Posts Tagged 'My faith'

Belief an Accident of Geography?

(HT:Friendly Atheist)

He overstates the point but is it a valid one?

Some objections I would raise are that:

1 – By what threshold is he saying a country is predominantly one religion?

2 – By what measure is religious affiliation identifiable. Is it merely the census box?

3 – In the Christian context the global church is diverse both in terms of race and culture. Indeed the balance is shifting according to some, if I’m still in the faith when I’m 60, I’ll be unusual in being a white Christian

Thoughts?

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 :-)

Love this video

The past couple of days have been a real encouragement to me because through the magic of the Internets I’ve learned that there are young Christian men out there who think the same as I do; who I can relate to; who have the same humanity flawed passion that I do. It’s encouraging. Now if only I could find a way to befriend some of the same in real life

Got it from several Christian sites so I don’t know who to credit to first the plagarisers!

God knows the heart…

I asked him, “What do you say to people when they say don’t give to a homeless person because they may use your money for drugs or alcohol?” He said, “Sir, I tell them that they need to leave it in the Lord’s hands what they do with your money. If they do something bad with it, it’s not for you to judge, but for God to judge them. But by you giving and taking that chance, God looks at the person’s heart who gave it and that is what is most important

Worth the wait?

Will it be worth the wait? When I stand before you and gaze upon your wonder. When I marvel at the mere sight of you?

Will it be worth the wait? When you take me by the hand and show me the wonders of creation in a way that I had never before comprehended

Will it be worth the wait? When I look back on my life and remember with thanks that I managed to keep myself on the right path

Will it be worth the wait? When at the sight of you I wonder how I could ever have doubted?

Will it be worth the wait? At the end, in that moment when through all the struggles and temptations; through all the heartbreak and the heartache the prize is won

Will it be worth the wait to see you

Father?

Two Thoughts

Read this post recently. There’s two things that strike me about it. Firstly, how David is obviously guilt ridden over his actions even a year on. This much is apparent from a cursory reading of the passage in question. When David is confronted with his sin he confesses and repents. One imagines it would have stuck with him after time. One can be forgiven and still labour under guilt.

Secondly, how David screwed up even at the height of his earthly success. In one sense he had really made it and it was in his self-perceived strength that he fell. When we disregard the grace of God that is when we are most vulnerable. When we refuse to acknowledge how he has sustained us and provided for us that is when we delude ourselves.

How is this relevant to me? In the first instance, I don’t really feel guilt about sin any more. I’m referring of course to the sins that used make me feel guilty; the sins I was aware of committing and specifically sexual sins. This excludes all those other sins that we fool ourselves into thinking we don’t commit. There is no desire to engage with them any more or repent of any actions. It’s simply a limbo land. The devil may be pulling a variation on his greatest trick by making me apathetic about stuff that I should really be striving to eliminate. That’s not a good place to be. And secondly, I wonder how much stock I’m putting in my career above my calling. That is not to say that they are mutually exclusive but more to say that while the latter can be above the former the former should never take precedence over the latter. Money, time and effort are all waning towards my church.

We come once again to how a person defines success. Is everything merely a vanity? Or can I be successful in my job, i.e. in the world’s eyes, and truly humble in God’s?

Ouch

I tried for hours this morning to access the internet, though it wasn’t responding.

I don’t do that with God. Do you?


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