Monthly Archives: January 2009

Sick Of Church

When opponents are denied the journey

That got them there


Be sick when we say “This is the only issue”

Be sick when we say “If this doesn’t go our way, then we leave.”


Be sick of the place

of the acting

of the weightless words

Be sick

When meaning is twisted

And context is censored

And soundbite stands for the whole


Be sick when one Shibbolleth decides the tribe


Be sick when silence is confused for peace

When indignation is craved and savoured

When the bile is disappointment with ourselves


Be sick and sick again

But discover the soreness is not long gone

No other way but this.



Lion’s Den

LionsDenGot this from my friend Fiona Rickards, who’s out in Cambodia with OMF.  It’s by Luci Shaw

To K. N. T.
‘How exciting
to find oneself
in the lion’s den
especially since
being there is as
safe as it was
for Daniel
and for the same



The Fantastic Story of Jason McElwane

Halfway To Heaven, in it’s first week of public attention is now brimming with illustrations in time for  Sunday.  There’s the Joshua Bell story below, and if you’re needing something more to say, or if you have a spare 2 minutes and 45 seconds, check this out (thanks to William for the link).


Living Out Of Your Mind

What would feed an orchid would drown a cactus,

What would feed a mouse would starve an elephant.


That we need to avoid the cycle of

a.       Think of things we must do to improve because everyone else seems to be doing better than us

b.       Do them

c.        Stop do them

d.       Wait for the guilt to build up

e.       Think of things we must do to improve because everyone else seems to be doing better than us


Rather the starting point is our thirst (John 7:37).


2.       An acorn never grows into a rosebush.


An acorn only ever grows into an oak, it might be a healthy oak, it might be an oak but it never stops being an oak.


When we get holier, we also get you-ier.


The contrast (9:30) between Paul who is passionate and zealous and hates Christians

And Paul who is passionate and zealous and who serves the Church


The contrast between Chuck Colson who is driven and intelligent and seeks power

And Chuck Colson who is driven and intelligent and serves prisoners.


The Battle In The Mind

(10-20) The notion of making every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10) and thinking about where the thought leads.


(21-24) “Set your minds on things above” (Colossians 3:2 and Romans 8) the idea that we can set our minds, that the mind can be controlled and is not just the passive victim of passing thoughts.


(25-27) The mind, when occupied descends to chaos and anger, and the television is convenient way of occupying the mind.  The analogy is made with the Holy Spirit who is always at work and broadcasting thoughts (Holy Spirit Network) and our call is to tune in.


(27-30) The idea of meditating on the law day and night is intimidating, but better to think on “whatever is admirable, whatever is lovely” (Philippians 4) – the scope in this wide.


(32-38) Being struck by beauty and not ignoring it.


Brilliant story of a violinist called Joshua Bell.  He grew up with enormous talent and plays over the world to packed audiences.  As an experiment it was decided to ask XXX to play in a metro station.  People predicted that the beauty of the music, and the quality of the playing, would cause crowds to gather out of control, there would


Instead what happened (and this is on video) 1,097 people walked past.  This was something that people would pay 100s of dollars, but people One person recognised Joshua Bell and gave $20, the rest of the donations were $12.17.


The master was at work, the acoustics were fabulous and people just walked by.


A few dozen paused in their walking, the rest of the crowd gave $12.17


Why did they not stop to listen


They were busy,

They were worried

They had things to do


All they had to do was pause

And it would be the moment of life time

This was the opportunity of a lifetime

The master was at work.

Let Us Not Mock

From John UpdikeJohn Updike

Let us not mock God with metaphor,

Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;

making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded credulity of earlier ages;

let us walk through the door.


Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,

For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,

Lest awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarassed by the miracle,

and crushed by remonstrance.

* Quoted on page 72 of “Surprised By Hope” in connection with the Resurrection


Our Wearied Frame

Let all within bless you,

You the God of the All


All sin forgiven,

All disease healed

Rescue from the pit

Love and kindness upon us

Good that satisfies so that age is undone.


Your love is keen, your anger slow

Your chiding is not forever, you do not deal with us by our faults


As high as the heavens, love is

As far as East is from West, sins are driven away

As a mother loves, as a father loves

You love


Our wearied earthy frame is not long here,

And still you love

O bless the Lord O my soul

And all that is within me






Dear John – Romancing Calvin

He refuses to say that you must repent before you can have faith.  He refuses even to say that you must repent before you are forgiven.  For repentance is a gift up there with faith and forgiveness both, all given together – though if you really must draw a timeline, then it is repentance that follows forgiveness and faith, and not the other way round.  For how can we know the true depth of our sin before God has revealed to us his glory?  But equally, and most beautifully, it is only when we are seized with a knowledge of our own sinfulness that we can truly know God, for the Christ of the Gospels ‘manifests himself to none but miserable and afflicted sinners’.[1]   Calvin is actually nonplussed: why would you want to deny you’re a sinner?  That’s just turning down the chance to know Jesus.

Good old Calvin.  When he is right, he is gloriously right.  And when he is wrong – well, at least he’s gloriously wrong.  And that’s why I’m falling in love. 

[1] The reference is taken from Beveridge’s 1962 translation, III/20.

World is passing away


This was a bit of a muddle this.  Tries to deal with “Eschatalogical tension” – the difference between what we are, and what we are to become.  Rob Bell does this better in Sex God when he talks about Animals and Angels.

Anyway things looked at were:

1. The balance of male-female advice and the revolutionary nature of this in the ancient world

2. The tentative nature of Paul’s advice

3. That sex is good.

4. The goodness of singleness

5. The mysterious effect of the believing spouse.