Saturday, 28 February 2009

Coldplay

Christians seem to like Coldplay. I'm not entirely sure why, but they do sound quite similar to a lot of worship music.

Again, I'm not sure of the reasons, but Chris Martin (the frontman) seems to get a lot of stick.

I don't hold any particularly strong views on Chris or his band, but I found this quote from the BBC hilarious:

"Radio 1 also apologised on-air immediately after Bono used an expletive to describe Coldplay's lead singer Chris Martin.

The BBC said it had received no complaints about it."

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Suspicious of Tim Keller...

Ok, I've got to be honest, I don't actually know that much about Tim Keller. In fact, I'm pretty sure I had never heard his name until a few weeks ago. Since then, I've noticed a few allusions to him in various blogs.

But, is it just coincidence that so-called Mr. Keller, looks exactly like Mike Novick from 24???

I think not! It seems to me that something sinister is afoot...

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

"Marginalisation of Christianity" - have your say...

I often read the BBC's Have Your Say message board, and have a good old growl at most of the comments that get put up. They pretty much follow the formula of; "More PC madness! When will this government learn to stop meddling and let us get on with our lives! Complete nanny state! We need a return to common sense, not this blame culture Britain. Alan B. - Sussex." Which is annoying when you have to read the same thing 15 times and the question was actually about a famine in Kenya.

Anyway, I thought I'd post my responses to recent comments over this issue:

Faith Diary: Your comments

In this week's Faith Diary the BBC's religious Affairs correspondent Robert Piggott addresses the growing alarm among church leaders at what they regard as "aggressive secularism", resulting in a marginalisation of Christianity.

Send us your comments in reaction to Robert's diary.

1. Secularism isn't aggressive. Faith is and has been for centuries. The more church leaders complain, the better.

[paulcjm], Netherlands

What? Nonsense. Faith is aggressive? Do you mean that religious groups sometimes act in a violent way? Because I think that non-religious groups do that quite often as well. And actually, the heart of Christianity is love. Who defines the heart of secularism?

Maybe the current recession is an opportunity for all faiths to work together to lead by example - if they can get along, then so can the rest of us.

[soupdragon10], Liskeard, United Kingdom

The point of faith is not to help people through recession, it is to help people discover God. I'm not prepared to work with a humanist (for example) to help people discover God. I would work with a humanist to bring aid to starving humans, but I would do that regardless of Britian's economic situation.


Christianity is indeed being marginalised as people ask questions that it can't answer and see through the implausible tales and hoodwinking that previously kept the uneducated masses under its thumb.

[Ambriel], Kinlochbervie, United Kingdom

I went to school, and I still believe in God. Seriously, how else can you account for the universe? There isn't a more plausible explanation.

It amazes me that people often see Christians as not just deluded, but malicious and selfish, as if they have manipulated people for their own personal (probably financial) gain. The only way you can believe that is if you don't know anything about Christianity. People make so many huge assumptions because secular culture has given them permission to.


Saturday, 21 February 2009

Genuine witness

It seems like a lot of people struggle with the idea of witnessing in the workplace. I'm not sure whether I should admit that I do, since I'm a Christian youth worker.

My job got me thinking a lot about how we evangelise, and I've got a lot of reservations about the some of tactics discussed here by Dave.

There are a load of people out there who don't care about Jesus, which isn't really fair, as they've never met Him. So as Christians, we're trying to introduce people to Jesus, cos we're confident that once you meet the guy you realise what all the fuss is about, right?

And what is all the fuss about? Well; eternal life, relationship with God, adoption as a child of God and the Spirit of God living inside us, among other things.

If this is true, then why don't we just tell people?

For examplage: when I went to Romania I found Fanta Grape, which is very very nice, but not distributed to the UK. You can, however, find some purveyors of imported goods that sell it at about 150% of the cost of a normal can of Fanta. It is worth it. A South African shop recently opened in Shrewsbury, where I live, which offers Fanta Grape among many other things. If I think my friends should try Grape Fanta (one of the best drinks on the planet) what should I do?

A. Invite them to a succession of mildly competitive sporting events, and then perhaps after a year or so they might be interested in coming for a tour of the Fanta factory.

B. Every time I see them with a can of regular orange Fanta, shout at them.

C. Occasionally make passing remarks like, "There's only two things in the world that should be purple - Cadbury's wrappers and the E4 logo - everything else looks bad in purple. Although Fanta Grape is purple and it's not bad."

