Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Lets throw the baby out with the bat water.

While pondering the title for this blog entry, i had a number of options, but none of them where that polite, and they would have gotten me into trouble. This is going to be a rant, and if you don't like it i'm genuinely not going to stay up all night fretting about it.

The other day as is per usual i was told i'm not a normal Christian (whatever normal is) so it was time to ask the person who made the statement what was a normal christian, what made me un normal and what made normal, this is how part of that conversation went.

" So whats a normal Christian look like, how do they behave, what do they do?" it seemed logical to start from that point. "Well most Christians i have met and i have met a few, tend to harp on about theology, tend to prattle on about who is right who is wrong, while missing the fundamental purpose of why i believe Jesus came to the planet and died for humanity" Unfortunately i could not disagree with him, i was going to reply to his statement, but actually decided against it as i had no real answer to give him, no real reply.

But this brings up a far greater question in my mind, and this is where i'm going to get shouted down. But before you do look and see if what i have written is truthful, not just for you as an individual, but also for the church as a whole, and i include all denominations in that, not just Methodist.

We spend so much time crossing the t's and dotting the i's that somewhere along the line that has become more important than the reason the church was founded by Christ "to make disciples of all nations". It's something we don't like to admit and if we do admit it we justify it by any excuse possible, and in a lot of cases is is any excuse possible. But if you bring this up with Christians apparently none of the ones i talk to enjoy being sat in meetings, so as we have so many of them who is actually going along to them, who keeps these things going?

Personally i have always been a round peg in a square hole, never really fitted into Church life, i try and boy i do try. At times keeping my mouth shut is the hardest thing in the world, because for me the hardest thing in the world to deal with. Is a lost world going to Hell in a hand basket and we are all to concerned about wether to put a fridge in the kitchen, wether to have black chairs, blue chairs, you know the score. My hear breaks when i se good people sidetracked by good intentions, but the intention rarely becomes action, rarely moves beyond an idea. The day i got saved was monumental for me, it changed my life, i stopped doing vast amounts of drugs, i stopped so much it made a difference. Somewhere along the lines we have become sidetracked from being a mission orientated people into an ordered people, not following orders from God but the orders laid down because of our meetings.

Now before all you good people (especially you Methodists)| start jumping up and down over what i have said, i would respectfully ask you to read some of the threads on the Methodist UK Facebook
page. If you think we have not thrown out the baby with the bath water read them and unfortunately weep, because last night i cried a river. And it's not only methodists like i said go onto any denominations site and read the forums, you get very little about mission, but a great deal about how we should do ABC. The fact is that discussing a fridge or the colour of chairs is not going to bring somebody to faith, Jesus said "go into all the world, and make disciples of all men" we are actually in danger of going into the world and making no difference at all.
You can now rail against me but I'm going to ask a favour. If you are going to do so, please do it by email, part of this rant is about how the threads are seen by the public at large and i'm not going to enter into a public slanging match with anyone. If you want to do it we do it privately.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

That little word

Lately i have been feeling drained, worn out and washed out, it's not a great feeling. Sometimes i can't say NO, it's not in my nature to say it, and it gets me into all sets of trouble. Is it my desire to be liked and loved, is it my desire to be helpful, i'm not sure but it's the way i have been for years and years, there is a NO, NO policy and it's not helpful. So how do i/we cope with this? we all live and work in pressure environments, and we have to balance our lives up, balance is the key.

When my life is out of balance i get cranky, i'm not nice, and i can be a pain in the butt, to those around me, it's not good. Years ago i used to make excuses as to why i could not say no, and the truth is they where excuses, my desires to be liked and loved overode everything. Now i have started to say no, some people get offended by it, some people think i don't care and call me names because of it. The fact is i have had to learn, it's not always my responsibility to answer the call for help. Yes i maybe a Christian and part of my responsibilities as a Christian are to help when i can. It's not my sole responsibility, to make sure everybody is happy, it never was and never has been. Regularly i hear of people suffering burn out, getting close to a breakdown, thrust me the breakdown is a pain in the ass. Been there done it, spent my time hiding under the bed clothes, not knowing what day it was, drugged up on prescription meds just to get through the day. It's not a good place to be and i would say it's a nightmare to be in. If you feel that it's all getting on top of you, don't make an excuse, do something about it, take a break, take a walk, do something apart from nothing. You and i have the right to say NO, it does not make us criminals, it does not demean us in anyway what so ever. It makes us human, God rested on the seventh day, Jesus pulled himself away from the crowds to rest and recharge. We can and should rest up, no excuses, no arguments, it's needed. Don't feel guilty when you say NO it's needed.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The glories of online debates

