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Where Trolls Come From

We know where they’re going. To a hell of their own making. As C. S. Lewis noted in The Problem of pain,

“To enter Hell is to be banished from humanity. What is cast (or casts itself) into Hell is not a man: it is ‘remains’..”

Were Lewis around today, the Internet Troll, the gutless coward who hides behind a pretended veil of anonymity, would fit well with his view of one banished from humanity.

Canadian poet, author and performer Shane Koyczan has written a poem about internet trolls. Pity those who have cast themselves away from humanity into the pit of their own slovenly despair.

 

 
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Posted by on 20/07/2015 in Just for fun, Poems

 

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7 Ways Christians Lost The Gay Marriage Battle, And How We Should (Not) Fight The War

This is a summary of points made in a super long blog post by Nathan Campbell. Even Nathan says to just skim it and only read the parts you think are interesting.

To start you off, I’ve listed the heading of the points below. I’ve also added my own comments. This is important, as they’re Nathan’s points, but MY comments interacting with those points.

If/when you have time, you may like to read the full article … and the comments dialogue that follows.

Each point begins with “We“. Which includes any Christians who are not advocates of SSM. Yes, it’s a generalization. And, as is evident in the comments on Nathan’s article there will be those who insist they are not part of the “we”. I think being defensive and refusing to own responsibility for the tone of debates held thus far only serves to shut down the conversation.

1. We Didn’t Treat People The Way We’d Like To Be Treated
Overall I think the tone of discussion that has been most publicized (that I’ve had visibility of anyway) is summed up here. There have been very few exceptions.

2. We Lost When We Entered The Fight Expecting To Win, Rather Than Seeking To Love
I’ve observed a lot of, “This will show them!” rhetoric from Christians trying to demolish the arguments in favour of SSM legislation.

3. We Lost When We Decided To Fight For Marriage, Rather Than Speaking About Marriage As An Analogy For The Gospel
Let’s face it, the Christian view is incongruous with general culture. A lot of conversation has tried a little too cleverly to redefine rationale away from classical Christianity.

4. We Lost When We Made Marriage About Children, Rather Than About The Sex That Produces Them
I differ with some of what Nathan has written on this point. Sexual reproduction is by no means the only way children enter any family of any kind or make up. I do agree with his concern that much of the Christian discussion around this point has been prejudice against single parents and adopting families.

5. We Lost When We Lost The Fight On Gender, And Didn’t Think Hard Enough About How To Include The T Or I Parts Of LGBTQI In The Conversation
I think this is also the case among SSM advocates. It is also the case throughout most Christian discussion on gender and sexuality. It fits into the too-hard basket for many and because they can’t cope with something outside their own experience they ignore it.

6. We Lost When We Made The Argument About The Next Argument (The Slippery Slope), Rather Than Lovingly Understanding What The People In Front Of Us Desired And Were Asking For
Whether there is a slippery slope or inevitable trajectory does not deal with the immediate questions being asked. Yes, there have been reports of people wanting to do all sorts of weird things in countries where SSM has been legalised. But how does that compare, in reverse, with an Australian couple wanting to get a divorce to protest SSM? Personally, I would put them in the same class.

7. We Lost When We Didn’t Fight Harder For Love To Mean Something Other Than Sexual Intimacy Or Total Acceptance (Not Compassionate Tolerance)
What is love anyway? And, going back to the first and second points, have “we” loved anyone in the way we have approached the entire argument?

I’ll finish with the same quote Nathan did in his post.

1 John 4:7-14
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

 
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Posted by on 16/07/2015 in Apologetics, Culture, Gospel, marriage

 

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Pastor Fired by Church

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Re-posted from 2011: Charles Stone introduces his book, ‘Five Ministry Killers and How to Kill Them‘ with a story of how a Church fired their Pastor. As I started the first paragraph, I thought it was a fictional parable used to kick off the main topic of the book.

I read a little further and started to feel a little awkward. Some of the issues were a little too close to home for me. Then, the surprise (for me anyway!). The pastor is a real person and Stone is talking about real struggles that defeat many men and women who are in Christian Ministry.

The pastor in question, faced difficulties with power struggles, salary controversies and questions about his leadership style. His visitation policy was considered questionable and he was accused of “not loving the people.” Why? Because he made a decision to concentrate on his strengths and gifts in preaching and teaching instead of following a routine visiting program.

After some time, one particular man lead a bullying campaign that would eventually see the pastor fired from his job. The pastor made a decision to introduce changes in the Church policy about the expectations of the character of those that wanted to become Church members. He was called to question for this stance. He was threatened with losing his job. He stood his ground and they fired him.

Stone closes off this account of the pastor, “Jonathan”, as follows:

Ten years later, because Jonathan had so graciously responded to his critics and his dismissal, one of his main detractors admitted that pride, self-sufficiency, ambition, and vanity had caused the contention. The pastor’s handling of his ministry crisis left such and impression that eventually the church publicly repented of their actions, exactly 150 years after they sent him packing.

Who was Jonathan? Jonathan Edwards, arguably America’s greatest theologian.

Dear Pastor friend, if it happened to Edwards, chances are you will face similar challenges. Are you ready to meet them with a godly, gospel oriented approach?

Dear Church Member friend, if you have a Pastor that has different ideas about leadership style and ministry emphasis are you able to model gospel oriented flexibility and serve alongside him for God’s glory?

Related Articles:

Ed Stetzer – Church Leadership Book Interview: Charles Stone on 5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them

Check out this recent post by Don – a supplement to the comment he made on the original post from 2011.
Firing Your Pastor

 
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Posted by on 27/06/2015 in church, leadership, ministry, Reading

 

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Our Fund Raising Update

After the sale of some furniture today, we have reached the goal amount.

