It seems to me that we Christians in the UK are far too complacent about the loss of our buildings. When a church has ceased to function in a building the normal recourse is to dispose of the premises on the open market. Such an event leads to the accrual of certain funds. This can lead us to being happy that we are being faithful servants of the Lord in the dispersing of funds for gospel purposes.
I am not saying that this approach is to be rejected. It may be the appropriate course of action. Such situation would be, for example, where an area has been depopulated and there are little or few people in an area. Also it may well be an application of the principle that our Lord set for his disciples that if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town (Matt. 10:14).
However, I still would want to make two strand assertions on this subject:
- The loss of a building generally equals the loss of a testimony for our Lord in an area. In the losing of the building there is a losing of a place where the gospel of our Lord Jesus is honoured and declared. Accordingly, we have to ponder upon whether we have lost our gospel vision to make sure that many can still have opportunity to hear the gospel. This loss is compounded in its significance and poignancy when false religions take them over to propagate lies.
- Many churches normally meet in public buildings such as schools and village halls. There are many good reasons why this is a sound approach to existing and living as a church. However, we need to get real and realise that this cannot be a situation that continues indefinitely. The fact that the biblical perspective on homosexuality and transgenderism is so at odds with that of the present zeitgeist in our country means that the doors to public buildings will metaphorically and literally soon be closing. When this happens will we be woken up and wonder why we did not take more action to keep church buildings within the church.
I urge some thinking on this issue.
This programme show gives the low-down on what transpired in the sordid “Warwick Uni Rape Chat” case. If you do watch it beware that it contains obscene language (although that is limited). Here is an article commenting on the independent review of the case.
To fill in the basis details. Some male students at Warwick University shared a social media chat group. This group degenerated into shared descriptions of what sexual exploits they desired to engage in with their female friends. The girls found out and were greatly alarmed. Thereupon the matters were referred to the university authorities who handled them in a cack-handed kind of way. Here are some thoughts:
- Sexual Revolution. Look where all the revolutionary views, originating in the 1960’s, about sex and “freeing things up” have brought us to. Now I do not want to hark back to some prudish Victorian ways, the Bible is never prudish about sex – see the Song of Solomon for that. However, sexual engagement is for marriage between one man and one woman for life. As a result of weakening that fundamental principle moral chaos has ensued and this has not enhanced our view of sex, but rather cheapened it. Something that is a beautiful gift has been brutalized and marred.
- Modesty. Although, the depraved behaviour of the male students is indefensible, I do feel that girls need to take thought and care as to how they dress and present themselves. I have written somewhat on this issue here. I cannot comment specifically about the girls at Warwick university and how they presented, but I do feel it is an issue that girls need to think about. Ladies who dress revealingly put temptation to lust before men.
- Morality. When you operate without a moral compass to guide you then you are set loose of a sea of wildness. If you do not have base standards to operate from and upon, then, with some egging on, you can go anywhere. If the consensus of your group allows it then you just flow with it. Consensus rather than conviction drives us. Acceptance within the group is more important that keeping standards.
- Manhood. We live in an age where manhood has lost its ways. So many in their teens and twenties are at a loss to know what appropriate conduct of a man is to be. So we end up with infantile puerility of this ilk.
- Attitude to Women. Men should respect and honour women. It is a man’s responsibility to protect and support the weaker sex. The feminist movement sought that women would have equal rights to men. In many ways this was an honourable thing because there was unnecessary discrimination against women in terms of salaries, job opportunities and access to services. There have been gains in these areas. However, there has been much loss in terms of men’s attitude to women. After all, if men and women are now to be treated alike then each and all must fend for themselves. Mix this in with a bit of testosterone and bingo, you have men defaulting to an indulging sexual passions position; rather than using their strength to protect women.
- Education is not the dreamed of panacea. Here we have some of the brightest young men in our universities, and it is not just Warwick with examples of these debauched chat groups, as indicated in the aforementioned programme. These men may be progressing in academic knowledge, but possess a debased morality in sexual terms.
- Salvation. What is the hope for those taken in and involved in these types of discussion groups. First of all it is to realise that these lustings are all a part of the fruiting of our sinful nature. Accordingly, confession of sin before a holy God is needed. Thereupon, we cling to the Christ who is Jesus who gave Himself to deliver us form our sins into a new and living way and life. A life where, through the Spirit all our energies should be to please God and benefit others. Now that is better, so much better, than indulging our passions for the titillation of ourselves and others.