Online debates can be a great thing, they enable people to communicate, get ideas across and have a voice. People who would normally stay quiet speak up. They can have an alias so they are not known, they can be to a certain degree anonymous, people feel valued and their opinion matters, but there is a big downside to online communities and debating. That downside is when entrenched views become more entrenched, people make accusations of others, names are called and people feel threatened or hurt.

This week i joined a Christian Apologetics site, mainly because i enjoy apologetics, and i like a good debate about the logic of things. This site has soon developed an us and them culture, where Catholics and Protestants argue who is right, who is wrong, and how their particular brand of faith is the right one (personally i have never been that proud to say my way is the only way).

This forum has now degenerated into a slanging match between entrenched views, and people are building walls around their particular creed, i made a decision last night that i was no longer going to add comments into these debates, because i think when people who are searching are looking in, it does not glorify God in the slightest if a lot of name calling is going on. All it does is show up a divided people, and a people who are actually so far removed from grace that it's a crying shame.

As Christians we have a duty that our words are edifying, that they bring glory to Christ firstly, and enable people to grow in faith. Yours and mines opinion is valid, but  we need to use wisdom in how we put that across. We have to be careful that our actions and words do not cause someone who is looking to fall.

Email your gripe if needs be, do it privately. Maybe take a chill pill first and come back to a response later in the day.  Words can wound and cause many heartaches, many stumbles and many errors of judgement.
Lets look at how our actions can be perceived, lets look at how they look to those looking in.
Like i said i took the decision to back away from public responses on this particular forum, i will comment again when it actually does what the group was set up for, which is use apologetics and educate people in how to use them, for the time being I'm taking a chill pill. Remember THINK before YOU respond, LOOK at HOW it LOOKS. THINK THINK THINK DOES MY REPSONSE GLORIFY GOD.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Great Expectations

It's a book, a film, a tv series, it's also the way most of us live our daily lives, with great expectations. Dare to dream, dare to win, believe in it are all things we do daily, hoping, praying, just trying to see something we want accomplished with aplomb, or just accomplished.

On Friday night the band i'm in played our first official gig in Exeter, in a really tough spit and sawdust place, with a reputation for all sorts of dubious activity. We had great expectations before the gig, that it would go well, that it would all fall into place, and that the punters would enjoy it, by the way it all did.
Then yesterday i watched the England game against Belgium, my expectations for the Euro competition are not great by any level.

What are your expectations based on? is it some airy fairy feeling of hit and hope, sometimes mine are if i'm honest. Are they rooted in the ground or rooted in the sky up amongst the clouds and the birds. Our expectations should be rooted in what we know, to a degree, what our experience shows us, if we have gone a certain way before and it has worked, there is a chance it will again. This is a tried and trusted formula, but can make us lazy to try new things, to try and stop the norm. If i believed in a previous life, i was probably a pioneer, i love new adventures, love to try and get that new experience under my belt. But that requires a certain amount of faith,. Faith that it will all be right, faith that it will all be good, sometimes it is, sometimes it's a complete nightmare, and i never go back if i can help it.

What are your expectations based on, are they rooted in something worthwhile or are they based on a pipe dream without the pipe. God has a plan for each and everyone of us, a plan that is based on his will for each and everyone of us. It's no pipe dream, it is a great Expectation an expectation of brilliance and success. My expectation for England is that they will not get out of the group stage in Euro 2012, if they do it will be great, but i doubt it, i hope i'm wrong we will see.