I love those meetings, and I love these people! Amongst other things that evening, we each had to give a word that summed up our 2008. Cheesy and predictable I know, as well as notoriously hard if you want to be objective!
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
I love those meetings, and I love these people! Amongst other things that evening, we each had to give a word that summed up our 2008. Cheesy and predictable I know, as well as notoriously hard if you want to be objective!
Sunday, 28 December 2008
Saturday, 27 December 2008
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
The Pope on Gender Theory (6:52)
I wince when I hear the Pope being referred to as Holy Father. That said, I have to hand it to her, Joanna pulls no punches and is more blunt (in a good way) than I probably would have been had I been in the same position!
They also interviewed Richard Dawkins (a very famous atheist) on what he does for Christmas. But they don't seem to have posted that interview there! :-(
Saturday, 20 December 2008
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
She is a top little sister and has been an encouragement to me in many ways. Here are three of them:
1. She is a faithful member of our cell group.
2. She is displaying what it means to have Jesus be Lord of every part of her life, even when it hurts (a lot).
3. She made a comment on Facebook that she had "got church tonight." All she was doing was meeting with others in someone's house to worship God, study the bible and pray, not a meeting in an official building or anything. No smells or bells or robes or strobes (the last one I guess you'd find in some trendy relevent church, no doubt). She knows what church is really about! Not style, form or ritual, but real substance - lives united together to Jesus, transformed by his mercy and love and waiting in hope for his soon return!
It ain't any more complicated than that! :-)
Monday, 15 December 2008
Last week I had the privilege of preaching at RUCU's main weekly meeting. As I did some of the preparation for it, I came across this. It is magnificent; the testimony of Lisa Beamer, who on 11th September 2001 lost her husband and the father of her 2 (+ 1 on the way) children in the plane that was kamakazied by Islamic extremists into the Pentagon. I found myself welling up! And yet curiously strengthened by her testimony, in a way that only God the Holy Spirit can do.
Here she is being interviewed by Larry King on national American TV. I haven't embeded it since it is in two parts and you can find the second half here (14mins in total). Other videos are in the side menu are of interest too.
Oh... and the text I was preparing to preach on at the time was this.
Sunday, 14 December 2008
Makes me realise sometimes how flatly I read my Bible and how great truths fly past me without me noticing them!
Saturday, 13 December 2008
Monday, 8 December 2008
This is probably my most politically incorrect post to date.
I think this would be a terror to an unconverted soul—to think he is a burden to the creation. 'Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' (Luke 13:7). If inanimate creatures could but speak, your food would say, 'Lord, must I nourish such a wretch as this, and yield forth my strength for him, to dishonor You? No, I will choke him rather, if You will give commission.' The very air would say, 'Lord, must I give this man breath, to set his tongue against heaven, and scorn Your people, and vent his pride and wrath, and filthy talk, and belch out oaths and blasphemy against You? No, if You will but say the word, he shall be breathless for me.' His poor beast would say, 'Lord, must I carry him upon his wicked designs? No, I will break his bones, I will end his days—if I may have but permission from You.' A wicked man—the earth groans under him, and hell groans for him—until death satisfies both. While the Lord of hosts is against you, be sure the host of the Lord is against you, and all the creatures as it were up in arms until, upon a man's conversion, the controversy being settled between God and him, He makes a covenant of peace with the creature for him (Job 5:22-24; Hos 2:18-20)
Saturday, 6 December 2008
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Sunday, 30 November 2008
This seems to be the pivotal phrase in his writing on election and double predestination: Jesus Christ is the electing God and He is also the elected Man.
Friday, 28 November 2008
Now if you know me, hearing me saying that I got excited about this quote may sound a little strange as I have no sons of my own. I'm not even married. You might expect me to have a good old rant (privately if not in public) at the fact that single people often feel like they are the relational lepers of life, cut off from the highs and lows that are the relational adventures of marriage and family life, and instead being doomed to live in a world of gazing at their own navels. But I won't, not because I am hiding that reaction from you, but because I genuinely did not feel that way when I read it.
You see when God created the world, he intended that earthly families be a picture of his new spiritual family. Membership of this family is not dependent on your life circumstances or relative successes, but on God's open invitation of mercy to the whole world. When it works as it should; the love, tenderness, sacrifice and intimacy expressed in earthly families mirrors that which should be best demonstrated in the new family of God - the church.
So whilst I am not a father in the legal sense, I can be a father figure in a small part to many a young lad, both in the church family and beyond; through prayer, biblical instruction and practical life wisdom.
