Sunday, September 18, 2016

Prayer points

One of the odd parts of any evangelical home group is the gathering (sharing?) of 'prayer points' prior to praying about (some...most) of them. It has liturgical dimensions; but its the pop-liturgy of the business meeting. There, instead of 'prayer points' we have 'action items'. The latter has been much lampooned. Oh that the former were as well.

My recent experience of this pop-liturgy is scary, and I've felt judged, criticised, embarrassed and discouraged. Hardly any of the outcomes  Paul would have thought could come from praying together in love, support and encouragement.

I divulged some matters that were pressing on may family and I: one pray-er thought that our Father in heaven should help us to 'repent'. Thanks Francine: so you know our internal state, our circumstances and history? At this point I wished I was given to profanity.

More recently, on Frost's enjoining us to eat with others thrice a week, and I protested that I could barely do thrice a year, one of the group members decided it was her turn to cross examine me, my family and suggest 'solutions' to what she saw as the problem.

Neither of these women seemed to think that they should believe and trust my requests or statements, but dive in and undo them according to their shallow, prejudiced and misjudged insight.

This is not what group pray should be: people talk about what they want prayed and expect to be given the benefit of the doubt, not a detailed haughty inquisition pre-pray or in-prayer. Rubbish. Why would I join a home group if this is the treatment?

The first rule of Christian interaction: be kind.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Aliens

Looking over a nephew's school poem: all about aliens and the sun burning out, I wondered at the Christian teaching the paid Christian at school was giving...and even wondered at same at his youth group: the poem was gravid with philosophical materialism.

How would he align this with the philsophical personalism of the Bible? Would he be equipped to deal with it through any Christian education he received, or would this merely take the tenor of our times as a given and completely fail to equip him to critically overturn it on understanding that comes from the word of God?

Knowing how most churches work: at the trival level of Bible stories, and if not, then philosophically disconnected from the ideas of the world, allowing its 'world view' to swallow thus subsume the truth of the Bible.

Witless, we perish.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Eat Frost

We've now done Frost's chapter on Eat. The deal is to eat with others three times a week; I can fudge this by having morning tea with someone at work, but its a fudge; we talk about work.

Moreover, the three times has to be with a combination of church and non-church people.

Fine in principal, but now we've got a number, its fixed: not even couched as a touchpoint: some can do more, others less.

But I hate it: a rule stuck onto the church, once more. I thought that we were done with rules; Paul tells us we are done with rules, but here we have a theologian laying them down. And I see it happening. My home group is now talking about 'eat three times a week'. Its now a goal, an objective, but its just a made up by Frost. Junk it fast.


Big universe

One of my nephews sagely advised me "When you have worries, just think of how big the universe is and how small we are and your worries will go away."

I later told him that I prefered to think how wonderfully powerful and loving God is that he made all that we see and know, and that makes my worries go away.

This is not just a cute bit of theologising, but betrays an unarticulated and probably unconsciously absorbed materialism in the first statement; the second deals with it, but I'm concerned that we've so disconnected God and creation (now its God and 'the universe') that he drifts out of our framing of our experience; thus the importance of allowing the words of Genesis 1, etc. to confront us, discomforting our incipient materialism.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Christian intellectuals

Mohler has an essay on this topic.

One reason that Christian intellectuals are fading out is that in an avowedly 'secular' world, and largely post-marxist academy (or its fellow travellers), Christian discourse is ruled out of court.

But it goes further; we fail to pin the non-Christian world on the horns of its own dilemma that comes from world views that fail to make sense of the worlds as we really live in it: materialism...romanticism (I mean things like nature worship)...panentheism (even if vaguely held). Much Christian discourse seeks to appease rather than challenge.

A great example of this poor practice is a Q&A (ABC TV leftist political platform) exchange between John Dickson, a Sydney Anglican minister, and presumably evangelical, and a humanist/materialist, where John agreed with the other's cosmogony, unwittingly making God something within the universe, and dependent; instead of challenging him on the epistemological thin ice he could not avoid being on, as a materialist.

There's also this essay.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Marriage equality

Marriage equality? There is no such thing, simply because it is rooted in the reduction of marriage to a sexual-romantic domestic relationship. It omits the cause of marriage being preeminently procreation, or equally about procreation. Remove that and the responsibility for raising and providing for children, and you remove the rationale for marriage.  A socially inert relationship (that is no offspring to look after) should be of no interest to the state.

Therefore I do not believe in marriage equality as is currently urged, because there is no functional relational equality between a man-woman set and any other set that would promote the rights, care of and responsibility for children.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bless

This evening my home group considered the chapter of Frost's book on mission on 'blessing'; blessing others.

I was surprised that the chapter wasn't founded in Scripture, of which there's plenty: Galatians 5:22, or Ephesians 4:32. Both speak of kindness. Galatians 6:10 is also worth a look.

I was also surprised that Frost cast aspersions on missions and coupled them with colonialism: I suppose I must do more reading here, but my reading so far is that the two were separate; missions used 'colonialism' as a channel to reach into other places, other peoples. The fact that governments and firms colonised for gain is a completely other matter. It is a mistake, and perhaps an anachronistic one, to allege that missionaries had gain in mind.

What they did do was bring the gospel of hope, removed the burden of spiritism and superstition, brought health and education, and rendered local languages in text. Was this bad?

They also brought civilisation, to some extent. Was that bad? I know in these days of cultural relativism (actually, its cultural agnosticism) it is bad to think that some cultures are better than others; but the though derives from Scripture, I suggest: a culture that brings Christian freedoms, equality and understanding of created reality IS better than one that thrives on subjugation, poverty and deprivation.