Friday, September 28, 2012

Worship, huh! What is it good for?

Worship . . . 

Was the worship good at church this week?

Before you answer that the band was in tune, or that the worship leader's hair was messy, or that they sang your favourite song, or that there wasn't enough hymns, or the prayers were too long, or that you felt the Spirit, stop. You are confused. Worship isn't good if you liked it. Worship isn't for your benefit, sorry. Worship is supposed to be for God.

So did God like the worship this week? Was it reverent? (Heb 12:28) Were you silent before him? (Ecc 5:1-2)  Did you set things right with your brother beforehand? (Matt 5:23-24) Was it an expression of the wisdom of God in his saving plan to bless all the nations? (Isaiah 56:5-7, Rev 7:9-11)

Or did you try and use it as a church growth tool, to attract the masses with the show, forgetting that our job is to worship, and Christ is the one who will build his church? (Matt 16:13-18)

Did the worship reflect the character and kindness of God: was it inclusive, loving, and humble just like him? Or did it reflect the idol of the market, flashy, competitive, image conscious, entertaining, and with no space for the weak?

Was worship this week a work of the people of God as they declared the praises of him who called them out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9), or did you just watch someone else do it on your behalf?

Oh, and I nearly forgot to ask. Did you remember that the worship that pleases God is not about making you feel good about yourself but about justice and mercy for others? (Hos 6:6, Isa 58:6, Amos 5:21-24) Or are you still worrying about how the band played that new Hillsongs number and it wasn't quite like it is on the CD?

Was the worship good at church this week?

Your Politics Are Wrong

The great irony of modern political division into left and right is that both sides' moral philosophy is undermined by their economic philosophy and vice versa.

The left desire economic fairness and to assist those in the lower socio economic strata to be empowered and enfranchised in the wider society through the reconnection of the worker with the wealth their labour generates and the redistribution of wealth from historic inequalities. At the same time the left are usually associated with a push to liberalise public morality and give full rein to those moral forces that cause the most damage to the vulnerable in society, legalisation/normalisation of prostitution, lowering ages of sexual consent, normalisation of abortion, undermining of marriage and the traditional family unit, etc, and thus allow historic inequalities to be perpetuated and amplified in the social dysfunction of today.

On the other hand, the morally conservative right, who tend to champion and even attempt to legislate traditional morality are hell bent on giving free rein to the market forces that inevitably dehumanise and commodify the worker and the human body leading to the sexual exploitation of the vulnerable and the breakdown of the family due to the financial and social stress of alienation from the fruit of their labour.

So I put it to you, if you easily associate with left or right, your politics are wrong. Make up your mind, is it anything goes economically and morally and the devil take the hindmost, or do we live as a responsible society of interconnected people who restrain their economic activity and personal morality for the good of the whole?

Just thinking out loud, let me know what you think :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Interpret first ask questions later.




I thought this was a good example of the way our human brains struggle not to interpret what should be bare facts.




Even when we know there is a trick somewhere and where it is likely to be our stubborn brains struggle to see what is there under our noses.

How much more so with those sacred texts which we think we know so well? That is why the art of good exegesis is about slowing down our reading and noticing everything whether our brains think it is relevant at first glance or not.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quote of the Day: Jonathan Martin on Communion

The more I hear stories of people like me coming awake to the hard, tangible grace available at that table, the more I’m convinced this is part of something bigger that the Spirit of God is doing in the world in these ambiguous times. I am convinced that the remedy for our ambiguity is not in the certitude of the preacher, but in the mystery of His presence at the table. I’m convinced that the remedy for our wholesale adaptation of celebrity culture is in the celebration of His sacrifice. I’m convinced that the only way to keep from putting too much weight down on the power of persuasive preaching is to demonstrate tangibly in practice that there is power in the blood.
Read the rest here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lovely Spam



I am currently experiencing something of a spam storm in my comments, but blogger seems to be doing a wonderful job keeping them out so that they only appear in my feed reader and not on the blog. This one was especially nice to receive,
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Now why don't any of you ever post a nice comment like that?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dad Life

And on the same theme as the last post, but less high brow, if you haven't yet enjoyed this . . . enjoy!

Hurtado on God as Father

It is father's day tomorrow here in NZ, so here is a little quote from Larry Hurtado's book God in New Testament Theology, (2010, p41).

. . . the God of the NT is "Father" to and for believers, to whom they look for care and comfort and to whom they entrust themselves. This paternal metaphor, however, is not presented in the NT as promoting maleness or as deriving from or giving some transcendent basis for paternity or patriarchy. Sadly patriarchal attitudes have been all too often a feature of Christian tradition, but NT references to "the Father" never function to give divine validity to or privilege these or other forms of maleness. Instead, in the NT, "God" is presented as "Father" of believers primarily and directly on account of Jesus. It is Jesus' relationship to "God" as his own "Father" that is the paradigm and basis for believers to speak of and approach "God" using this epithet. That is, for Christians to refer to their God as "Father" is to express their relationship with "God" as mediated through and patterned after Jesus, and it is to designate themselves as those who come specifically to "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The NT does not present "God" as "Father" to believers through creation or in some universalizing sentimental sense. Instead for Christians to address "God" as "Father" is to affirm that they know this God effectually through Jesus and affirm Jesus' relationship to this God as his"Father." In short the Christian practice of addressing "God" as "Father" originates as a profoundly christological statement.
 
Let me know what you think :-)