Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017

if it pleases you...

The sermon this afternoon was remarkable; about prayer, springing off Luke 11, but with a careful reference to the word translated 'persistence' in most versions, in verse 8. the ESV is closer with 'impudence'. Our speaker used 'shamelessness'. Similar thing (the New English Bible translates anaideia in Luke 11:8 as 'shamelessless' (importunity in the AV).

He went on to quote a piece from the SMH writer Elizabeth Farrelly, who late last year wrote:
We think prayer is a plea for wealth, health, happiness, love…like children pleading for sweets. But that is 180 degrees wrong. The very word, ‘please’, is a clue. Properly speaking please is not a demand but an offer, not a gimme, but an ‘if it pleases you’. It is in other  wants, a listening, a straining to hear the will of the universe or what you might call the voice of God. The effort of prayer is to see more truly, hear more clearly, connect more deeply.
Many good things in that passage; except of course for the materialist's inevitable misunderstanding of their own position: 'hear the will of the universe'? as if the universe is a person with a will and can communicate! What a disappointing position. But how liberating and moving that it is about a relationship with God, the 'ground of our being' who is truly personal: we are continuous in that with the only self-existent one: he is personal, as are we (in his image) and connected as Yeshua connects God and humanity once more in fellowship...nothing is better. Farrelly misses so much in that she thinks all we 'relate' to is a bunch of mute impersonal atoms. For this view, there is no hope.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Silly songs

Last Sunday was silly song day.

In fact, most Sundays are silly song day.

The lyrics that stuck with me were the repetitive "because of who he is" about God's love; repeated about 5 times, then the response: our 'love': "because of who I am"; also repeated about 5 times.

Sounded like it was pumped out of the Brill Building for a fee, not from the heart of someone who has a story to commit to song...and I don't mean the vacuous story of a 16 year old in their first 'love'. I mean something like Horatio Spafford's "It is well with my soul"

It was so empty that I don't think it was about God's love at all, and the response was completely wrong. Nothing God does is about 'who I am', except one in need of rescue. But Yeshua put aside his divinity "for the joy set before him" and not because of any good time that we would have.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Adam and Eve and love

Nice to see a piece in the Wall Street Journal about Adam and Eve teaching about love. Apologies of this is paywalled in either the Australian or the WSJ.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Wright on creation

Searching for a Tom Wright video on YouTube, Mr Google gave me this, as it quickly parsed by NTW: no, not that NTW, this one: The Royal Revolution.

Much to ponder, of course, as there always is from Wright, but I found very interesting his linking of Genesis 1 and 2 with the tabernacle passages in Exodus, thence John's gospel.

The theological cloth he weaved showed creation as one of the peaks of theology as part of the link between God and Humanity.

Regrettably most proponents of biblical creation do not operate at this level of theological sophistication or insight (heck, who would? there's only one NTW), instead being stuck with a detached literalism or a banal legalism.

Now I'm all for the correspondence of the genesian account with actual events, but this becomes powerfully illuminating in Wright's model; in fact, it sets Wrights model on fire: not only is creation-tabernacle-cross the three act play of revelation, but it is set in the creation, almost recursively, and plays out in terms of the creation of which Genesis speaks; which makes sense, of course. It would be theologically hollow if the creation could not provide the terms of its own account or show its significance in the fellowship of God and Humanity in terms of the space-time events which it must-needs be carried upon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

God's got a plan

I've  heard it; you've probably heard it: "God's got a plan for your life."

If this is not an essentially teleological observation, I expect that it is meant to encourage one to be in synch with who knows what to get who knows where.

The Wright talk on After you are Christian provides part of the answer.

The other part was set out in our sermon last Sunday. The speaker told us. Start. Get going, take a step and being prayerful, growing in wisdom and being attentive to the Spirit in the Word of God, God will work all things together for good...as we travel the ups and downs of life. Our Father will join us in our experiences to work in a path that we take together.

He didn't actually say all of that, but the first bit he did. The rest follows, of course.

Now what a relief that would be to a younger person, I would think, puzzling over the cute evangelical injunction implied in 'God has a plan for your life'. The plan is there; the NT is full of it. But for you, or me? Get on with it.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

capital Letters

For some reason the projected songs we sing at church are very oddly capitalised. I wonder if others have detected this. The second person pronoun is often capitalised in respect of God, but not always (particularly if it is 'thee'). Sometimes a common noun is capitalised if not the first in the line, but sometimes not.

It looks drippy. It looks uneducated.