Sunday, September 18, 2016

Prayer points

One of the odd parts of any evangelical home group is the gathering (sharing?) of 'prayer points' prior to praying about (some...most) of them. It has liturgical dimensions; but its the pop-liturgy of the business meeting. There, instead of 'prayer points' we have 'action items'. The latter has been much lampooned. Oh that the former were as well.

My recent experience of this pop-liturgy is scary, and I've felt judged, criticised, embarrassed and discouraged. Hardly any of the outcomes  Paul would have thought could come from praying together in love, support and encouragement.

I divulged some matters that were pressing on may family and I: one pray-er thought that our Father in heaven should help us to 'repent'. Thanks Francine: so you know our internal state, our circumstances and history? At this point I wished I was given to profanity.

More recently, on Frost's enjoining us to eat with others thrice a week, and I protested that I could barely do thrice a year, one of the group members decided it was her turn to cross examine me, my family and suggest 'solutions' to what she saw as the problem.

Neither of these women seemed to think that they should believe and trust my requests or statements, but dive in and undo them according to their shallow, prejudiced and misjudged insight.

This is not what group pray should be: people talk about what they want prayed and expect to be given the benefit of the doubt, not a detailed haughty inquisition pre-pray or in-prayer. Rubbish. Why would I join a home group if this is the treatment?

The first rule of Christian interaction: be kind.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Looking over a nephew's school poem: all about aliens and the sun burning out, I wondered at the Christian teaching the paid Christian at school was giving...and even wondered at same at his youth group: the poem was gravid with philosophical materialism.

How would he align this with the philsophical personalism of the Bible? Would he be equipped to deal with it through any Christian education he received, or would this merely take the tenor of our times as a given and completely fail to equip him to critically overturn it on understanding that comes from the word of God?

Knowing how most churches work: at the trival level of Bible stories, and if not, then philosophically disconnected from the ideas of the world, allowing its 'world view' to swallow thus subsume the truth of the Bible.

Witless, we perish.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Eat Frost

We've now done Frost's chapter on Eat. The deal is to eat with others three times a week; I can fudge this by having morning tea with someone at work, but its a fudge; we talk about work.

Moreover, the three times has to be with a combination of church and non-church people.

Fine in principal, but now we've got a number, its fixed: not even couched as a touchpoint: some can do more, others less.

But I hate it: a rule stuck onto the church, once more. I thought that we were done with rules; Paul tells us we are done with rules, but here we have a theologian laying them down. And I see it happening. My home group is now talking about 'eat three times a week'. Its now a goal, an objective, but its just a made up by Frost. Junk it fast.

Big universe

One of my nephews sagely advised me "When you have worries, just think of how big the universe is and how small we are and your worries will go away."

I later told him that I prefered to think how wonderfully powerful and loving God is that he made all that we see and know, and that makes my worries go away.

This is not just a cute bit of theologising, but betrays an unarticulated and probably unconsciously absorbed materialism in the first statement; the second deals with it, but I'm concerned that we've so disconnected God and creation (now its God and 'the universe') that he drifts out of our framing of our experience; thus the importance of allowing the words of Genesis 1, etc. to confront us, discomforting our incipient materialism.