Sometimes the best strategy is to say nothing. Ignore the offence. At least be careful how you share your digital outrage! (more…)
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…)
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…)
THE INTOLERANCE OF TOLERANCE
DA CARSON, EERDMANS, 2012, 186PP.
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…)
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…)
If the Holy Spirit was my personal shopper I wouldn’t have a problem. Long pants: modest. Short shorts: immodest. Long sleeve shirt: modest. Plunging neckline: immodest.
Modesty seems obvious, and would be simple if I could just get the right skirt length and be done with it—unfortunately the heart issue is more complicated. This is what Tim Challies and RW Glenn explore in Modest. (more…)
A few days ago I wrote a short article in which I used the word ‘submission.’ I’ve just now realized that by using this word, I was being a bit naïve. The realization of my own naivety came when I read Kara Martin’s helpful review of the book Fifty Shades of Grey on the Sydney Anglicans website. Kara’s review made me realize that what we Christians mean when we use the word ‘submission’ is often entirely different to what our non-Christian world thinks when it hears the word ‘submission.’ That’s because Christians and non-Christians are spending their time reading two very different books. As a result, Christians and non-Christians are having their passions and desires shaped by two very different worldviews. (more…)
When a man was called by God to be a prophet in Israel, he could be pretty sure he wasn’t in for an easy life. Jeremiah, marked out as a traitor by his own people, thrown into a cistern and waiting for his nose to slip beneath the mud (Jer 38:1-28). Ezekiel, his life a bizarre acted parable of Jerusalem’s fate, lying on one side for months on end and cooking his food over excrement (Ezek 4:1-17). Hosea, commanded by God to marry and be reconciled to an adulterous wife, to picture God’s relationship with his unfaithful people (Hos 1:2-11, 3:1-5).
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.
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…)
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
In the first century, a fight broke out between rabbis at the Jewish Council of Jamnia. The issue? Should Ecclesiastes be removed from the generally accepted books of the Old Testament. (more…)
Readers from Melbourne will probably guess this was written a couple of days ago, at the end of a heat wave. But today seemed a good time to post it: it’s Australia Day. For all who feel at home where they live – and for those who don’t.
It’s been breathlessly hot for days. At night, it’s hard to sleep: we have to choose whether to close the window and swelter in the stuffy room, or open it to invite in the occasional puff of air and the mosquitoes.
‘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.’
There’s nothing like parenting to reveal your true values.
My 12-year-old daughter started secondary school this year. It’s an anxious time for any parent. Your mind fills with questions: will she settle well into her new school? How will she cope with the extra homework? Will she make good friends? Will she make any friends?
Days like this only come along once in a while. On this sun-drenched morning, there’s a cool breeze and the air is clear. Every dancing shadow is sharp-etched, every leaf suffused with a deeper meaning, every branch lifts a multitude of tiny twigs in praise. The world seems fair and unspoiled, as if it was made new this morning just for me. It’s a small taste of how Adam and Eve must have seen the world, in all its shining newness, when they walked with God on the morning of creation, and discovered its beauties for the first time through eyes unmarred by sin, doubt and sorrow. (more…)
The assembled students were oblivious to the presence of the sharply dressed man of indeterminate age who had appeared silently in the doorway at the rear of the buzzing lecture theatre. He stood there for a few moments, surveying them with a curious mingling of desire and loathing. Then as he smoothed his greasy ponytail with one hand, he flicked a long, narrow tongue across thin lips, twisted his mouth into something approximating a smile to reveal a glimpse of abnormally pointy teeth, and made his way to the front of the room. (more…)