I can, (and I have a duty to) help cradle, nurture and initiate boys and young men into being real men, and better still, into being zealous and enduring disciples of Jesus.
This is especially poignant for me given that I work in a boys' school and only this morning had a boy tell me that he didn't know who his real dad was. He had never met him. My heart went out this little lad. He is by no means exceptional in our generation.
John expresses this vision for enduring godly men cradling and initiating the next (spiritual) generation a lot better than Sam, Stephen and I do.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
The Bible tells me that, it does it in too many ways to count, but I am blind to most of them. The following I have seen, but only because God in his mercy has opened my eyes to see it in the pages of the Bible, not because I was astute enough, or even inclined enough to figure it out for myself from scratch.
Dear blog-junkie. before I continue, you must tell me if I push the analogy too far. There's seeing the fullness of something and there's looking for something that is not there. No comments, assumes that you totally agree, and are impressed ;o) with everything I have said. Otherwise, please question or challenge.
Genesis 1:14 tells me that the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, created the sun to be a sign. A signpost of what? The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If the second post in this series is right then when Psalm 19:1-6 talks about the heavens declaring the Glory of God, they aren't declaring some abstract philosophical notion of perfection, but the nature and work of the Son of God - Jesus Christ.
The sun gives everything in this world light to see by and heat to live by. The sun is the source of all biological life and physical processes on the earth. Jesus is the source of all life in the universe.
The sun holds the earth in orbit around itself, not bringing the earth so close that it should burn up, nor letting it spin off into space becoming a frozen wasteland. Jesus holds the universe together,
The earth turns away from the sun and is plunged into the darkness of night. Jesus never turns his face away from us, but we in our rebellion against him, turned to the darkness.
(N.B. I was going to say that technological advance with the invention of mass electrical lighting, whilst not wrong in itself, has obscured the vividness of some of these parallels. But actually it continues the metaphor well. Humans in the darkness of their own rebellion create their own little lights to live by, but these little physical lights are nothing, they have no real light in them - nothing of God's life-giving, life-sustaining light.)
From the vantage point of the human eye, the sun is "buried," in that goes into the ground at dusk - a metaphor of the crucifuxion, death and burial of Jesus. At dawn, the sun is "resurrected" from the ground. Jesus was raised to life and now offers life to the world. I do not believe that Jesus' resurrection happening at dawn was any coincidence at all.
In the daylight of the sun we are active, - alive. At night we are asleep - a metaphor of disorder and death. With the dawning of morning, the world rises with the sun from its death-like sleep to life. So too, all those who are united to Christ through the Spirit of God will rise with Jesus to eternal life.
What an awesome saviour!
A dare to me and you. Next time you are out walking with someone, pause, look up into the sky and tell them that God created the sun to be a symbol of his own dear Son, Jesus, through whom we all can have true light and life in this world and the next.
Finally, two videos to illustrate:
1. A picture of the consequence of human rebellion against Jesus, his subsequent crucifixion and and rebellious human beings finally being cast away from God's presence for ever.
2. A picture of Jesus' birth, resurrection from the dead and second coming:
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
:: One's possessions/prosperity
:: The excellence or inherent goodness of something/someone
:: The shining out (or demonstration) of that excellence
:: The acts of God in the universe and in the lives of people
:: The act of praise
But there is also another meaning...
If you run a Bible search on the phrase "the glory of the Lord" or "the glory of the God of Israel" you will notice something curious about the references they throw up. Namely that these two terms often refer (perhaps even exclusively), not to some weird super-duper deluxe light bulb that comes down from Heaven, but to a person. See especially Ezekiel 3:23 and 43:2. That person, is Jesus Christ. This is even clearer in the New Testament in places like Hebrews 1:3.
The giant Puritan thinker Jonathan Edwards assumes that the glory of the Lord refers to Jesus here (see second paragraph) when he gives his summary of how the Bible defines the word glory. (I pinched from him for my first paragraph.)
So when the Bible says in Romans 1 that the human race... exchanged the Glory of the Immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, animals and reptiles, this is not the rejection of some abstract New Age divine light from Heaven but the flat rejection of and rebellion against Jesus Christ.
It is for this reason that the whole world stands condemned and knows it (even if they suppress that knowledge) and thus in need of the mercy of God. We have not rebelled against "some benevolent, wise, powerful, detached-from-the-universe being – the construct of Western philosophy…" Intelligent Design type God. Rather, we have specifically scorned and rejected Jesus Christ.