D. Give them some Fanta Grape.

I guess the big question is how do you give someone Jesus?

Last observation: Christians try hard not to look crazy so that they can engage with society in a non-threatening way. This is not good. Just about everything Jesus did was completely crazy. Craziness is not always attractive, but if someone was telling me they just won the lottery I'd be much more likely to believe them if they actually looked ecstatic about it.

Apparently the gospel isn't as fun, exciting or rewarding as winning the lottery.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Menly men and all that stuff...

I don't think I've blogged about gender yet, but it's a fairly unavoidable issue, and this post in particular got me thinking.

I don't want to make this all about Mark Driscoll, but he often becomes the focus of a lot of critisicm because of his rants about the church needing to be more masculine, and how this should involve the slaying of many beasts and the pressing of many benches, or something like that.

Basically, Mark is a macho kind of guy, and expresses his macho-Christianity with statements like: We are deadly serious about the great commission and loading all guns to storm hell with the gospel of grace.

I can see that people object to this kind of talk because it can seem to promote violence. Violence against people is bad - I agree. However, there are lots of guys who like the idea of blowin' up stuff and setting fire to things and wreaking havoc with a sledgehammer etc. One of the highlights of my gap year, when I worked for my church, was getting to destroy an unwanted (and very sturdy) high-chair with my bare hands.

I had to act in a violent way towards the high-chair, and I enjoyed it. Was this wrong? (There was no child in it at the time)

If I came across a shrine to Baal in my garden (a tad unlikely) I would destroy it, and most probably enjoy it. Surely this is not wrong.

Even when pacifists agree that Mark Driscoll's violent language is metaphorical, they still don't seem to understand that it's not actually condoning physical violence against people. What it is condoning is a violent attitude towards sin.

For example;
Mark sees apathy
Mark wants to destroy apathy
Mark decides to attack apathy with an enormous mace (metaphor)
i.e. Mark sets his alarm clock for 6am so he can get up and pray

I have no problem with violent metaphors as long as the outworking is the destruction of strongholds etc. However, I don't think men should need violent metphors to incite them, they should rely on the Holy Spirit. And why not let women enjoy a little violence as well?

Apart from that last bit there wasn't actually much about gender there...

Monday, 9 February 2009

Super powers

I keep forgetting to publish these results:

It turns out that most people would prefer to have the power of flight!
Invisibility came second, and Laser/X-ray vision third.

No one wants to be super-strong, it seems.

Snow

I was thinking about snow the other day; specifically that it actually is just about the whitest thing you can get. I can see why Christian songwriters like to use phrases like, "washed white as the snow", because snow is incredibly white.

This is beneficial to manufacturers of Christmas cards, because they don't have to spend much on ink, I suppose.
Many cards will have a snowman of a very similar hue.

However, the average colour of a real snowman leans more in the direction of brown.

Once you have a brown snowman, there is no way of making him white again, because snow is quite hard to clean. I guess you'd have to melt it, filter it carefully and re-freeze it in a special way.

So there's quite a good analogy here for salvation....

I can imagine an emotional preacher saying, "you have to be prepared to let God melt, filter and re-freeze you in His own wonderful way, and then receive the lemon annointing of the Holy Sorbet, to be transfigured into a snow-cone of glory, ready to serve all the tastebuds of the world......"

Monday, 2 February 2009

Sorry, I'm too busy

I don't like having to turn things down all the time, but I'm learning that I have to if I don't want my prior commitments to suffer. Last week was a particularly busy one, what with my birthday and everything, and I had to cut study time from my schedule, which means that this week I've got to work hard to get my assignment done.

I am not totally opposed to hard work, but I don't like having the pressure of always having things that need to be done. I would much rather spend my time finding things to do, coming up with my own creative ideas, instead of just working through a pre-defined to-do list. The trouble is, when I have free time, I'm much more likely to want to chillax with a guitar or DS to escape from everything else that's going on.

What really annoys me is that even the fun things aren't as fun because I'm thinking of other things I should be doing instead. In effect, I feel busy all the time even when I'm not. Especially during holidays.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I think the Sabbath was one of God's best ideas. It's a shame we don't really seem to do Sabbathing any more. I think I need someone to explain the theology behind it, cos I'm pretty confused about how it's supposed to work for us gentiles.