Dawkins is coming to Town

20 11 2009

Richard Dawkins is coming to Auckland in December. It comes as no surprise really. William Lane Craig described New Zealand as a society more secular than Great Britain. It would be interesting to hear his arguments (or polemical bigotry against Christianity), but unfortunately I won’t be able to attend. Anti-religious sentiments seem to be big business for publishers these days. People seem to be open to spiritual things, but agains the idea of organised religion. A year ago I attended a very popular debate at Auckland university between William Lane Craig and the head of the Auckland Rationalist Society. The topic “Is belief if God a delusion?”. The main lecture theater which held approx 300 people was filled to capacity, and so were 5 other overflow lecture theaters with video links. So a conservative estimate puts attendance at around about a thousand. Whether Mr Dawkins can draw a similar crowd remains to be seen. 

The evolution theory has been around for some time now. It’s nothing new, and from what I can gather, neither are Mr Dawkin’s arguments for it’s supremacy as the meta-narrative that governs the world. However one cannot escape the feeling that interest in ultimate questions  never dissappeared. Whatever one believes about Atheism, and Evolution, a Christian response must be full of Grace and Truth. I like apologetics. Something about it strikes an urge within me to win arguments, and defend the truth. I used to be on the debating team in school.I’m a self confessed super nerd in this area. But there are times when I realise I can win the argument but lose the person. It’s been a hard lesson to learn. Jumping on the polemical diatribe wagon and denouncing Dawkins with with the same polemical force he uses, is to use the weapons of the world to fight God’s battles. Something Scripture is emphatically against. Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says Jesus. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood says Paul. But putting our heads in the sand and pretending that the Gospel has nothing to say to this situation is not the way forward either. If Jesus is the true Lord of the world, then what Mr Dawkins offers is a competing gospel for human salvation, and that deserves an answer.

It will be interesting to see how NZ responds to Dawkins.


Recovering the Sattelites

17 11 2009

Counting Crows’ best album ever is Recovering the Sattelites.
I must have listened to the album a million times 10 years ago. Today the songs still sound just as fresh and creative as the day I first heard them. Sadly, I learnt later that the album was written when the lead singers wife had died of cancer.

When I saw them in Durban it was one of the first live concerts I had been to, and what a gig it was. Still remember it vividly.

Well what else have I been doing lately? I’m not reading GEP like it says on the side. I really should change that. I’m reading N.T. Wrights Jesus and the Victory of God again. It makes so much more sense the second time around. Wading through the history of the first, second and third quest was tiresome! Glad to be on more meaty matters of Biblical interpretation.

I wrote my exam on Biblical theology last week. Haven’t got any marks back for it, nor have I got any marks back for my essay either. But life goes on. Semester starts up again next year in March. I’ve got a fair amount of reading I hope to accomplish in that time, including my first puritan paperback.

Also heard my first Christmas joke today….its not worth repeating. But it is strange to think how close the end of the year is.  Another year passes by.

N.T. Wright’s latest book

12 11 2009

From the Wrightsaid Forum:

As we await Tom’s latest book in the Christian Origin’s series (which he is writing on sabbatical/writing leave as we speak) I was informed at our Diocesan Synod that his latest book was finished in the Departure Lounge at Heathrow on the way out. It was then e-mailed to the publisher!

In a strange way this seems very Pauline (other than the technology)? Paul finishes off a ‘letter’ just before boarding a boat for wherever!

Every blessing,


Revd Mark Worthington
United Benefice of Harlow Green and Lamesley
The Vicarage, Gateshead, UK

Save my home (but don’t really)

4 11 2009

Last night I had the unusual displeasure of watching a local reality TV Show called “save my home”. The show featured a host, a financial advisor and a couple in financial dire straits. I must confess at times I feel a certian pull towards these shows, but not that often. However something that this financial advisor said certainly got my attention.

The couple were in debt via a mortgage and various other personal loans. They were getting deeper in debt on a weekly basis, and had no option but to sell up, pay off all their debts and move into a smaller place. Then the unthinkable happened. Someone made an offer on their house that enabled them to do just that. They would be able to move into a smaller house, which would still have been awesome, and save an extra $300 per week. Not to mention that they would be debt free in 10 years, instead of filing for bankruptcy.

BUT this is the thing that gets me. They went all the way to signing the conditional offer, but refused to sell the house. The wife had too many emotional objections. Even when confronted with all the facts she spent her time yelling at those trying to help her, telling them that it was none of their business as they had no vested intrest in the house.  All the while her husband stood by and let her carry on like this (which is a story for another time see my post yesterday).

It made me wonder about the nature of humanity. So often we are confronted with all the facts, the evidence against us is overwhelming yet we dig our heels in and refuse to budge. We get backed into a corner, the argument is already lost and our best defence is diversion. In this case the couple got what the advisor had said was coming. The buyer withdrew his offer, and the couple are now deeper in debt. How often do we do this? How often do we ignore the facts that are plain to see? Why do we want to fight to be right even when we are clearly wrong and why oh why do we hate accepting help from people when we can’t manage things ourselves?

For me this serves to confirm what the reformers were talking about when they used terms like Total Depravity and Irrisistable Grace. Humanities nature is so tainted by sin, that faced with choosing God, or choosing sin unrepentant humanity will always choose sin. Here we must be careful to say sin = doing bad things, and choosing God = doing good things. Life isn’t that simple. Rather sin is open rebellion against God’s rule, a denial of the image of God and a colluding with the forces of evil against God. We are bound to this sin until God removes our heart of stone, and replaces it with a heart of flesh. This is the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

Apologetics and rational arguments have their place. But as N.T. Wright so eloquently says, there is much more to this world than imagines by post-elightenment and rationalist philosophers. God did give us a brain, and we are to use it. But without recognising this as the basic stance of humanity we run the risk of letting rationalism set the agenda.

Only the Gospel shows humanity for what it truly is, and only the Gospel has the power to change that. Let us hold fast to the Gospel.

Kate Hudson

4 11 2009

Apparently Kate Hudson has men figured out – all they want is sex and someone to make them a sandwhich. A spin off of the old joke:

“How do you turn a man on?”
“Show up naked and bring food.”

Well if we take Kate’s logic then all women want are shoes and handbags. Hardly fair to either side I’d say. But what gets me is the double standard. Has anyone called Kate Hudson a female chauvenist pig for those comments yet?  I bet there would have been a public outcry if George Clooney or Brad Pitt had uttered something similar about women. Perhaps their studios would have cancelled any further movies planned with them remeniscent of Kanye West?

Why is it ok to degrade men, but not women?