So the person who asks: How can God justly condemn those who have never heard the gospel? is asking the wrong question. Moreover, Christians like me get all emotionally twisted up in knots over this question because we ourselves, still don't see things as clearly as Paul did. God help me. God help us! I humbly (and admittedly tentatively because I'm no giant like Edwards was) put it to you that the question we should be asking is not How can God justly condemn those who have never heard the gospel? but rather How can human beings be so dumb and rebellious that we cannot see the clear message of creation as it declares/sings/shouts to us about the death, resurrection and lordship of Jesus Christ? The question is not: What is wrong with God? but rather What is wrong with us?
PS I don't like cheesy pictures like the one above that make the Son of Man out to be some Arian superman and yet it is helpful in trying to ground these thoughts in something more concrete. After all what did Daniel see, if it wasn't some thing like this in Daniel 7:13? Maybe it's like what Ezekiel saw too...
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Thursday, 6 November 2008
If you took a poll and asked Christians (including me) what they thought creation said about God, I bet you most of them would say that creation points to a general wise and all powerful intelligent designer, but if you were to press them on whether it points specifically to the Son of God, and his rightful rule over the universe, they would probably say I can’t see that. Most Christians, if they are honest, in saying what they see, would have to rewrite the line of the hymn and sing: “Some benevolent, wise, powerful, detached-from-the-universe being – the construct of Western philosophy…” is Lord, creation’s voice proclaims it, which is quite a mouthful to sing in the original 12 musical beats!!
Moreover, if you asked a Hindu what they thought creation said about the Divine being, I bet they would say that it says there are many gods, the Muslims; one god and atheists would be emphatic that it proclaims there is NO god!
In short, human beings, the world over, have suppressed the truth about God, which has been displayed in creation, and instead projected onto creation their own beliefs about God. We see in the creation what we want to see about God. What’s more is that we Christians also, myself included, still have trouble seeing the message that the Bible says Creation declares so clearly.
I know that the Bible is true, so when it tells me that God’s …invisible qualities such as his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen since the creation of the world in the things that have been made. So they [all human beings everywhere] are without excuse, then if I don’t see those things, there is something wrong with me.
I need the help of the Holy Spirit to see what he meant when he inspired that bit of the Bible, rather than lower the Bible to my sin-polluted, truth-suppressing and depressing level of experience…
Saturday, 1 November 2008
“If reading the Bible doesn’t lead you to awe, reverence and praise, then something is wrong!”
“It’s often easier to pray for each other than to praise God, because praying for each other falls well within the bounds of our everyday experience… God doesn’t.”
Why use the Bible to help you praise God in all of life?
1. Because through the death and resurrection of Jesus, you and I now have access to quality time with the whole Trinity, getting to know them (Ephesians 2:17-19). It doesn’t get any better than this.
2. Because whilst access to God is now open, it doesn’t mean that we can approach him in any old willy-nilly fashion (Psalm 2:11). The Bible shows us how to relate to him appropriately.
3. Because, as humans under the curse of the Fall:
i. Praising God doesn’t come naturally, we needs the Spirit’s help (1 Corinthians 12:3)
ii. We are not immune from being duped by wrong ideas about God formed in our own sin-polluted imaginations. (Isaiah 65:2)
iii. Even when we believe true things about God, we can quickly end up allowing the part to overtake the whole: e.g. only praising God for his love and never praising him for his justice in punishing sin. He should be praised for both, (see Luke 10:21).
Because in the Bible, God has given us everything we need to:
1. Nourish our minds with truth
2. Convict and strengthen our hearts with grace.
3. Inspire our imagination for good works and what it will be like when we meet him
How to use the Bible to help you praise God in all of life
:: By reading/hearing -> meditating on -> paraphrasing -> memorising -> internalising scripture. (Warning, this could lead to a Psalm 119:62 moment! ;o)
:: By declaring scripture back to God, reminding yourself, and him of what he has declared and promised.
Try saying these verses in your own words:
Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
How many are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
The earth is full of your creatures.
