Archive for June, 2016

28
Jun
16

Scientific Observation Made During Furniture Removal

As I’ve grown older I’ve noticed how time passes much more quickly now than when I was young. I see this as evidence that time is actually accelerating.

Recently I’ve noticed another interesting phenomenon.

The force of gravity intensifies with the passing of time making household objects (like furniture) harder to move as we grow older. That gravitational increase also acts upon the aging body, redistributing body mass towards the abdomen causing the effect known as the middle-age spread.

furniture

27
Jun
16

There’s No Place Like Home. Except …

It’s not often that I find a day at work preferable to staying at home, but today is one of those rare times.

About three weeks ago I wrote about our ongoing home renovations. At that time we’d been reduced to bathing in a child’s paddling pool while the bathroom was being removed and replaced.

Not long after posting that report, we regained our shower and put the hot-pink pool behind us. Apart from some minor touches the bathroom is complete and we’re ready for the next stage of building.
But that’s not yet our planned laundry changes. We’re still waiting for the new cupboards. Instead we have other work starting today – the replacement of the ceiling throughout our open-plan lounge-kitchen-dining rooms.

Several years ago we found our ceiling had begun to sag significantly. A handy-man friend helped us out by pushing it back and fixing it into its rightful place. All we needed to do after his repairs job was repaint it to cover the filled in screw holes.

We kept putting it off.

When the builder came to quote on our bathroom Gloria thought it would be a good opportunity to get someone to do the long neglected painting.

Problem!

When the painter saw the job he wasn’t happy with the condition of the ceiling and in consultation with our builder it was suggested that the only solution was to replace the whole thing.
And THAT is what’s happening today.

On the weekend we had to empty the three areas of furniture, cramming everything into other rooms and leaving ourselves very little living space for the duration of the work. Fortunately the worst part, the ceiling removal and the first stage of its replacement should only take one day, and then the finishing of the new surface ought to take another day at the most.
*
I left Gloria at home this morning just as the builders were arriving. It’s now three hours later and I’ve had the first progress report.
The ceiling came down with unexpected ease. Apart from the screws our handyman friend had used there was very little holding it up, so hopefully the job will take less time than anticipated. The messy work will be over when I get home this evening and we should be able to get things back to “normal” in a day or two.

Sadly the work hasn’t exposed any interesting “archaeological” finds; no hidden artefacts left behind by previous owners of the house, just a few mummified rodent corpses.

26
Jun
16

Andrew Strom and Baptism

Andrew Strom has recently posted articles on his Revival School site about the importance of baptism in relation to salvation. They have inspired an “interesting” series of comments disagreeing with his teaching.

http://www.revivalschool.com/the-baptism-controversy-andrew-strom-comments/

http://www.revivalschool.com/shocking-bible-study-the-lost-foundations-by-andrew-strom/

The main arguments against seem to be based on the absence of references to baptism in selected verses, while ignoring all of those parts of scripture that DO refer to baptism.

This stands as a prime example of why beliefs should not be based on texts taken in isolation. Every individual bible verse does not contain all truth. The whole picture is given across the breadth of scripture.

In addition to that selectively blinkered attitude to scripture, some very old arguments are also trotted out: the examples of the thief on the cross, deathbed conversions, or conversions in a waterless desert are cited to argue against the need for baptism.

I’m quite confident however, that those making the arguments are NOT hanging on a cross, are NOT on their deathbed, and are NOT miles from any water; so really their arguments have no practical validity and are offered merely as a way of excuse.

Others opposing Strom accuse him of promoting baptismal regeneration. That accusation not only misconstrues what Strom has said, it also shows up the accusers’ ignorance of what “baptismal regeneration” is about: that is the act of baptism itself is the sole means by which salvation is attained.
That false doctrine is the reason why infant baptism came to be practiced; ensuring babies are made acceptable to heaven as soon as possible in case they die in infancy. That is NOTHING like what Strom is teaching.

