Blast From the Past

[As you may have noticed, I’m trying out cheesy names for features that could become regular if and when this blog becomes remotely popular, such as ‘Quick Fire Quote’, or this, ‘Blast from the Past’, where I’ll post a quote from a long dead Christian. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be gained by looking at preachers like Spurgeon and Calvin, even though they seem a bit old and dusty to many people today!]

Love thy neighbour, too, albeit that he be of a different religion. Thou thinkest thyself to be of that sect which is the nearest to the truth, and thou hast hope that thou and thy compeers who think so well, shall certainly be saved. Thy neighbour thinketh differently. His religion thou sayest is unsound and untrue; love him, for all that. Let not thy differences separate him from thee. Perhaps he may be right, or he may be wrong; he shall be the rightest in practice, who loves the most. Possibly he has no religion at all. He disregards thy God; he breaks the Sabbath; he is confessedly an atheist; love him still. Hard words will not convert him, hard deeds will not make him a Christian. Love him straight on; his sin is not against thee, but against thy God. Thy God takes vengeance for sins committed against himself, and leave thou him in God’s hands. But if thou canst do him a kind turn, if thou canst find aught whereby thou canst serve him, do it, be it day or night. And if thou makest any distinction, make it thus: Because thou art not of my religion, I will serve thee the more, that thou mayest be converted to the right; whereas thou art a heretic Samaritan, and I an orthodox Jew, thou art still my neighbour, and I will love thee with the hope that thou mayest give up thy temple in Gerizim, and come to bow in the temple of God in Jerusalem. Love thy neighbour, despite differences in religion.

Charles Spurgeon (Love Thy Neighbour- Aug. 9th, 1857)

‘Love thy neighbour, too, albeit that he be of a different religion.’ A point that seems so obvious, and yet a point that is so often overlooked  in modern ‘Christianity’. Sometimes it can even be within Christianity that the most hate seems to surface; denomination vs. denomination is the line up in a fight which seems to be fought all too often. And yet that famous example of Love, the story of the Good Samaritan, is one where Jesus highlights the importance of love across cultural, social and religious boundaries. How are we to call ourselves Christians if we don’t act like he did? It becomes even more clear when one brings the controversy surrounding homosexuality into the picture. There is so much fear and hate surrounding that topic that it alone turns people far from Christ. But we are to love as Christ loves. As Christians, we are to be the constant in a fluctuating world, an un-flickering beacon of light to all humans, not just the ones we happen to agree with. We are Christ’s ambassadors, his representatives, his stand-ins until he returns, and, as a church, we better start acting like it.

This song isn’t on the topic of religion, or sexuality, but it illustrates the importance of Love. Love as defined by Jesus.

If we are the body – Casting Crowns

Quick Fire Quote: A Heavenly Scandal

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:18-21

Mary was pregnant before she was married, a very scandalous thing at the time. And Joseph had to marry her. In this case, though, for Joseph to do the socially unacceptable was all part of God’s plan. Yes, this was a special situation, but compare it to God’s instructions to the prophet Hosea in Hosea 1:2. He had to go very much against the grain as well. The rules and regulations of modern day society can be good guidelines regarding how to behave, but sometimes God’s plan can fly in the face of whatever happens to be conventional behaviour at that point in time. I suppose that’s the sort of issues you’ll get when you follow the infinite in a finite world.

So if what God is calling you to do or say is not the ‘done thing’, especially in this age of political correctness, don’t worry. ‘Do not be afraid’ to make a stand, to act counter-culturally. God’s way is eternal, and if we have to step over society’s rules to walk in it, then that’s a step well worth taking.

Elijah: The Man With No History

Elijah: Big shot prophet, fire raining down from heaven, miracles galore, one of the most famous characters in all of the Old Testament.

And yet check out his introduction in 1 Kings 17:1. No genealogy, no long list of past events or heroic victories, just a simple statement about who he is in the present.

Why? Because, I think, God doesn’t care so much about our past, about yours or my failings that have gone before, so much as he cares about who we are now, and who, with his help, we can become.

A Thought From Adrian Plass

Original version can be found here. Adrian Plass is one of my favourite comedy writers, all the more so as he’s a Christian, and his satirical take on Church goings on are nothing short of hilarious. Here is an example of an article of his which is at once both ridiculous and thought provoking. Maybe if I’m in a theological mood later I’ll attempt to write an article about the Old verses the New Testaments. Maybe. But for now, fellow travellers, sit back, relax and enjoy Mr Plass’s genius!

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Troubled Times…

I’d like to delve deeper into this, but as it is I’m shattered, so I’ll just leave you with a quick thought:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Swine ‘flu, the economy, wars, swine ‘flu, Michael Jackson dying, swine ‘flu: these are times full of worry and uncertainty. Me, I’m most worried about Swine Flu, In case you hadn’t noticed, or a pandemic like it, because I think it has the potential to be really bad. What’s the likelihood of me getting through uni without event?

With all of this, it is so, so easy to lose sight of the promises God has given us. We’re not to worry. The rest of the world, relying on itself and only itself has every right, but us? We have God with us, literally. How can we even begin to worry!? So, life may not turn out exactly how we want it to, how I want it to. So what? Do I think I have better plans than God?

He has it covered. So I’m probably going to get swine flu at some point. Big deal. It’s a temporary disease, in a temporary life. I’m destined, you’re destined, for something far greater.

[EDIT: Well, that was a lot of fuss over nothing…]

Incorrect or Inspired?

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

Genesis 1:14-19 has often confused me, for the plain and simple fact that it’s wrong. Despite what the passage says, the moon and sun are technically not both lights. One quite obviously is, but the other is just a glorified lump of space rock! To use the same word, light, for both objects is simply not right. In the most reverent way possible, what was God playing at!?

But that got me thinking. This grey, plain, boring lump of rock has been elevated by God to the same status as the Sun. It does nothing except rather poorly reflect the sun’s light, and yet here, in this passage, it is labelled as a light in its own right.

So, using other verses from the Bible, I would like to try and show how this apparently incorrect verse actually fantastically foreshadows God’s plan for us. Bear with me through the post, because the truth it  reveals is brilliant. Even right at the beginning of the story, God had a plan for you and me.

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A Half-Year’s Resolution

http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/funny-pictures-pimp-alpakah.jpgThis blog started as a vision, a beacon of light in the darkness of the internet. The beacon, though has not been lit for a long time.

I am shocked and appalled at my negligence, to be honest. This blog was going to be updated weekly, nay, daily, but it has stood unattended for weeks. Months. To the countless fans who were undoubtedly holding their breath in anticipation of a new post, I extend an apology for your inevitable asphyxiation. Nevertheless, this is a turning point. This is the second beginning. This is, to quote a popular work of cinematic art, the start of something new. Good times. I have much to say, about exams, and that sort of thing, but I feel that would dampen the power of this heartfelt apology.

I am truly sorry. Here, to tide you over, is a picture of an Alpaca.