Monday, 30 September 2013

This year, fight for a kid's right to lose

Whether your kid loves Little League or gymnastics, ask the organizers this: “Which kids get awards?” If the answer is, “Everybody” find another program.
Of all people, The NYT challenges that prevalent trend in our culture, that of letting everyone win. One of their big concerns is that widespread recognition leads the talented children to be demoralised whilst those who are average/not that good eventually work it out and also give up. In other words kids at both end of the spectrum end up under performing. They therefore conclude:
When children make mistakes, our job should not be to spin those losses into decorated victories. Instead, our job is to help kids overcome setbacks, to help them see that progress over time is more important than a particular win or loss, and to help them graciously congratulate the child who succeeded when they failed. To do that, we need to refuse all the meaningless plastic and tin destined for landfills. We have to stop letting the Trophy-Industrial Complex run our children's lives.
 This school year, let's fight for a kids's right to lose.
Read the whole thing here

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Vinegar is charged with the grandeur of God

The British Geneticist J.B.S. Haldane was once asked what his study of biology had taught him about God. He replied that the Creator, if he exists, has "an inordinate fondness for beetles." Although he was rank pagan of the highest degree his answer nonetheless points to an inescapable truth: that the world is filled with unimaginable wonder, right from the tiniest speckle to the largest boulder. As Gerald Manley Hopkins so memorably put it "The world is charged with the grandeur of God." It shouldn't have surprised me therefore to find out how so simple a thing as vinegar is so fantastically versatile and tremendously useful. Watch the video below and be amazed...

Friday, 27 September 2013

How to improve your preaching

Wise words from John Wesley:

“What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear to this day, is want of reading. I scarce ever knew a preacher read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety, there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. O begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercises. You may acquire the taste which you have not: what is tedious at first, will afterwards be pleasant. Whether you like it or no, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a petty, superficial preacher.”

John Wesley, letter to John Pemboth, August 17, 1760.

Monday, 23 September 2013

The longing

We live in a world shattered,
Each step re-echoes the cracking of broken glass,
Shards removed at first from aching feet
But then…finally…tolerated.
Longing to recover the tranquil garden of gentle grass.

We all long for things to be made RIGHT.  Ever since Adam was expelled from the Garden, humanity has been longing for what was lost - the tranquil feel of gentle grass on weary limbs. As horrific events unfold in my home town and more news comes in of a dastardly attack on Christians in Pakistan it's impossible not to long for wickedness to cease: for swords to be turned into ploughshares, spears into pruning hooks, AK47s into butter knives. Sin has truly shattered the ocean depth of happy rest we once enjoyed and now we all long for the calm from the chaos to commence.
But where will such calm be found? Where will ugliness be transformed to beauty? Where will fractured relationships be turned into harmony and falsehood swallowed up by truth? The answer is simple - only in Christ. What Sin has profoundly torn apart, God, through Christ is reconciling to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven. He is the Creator and Re-Creator, the Redeemer and the Reconciler. He is the One who fully satisfies the longing soul. Only He Who entered the broken-glass world with the gentleness from above could remove the shards of our souls, recovering for us the tranquil garden of gentle grass.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

10 points addressing modesty

A superb post from Feminagirls covering the modesty essentials

1) This is about applying the Gospel to everyday life i.e. it's not a stick to beat the world/fellow Christians with.

2) Parents (and later on husbands) are absolutely critical

3) Get some perspective: 
"I have heard many young girls take a stand that could boil down to, “If God doesn’t want me in bikinis then He isn’t a God for me!” Seriously?  Be honest with yourself here. I do not believe that Scripture calls us to be frumpy. But what if it did? Are you ready to walk away from the faith?"
4) God created sex:
"Many Christians act like the world invented sex, and God is too prudish to deal with it. Like the editors of Cosmo made this up in their little think tank and God hasn’t caught on to the trend yet. We are too hot for Him to handle! This is really embarrassing. God gave you that body, He gave you your sexuality, and He wants you to use it to His Glory. Think about that."
5) Remember which side you're on

6) Be kind (to yourself, your friends, your church)

