Michael Leunig is one of my favourite cartoonists. I like his politics, I share much of his philosophy. I was intrigued by some of the things that he said when he was on ABC TV's Enough Rope with Andrew Denton. He felt that he could use the word God because it was a part of a culture, and a word he thought he could own.
Ownership of religious ideas is not new. When a series of books was released in the UK featuring books of the bible with introductions by famous people - Bono, Thor Heyerdal, A N Wilson, etc, some Evangelicals jumped up and down. The response from a liberal Anglican minister involved was that the opponents did not own the bible. Does this mean that Christians don't own God either?
Leunig is right in a sense that Western culture lays claim to the word God, for in this culture this word has been associated with the Judeo-Christian (though often times not enough of the Judeo part), whether agressive Atheists (Atheistic Fundamentalists?) like it or not. Our legal system, ideas of fairness and justice and more than one or two expressions (sometimes profane) are shapped by the book called the bible.
Yet, in emptying the word of any real meaning, I wonder what Leunig is left with. In his book The Prayer Tree, it is all about what nature, and not God dictates. Nature dictates that we have to bring joy and despair together. Prayerfullness if more about survival in the wilderness than church. What is this God he then invokes? Some inner dialogue? A sense of wonder within. Ah, poor sod, he's a romantic displaced in time. Nice cartoons, often bad theology. And the prayers? Something to ponder with a duck under one's arm?
"Let us live in such a way
That when we die
Our love will survive
And continue to grow.
A picture of Christ on the cross. However, Easter recalls his love grows still because he lives still, not just in hearts or prayers but in God's presence.