Archive for January, 2009

Bread of Life

Posted in From others..., Musings with tags , , , , on January 15, 2009 by johnfom

This video came through on the feed from TED The other day. I’ve just gotten round to watching it.

It’s a great parable.  It tells a story, relates it to spiritual matters AND leaves you to draw all sorts of meaning from it.  It has given me all sorts of things to think on in my current endevour of trying to learn how to tell stories with meaning.

What I particularly like is that you can see the passion this man (Peter Reinhart) has for what he does.  He has what I’d describe as a ‘visible vocation’.  He gives the impression that this is not ‘just a job’ for him.

ted_logo

Take the 15 or so minutes to watch it.  It’s well worth it.  You can see it here.

Lord, Save us from legislation

Posted in From others..., Rants with tags , , , , on January 14, 2009 by johnfom

save-us

iMonk has reviewed and recommended a movie called ‘Lord, Save us from your followers.

The link to the preview of the movie is here

I haven’t seen the movie, only the ten minute preview, but I’m looking forward to seeing it when I have the money to buy it.

It seems to be mainly abot the culture wars in the US, which I don’t see as such a great problem in UK, but it does seem to fit in some way into my own view of how to conduct a ‘culture war’ as a Christian.

While I’m not the biggest fan of Bono, but his comment in the preview is something I can agree with.   He says that he was cynical, not about God, but abaout God’s politics (3:00 in the preview).  I’d say that it is the politics of the church that is at fault, not God himself, but the thought is still a good one.

When God created, he created everything necessary for life.  As part of that, he created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then told Adam and Eve not to eat of it.  What has facinated me for a long while now is that God, omniscient being that he is, knew the potential for Adam and Eve to eat that fruit.  He knew it would happen, and still He left the tree there.

He  didn’t rip the tree up. He didn’t put it in an unaccessable place.  In His infinite wisdom, he didn’t remove the thing that was going to drive a wedge between Him and his creation.  There’s no sarcasm in that statement.  God, who is all-knowing, all-wise, DID NOT make it impossible or even make it hard for the peak of his creation to sin.

Why then is it that we, of limited knowledge and questionable wisdom, see fit to attempt to censor others through legislation, seeking to impose our wisdom of what is wrong and dangerous on others?  How do we come to the conclusion that we should make laws that force others to conform to a Christian lifestyle?

Sure, God has used laws in the past (see Exodus, Leviticus and Deusteronomy in the bible), but even then it was in the contxt of his own people.  He didn’t extend those laws to the nations that were not in conscious relationship with Him.  He didn’t command, implore or otherwise encourage the Israelites to get those laws accepted by the nations they came in contact with.

In the time after Jesus’ physical time on Earth, Paul writes:

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? (1 Cor 5:12)

What business is it of our’s, as the church today, to impose our way of life on others? For instance, people in the US recently waged a campaign against homosexual marriage.  I suspect church people involved are the same people who would wage a campaign against a secular government’s attempts to force churches to marry homosexuals or even employ them in a church.  It’s ok to force others to live our way of life, to impose our morality on them, but if they try to modify ours…

Our ‘business’ is to share what we know, and to make disciples. Not to conscript disciples and force others to live as we think they should.  That would be my confession (like the confessional in the movie 6:20).  That I, and the people I identify myself with, have overstepped the bounds of our authority, replaced our wisdom for the wisdom the god we are supposed to be serving.  That we have replace the rule of God with the rule of Law and tried to impose regulation rather than treating others as God treated Adam and Eve by leaving them to make thier own choices in the light of what they know and believe.

What’s your Economy?

Posted in Musings with tags , , , on January 10, 2009 by johnfom
Image from freakingnews.com

Image from freakingnews.com

Economy can be defined as “Careful, thrifty management of resources, such as money, materials, or labor” or “A specific type of economic system (an industrial economy; a planned economy)”.

With the ongoing financial turmoil there’s some talk of a ‘new world’ and ‘new ways of thinking’.  I noticed even my favourite bit of monthly escapist reading, Top Gear magazine, has a bit in the editorials about it.

The editor, Michael Harvey, writes”…what I’m hearing are predictions that it will never be the same again.” … “Along with the realignment that’s required to get the financial sector working again, there’s a moral realignment that goes hand in hand with it. We are all going to feel differently about money when this is all over.’

Most of it is, of course, merely rhetoric designed to sell papers and get some sort of news story. Trying to whip up a bit of a collective ‘OMG’ in other words.  But I think there is a true observation at the base of it.  For all our (in the west) consumerism there seems to be a change in the attitudes of many I speak with.

There is a sort of ambivalence growing towards the new big TV, the latest technology, the bigger house, the newer car.  Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be an increasing desire for ‘the good life’ and the good life doesn’t include chasing the dollar/pound.

For myself, I have long viewed my paid work as an exchange of my time for enough money to ‘do’ the things I want: have a place to live, gain access to reading material, go on drives around Scotland and see this country I’ve temporarily adopted as my home, have people over for dinner or meet them at the pub for a chat.  My economy runs on the collection and creation of stories.  I work just enough to pay the bills and do those things I just listed.  If the price of fuel goes down, I work less.  If the price of a pint goes up, I work more.   I try to work just enough to sustain that lifestyle and gain the stories that go with it.  If the stories stopped comming, there’d be no point in working, or in going out of whatever wee hovel I was living in at all for that matter.

So, has there been a change in your view of what the ‘good life’ is?  I’m interested in how and if people’s view of what they are pursuing in life has changed.  What is your economy?

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