30 May 2006


Still writing papers. Richard Hall's An Argument about the Atonement is worth reading.

27 May 2006

How to Read the Bible

OK, it's pathetic to link to a link to a blog, I know. But, hey, I have two 7000 word papers due on Friday. That's my excuse, anyway.

This article is just too good to ignore: The Bible Wasn’t Written to You by Lingamish courtesy of my friend, Dave W’s website.

I may depend on the kindness of friends and strangers, but at least I give credit where credit is due!

21 May 2006

God's Embrace

I thought I'd share the following. It was written for our church newsletter and inspired by that book: Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf. (Who says you can't communicate theology in plain English?)

God's Embrace

Isn’t it a wonderful thing to be embraced by someone who loves us? A mother or father. A good friend or a sister or brother we have not seen in a long time. It not only makes us feel special, it also makes us feel as if the other person is part of our life and we are part of theirs.

God’s embrace is the best embrace of all. And what’s more, God knows how to give us a proper embrace.

First, God opens his arms. By opening his arms, God makes room for us in his life. God wants to include everyone in his life and Kingdom. Jesus on the cross, arms open to all, crucified for all, is the most beautiful and moving picture of God’s open arms.

Then God stands and waits. Although God desperately wants us to be with him, even so he waits. God waits because he respects us; he created us with free will and he does not force us to embrace him. He waits for us to respond to his open arms.

When we respond, God embraces us. There is no such thing as a one-person embrace; it is an act that must shared. When we accept God’s embrace, we begin to share in the Body of Christ, which is the church community.

Then God lets go. It is not that God abandons us. This letting go is also an act of respect, for if God did not let go, we would be prisoners. God created each one of us to be unique, and he lets us go so that we can find our true identity in Christ.

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18)

20 May 2006

Good Us Think, Bad Them Feel

Warning: the link article below asserts that God commands his people to wage war. If this is likely to wind you up, don't read the article!

came across this article whilst searching for articles on racism: Liberal Feelings vs. Judeo-Christian Values. One thing I find absolutely fascinating is the way that the article mentions the word 'feelings' so many times. If you read the article, it clearly contrasts 'feelings' with 'objective standards of morality'. I grew up in a denomination that also castigated feelings in this way. I have my own theories about why feelings are allegedly bad, but I'm not sure they are fit for public consumption; ask me in private if you know me!

What a huge contrast this article is to Miroslav Volf's book Exclusion and Embrace which uses the same argument about God-given, externally-posited values to make the argument that 'War is not the answer.' (Sorry, I may be banging on about this fantastic, illuminating book for awhile!)

The article, it seems to me, is a great example of Plantinga's assertion that 'at the heart of sin is a refusal to tolerate sin.' Of course, those who are attacked in war feel (that word!) that they must defend their homes and country; that doesn't mean 'their' war is 'just'. It is simply that, ethically, it is much less evil to defend oneself than to start a war.

The danger of refusing to tolerate sin in oneself is that we start looking for reasons why our cause is 'just' - why it is OK for us to hurt or kill the other person but wrong for her to hurt or kill us.

18 May 2006

The Da Vinci Code

What the heck, we're all supposed to have a view on this, right?

I've not seen the film, but I've read the book. As far as I can tell, Dan Brown claims it's a novel. The book is a good novel, in my view.

Thirty years ago, I suspect most people would have known that there is much fiction about Christianity in the book.

So my thoughts are:

1) I'd really like to see more people, especially Christians, have a passing knowledge of Christian doctrine and practice. (But I've been saying this for years)

2) In my personal experience, the book provided a great opportunity to have a conversation about Christianity and I expect that film will do the same.

The more we belly-ache about the existence of the book and the film, the more ridiculous we look and the more we appear to favour censorship of ideas.

15 May 2006

I Am A Sinner (who has been forgiven)

I am currently reading Miroslav Volf's book 'Exclusion and Embrace'. In this book Volf quotes Cornelius Plantinga as saying that at the heart of sin "lies the persisent refusal to tolerate a sense of sin".

I think this is a really important idea. I'm not suggesting that I've totally embraced this understanding in my own devotional life, but I have a sense that human beiings are powerfully released to grow in holiness when each of us is willing to live with the idea that we are sinners. When I can really embrace the idea that I am a sinner but that God loves me 'anyway' - through the life, death and resurrection of Christ - then I become free to acknowledge my sins before God and to be changed by the Spirit. I will no longer need to hide from myself that I am sinful and I will no longer need to try to hide from God the fact that I'm sinful - as if I could do that.

14 May 2006

Yes but....

This is a question 'into the airwaves' and it will be interesting to see whether anyone answers the question.

I grew up believing that God hated my guts and wanted me to burn in hell. It wasn't until I finally understood that God really loved me that I was able to begin to have an honest relationship with God and to grow in my discipleship.

My question is why, when I testify to God's love, that there is always someone who feels compelled to say 'Yes, but...' and try to minimise God's love in someway. Sort of 'Yes, God loves you, but don't be fooled into thinking that God loves you too much.'

What is the idea behind this?

Are there are too many people in the world who think that God loves them?

Or that if people are threatened with God's anger that the world will be a more ethical place and that people will want to be Christians?

13 May 2006

Women in the Ordained Ministry

One some of the Blogs I read, there has recently been a brou-ha-ha over a conference in the States which seems to have decided that the non-ordination of women is a central Christian theological essential. Apparently the belief that women may not lead men in the church is as essential as any of the theological affirmations in the Nicene Creed.

The first thing I want to do is to offer the following weblinks as an antidote:
The God’s Word to Women blog spot
The God’s Word to Women website
The Christians for Biblical Equality website

As a woman who is training for ministry, I'm not going to be strident about this issue. I do think I understand why people hold the view that woman may not be ordained; I think I understand it because the denomination of my childhood holds this view. I understand, also, why I do not agree with it.

If those who believe in women's ordination believe that there will someday be a 'victory' in the sense of all Christians coming to accept the idea of women as ministers, then I have to say that I don't believe that the day will ever come. All we can do is to support one another - and by 'we' I don't just mean women in ordained ministry but all people who support them.