Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why should people be a Christian and not a buddhist, hindu, or scientologist? Are all faiths the same?

7 comments:

Thanks for the question.

I'll start with the second question - Are all faiths the same?

When we compare the belief systems of different religions we see some of the following things:

Christianity says that Jesus (Jesus Christ of Nazareth - born about 4-5BCE) is God, that he is the son of God.

Islam says that Jesus is a prophet, amongst others like Mohammed, Moses, Abramham.

Buddhism teaches that there is 'karma', which is related to good, skillful deeds and bad, unskillful deeds which produce 'seeds' in the mind that can lead to changes in life, that may lead to rebirth (reincarnation). Buddhists don't believe that there is a soul (Christianity teaches that there is), and Buddhists say that there can be no salvation or forgiveness based on one's karma, because it is an impersonal process that is simply part of the make up of the Universe. Christianity has always taught that there is a supreme being who orchestrated every aspect of the Universe and that salvation and forgiveness come through God's one and only son, Jesus, that through him you might have eternal life. See the difference? When people follow Jesus, their life should spring out with positive, good things, as an overflow of the new life they have found in their saviour, Jesus. Christians call this holiness - living the way God asks of his people through the Bible and through the guiding of the Holy Spirit. I am not saying Buddhists don't do good things for humanity, (Gandhi - being a prime example of someone who does), I am merely pointing out the difference from how these good deeds come about.

Christians are mono-theists - that is there is only one God who created the heavens and the earth. Hindus are poly-theists and believe there are many gods, the god of the sun, the god of the moon, etc. So, without delving any deeper, Christianity and Hinduism, just based on those facts/teachings are already different.

I don't know much about scientology. Within most realms outside the Church of Scientology, many people view this group as a cult, that have high demands upon the followers of its organisation and sometimes to the detriment of the wellbeing of people within that group.

The first question was: Why should people be a Christian and not a buddhist, hindu, or scientologist?

I believe that being a Christian means you are a follower of Jesus Christ ('Christ'-ian). God sent Jesus into the world, not to condemn it, but to save the world through him. Simply put - though a conscious, intentional faith/belief in Jesus I have eternal life with God, and I have the greatest opportunity for fullness of life on earth. I have the indwelling presence of God's Holy Spirit to guide and lead me, to be my conscience when I'm making decisions and to empower me through the journey. Becoming a Christian doesn't mean the worries of life subside, but through all the experiences of life, God gives us purpose and meaning in life and ultimately a place with God in heaven after we die.

Thanks for the question. Feel free to comment below.


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Friday, July 23, 2010

Throw another snag on the barbie - Connecting with Aussies

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Well, grab the snags out and chuck 'em on the barbie, it's time to have a look at Aussie culture. Let's check it out guys.


Imagine - I'm an Australian:


I'm content with the ordinary life - don't worry too much about this great Australian dream. I just want a house that's paid for, a couple of kids and the chance to go on a holiday every now and then. 

We're not big on people being in the spotlight 'too' much, but if there's a battler who has hit the limelight - that's ok with us. But Eddie McGuire - too much success - we don't like it. We're ordinary Aussies.

An average day - making breaky for the kids, bringing the bin in, taking the kids to work, checking facebook before we get into the priorities for the day. By 4:30pm there's an itching to get to the local pub, or get home and throw the spaghetti in the pot and watch a bit of MasterChef. We don't mind seeing a current affair show that nabs the dodgy carsalesman red-handed. We kiss the kids goodnight, update our twitter or Excel budget sheet, and find a quiet five minutes to relax with the missus before bed. We're content with life; while wishing it was a little less hectic, we appreciate selfishly that we don't live in Ethiopia. We head off to bed, wondering what life might be like in a different time, and a different place...


We Aussies don't think of religion much. We're frustrated when religion is thrust upon us, and we conjure up memories of what organised religion did to us in the past. We're happy to live each day as it comes, and hey, when the end comes, as long as I've enjoyed the ride. Just keep that religion out of everyday life... Don't, for goodness sake, let it affect my family and my time of rest. And what's with religion and politics always wanting to be so closely connected? That annoys the heck out of me. They can keep their organised religion.

