Rihanna Rumpus...

One of the unexpected upshots of the unseasonably warm weather here (now sadly departed), is that events in a certain wheat field in rural county Down have made it onto the national and international news… It would never have happened had the late September weather here been its usual cold, wet self, but Rihanna’s disrobing and farmer, Alan Graham, stopping the filming of her pop video, has made it onto the front pages of papers worldwide, TV news programmes and radio discussions, whilst video clips have gone viral all over the internet. Was Mr. Graham too prudish? Is Rihanna, a good role model for young girls. Let's remember after all that this isn't the first time that her video's have got Rihanna into trouble. Is this a deliberate embrace of the policy, no publicity is bad publicity?
Meanwhile, more seriously, but with much less coverage (no intended irony in my choice of words there), in Saudi Arabia, another woman, called Shema, was sentenced to 10 lashes for breaking the ban on female drivers. Thankfully it seems as if that sentence has been commuted by King Abdullah… But in between the tasteless jokes about women drivers, a lot of comment about these two stories coming out of the Islamic world, and indeed in some conservative Christian circles, has suggested that the “lewd” behaviour of pop divas like Rihanna is a direct consequence of western secularism and women’s liberation.
I doubt that it is anything like as simple as that… but it does illustrate twin dangers of extreme religious legalism on the one hand and a tendency towards “anything goes” libertarianism on the other… And I do get slightly uneasy when it is men, whether in the middle east or mid west of America who define what is right in the eyes of God for women to do and not do… Indeed was it not Paul, (someone not usually cited in terms of women’s rights), who said that in Christ there are no males and females, but we are all one… So if these stories have lessons for us it is for both women and men, and how we should use our hard-won freedoms.
But actually there is Biblical warrant for cavorting around to music half-naked. Although it was a man in story I’m thinking about… While bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem King David, no mean musician in his own right, danced around in front of it scantily clad… His wife Michal scolded him, saying that it was no way for a king to behave… David’s response was that he was prepared to be even more undignified than that in praising God… (See II Samuel 6: 12-22)
I doubt that is a line that Rihanna could have used…
But it does remind us that if we see everything that we say and do as a sacrifice of praise and worship to God, that as we seek to act and speak for what is right (right in the eyes of God, that is, not, self-righteous), we should be ready to be out of step with the self-proclaimed moral majority or out of tune with prevailing popular opinion… be that is the tune sung by a pop superstar or even a church choir…

Thought for the Day Radio Ulster Friday 30th September

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