Wednesday, 27 April 2011
When Mr. Cameron called Ed Balls "the most annoying person in modern politics", no one accused him of anything.
So when is a jibe just a light-hearted joke, and when is it bullying discrimination?
Would you rather receive scathing remarks, or subtly belittling comments?
I have to remind myself sometimes that one of the fruits of the Spirit is gentleness. Jesus certainly scathed on some occasions, but there's no stories I can think of where Jesus jibed. So the essential difference, IMO, is between a put-down, and a rebuke.
We're often too eager to dish out the former, and too timid to offer the latter.
Sunday, 17 April 2011
So who's being religiously intolerant here:
a) The company that asked the driver to remove his policy-breaking item?
b) The Yorkshireman who drove around with a symbol of his faith in a van window?
Actually, I'm voting for secret option 'c': the grumbling twit who registered a complaint that a palm cross was offensive.
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
I was under the impression that the whole 'it's so bad it's good!' thing was a new idea, until I discovered Florence Foster Jenkins. At the height of her fame she sang in Carnegie Hall, apparently because of huge public demand, in 1944. And yes, she was utterly appalling. Crank up your stereo and listen to this.
Apparently Florence always believed she was a really great singer. It's pretty sad really. But not quite as sad as a person who would rather be infamous than anonymous.
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
So how will Action for Happiness achieve what religion has failed to do? With a list of rules of course - the "ten keys to happiness"! Here's what you have to do to be happy:
So, instead of expecting religion to cheer you up, you can do it by yourself - by adopting this new way of life! And what kind of lifestyle is this exactly? Hmm? To me it looks suspiciously religious.
So will it work? It will work just like a shopping spree, a stuffed-crust pizza and a chick flick: satisfying for a short while, but not lastingly and not deeply. Think about how you'd approach the last five keys on the list:
Direction - I am trying to bring happiness to make the world better
Resilience - In tough times I'll just grin and bear it
Emotion - I'll always have a positive approach, even if it's against my nature
Acceptance - I am comfortable with who I am, because this organisation says I should be
Meaning - I find my purpose in trying to make people happy
And now compare an approach to the same keys, but from someone who knows Christ:
Direction - I am following Jesus because He is my Lord
Resilience - In tough times God is my rock and foundation. In my weakness He is strong
Emotion - I'll always celebrate the fact that Jesus has washed my sin away and adopted me as God's own child
Acceptance - I am comfortable with who I am because God loves me as I am
Meaning - I find my purpose in the destiny of an eternal God
The top five on the list are more active - things you should do. Again, there is a massive difference between the Action for Happiness and the Christian approaches:
AfH - do all these things because then you will be happier
Christian - meet Jesus and you'll want to do all these things
Action for Happiness tells us that we can achieve happiness, we can earn grace. It sets up a religious lifestyle for us to follow. Jesus chucks out grace free of charge, He can do things in my life that are impossible to achieve on my own. This makes me very happy :)
Friday, 8 April 2011
The universe is stunning. If you haven't already, you should look at some images that the Hubble Telescope has captured. Science is great at showing us how incredible God is.