Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Stop moaning: your life ain't that bad

"If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart.” — Socrates

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Joke of the week: you're the mad one

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Britons suffers from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they are okay, then it’s you.

Adapted from Rita Mae Brown

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Handling Scripture Wright

There has been much said about NT Wright some good some bad. The video below encapsulates a lot of what is brilliant about the man - a mighty BIG love for the word - enjoy...

Saturday, 20 August 2011

God loves differently

That’s the thing about human giving:  We give cautiously to the well-deserving.  But God is very different.  He gives profligately to the utterly unworthy.  He gives His very best to the very worst.  That’s what Jesus tells Nicodemus in John chapter 3:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Masters of optical illusion/Evolution where at thou?

Cephalopods: "This is the only animal group we know of, that has fine control of it's skin"

Click below to see illustrations of this including, the impressive octopus manoeuvre known as the "moving rock" trick and as you watch all this, ask yourself, how ever would an evolutionist explain this cogently and persuasively OR as Shakespeare might have put it O Darwin, Darwin! wherefore art thou is thy Evolution?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Living off borrowed capital

The fatal habit of considering Christian morals as distinct from Christian doctrines insensibly gained strength. Thus the peculiar doctrines of Christianity went more and more out of sight and as might naturally have been expected, the moral system itself began to whither and decay, being robbed of that which should have supplied it with life and nutriment.
William Wilberforce

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Only in Africa!

Where is health and safety when you need em?

What Bachmann should have said

Last week, a US senator campaigning for the presidency, was asked if she was still endorsed the traditional view of women submitting to their husbands. Her answer, was akin to pointing upwards and saying "Wow! Don't the stars look beautiful tonight !" In other words she ducked the issue. So what should see have said? Perhaps something along the lines of:
Well, of course I want to be a submissive wife -- that's what the Bible teaches. But there are many misunderstandings about what that entails, so let my campaign get a book list to you.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Is it coz I is white?

David Starkey has generated a bit of heat with his comments on Newsnight that among other things "the whites have become black". Many have described him as a racist and some have even suggested that Starkey suffer some sort of punishment for saying that white chavs have emulated the violent and materialistic culture of the black underclass. Now here is the thing - are the current OTT responses to Starkey, due to his being white? Would a black person saying the same things have faced this sort of ire? In short, should Starkey update the Ali G catchphrase to "Is it coz I is white?" 

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Last thing a mouse sees before...

A great vid below of an eagle owl, a few secs before contact!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Retirement is for wimps

It would be odd to hear a Christian say that his duty to obey the commandments against idolatry, blasphemy, adultery, murder, and coveting expired when he turned 65. Yet some believers seem to announce just that regarding the Fourth Commandment, which prescribes, in part, “Six days you shall labor.” Of course, aging means task adjustments, but to think of stopping cold is impious. Honorable and fruitful second careers beckon as “retirees” continue to follow the Lord’s precepts. Their labor and fruitfulness are real, as is their need for a weekly day of rest.
Read the whole thing at Thou Shalt Not Slack

Joke of the week: Old bachelors

Why are old bachelors bad grammarians?
Because when asked to conjugate, they invariably decline.

From: Entertaining Anecdotes From Every Available Source, 1879

Monday, 8 August 2011

Jesus according to...

No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. How different for instance, is the impression which we receive from an account of legendary heroes ... [who] lack the authentic vitality of Jesus

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Like Lady Gaga in conservative clothing

Asking career politicians not to spend other people’s money is like asking Lady Gaga to sing from the Great American Songbook, dressed in conservative clothing. For her, that would be an unnatural act.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Image of God sermon outline

Image of God sermon outline

Bible texts: Genesis 1 and 1 John 4:7-21

What is man? What makes him special?

Two common answers:
We are a bunch of chemicals that have evolved to produce human life
Illustrations of this:
Ø  BBC’s The Human Body which highlighted the various elements found in the body
Ø  Richard Dawkins’ writings
Ø  Bloodhound Gang’s controversial Bad Touch

§  Consequences: programmes like Terry Pratchett’s Choosing to Die which commended Euthanasia for if we are mere mammals then there’s no inconsistency in treating us as you would a pet – putting us down at the end of our days

v All told a horrible answer which basically says we’re not special at all

2) We’re special because of the mind: “I think therefore I am”
Illustration of this:
a.      Our labelling as Homo Sapiens in school lessons, TV programmes, museum exhibitions
Ø Consequences: the prioritisation of education, education, education + the West’s hopes that information/training will solve our problems

v  This answer is obviously an improvement on the first BUT it is still unsatisfactory. What about those who can’t use their minds properly e.g. those in a coma or the unborn or even little babies? Are they less human because they can’t affirm the “I think therefore I am” mantra?

