Monday, April 18, 2022

Now for a game of 'let's be pagans'.

It has become fashionable (now, there's a give-away) in some church circles to pay some sort of honour to the Aboriginals who inhabit, or previously inhabited, or were thought to have or claimed to have inhabited parts of Australia.

It's called the 'acknowledgement of country'. It pretends that this is not a recognition of the spiritual binding of people to the land in animist terms. But, even though recently invented, that's what it amounts to.

Then there's 'respects' paid (how?) to elders past present and coming down the line. Ancestor worship is here promulgated.

Contrast this with the scriptures.

Here's how interaction with pagan practice were handled: just think of the Golden Calf, the sons of Korah, the priests of Baal.

Or in the New Testament: the gospel irrespective of persons (Galatians 3:28), not binding the worship of our creator-redeemer to pagans (2 Cor. 6:4), or our call to worship: Romans 12:2.

Imagine if we had a hitherto unknown second epistle of Paul to the church at Ephesus:

'Hi, Paul to the church at Ephesus. But first, let me acknowledge Artemis, the god of this great city, and pay my respects to her priests past, present and emerging. Now, on your being pulled back into your pagan past, like our pals in Corinth. Don't....' 

Wouldn't work, would it?

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The youth worker job

Our church has advertised for a 'youth worker'. A very difficult role to recruit to these days.

Here's my advert for it.

First, wrong title. Youth worker/pastor! Who wants that?

Wanted: Youth Ministry Supervisor.

There; a proper job with a great title. Because that's what's needed to be done. Supervise, develop, create, youth ministry/youth-in-ministry. You are not a youth entertainer; you are a builder of disciples and an organiser of ministry effort.

The pay is pretty bad, I think usually about $50k but with a tax free benefit for religious purposes. So it netts out more like $65k.

Still more. We want staff, we want to encourage them.

We will sponsor you to one overseas conference of relevance every 5 years.

And just to keep the sizzle going

We will sponsor you to one local conference or training short course of relevance every two years.

This would be work time, so you would be paid. We'll pay the conference fee and fund raise for the travel and accommodation. Thus, incentive to perform for your direct and indirect 'customers.

Go to it baby! come Jesus is the only way to God?

I saw a couple of videos on YT dealing with the question; a few with Winfrey.

No one really dealt with the issue in terms of who Christ is: Creator.

So, the direct answer is; of course Jss is the only way, because he is the creator God. A lot can flow from that, of course.

The question comes from a basic monist view: that god is within the cosmos and determined by a prior reality.

Next time I get the question, I'll ask a few probing questions: why is this an issue for you? do you think people can invent their own way into reality? why do you ask, would you prefer another way? because only Jss deals with the problem that we have. It's like fixing a broken arm. reiki, chakra meditation, yoga, applied kinesiology, chiropractic, etc, won't fix it. What will fix it is proper setting of the bone and a cast. Reality is what it is, not what you want it to be...

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Jesus as pet!

Have you detected, as I have, the contemporary trend in evangelical circles to 'de-nature' our Lord. He's now 'Jesus the pal', or 'Jesus the pet'. We are barely aware that he is Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Everlasting Father. The Creator!

One of the deacons at my church prays to him with 'Hey, Jesus', like he's a bell boy!

Now, I wonder if the monism that pulls the great Christ fully into our world in the popular mind is influential here?

This is the same conception of reality that enables the question 'why is Jesus the only way to God?' It's a monist question that places Jesus, indeed the more diffusely conceptualised God of the Bible (never known as Yahweh) within our Cosmos, dependent upon an ontologically prior reality. I blame Plato!

Thus opens a line of probing questioning when someone asks that question: 'why would that be a problem to you?" plot here is to lead the questioner to their monism. My end game is to two points: (1) that Jesus is the creator of all there is, upon whom the entirety of reality depends; and (2) he is the only one who solves the human problem. He is the only one who can make the way for us to return to fellowship with the creator! Indeed; He is the one who demonstrably overcame in his death and resurrection the basic human problem: rejection of and therefore alienation from our creator. There is no other God.

Friday, April 8, 2022

The first 30 billion years solved!

When I was young, in a youth group with a non-christian 'leader' I was puzzled by his cynicism about how long 'eternity' would be as the after-life.

I guess his big deal would be...what the heck would we do!

Well, I've got the first 30 billions years solved.

Let's say, over history, there would be at the end, 1 billion Christians.

Now, it takes a good 10 years to really get to know someone. To really know them, probably another 10; to fully connect, 10 on top of that: a full 30 years.

So to get to really know all the others in the New Creation, co-ruling with Christ...30 billion years.

But, what next?

Solved: the infinite God gives a taste of what infinity means. We would never come to an end of exploring, learning from, growing from knowing the infinite God who is love.

This video gives an illustration of a 'tangible', but conceptual, infinity. Just think about the endless unfolding patterns it shows. Perhaps this gives a hint of coming to know the infinite creator who Is.

[If the link fails, it is Dr Lisle on the the mathematics of Mandelbrot patterns.]

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Modern church

The  modern church is a parody of church. The NT, 1 Cor. 14:26ff, for example is utterly different from the pretend captain of our souls: the pastor/minister/priest. The 'pastor' is a transmogrified priest, that's all. The NT talks about a plurality of service and oversight; not 'leadership and authority'. Yet we resist this at every turn.

Sermons, lectures, would be the poorest of teaching modes. Something like tutorials at uni would offset the largely ceremonial waste of time that a sermon represents. Our church has started to recognise this and we reserve our serious teaching for short courses. Church is not a spectator sport, but in the West has largely descended into that.

Special interest groups?

Be wary of these. I like the idea, but 'social 'justice' groups' (an interest group so biblically bizarre that I had to use quotes within quotes), for example, will usually attract the left side of the church and will go on to interpret everything in the freedom- and soul-destroying doctrines of socialism; often without even knowing it. Such groups must be given instruction that is biblical, and not just cherry picking verses, but grounded in the whole teaching of scripture.

Further, we must remember that political activism can only go so far. An unsaved 'pro-lifer' is as condemned to perdition as a hired killer. So goes for the unsaved solar panel maven, and so on.
Our one core job is to preach the gospel. Not just 'John 3:16-ing people,'s an example of a friend's practice:

At his Uni there was a large Muslim forum on Jesus. He went along, ended up having a 90 minute discussion with the mufti. The mufti was much challenged; but my friend knew the Koran and the more prominent hadith. He was well versed in Muslim thinking and culture, he keeps reading and thinking and watching sources that analyse Islam; he keeps rehearsing with every public Muslim he meets his talking points. He keeps track of what was successful, what was rebutted, and improves.

At the same time as this function, the Uni Christian group contented themselves with standing by their tables hoping a Muslim would come along! No! We've got to go there, just as Paul did in Acts 17.

It takes work, study, conversation and endless practice. There's no time for 'social activism'.