Clown Europe

Sea

Call them what you want,

Asylum seeker, migrant, refugee;

But see, a face that looks like me.

 

Watch them flee from land and sea,

Shining out from our latest HD TV.

Packed in boats and rafts;

Longing for half a chance.

 

Despising even the rank air they breathe.

No room to move or sit,

No food to eat no drink to drink;

While Europe waits and chats and thinks.

 

They want to live and work and play,

To see a new day, as the sun goes higher;

Just trying to live that’s all, beyond the dire,

But is this necessary, brand-new razor-sharp wire?

 

And they’re the lucky one’s,

For too many drown,

In the not too funny sea,

While Europe looks on, like a clown.

 

We all know this world is unequal,

Too few have had too much for too long.

“Fortresses of wealth in many seas of mass misery,”

No act of God, but acts of man,

A kind of perverse and sinful symmetry.

 

It is time to wake up, look up and see,

These are not asylum seekers, migrants or refugees;

But a stunning and worthy humanity. . . . seeking dignity.

Look closely:  they are all just like you, and just like me.

 

 

Absolutes, Possibilities and Silence – how to read the Bible properly

Any doctrinal study of any kind must be thorough.  Beginning with the Old Testament, via the inter-testamental period (if necessary) and progressing through the ministry of Jesus in the Gospels, and concluding with Acts and the Letters.  Every study must work through the whole of what every text is a part!  Of course, this approach assumes that Scripture is authoritative and inspired by the Holy Spirit – the Third Person of the Trinity!  To not be convinced of this will lead to eisegesis, a form of study that merely seeks to bolster and promote a view already held – although a belief in the Trinity is no guarantee at all that eisegesis will not win the day!

Cultural and linguistic background studies must be exhausted, followed by exegetical questions about the passage in question, with whatever doctrine is in mind; this is especially true in our day when many within and with-out the Church seem to foam at the mouth regarding “the authority of women”, “women in the Church” or “homosexuality” or whatever!

I think the Bereans of Acts 17:11 are a great acid test here:  “With great eagerness [they] examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true!”  Note: if what Paul said was true!  They surely knew not of whom they spoke!  But all credit to them.  Integrity, openness, honesty and desire all the way.

Anyone engaging in exegetical study, or Bible study, must use sound principles of interpretive method and procedure.  Openness and honesty, as already stated, is primary, especially in any polarised topic or doctrine.

The exegetical student must recognise and distinguish between:

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Apartheid: any system or practice that separates people according to color, ethnicity, caste, etc.

tshirt“Jimmy Carter, the former president of the USA and member of the group of elders published a book called Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. This brought into the mainstream something that was known to people close to Palestine and Israel for a while. Palestinian Christians and Muslims are living as second class citizens under an apartheid regime. Here are some examples:

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Interview with British Theologian Rev. Dr. Derek Tidball

tidball_derek_dianneOn the 21st June 2015 Rev. Dr. Derek Tidball was the guest preacher at church, and you can listen to his sermon here.  Derek is a British theologian, sociologist of religion, former Principal of London School of Theology, retired Baptist minister and author of numerous books, the most recent one of which I have read is ‘Preacher, keep yourself from idols’, a very helpful reminder of the priorities for the minister/preacher!

After the service I had the privilege of sitting down with him in my study and asking him a few questions:

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Lord, behold a wretched sinner

Below is a wonderful hymn by Kim Fabricius.  
I can't sing very well, so if you'll join me in praying it I'll be delighted!

Lord, behold a wretched sinner

(Tune: Quem pastores laudavere)

 

Lord, behold a wretched sinner,

from the outer to the inner;

at repentance, rank beginner:

day and night my conscience cries.

 

Where begin?  My faults keep mounting;

when I start I can’t stop counting;

huge the sum, but Christ’s accounting

crosses out and nullifies.

 

Good I would but can’t achieve it,

bad I hate but can’t relieve it.

God for us?  I can’t believe it:

me the apple of his eye!

 

God forgives before petition;

grace alone shows our condition;

truth demands our self-suspicion:

like a snake the heart is sly.

 

While accusing scribes are hissing,

Christ portrays the Father kissing

cheek of child that he’s been missing:

Love forgives and sanctifies!

 

by Kim Fabricius found here.

Sideways CrossI took this photo outside All Saints Church in Torquay.

God chose Judas when he could have so easily chosen me!

“So after recieving the morsal of bread, [Judas] immediately went out.  And it was night.”  John 13:30

“Then Judas Isacriot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray [Jesus] to them.  And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him some money…”  Mark 14:10-11

“Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”  Matthew 26:46

“Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”  Luke 22:48

“And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and went and hanged himself.”  Matthew 27:5

Figo-JudasThe name ‘Judas’ is now more than a name.  It is synonymous in many cultures with a term of insult, the lowest form of slander, the highest charge of wrong-doing.  It is not a name we choose for our children, nor our dogs.  We don’t like Judas.

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Recovering the Race

“Centuries before the man of Uz had wrestled with the problem of the Almighty’s dealings with men as personalised in his own tragedy.

Now in Christ, Forsyth says, God has givien his answer to Job’s demand that he should vindicate his ways with men.

His answer is in a person who is in history yet above it.

The answer is not a mere revelation; it is a redeptive act and a moral victory which has in principle recovered the race.

The Vindicator has stood on the earth.  He is Christ crucified, risen and regnant, the eternal Son of God.

In his work the dread knot created by God’s holiness and man’s sin and drawn into a tight ‘snarl’ by mankind’s misuse of its God-given freedom, has been undone.

And God’s undoing of it in his Son’s cross provides the key to all his dealings with men, as it gives us his master-clue to his final destiny for the world and the race – a moral sovereignty without end, a recreated humanity, and a consummation of all things in the eternal kingdom of God.”

P. T. Forsyth, Per Crucem ad Lucem, by A. M. Hunter, pg.112

yellow flower 2From my garden in 2014 (I think it’s a sunflower)!