. And when deceit is exposed, the innocent pay the price. Incompetent governance is bad enough; deceitful governance is unbearable. It steals the will of the people.Jesus

When this happens, frustration spreads on the ground and people awaken to learn that their voices are no longer heard; or never were. All that ever mattered was Seats in high places. We are then left with failed governance, where freedom and rights and identity, enshrined in constitutions and changes to come, mean very little.

Betrayed mandates

The Jewish religious hierarchy at the time of Christ’s birth was no better than Herod. It had cleverly crafted a dual objective to survive with benefits. Connected with and dependent on Herod, it was unable to stand up to him.

What was true of institutionalised religion then, is true of institutionalised religion now. This is why religion stays embarrassingly silent. It is unable to call politics to accountability, as it should, and consequently implies that it whispers advice in closed audience; which it seldom does.

Politics and institutionalised religion are exasperating. Both betray their mandate to put people first and have stealthily become anti people. This is why hope, for the people, rests with the people.

Herod’s court

The shepherds and wise-men go their different ways. Nothing is heard of them thereafter. They may have been stirred by their experience of ‘stable truth’; truth for life from amongst the vulnerable; to resist the Herod’s of their times. Or they may have been seduced into the courts of the ruling elite; a real temptation for many who grow weary in search of clean governance.

There is a story that one of the shepherds ended up as a door keeper in Herod’s court. He reasons with his questioning friends and restless conscience that he is now better placed to change Herod. Within the court however the opposite happens. Herod does not change; those in his court do. They become like him, perhaps more pathetic.

Those in the court are not trapped, they choose to be trapped. The same things that interest and motivate Herod now entice and motivate them. This is why they refuse to step out and sever ties. They have their own reward. All that is left is the fast fading dream of one day being able to make a difference.

Remnant change

Of the ‘stable truth’ encounter, only Jesus and Mary are left in the continuing narrative of truth for life. This is often the case. The peoples’ alternative of truth for life is carried forward by a remnant, inspired by the movement of the shepherds and wise-persons in the open space. Here, they are to protect one another from the wolves and discern the signs of the times. It is then, when the heart-beat of the flock and the positioning of the stars converge on that moment that a fresh burst of energy will lead to change; only to be stolen again and then regained all over again.

This is reality; this is life. This is the message of Christmas.

With Peace and Blessings to all

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    Bishop Duleep de Chickera

    RE:Stable Truth: A Christmas Reflection

    “The birth of Christ has not changed the world but it offers hard lessons for those who work for change”

    What does it tell you? Is Christ Son of God? If so, why has not the world changed for the better.

    Does it mean that the Christian Church was mistaken, and Christ was a preacher, a teacher, a Prophet as the Jews and Muslims claim? What are the supported facts? The Truth?

    See the Crimes and Atrocities of the Christian Church since then. The Church did change the World, but have become civilized, thanks to the age of reason, enlightenment and secularism.

    Hitchens DEMOLISHES the Catholic Church.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAxgnd8mYr0

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      Bishop Duleep de Chickera

      Happy Holiday Season

      Now Sri Lanka has the world’s tallest artificial Christmas tree.

      Where did it all get started? To begin with Jesus was not even born on Christmas day. It was a pagan festival related to the winter solstice.

      The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder. Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes.

      Now it has reached Galle Face, Sri Lanka. It it helps to prevent the Sinhala “Buddhist” Monks and laymen from running amok, that is fine. After all Buddha attained enlightenment under a tree.

      Anyway, as long as trees and not cut, that tradition is fine.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sri-lanka-unveils-artificial-christmas-tree-claims-its-worlds-tallest/

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      Hey Amarasiri, you listen to Christopher Hitchens? Why don’t you watch some debates between George Galloway and Hitchens where Hitchens gets destroyed. This is the same filth which went around on world stages supporting Tony Blair and George W. Bush on the invasion of a sovereign country called IRAQ. Stop being foolish. Hitchens is a non-believer and died a scum with cancer. Stop spreading rubbish.

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        Tamil from the north

        ” Why don’t you watch some debates between George Galloway and Hitchens where Hitchens gets destroyed.”

        Amarasiri loves debates, because one gets to hear both sides of the topic and issues. Of course, the Catholic Church has reformed, but the alter boys are still at risk.

        So here is a debate on the Catholic Church, Intelligence Squared Debate. Is The Catholic Church Is A Force For Good In The World?