___________________________________

What does the life of Jesus say to an Aussie culture? What about - how does the life of Jesus, and the culture of Australia impact how Christians should live (How do we do evangelism is an effective way)? Would Jesus say to the Australian Church, hey, why not drop your nets into the other side of the boat? Try to connect around the barbie instead of putting up barbed wire. Try socialising over a drink (even if its Lemon Squash) instead of merely sipping 'the' drink. Live out your Christianity among your mates. Stop compartmentalising your Sunday Church from your Tuesday movie. Be in the world, and connect with the people and the culture. Sure - don't be of the world, but don't have some conjured up fear about connecting with everyday Aussies. We all need Jesus. We all need the saving, powerful work of Jesus in our lives, and by golly gee wizz, Aussies need Jesus!

C'mon, turn the snags over, and flip the onions. It's time to have a chat about this Jesus bloke... "So you say he rose from the grave or something...?"


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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Preaching - Tips on Communicating God's Word Today

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I find myself thinking again about communication, and effective ways to communicate truth to a crowd in a way that creates change in the listener. I never want to preach to a crowd that doesn't listen, or preach to a crowd that doesn't respond. Over the last 10 years I have already had the chance to preach many times, and share the message of Jesus to many different crowds/congregations and in many different settings and environments. So what could I offer in this blog that hasn't already been said about preaching? What could Pete possibly say about communication that will inspire me? Maybe these tips on preaching and communication are just reminders, or encouragements for you, but here are some thoughts nonetheless. (Feel free to add some more below).

It is important, when preaching the Word of God, to narrow things down to ONE clear point. People won't remember the rest! Here's a test, remember these numbers: 76, 34, 53, 32, 14... Ok without looking can you remember any of the numbers? Now what about: 18, 18, 18, 18. What's the number? You remembered! If you can preach with one thought and draw all your stories, anecdotes, analysis and scripture to draw out this ONE point, people will remember! Haddon Robinson "Bibilical Preaching" calls it 'The Big Idea'. Andy Stanley in "Communicating for a Change" says to 'pick a point'. If you've got too many points to carve into one sermon then preach a series.

I stood there one morning with a piece of laminated card on my forehead. String around my head held the card up to the congregation. Some of my friends still remember the 'L' shaped letter with its bright green colour and its element of stupidity. They remember too, that morning as I spoke on the importance of leadership in the local church (I still remember touching on integrity, passion and purpose). My tip? Think about the creative factor. My wife, Jo, stole the show away when she spoke on Hosea one morning (last year), wearing a wedding dress and speaking on infidelity and sinfulness. Absolute classic!

I'm aware of the statement that says, that we don't come with wise and persuasive words, but with the Spirit's power, and I agree with that. Without God's Spirit opening up the Scriptures to us in the first place and without the Spirit revealing truth to the listeners it is just like a nice political campaign speech, 'Hi, my name's Pete, and I'm here to offer nothing of substance into your life as you listen to this...' There's a quote rolling around in my head that says, 'pray as if it all depends on God and work as if it all depends on you' (correct me if I'm wrong!). What about, 'Prepare and pray like it all depends on God, and when you preach still give it all you got!' It is naive to be ill-prepared in the, 'I'm just going to let the Spirit move this morning' kind of talks. Maybe there's a time for them; but every week?! Hey, time to do some bible study!

Communicating biblical exegesis without good hermeneutics is like being stuck in the desert without a bottle of water; you don't know where you are, where you're meant to go, and you feel dry and empty inside. The Word of God MUST speak into our everyday lives. The fact that Paul writes about peace while he's in prison, says something about the level of peace we can experience in life. When Jesus feeds the five thousand, says something of the fact that God can provide for our every need. When Elijah lifts a prayer to God and the rain comes, shows us that God answers prayer today and can use you to transform the stratosphere! If there is merely biblical insight and teaching based on what happened in Palestine, or what happened in Egypt with Moses (Biblical exegesis) and we never find an application to OUR everyday life (hermeneutics), then most of our congregations will be left wandering. It may be ok for biblical scholars and up and coming theologians, and University students, but everyday people need an everyday Bible that affects their everyday life.

