Reflections on 5 Years with my current Employer

26 02 2010

When I was in High School I attended several career planning seminars & workshops. The more I attended the more predictable they got. Each one would start with a general gathering of all attendees to listen to a speech prepared by a university proffessor who told us that we would have 5 careers in our lifetimes, and probably not work in a career we studied towards. We would then be bombarded with facts about how the world was changing at such a rapid pace that the things we were to learn in University would be outdated by the time we left. These seminars painted a bleak picture. I guess we could say they were realitics. A University education is no guarantee of success, the world does not owe us anything. But in another sense I’ve come to see that maybe all those bleak pictures were somewhat overstated. I’d like to reflect on what the past 5 years has meant for me working at my current employer (who shall remain nameless)…

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24 02 2010

Last night someone in my homegroup said that after being a Christian for a few years they had only just heard the story of Samson. I was taken back by such a comment. The Seminarian in me instantly rose up and I could feel myself judging this poor girl, yet I managed to restrain myself and not say anything mean. I think that is a sign of maturity.
To put myself in her shoes, it must have taken an incredible amount of courage for her to admit that she did not know much about the Bible despite being a Christian for some years now. I know a fair bit about the Bible (well I like to think I do anyways), but sometimes all that knowledge can cause us to become arrogant. Anyone who knows less than us may seem like less of a Christian. I speak from personal experience when I say that our “good works” of learning the Bible can become “bad works” or “works of the law”. They can serve as marks of those who grasp at self justification.

For example, “I know a lot about the Bible so I’m a better Christian than you. You must all bow to my infinite knowledge.”

Or they can act as boundary markers, advance signs that tell who is a faithful Christian and who is not.

For example, “I read my Bible and you don’t, so you can’t be a faithful Christian.”

Whichever view you take, we cannot deny that Grace is the great leveller. No one can claim to be saved by anything other than Grace. If we preach grace but subtly demand performance we undermine our message.  

Maybe it’s time to repent of our “good works” as well as our bad?

The Shack – William Young

21 02 2010

My Father reccomended this book to me after a strange encounter with an old lady in our Church. We had some “forced” community time during a service and apparently this lady had the book on hand and said my dad would enjoy it. He never reads novels so I was surprised to hear him speak so highly of the book. In his own personal life he said that after walking with the Lord or 32 years, having been a pastor and studied the Bible for years, he felt refreshed and had all his preconceived ideas of God challenged. He had realised, from the book, that he served the Living God, the one who made himself known through Jesus, the word made flesh. Nothing new there, only that it’s easy to forget that the focus and point of all our theological endeavours should revolve around Jesus. Being Christians means we seek to know, understand, and share in the life of Jesus. My own experience has been similar; quite often we neglect this fact when we come to study theology and it can become just like any other subject out there.
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Justification – N.T Wright

5 02 2010

I expected this book to be downright heretical and controversial. I found was that it was neither. In fact Wright is a lot more orthodox than most people give him credit for – myself included. Wright’s specialty is to tie the text to history and the overall story of scripture. I must say that this way of looking at scripture has been an eye opener for me over the past few years. I read some of the reviews of this book, and many reviewers claim that Wright is not letting Paul speak for himself. I find that a strange comment. If we locate Paul within first century / 2nd temple Pharisaical Judaism, something which Paul claimed to be a part of, is that not the best way to hear Paul? How else are we to make sense of what he says? He did not write his letters in a vacuum, but was just as socially conditioned as any of us are today.

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