reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

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The biggest merino in the world. I've been there. Posted by Hello

just some stuff

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Well, no time to post any of my interesting thoughts today. (Don't weep, you'll get over it. Really you will.)

But here's some links to interesting things.

is an excellent piece from one of my favourite blogs of a thorougly Biblical guy explaining predestination to a non-Christian. Cool!

Hereis a very interesting article by an Orthodox priest I came across an on a discussion board, about feminism. It's heavy stuff, and I don't agree with all of it, but it is interesting. Also - there's lots of stuff on Father G's site I don't agree with!

Hereis the video of a funky piece of cheese to which I learned my street dance routine on Monday night.

Quite a variety. But cool. I like to think...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

dum dum dum dum people are strange....

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 2 comments
Working in the voluntary sector is a funny old thing from a Christian point of view. I just keep meeting people aho are so close to the Gospel in some ways and so far in others.

These are people who see the value in doing good things for the sake of others rather than just yourself. They are generally people who see the value of human beings, who want to protect the weakest and most vulnerable in society, and agree with us that a person's worth is not to be found in their economic productivity. (Contra Tony Blair in my opinion - but let's not get caught up on electoral politics just at the moment)

However, these voluntary sector types find the necessary intolerance that goes with being a Christian, and the insistence on living a moral life, rejecting some lifestyles as just wrong - well they find that all too much. And the exclusivity of Christ - ridiculous.

Problem is, the bits they agree with us about aren't the bits they see in us. They just haven't seen the Christians performing the acts of compassion. They haven't met the Christians working to end poverty, respecting the environment, helping the dispossessed out of pure compassion. They see that evangelical Christianity seems to have become aligned with a capitalistic free market economy Thatcherite Bushist work ethic, and the whole thing makes them sick. We have a long way to go in reaching these people - who so often feel like our enemies, but should be so close to being our friends. In fact, we have stuff to learn from them.

This was a conversation I had recently in America.

Me: The Gospel opportunities in the former Soviet Bloc are amazing, although is very difficult there.
Well meaning but misguided American: Yes - isn't it nice that they have the chance to trust in Jesus AND enjoy a market economy now. They must be kicking themselves that they ever thought there was any other way.
Me: Faints

Tangent Over

Mind you - it's not all logical roses over there at the left wing tolerance garden party. The man I met today kept telling me that the way to judge a society is by how it invests in protecting the most vulnerable. How is it that these people have such a blindspot to the most vulnerable of all - those who have no voice, and no rights - the unborn?

Funny how being a Christian straddles so many ideologies.

Current voting status: Lib Dem I think - protest vote, and I like their tax policy.

Monday, April 25, 2005

More about unity

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Yeah - after giving the seminar I feel a bit uncertain.

Undoubtedly, we are spiritually united to every Christian in the world. And undoubtedly, the main place to display that unity is in the local church.

But I wonder why Jesus prays for us "to be one" then. How is that answered that prayer - and when? When we love each other in the church it is undoubtedly unity in action, and definitely where the "manifold wisdom of God" is displayed - but is that displayed inter-church as well. I don't know - cos our situation is so different from the first century....

On another note, that new tune to "It's finished the Messiah dies" is awesome as are the words. I'll be singing that again.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Some thoughts about unity

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 0 comments
Well - I've been getting some stuff ready about unity for my church, and it's really struck me, how much so often what we talk about as unity misses the point completely

2 things have made me think this

  • Jesus unity with God the Father (our model for unity) is relational not functional - that is to say it isn't the structure of Jesus' relationship with God that we are to model in our relationships with other Christians, it is the quality of the relationship. It's not as if God the Father and Jesus have set up an organisation together (Godhead inc. or suchlike) they just love each other.
  • Church in the Bible is the word ekklesia, and is nearly always used to mean the local gathering of Christians rather than the church of Christ is the whole world. I think there's maybe one exception in Colossians 1 which I don't really understand, and once in hebrews where it means the eternal spiritual gathering of God's people in heaven.

I think this means a few things for the way we practice unity, and the questions we have about it:

1) most of the questions people ask me about "unity" are about functional unity - why don't we do things with this church or this church or this group? Whereas I think Jesus is more interested in more interested in whether we actually love Christians where we find them, rather than the whether institutions put on joint events. This is especially true if church= local church - and so our responsibility is to primarily to love people in our local congregations. The doctrine of unity is more likely to lead me, if applied properly, to seek out and practically love that person in the church I find very difficult than to organise an ecumenical prayer meeting.