For those that find themselves preaching to a crowd and communicating the message of the Kingdom of God; God Bless!

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

A change of pace... Some blogs I've enjoyed recently

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Recently, the pace has been up with blogs on different topics - see the recent list top right. So for a change of pace... Here are some blogs I've read and enjoyed recently:


* Bob Hyatt's Blog - No one remembers what you preach anyway - Preachers? Read this. http://bobhyatt.typepad.com/bobblog/2010/07/from-the-archives-and-for-bill-kinnon.html
* Next Reformation Blog - Some funny thoughts on church noticeboards  http://nextreformation.com/?p=4170
* James Thompson - Statistics on sex inside marriage and sex outside marriage. Interesting.  http://woetome.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/hazardous-sex-outside-of-marriage/
* JR Woodward (Dream Awakener Blog) A mammoth 'primer on the missional church'. Getting started in thinking about mission - read this blog entry. Love this blog from back in 2008. Have a read/study. http://jrwoodward.net/2008/11/a-primer-on-todays-missional-church/
* Stephen Court's latest blog (wed July 7th) talks about the basic fundamental Christian beliefs. Good to browse over. http://www.armybarmy.com/blog.html
* Marney Turner is blogging hard. Check out: http://jesusrevival.blogspot.com/2010/07/you-never-know-what-jesus-is-going-to.html for a blog on faith!

If you have a blog entry worth noting - drop me a line or give it a plug in the comments section.

God bless, be close to Jesus.


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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Promise of Vision - Dr. Stuart Robinson - Win a free copy

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WIN a COPY of the little book The Promise of Vision by Dr. Stuart Robinson. Comment below - Tell me in 25 words or less why you think Vision is/isn't important in leadership.

The Promise of Vision - Making the impossible possible.

I once heard a quote that went along the lines - "Great things are achieved by people that didn't know they were impossible".

One of the leadership traits that urges us on to fulfill great expectations, and climb large mountains is vision. Oswald Chambers said, 'When God gives a vision, transact business on that line, no matter what it costs'. So what is vision? George Barna in 'The Power of Vision' defines vision as, 'a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to his chosen servants and is based upon an accurate understanding of God, self and circumstances.' I would argue that this is more 'Christian vision' than a blanket definition on vision, but nonetheless the concept is the clear mental image of a future that is so much more preferred than the current set of circumstances.

Let me tell you of some visions I have felt have come from the Lord - some have come to pass and others haven't. Let me tell you these, not because of the visions themselves, but to inspire you about being a visionary within your own realms of influence (work, home, community, third world country, etc.).

* Saw a stadium full of Salvationists (Salvos) worshipping God, and some had uniforms, others Salvo T-Shirts, etc, etc, and they were passionate, united and excited about what God was doing - [yet to come to pass]
* Envisaged 24/7 prayer in my local Church, and we started up a 48 Prayer Marathon. Continuous Prayer. Some leaders from the Church said, 'Good luck, we've tried prayer times before and know one shows up'. Well, the vision came to pass, and people came and went all weekend long - praying and seeking out the Lord.
* Had a vision for fundraising. So I put some notes down on paper, got some people involved, and we raised $2,000 in year one and $10,000 in year two, to train Salvation Army Cadets overseas.

What are the visions God has given you? Maybe a picture of your business, or a picture of your local school, or a word about your family? Claim those visions today, that they will come to pass, just as the Lord has shown you...

Dr. Stuart Robinson writes an easy to read, little book called The Promise of Vision. As I read this a second time, I am inspired again about what you can accomplish and the moutains you can climb with belief, positivity and a God-inspired, God-given dream.

