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Showing posts from June, 2015

What if Paul wrote Judeans instead of Romans?

I've been reading Paul's letter to the Roman church this year with someone in our church.

We've recently finished and one of our concluding observations was to ask what if the story had been different. It's one way to work out if you've caught the message that is in front of you - what would we lose if we didn't have this letter? What is its contribution? What is conveyed by this being the response given to a particular situation?

The story (as we discern it from the text) tells that Paul sends his epic letter to Rome in the hands of Phoebe whilst he journeys from Corinth to Jerusalem and then eventually to Rome, in hope of going on to Spain. His journey to Jerusalem is to deliver the finances raised from churches across Europe to provide for the Jerusalem church.

In Galatians Paul and Peter agree that Paul is to go to the Gentiles and Peter to the Jews. But, Paul is to remember the Jerusalem poor. He collects from Philippi (Macedonia) and Corinth (2 Cor 8-9, …

Of insane fairy tales

The highlight of my weekend was probably sitting in the M&S cafe with my six year old and finishing off reading The Silver Chair with him. And being praised by a primary school teacher at the next table for doing so - and not just giving him a device to play with.

Somewhat painful that it's extraordinary to be reading with your child, though our previous book - Charlie & the Chocolate Factory - anticipated exactly that over 50 years ago.

Our enchanting adventure in Narnia is laced with Christian allegory and reworkings of Lewis' excellent essays in the far richer, more persuasive format of children's novels. Lewis, it seems, isn't just dropping in Christian-isms though, he's going far deeper. 

'Children's books are one of the most important forms of writing we have'
Lewis was in the territory Neil Gaiman later explored in Coraline with his famous saying that 
"Fairy tales are more than true not because they tell us about dragons but because they…

An understated journey

Talking about talking about Jesus isn't easy to do. It's technical term "evangelism" sounds like something manipulative and creepy you might do to people you hate (though the word just means spreading good news...) or the practice of scary fearless zealous shouty intense types.

I read a slightly odd story recently suggesting that Religious Education was to be banned in schools. Seems unlikely to me, and a bit tragic. Recent months have suggested that British people don't mind talking about politics though we're not quite sure how to handle our differences yet. I can't help but think that more conversation about faith would do us good as well. Whether R.E. Helped much I'm not sure - conversation with Hindu, Atheist and Christian friends did me good at school.

Why would we not want to talk about 'what it means to be human?' and about ethics and beauty and what kind of world this is? Such are the subjects of faith conversations.

As Peter writes …

Suffering: Karma vs. Resurrection

Job is a typical man - a blessed man in a fruitful eastern landscape.

Behind the scenes - Satan and the Triune God. Satan is a shady figure, confined to wander the earth, living on a short leash, and with a simple satanic premise: people love God because God is good to them, but when life isn't working out they'll curse God. Clearly this is true in some cases but is it universal?

The LORD permits the test - not so much of himself, or of Job, but of Satan himself. Satan reckons Karma makes the world go round, so upset the apple cart and belief in God will fall. Job loses his family and his health but remains alive.

Job's friend gather and in a rare moment of sanity sit in silence for a week, sorrowing with him.

The Job speaks and says - it would've been better not to have lived. This is the premise of Ashton Kutcher's disturbing film The Butterfly Effect. It's an honest cry from man in the centre of a broken world. It's not a sin to think it, to say it, to …