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Showing posts from 2011

The Shield of Faith

Given that we are more than matter (atoms and genes), given that we are caught up in a struggle of cosmic proportions (spiritual warfare) and given that there is a fight going on for men's souls, it matters that we learn how to use our shield. Granted, there are a lot of 'givens' in the above, too many for some people, but I do take them all as read.

I didn't once but I do now.

The worst thing anyone can do in a fight is forget that they're fighting, to take off the armour, to put away the sword, to relax - certain doom, curtains. One of the worst things I can do as a Christian is to live only with an eye on the material world. To be taken in by the enchanting comforts, the short-sighted living and the secular philosophy that surrounds me. I see it in myself, I'm susceptible to it. I wrestle with this world, my flesh and the devil as much as the next Christian. I win some lose some but I always aim to make it my resolve not to simply 'get by' as a belie…

Comfortable in my skin

Every room has its ceiling, every bucket its limit and every scale its tipping point.

A lot of getting through life contentedly is about knowing where yours is, and being 'ok' with it. It's about being able to say happily 'I am not the answer to the world's problems, I am not going to set the world a blaze, but that's ok.'

I know that when I die, which I will do someday (shock horror) my death won't result in books being written, stories being sold to the press, calenders being printed or charities being started in my name. I am average. Not to my mum (obviously) and perhaps to my wife and son but to most people in the world upon whose lives my life will never bear much resemblance or significance I am an average human being, an individual life on a planet with billions of lives. For the most part I am a consumer rather than a producer, an idea swallower rather than an idea former.

My big revelation that came recently is this - I have a capacity and quite…

Maths Never Changed My Life

2+2=4 true? True.

It's true but it hasn't changed my life. I mean it has in the sense that laws of maths and physics govern the world I live in but it hasn't in the sense that it plays any part in my day to day existence. I don't think about sums and mathematical equations much when I play squash, watch a dvd or go to the pub. 2+2=4 is true but it's not really something I devote my life to. It's irrelevant.

For a lot of people raised in church-going families, or educated in religious schools or brought up to respect Christianity Jesus is viewed in the same light.

True but irrelevant.

True but only true on the level that 2+2=4 is true or coastal erosion is true, or photosynthesis is true or other pointless things I learned about at school are true. For a lot of us it's like those things it's mildly interesting, possibly true but ultimately unnecessary for life.

True but pointless.

Occasionally I come across someone who's really into maths (I move in stra…

Euangelion: News or Advice?

Euangelion. (u-an-gell-eon)

It's the word the Bible writers' used to described the Christian message. It's a Greek word, they spoke Greek. It means 'Good news'.

Have you ever thought (or understood) that Christianity is essentially news. It isn't advice, it's a report of something that's happenned. Advice tells you 'do this and you'll be happier' or 'try this and you can be better.' ADVICE is offered and rejected, ADVICE can be taken or left, news is different. NEWS is static, NEWS reports, NEWS isn't concerned primarily with your response but with the facts of what's happened.

Here's some Bible quotes that back that up:

Peter talking to the crowd on Pentecost 'You handed him over to be crucified but on the third day God raised him to life.' NEWS

Paul tells his closest friend 'Christ Jesus died for sinner's of whom I'm the worst' NEWS

John tells the religious leaders 'There is no other name under h…

Answers.

The kind of answers I'm after aren't academic or intellectual. I don't live in an ivory tower and I'm not clever enough to debate philosophy with clever people. I'm perfectly happy being closer to the bottom of the staircase than the top.

Everything feels so raw again today. My dad's death was 5 months ago, life has moved on, the world has carried on turning. Today I resent it all for doing so. I'm sitting in my parent's old study typing on a computer that my dad used to sit at to work. I'm listening to the radio he used to listen to, wearing the slippers he used to wear and thinking about all the things we used to do together. There are 1000 things all around me that make me think of him and our life together.

I miss him. A lot.

I said yesterday to Amy that I had answers to the questions I've wrestled with intensely over the past few months. Questions about the goodness of God and the chaos of suffering, the silence of God and the noise of pai…

Truth? You're not serious are you?

Truth, we’re all concerned with it aren’t we? Are we?

