Your work + my life = balance!

Life

Around ten years ago my local chicken shop came under new management.

Talking to the new owner, he spoke of his home country and his unhappiness in Australia.

“This is a hard country. It is not home. It’s not like home. I miss my home.”
“Where is home?”
“Russia.” (more…)

God made me this way

Life

The nature/nurture debate is as endless as the determinist/freedom dispute.

The safe position to adopt combines both nature and nurture. Yet that doesn’t end the debate; it simply moves the discussion onto the character of the combination.

Scientific research will not bring a resolution. Not simply because the question is large and complex and the research is narrow and detailed, but because the reason for the debate is the implications of its outcomes. (more…)

photo | Kris Krug on flickr

Off to the pub to pray

Thought

You’ve had this experience too, haven’t you? It’s a warm Sunday morning and you’ve managed to arrive at St Churchins early enough to be there for the start of the service. You’ve enjoyed seeing fellow Christians, and you got to sing something other than In Christ Alone. (Great song, but it’s had a nice decade-long run.) (more…)

Frozen my way

In 1624 a cathedral Dean wrote: “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” which ends with the famous lines “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

The relationship of the individual with the community is one of the ongoing tensions of life. To what extent is the individual sovereign and how much is the community sovereign?

To what extent should the individual enjoy the freedom to live as the ‘master of my fate and captain of my soul’; not just in the stoic acceptance of suffering but as the motto of life’s action. To what extent is life doing it “My Way”, or as the new Academy Award song would have it “let it go… no right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free”? (more…)

centerchurch

The world in our pocket

Life

We live in a time of unprecedented change. For the first time in history we have access to the world in our pocket. The Internet has changed everything. The way we work and learn, communicate and connect has dramatically altered. And while some may argue that this is not good, it’s here and we can’t turn our back to it. How can we possibly ignore the billions of people who use social media every day?

This raises many questions. One of the most important is: how will the church adapt to make the most of this new situation to advance the mission of Jesus? (more…)

Crouching at the door

Editorial

I sat down to write this editorial the week before the Australian federal election, and there was a controversy raging over the current Prime Minister’s comments about the New Testament, slavery, and same-sex marriage. (more…)

Book review: “The Intolerance of Tolerance” by DA Carson

Review

 THE INTOLERANCE OF TOLERANCE

DA CARSON, EERDMANS, 2012, 186PP.

Intolerance of Tolerance

You might have noticed a strange kind of double-speak going on around us. If you dare to hold a different opinion to the broader culture on a contentious issue, whether on marriage, sexuality, God or something else, you have a reasonable chance of being told to keep quiet because you’re being intolerant. I’m not talking about sanctioning or acting against those with whom you disagree; just holding a different position. If you dare to point out that perhaps your alternative views ought to be tolerated—well, heaven help you. (more…)

What a Muslim teaches us

Everyday Ministry

Back in 1981, Christian hearts thrilled to see a mainstream popular film treat Christian conscience positively. The film was Chariots of Fire and the Christian conscience was that of Eric Liddell, the man who refused to run in the Olympics on a Sunday. It was just so different to see a man of genuine faith presented in a film as a hero instead of a moral failure or a narrow-minded hypocrite.

Yet there was something odd about the insistence on the Lord’s Day Observance. If we were going to stand for principle somewhere should it really be about not running on a Sunday? It was not like having sport organized for every Sunday in opposition to Church as we have it today. It was the once every four years Olympics drawing people from all over the world to Paris in 1924 for a short period of competition. Is it really forbidden in Scripture to run on a Sunday in such a circumstance? (more…)

Being questioned on Q&A#1 – on Mr Rudd

Life, Sola Panel

Well, to think that I almost didn’t write yesterday’s post, because my relatively few friends on Facebook had said it all… Since then I’ve trawled through over a total of 700 comments (and counting), between this blog, the Drum (on ABC) and various friends’ FB links. Today I am going to attempt a few follow ups. (more…)

constitution

What’s wrong with rights?

Thought

Late last year we were confronted by news of the horrific shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, USA. The senseless massacre of six adults and twenty children quickly sparked calls for governments to consider reforms for gun control, so as to protect lives and prevent these tragedies from happening in the future. (more…)

Assessing Christian election guides

Life, Sola Panel

I certainly won’t be telling you how to vote here.

But as a complement to Geoff Robson’s series on Christians and voting, here I assess various ‘voting guides’ produced by Christian groups in the lead up to Australia’s federal election in September 2013. (more…)

→ Don’t waste your vote

Link

Geoff Robson has been writing a series on voting as a Christian—a topic particularly relevant for Australians at the moment, but for many of us around the world. He’s concluded the five parts with four ways to vote, and a broader reflection on the role and limitations of government:

Where governments can pass laws to protect people and restrain evil, they can never change the heart. But Jesus can. Jesus changes his people from the inside. He doesn’t just give us an example to follow: by dying to make us his people and pouring out his Spirit, he gives us new hearts so we actually can consider others better than ourselves. We can begin to love God and live for him. We can love our neighbour as ourselves, even using the privilege of our vote for the sake of others.

The whole series is well worth reading. If you missed it, the first post is on how God thinks about government, and is an excellent place to start.

→ The gospel and who to vote for (2)

Link

Geoff Robson is continuing his series on thinking politically as a Christian, following up his original post with part 2 of “The gospel and who to vote for“, and “Don’t waste your vote“.

[Prayer] is probably the most distinctive Christian contribution to the political process. We can vote, act, speak out and protest in much the same way as our non-Christian neighbours. But we can do something they can never do: Pray to the God of the universe. Your most important contribution to the political process happens not when you step into the ballot box, or when you write a letter to your MP, or when you take part in a peaceful protest march. It happens on your knees.

Both posts are a good read, especially the suggestions in the second of how not to vote. The final two parts should be up in a few days’ time.

→ The Gospel And Who To Vote For

Link

Australians are going to the polls soon to elect their national representatives. In light of this, Geoff Robson is posting up a series on how Christians ought to think about politics. For readers outside of Australia, read on too, and squirrel it away for May 2015, or November 2016, or whenever you’re next called on to vote.

My goal over these five posts is simply to provide an overview of how Christians should think about politics. I hope to cover:

1) An introduction to Christians and government

2) Christians and interacting with our government

3) How not to vote

4) How to vote (NOT who to vote for!)

5) The limitations of government

As well as addressing the specific topic, I have another goal in mind. Too often, Christians segregate their faith from other parts of their life – including their views of politics. We can completely divorce our faith in Jesus from our voting patterns. Or we can connect the two – but in a superficial way. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul says that Christians are to “take every though captive to obey Christ”. At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, in the Great Commission, Jesus says that ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him – meaning he has total authority over every single part of our lives. We may confess these things to be true and important, but the reality of sin means none of us acts or thinks as though they are really true. While these posts will only scratch the surface on one area of thought, I hope that thinking about these issues goes some way towards helping us all see that the Lordship of Jesus has to impact and transform every single aspect of our lives, without exception.

Read the whole thing here.