Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Colouring Beyond the Lines

God will not colour within our expected and preconceived lines of theology, humanity and creation.

Time and again God redefines our understanding and expectations of God's own Self and who we are in our own humanity.



The life and parables of Jesus consistently catch us off-guard, challenging and transforming all that we think we know into a shock and awe of what we don't know.; the Samaritan woman at the well, the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector, the Syrophoenician woman, the prostitute who breaks a jar of perfume over Jesus' feet, the parable of the Good Samaritan, the encounter with the woman subject to bleeding - examples of how Jesus will not colour between the lines of theology, humanity and creation.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A People of Change

'We are absolutely clear; the responsibility for acts of terror rests with those who commit them. But a huge burden of responsibility also lies with those who act as apologists for them' Philip Hammond MP

Here the government propaganda machine is in full throttle removing all responsibility from their own foreign policy and a history of violence within our western political landscape that directly creates isolation, fear, hatred and extreme psychological stress that leads itself to extremist behaviour and ideology.



It is interesting how the government are seeking to silence any who would criticise its current approach to ISIS and fundamentalism by labelling them as 'apologists' for the extremists. Yet being critical of our government and the US/UK foreign policies and facing up to the reality of how these actions create a breading ground for countless 'Jihadi Johns' is NOT the same as condoning the barbaric acts and behaviour of such people.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

'The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.' Jonathan Edwards, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"

That old Jonathan Edwards; what a charmer!



This vision of God is one of vengeance, anger, wrath and utter contempt for humanity.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Our Weird Little World

What is the beauty of the Gospel?



The beauty of the Gospel is the beauty of relationship, a letting into our 'weird little world' Someone who really does know us, who truly understands us, who passionately believes in us, who utterly, totally and without condition loves us.

This is what God is like.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Revolution

Tick tock, tick tock.

Seconds continually scratching at the fabric of time, 'now' being unmasked as 'past', the future being drawn into the present.

Relentless and without favour or regard; tick tock, tick tock.

In ignorance and seeming inevitability we surrender to the sea of time finding ourselves carried by the tide, all around us an apparent outcome of the continuous scratching of time.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Yet in the midst of the stream of ignorance and bliss we notice some who are struggling, no longer resting in the tide of time and inevitability but seeking to find their feet, to stand and walk out of the stream. They are shaking, confused, yet determined. They believe that all does not have to be as it seems.

So they fight to find their feet, the current strong and often pulling their feet away from the ground, yet on they go, fighting, striving until they reach the bank. Pulling themselves out and sometimes dragging others with them, they stand and finally survey their surroundings.

Everything looks different.

Tick tock, tick tock no longer a soothing anaesthetic but a call to transformation, an awakening to a different reality. Revolution is in the air.



Friday, 6 February 2015

A War Prayer

Heavenly Father

Have mercy upon us.

As we look around the world we see violence and destruction, death and decay, hatred and murder.

We watch in horror as bombs shatter lives, leaving behind weeping, rubble, blood and bitterness.

We despair as hatred and apathy leave victims living in fear.

Yet like anaesthetic coursing through our veins we watch on.

We pray for the lives destroyed in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and many others beyond our sight. Forgive us Lord in the West for our own greed and violence that has created further unrest and suffering for those living in these lands. Forgive us Lord for our ideological and political bullshit that furthers the injustice and oppression of people, not just in these lands but in other places across the world.

We pray Prince of Peace for an end to conflict.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Excluded Possibilities

Paul Tillich once said, 'Love conquers...the excluded possibilities.'

2000 years before him Paul said that love never fails.

And before him Jesus said 'Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.'

Humanity is connected in ways beyond our comprehension. We are a collective people where self-imposed and power-imposed and fear-imposed boundaries separate us, yet these boundaries can never extinguish the shared humanity, the collective consciousness, the inter-connectedness that is a reality of our existence.

So we need to learn ways to reconnect, to be brave and go beyond the boundaries to rediscover our common humanity, the image of God in each of us.

And yet we are a violet and rivalistic species, imitating each others desires to the point where we will scapegoat in order to calm our violence. Rene Girard's groundbreaking work on mimesis highlights our innate desire to violently desire to the point of sacrificing those whom we have scapegoated in order to restore peace, at least for a time.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Symbolic Castration, Homosexuality and Depression

Do you ever feel like you can be honestly you in any situation?

There is the perceived 'you' that is the projection of who you are from other people. In other words, there is the 'you' who people think you are as opposed to who you know you really are.

Job interviews are a good example of this. We are trying to sell ourselves and project the very best (or what we think is the very best!) of ourselves so that we might get the job we want, and there is nothing wrong with this. If we were honestly and actually our full selves in a job interview it would most likely break all kinds of social etiquette! 

But there is a point that we all need to be a bit more honest about who we are rather than trying to live up to a certain expectation that we have placed upon ourselves or that others have put upon us.


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Depression as a Sign of Faith?

My twin brother is now blogging over at Huffington Post. His first article called 'Let's Talk About Depression' does exactly what it describes. In it he says,

'Before I was diagnosed I remember feeling emotionally impotent in how to cope with whatever was going on in my head. I certainly felt powerless to talk with anyone about it. Surely all I needed to do was pull myself together, slap on a smile and get on with life? That misguided mantra crumbled when, one morning, I attempted to make a cup of tea. I walked into my kitchen and was suddenly rooted to the spot. All I wanted to do was walk over to the kettle and flick a switch; it seemed impossible though. I stood there, helpless and screamed. Depression has the ability to mentally and physically cripple you and I encountered the effects rather dramatically.'



It is good to hear voices speaking up over the pain and trauma of depression proving personal insight into something than can quite literally kill people.

Monday, 19 January 2015

To Follow

As I discussed in my previous post total 'freedom' to do whatever we want regardless of the consequences or harm committed to others is a total failure in every regard to what it means to be human. The reason why we are shocked and nauseated by the stories of abuse and violence committed by extremists is because these stories militate against our sense of basic common shared lives.

Freedom then is understood through a set of parameters, bounded by 'laws' or 'the common good'. So freedom is not to do whatever I want whenever I want, rather it is a desire to mutual self-giving love.

The difficulty we face however is that the vast majority of us do not like being told what to do. We like to believe we are masters of our own destiny,

Morpheus: Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.