Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Result

Since I blogged that I had a theory test, I should probably blog the result... I passed! I was most nervous about hazard perception, but it was fine really. The multiple choice was a doddle, but I had gone through every possible question the night before.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The best theory test question

I'm taking a short break from my driving theory revision - my test is tomorrow morning. Hopefully I'll get 50 questions like this (click to see it biggened):

Monday, 16 May 2011

Jesus raves

I met someone a while ago who was wearing a hat bearing the slogan 'Jesus raves'. She commented, not in an unpleasant way, that it was "probably quite offensive", but I'm not sure. If you associate raving with taking drugs and getting sloshed then I guess it's an offensive hat, because Jesus would never do that. On the other hand, if 'raving' is more about dancing, partying and having a good time, then yes - that is Jesus' kind of thing.

I was in Cambridge over the weeked, and happened to visit a church where Mike Pilavachi was speaking. He talked about how individualism is ruining our society, and parts of the church, but the antidote is living in community - like God. He explained the Holy Trinity as being an eternal dance (not his analogy, it's several hundred years old), which we get to join in.

In the Bible, how often does Jesus visit, or base a parable around, a party/feast/shindig? Quite a bit. What will happen in heaven? Endless quiet reflection and meditation? I doubt it. I'm expecting the biggest knees-up since these guys broke the record for the longest Riverdance. Occasionally, we get little previews of what heaven will be like. This is a great one:









Not only are the bride and groom being launched into the air - the rest of the crowd are dancing around them. I'd be up for more of this sort of thing in church, but unfortunately I live in England.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The dancing headmaster

This is a fantastic example of someone not taking themself too seriously. Everyone could benefit from a little dancing in the dinner hall once in a while.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Chinese TV turns 'propaganda' for three months

In July China will be celebrating 90 years of the Communist Party. To get the nation into a fittingly festive mood, they have ordered television stations to air programmes that highlight the wondrous achievements and general fantasticness of the country's rulers. They have also banned crime drama, and programmes that feature time travel.

Wouldn't want to go giving people funny ideas now, would we?

No. For the next few months all of China will be raising rice-wine toasts to their adorable government in front of equally enamoured TV sets. I find this uncomfortable for two reasons:
a) As an Englishman, I can't imagine people celebrating the government
b) As a believer in democracy, I shudder at the thought of communist propaganda

But then some Chinese blogger might be thinking very similar things about our royal wedding.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Brave New World: Utopia?

I've just finished reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It's a really interesting book, and I would say "ahead of it's time" (written in 1931), but being a sci-fi it shouldn't be a surprise. This isn't a book review. For a plot summary (with massive spoilers) you can read this post. My post will be a comment on the worlds that Huxley creates.

Brave New World takes place in a future 'utopia'. There is total social stability, there is almost no disease, very low crime, high rates of happiness and acceptance of death. However, in order to achieve this the "World Controllers" have engineered a system where humans are bred in bottles, conditioned from embryos to fulfil a predestined place in society, and kept content with doses of drugs and recreational sex.

Within this new world there is, however, "The Reservation" - a small restricted area where human civilisation continues as it did hundreds of years ago; with gods, rituals, rites of passage, solitude, conflict and squalor. John, a central character, leaves the Reservation to visit the outside world, and we see what happens when his archaic worldview clashes with this modern civilisation.

The two worlds are almost opposite, and they are both (to quote the author) insane. The choice is between happiness and freedom.

In one society there is no end to the pleasure, no uncurable strife, as long as you conform to the life laid out for you.

In the other there is pain, life is beset with troubles, but there is also freedom to be an individual.

Which would you choose?

It's hard to read this book without wondering whether the real world is heading in its direction. Is it possible to achieve happiness, contentment and peace without sacrificing freedom?

Only through Jesus.

God knew that in giving humans the gift of freedom, he was giving us the option of messing up. We are not limited to an easy life, but opened up to a life of struggles and conflict. But we have a hope! If, out of our freedom we choose Jesus, then we can have happiness, contentment, peace and freedom! And even though the pain is still here for now, it won't last forever, even death will be forgotten. The hope of spending eternity with God is better than 'utopia', because it actually exists.