Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Natural food disaster

I used to eat a lot of natural food until I discovered that most people die of natural causes

— Seen on The Northern tube line, London (25th June 2013)

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Ditch the categories of gay/lesbian/straight sexual orientation

There's a provocative article (Reorienting our Sex talk) by Matthew Mason at the Trinity House site, arguing that we should ditch categories of sexual orientation, and identity, and instead use biblical language to talk about sex. Here are some choice quotes:
The Bible nowhere uses these terms [homosexaulity, heterosexuality, lesbian, and gay] for the very simple reason that the writers of the Bible had never so much as heard of homosexuality, nor had they ever encountered a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person. Not even the Church in Corinth knew of such things.
The homosexual, along with his cousin the heterosexual, is an invention of nineteenth century European medical discourse.
The idea that one’s sexuality permeates one’s whole person is a relatively new, culturally shaped phenomenon. It is intimately connected to the way in we which now talk about, think about, and inhabit our sexual desires. And it causes a number of problems.
Find out what those problems are here

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Why be a veggie?

By design and destiny, humans are omnivores. Our teeth and digestive systems are all-purpose and ready for anything. Our genes do not dictate what foods we should find tasty or repulsive. We come into the world with a yen for sweets and a weak aversion to bitterness, and after four months develop a fondness for salt. Some people are born particularly sensitive to one taste or odour... a tiny fraction of adults, between 1 and 2 percent, have true (And truly dangerous) food allergies. All human cultures consider fur, paper, and hair inappropriate as food. And that's about it. Everything else is learned. Yet by the age of twelve, we all suffer from a haphazard collection of food aversions ranging from revulsion to indifference. [But] by closing ourselves off to the bounties of nature, we become failed omnivores. We let the down the omnivore team. God tells us in the book of Genesis, right after Noah's flood, to eat everything under the sun. Those who ignore His instructions are no better than godless heathens.” 

In short, don't let the omnivore side down!

Quote taken from Jeffrey Steingarten's wildly funny The Man Who Ate Everything

Monday, 17 June 2013

Children should know how to fight!

One ongoing temptation that parents face when considering schooling options is the desire to find somewhere 'nice and proper' for the littl'uns (where bullying and bragging, tantrums and teasing are at an absolute minimum). Another way to put this is that parents are always tempted to find somewhere 'perfect' (or in theological terms somewhere sinless) for their children's education. The main problem with this is that no such place exists. Not even in the most godly home/church/school. Wherever people are, there sin resides. Or as Solzhenitsyn memorably put it the line between good and evil runs through every human heart. One way the Bible illustrates this is by repeatedly showing us what godly behaviour looks like in a world full of sin. Think about it - why is the Bible so full of stories dripping in sin? Partly because humans are doyens of evil but also because the Bible wants to teach us that the issue is not so much the presence of sin but more the response to that sin. The unbelieving world has various futile solutions that try and deal with our inescapable sin problem (including pretending it doesn't exist) but the most satisfying answer is the Biblical one: learning to love and trust the LORD in the face of conflict. In other words evil is there to be conquered much more than it is to be evaded. Christian parents must not fall into the trap of seeking a 'perfect' setting for their children's learning rather they should be seeking a setting that equips their children for the Fight. Our children should not be like Frodo and his 3 companions who when each given a sharp sword for their journey across Middle-earth are a bit bewildered:

Fighting had not before occurred to any of them as one of the adventures in which their flight would land them
Put another way, Christians should not be building fortresses for their children to hide in rather they should be showing them how to carry a strong shieldalong with a gleaming sword.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The greatest doubters

I usually find that the greatest doubters are the people who do not read the Bible
— Spurgeon

Monday, 10 June 2013

The aim of every Christian parent...

...is not, to ensure that their child never comes into contact with sin rather, it is to train them to respond biblically to the inevitable sin they will repeatedly encounter. Any parent who thinks that they can keep their child/children from experiencing sin (even if they home-school) is preparing for the kind of heartache that is heartily dished up in a Tolstoy novel. As Chesterton once observed: original sin is "the only part of Christian theology that can really be proved" and I'm sure he'd been visiting the local Sunday school when he said this. Or to paraphrase the Bible, man is born to sin as sparks fly upwards. And therefore, when embarking on a distinctly Christian education (whatever forms that takes) one must do so fully aware that children will encounter sin - in the classroom, on the playground and in the curriculum - and accordingly offer them, the tools/platform to respond biblically.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

What to say when he asks to move in with you

When your Casanova suggests that you move in with him (or when he asks to move in with you), ask him two questions: “Where’s my ring?” and “When do you want to have the wedding?” If he can’t answer those questions, walk away.

And don’t look back.

That's because couples who think that it's better to live together instead of getting married (or before getting married) are setting themselves up for unhappy marriages/unfulfilled relationships and a higher chance of divorce. And it tends to be the girls who suffer more!

Check out some of the relevant statistics here

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Losing your clothes is not that bad

Currently reading Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring and came across a quote that sums up our fixation with the trivial and minute at the expense of the important and profound:
Clothes are but a little loss when one has been saved from drowning
In other words, Christ's salvation should fortify the Christian to suffer loss and miss out on all those cool/'happening' things of our age (e.g. the latest iPhone, designer clothes, trendy hairstyles, horn-rimmed glasses) because we recognise the costly and beautiful treasure we have in Him (in whom we have all the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places). C.S. Lewis sums it up well
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
One good way to not be easily pleased is to cultivate ways to gaze at the most excellent of men...  He whose lips are anointed with grace...

Monday, 3 June 2013

The error of sentimentalism

G. K. Chesterton says somewhere that if a book does not have wicked character in it, then it is a wicked book. One of the most pernicious errors currently rife in the Christian community is the error of sentimentalism - the view that evil is to be evaded rather than the more robust Christian view that evil is to be conquered. The Christian ought to believe and live knowing that evil is there to be fought, the dragon is there to be slain.

Adapted from the wonderful preface to the 1st Omnibus

Sunday, 2 June 2013

A prayer for the Lord's day

O Lord,
We commune with thee every day,
but week days are worldly days,
and secular concerns reduce heavenly impressions.

We bless thee therefore for the day sacred to our souls
when we can wait upon thee and be refreshed;

We thank thee for the institutions of religion
by use of which we draw near to thee and thou to us;

We rejoice in another Lord’s Day
when we call off our minds from the cares of the world
and attend upon thee without distraction;

Let our retirement be devout,
our conversation edifying,
our reading pious,
our hearing profitable,
that our souls may be quickened and elevated.

We are going to the house of prayer,
pour upon us the spirit of grace and supplication;

We are going to the house of praise,
awaken in us every grateful and cheerful emotion;

We are going to the house of instruction,
give testimony to the Word preached,
and glorify it in the hearts of all who hear;

may it enlighten the ignorant,
awaken the careless, reclaim the wandering,
establish the weak, comfort the feeble-minded,
make ready a people for their Lord.

Be a sanctuary to all who cannot come,
Forget not those who never come,
And do thou bestow upon us
benevolence towards our dependants,
forgiveness towards our enemies,
peaceableness towards our neighbours,
openness towards our fellow-Christians.

The Valley of Vision, (1975 edition) p. 209