        Intelligence Squared Debate The Catholic Church Is A Force For Good In The World.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCH2NG9qTSw

        Silenced Again: Native Americans Insulted after Pope Francis Makes Junípero Serra a Saint

        The history of the Catholic Church with indigenous peoples is a long and brutal one. Forced eradication of culture, religion, and language resulted in the destruction of first nations throughout the world. The introduction of disease wiped out entire populations; spreading the word of God was often tied to violent methods of conversion.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tara-houska/native-americans-insulted-after-pope-francis-makes-junipero-serra-a-saint_b_8229796.html

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    Religiosity : NO
    Spirituality: YES

  • 6
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    Mano Ratwatte

    “Religiosity : NO
    Spirituality: YES”

    Do I agree with you? A BIG YES.

  • 2
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    Esto Perpetua Bishop.

  • 3
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    Plato
    The Bishop is an old boy of the Cinnamon Gardens school . Disce Aut Disce De .

  • 2
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    Nosey Parker.

    True;But he was the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the school by the sea.
    Hence my line.So when you say learn or depart we would say Be Thou for ever!

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    Merry Christmas to the Christian readers here!
    Happy New Year to all.
    Happy 2nd day of Hannukah to Jewish readers here!

    I remember going to St. Lawrences in Wellawatte with my wonderful Catholic classmates for MidNight mass and going to MidNight mass in Nuwara Eliya just to listen to the singing when my grandfather was Governor General. Nice memories. Gone a couple of times in the US but I freaked out when I saw how terribly segregated these so called evangelical type and Southern Baptist churches were in the deep south of the USA. Black churches are much better and friendlier and I have gone to a black church with some friends twice; once for the funeral service of an amazing Tuskeegee Airman. Nice memories.

    YET peace as every faith professes eludes man.

  • 6
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    Christianity as taught by Christ is a world of a difference as to what is taught by the Church today; the former being a Christly teaching, and the latter downright materialism. This is why there is an exodus of Christians from all types of established Churches, mostly in the West, but now happening in Asia.These Churches cannot answer the issues that are taking place world wide today. That is because NONE in those Churches have the FAITH of a MUSTARD SEED.

    One can go on and on arguing on the pros and cons of the Churches doing Christly work, but the bottom line is could anyone of them work the Miracles that Christ passed onto his Apostles to alleviate, or prevent the murder and mayhem, sickness, and torture up to death, taking place among Innocent children, women, men, and even Christians the world over?

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    Politics and institutionalised religion are exasperating. Both betray their mandate to put people first and have stealthily become anti People
    well said Bishop Chickera
    Jesus stood before Pilate, the representative of the Roman Empire, and before the High priests of the institutionalised Religion. Both collaborated one accusing, the other washing his Hands off. This is the tragedy even in Sri Lanka. Neither the political nor the religious, including our own, truely stands up for the rights of the victimized and down-trodden.

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    It was during his tenure as Bishop that the admission criteria to STC was changed from the typically Anglican broad based, all encompassing system which had existed for over a century,to the more ‘faith based’ system which prevails today .

    There is a crying need in Sri Lanka today for greater understanding and interaction among the diverse ethnic and religious groups of the country. STC had long been the showpiece of the Anglican Church, inculcating the core Christian values of equality,tolerance, and peaceful coexistence in thousands of students over the years – without a hint of discrimination or coercion .

    Unlike in the past, there appears to be a more overt display of faith in all spheres of activity at STC, sports included .This is could well be a reflection of the hardening of attitudes among the school’s administrators.

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    Some time 1985? , I met bishop at stc over his views on Christianity. He left me spellbound, in shock for over one hour. It wasn’t mainstream stuff…amazing stuff.

  • 0
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    JESUS is the TRUTH and the LIFE
    taste and see.

  • 0
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    What Bishop Chickey says is that Man has not changed nor will Yahapalanaya change the political landscape.
    Therefore forget change and accept the fact that man is unchangeable and give up the struggle to change.

    Bishop Chickey I am surprised that you talk like a defeatist.

    Jesus gives us hope !So lets carry on the fight from there.

    I dont care if Jesus is not the son of God .What he said about forgiveness and love is more important and that message must be given to Galadgodatte Gnanassara and Razeek Hajiar that we love them all in spite of being assholes.

    We need to take the struggle for change forward inspite of a few hitches.

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