* You can climb Mt. Everest for the first time (Edmund Hillary)
* You can run the 4 minute mile for the first time (Roger Bannister)
* You can fly a plane for the first time (The Wright Brothers)
* You can change race relations in the world (Martin Luther King Jr.)
* You can advocate for the poor (Mother Theresa)
* You can start a feeding program around the world and call it World Vision (began in the US in 1950). Their vision - "to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God."

Vision will inspire. Leadership without vision is like walking through the desert without a bottle of water.

WIN a COPY of the little book The Promise of Vision by Dr. Stuart Robinson. Comment below - Tell me in 25 words or less why you think Vision is/isn't important in leadership.

(I'll send it world wide for free!) Competition closes - Wed 21st July (you have 2 weeks)


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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What is Syncretism? Examples of Christian syncretism

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What is syncretism?

I walked into a Buddhist Temple one day in the humid surroundings of the Sri Lankan hills, and I found myself uncomfortable. Was I compromising my beliefs? Should I have stood at the entrance and shouted the words of the gospel of Jesus? Was it ok to be silent and be in awe of the architecture? What was Jesus expecting of me? Was he expecting anything of me at all?

Especially in times of cross-cultural ministry, Christians are faced with difficult questions related to syncretism. Harold Turner says, 'Syncretism arises in the course of presenting Jesus Christ as the sole Lord and Saviour to men of other religions [dare I say women too - my note] living in cultures not moulded by the biblical revelation. By translating the gospel into local languages, and adapting or accommodating to local ideas and customs, these are absorbed into the life of the church. Many such elements have, however, been intimately related to another religion, and it is often difficult to incorporate them without also absorbing their previous religious associations and meanings' (Cited in International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Oct 2009).

To continue the discussion go to "Disciples in Training" Facebook Page.

Lets put it in context. You enter a party full of goths, dressed in their black clothing, tattoos, consuming drugs, ear piercings, etc, etc. What extent would you go to reach these people with the life transforming message of Jesus. Now, take away the fact that personally I'm a bald headed geek who shouldn't be seen anywhere remotely close to a place where I'll just embarrass myself... What extent could I go to to interact with this community? Tattoos? Maybe - Christians are divided on this one. Black clothing? Why not? Some conservatives might argue that Jesus is light and therefore we should wear a light purple sweater... What about consuming drugs? Hmm... have we just become syncretistic? I think so.

What about reaching our Islamic friends in an Islamic country? Could I wear the burqa? Is this syncretistic? Does wearing a burqa symbolise that I hold the Islamic faith and therefore undermine my Christian beliefs, or not? Difficult questions. Let me say, wearing a Ned Flanders sweater to Church doesn't make me a Christian. Can I attend a mosque, with the hope 'that I might win some' (as the Apostle Paul puts it), and when everyone bows, I simply pray to Jesus and let them pray to Allah? Is this syncretistic or a radical incarnational model of ministry in order to reach a Muslim brother with the gospel? I'm not intending to prescribe answers here, I just want to get people thinking about their beliefs and how far they would/would not go for Jesus' sake.

Syncretism - A concept the cross-cultural missionary is faced with on a day to day basis.

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Evidence that God exists

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Have you heard athiests, agnostics, curious thinkers challenge a Christian with, 'Give me evidence that God exists'? Have had the challenge recently from Twitter user @hughring wanting evidence for the claims of Christianity. Interestingly, if we want to enter into an evidentialism kind of debate, lets look at both sides of the equation. @hughring is a professed atheist and so believes that there is no 'God who created the heavens and the earth'. He wants me to provide evidence of the existence of God so that I can clearly justify my belief system and prove to him that my beliefs are not insane, illogical and outrageous. So will Hugh provide me with the same evidence of his belief in the non-existence of God? Will Hugh outline to me in a logical, scientific and intellectual way, evidence that show his holding of an atheist viewpoint is right? Why should I have to provide evidence of the existence of God, while someone can say that Christianity is fictional and be free from making any valid reasoning to why they hold to that assumption?