We might not all sit around for hours on end wondering about the nature of truth and the meaning of life but we all live according to the conclusions we draw from the world around us. We listen to the music, we watch the movies and we enjoy the TV shows that most reflect what we believe about the world (the value systems we agree with) and we hang around with people who have a like mind to ours. ‘Truth’ is a grand word that we don’t use too much, it sounds far too unreachable and ever so slightly arrogant, who are we after all, to say what’s true and what’s not? A few years ago a popular band released an album called ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’. It got to #1 in the charts. I like the title, it’s catchy and I can relate to it. I don’t like being preached at any more than you do but I can appreciate someone elses version of the truth, I like a good discussion every now and then.

I wonder what you think when someone says the word ‘…

More than matter?

I'm not afraid of evolution, I just don't want to be there when it happens.

I'm not sure how 'fit' I am for survival, I'm not sure how fit many of us are. That's the trouble with being at the top of the food chain in affluent, comfortable-class Britain, we've got flabby. I can't run very fast (except around a squash court once a week and even then I'm close to exhaustion), I have no idea how to skin an animal and I am largely a walking DIY disaster. I'm hardly ruthless (unless I'm playing monopoly) and would be useless at using my malice to manoeuvre myself into survival if ever I needed to. No it's true, the process of de-volution has begun and I'm the evidence of it. The only question is - who will replace us as the dominant species... the jellyfish?

There are a couple of things however that I've been considering recently when it comes to the whole area of evolution. You see for many people evolution is the Grand Theory of…

It's Not You It's Me

Page 38 of this week's Eastbourne Herald features a picture of me. At least I think it's me, it could have been. I'm sure it is. If you squint, turn the page 45degrees and go cross eyed you can just about make it out, it's me talking to a group of school kids. I'm famous; at least in the visually impaired community anyway.

I was speaking to a class of secondary school kids about what Christians believe.
It was part of series the school has been running on the religious diversity in Eastbourne. The class had had representatives from the pagan community, Islamic group and Mormon religion and I was there to be the Christian (which is strange because I used to hate the Christians who came into my school to do that - now I'm one of them; I never saw that coming!)

To get them thinking I asked them the question 'what's wrong with the world?' Pollution, terrorism, drugs, war, gang culture... the list went on. Interestingly, none of them said 'nothing'…

The Stationary Bike of Progress

Life is a stationary bike and each generation gets on it, pedals as hard as they can until they die and fall off and then, the next generation gets on and says, “Well, they didn’t make it, but we’re going somewhere.”

The myth of progress and generational amnesia.
We still all act like the myth is true and we still all suffer from the disease.

Frankly I'm embarrassed by how little I know about history even recent history, my own country and even my own family. It's as if I think to myself 'I wasn't alive so it can't have been that important...honestly.' So many people find it difficult to get along with the older generation. Why would we be interested in a time before our one? If we're honest I think that on some level we're embarrassed by their ideas. Their outlook on the world seemed so terribly shallow and naive compared to ours. We've got the internet.

Not once does it occur to us that maybe our grandkids will be saying the same things about us in…

Grace and the man seeking God

'Religion is man searching for God, Christianity is God seeking man.' - Martyn Lloyd Jones

I saw this recently on Twitter. It's good since it sums up the main difference between Christianity and all the other religions of the world.

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There is a famous anecdote that has been told in numerous books about C.S. Lewis entering into a debate of faculty members at Cambridge University where he used to teach. They were discussing with much difference of opinion the aspects of Christianity that made it unique from all the other world faiths. "That's easy," said Lewis, "Grace."

Grace is a small word and a much misunderstood word, but a word with big meaning. What he meant by grace wasn't a girls name, or the prayer of gratitude we say around meal times. Grace is the message of the Bible, it's the idea that God, a good, holy, sovereign and perfect God chooses to not only forgive but to be kind to people who are rebellious, hard-hearted and ant…

Flapping arms can't grab a lifebelt

Riley woke up a few moments ago screaming. I went upstairs and picked him up. I kissed him and whispered "it's ok, it's ok, daddy's here, it's ok." How did he respond? He went on screaming, louder and louder. Ear-piercing and then some.

Amy came up and together we reassured him kissing him, loving him. No change. He just carried on screaming. It reminded me of something. Sometimes when we're scared or confused we can't hear the reassuring voices around us through the sound of our proverbial screaming. We feel like people aren't listening and we don't think there's any comfort or hand of reassurance around us.

When C.S. Lewis's wife died he found himself in a deep state of despair, his faith seemed to desert him. A Christian author, speaker and guide to thousands he found himself alone and unsure of the faith he preached to others. 'Where was God' he asked? Where was the comfort he had hoped his faith would bring him? Was God to…