Saturday, 30 October 2010

If You Have Strong Views On Halloween, Read This - Not What You Think

James B Jordan gives a different slant on Halloween. One that challenges the die-hard anti-Halloween-ist Christians and the die-hard let's-all-join-in-Halloween-to-win-our-non-Christian-friends-ists to think again!

Have a look and see what you think.

Friday, 29 October 2010

On Being Salt

Last night at our church prayer meeting, someone read out Jesus' words about his people being salt and light in the world. A great word for such a time as this. But (for those who couldn't be there) what does it mean to be salt?

Here is a filled-out, tidied up and slightly more pondered version of what I said following that reading:

If we impose our 21st century Western perspective with it's mass refrigeration and overconsumption lifestyle onto the text, we will misunderstand what Jesus says.

Jesus isn't merely saying that "Christians should make life taste good," although they should. Nor is he saying that the world should have Christians in moderation as part of a balanced ecosystem along with all other world views. So what is he saying?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Better Handling the Word of Truth?

One of the fruits of walking through the Bible in a year with others and talking about it with them is that it has made me re-examine my approach to doctrine. I have an emerging rule of thumb. (New to me, although the Apostle Paul would probably say: Richard, what took you so long?)

It goes like this.  Take the two controversial old chestnuts of "election" and "Baptism of the Spirit." Most of us, including me, spend our time wheeling out a hotch-potch of philosophical arguments and New Testament texts when we "discuss" these things.

Following Paul, and his commendation of the Bereans, (remember when it says "Scriptures" here it means the Old Testament as the New has not been completed and collated yet), I'm beginning to think there's a better way to approach it.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Are You a Social Bumpkin? aka Is Cleanliness Next to Godliness?

Lawrence James, in his history of the Middle Class, contrasts the aspiring gentleman with the bumpkin.  See how you measure up...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Are You A Cultural Bumpkin?

Metro Man
This morning (being the first day of the half term holiday) I went to a large Scandinavian Furniture Retailer, based in Southampton with one of my housemates to buy a flatpack wardrobe. It was an eventful trip including 1) dinging a Redibus Minibus (nothing serious, but very annoying and somewhat disconcerting), 2) eating my first McDonald's meal in about 3yrs, 3) seeing rats foraging in the bushes and 4) talking loudly in a lift in the hope of trying to create a comedy moment in the humdrum of life. (Unfortunately, the glum clients of the aforementioned store would have none of it! I was shocked.)

The highlight was having Jackanory time in the car. I drove, Sam read. My interest in theology and Sam's interest in ancient history (he did a degree in it) meant that today's choice was "The Breeze of the Centuries"

Reeves opens his book with the help of C. S. Lewis, homing in on a very common species in our time: the cultural bumpkin.

Whether deliberately accomplished or not, if you or I have no sense of our place in the world or our place in history, then however cool we may look, (like Metro Man above) we'll be cultural bumpkins. Reeves elucidates...

Matthew One Echoes Genesis One

In Genesis 1, the earth is formless, void and covered in darkness, and the Spirit of God waits for God to speak forth light before he brings the dark turmoil to order...

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Lob a Grenade at the False gods Remaining in Your Heart

Three sermons from the great Mike Reeves on the love of God.

Before you click away from this blog, thinking, I know the love of God, John 3:16, blah blah blah... think again.  Our understanding of the love of God is still so riddled with our own fallen and self-righteous assumptions, such that we cast God as he is not. I lovingly provoke you to find 110 mins over the next couple of weeks to hear what Mike has to say and throw a grenade at the false gods in your heart and then another at the lies holding your mind hostage.

If these sermons are not helpful, I will personally come and clean your house for 110mins, to make up for the time you lost. (I'm that confident!!)

Thanks to Dave Bish for posting them so quickly!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

What Does a Garment of Righteousness Look Like?

This is a thinking out loud post - so please don't kill me just yet, if I utter what you consider to be dodgy things. Please do question, criticise, etc.

This may seem, at best, like an indulgent question and at worst an irrelevant one, along with "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" The answer to which (if there is one) won't help me when I walk into the office at 9am tomorrow morning or drag the kids screaming round the supermarket. But maybe that's because (as a result of the Fall) we're more interested in the enjoyment of the gifts (Gimme what works for me) than the esteem of the Giver (I love you Lord)...

Saturday, 9 October 2010

From Cultural Revolution to Collective Amnesia

The Telegraph has flagged up a study showing (no surprise here) that Christianity is no more than a faded memory in the minds of the vast majority of young people.

"For the majority, religion and spirituality was irrelevant for day-to-day living,” she said. “On the rare occasions when a religious perspective was required, for example coping with family illnesses or bereavements, they often ‘made do’ with a very faded, inherited cultural memory of Christianity in the absence of anything else."

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Your Possessions Tell Tales On You

In the video below, Tim Jackson talks about the madness of a system; an economic system, where we spend money we don't have on things we don't need to make impressions that don't last on people we don't care about.

What The Bible Is Basically About

Whilst trawling youtube for a video to help introduce my year 8 RE class to what the Bible is about, I came across Tim Keller talking in the video embedded below (amongst others).

Monday, 4 October 2010

Having The Same Attitude As Christ Jesus - There's More To It Than Met My Eye

Last week in Lifegroup, I had some lights go on in that I made a connection that I'd hitherto never made before. You may, when you read it, think: Weren't you listening to the sermon, Walker? (In our mid-week groups we discuss the sermon from Sunday.) All I can say is that my eyes were opened a little wider on that Thursday evening to the vistas of God's glorious eternal work in Christ. I hadn't seen it until then.

It was the link between John 13:3"Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;" and Philippians 2:5"Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus."

Saturday, 2 October 2010

What Do We Have Here?

Not long ago I received this email:

Bible Reading as Seed Planting

If you've ever completed a cover to cover bible-in-a-year reading plan, then today is a big day. It's when you finally, like pregnancy (after 9 months of waiting), reach the end of the Old Testament.

But let's be honest, unless you've been to Bible College for a gap year, or have a degree in theology or you're the booky type who doesn't get out much, then much if not most of what you find in the Old Testament is pretty difficult to penetrate, so why bother sticking with it?