Has anyone said it yet?

29 09 2009

I thought Kanye’s interruption of Taylor Swifts victory speech was old news, but I guess not after I got an email from Betterworld.com this morning with a Fiction book interrupting a Non-fiction book. The punchline was
“Hey Non-Fiction I’m real happy for you and I’m going to let you finish but the bargain bin category has some of the best value of all time. OF ALL TIME !” One blogger commented on Kanye’s point of view:

“Has anyone actually watched the Beyonce video? I just did, expecting something amazing – and its just three women in their knickers pelvic thrusting non-stop for 3-plus minutes. So not only is Kanye West a douchebag he’s also a pervert with an odd concept of creativity.I’m amazed it was even nominated, let alone the object of such contention.”

I had a small chuckle to myself, but couldn’t help thinking of if it had been the other way around. What if somebody with white skin had interrupted Kanye’s award? I bet there would be a huge outcry denouncing the racist behaviour of the that artist. I’m speculating here of course, but its something that often rings true. Perhaps its time to drop the double standard and call a spade a spade. Anyone from any race can be racist against another race. Its not a sin reserved exclusively for white people.

But even more shocking is the disgusting replies from some other celebrities. Katie Perry said “F*** you Kanye….” and Kelly Clarkson wrote a nasty letter stating that she liked her cheating ex-boyfriend more than she liked Kanye.

The line between good and evil is not an us and them thing, it runs through each of us. We are all sinners in need of saviour, Kanye included. We have all fallen short of the Glory of God. All of us like sheep have gone astray. The old addage to fight fire with fire only results in….more fire. We cannot claim to follow Jesus and use the weapons of the world. We must be Christians of the means and the end.

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One Thought, One Caution

29 09 2009

One Thought: Middle class morality, democracy and capitalism are not the Gospel.  As good as these things are (some are much better than the alternatives on offer) they are not the Gospel. Jesus is Lord is the Gospel. 

One Caution: Western culture may not be the Gospel, but that does not mean that Eastern (or Middle Eastern) culture is. Stop making false choices and anticipate God’s work in the future to renew the whole earth by working to see your country, government, workplace, family and friends changed by the power of Jesus.





The Centrality of the Gospel

25 09 2009

Last night I went to one my churches men’s events. It was a good night of fellowship, food and a good speaker. Rob Thompson had broken the world record for the longest journey on a skateboard (12,000km). He had skateboarded through Europe, across the USA and then through China. While it was a n amazing story of courage and perseverance, I came to see that Rob’s ideology was the epitome of post modernity. When asked about his faith journey, Rob told of his disillusionment with Christianity. He had a “superiority complex” that believed Christianity was light to the world, and everything else was darkness. But he saw such love, beauty and goodness out there that to him this paradigm was shattered. When He returned to NZ he decided that he did not want to be a Christian anymore. Yet now after trying different paths he has come back to Faith, and we are studying the same diploma at the same Bible college. But for him it was not the Gospel or the love of Christ that would change the world, rather it was compassion, justice and love that would. While I sympathize with Rob’s story, I found it was full of false antitheses. I believe Rob has a few issues to work through still, as we all do, and we would do well to give him, and other post modern Christians a wide berth of grace.

For too long the Church has put politics, social action and the Gospel into separate boxes. Somehow one has nothing to do with the other. Yet this is a false split. When Paul says that no one can say Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit, he is making a very political statement, in a world where Caesar was Lord and demanded total obedience. Paul was effectively saying you owe allegiance to another King, one greater than Caesar, and one who show’s Caesar’s gospel to be a sham. When the Angels appeared to the Shepherds in Luke’s Gospel proclaiming that a saviour and Lord has come that is a very political statement over against Caesar who proclaimed himself as the saviour and Lord of the world. However Caesars Gospel brought peace at the end of a sword, and Jesus brought it by his death, resurrection and gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus brought mankind into right relationship with God, gave manking peace with God, and brought God’s kingdom into the present. The Gospel expresses itself in the world by a concern for the world, a concern for those who don’t know Jesus, a concern for the poor, a concern for God’s justice to reign, a concern truth, goodness, beauty and a longing for God to set the world to rights. Thats the best kind of social action there is and the Gospel should be the best motivation for it. However the Church has not always understood the Gospel this way, and has seen it as “fire insurance”, a ticket out of hell. While true, it is not the whole story. This world is not a cosmic waiting room, and we do not escape the earth in the end either. Revelation 21-22 tells of a renewed heaven and a renewed earth. In fact Heaven comes to Earth and the two are joined forever. Our existence will always be earthly and physical. We must anticipate this ending in the present and seek to show the world the reason for the hope that is in us.

While I agree with those who seek to remove the false split between, Gospel, Politics and Social action, we must be wise, and Bruce Milne gave me some of the best wisdom. In his commentary on John (BST Series) he says a political messiah leaves the heart of sinners unchanged. While some good may come of the political action, if done solely for political reasons with an unchanged heart the lasting effect is as good as filthy rag. We must not confuse political action and social justice with the Gospel, but see it as a necessary flow on from the Gospel.

Time and Time again I keep hearing that post modern’s want to see that the Gospel works before they will believe. If thats true then we as the renewed community of God, the true Israel, the followers of Jesus need to demonstrate by our works that our faith is not dead.





N.T. Wright on Mission

18 09 2009

“The key to mission is always worship. You can only be reflecting the love of God into the world if you are worshiping the true God who creates the world out of overflowing self-giving love. The more you look at that God and celebrate that love, the more you have to be reflecting that overflowing self-giving love into the world.”

– N.T. Wright Interview on Christianity Today





A profound truth

11 09 2009

I have heard this at so many weddings (my own included), yet it never ceases to be true. I believe we should teach classes for men on how to do this:

When a woman is a upset, she does not want to hear what you think, she wants to hear what she thinks in a deeper voice.

WOW profound eh?





Article of the Day

9 09 2009

Found a great article on Reformation21 Blog about the YRR (Young, restless and reformed) and Emergent Church Movement’s.

Some great wisdom there.  Read it.





Max Lucado – Fearless

7 09 2009

fearlessIf it was for freedom that Christ came to set us free, then one of the biggest things we need to be freed from is fear. How much time do we lose in life worrying over things that we can’t change? I’ve read two books lately that dealt with fear as the (wrong) motivator for doing things in life. Tim Kellers “The Prodigal God” and Max Lucado’s “Fearless”. Both were a breath of fresh air for me, and a welcome break from the weighty academic tomes I am required to read for my course. The book comes at a timely point in history. People fear for many things – money, popularity, their children, the economy etc. A certain amount of fear is good, but often our fear traps us and leaves us paralysed. Not exactly life and life to the full as Christ promised? While I would shy away from saying that we can rid ourselves from all fear, much of our fear today is unhealthy and dare I say unbiblical?

I have not read anything else by Lucado so I have very little to compare this one to. His writing is more succinct than Yancey, but not as eloquent as Keller (thats a difficult task!). He is very anecdotal, and strikes me as someone I would chat to over my backyard fence, or have over for a BBQ. I enjoyed the book and would reccomend it.