Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Genesis comment

Comment I left on a website about Genesis 1:
If Genesis 1 is poetry (which it is not), this would not itself bear on its facticity.
For example, the Australian folk song 'Waltzing Matilda' is poetry, but that doesn't mean there were no jumbucks, tucker bags, troopers, or swagmen. Nor does it not mean there was no late 19th century drought. Indeed, in ancient times, poetry was typically the form of conveying stories (including about actual events).
What is inferred by the claim is that Genesis is figurative or symbolic. However, it doesn't use figurative or symbolic language, it uses historical. If it was 'merely' figurative, then it would tell us nothing about the real world, because it uses concrete language it embeds itself in the real world and sure, it is not about the details of creation, but is clear on the 'how' God's word, because this is intimately connected to the why: God creating in love. The other details of Genesis 1 are also essential to its theological significance, but only because they happened in the world which is the setting of its theological significance. It is modern philosophical conceit that pretends to be able to separate the two.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Hey, I've got spirituality too!

It's like everyone is 'spiritual'. It even gets a mention in the media these days. Spirituality.

But the spirituality of the world, of navel gazers, crystal huggers, tree claspers and pretend Buddhists (and real ones, for that matter) has nothing to do with the creator Spirit of God.

Modern Western 'spirituality' is a sham because it is:
  • Disembodied
  • Individualistic
  • Withdrawn, and
  • Cerebral
None of these are Christian!

Christian (real) spritiuality, life engaged with and regenerated by the in-dwelling Spirit of God is:
  • Bodied: how we act and what motivates us is part of us
  • Loving: in and of community, not the individual
  • Involved: with, by and for others
  • Enacted: with our Lord, his people and his Word.
 If follows our Lord: as he 'did' in the world, with real people, so do we.

The world's spirituality-sham is merely a deluded, solipsistic, 19th century-romantic manifestation of The Religion of Me, with its rite of gazing solipsistically at a pretty scene.

The spirituality is divorced from the real world; not as in the 'nasty real world' to escape from, but how the real really is: community, love and being in and with. If spirituality is not this, then it is not real.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

My redeemer

Tomorrow I'm reading at church Job 19:1-29.

This passage is a treasure:
I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed yet in my flesh I will see God. I myself will see him with my own eyes--I and not another.
How my heart yearns within me.

Vss 25, 26.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

What's in a name?

Another in the series from PragerU: misusing the name of God.


How to do morning coffee

From time to time I wonder why the comfortable middle income demographic has become less than interested in church participation (I mean 'church' in the NT sense).

I now know.

This morning I was invited to morning coffee at a cafe by a church person. I turned up at the cafe and saw a table with seats for about 10. Half were occupied.

There was the strange air of quasi formality about it, in a 'hidden agenda' sort of way. Like a BWS* meeting.

Upon all places being filled, the convenor beamed at everyone and 'now that we are all here, let's go around the table and introduce ourselves and say one thing about yourself'. One of the other 'guests' said 'let's not'.

So we didn't.

I think adults, particularly from the older (upper) middle income demographic have sufficient social skill (a) to look after themselves and (b) not to ask 'guests' to do embarrassing things in public. Although the request was more naff than embarrassing. But it is embarrassing to do a naff thing, I must agree.

Anyway, we successfully introduced ourselves to those we didn't know and chatted amiably.

Mission accomplished, I guess.

(*BWS?) Oops, I meant BFS. OK, Bible Study Fellowship

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Three videos on God

One could link to YouTube and other videos for ever....but let's not.

Three videos of my recent viewing, which, taken together give a fruitful start for thinking about God.

First, two from PragerU on YouTube


And finally, from Noel Weeks, The 2016 Gaffen Lecture at WSJ

Monday, July 22, 2019

White Death

This Steyn post is about politics, but its really about where the West is headed: death by despair. But that's in the USA. Australia has similar challenges in some rural communities, particularly affecting aboriginal young people. Here it tends to be Black Death.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Reading the NT

A friend recently encouraged me to read the NT in Phillips version. While Phillips is not a strict but a dynamic translation, it does convey the force of meaning in a very readable and compelling manner.

J.B. Phillips (1906-1982) was well-known within the Church of England for his commitment to making the message of truth relevant to today's world. Phillips' translation of the New Testament brings home the full force of the original message. The New Testament in Modern English was originally written for the benefit of Phillips' youth group; it was later published more widely in response to popular demand. The language is up-to-date and forceful, involving the reader in the dramatic events and powerful teaching of the New Testament. It brings home the message of Good News as it was first heard two thousand years ago. (Bible Gateway).

So far I've read Matthew's gospel, but will I read all the gospels as ordered in the NT, or take some other approach? Either would be viable, but I don't want to read the gospels in order this time through. I might reserve that for my reading of The New English Bible, rascally as it is, particularly in its dedication to ANE creation myths.

Here's my plan:

Matthew, Romans, Mark, 1 Corinthians, Luke, Acts, John, 2 Corinthians, then the epistles in order and Revelation.

An alternative might be:

Matthew, Galatians, Ephesians, Phillipians, Mark, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Luke, Acts, John, Romans and the books then in order, skipping those already read.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Naidoc week

Last Sunday we were treated to a virtue-signalling hat tip to the political ambitions of asserted aboriginies and Torres Strait Islanders.

One of the ambitions of the Naidoc club is to give its constituents more of a 'voice' in Australian society. That is, unequal representation.

Aside from being culturally misplaced, historically tendentious and politically motivated, it is not Christian to break up the church into special groups with special privilages. We are all together Christian, without distinction.

Additionally, why talk about the fake reconciliation of long past aboriginies and long past Europeans, when we have a far more important reconciliation in Christ? The church does not need to play into, or by played by the Aboriginal grievance industry.