2) In fact, if unity is about loving other Christians where we find them, NOT working with other Christian groups (as a church) who we think are seriously mistaken over some area of doctrine, is actually an expression of love as much as working with them would be - hopefully it will enable us to love other Christians well, as we meet them, why we think what their church teaches in unhelpful. Of course, we must actually love other Christians wherever we meet them, rather than getting all doctrinally snobby - which is the worst excess of Christians like me.

3) Denominational unity is pretty unimportant to be honest. Whether the Anglican-Methodist covenant works out may be an interesting sociological or strategic decision, but it doesn't really have anything to do with the doctrine of unity as the Bible teaches it. Creating that functional unity won't necessarily (or even probably) increase the love Christians show to one another.

Just before someone leaps on me (through cyberspace) and asks me why my ekklesia does stuff with other ekklesias occasionally I think the Bible does show the model of some local congregations helping other local congregations who are in need. So I have no problem with helping other churches helping us (!) and us helping them where there is some sort of great need. But I hope that we would do that anyway, because of love - and I'm not sure than in itself is a sign of unity.

Not sure about that last bit - like all of ths stuff I'm still working it out......

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Who's idea was this?

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 1 comments
Last night someone tried to convince me that sport in schools is a good idea. Apparently it teaches you things.

Yeah like it teaches you that you can't lift a finger or open a book in any other subject, but you can still be the school's greatest hero for being able to kick a ball. Great life skill that.

It'll teach you that it doesn't really matter what else you are good at - sport is really all that matters when it comes to popularity and success.

It'll teach you how to cope with being picked on, laughed at, and generally feeling miserable with life. It'll teach you that no one actually wants to be your friend for what you are like, only for what you can do.

It'll teach you that communal showers are a good idea.

It'll probably even teach you that bullying is ok, as long as it is dressed up in a game.

Yeah, sport at school teaches you loads of stuff - but they were all life lessons I could have done without learning.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Some thoughts on politics

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 1 comments
Well, this may not be particularly profound, but here it is.

Should Christians be right or left wing? Well some say right wing - conservative on "social issues" like homosexuality or abortion. Agree with that.
Some say left wing - committed to social justice, equality, and helping those who are in the greatest need. Agree with that too.

So, I came to the conclusion that if there was a political party that was right wing on "social issues" [sic] - generally pro-life, policies that promote stable family life, and also pro social justice, dropping the debt, working to eradicate child poverty - well that would be the ideal party for me. Unfortunately no such party exists, but at least I now know that if I were to form a political party, it would be pretty easy to decide what should be in the manifesto.

Or would it? Because quite often, having a policy that is pro-Christian "family values" will be least good for the poorest and most disadvantaged in society. Sometimes, never the twain shall meet.

Little example.

My friend is training to be a teacher, and his wife has had a baby. (It's ginger, which is unfortunate, but they love her, and that's incidental to the story) He went down to the old DHSS (or whatever it''s called these days) to see if he could get any benefits - after all HE was in full time training, and SHE was looking after the baby and so they had no money coming in. What benefit could he get? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. If he was unemployed - yes. If he had left his wife or she had left him with the baby - yes. If one of them was at work, and they put the baby in childcare - yes. But for him - nothing.
Family values says - money for these people in their healthy stable loving permanent family relationship, with him training for one of the most under-supplied professions. Money needed here.

Little example number 2. (hardy har)

This week I was at a conference, the aim of which - getting the government to tackle poverty properly once and for all - I was, due to my Christian faith, very much in favour of. And I was learning all about the working families tax credit, and how lots of people don't claim it, and so are poorer than they need to be. And the reason they don't claim it, is that the means test is done on the basis of the "family unit" - and so there are all sorts of complexities if you change partners, or move in with someone new; some people are turned down because of the income of their expartner's expartner - which is still somehow part of the equation. Basically people are poorer because the government's policy benefits those in stable "family" relationships.

Social justice says - get these people their money.
Family values says - er...not so much.

So what do we do, in this and a million other situations? Family values, or social equity? Morals, or compassion? Coaxing people to morality with the social security system, or meeting in their need with the social security system?

In essence, to me, I think we should err on the side of compassion. Not least because I don't think family values policies particularly work - the upshot of the working families tax credit is that people are poorer, not that they have more stable relationships - but also because in our attitudes to everything I think we should seek to model the Gospel not law. Call me an old lefty, but meeting people at their need, in their sin, giving them more and more grace, seems to me like a much more Gospel response to the issues of the world, than trying to impose a framework of law (even if it is good law for our benefit) onto people who don't know God.

The upshot of it all is that telling people about Jesus is the only real solution to society's problems - what a surprise.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

well here it is....

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |
My new blog. Must think of something to put in it.