What does the Bible/Our Creator say? What according to God makes us special?

From Genesis 1:26-31 three things to highlight:
1.      Made on the last day of Creation. In other words, very much like we sometimes do with a good meal, God leaves the best til last. Note in this regard, that the description “very good” is only uttered, after the creation of mankind – we are the “special ones” contra the BBC, Richard Dawkins etc
2.      The amount of space given to the creation of humans, in comparison to the rest of the created order. Note for example how the creation of the stars is mentioned in only 5 words: he made the stars also (verse 16) whilst the creation of humanity takes up 4 whole verses!
3.      The repeated mention that we are made in the image of God which is simply saying that as human beings, we reflect and display something of God.

Illustration of this
Think about the times when you’re introduced to someone who knows your parents very well but who has never met you. As soon as they work out whose child you are, they say something like: “ah yes, I can see the similarity – you look like them”. So too with us something similar is going on. As we get to know the one true God of Scripture so too, we should say as we look at each other “ah yes, I can see the similarity”

This raises a question – what exactly does the image of God relate to? ANSWER: I think it relates to The Trinity given the plurals in verse 26: “let us”, “our image”, “our likeness” rather than God saying “let me”, “my image”, “my likeness”. In simple words our God (unlike all the other gods) is a God who has always been in relationship – the fellowship of the three.
Therefore if our God has always been in relationship, it’s no surprise that we too are designed/cannot escape relationship

v Notice how being in relationship, is a much more satisfying answer than saying it is our abilities or mind which makes us special. Both those qualities demonstrate something of our  uniqueness but because they don’t include everyone (e.g. they the very young, unborn, those who are mentally ill, in a coma etc) it alerts us to the fact that the image of God is not  properly seen in the mind but in our relationships

Ø  The image of God is therefore reflected in our relationships with others...

And interestingly, this is what verse 27 suggests – that the image is not limited to a single individual/particular sex but is to be observed in the context of male and female relating to one another: So God created man in His own image [...] male and female He created them. (verse 27)

Put differently, the God of the Bible would not be properly imaged at Wembley – with a group of blokes running around OR at a crocheting class with a group of girlies learning how to knit

Notice therefore that by creating us like this – male and female – we mirror God by being equal and different...         SO, just as we have 3 persons in the Trinity who are equal in status yet different from each other, so too in humanity we have 2 sexes which are equal (in status) but different in role/how we relate with each other

Ø  Biblically, this last point is significant e.g. in the context of marriage where the Bible gives different expectations/commands for the husband/wife.

§ Consider for example Ephesians 5 which everyone knows, commands wives to submit! What usually gets overlooked however in the submission brouhaha is that Paul commands husbands to love their wives three times (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33) and this in the space of 12 verses. The point is this: men need to be exhorted to love their wives while women need to be exhorted to submit/respect/honour their husbands.

Wedding joke
David and Sue Fletcher...

IN SUM: The commands to the male/female are different: men to love their wives and wives to respect/submit to their husbands – such differences between the sexes together display the image of God in humanity...

There is no god like our God – He has always been in relationship and He is the source/origin of all relationship and thus when Jesus says that the greatest commandment is to love God and neighbour, he is not asking us to do something alien to him – he knows what it is to love – he’s been at it in all eternity

Ø  For the Christian – delight in our God and cherish/work on your relationship according to the particular role God has given you e.g. husbands love, wives submit – in doing this we testify to the Gospel

Ø  For the non-Christian – what is your basis for relationship? Why are relationships important? The world has no answers to these questions – come to Christ who loves before we love him

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Luther shocker on how to treat adultery

Following some tricky pastoral situations in the parish, I've been reading up on the issue of divorce. Today I came across this comment by Luther on what kind of treatment adulterers deserve:
The temporal sword and government should therefore still put adulterers to death, for whoever commits adultery has in fact himself already departed and is considered as one dead. Therefore the other ('the innocent party') may remarry just as though his spouse had died (Martin Luther, The Estate of Marriage in Works 45.32)