I have given my views on the Brexit impasse here. What now perplexes me is why a “no-deal” Brexit is declared by so many to be unthinkable. Catastrophe is the outcome for our country is what so many say. And yet I don’t know why this is the conclusion of so many. Why would a no-deal Brexit be such a bad idea?
I have lived through 1st January 2000 when collapse of our computer system was meant to lead to all kinds of catastrophe – and it didn’t. I have lived through June 24th 2016 when the result of the referendum declaring that the majority of the voting British public wanted to leave the European Union (EU) was supposed to lead to catastrophe – and it did not. So, I am perhaps a bit cynical about these prophecies of doom.
At the moment the country seems to be operating with a degree of paralysis. Issues of normal government such as health and education, seem largely to have been left to just go on as before with little governmental direction. Everyone is waiting for an outcome to Brexit. No deal was done by the scheduled date for leaving the EU on 29th March 2019 so why didn’t it just happen without a deal? At least everyone could then move on. Trade deals and agreements could be sorted out. I would expect, although I may be completely wrong, that there were be a short period of hiatus and then all would settle down.
Now, if I could show my hand, I am probably a mild remainer. However, the vote was taken and that said we should leave. As I mentioned in my aforementioned post here, I think a further referendum would be a bad idea.
Also I am what i would describe as an “unconvinced non-voter”. I set out my position on that here. However, it is a position I hold quite hesitatingly. I am strongly thinking though, of voting for the Brexit party in the European Parliamentary Elections on May 23rd because they seems to be a one policy party and that policy is to leave the EU. And that policy implements the referendum.
In the end that will, no doubt, mean a no-deal Brexit because it seems impossible for the British parliament to agree anything between themselves. But what’s the problem with that? Any answers would be appreciated.
Today should have found us on the other side of an epoch-making day in British history with the exit from the European Union due to have taken place on March 29th. In the end last Friday was all a bit of a damp squib. And so the machinations of Brexit all rumble on and dominate our headlines. However, with all the big events focussing on Brexit at the moment, I am left musing upon whether there are bigger events taking place in our nation. These events, although registering some impact, to a greater a lesser extent have largely gone under the radar because we have a Brexit news blitzkrieg.
Free Speech. Here Stephen Kneale helpfully addresses the issue of coerced speech. The article refers to the “misuse” of pronouns by a journalist commentating on transgender matters. Also, there is the case of Jordan Peterson having his offer of a visiting fellowship rescinded by Cambridge University (see here for details). From my vague following of this incident it seems that they rescinded his fellowship because of his views. Then found that a lot of people were calling them out for their restricting of free expression of views. As a result they found this photo form New Zealand to try and justify what they had done. All of this raises issues concerning free speech. Increasingly the toxicity of the atmosphere is getting stronger against the free expression of views if we go against the zeitgeist of the age particularly in relation to matters appertaining to sexuality and gender. It is a concern.
The Family. The ongoing incidents concerning knife crime, particularly in London, are very disturbing as they reflect how our society is developing. Knife crime is embedded within the gang culture. Gangs are where young people are finding stability, acceptance and identity. These used to be found in the family unit. However, because of the undermining of the family unit of mother, father and children youngsters are looking elsewhere. It is the gangs that have given them value in life. But it has come at a price and that price is violence. This all stems back to the demolition of the family
Political Process. This is perhaps the most subtle matter. The fact that parliament is conspiring to fail implement the will of the people reflected in the referendum result of June 2016 is leaving many people disillusioned with the workings of our political system. Moreover, the way that the politicians have conducted themselves has intensified this disillusionment. The inherited adversarial happenings in parliament which manifest through what has accrued through history are all well-and-good if the system works. However, with what has happened, particularly over the last few weeks, people find it a shocking way to carry on. The shouting at and denouncing of one another seems just inappropriate when there are such big issues at stake. The seeming indifference of the politicians to the impact they are having on the people in the nation is breathtaking. They seem cocooned in their “Westminster Bubble”. I fear the whole political process is falling into disrepute. So while Brexit dominates, the political shenanigans of those dealing with Brexit is undermining, that very political system.
Here are a few musings on Brexit:
- If the EU gave the UK a really good deal then everyone will want out. And so there would soon be Italexit and Spexit. To expect the EU to be fawningly generous to the UK is crazy.
- The EU did not kick the UK out; the UK decided to leave. The EU could just say “go then”.
