Friday, January 29, 2010

Praise God for Richard Dawkins

Writing today in "The Times" Richard Dawkins is on a mission to demonstrate again how stupid Christians are and how superior his own brand of religion (athiesm) is to all the rest. I have to say much of the article I agreed with.  I find it amazing that we Christians actually lack the courage to say what the Bible says. We sometimes go to huge lengths to distance ourselves from very simple and straight forward ideas the Bible has about sin and suffering because we cannot bear the idea that God is actually in control of all the mess, or that he holds us accountable for what we do or even that he subjects the world to these things in the hope of a new world (Romans 8). Somehow to say these things for some Christians is to commit the sin of offending others unnecessarily.  While Dr Dawkins may object to what the Bible says and call it immoral and depraved he at least is willing to admit to the idea that atonement at the cross is the issue.

Where I do slightly disagree with him through is in this:
"Your entire religion is founded on an obsession with “sin”, with punishment and with atonement." 
I object because I am not at all sure we are obsessed with sin,  I think it would be more accurate to say we are obsessed with grace. I admit I think sin is serious and shouldn't be ignored. I admit I think God is going to punish the world on the last day, and yes I do think atonement is central to a correct understanding of the cross... but I am obsessed with grace. Grace is something so unexpected and so un-religious that it blows my mind.  Religion says "be good and God will love you" grace says "God in Christ loves us more than we can know and repentance and faith not good deeds are the key to getting hold of that love."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Blogging with trumpets

It is not difficult to understand what Jesus is getting at in Matthew chapter 6. Three times he condemns religious acts that are done merely for show. He says God hates it when we pray so that other people can see us and give so other people will praise us and fast so other people will applaud us.

When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly
And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do
When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity!

In an age when we are obsessed with getting our message out there and saying things so that people can hear us I wonder if we are doing our blogging and tweeting and podcasting and sermon uploading and so on and so forth "with trumpets".
I am well aware that practically everything we do has mixed motives, and I am also aware that having the wrong motives doesn't mean you should automatically stop doing something. But I feel the temptation in my own heart to do things so that people will say "Isn't he wise" or "Isn't he godly" or alike. It seems like a bit of a slap in the face to Jesus to keep quoting him and using him as an excuse to get ourselves more well known.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Generally I dont like New Year resolutions. Not because I dont think they are a good idea but because I often fail to keep them (like most people) and sometimes wonder if they tend to be an exercise in affirming my own power to change things independant of the gospel. But having said that I so much enjoyed my New Years resolution to read through the Bible in 2009. It was a good goal to set and having done it I find that rather than feel completed and fulfilled I am actually hungry for more. This year Claire and I are going to read through Bible using the McCheyne plan with a little help from Doctor Carson.

My resolution for 2010 is to pray properly each day. What a bizzare confession to make, you would think that a pastor would pray regularly and often but I think like many people I struggle to give proper time to pray each day and end up only firefighting in my prayer life.
As DAC says "If you don't plan to pray you won't pray"
So no more excuses, it's time to knock until my knuckles bleed.