I think a major reason for the misunderstanding is the way people think of salvation. They see it as a matter of crossing a line from unsaved to “saved” – and if they’ve crossed the line then everything else (such as baptism) isn’t important.
I believe a more accurate view to take is that salvation is a life’s journey during which, through faith IN Him and obedience TO Him, we are equipped and strengthened for service and to remain steadfast as believers. It’s not starting the race that’s important; it’s whether we keep running until the finish line; and in that we need all the help we can get.

The real issue is not whether baptism is needed for salvation – but whether baptism equips us for ongoing effective lives of discipleship until our race has been run.
To illustrate: we don’t need to have eaten food to enter this world alive as a new born baby – but our ongoing survival and efficiency as a living person depends on our consumption of food after our birth.

24
Jun
16

Saving Capitalism: interview

A fascinating interview:

Do you recall a time when the income of a single school teacher, baker or salesman or mechanic was enough to buy a home, have two cars, and raise a family?

Robert Reich does, and its this question that opens his new book Saving Capitalism for the many, not just the few.

Richard Reich speaks exclusively to The Money, with a response from Richard Denniss, chief economist at the Australia Institute.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/themoney/saving-capitalism-for-the-many,-not-the-few/7530114

Direct link to the recording:

http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2016/06/mey_20160623_1730.mp3

23
Jun
16

Why Are Evangelical Christians Supporting Donald Trump (again).

stars

The video at the link below is an interesting follow up to my earlier post, Why are evangelical Christians supporting Donald Trump?

Thank you Marleen for bringing it to my attention.

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_lw_bblock_160621

 

stripes

22
Jun
16

Alphabet Soup on the Menu?

It seems impossible to go through life today without coming across that ever increasing chain of initials LGBTQI ETC.; coined to represent a multiplication of sexual/gender identities.

alphabet soup

Increasingly, such “identities” are being accepted into main stream society and those who have a problem with this are portrayed as narrow-minded, behind the times, bigots or that favoured misnomer “homophobes”, which narrows down objections to being fear centred  and rejecting other possible motivation for people’s concerns.

Laws are being changed to accommodate, and school curricula are being redrawn to educate upcoming generations about the normalcy and acceptability of a variety of e sexual/gender alternatives. In Australia this recently included a school’s program introduced under the name of an anti-bullying campaign, and around the western world the traditional understanding of marriage is being redefined.

tardisPopular entertainment has also joined in – even family and children’s programming include homosexual relationships as an acceptable part of society. Doctor Who, a show I grew up with from it’s very first episodes in the early 60s, in its latest incarnation has featured same sex marriage as nothing out of the ordinary. Recently I saw an article suggesting that a sequel to Disney’s Frozen should include its main female character, Elsa, finding love with another woman, and even more recently it’s been suggested that characters in a current Disney cartoon are a same sex couple.

As a Christian living in a secular society I see this issue presents some significant difficulties.

There is the reality of violence directed against homosexuals that can’t in any way be condoned. I recall witnessing a bashing a few decades ago, of a homosexual man in a popular pub. The perpetrators were allegedly off-duty policemen. While I couldn’t verify that allegation, the men had unusually short hair for the fashion of the times, so their appearance added to that perception. Nothing can justify or excuse that kind of violence against anyone.
There is also the issue of the confusion and trauma experienced by those with a same sex attraction as they wrestle with society’s historical hostility and also with their own conscience. Sadly this struggle has sometimes ended in suicide.

The church has often been seen as a primary contributor to that state of mind, bringing condemnation upon people for having feelings that are generally beyond their control. Making homosexuality an easy target, while they brush aside some of their own attitudes and practices that are given more biblical pages of condemnation than homosexuality is given. (Why should greed, heterosexual lust and exploitation of the vulnerable be more tolerable?)