7) God dislikes hates immodesty

8) Consider the story you're writing:
"Modesty is only a small component of the most complete sexual experience on the planet. The way God wants us doing this starts with vows before Him and ends with headstones beside each other. And when we are gone, the legacy of our love will be all wrapped up in people. Honor God in all the parts of that story – including the parts that are preparation. Do not get so fixated on what the cover of this book looks like to others that you neglect to think about the story inside. The world tells us that sex is all about self satisfaction and feeling good about yourself – it is a flashy, shiny cover that has cute shoes. But on the inside it is a story full of confusion, guilt, and sorrow while the heroine struggles to love herself.  But think about this. God tells us that it is all about loving others. Pouring yourself out for others. Investing in others. Giving life to others. And all because we are loved by Him first, and second by human reflections of that love. Let your story be a story of faithful love that tells of His."
9) Stop kissing the world

10) Modesty is easy

Read the full thing here

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Robert Farrar Capon (1925-2013) Requiescat in pace

Theologian and Anglican priest Robert Farrar Capon passed away at the weekend. One of his best-known works is a quirky cookbook called The Supper of the Lamb. Despite his quirkiness, his writing had a way of making you consider the remarkable world we live in and the generous Creator behind it. May he rest in peace as he awaits together with the saints that great day when we will all delight in the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Below some great Capon quotes:

Jesus came to raise the dead. He did not come to teach the teachable; He did not come to improve the improvable; He did not come to reform the reformable. None of those things works.


Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with Give us pasta with a hundred fillings.


At the root of many a woman's failure to become a great cook lies her failure to develop a workmanlike regard for knives.


The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distilate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.


Let me tell you why God made the world.

One afternoon, before anything was made, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit sat around in the unity of their Godhead discussing one of the Father's fixations. From all eternity, it seems, he had had this thing about being. He would keep thinking up all kinds of unnecessary things - new ways of being and new kinds of beings to be. And as they talked, God the Son suddenly said, "Really, this is absolutely great stuff Why don't 1 go out and mix us up a batch?" And God the Holy Spirit said, "Terrific! I'll help you." So they all pitched in, and after supper that night, the Son and the Holy Spirit put on this tremendous show of being for the Father. It was full of water and light and frogs; pine cones kept dropping all over the place, and crazy fish swam around in the wineglasses. There were mushrooms and mastodons, grapes and geese, tornadoes and tigers - and men and women everywhere to taste them, to juggle them, to join them, and to love them. And God the Father looked at the whole wild party and said, "Wonderful! just what I had in mind! Tov! Tov! Tov!" And all God the Son and God the Holy Spirit could think of to say was the same thing: "Tov! Tov! Tov!" So they shouted together "Tov meod!" and they laughed for ages and ages, saying things like how great it was for beings to be, and how clever of the Father to think of the idea, and how kind of the Son to go to all that trouble putting it together, and how considerate of the Spirit to spend so much time directing and choreographing And for ever and ever they told old jokes, and the Father and the son drank their wine in unitate Spiritus Sancti, and they all threw ripe olives and pickled mushrooms at each other per omnia saecula saeculorum, Amen.

It is, I grant you, a crass analogy; but crass analogies are the safest. Everybody knows that God is not three old men throwing olives at each other. Not everyone, I'm afraid, is equally clear that God is not a cosmic force or a principle of being or any other dish of celestial blancmange we might choose to call him. Accordingly, I give you the central truth that creation is the result of a trinitarian bash, and leave the details of the analogy to sort themselves out as best they can.


Lion become priest
And Lamb victim
The world awaits
The unimaginable union
By which the Lion lifts Himself Lamb slain
And, Priest and Victim,
The City


I find that my fine generalities have dashed themselves to pieces against the six very concrete children that I have. I live surrounded by a mixture of violence and loveliness, of music and insensitivity. I take my meals with clods and poets, but I am seldom certain which is which. Nowhere is my life less reducible to logic than in my children; nowhere are my elegant attempts at system ground more violently to powder than under the stumbling stone of the next generation. Far from having advice to give you, I am dumbfounded by them and admit it. And yet I rejoice too, for nowhere is there so much to keep me sane. I apologize in advance but I know only one word to describe it: It is


Each thing, at every moment, becomes the delight of His (God's) hand, the apple of His eye. The bloom of yeast lies upon the grapeskins year after year because He likes it. C6H12O6=2C2H5OH+2CO2 is a de­pendable process because every September, He says, That was nice; do it again. Let us pause and drink to that.


Amen and Amen.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Joke of the week: Armour games!

Don't think this is what Paul envisaged when he commended speaking the truth in love

Via: Jon Birch

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Romans 12:15 applied

And I will gladly share with you your pain,
If it turn out I can no comfort bring;
For 'tis a friend's right, please let me explain,
To share in woeful as in joyful things
— Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Cressida, I, 85