I know what people are thinking. So, will you give us some evidence on the existence of God anyway? Some of the atheists are saying, 'C'mon - prove to me that God really exists and that your whole faith and religion isn't just a pile of controlling, authoritarian legalism.' The fact is, whether or not I have the ability to clearly and soundly argue the existence of God does not change the truth about whether or not God exists. It will merely provide some with ammunition for rebuttal and provide others with some ideas about what they already believe.

Ahh, the existence of God. Theologian and famous Christian minister John Wesley broke up Christianity into four sources saying that within Christianity the following four tenets were imperative, and they were:
1. Reason
2. Tradition
3. Experience
4. Scripture
He argued, amongst others, that a wholistic Christian worldview was made up all of these four sections. Reason is one subsection that atheist's pounce on and demand from the Christians. Reason (http://www.dictionary.com/) 'is a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action'. This is most important for atheists as empirical evidence is what is valued the most; scientific arguments/evidence for any belief/idea. The 'reason' the Christian uses to share with others, to justify and explain their belief is 'faith'. This of course is not enough for the atheist to justify such a large claim, that God exists. Maybe you're right. Maybe its a cop-out. Though many know that through faith in the Lord Jesus (that is genuine trust/belief) in Jesus is all the reasoning they need. Now, to have to provide scientific, intellectual, step by step analysis of the existence of God to prove God's existence is a presumptious, arrogant stance that scientists take. They shrug off faith like its a mosquito with malaria, and spit and shout loudly that scientific, empirical evidence is what is needed. I stammer and whinge and say, 'No! Faith's enough, in and of itself.'

Tradition highlights to the Christian the importance of the past and can help inform theology into the future, including the proof of the existence of God. 'Tradition' here is being defined as, 'a living and active process of passing on the Christian faith, rather than as a static source of revelation, indepedent of Scripture' (McGrath, 2001: 185).Quoting from Alister McGrath:
   ' "tradition" implies not merely something that is handed down, but an active process of reflection by which theological or spiritual insights are valued, assessed, and transmitted from one generation to another' (: 186). Some atheists would call this 'organized religion' and throw the baby out with the bath water. The tradition side of understanding Christianity and the existence of God is about looking and appreciating the validity of particular ideas/theology that has come from the past. We think of statements such as the Apostle's Creed and the Athanasian Creed forged within the think tanks of followers of Jesus in days gone by. But, does any of this provide evidence for the existence of God? When encapsulated wholistically with Scripture, experience and reason, tradition highlights to us, one of two options - millions of Christians and theologians got it all wrong and handed down pathetic excuses for religiosity, or there is merit and validity to the tradition of the past. It's admittedly not a strong argument, but is a justification nonetheless.

The same is said of 'Experience'. Millions of people testify their lungs out about the existence of God, through a faith response to the message of Christ. The atheist is quick to label experiential stories of supernatural experiences as either mental illness, illusions, hypnosis, lack of sleep, paranoia... the list goes on... If we labelled each and every Christian with these, quite often over the top, bogus justifications for someone's lack of true experience, then we have emerged into the 21st century on the back of millions of liars and millions of sick people who have for some reason shared with humanity a belief that is irrational and nonexistent. The millions of believers with these 'valid for them' experiences of faith have also been some of the most influential people in science, politics, religion, entertainment, the world has ever seen. I understand that a million people saying something is right, still does not necessarily make something right, though we cannot brush off the experience of many people with broad offensive comments about the validity of someones experience. Each experience should be weighed on its own merits, and possibly weighed up to the rigours of cohesiveness with biblical writings and scientific analysis.

The evidence that God exists, for a Christian is found in the continuing revelation of the power and significance that is found in the biblical writings. While atheists are fast to jump onto specific bible verses about the vengeance of God or the specific commands to a specific people at a specific time, the Christian has time and time again witnessed the outworking of Scripture in their lives. Whether it be the quiet reassurance that 'I will always be with you', or the supernatural sense of the peace of the Holy Spirit when we read, 'Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ' or the challenge we feel when we read, 'Go into all the world and make disciples'. The Scriptures and validity of them, and significance of them could obviously be unpacked with much more detail and eloquence than provided here, but suffice to say, the evidence for the existence of God comes partly though the faithfulness of the Christian Scriptures known today as the Bible.      

