Censoring Royal Wedding Commentary Will Only Increase Popularity For Republicanism

This afternoon ABC TV was forced to cancel its plans for The Chaser comedy team to provide satirical commentary of the royal wedding on Friday night. The official reason for the cancellation of the broadcast was because the conditions of use of the BBC footage cannot be used “in any drama, comedy, satirical or similar entertainment program or content“.

Personally, I am disappointed. I was looking forward to The Chaser’s very dark sense of humour and satire being dished out upon the royals. Yesterday some media commentators were arguing that nobody’s wedding should be subject to ridicule or cruel jokes. However, on the flip side, how many people’s weddings are broadcast live to people around the world? If you are going to have something extremely public then expect some people to ridicule it.

The news of the forced cancellation of The Chaser’s coverage comes after it was also revealed that the previous two English Labour Prime Minister’s Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have not been invited to the wedding, however, the two previous Conservative Prime Minister’s Margaret Thatcher and Sir John Major have.

So much for the Royal Family supposedly having no ‘perceived political preferences‘. It is very obvious they favour those people who hang onto the past, protect the class structure, and don’t challenge the rule or power of the establishment.

Earlier today I was having a discussion with colleagues about the need for Australia and New Zealand to become a republic. The feeling amongst my colleagues was there wasn’t the mood or need to change. However, the censorship of the media, the political bias in the wedding invitations, and the ability for the Crown to overrule any law of Australia and New Zealand is reason enough for us to move on.

For me, the monarchy is a thing of the past. While the pomp and ceremony of the wedding is fascinating to watch, it is merely a sideshow designed to reinforce and strengthen the rule of the Crown while other parts of the world are in revolution. The sooner we abandon the monarchy, eat our own cake, and have our own revolution the better.

Finally, regarding the censorship of the broadcast, The Chaser’s Julian Morrow makes a very valid point: “For a monarchy to be issuing decrees about how the media should cover them seems quite out of keeping with modern democratic times …. but I suppose that’s exactly what the monarchy is.

Hear hear.

Thoughts on Rob Bell’s Love Wins

Last night I finished reading Rob Bell’s new and very controversial book about Heaven and Hell – Love Wins. I have taken a week to read the eight chapter book deliberately reading a chapter a day so that I can digest and think about what he is saying rather than rushing through it for the sake of adding my two cents to a very crowded discussion.

I have read all of Rob Bell’s previous books – Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants To Save Christians, and Drops Like Stars. His previous books have been very well written, engaging and challenging. Love Wins starts off in a similar fashion to his previous works in short half-sentences and a thought provoking conversational tone. Chapter’s one through three deal with how you become saved (which is left open) and biblical descriptions of heaven and hell (which is more than gold, fire and brimstone).

The middle two chapters deal with free will, death, and redemption and in these chapters Bell makes some really powerful and interesting points. His particular focus is on the present age and the age that is to come. How in the present we can have “heaven on earth” and “hell on earth” as a direct result of our actions and our approach to life. When talking about the heaven that is to come he makes an interesting point about the gates of heaven never being closed and suggests the possibility of redemption still being available in the age that is to come.

However, my disappointment with Love Wins is the final three chapters. In these chapters Bell deals with how people are rejecting established religion but still finding God, how the condition of the heart matters, what if people never hear the good news, and the idea of a vengeful God. All of these topics are important but Bell’s points seem to be rushed, muddied, and not entirely clear.

The biggest and most controversial of these topics is universalism. While discussing the condition of the heart over following a religious script Bell throws it out there that Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists may be in heaven saying “… that there is only one mountain, but it has many paths.” What grates me about this comment is Bell is making this comment after talking about John 14:6 – “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Writing about this Bell states: “What he [Jesus] doesn’t say is how, or when, or in what matter the mechanism functions that gets people to God through him. He doesn’t even state that those coming to the Father through him will even know that they are coming exclusively through him.” And this is where I begin to have a problem with what Bell is writing.

I will happily agree that the condition of the heart is far more important than following any religious script. I am also happy to believe that we may have a few surprises in heaven; there are plenty of stories in the bible about people’s faith in the unknown God seeing them saved. I will even go as far to leave open the possibility of people of other faiths who in their deepest of hearts believe in God and his redeeming grace and have never had a chance to openly and fully examine the “Christian” story of God will somehow be saved.

However, I do not believe that when someone makes a deliberate choice to reject Jesus as the son of God and instead just see him as a prophet or good teacher that they are still saved because they are a good person. The first commandment is “to have no other Gods” and I cannot see how continuing to serve a different god after hearing about the true God will get you saved.

I can accept wide diversity in the Christian faith, I can accept people have differences in how they express their faith, how they see and practice their relationship with God. However, a rejection of Christ’s virgin birth, sinless life, death on the cross, and resurrection is surely a rejection of “coming to the Father through me.”

Overall Love Wins is a good read; it provokes in typical Rob Bell fashion, however, the muddied last few chapters leave a lot of questions without clear answers of even what Bell thinks about a lot of things. And it is that unknown which has left me so unsatisfied with Love Wins, and as a result there is little wonder it is getting so much controversy.

Finally, I will leave the last word to Bell himself speaking the other day:

Recovering from Grub Rescue after upgrading to Ubuntu 11.04

Over the weekend I upgraded one of my computers to the new beta of Ubuntu. Upon restarting the computer I got dumped into grub-rescue with the message missing-xputs. Part of the cause of this was having Adobe CS3 installed in my dual boot with Windows 7.

When you install Adobe products a little DRM program called FlexNet gets installed into your boot sector which is also where grub resides. When grub is upgraded along with Ubuntu it flicks a warning about the FlexNet being in the sector but then continues to install. However, when you restart grub will not run and will be unable to boot your system into either Ubuntu or Windows.

The following instructions is a result of about five hours of googling, reading forums and talking to other linux geeks. The following commands should take about 15 minutes to complete.

This is how I got my system back:

Warning: I cannot gaurantee this instructions will work on your computer. Please read them all before continuing and take extreme care. I am not responsible if these instructions result in corrupt data or the loss of system functionality.

1. Boot to the LiveCD Desktop (Ubuntu 9.10 or later). Please note that the Live CD must be the same as the system you are fixing – either 32-bit or 64-bit.

2. Open a terminal

3. Determine your normal system partition

sudo fdisk -l

4. Mount your normal system partition:

sudo mount /dev/sdXX /mnt
Example: sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt

5. Mount the critical virtual filesystems:

sudo mount -B /dev /mnt/dev
sudo mount -B /dev/pts /mnt/dev/pts
sudo mount -B /proc /mnt/proc
sudo mount -B /sys /mnt/sys

6. Chroot into your normal system device:

sudo chroot /mnt

7. Attempt to install grub

apt-get install grub-pc grub-common

During install a warning should appear about FlexNet being in one of the sectors. In my case it was sector 51, others have reported it in 32 and elsewhere.

8. Purge grub

apt-get purge grub-pc grub-common

9. Remove the flexnet sector

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=1 seek=X

Where X is the sector number grub-install warned about, in my case 51.

10. Reinstall grub

apt-get install grub-pc grub-common

11. Exit chroot

CTRL-D

12. Unmount

sudo umount /mnt/dev/pts
sudo umount /mnt/dev
sudo umount /mnt/proc
sudo umount /mnt/sys
sudo umount /mnt

13. Reboot

sudo reboot

Further References:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2#Reinstalling%20GRUB%202
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1661254