Archive for March, 2010

You’ll do for now…

I often like groups or pages on Facebook that my friends join to indicate my approval rather than joining them myself. One such page can be found here.

When I hit college age the gender balance in my friendships swung. Previously I’d been a guy who made friends with guys. After all a lot more teenage boys play soccer than teenage girls and what more are you interested in as a teenage boy apart from playing ball and balls playing? At third level in Ireland for every guy that attends university there are two women. The odds are in your favour. It was no surprise that I ended up with a lot of female friends. Some of it was the product of the clubs and societies I ended up in but another aspect was that, at that time, I felt I related to women better than I did men.

Over the past couple of years I’ve had a lot more online friendships and relationships than real life ones. I use the term real life to distinguish between relationships that occur more in the physical world compared to the virtual world. It’s funny but online relationships can become a lot more intense. There’s no chance to observe what’s going on with that person. That’s a big part of friendships in the real world. Virtually all you have to go on a lot of the time is the text that’s appearing in front of you. You can learn a lot in an online friendships but you can still know very little about the person you’re chatting with.

That doesn’t change the reality of these relationships though. You do make friends. You do have private jokes. You do share a lot and despite all the drawbacks you do have genuine friendships. Some of the greatest hurt I’ve ever known came as a result of a genuine, online friendship. Actually, a lot of the hurt I’ve known has come from online friendships. Maybe that should tell me something…

How much should a person’s other friendships change when they enter a relationship? It’s happened to me a few times now where I would chat regularly with a female friend and then they find a guy. It’s as if you never existed. You no longer figure in their life to any meaningful degree. They got their man and nothing else seems to matter. I don’t think this is a healthy state of affairs. It happens both ways. The general label where I’m from is that a man is whipped. I’m not sure what the female equivalent is.

If you find yourself cut out of a person’s life when they enter a relationship what does that say about your friendship? Obviously there are different seasons to life but how come so many of us seem to enter a cold, dark winter the moment someone else enjoys a warm, hot summer? It just seems wrong.

Music Moods

Mumford & Sons – The Cave

If I was any way musically inclined this is the kind of song I’d write.

Collapsing

isn’t fun :-(

Linkie Goodness #6

Some nice pictures of water

On avoiding distractions

Seen this around the place before but what about the sin of gluttony?

Stressing
Hugh MacLeod

The Qur’an: critical edition

Pretty and ugly {HT: You know who you are :-) }

Jesus loved people before we even knew they existed

Harry and Sally. Annie Hall. Can men and women be friends?

Reforming Irish Catholicism (HT: Zoomtard)

Exposing people who demonstrate magic powers

Nice picture of Ireland

I like this talk on healthcare

This is why I love Zoomtard

Top 10 Atheism quotes

Frank Viola interviews Tim Challies.

Women in football

Should the partner who suffers as a result of infidelity in a marriage be allowed to sue the person who slept with their spouse?

Movie Trailer (HT: Jesus Needs New PR:

Making a Difference. It pulled on my heart strings (HT: Stuff Christians Like)

Question

Would you move to a foreign country where English is not the main language for a job that pays significantly more than your current one with an organisation you’ve always felt it would be good to work for?

Brilliant Clip

In case you didn’t guess this is Irish. Basically the girl and a friend met a guy in the pub and she’s talking about getting his number.

Tabharfaidh mé m’uimhir duit aon am mo stór ;-)

I’ll give you my number any time my love

Self-Discipline

I think most things in my life come down to the amount of discipline I have. It’s that simple. If you can tame the temptations and desires that accost you and work towards your goals you will achieve those goals. Whether this gives you a happier life is another question of course. This presupposes that we are able to accomplish things through our own means and power; that man can lift himself up off his own feet; that the grace of God plays no role in our achievements and triumphs.

What is the chief aim of man? As human beings, as men and women what are we here for? To take the Westminister Catechism: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. John Piper changes this to: Man’s chief end is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. We also can sum up the commandments and the Law with the phrase, “Love the Lord your God and love your neighbour as yourself.” I always favoured the third one myself. You can’t do much better than Jesus’ summation of it like.

How is this reflected in my life? What should it look like? I wrestle with these questions a lot. It’s fair to say they are always uppermost in my mind when I’m walking through my day. At the root of it is individuality and community. To borrow from N.T. Wright even the hermit at the top of the pole in the desert needs someone to bring him food and water. I would lean to a more communal interpretation of Scripture but I’m not really sure what that is. In what sense does the Unity of the Body apply to local congregations of believers? Unity of doctrine, of diversity or of purpose? And how should local congregations relate to each other?

That’s what pisses me off the most actually. Christian churches behaving like factions of left-wing political groups based in Judea around the first century A.D. There doesn’t seem to be an urgency in myself first of all (which is a blog post in its own right) but also in a lot of Christians I know. To quote our atheist magician friend, Penn Jillete, below: “How much do we have to hate someone not to proselytize?

One of my pet hates in relation to the expression of Christianity I’ve come from is a tendency to view structure as Satan himself. People becoming legalistic in their attempts to avoid legalism. There is no great blessing of the Spirit on spontaneity for its own sake nor is there a great blessing of the Spirit on tradition merely because that’s the way you’ve always done it. The Scriptures tell us that it’s the heart of the worshipper that God looks at. We have the fruits of the Spirit and then we have spiritual disciplines.

What does the phrase ‘Spiritual Disciplines’ imply? The Apostle Paul uses the analogy of physical training in his letters. There are times you don’t want to go training but you do it anyway. There are times when training hurts a lot but you do it anyway. There are times when there is no-one else training with you but you do it anyway. The thing with training is that there’s no guarantee of a reward at the end of it all. The other team might get lucky or the referee makes a bad call. You could have put all that work in for nothing. But that’s where the analogy falls down.

With training the goal is to mould our bodies into shape so we can achieve a goal. With spiritual disciplines the Master Potter has moulded us into new creations. We stand righteous because of His work and not due to the efforts on our own account. They will not change our salvation. What they can do is they can help our own minds realise that fact. They can draw us further into the presence of God because He can feel our presence through regular prayer and Scripture reading; through love that is manifest in the lives we live revealed both to the world and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Human motivation is complex. What prompted this post is the quote from Penelope Trunk below:

And I thought: Dutch pedophiles are more focused on their long-term goals than I am.

Her post is worth a read in its own right. I’m not sure how we motivate ourselves; how we discipline ourselves further. I know that if we delight ourselves in the Lord that He will give us the desires of our heart. That’s because when we delight ourselves in Him our desires become His desires. To get to that stage with me though I know I need to make a list and start ticking boxes. It may appear like legalism but in my heart I know where it will take me :-)


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