I'm happy for informative, constructive comments below (no matter what system of belief or non-belief you adhere to), so we can keep the discussion going. I finish with something lighthearted from Albert Einstein...
'Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former'.


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Sunday, July 4, 2010

The New Atheism - Should Christians be concerned?

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The New Athiesm - Should Christians be concerned? What is it?

Since 2004 there has apparently been a resurgence of Atheism; well that's according to David Steele writing in Philosophy Now - May 2010. This is what some would call, The New Atheism. The debates between Atheists and Christians have been around for years, but the discussions have hit the ears of many in the last few years, especially with the vocal advocacy and authorship of people like Christopher Hitchens (God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything) and Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion).

So firstly what is an 'atheist'? Or what is atheism? Much seemingly pedantic discussion is made about what the true definitions of these terms are, but firstly the narrow view of atheism is this: a-theism (a - from the greek meaning  'without' and theism/theos from the greek meaning 'deity'). The narrow view is thus labelled as without a deity, or rather, a belief that there is no God. This definition is saying that Atheists do not believe there is one God; one who supremely cares for this creation. They do not believe in what is called monotheism. Ernest Nagel (1901 - 1985) says in relation to atheism, 'I shall understand by 'atheism' a critique and a denial of the major claims of all varieties of theism' (cited in Philosophy Now - May 2010, p.6). The reason this is labelled a narrow view of atheism, is because this labels those that are polytheists (many gods) as atheists. A hindu would be far from labelling him/herself an atheist! So the definition of atheism has broadened over the years. In the broad sense atheism, according to Michael Martin, standardly refers to the denial of the existence of any god or gods and this therefore encapsulates the Christian monotheism and also polytheism. This type of definition of atheism tends to be the one that the general public hold to.

Michael Martin says, 'In Western society the term atheism has most frequently been used to refer to the denial of theism, in particular Judeo-Christian theism. This [theism] is the position that a being that is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good exists who is the creator of the universe, and who takes an active interest in human concerns, and guides his creatures by revelation' - and all the Christians read this and say, 'Yep! Amen!'

Exhaustive empirical evidence does not exist to prove the existence of such a wonderful God - only faith. Faith that comes by hearing the Word of God, and a relationship that forms because of someone acting on that faith/trust and believing that Jesus is who he says he is, and does what he says he does.

Christians know there are questions that are unanswerable and discussions that are hard to 'win'. The fact is though, that failure to respond adequately to an intellectual argument about faith does not render the faith inadequate; it merely means someone is unable to respond with theological prowess that dumfounds the other! The questions exist, no Christian doubts that:
* If God knows the future, how can we have free will? (Cicero)
* What was God doing before He created the world? (Augustine)
* Must God, if he exists in the mind, also exist in reality? (Anselm)
* Can an omnipotent being be constrained by justice and goodness? (Al-Ghazali).
* Why does a loving God allow suffering to good people (the general public ask this one!)

So this new atheism, or the old, same atheism revamped in the eyes of some... Tim Madigan says this apparent resurgence in atheism is due to a variety of reasons and some of these being, the collapse of the Soviet Union, revulsion against religious fundamentalism, a concern over collusion between church and state, and the growth of the internet and the dissemination of ideas and 'free' thought that this enhances (Philosophy Now - May 2010, p. 4). Whatever the reasons, the good news about Jesus remains the same. God sent his one and only son [Jesus] into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save it, through him.

Turn to Jesus today. 

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Holy Discontent - Bill Hybels - Book Review

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Bill Hybels presents an easy to read book about holy discontentedness. Ever watched a video about human trafficking and felt anger inside, or visited a 'boring' church and felt like God stirred something of frustration within you?
In Holy Discontent Hybels argues well and simply that the one thing that wrecks you, the one thing that keeps you up at night, is most likely YOUR holy discontent. This one thing is most likely the issue that you will spend the rest of your life focused upon.

