truth and status...
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Paul Fromont (on 'Prodigal Kiwi(s)' blog) - Fullness of Truth
Richard White (on the Dream blog) - Jesus never spoke to prostitutes
changing our minds...
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The trouble is, that we Christians (or whatever we call ourselves) are not very good at this! We tend to see changing our minds as a sign of weakness rather than a point of growth - the beginning of a slippery slope towards losing faith! Paul Fromont posts 'here' a link to a paper by Canon Joseph Cassidy, of St Chad's college Durham, in which he writes, "…Spiritual freedom is rather a measure of whether I'd be willing to change my mind if God required it of me. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, urged his companions to aim for 'indifference': though it is a bit of a misnomer, in his terms indifference is a quest for equilibrium, a desire to be inclined to one option or another solely because it is closer to God's will for us. In other words it is a desire to be swayed by nothing other than God's will."
This reminds me of a conversation I was having with a friend last week in which we discussed the problem of power and intransigence in the church and compared it to the frequent cases in the Bible of God jumping out of the boxes that people had put him in. Perhaps the most classic case of this is Peter's vision in Acts 10, where God essentially instructs Peter to disobey the Word of God (not an easy one to reconcile with any notion of scriptural infallibility). Peter's obedience to God's will in this case opened up the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles for the first time.
And so, I wonder... what does the Church need to change it's mind over in order to be obedient to God's will and the missio dei in today's world? What do I have to change my mind over? What boxes have we constructed that we still only expect God to work in and through? Would we be willing to entertain the possibility that this is God's activity if it didn't fit those particular frameworks. I guess Peter could have easily concluded that his vision was 'demonic' once he 'weighed it' against his scriptures. Thank God he didn't!
Another friend of mine once told me that he felt 'called' by God to be a Bishop in the church, but not remotely called to be a vicar (or equivalent). Is he wrong? Is he power mad? Or is our system wrong that sets bishops in some kind of hierarchical arrangement? After all, isn't a bishop simply a member of the community of faith (the Church) with a specific ministry - no more important and no less important than any other member of this community? Why can't someone be called to this specific ministry without a call to other ministries first?
Don't get me wrong... I'm not overly hung up on this one. I guess it just may illustrate one such example of a box we may have put God in that he needs to spring up from and out of. I'm sure there are many more. Suggestions on a blog comment to....
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
For more info see the BBC's press release 'here'
the truth isn't sexy...
Friday, November 16, 2007
It's a great campaign so if you're not familiar with it take a moment to go to the campaign website and find out more. Even better... get together a group of people to take the beer mats and posters into the pubs in your area. The wider this material is distributed, the more chance there is that it will have the desired effect of revealing hidden realities, challenging attitudes, and changing the culture that leads to so many women being trafficked and/or enslaved against their will in the 'sex industry'.
The local BBC ran a feature about it yesterday and the BBC web site has a piece 'here' (even if they did heavily edit the quotes!!)
truth and beauty...
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The above quote is taken from an article in the November 2007 issue of Third Way magazine in which James Cary comments on the extraordinary beauty of the earth as a pointer to the fact that "God's into beauty." I totally agree with James on this and lament the 'baby' that was thrown out with the reformers 'bath water'. Even today I find myself in conversation with some evangelicals having to justify the use of image and visual in worship - how sad.
Maybe, though, things are changing and the place of ascetic beauty is being rightly rediscovered in worship. James concludes his article by stating, "Things are beginning to change among evangelicals. It's taken 500 years, but fortunately that is like a day to God (although to us it seems longer). Ministers and pastors increasingly want to connect with the creative community..."
three from elsewhere...
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
- Ben Edson's provocative post that challenges our insecurities when it comes to faith and spirituality - not sure what I think though I'm hugely grateful for people like Ben who push the boundaries and make us think. Also see his follow up post 'here'
- A refreshing and inspiring (for personal reasons that I'll post about when I get time!) post from Paul Fromont considering leadership, prayer and priesthood.
- Another wonderfully creative piece of mission from friends in New Zealand.
a state of emergency...
Monday, November 05, 2007
It's easy for the West to come up with platitudes about democracy and so on without a clear understanding of the issues at stake. I must admit to my own views being clouded by the fact that when I was last in Pakistan I spoke to several people belonging to Pakistan's minority communities (i.e. non-Muslim) who spoke about how things were better for them under the Musharraf regime than had previously been the case under 'democratically elected' governments.
In short, things are seldom black and white but various shades of grey, and I simply have to throw myself on the mercy and wisdom of God, that he might bring clarity, peace and justice to a nation that has suffered so much in its relatively short history. Can I urge you to do the same?...
To keep up to date with the events in Pakistan as they unfold, see the BBC and the Guardian special sections.