Friday, 28 December 2012

The Mystery of Sin

Found here
What do you and I marvel at?

Acts of (miraculous) power, but Jesus is different. He never said, Did you see what I just did? [healing a sick person] Wasn't that like... totally awesome-super-hardcore-amazing? So here's a question...

What did Jesus marvel at?

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Come Though Long Expected Jesus.

A video we showed on Christmas day - fast forwarding through thousands of years of anticipation of Christ.

Like it? Please buy it here

How N. T. Wright "Ruined" Jesus Films

Peter Leithart tells of how N. T. Wright ruined his enjoyment of "Jesus" films:
Several years ago, when The Passion of the Christ was making headlines, I realized that N. T. Wright has spoiled every Jesus film. Once you’ve read Wright, you realize that none of the movies get Jesus right. Pharisees and scribes are reduced stock villains with caricatured Jewish features. Pilate has to make an appearance, and Herod, but we are given no sense that first-century Israel was the powder keg that it actually was.

No film ever gives us what Wright says we should be looking for: a “crucifiable” Jesus, a Jesus who does something so provocative to make the Jews murderously hostile. In the movies, Jesus is a hippy peace-child, a delicate flower of a man, a dew-eyed first-century Jewish Gandhi. Why would anyone want to hurt Him? Maybe because He’s so annoyingly precious; but that’s not the story of the gospels.
He goes on to talk about how Wright stole Christmas too, here

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Growing Up...

Simon Le Bon reflects as he writes about losing his faith in The Atheist's Guide to Christmas:
Religion helps people cope with many things. It helps them deal with death. And I believe in marriage - I doubt the institution of marriage would have existed without religion. To some extent, religion has upheld essential morals and modes of behaviour. There are some really important values in all religions.

However, I think human beings go through different stages. As a child you have someone looking after you. And then you start to break away from that, and eventually you achieve a degree of independence from your parents. Maybe humanity neeeded a parent and that was the part that religion played. Maybe we're at a stage now where we are growing up and ready to achieve a greater degree of independence.
I can't speak for other religions, but when it comes to Christianity, Le Bon speaks better, perhaps, than he gives himself credit.

Monday, 24 December 2012

International Christmas 2012

Christmas is a time for going the extra mile serving one another. For me, it's the one time of the year that I peel vegetables. Problem is at this time of year, preparing veg is no mean feat. It's something of a Peel-athon and can definitely be described as a multi-sport endurance event, requiring a squillion repetitions of the same monotonous action as quickly as possible in slightly different ways for each variety of vegetable.

At one point I thought my wrist would cramp. Fortunately, my experience in triathlon, meant I could avoid that, by starting each new vegetable variety slowly and increasing rhythm to a sustainable pace.... Parsnips, carrots, swede, cabbage, potatoes, sprouts, garlic, onions... by this time I was crying! Had I attempted to prepare the cranberry sauce from stratch and not out of a jar adding the orange juice and port, I probably would have collapsed!

Anyway, who cares about that...

Tomorrow, (seems to be taking on the form of a tradi... value - I forget tradition is a dirty word) when many nations will gather around my dining room table.

In Continent terms, only Australasia and North America will be absent. I invited Antarctica, but they gave me the cold shoulder!

In case conversation wanes over the course of the afternoon, (although I can't see that happening) I have prepared some Christmas quizzes. You could have a go yourself!

Looking forward to it.

He became like us so that one day we could become like him. 1 Cor.15:47

Happy Christmas!

Some Carols - Most Definitely Not Gangnam Style

It's sixteen years since I did something like this... Less a hankering more a realisation.

To finish... not music, but ten exquisite minutes on the truth of Christmas.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Competing Origins

Professor Brian Cox writes about the origin of the universe in The Atheist's Guide to Christmas:
The scientific creation story has majesty, power and beauty. and is infused with a powerful message capable of lifting our spirits in a way that its multitudinous supernatural counterparts are incapable of matching. It teaches us that we are the products of 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution and the mechanism by which meaning entered the universe, if only for a fleeting moment in time. Because the universe means something to me, and the fact that we are all agglomerations of quarks and electrons in a complex and fragile pattern that can perceive the beauty of the universe with visceral wonder, is, I think, a thought worth raising a glass to this Christmas.
On the other hand, Glen Scrivener writes:
In the beginning was the life and love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Before there was a universe there wasn’t nothing, there wasn’t chaos and there wasn’t a lonely god. Our origins are not darkness but entirely light.

But when this God creates, the equation changes. Suddenly there is something else other than God. The Father, Son and Spirit are radically relativised! They are not everything. God ‘makes room’ if you like for something else to be alongside. In fact, for something else to be drawn in.
Read on here.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Friday, 21 December 2012

A Christmas Presentation with Gloves

Photo from
[Hold up a black glove.]
Consider this glove. It didn’t just appear out of nowhere. At a given point in time, people made it. They got hold of all the raw materials and wove them together to form it.

This glove looks like a hand, (it's made in the image of a hand), but it can’t do anything that my hand can do, it can’t shake my hand, or pick up a cup or even punch me in the face. It’s pathetic! However, if my hand enters the glove, [Put black glove on left hand] then the glove becomes able to do all those things, it can pick up a mug, shake a hand or punch me in the face. Although I'm not going to do that because I am incredibly strong and could knock myself out!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Some Sevens

Jesus' famous beatitudes (blessings) in Matthew 5 have parallels in other parts of the Bible. Jesus gives 7 "Woes" to the Pharisees in Matt 23 and in Revelation there are 7 more "beatitudes." When you line them up together, they may for interesting reading. (Order below is Matt 5, Matt 23 then Revelation)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. Rev. 1:3

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Second Postscript on Reflecting the Life of the Trinity

Having talked about how the life and time of Isaac are a picture of the gospel here, I found myself reading Isaac's story again this morning and remembered something my good friend Peter H said when we once discussed this. I paraphrase: