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Showing posts from November, 2008

Reading Titus 3 with reality TV

[Here is a shortened version of a sermon/talk I did at my church this morning. Let me know what you think. Or if you were there let me know what you thought. Positive and negative comments are all appreciated, otherwise how can I get better? Just click on the word 'comments' below, thanks :)]



The Big Stuff, Downsize Me, Extreme Home Makeover, What Not To Wear, and Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares are a selection of TV shows shown in NZ that all follow a similar story line. The plot goes like this: once there was a messy house/overweight person/needy family/unfashionable woman/failing restaurant; but then Sian and Gez/Damian and Lee-Anne/ Ty and team/ Trinny and Suzzana/ Gordon Ramsey appear and bring about a miraculous transformation; so that now the transformed house/body/family/fashion victim/restaurant live a transformed life totally and wonderfully different to what went before.
This desire for and interest in transformation is not a new thing. It's not only the r…

Living life in the diaspora

A diaspora is a scattered people. The word has been commonly used of the Jewish people who for centuries have been a minority group in nations around the world. In most European countries, the USA, Australia and even New Zealand, Jews live and work, often participating as full citizens of their host nations. The explosion over the last century of global migration has meant that Jews are no longer unique in being a diaspora. Now Europeans, Africans, Asians, Indians, and Pacific Islanders are found throughout world in nations in which they are resident aliens. However much a first generation migrant to a new country tries to assimilate and adapt, she will always be aware of difference. There will be cultural and social norms in their new country that just dont come naturally; stories, beliefs and attitudes that are integral to the host nation but that are foreign to her, and vice versa.

But with each generation those distinctives must be held tightly or the host culture will eventually a…

Doing theology like it matters

In the modern western world Christianity is declining fast. Although some churches are growing they are not growing fast enough to offset all the shrinking that is going on. What is the point of doing theology? How can theology matter when most our world believes belief is a private and personal matter, 'up to the individual,' isn't theology just a matter of trying to enforce your opinions on others?

Someone, who wasn't a Christian, once asked me what I was studying. When I told him 'theology,' he was impressed. I was surprised, I expected it to be a conversation stopper. But he was interested, he told me 'everything comes back to theology in the end, who we are, what we do, good and bad, the meaning of life, I would love to study theology... but I have to make a living.' I thought, 'wow, and this guy isn't even a believer and yet he understands why theology matters better than most Christians I know.'

You see, whever we make statement about s…

Reading the Bible in a strange land

I thought I would start by explicating (or unfolding) the subtitle of this blog a phrase at a time. This will create the 'mission statement' for the blog, so that anyone interested in what might follow will know roughly what to expect.

I live in New Zealand. It is a strange land to read the Bible in for two reasons.

First it is strange for me because I was born and raised in Britain, and New Zealand is a long way away. I still feel new here, although I have now adjusted to the different flavoured Marmite.

But more importantly it is strange for the Bible. The Bible was written in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek of thousands of years ago and in lands thousands of miles away. New Zealand has two official languages Te Reo Māori and English. New Zealand is also a 'developed' democratic nation with the technology, infrastructure, welfare state, and police services that go along with that. When the Bible talks about thirst, poverty, injustice, politics, or even worship, we have d…