Some verses (not an exhaustive list) to inspire you to praise and thank the One God who is Father, the Son and Holy Spirit for:
(Categories (and many scripture refs) taken in large part from: Wayne Grudem’s book Systematic Theology, and Piper’s book The Pleasures of God)
A. Who they are.
1. How they are not like us
(Their incommunicable attributes – nothing in our experience is similar)
:: Have no constraints: Ex. 3:14, Rom. 11:35-36
:: Unchangeable: Ps. 102:25-27
:: Eternal: Ps. 90:2, Rev. 1:8
:: All-knowing: 1 John 3:20
:: All-seeing: Jer. 23:23-24
:: All-mighty: Isa. 46:9-10, Jer. 32:17
:: Unity in diversity: Ex. 34:6-7
:: Invisible: 1 Tim. 6:16
2. How they are like us
(Their communicable attributes – elements of our experience are similar)
:: Wisdom: Job 9:4
:: Truthful: Jer. 10:10-11
:: Faithful: Ps. 141:6
:: Goodness/Kindness: Rom. 8:32
:: Love: 1 John 4:8
:: Merciful/Gracious: Ps. 103:8
:: Patience: Rom. 2:4
:: Holy: Isa. 6:3
:: Peaceful (in the sense of not disordered): Rom. 15:33
:: Righteous and Just: Deut 32:4
:: Jealous: Isa. 48:11
:: Wrath: Rev. 19:1-4
:: Their will/desire: Eph. 1:11
:: Freedom: Ps. 115:3
:: Perfection (Completeness): Matt 5:48
:: Blessedness (happiness): 1 Tim. 1:11
:: Beauty: Ps. 27:4
:: Glory: Ps. 24:10, John 17:5
B. What they have done/do/will do.
1. …in “big-picture” history
:: Creation: Job 38:4-7
:: Keeping the universe in motion: Heb. 1:3
:: Hiding themselves from the so-called wise and revealing themselves to the simple: Luke 10:21
:: Standing up for the weak: Ps. 68:4-6
:: Redemption: Titus 2:11-14
:: Judgment: Acts 17:30-31
2. …specifically for you
:: For you to fill in if/when God has given/gives you scriptures for particular situations in your life.
Friday, 31 October 2008
I wanted to write to you today to encourage you and thank you.
For the past eighteen months a fierce battle has been raging in Parliament over abortion. The pro-choice lobby has been vocal and very active and the attempts to liberalize abortion, resulting in abortion on request up to 24 weeks, nurses able to perform abortions, GP surgery abortion with completion at home the norm, and the extension of the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland looked like succeeding. There was even an amendment proposing prison sentences of up to two years for pro-life pregnancy crisis counselors found guilty of ‘misleading advertising’.
However, Jesus is Lord and it is He and not the politicians or the political commentators who sets the agenda. Last week saw an amazing series of events which resulted in a restriction of time being allowed for debate and so there was no debate about abortion. The attempts to make abortion inconsequential have failed!
There is no doubt that the two million postcards sent to MPs played a huge part in this. So thank you all for your prayers and faithfulness. It is easy to be cynical about the political process and think that we cannot make a difference. This great victory against all the odds testifies to the opposite.
What a great God we serve He is the ruler of kings on earth (Rev 1:5) and will be called King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16).
Thank you again May you all know God’s richest blessings as you faithfully serve Him caring for women and their families.
With warm wishes
Monday, 27 October 2008
Tell me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Holy Spirit meant Coca-Cola when he inspired Isaiah 52:7
Coca-Cola have an official mission statement, a very laudable one in many ways! However, at the end of the day, it boils down (is that a mixing of metaphors or just a few too many?) to getting a coke within the reach of every living person on the planet.
Saturday, 25 October 2008
- Is the first vowel sound made up from "oo" or "u" or even the more outlandish and Continental "oux"?
- Does it have a silent h after the r like rhyme and rhythm or not?
- Is there a difference in the American (roominate?) and English (rhumineight?) spelling, and which one did Richard go for?
Monday, 20 October 2008
And then say this:
Friday, 17 October 2008
For those of you who weren’t at cell tonight we considered (amongst many other things) the bit in James 5:17 about Elijah being held up as the example of persevering and believing prayer. He prayed that it would not rain and it didn’t... for three years.
Have you ever wondered about the context of that prayer? Doesn’t it seem odd to you? I mean think about it, when was the last time you attended a prayer meeting in which you all prayed for God to send famine and drought upon the whole of Britain? But this is the kind of prayer that Elijah was praying. James holds this up as an example of the expectant prayer of faith that pleases God! Should we follow, and if so, how?
The context was that the nation of Israel was deeply set in idolatry of Baal. Baal was a fertility god who was supposed to bring crops and abundant harvests. Huge swathes of the population were steeped in Baal worship and had forsaken the Living God. In this context, Elijah prays to God that God would withhold the rain from the nation so that the people would realise that Baal was no god at all and return to the LORD. Elijah didn’t ask God to mollycoddle them or to tell them how much he loved them, he prayed for the nation to suffer so that they would be brought to their knees, snapped out of their rebellious idolatry and deluded thinking, realise they had been worshipping false gods and so return to the living God of Israel!