So, there is the question of how Christians OUGHT to respond to the increasing influence and acceptance of the diverse sexual and gender identities within western society, while staying true to the God they profess to follow. Should we merely go with the flow, recognising a need to keep up with the times and changing cultural values? That seems to be the expectation of secular society: that the church needs to change and adapt or die.

Or should we assume that God’s standards aren’t influenced by man’s fickle philosophies and that church survival isn’t dependant on following them?

Jesus said that the gates of hades wouldn’t prevail against His church. While many assume that statement refers to the forces of the devil not prevailing against the church, it should be recognised that hades (or hell) is NEVER referred to in scripture as the domain or kingdom of Satan or demons. cemeteryInstead the term is a reference to the grave, the equivalent of the Hebrew Sheol. Therefore Jesus’ statement is an assurance that His church will not die out, will not be overcome by death – no matter how far the world’s standards deviate from the Godly standards upheld by His true church. So there’s no need for the church to sway with the breeze, following every fad of an increasingly secular world in the hope of surviving.

Instead of following the world’s standards of acceptability, disciples of Jesus should be following HIM, even when that puts us at odds with the world; something that WILL increasingly happen, the further the world’s values move away from God’s.

So how should Christians respond? How do we take into account and act in accordance with God’s standards as revealed through scripture?

1) Recognise that God is the Creator and the one who determines what is right or wrong within His creation. Man’s opinion changes nothing except on an individual level where a person’s choices determine where they stand with God. Are they with Him, submitting to His ways, or are they against Him, choosing something else in place of Him?
2) Be aware that God sees homosexual acts as detestable, leaving no room for legitimacy. Such acts are also described in scripture as shameful and vile passions.
3) Know that men are men, women are women, boys are boys, girls are girls – determined by biology and not by personal choice, desire or whim. Man’s relativist philosophies might allow alternative choices, but God’s standard of truth doesn’t.
4) There is a difference between same sex attraction and homosexual acts, just as there is a difference between heterosexual attraction and illicit sexual activity between male and female. We can’t choose who we’ll be attracted to, but we can choose how we respond to that attraction. No one should be judged or condemned for the kind of temptations they face.
5) We are not entitled to respond to homosexual individuals or communities with hatred, aggression or violence of any kind – including verbal. The “God hates fags” brigade is NOT a valid representation of God and His Gospel.
6) Homosexual acts should not be singled out above other sins – it is far too easy to see our own sin as being more forgivable than sin we are not personally involved with.
7) Taking and expressing a biblically sound stance on the issue of homosexuality will increasingly lead to the Christian being marginalised and vilified. Ironically, the more acceptance of the LGBT agenda grows, the less acceptance there will be of those standing for God’s agenda.
8) God desires repentance from ALL. He desires that ALL will be saved. He excludes no individual from His gift of salvation; but we can exclude ourselves by ignoring or refusing His gift. We can exclude ourselves by making the world and secular society our standard of truth.

21
Jun
16

Food For Thought About Changing Borders

Over the past few months I’ve seen a few Christians expressing negative opinions about the growing number of Moslem refugees flooding into the west. Some of those comments seem to have been inspired by fear of the changes that such an “invasion” would bring about. I felt at times there was also a degree of national pride and wanting to protect a certain national identity and should I say it? Protect the comfortable, comparatively affluent lifestyle the west has grown to enjoy.

But today I came across an interview and an article that hint of other possibilities that indicate a possible twist on a well-known saying: “If the gospel won’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must go to the gospel.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/05/european-churches-growing-flock-muslim-refugees-converting-christianity

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/counterpoint/crossing-over:-muslims-converting-to-christianity/7523160

While there may be reason for caution in accepting accounts of mass conversions from Islam to Christianity (and some of the content at the above links expresses more than a degree of suspicion), do we need to doubt the reality that at least some of them are genuine? That God IS working in a situation where, for a time, borders have been flexible?

Instead of seeing threat should we be seeing opportunity?

From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him,




Blog Stats

  • 75,697 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 235 other followers