procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

the sword & the spirit

this morning i preached at St Bede's, Drummoyne.

i imagine the conversation between the archdeacon and my pastor went a little like this:
AD "hi. i need someone to fill in for me this sunday"
P "oh, right"
AD "yeah, so, who's your best man?"
P "sorry, he's preaching"
AD "well, you then?"
P "nah, i really need to be here"
AD "well, who's next on your list?"
P "yeah, he's busy too"
AD "you got anyone who can string two words together?"
P "um... i'll get back to you"

and then i get the phone call.

it was nice to speak to a different group of people, but, just as when i speak to our 8:30am congregation i always feel under-qualified to be speaking to people who've been Christians 2-3x longer than i've been alive!

it's always encouraging, therefore, to chat afterwards, as they share how the Word of God has been opened up anew to their ears.

i heard a great quote that makes sense of this, tho i am unaware who spake it;

the word without the spirit is powerless,
and the spirit without the word is weaponless.

a great encouragement indeed!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

wishing for mercy

1/ apologies for absence of posting

2/ what place is there for critiquing the theology of the Bible?
FOR, we get our theology FROM the Bible, so when it says something we don't like, at what point are we able to say, "no, that's not how God is," without

for example, Jonah:
now, i've always read Jonah 2 as a great poem, expressing noble truths about God's character.
UNTIL, that is, i heard it critiqued, saying that Jonah was an arrogant man, presuming upon God, he had NO right to pray as he did, to just ASSUME that God was gonnaget him out of the lurch.

3/ so then, what do we say when reading, for example Lamentations (c/f many Psalms), which wishes atrocities upon atrocities, upon their enemies and neighbours for their nonintervention?

i would like to say, "that's wrong, you should be wishing them mercy, just as you desire mercy from God," because this attitude isn't so much redeemed in Jesus as refuted.

indeed, neither does Paul agree with this view, in Romans 14:10-12;
Why do you pass judgment on your brother?
Or you, why do you despise your brother?
For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;
for it is written,
As I live, says the Lord,
every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

it all seems very log-in-the-eye to me.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

greenies or goodies

with the australian federal election ever closer (despite howard refusing to officially call it - maybe he will, maybe he won't - what fun he must be having), i just thought i'd re-open the ole can-o-worms, Christians and the Greens.

i picked up a handy little "policy snapshots" brochure (from June 2007), and out of the 131 different policy agendas, there were only TWO that i thought were outright wrong. morally, i would have to disagree with those two points.

but, my friends, that leaves 129 points, where i am at a level of agreement, between 6-10 out of 10.

why am i saying this?
am i spruiking for the greens now? No.
am i going to vote for them in both houses? Couldn't say.

then why?
because i am sick and tired of uninformed self-appointed representatives of some imaginary "Christian community" writing off every single policy, again, 129/131 of which i think are quite reasonable, because of fear.

thankfully, that is not the way democracy works - the mainstream policies, especially for a minority party such as the greens, are the ones where they may gain any ground.

AND the policies i object to are not the ones they push. they are not the ones in the one page summary.
the things in the summary are crazy things such as,
  • no nuclear power in australia (they want to invest in green energy, the very thing the federal government has removed funding to in quantities that just aren't funny any more),
  • no new coal mines,
  • cutting carbon emissions by a substantial (not tokenistic) amount,
  • conservation of old-growth forests,
  • public dental care,
  • bridging the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous australians.

    the list goes on. with more of the same outrageous statements.

    perhaps were it not for the climate of fear, australia would not be in the state it is today.

    keep praying for our politicians. and one another.

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  • Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    seriously, john

    i found this pic at and was a little underwhelmed.

    for, while the sentiments are true, honour, where honour is due, should always be the call of the day.
    so, attending the anti-APEC rally on saturday, my friend dave's sign expressed our sentiments exactly:
    "Howard, you're pathetic."
    a roman emperor, let alone great senator of the republic, howard is not.
    nor will he be remembered as such.

    for those interested, i just wore my usual THE GOV'T LIES. t-shirt (which i've worn at my uni graduation, as well as once, completely by accident, whilst praying particularly for the government at church!).

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    my sincerest apologies

    now truly in the dizzying heights of blog-stardom, i've been tagged by Byron to participate in a meme, started off by a site called Christians Confess. The directions are as follows:
  • Apologize for three things that Christians have often got wrong. Your apologies should be directed towards those who don’t view themselves as part of the Christian community. Alternatively, apologize for things you personally have done wrong towards those outside of the church.
  • Post a comment at the originating post so others can keep track of the apologies.
  • Tag five people to participate in the meme.
  • If desired, send an email with the link to your blog post at the Christians Confess site, giving permission for your apologies to be added to the website.

    here goes (deep breath):
    1. I'm sorry that Christians are at once too different, yet at the same time not different enough

    2. I'm sorry for disunity upon schism upon rift upon anathema upon persecution, among earthly representatives of Christ's Church

    3. I'm sorry, when it comes to the things that matter, that Christians are overwhelming the world with timidity, and deafening it with silence.

    i tag Sam, Kurt, Elsie, Hayley and Mark (get back on the horse buddy!)

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  • Monday, September 10, 2007

    buffy and friends and friends

    i'm supposed to be writing a talk this week on angels and demons.

    C.S. Lewis writes in 1941:
    There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.
    (C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Barbour and Company, Inc., 1990)

    i believe the same can be said regarding angels.

    although i did read on a site discussing the theology of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that several people working on the show did become Christians, in no small part due to the constant discussion of heaven and hell, angels and demons.

    if only my youth group kids were old enough to have watched the show, i could justify doing a talk all about how dodgy the Buffy theology is!

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    Friday, September 07, 2007

    O'Donovan and Boney M

    when Henry Schaefer did the New College lectures a few years ago, i was trying hard to concentrate. when i read the transcript of his talk, i was riveted!

    therefore, let me say how much i am looking forward to reading Oliver O'Donovan's three talks for this year's NC lectures, Morally Awake.

    for a clear recollection of the talks, please look at Byron's excellent blog.
    when the transcripts are up at the NC website, i do of course hope to read them and comment on them.

    possibly, missing the first two talks, as well as the poor acoustics, and being out of the line of sight also contributed to my poor attention on the night.

    however, one of the times my ears really pricked up was, after his castigation of Aristoteleans for their unthinking spontanaeity, he mentioned the shift found in Psalm 137 (the one made famous by Boney M).

    i can hear you singing along now, "by the rivers of Bablylon..."
    but it really is a horrific psalm. after the 6 verses of moving lament, the psalter gets angry. really angry. of the Babylonians, they say (i really could not imagine this ever being sung),
    Blessed shall be he who takes your little ones
    and dashes them against the rock.
    now, whether he was unwilling to quote this, or just assumed we knew of it, it really is shocking.
    yet understandable.
    that the people of the exile, who were being tormented with song-requests by their captors, lamenting the loss of their land, their temple, and possibly their God, seemingly lose their resolve, and wish the harshest of punishments, on God's vessels of his punishment for Israel's idolatry.

    but such shifts, i guess, are what makes me question people's resolve. to what extent are we responsible when we see such spontaneous shifts in our characters?
    to what extent should we hold others responsible for their own such shifts?

    please don't take this as an accurate reconstruction of the talk! the two things may've been completely unconnected in the talk, and the further reflections on the psalm are mine alone. as i said, when the transcripts are up, i can get the context to his mentioning of the psalm! stay tuned...

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