- The impression I get of Parliament is that so many seem to have been criticizing Mrs May’s (presumably now deceased) agreement as if it is an inadequate policy statement. It is not that; it is a negotiated agreement. And dare I say a negotiated agreement where the other side (the EU) have the stronger position. Have these MP’s never negotiated anything?
- The whole process seems to be imbued with a “Rule Brittania” spirit. After all “we shall never be slaves” and we “rule the waves” and therefore the EU should just kowtow to us. The arrogance displayed is inappropriate and unseemly.
- Why does our system of government always default to the adversarial approach? Given that the nation had democratically voted to leave the EU surely it would have been most sensible to set up the process of leaving the EU on a consensual basis with all parties involved. Parliament had a responsibility to deliver on the will of the British people. They seem to be miserably failing on that at the moment.
- Don’t the people in Parliament know that businesses are suffering because of the uncertainty regarding Brexit.
- I fear that the view of parliamentary democracy in this country is being diminished by this whole saga. Reflective of this is one friend’s meme asserting that “I seriously believe that our politicians of all shades are (politely) “incapable of organising a drinks reception in a vineyard?””
- The prospect of a second referendum fills me with foreboding. If the vote went in favour of remaining in the EU some degree of civil unrest would ensue, I fear.
- And by the way I, and possibly many other of my compatriots, are still somewhat disappointed by England losing to Croatia on 11th July last year. Can’t we have the game replayed? Demands for a second referendum seem to be a lot about sour grapes concerning not winning first time around.
So we commit all to the Lord. Praise be to You, Lord, that You are not confused by it all.
And amidst it all there are lessons for us as we seek to deal with issues in our own spheres, including churches:
- Fight pride. In all things act with humility.
- Deal with reality and not fantasy.
- Leaders, including church elders, should work for consensus among themselves in moving forward om issues. This should be the default position in their operations together.
- Always seek to understand the position of those on the other side.
After the drought of the summer (I wrote about that here) the rains have come. What is our reaction to this? For many it is assumed that this is just what happens. We have sun and cold; we have dry and wet. It all evens itself out in the end and all is well. Our crops grow and there is water in our taps and there is no problem
However, I am left wondering about how such a presumption does not entertain God in the calculating of things. It is, after all, God who sends the weather. He is in control of all things. Continually He sends his blessing on these islands of the British Isles, just off mainland Europe. But will it always be so?
I am left wondering about the advance of so many God dishonouring ways among us. The Word of God is not considered in the making of legislation by our leaders and in the living of lives by the people. The God who is the living Lord is ignored and despised.
We live in a country under the judgement of God. This is seen in Romans 1:21-32 in the swift embracing of all things homosexual. In that passage we see people rejecting the Word of God and embracing idolatry in its place. As a result, in His judgement, He gives them up to dishonour themselves with their bodies; men with men and women with women. From that the society degenerates into all kinds of moral chaos.
The rejection of marriage as the fundamental building block of society does not bode well. Neither does the continued onslaught of transgender dogma in our society, Both of these are examples of our God-rejecting ways. How long will the Lord continue to send the cold and heat and the rain and sun? We are in His hands and we cannot presume that it will always be that way.
I fear I have “consultation fatigue”. What is it I am referring to?
The changing moral climate in the UK is continually driving the political authorities to consider changes to long established societal norms. As a result there are consultations which relentlessly emerge from “the corridors of power” for the public, parents and all with a pertaining interest to make representations on the presenting issue. These documents are often complex and hard to follow, particularly for the uninitiated like myself.
The outcome of all this is to feel worn down. The continued push against the, often biblically derived, sensible structures and practices of society seems so unnecessary. And yet the anti-God, anti Christian ethos of our day would want to press on to demolish the long-established bulwarks.
Joining in with the consultations is a way of seeking to stand against the flow and yet the flow seems like a flood at times and hard to withstand.
And when you do get involved those consultations can be so time-consuming. To venture in is to be taken into a labyrinth of language so obviously fashioned in the courts of Whitehall with little regard for the common man. The likes of The Family Education Trust and Christian Institute work valiantly to give help through the process and I admire them much for it.
I do feel at times like “I am letting the side down” when I don’t get involved. But I am fatigued by it. Another mailout for The Christian Institute on another consultation induces a wearied groan from within me.
Where does it all leave me? I must pray and seek the Lord about it all. If there are times when I feel I should get involved then I should. In the end we have limited time and energy. We are here to be for the Lord though and seek to stand for Him as God gives opportunity and guiding.