Monday, 26 February 2007

Sweet. Very sweet.

There is nothing quite like good rugby. There will be rugby in the new earth... or something better(!). Wasn't able to watch it on Saturday as was working 07:40 - 23:30, but even the BBC website highlights are thrilling. Beautiful.

And the not so beautiful - Paul O'Connell introduces himself to some of the England team during the match:
But D'Arcy and Horgan were walking on air...

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Pierced for our transgressions

This looks good. It's a Christian book, but even having come from a weekend where I devoted most every minute of the students' free / drinks -time to plugging good Christian books, this one looks seriously good. On the taster website they even offer a snippet along the lines of 'what's the big deal?' - not a sample of the book, but in case you're asking the question... Got to wait 'til March for it though!

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Christless leisure

Jonathan posted a quote quite worth quoting (and posting):
Jesus Christ is refreshing, but flight from him into Christless leisure makes the soul parched. At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer and neglect the Word, but then we pay: shallowness, prayerlessness,vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit. [John Piper (1997) A Godward Life, in ch.34 "Setting Our Minds on Things Above in Summer"]
And I'd add that it's daunting how quickly Christ-filled books can effectively morph into Christless leisure with some unwatched hardness of heart and a lack of prayerful attention.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Moral compassing

CSI (Series 7 episode 4) moralising about kids who committed murder for fun starts to sound a bit like what Paul described in Romans 1:

Warwick - They need some good discipline: they need some grandmother whipping their ass, like I had.
Sara - You know, it kinda sounds like you guys are blaming everybody but these kids. I mean you don't get a bye just cos you grew up here, or your parents are on drugs, or... Those kids were perfectly capable of telling the difference between a wild night out and beating somebody to death.
Grissom - The truth is, a moral compass can only point you in the right direction, it can't make you go there. Our culture preaches that you shouldn't be ashamed of anything you do any more. And unfortunately this city is built on the principle that there's no such thing as guilt: "Do whatever you want - we won't tell." And without a conscience, there's nothing to stop you from killing someone. And evidently you don't even have to feel bad about it.

I don't know why the producers thought to put that bit of moralising in, but it's true: a moral compass can only point in the right direction - make you capable of telling the difference between a wild night out & beating someone to death. It has no power to enable you to do right. And so we not only suppress the truth but encourage others to do so too: guilt is no longer welcome - it is something to therapise away, because we suppress the truth that it's there for a reason. Yet the truth is, no matter how much we quash the conscience,
God shows no partiality. For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. [Rom 2.11-16.]
And this rebounds on us - those of us who keep some of the law, who even enforce the law and judgingly moralise about those who break it. We'll be judged by God impartially - and not just our actions, so seemingly morally superior, but our secret thoughts, which accuse us even as they fight for precedence.

But praise God, even as he shows no partiality, so that we are worse off than we ever realised, also, he shows no partiality, so we can be better off than we ever imagined:
For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. [Rom 3.22b-25a.] There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. [Rom 8.1-4.]

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Loving grace

At Aston yesterday we'd a fun start to the Pure course with Pure Perfection, accompanied by multicoloured post-it notes on a whiteboard, multicoloured acetate pens & acetates circling round, and multicoloured highlighter pens for a bit of Gen 1 & 2 study. My Mother (who most marvellously visited me for the weekend) is sure there'll be something like a stationery shop in heaven; having got all this together for 'Pure Perfection' I think the lovely Linda Marshall must agree with her. It must be a primary school teacher thing. Anyway, it was great to be reminded of God's perfect creation plan.

Local uni. chaplain to CU leader: "Why do the CU go on about sex?" Baffled because we've not done any meetings, talks or studies on sex or relationships this year up to this point, CU leader wasn't quite sure what to answer other than pointing out that we were only getting round to it in February; but in Pure Perfection we did discover a possible answer as we looked at Genesis 1 & 2: the very first command that God gave human beings was to be fruitful, multiply & fill the earth!

Wolverhampton CU this evening had the lovely Linda Marshall in person as we had a tip-of-the-hat-to-Valentine's-Day meeting on Sex, relationships, love & being a Christian. That is, we hadn't got a very specific title, but Linda led us in looking at Titus 2.11-14: our motivation for living godly lives in the area of sex & relationships (and all other areas for that matter). It's grace! Grace that appeared in the person of Jesus, who gave himself for us to buy us back from all wickedness, grace that sustains us as we live in this inbetween age until he appears again. Not rules - which like Bridget Jones-style big pants may suck in some bits to make us seem more in shape, but actually just shift the fat to bulge out in other places - not rules but the grace of the cross and its hope for the future. The grace of knowing that we are already bought back, that we're loved by the King of the universe, the grace which gives us zeal to do what he likes for the glory of the One who bought us with his own blood. Staying in the grace of the cross and not moving away as if we could grow out of it -
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Saturday, 3 February 2007