GWAS Short & Sweet - doom, gloom and Daniel

Assorted satchel things: a tea cup gift, a card for a friend, a trip to the theatre and jelly beans.
"Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous," wrote English novelist and journalist Mary Anne Evans (aka George Eliot) in Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life (critically appraised as one of the greatest novels in the English language). How true – to outsmart the Lord, it would seem, is a sure way to shoot yourself in the foot. 

And so, despite the doomsday reports, here we are. "The Bigger the Ego, the Harder the Fall", read the headline above The Sydney Morning Herald's report on the disgraced Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund and man of many indiscretions, over the weekend. And there's a lesson in that for prophets of doom like Harold Camping – whom I have sympathy for, because if we can't believe in our own convictions, what do we have? – and still more for us all.

The Tree of Life, the Sean Penn/Brad Pitt film directed by Terence Malick and booed by audiences but embraced by select critics, who are variously calling it a masterpiece and pretentiously indulgent, has been the talk of Cannes, but so too comments by director Lars von Trier ("I get Hitler"), who directed Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg in Melancholia. Men are quite capable of self-destructing in their own personal tales of rapture.

In TIME magazine's cover story, "Sex, Lies, Arrogance: What Makes Powerful Men Behave So Badly?" Nancy Gibbs writes, "Maybe it was pride that inspired French politicians and International Monetary Fund officials to look the other way as the rumors about "DSK" piled up, from the young journalist who says Strauss-Kahn tried to rip off her clothes when she went to interview him, to the female lawmaker who describes being groped and pawed and vowed never to be in a room alone with him again, to the economist who argued in a letter to IMF investigators that "I fear that this man has a problem that, perhaps, made him unfit to lead an institution where women work under his command." Maybe it was the moral laziness and social coziness that impel elites to protect their own. Maybe it was a belief that he alone could save the global economy. Maybe nothing short of jail is disqualifying for certain men in certain circles."

I might add that without God, man will try to create in himself an unstoppable deity to whom he is accountable to no one, reliant on his own limited resources and whose actions have no eternal repercussions.   

In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which features a Christian missionary named Philip, Penelope Cruz as a former lady of the convent and a message of the "eternal hope found in God", it's the devout and honourable leader of the Spanish fleet who exalts the Lord's status as the ultimate decision maker as a battle is waged amongst the pagan pirates over the Fountain of Youth. 

"God is wise and powerful, Praise him for ever and ever!" said Daniel, a true prophet blessed with the gift of interpreting dreams and visions, as well as skill in literature and philosophy, who survived the night in the lion's den. "He controls the times and the seasons; he makes and unmakes kings; it is he who gives wisdom and understanding." And in this same book, King Nebuchadnezzar declares, "And now, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, honour, and glorify the King of Heaven. Everything he does is right and just, and he can humble anyone who acts proudly." 

Girl With a Satchel