Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blogging on my iPod

Well, my palm m550 finally gave it in. After a lot of internal debate I opted for an iPod touch as it's replacement. You don't get many PDAs available these days and the touch does the task very well.

And for those wondering: no, I still don't want a mobile phone.

Taking the cross out of Christianity?

Apparently a vicar in West Sussex has removed the crucifix from the front of his church because,

The crucifix expressed suffering, torment, pain and anguish. It was a scary image, particularly for children.

[...]

It wasn't a suitable image for the outside of a church wanting to welcome worshippers. In fact, it was a real put-off.

We're all about hope, encouragement and the joy of the Christian faith. We want to communicate good news, not bad news, so we need a more uplifting and inspiring symbol than execution on a cross.

A part of me broke down in laughter while the other part was horrified to think that anyone owning the name Christian could possibly think the cross had no place in welcoming people to Christ. Granted, I'm no fan of crucifixes per se (call me an iconoclast if you must), but it's devestating to think someone responsible for God's sheep could possibly ignore the wisdom of God in the cross.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. [...] 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Is Biblical faith frustrated with God?

John Hobbins suggests that "someone who is not on occasion perfectly aggravated by what God does and does not do, is bereft of biblical faith." I'm not 100% convinced by his argument. It's true that the Bible often expresses confusion and consternation at God's actions. But I think it does offer a real explanation. Not in the opaque determinations of God's divine wisdom, but in the rebelliousness of humanity and the resultant rift between us and God.

I found this particularly studying Ecclesiastes recently. It seems to me that while the author is resigned to life being fleeting and frustrating, he holds hope of a final reconciliation. I know the experience of—at some of my lowest moments—simply wondering if God's really got it together. But it's seeing people persevere through those moments, because of God's kindness in holding on to them when they'd rather reject him, that I would call evidence of "biblical faith".

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Great definition of Biblical Narrative

Liked this definition from Biblical Preaching (which is actually quoting Jeffrey Archer's Preaching with Variety.

Biblical narrative can be defined as a historically accurate, artistically sophisticated account of persons and actions in a setting designed to reveal God and edify the reader.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Emotions and Christians

Another blog I follow referred me to Gospel Reminders. I thought the following was a fantastic quote by William E. Sangster.

The man who screams at a football game, but is distressed when he hears of a sinner weeping at the cross, and murmurs about the dangers of emotionalism, hardly merits intelligent respect.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Update

Have been quiet for a few months. Having finished college in Sydney, we're now part way through a move to Queensland to work for the Presbyterian Church of Queensland. We're looking for a place in Arundel where I'll be a student minister at Arundel Presbyterian while I study at the Queensland Theological College. So my thoughts haven't been that straight, especially with the stress of trying to find a house to rent during the Christmas-New Year chaos. (Will try and post about that experience at some stage.)

So what will we be doing at Arundel? Initially, just getting to know people and taking on leadership of the Youth Group. But long term, we're aiming under God's hand to start up a congregation that specifically serves University students well. Will try and post my lessons along the way. I also owe a few posts with highlights from my project comparing Christian and Islamic doctrines of Scripture and my issues paper on eschtaological Sabbath Rest. But not today. Until then, please forgive my relative silence.