What are some of the possible holy discontents?
* Poverty
* Faithless churches
* Poorly managed businesses
* Human Trafficking
* Gender inequality
* Poor leadership
* Fairtrade Products - lack of ethical business practices
* Worship music in church that sends even the most extravert asleep!

Fuel the fire that ignites personal vision - Thanks Bill.

What's your holy discontent?

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Australian Catholic Priest Jailed for Sex Charges

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Another Priest falls from public grace. An Australian Catholic Priest, has been sentenced to nearly 20 years jail for sexual abuse and sex attacks on 25 children. The abuse happened on boys in New South Wales between 1968 - 1986.

John Denham will serve a minimum of 13 years in jail. When you speak to the average Aussie about these kinds of things, you hear that 'There is no forgiveness' and 'This is why I hate organised religion,' 'We put our trust in these people'. I recall something of the words of Jesus about putting a millstone around someone's neck if they should ever let a young one be hurt or abused.

So what is the response from the Christian community? We cannot excuse the actions of this Catholic Priest. We cannot tiptoe around trying to protect the image of Christianity while all the more ignoring the covering up abuse and neglect. Conversely, to label all Priests/Ministers as pathetic, or dump ALL of religion down the gurgler because of the actions of this man, (and others) I believe is over the top. It does give you questions about hypocrisy in the Christian faith, sure. It raises questions about WHO Jesus was, and WHAT he would have done had he known about this situation.

In defence of the Christian faith (not in defence of this man), we may hear a story of a school teacher who has a sexual relationship with a student. The teacher is reprimanded with jail time, and the public are disgraced. The point I want to make is this: We do not then, up and leave the education system, and throw out education with the bath water and vow never to enter a school again. No. We are disgusted by the actions on this teacher, and we recognise there are many other teachers out there with integrity, passion and leadership, who make a great difference in the lives of young people.

Please feel free to comment - let out the frustrations! I tell you - I hate it. I hate how it wrecks young people's lives and how it damages families. I am annoyed by the image that is portrayed about who Jesus was and is, and how this one Catholic Priest breaks and steals away the reality of the nature of a loving and caring God who wants us all of his children to faithfully follow Jesus.

You'll find more at BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10485407.stm

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Should Australia vote for an Atheistic Prime Minister?

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Should Australia vote for a Atheistic Prime Minister? This is the big question around the Christian community in Australia. Two sides of the argument exist:
1. Some would argue that we need to separate Church and State, and so whether a Prime Minister is a Christian, Buddhist, Humanist or Secularist is irrelevant, as they make policies that are not affected by personally held belief systems.
2. Others would argue that any Prime Minister or politician makes policy decisions that, deep down, are affected by the belief system of that politician. Therefore, a Christian is desirable within the political arena in Australia, because that leader would make policy decisions that would not contradict the foundational beliefs of Judeo-Christian religion.

Well, this is a blog, so I will give my personal opinion. You can of course, make your own constructive comments below. If I had the choice to vote between someone who holds to my belief system, and someone who doesn't then I would choose someone who does. If there is someone who I believe will make good policy decisions, that will not contradict my Christian beliefs then that is the person I would vote for. If the policy thrusted upon the Australian government, was Religious Freedom of Speech, or Abortion Laws, or Same-sex Marriages, or even Immigration policies and rights of International Students, then someone who upholds the values of the Kingdom of God I would prefer.

Now, does this mean, this is necessarily Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott? Well, that's up for debate. I don't know where he sits with many policies, because he just spends his time 'bagging out' the Australian Labor Party. Would he uphold Christian values and ideals?

So what about the Australian Labor Party. I will say it bluntly. I am not keen on voting for Julia Gillard who is a professed Atheist. This relates obviously to believing in point 2 mentioned earlier. If you profess to hold to point 1, then you have a wider choice.

So in the next Federal Election, should Australia vote for a Atheistic Prime Minister?

Some links worth reading:
* http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/201007/s2941974.htm
* http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/julia-gillard-risks-christian-vote-with-doubts-on-god/story-e6frg6nf-1225885897505
* http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=22182



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