Monthly Archives: January 2018

Priorities

I recently read a great Facebook post by Jeff Turner, where he speaks about getting our priorities straight when besieged by so many social media pressures and bandwagons to jump on to.

My own personal motto is to do as I see Father doing (Jn 5:19) and if He’s not doing, then I’m not interested. This is the keynote ‘slogan’ of my blog, in fact. I learned some time ago how to prioritise things for the Kingdom’s action in my life, but it is refreshing to see the same principles being expounded by modern-day prophets like Jeff.

But anyway, over to Jeff:


“Anyone out there still worried about Joseph Kony? Anyone? No? Surely you remember him though, right? No? You mean, the African warlord that turned everyone on social media into an activist in 2012 doesn’t even register anymore?

“Huh. Who saw that coming?

“You see, social media has afforded us with a convenient way of feeling like empowered activists who are really doing some heavy, hard hitting work, but, alas, what it’s actually done is turned us into a school of halibut, who move instinctively wherever the crowd moves, but who are almost incapable of independent thought or passion. When we aren’t being fed a cause to be passionate about, we don’t have one. Fortunately for us, though, the internet doesn’t let a week go by where it does not introduce us to a new cause demanding our complete and total devotion. We change our profile picture, display our hashtag holiness for the world to see, and are then on about something else by Saturday night. This not only keeps us from ever actually devoting ourselves to something real, it also leaves the causes of the week, which may actually be legitimate, largely unaffected, since we have been trained to only become involved superficially.

“Friends, you cannot be truly devoted to every cause social media shoves in your direction, and you don’t need to feel bad about that. If you thinly spread yourself out over every need that exists in the world, none of them are getting your full attention, and so nothing is really being done. You can’t stop and weep over the corpse of every raccoon, opossum or armadillo you pass on the highway, or you’ll never get anywhere. You don’t have to be cold and indifferent to the suffering of roadkill, but you also can’t become so emotionally involved that you can’t drive a half mile without pulling your car over. You have to find *a thing, or maybe two, and give yourself to those things. That’s how you progress and make change. You have to be ok with other people not being ok with you not being a zealot for what they’re zealous about. You have to not allow yourself to be guilted into jumping on bandwagons you know you won’t stay on anyways, and you certainly should not be jumping on them for the attention it gets you.

“I discovered a long time ago that I have a message I’m passionate about, and that is what I need to keep on about. If I’m drawn away by every trending issue, I will lose the thing I actually care about. I can agree that your passion is good, and your cause noble, and I can even find ways of addressing those issues using my own medium and methods. I do not, however, have to become consumed and swallowed up by a collective calling for the head of Joseph Kony, the firing of a pizzeria manager for failing to be nice to a customer who then blogged about it, or whatever.

“You have to be passionate about what *you are passionate about! Don’t settle for the fake. And don’t just do what everyone else is doing, if you don’t feel it in your gut. Study the issue out and discover for yourself if you care about it. *Then, by all means, give it your everything.

“Just some random thoughts for this evening. Peace.”

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Thirty-Four Years

This entry is part 22 of 22 in the series Fiona

Today would have been Fiona’s and my 34th wedding anniversary. Half a lifetime ago, I married the most beautiful girl in the world, and for me it had been love at first sight. I can’t adequately express how blessed I am to have been married to this magnificent lady for nearly 33 years, before I lost her to cancer in October 2016.

We had a particular song, which was a lovely little number called ‘Where you go, I will go’, which we thought of as ‘our song’, and I featured it on my blog this time last year to celebrate what would have been our 33rd wedding anniversary. I want to feature it again today, because I still believe it. And it’s still Our Song.

Where you go, I will go.

Where she’s gone, I will go, eventually.

And there we will meet again.

Where you go, I will go
Where you lodge, I will lodge
Do not ask me to turn away, for I will follow you
We’ll serve the Lord together, and praise Him day to day
For He brought us together, to love Him and serve Him always

 


Header photo shows Ellie, Fiona and I with our gorgeous German Shepherd, Zeus, at Meadow Lakes Holiday Park, St. Austell, Cornwall, August 2013, where we were staying in our caravan. This was where we were holidaying when we first noticed the symptoms of the cancer.

Zeusy was a huge dog, but he wasn’t as big as the camera angle makes him look in this picture!

 

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Confused by the Bible?

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Biblical Inerrancy, Infallibility and Inspiration

My online friend Dave Carrington posted a real gem on a Facebook group we are part of, and I wanted to share it with you.

As background, let me explain that many Christians, myself included, were always taught that when reading the Bible, we should ask the Spirit to tell us how that particular passage* relates to us today, and how to apply it in our daily living. While this is an admirable sentiment, it can be extremely confusing because the Spirit may not be speaking through that particular passage you have been given/randomly turned to/whatever on that day, and so we have to try hard to wrest some sort of meaning from the passage even though that’s not really on today’s menu. As I have said before, the point at which any given Bible passage becomes the Word of God is when the Spirit makes it real and relevant to us now, and sometimes it might be that He’s just not saying anything through that particular passage at that time. In those circumstances, either ask for guidance or simply go and read something else. The truth is that while the Bible is indeed an incredible book, or indeed library of books, it is not a magical grimoire of spells and incantations to enable us to summon our god like some sort of spirit. And it can be confusing for some people when the things they expect from a ‘plain reading’ of the Bible simply don’t happen. You see, God is a person, not a book, and certainly not a vending machine, and He speaks as He wills; we can’t force Him ito our schedules! In these times, Christians are indeed re-awakening to the significance of the Bible, but under the much more relevant aegis of sensible, intelligent and spiritual interpretation under the Holy Spirit, and discarding the old ‘one size fits all’ approach. It’s so much better, because God gets more of a chance to use the Scriptures to speak to us personally, rather than generally.

