Friday, April 28, 2006

Yet Another DaVinci Code Post

I know some of you are sick to death of hearing about The DaVinci Code; but seeing as the movie comes out in a few weeks, here is a useful website to know about.

It's been set up by Westminster Theological Seminary to provide resources to help discuss the claims put forth in the book and the film from a historically accurate perspective.

If you believe the stats that only 5% of pastors have read the book, then I guess we're very blessed to have had Andrew address it already.

But just in case you didn't take notes, the website will help you answer any questions!

Swearing

We had a brief conversation about swearing at Bible study last night, and I've been reflecting on it ever since. Then I had Ephesians 4:29 land in my inbox today:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Somehow this doesn't feel like a coincidence, so I'm taking it as prodding to raise the subject here.

I would consider myself as having a lower tolerance for swearing than most other people my age. An example: although I can understand that cr-p is now totally acceptable in many environments, I don't often use it myself, I feel 'dirty' when I do, and it does bother me when I hear it from my Christian friends.

What I'm wondering is,
  • am I just being hyper-sensitive, and should I be more willing to engage in the world
  • or should we as Christians watch what we say more carefully, so as not to offend people with anything but the gospel
  • or is it just a matter of 'it doesn't really matter, stick with what you feel comfortable with' (eg Romans 14)
What do you think?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Wearing the gospel (for men)

Okay Pete, you wanted it.

I think that Tommy here models commitment to our denomination. He's saying "I'm a Presbyterian and proud of it!"



















And so as not to be a stumbling block to the traditionalists ...






















I'd like to see more of this kind of thing among our men.

Pete, will you lead the way?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

clothe yourself in the gospel...

Okay girls. Having trouble telling non-Christian guys about Jesus? Perhaps you need to rethink your wadrobe.

How about this:




















[Just in case you can't read these inspiring words, the cami prints the 5 'solas' of the christian faith - scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, ? alone (can't remember that one!), to the glory of God alone.]

or how about these:










nb. The first one's for real!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A W Tozer

I've been challenged and encouraged by the writings of A W Tozer recently. Let me share with you a short section from the preface of the book I'm currently reading, written in 1948.

Current evangelicalism has (to change the figure) laid the altar and divided the sacrifice into parts, but now seems satisfied to count the stones and rearrange the pieces with never a care that there is not a sign of fire upon the top of lofty Carmel. But God be thanked that there are a few who care. They are those who, while they love the altar and delight in the sacrifice, are yet unable to reconcile themselves to the continued absence of fire. They desire God above all. They are athirst to taste for themselves the `piercing sweetness' of the love of Christ about Whom all the holy prophets did write and the psalmists did sing.
-
A W Tozer, Pursuit of God, 1948.

Is there an absence of fire on our alter? Do we desire God above all? Are we thirsty for the "'piercing sweetness' of the love of Christ about whom the holy prophets did write and the psalmists sing"? I'm challenged...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bellevue Tce in The Papers


Hi everyone, I'm wondering if we should start writing letters to our local papers. There are often opportunities to comment on issues from a Christian perspective and to raise issues that have to do with the Gospel. The two papers we have in Brisbane are The Australian and The Courier Mail
You can view all the articles and write letters to the editor through their websites. Unfortunately they seem to deal with a lot less interesting and theological issues than the Sydney Morning Herald or the Melbourne Age, but given they are our local papers I thought it might be worth trying to make our views heard.

A couple of suggestions for writing letters.

  • write by about 4:00pm if you want to be published the next day.
  • Keep it brief
  • don't moralise or lecture – try and say something positive about the Christian faith and grace.
  • Keep it brief
  • don't take yourself too seriously – a bit of appropriate humour goes a long way
  • keep it brief
  • don't be discouraged if you don't get published. Good letter writing takes practice, and even if your letter doesn't get published, it may help someone who's expressing the same view to be published.

In terms of helping each other to do this, my suggestion would be that if you check out the papers and find an interesting article, you post it on this blog, so others can see it and try writing. You may also like to post your letters for comments and suggestions as to how we can do it better

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Congratulations!

I think Petrina and Dave have some news for us...

Friday, April 07, 2006

The gospel of Judas?

I'm not sure how long the article will be up, but for the moment at least, NineMSN is reporting on the recent unveiling of "The Gospel of Judas" - http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=94780>here.

I don't know what's sadder - the thought that people might see this as a true "alternate gospel", or the things that supposed experts are saying in the article...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Are hymns poetry?

I read an essay by Andy Judd last night titled Can Hymns Be Great Poetry? It's a little technical in spots, but overall a good read. To summarise, Andy argues against Samuel Johnson's view

According to Samuel Johnson, hymns cannot be poetry of any calibre. For him there is an irreconcilable conflict between the “essence” of poetry which is invention (“something unexpected [which] surprises and delights”) and the “paucity” of religious devotional topics which “enforces perpetual repetition” and “rejects ornaments of figurative diction”. He allows the best hymnists only that they have “done better than others what no man has done well”.

holding that hymns can fulfil all the requirements of 'poetry' and that whether or not a text is poetry ultimately comes down to the value that culture places on it.

If I had to sign on the line, I'd probably agree with Judd - hymns can be poetry. But I don't think that they often are. Mostly they are just verse. I love hymns but I think that on the whole it's formula writing - a bit like mills and boon romances or crime novels. Occasionally a hymn writer will write something that steps over the line and is poetry - but this is rare. Perhaps as rare as a paperback novel being literature.

What do you think? What hymns do you think have stepped over the line and are poetry?