photo | Martin Lopatka via flickr

50 shades of white

Life

A couple of days ago I had a moment. Okay, it wasn’t just a moment. It was a few hours. I could tell you how it wasn’t really my fault. How I just followed a link from someone, read about her passion for fiction and clicked on a book in a series that she’s into. (more…)

A visit means more than a text

Everyday Ministry, Life, Sola Panel

One of the things I admire about my mother is that she gets involved in other people’s lives.

Now that she doesn’t have children at home, and is working less, on her way to retirement, she could use her extra time for herself. Instead, she uses much of it for others.

She helps out at the local primary school. She looks after an elderly lady in a local nursing home. She cares for her brothers and sisters. She visits the sick.

She’s like those older women – the Bible calls them “widows” (which my mum is not, but I think it’s a similar stage of life) – who use their time and energy to serve (1 Tim 5:9-10; Acts 9:36-42). I hope to be like her one day.

Here’s a story that encouraged me to get involved too.

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Book Review: “Loving the way Jesus loves” by Philip Ryken

Review

LOVING THE WAY JESUS LOVES

PHILIP RYKEN, CROSSWAY, 2012, 224PP.

LovingTheWayJesusLoves

I’m doing everything I can to stop a particular phrase that’s going around my part of the world: “we just need to love on those people.” I don’t mind when we try to express a sentiment in a shorthand way, even if it is grammatically horrific. But when it comes to exhorting people to love others, I am convinced that most of us have not a clue what that actually means. I really don’t know how or what it is to “love on” people. (more…)

Love and Subjugation

Life

Last week, I wrote Submission and the Clash of Cultures. This week I want to follow it by writing about subjugation and the clash of cultures. For in website and blog comments regarding last week’s article the clash of world views became very obvious. The word ‘submission’ is, as I suggested, the presenting issue of something much bigger; it is a difference over “the nature of marriage, of human relationships and humanity itself”. (more…)

Dangerous love

Everyday Ministry, Thought, Sola Panel

flickr: MousyBoyWithGlasses

Just recently I came to realise that I had been treating a part of the Bible like a Mr Squiggle picture. Mr Squiggle was a kids’ TV show I used to watch. Children throughout Australia would draw little random squiggles–a couple of lines or curves on a piece of paper–and mail them in to the TV network. During the show, Mr Squiggle–a marionette puppet with a pencil for a nose–would add extra lines and curves to the squiggle, from his own imagination, to transform it into a recognisable drawing of something nice for the young audience (a cat, a house, a bunny rabbit). It was riveting viewing. Really. (more…)

To dye or not to dye?

Life, Sola Panel

To dye or not to dye? This question came up on Jenny’s blog, and I just couldn’t resist jumping in with a typically over-long comment! Here’s an edited version of what I wrote, for women considering the pressing question of whether or not to dye greying hair. It’s not a bad test-case for issues of beauty and personal adornment.

flickr: foxtongue

Like all things the Bible doesn’t legislate on, whether or not to dye your hair comes down to the freedom to serve one another in love (Gal 5:13). It’s the teaching of demons to declare a created thing “bad”: it’s good if received with thanksgiving (1 Tim 4:1-5). We’re not to submit to rules like “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch!” (Col 2:16-23).

So yes, hair dye, waxing, and, dare I say, even botox and surgery to improve appearance are not evil in themselves: (more…)

Loving people at our school

Everyday Ministry, Life, Sola Panel

Here’s my second post inspired by Lionel Windsor’s ‘gospel speech’ series. The last one was about prayer; this one is about relationships; the next will be on gospel speech.

flickr: Adam Jones, Ph.D.

Our local primary school is marvellously multicultural. During the years they’ve been there, our kids have become best friends with Buddhists from the Punjab, Muslims from Pakistan, and Catholics from Serbia, as well as some fair-dinkum Aussie pagans. At last count, the kids at school trace their recent ancestry to more than 50 countries. In a place like this, mission knocks on your door and asks itself in.

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Two love stories – or three

Life, Sola Panel

flickr: kelsey_lovefusionphoto

‘Every adult life is defined by two great love stories,’ writes author and philosopher Alain de Botton. On the one hand, there is our well-charted quest for romantic love, and on the other, our quest for love from the world (‘a more secret and shameful tale’). In his book Status Anxiety, de Botton argues this second love story ‘is no less intense than the first…and its setbacks are no less painful.’

-From Candice Chung’s article Finding success later in life in Sunday Life magazine, July 10th, 2011.

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Loving what God loves

Life, Sola Panel

The UK government has launched a review into occupational Health & Safety laws (OH&S). It seems to be a very popular move. Health is good. Safety is good. But the multiplication of rules purportedly designed to enforce it often leads to madness. (more…)

A Twilight romance

Life

Today die-hard fans are rejoicing over the release of New Moon, the second movie in the Twilight series based on the bestselling quartet of books by American author Stephenie Meyer. For those who have been living in a vacuum and therefore don’t know what I’m talking about, the Twilight series is about the relationship between Isabella ‘Bella’ Swan, a child of divorce who goes to live with her father in Forks, Washington, and Edward Cullen, a telepathic 104-year-old vampire who feeds off animals instead of humans and who finds Bella strangely irresistible. The books, with their themes of romance, budding sexuality and forbidden love, are hugely popular—not just with teenage girls (who comprise Meyer’s core audience), but with women of all ages. Furthermore, their status in pop culture has paved the way for a host of other vampire-related literature and entertainment (e.g. True Blood, Vampire Academy, The Vampire Diaries), not to mention an increasing interest in paranormal romance. (For those interested, I’ve blogged elsewhere about Stephenie Meyer, Mormonism, love and Twilight.) (more…)

Appreciation and approval

Life

From as far back as I can remember, I’ve been the kind of person who feels a strong desire to please people. I want their approval and praise for the things I do. Sometimes I’ve even wondered if I have a kind of addiction to the brain chemicals that come with receiving affirmation and acclaim! Mark Twain famously said that he could “live for two months on a good compliment”; I’m not sure I could last that long, but I can certainly relate to the sentiment. (more…)

Ageing beauty

Life, Sola Panel

I’m sitting outside a cafe at a wobbly iron table, my pen moving lazily and messily across my notebook as I dream and write, dream and write. I sip from my mug-sized chai latte. A European wasp hovers hungrily above the frothed milk. (more…)