The whole thing ends with a big contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, (see 1 Kings 17-18), and of course the true God of Israel wins.
Three reasons immediately spring to mind for me as to why Elijah prayed this prayer and not one of abundant blessing:
1. Elijah knew that God created a moral universe where there are blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. This covenant nation of Israel had walked away from God’s laws, it did not deserve blessing or mollycoddling, it deserved judgement. In the same way that a parent would pray for a wayward son to turn from his evil ways by spending time in prison having received the due penalty for his crime; Elijah prayed that through the just affliction of a national drought, Israel would see sense and return to the LORD.
2. Elijah desired that the hearts of the people repent and return to God. See the parallel in Luke 1:17 between Elijah and John the Baptist. Out of that deep love of God and and concern for the eternal welfare of the people, he prayed whatever it took to get them to a safe place, i.e. Saved even if the route that got them there was painful!
3. Elijah knew just how full the people were of pride and delusion in their idolatry, and that it would take them not just 1, but 3 years of famine to get to the point where they knew they needed a Messiah, not Baal. What and how long would it take us, if at all I wonder?
My question is do you ever dare to pray like that? That God would bring our nation to its knees so that it might see its need for mercy from Him? What would that look like?
- Would you pray for our economy to collapse so that people would realise that material possessions are no god like the God of the Bible?
- Would you pray for the schools to self-destruct through pupil violence so that people would realise that a “good education” is no god like the God of the Bible?
- Would you pray for celebrities to suffer many and varied tragedies so that people would realise that fame is no god like the God of the Bible?
- Would you pray for people to start contracting all kinds of diseases so that they would realise that surgery and medicine are no God like the God of the Bible?
- Would you pray for or nation to be successfully invaded by a foreign power so that people would realise that our military might is no god like the God of the Bible?
- Would you pray for the nation to descend into anarchy through crime and political apathy so that people would realise that liberal democracy is no god like the God of the Bible?
How long would you be prepared to pray these kinds of prayers for? 2secs? 2mins? 2hrs? 2 weeks? 2yrs?
Of course some will rebuke me with Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles: Jer 29 esp. v7, but the fact remains that James uses Elijah as his example, not Jeremiah or even Moses who had some pretty incredible moments of prayer! Whilst we need to get everything in balance, I submit this to you and ask you not just to ignore it, but to consider it as you pray for our nation.
Don’t shy away from daring to pray that our nation is brought to it’s knees, not because you despise her, but because you love her and want to see her turn honestly to the only God, Jesus Christ who can do her any good, both in this life and the next.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
What follows are two feel good videos, that help me begin to get my head around how God the Son - the Head of Creation, the master craftsman and carpenter, diligently went about the first of his works at the dawn of time under the (architectural) authority of God the Father and in the power (and inspiration?) of God the Spirit.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Controversially, it seems that we as a race have arrived in evolutionary Heaven, or at least, things won't be getting any better without some conscious intervention from an intelligent source!!
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Next time you see me, ask me how I am getting on at this and test me, I need all the help and provocation I can get!
Thursday, 2 October 2008
I stumbled across a note I wrote in my filofax when listening to him back then:
"Heart is like a musical instrument, bump it and it goes all out of tune."
We have a piano in our house. Unlike the quote above, she* has not been moved, and has still gone badly out of tune! :-(
If my life is to be like beautiful music to my creator and redeemer, Jesus Christ, and if it is to be a benefit to others, then guarding my heart from the evil desires that live within me and seek to bash it about is of paramount importance.
I may not be able to have any control on things going on around me in the world, but with God's help, I will learn to master my internal world and be a wellspring of life to all those to whom God has given me.
*Should any feminists be reading, I make no apologies for the use of what you might call patronising patriarchal personification ;-)
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Whilst I'm no eco-warrior-tree-hugging-protesting-by-handcuffing-myself-to-a-bulldozer kind of guy, Jesus' and Paul's words are making me think long and hard on the subject.
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Friday, 26 September 2008
The desire to save a couple of pounds cost him his life.
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Last week a kid looked at me like I was from the middle ages when I told him I used to load up games on a computer using a tape recorder.
