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Archive for August 6th, 2008

In memoriam: Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

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Hiroshima mother and child

Hiroshima mother and child

August 6, 1945


Tags: , , , , , Monte Asbury

Written by Monte

August 6, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Posted in History, Terrorism

A little hope (Pagan Abraham, part 2)

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Milky Way in summer/Jens Hackman


Last week, I opened with these words. See if they mean something a little different to you now: “[God] brought [Abram] outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.”

Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Genesis 15 NRSV

Rich Mullins sang: “Sometime I think of Abraham – how one star he saw was there for me. He was a stranger in that land; and I am that, no less than he.”  A star for me?

And we climbed Sumerian temple steps and glimpsed the worship there. Then we went around the world, and saw that 4,000 year old religions on every continent labored to please fertility gods patterned after sun and moon. That was Abram’s world.

In 2005, I realized a personal connection to all this. Lucas [my son] and I were in England, and we went to a little village called Avebury. We had heard it was like Stonehenge but not fenced-off, and older. So we took a train and a bus, and were dropped off beside a field like the one you see at the right.

Our first glimpse

Our first glimpse of Avebury stones

Lucas climbs out of Avebury's massive trench

At first we saw these stones – and a couple other small ones, and were disappointed. But somehow we got the hunch something bigger was happening, crossed the highway, and began to see more, and then came upon this:

Turned out the little thatched – roof village of Avebury adjoined a giant curve of stones bordered by this immense smooth ditch, maybe 25 feet deep. You can just see Lucas on the far slope.  The ditch was originally much deeper – perhaps 200,000 tons of chalk were dug with antler picks and oxbone shovels, and hauled away.

And then we realized that we were on the edge of a huge stone circle, nearly half a mile across.

Turns out it is the largest stone circle in the world. Some of the stones weighed as much as 40 tons.

No one knows who put these stones here or how they moved them. But we know a few things: there are gates lined up on the points of the compass, there is some sexual symbolism, and we know when: they were put up about the same time as the Sumerians began to build temples for the same purpose. In fact, they were probably built within a few hundred years of Abram’s birth in Sumerian city of Ur.

Avebury: The world's largest stone circle

As far as we know, all of us had ancestors who worshiped fertility gods. Just a few miles from these stones is a village called Ashbury. Perhaps my ancestors worshiped here. It is our world, too.

Last week, I ended with these words: “Why does Abram go journeying with this strange new God? Perhaps its because he’s heard a voice that’s so different, so attractive. Think of it: Unlike the unknowable gods, this God has pursued him. Unlike the gods who see humans as their slaves, this God cares about Abram. Unlike the gods of the endless wheel of life, this God offers Abram a future. Unlike the gods whose rages are only contained by ritual sex and murder, this God invites Abram to become his friend. Unlike the gods that care nothing about human life, this God promises to bless all peoples everywhere through Abram.

Get the context, then: What would you say is God doing with Abram? Read the rest of this entry »