 

saying goodbye to furniture and hello to a new opportunity

 


We have been able to make a deposit on removalists who, via a backload, are going to transport most of our personal belongings to Queensland. The remaining items, such as furniture we are not able to sell, will be stored in Sydney for a few months (the money raised covers storage for 3 months). We are hoping, once we’re settled and have some sort of regular income arranged, to use the same removals company to backload the stored materials later in the year. 

I am overwhelmingly grateful to those that gave to us and purchased things we sold.

In time, perhaps after July, I will be able to comment more freely about the circumstances that lead to some serious health concerns in our family and the move back to Townsville to stay with extended family. We have been able to speak with many friends personally and talk through the details with them privately.

I haven’t finalised any firm dates on movement yet. I will post an update once arranged.
I have removed the Paypal link from the earlier post as we have raised our goal amount. I have included a supporters link in the side margin of the website for anyone that may wish to continue supporting our family and ministry. As with any move, there will likely be unexpected things that will arise. However, we hope and expect that once arrived safely we will be able to arrange regular income through either work or other means.

Once again, thank you and God bless.

 
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Posted by on 01/06/2015 in General

 

Fund Raising Request

We are trying to raise $4500 (AUD) to cover expenses of our move from Sydney to Townsville. Due to health and family reasons we are attempting to be in Townsville by July. We’ve sold various things and have raised $140, which is well short of the required amount.

There is a PayPal Link below that can be used. Anyone who knows how to contact us privately may do so and we can give bank account information for a direct deposit.

[edit on 1 June – removed to the website margin after reaching the goal amount per update]

There’s no obligation or expectation to give. If, for any reason, you’re uncomfortable or disagree with me asking this way, please, just ignore this or delete email, message etc.

The funds will cover removalists carriage of essential personal effects, transit insurance for those effects, 3 months of storage for remaining items, cost of sending our pet dog to Townsville, and travel by car for our family (i.e. petrol & food for a 2260km trip).
I’ll give regular updates on amounts received up to the goal total.

Some of our items being sold via GumTree.

Updates
May 24 Update: $180 (cash from sale items) + $320 (gifts)
May 25: $320 (sales) + $280 (gifts)
May 26: $170 + $550
May 27: $100 +$120
May 28: $25 + $1000
May 29: – + $200
June 1: – +530
Sales of furniture and personal goods on Monday June 1 mean that we have reached the goal amount.
Total to date: $4500

Thank you to everyone that helped our family in this way.

 
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Posted by on 23/05/2015 in General

 

Ministry is

saving-friend-battle-of-verdunIn a recent discussion around the formation and shape of Christian ministry there was a reflection exercise. In-part, the reflection considered how, if at all, Biblical patterns informed present day ministry practice. The term, “Ministry” can be quite ambiguous and is not simple to define.

Bible passages that stand out to me, (along with many others you could probably mention) are Aaron’s act as described in Numbers 16:47-48. Paul’s description of himself to the Church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 4:7-12), Jesus summary commission recorded in the fourth gospel (John 20:21) and Paul’s commission from God in Acts 26:17-18.

My “reflection” on these is a free-verse composition.

I love you, he said.
Here is everything I have. It’s yours.
I hate you, I replied.
I don’t want what you have.
I will burn it, despise it and destroy all you are.
My pain is too great. I cannot bear it.
I want to die and end it all.
Let me, take it from you, he said.
But why? I replied
It’s worthless, broken and full of shame.
Let me take it from you and give mine instead.
And then he died.
In brokenness, shame and indignity.
I am still broken.
I am NOT destroyed.
I AM re-made.
I have a treasure now he gave me.
Yet. It’s not for me.
It’s for all the broken people I can see.
I can love them. With his love.
Though they hate me.
Their pain is too great and they cannot bear it too.
I can take it from them.
They can be remade.
Because I can die for them.
Death can work in me and life will work in them.
I stand. Between the living and the dead.
He stood for me.

 What is ministry? It’s not heroic. It’s not taken for granted. It is something to live up to … and then die for.

 
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Posted by on 01/05/2015 in church, discipleship, Jesus, leadership, ministry

 

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Helmets save lives

Helmets save cyclists too

Mine saved me.

On my way home from a ride with my Sunday cycling group I came off my bike and suffered a traumatic brain injury. It was the Sunday before Christmas Day. Were it not for my helmet. I would have likely have either suffered permanent and significant brain damage or I would have died. I have no memory of the accident, or the 36-48 hours afterwards and to be honest, the few weeks after during recovery and rehab are a bit fuzzy also.

 

 

10882293_10152961386548980_7183192554321424354_nThat’s one reason I haven’t maintained my blog. Recovering from the injury and making some adjustments to my schedule, personal life and family time have affected much in how I prioritize people, relationships, activities and things.

 

So for my first 2015 entry before re-entering the fray, here’s some photos of the accident.

 

The last is me standing at the site of the accident about between 2 and 3 weeks after the accident. The stain on the concrete is my blood from the head wounds. My daughter is standing in the background where it is estimated that I came off the bike.

Not all accidents can be anticipated or prevented. Some things happen without a known direct cause. But, gravity ensures that if a rider comes off their bike they will fall to the ground. If you’re wearing a helmet when it happens, your likelihood of survival increases enormously. Some people say they don’t like cycling helmets because it makes them feel like a dork. I’m more than happy to wear mine, now so even more. I’d rather look like a dork than a corpse. Although that photo of me at hospital isn’t too far off :)

And, yes. I have started riding again. With lots of support and encouragement from my team and a nice little Garmin kit as well. Stay safe, enjoy your ride. And always wear your helmet!

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Posted by on 01/05/2015 in Blokes, Just for fun

 

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