As the video shows, technology is changing the way that we think and function, we are able to transcend the limits of our bodies and influence life all across the world for good or evil depending on what we want to achieve. It's also jostling around the global pecking order. If I'm honest, I'm not entirely sure whether to be excited or wary about some of these stats, but I know that God is in control and whatever predictions futurologists make about the world of 2020, his intentions for human history will be the ones that stand at the end of everything when his Son, Jesus, returns. So I can entrust myself to a faithful creator and continue to do what is good.
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Saul, one of the main figures in the chapter, frightens me. Why? Because I see more of him in myself than I would like.
Saul leads the Israelites into disobeying a command of God. This is bad enough, but he then goes a hypocritical step further and dresses his disobedience up as obedience and worship!
When he is finally exposed as a liar, his true motive comes out: he wanted to please the people more than please God. God's verdict is that he is no longer fit to be God's king over God's people.
Passages like this bring me up short. How often have I disobeyed the simple commands of God, even going to the point of deceiving myself that I am doing Him a favour. And all I am really doing is pursuing my own ends, namely that I want to be approved by certain people more than approved by God. Man, how I need help! More often than I care to admit!
Thank you Jesus that you are a perfect king over all. Thank you for mercy to fools like me! Please help me to desire your approval more than anyone else's. Amen. PS God, I know the answer to that prayer is going to hurt, but I believe in faith it will be worth it!
Sunday, 21 September 2008
In a week which has lamentably seen the resignation of Michael Reiss as Director of Education for the Royal Society, I have found myself thinking again about the whole creation vs. evolution thing and what the implications are. In my quest for material to help me ruminate, I found a presentation by a guy called Joe Boot, made at the European Leadership Forum. His talk, entitled The Battle for the Beginning – the creation foundation of Biblical apologetics, (audio file here, outline here), is a provocative one.
- That evolution was not Darwin's invention and is a system of thought that is as old as the Tower of Babel. Boot recommended this book on the subject.
- That (controversially) the first 11 chapters of Genesis must be read as literal and that Jesus himself would assert this (albeit implicitly rather than explicitly).
Friday, 19 September 2008
Monday, 15 September 2008
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Therefore, (addressing the trusted friends who have known about this since just after it's inception), should you wish to mention it to anyone or to blog-roll me, then feel free!
Thursday, 11 September 2008
I won't bore you with any more stats, but when I investigated the figures further, I found that what put us significantly behind nearly every other subject was the fact that we had opted to do a final writing exam rather than coursework.
I took that decision on the basis of what I thought (and still think) were sound educational principles, the two main ones being that: 1) It kicks into touch any possibility of me being tempted to give my students a "more generous level of support" than I should (in case you weren't sure, that's another way of saying cheating) and 2) It makes the students better linguists because they have to have more of their whits about them and a more masterful grasp of the language learnt because on exam day it's "do or die." No chance for a second draft!
Of course there are counter arguments like: 1) When everyone else is doing coursework, I am making my students look unfairly poor against the rest. 2) The average employer neither knows nor cares about my educational ideology; so long as the grades look good, the details behind the grades aren't important. In the light of the arguments above, the first of these two arguments makes me feel guilty, the second, plain frustrated.
So will I eat my words and go back to coursework? Time (and senior management) will soon tell, but I hope not, and here's why: Life is ultimately about a big day of reckoning before the King of the Universe. Any little rehearsals we get along the way like exams and Performance Management Reviews that help us feel, in a small way, the weight of that great account giving of ourselves on Judgement Day, then so much the better. It is to that day that I want everything in my life to point, not just when I preach on a Sunday, but also when I teach on a Monday.
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
It was never going to be the end of the world today.
Sunday, 7 September 2008
Thursday, 4 September 2008
Anyway, that's not the point of this rumination. The rumination is this. Science defines life as consciousness - being awake and having the capacity to respond to your surroundings. However, Jesus said that real life is not about consciousness but about having a friendship with him and God the Father.
If that is true then, I fight for life everyday, because everyday I have to choose to spend time cultivating friendship with the Living God. It doesn't happen naturally. Everything in me wants to serve sin - my own selfish desires. Those desires must be fought and fought not just today, but day after day after day after day after day... Victory in self-discipline today is no assurance of victory tomorrow (although it does help).
Even if I manage to set the time aside, I still have to make sure I listen and talk to him and not just let my mind wander off into oceans of worry or banality. That's hard, especially in a week when I am beginning the slow process of rewriting all the files from my stolen laptop.
So how is your fight for life going? Are you solid as a rock or as a bowl of jelly? As we fight for life, let us encourage our hearts together in this, that God is the rewarder of those who seek him.