So with all that in mind, let me pass you over to Dave for him to flesh out those ideas:


“There are things in the Bible 1) that have eternal significance to a universal audience. There are things 2) written to specific groups for specific reasons at specific times. There are things 3) that are historical alone, and things 4)that are not at all literal but allegorical in nature.

“Of course we can learn and gain certain wisdom from ANY of these by the Spirit of God- BUT when we don’t understand the base difference in these writings, we will a) be confused about our own life, b) confused about our relationships with others, c) confused about the nature and character of our Loving Creator/Father, and d) trying to apply things to our situations that have absolutely no application in our life whatsoever.

“If you’ve been taught that everything in the Bible applies to you currently or is somehow tied to future events in your life… then you have been taught in (confusing) error. And if so… you are not alone.

“Sometimes we don’t know just how confused we are until the scales are removed from our eyes and we can see TRUTH that SO greatly changes our vision awareness & perspective, that we are now able to see things that were always ‘there’, but were blocked (in our awareness) by things not meant to be there at all.

“Holy Spirit is moving some obstructional things that have hindered our vision and were never supposed to be there… so our awareness can be changed to behold the things that are; The things that are true.

“The Awakening. It’s here. You’ll see.”

– Dave Carringer


*Note: ‘Passage’, not ‘portion’. I really can’t stand it when people refer to a Bible passage as a ‘portion of Scripture’, like it’s a cake or a bag of chips…and like there’s not enough to go around…

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An Excellent Series on the Bible

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Biblical Inerrancy, Infallibility and Inspiration

I was a regular reader of the blog ‘The Evangelical Liberal‘, written by a chap called Harvey, although he hasn’t published much for a while. Anyway, I have found that I agree with much of what he writes; in fact, I find that he often actually puts down on [virtual] paper the exact same things I am thinking, but I have to admit that he expresses them much better than I do!

Fairly recently, Harvey has published a series on the Bible and the way we read and interpret it.

You know I prefer to do things that I see Father doing (John 5:19). I believe that in this day, God would have us read and believe the Bible through the ‘lens’ of His Spirit; this is as it always should have been. And I believe that of all the ‘Great Deceptions’ that people claim will happen, none is greater than the rubbish that is spouted by many people who call themselves Christians (and I am no judge of that) but abuse the Bible terribly, corrupting its message to others. Fair enough, they can believe what they want, but to impose those beliefs on others too, usually for monetary profit….think televangelists, and you will know the sorts of people I am talking about.

And, after pulling the Bible apart, as it were, do we find that the Bible is still useful? Is it true that if one part of the Bible is wrong, you might as well throw it out or use it as a doorstop?

In this series, then, which is reblogged here with his permission (thanks bro!), Harvey examines, in a number of articles, the ways in which we look at the Bible. Please do listen to the Spirit as you read this blog. And if you hear Him speak, as always, do not harden your heart.

Rethinking the Bible – an intelligent introduction to the series

Bible posts Round-Up – where he provides links to articles he has written before on various Bible issues

The Bible – The Good Book, or a very bad book? – a “…look at the worst stuff in the Bible and the terrible uses Scripture has sometimes been put to”

Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God? – A fascinating article on a fascinating subject

Is the Bible inerrant? – This is the real crux. Is the bible ever wrong?

The Bible – truly perfect and perfectly true? – Ideas on perfection

The Bible – a question of interpretation? – Making sense of it all

Sola scriptura – is the Bible really all we need? – Is the Bible alone sufficient?

What does the Bible really say about inerrancy? – An epilogue giving an analysis of the ‘inerrancy’ proof-texts

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Paul and Women

One of the huge scandals in some of today’s churches is the way in which women are handled. One aspect of this is the way in which the words of St. Paul have been used to stop women obtaining office in the established Church. And, in setting those rules, Church leaders have robbed their congregations of fully half of the real resources of their churches.

This is not a new phenomenon; it has been going on in one form or another for centuries. And it’s not going to change overnight. But things are indeed changing…

In this piece, my friend Tim Chastain of ‘Jesus Without Baggage’ writes a superb piece on how Paul’s writings have been, and still are being, misused. Click the graphic below to go to the article:


Header picture shows the brilliant Dawn French in her role as Vicar ‘Geraldine Granger’ in the classic British sitcom, ‘The Vicar of Dibley’

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Matt Distefano on Universalism

One of the more controversial ideas in Christendom at the moment is that of Universalism – that everybody gets ‘saved’. It’s certainly not a new idea; there is in fact good evidence to suggest that it actually formed a major part of early Church doctrine. Personally, I am myself a ‘hopeful Universalist’, a bit like C. S. Lewis was. That is, I would like to think that God is big enough to be able to ‘save’ everybody, in some form or another.

Whatever our views on the subject, it is sadly true that many of the idea’s detractors have taken the ideas of Universalists and twisted them to mean what they were never meant to mean. Unfortunately, this happens a lot in religious discussion, but I am prepared to believe that this is more due to a breakdown in communications rather than deliberate misrepresentation.

For this reason, I would like to share a piece by Matthew Distefano, whose work I have mentioned before in my blog. In this article, he gently attempts to set straight the record on some of the points that some of his objectors have raised.

What about justice? What about Hitler? What about Scripture? It’s a really good article and definitely deserves to be read.

Clicking the picture below (that’s Matthew, by the way) will take you to the article on Patheos (opens in a new tab).

Enjoy!

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