Friday, April 11, 2014

Flawed

'The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less. I don’t need to notice myself- how I’m doing, how I'm being regarded- so often.

Religion and the gospel also differ fundamentally in how they treat the Other- those who do not share one's own beliefs and practices. Postmodern thinkers understand that the self is formed and strengthened through the exclusion of the Other-those who do not have the values or traits on which I base my own significance. We define ourselves by pointing to those whom we are not. We bolster our sense of worth by devaluing those of other races, beliefs and traits. This gospel identity gives us a new basis for harmonious social arrangements. A Christian's worth and value are not created by excluding anyone, but through the Lord who was excluded for me. His grace both humbles me more deeply than religion can (since I am too flawed to ever save myself through my own effort), yet it also affirms me more powerfully than religion can (since I can be absolutely certain of God's unconditional acceptance).

That means I cannot despise those who do not believe as I do. Since I am not saved by my correct doctrine or practice, then this person before me, even with his or her wrong beliefs, might be morally superior to me in many ways. It also means I do not have to be intimidated by anyone. I am not so insecure that I fear the power or success or talent of people who are different from me. The gospel makes it possible for a person to escape oversensitivity, defensiveness and the need to criticise others. The Christian's identity is not based on the need to be perceived a good person , but on God valuing you in Christ'

Tim Keller,  'The Reason for God', Page 181-2

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bits and bobs

I went on a Clergy day at St Mellitus which was a blessing and I now feel up to speed on matters theological specifically Paul and the NT.

One of our speakers was Chris Tilling who has contributed to this response to Bart Ehrman.

My ethics tutor at Vicar Factory Andrew has posted this in response to the ABC on gay marriage and violence.

Jonathan Martins sermon called 'Go' really blessed me.

Vicky Beeching, the media pundit and worship leader, has posted in support of Gay Marriage which is causing much twitter comment. She follows a road walked by other well-known and popular (post-?) evangelical figures such as Steve Chalke, Brian McLaren, Rachel Held Evans and Rob Bell. I found this post a help which collected responses to Steve Chalke's take on Scripture and one clergy friend pointed me particularly to the Steve Holmes article in the list which I have now read. Some people have clearly not been very kind to Vicky though which is a shame (even if you think she's mistaken, which I do- do please try to be kind).

So that readers know, I take an orthodox and traditional view on marriage, through my reading of both Scripture and tradition, that 'Marriage', as Jesus stated it in Matt 19, is between a man and a women. When I studied at VF I found the chapter in Hays 'A moral vision of the NT' particularly helpful to me on issues of human-sexuality which you may like to seek out. The Bishops of the C of E, of which I am a part, have stated a position here which is the one we Clergy and individual local churches are currently working to and under.  

Monday, April 07, 2014

Don't Act 'Be'

'A Christian is something before he does anything; and we have to be Christian before we can act as Christians'

Martyn Lloyd Jones
Studies in the Sermon in the Mount

Quoted in the excellent 'What's best next' by Matt Perman

Page 123

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

All in a days work

I have been really rather poor at writing on the blog in recent months. What with church life, married life and life in general musing a few thoughts on the blog has taken a back seat. I do try and post a few link though.

The blog-o-shere and news is awash with matters Gay marriage and in a timely fashion Rev pitched in. The BBC has a primer on those who may not be in favour (like the C of E for example). Peter Ould is my go to thoughtful source on these matters.

I have been reading 'Revolution in world missions' which I am finding challenging.

The excellent and influential Anglican blogger and clergyman John Richardson has sadly died. Obit here.

Ken Costa spoke at Elevation recently which I listened to.

I have been singing loudly along to every word (especially the chorus 'You're not finished with me yet') from Song 8 on this album. Do sing and pray along with me.

I am looking forward to listening to and being encouraged by Rich Warren at this.

I am writing much more in my journal as I read this bit by bit.

I have been mulling on this quote and have written it in my journal (see what I'm doing here :)

''All God's giants have been weak men and women, who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them" W. Weirsbe

We are sending a team of 16 out with 'Mission direct' to Brazil  and had a little fundraising bash to support them which was jolly. See a wee film Beth made of the night here.

Alpha finishes tomorrow and then the plan is to learn how to pray.

This book looks interesting for someone who wonders what to do once they have become a Christian.