Apr 04

Places of refuge

View from Masada

The Church is a often seen as a place where people are right, or think they are. Wouldn’t it be better if it was a place where people went when they needed love?

I am just back from Spring Harvest 2013 which was great, if a little cold. One of the highlights of the week was listening to Gerard Kelly’s wonderful teaching on John’s first letter. The central point that both Gerard and John were making, over and over again was that love is overwhelmingly the most important aspect of Christian life. Continue reading

May 01

What am I worth?

Michelangelo - The Creation of AdamWe had a good sermon at church last Sunday. It seemed  that our vicar thought otherwise and my heart went out to her because of this. She preached on James 1 1-12 and she talked about perseverance, trials, humility and expectation.

She was humble and sincere and she opened up about her pre-sermon crises of confidence.

There was one thing she said that struck a particular chord with me and that was concerning our necessary reliance on God and how, as Christians we sometimes need to humble ourselves completely to let God take control.

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Apr 21

Problems with getting out of the boat: part 1

 

Delacroix - Christ Walking on WaterSo, one of the (many, many) things that made me cross last year was a less than dutiful approach to guidance in a book by John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.

In this book, Mr Ortberg uses the passage in Matthew 14, when Peter attempts to walk on water, as the basis for promoting more active discipleship. The book is not a great one, and contains a number of rather dubious examples and, while I believe Mr Ortberg is right to try and mobilise Christians and to promote active commitment to discipleship, I am not happy that he chose a very good approach to the task.

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Apr 10

Why the Cross Christian?

The Cross ChristianI am a cross Christian.

A cross Christian? It jars a bit doesn’t it? Surely, Christians should be happy all the time? Well, I am not. In fact, as I get older I realise I am getting crosser. Or at least, as I get older more things make me cross.

When I first started thinking about writing, I wanted to put the world right, to express myself honestly and to make God proud. I also wanted to see if I had any talent, to see if this was something I could actually do.

However, I realise that a lot of what I want to say is angry and that I am in danger of just adding more rant to an already angry web space. The amount of bile and hatred and the lack of consideration and love on the social web makes me… er… cross.

I think I can legitimately be cross while trying to put the world right and I can certainly express myself honestly through rant! The main challenge is to tackle the last one – making God proud. This is where I need to think and pray. This is where the hope Jesus gives me needs to be brought to bear on my cynicism and I need to turn anger and crossness into joy. Frankly, that sounds rather hard, but I shall give it a go.

On the upside, I also realise that it might be constructive to tackle this anger in the open – after all there might even be one or two others like me, Christians who get cross. I strongly suspect so. I hear things you know, and I read things too.

Finally, I am also a Cross Christian. Did you see what I did there? I believe that Jesus died for me on a cross and that because he did; I am forgiven and get to live forever. That is very cool.

M