To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Great Britain’ Category

Black Friday

Well it’s Black Friday today. Apparently the term originates with the Philadelphia police who derisively called it so because of the heavy traffic caused by shoppers flocking to the shops on the day after “Thanksgiving”. But in a sense it really is “Black Friday”.

I came across earlier a friend on Facebook who is celebrating “Buy Nothing Day” presumably as a degree of protest against the indulgence and excess of this day.

It is appropriately “Black Friday” because it reveals a lot which is bad about our culture:

  • My happiness is in what I have.
  • Pleasure-seeking through purchasing and possessions
  • I must make the right purchases so I  can present before others to the best effect. Then people will be impressed
  • So much effort given to purchasing a commodity that is at best helpful and certainly not essential to my existence.
  • The publicity it is given show that materiel pursuits are higher profile than spiritual pursuits.

I know that many can get a good bargain and save money on something that they appropriately require. That is all well and good. But it is what it reveals about the driving forces of our society that is the concern.

Christians, who are imbibing this atmosphere so easily succumb and go with the flow and evaluate what are we actually doing and what is motivating us. I conclude with the words of Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6-10

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Unnecessary Paranoia.

As Christians we do increasingly feel on the wrong side of the accepted values in society. Whether it be the accepting of many ways to God, freedom to choose your own gender and sexual practice, abortion or euthanasia, in all these realms a true Biblical perspective is not welcomed. But that is nothing new. In fact there is a sense of normality being restored as we face up to interacting with the un-christianised world around us. 

Having moved from what was largely a christianised world, though, we greet this change with sadness and alarm. This is even more so as we see the degeneration in society which is resulting from this de-christianisation.

Given this change all of us Christians, and particularly us oldies, can be guilty of misdirecting our concern about where our nation (and world) is headed. We can be always harking back to the past. The default position we can have is that any comment on Christianity or a moral issue, coming forth from our society is going to be against us. So we become paranoid.

I have noticed one or two cases of this of late. They have left me thinking that the response to the presenting issue has not been carefully considered. When the things that have drawn forth alarm, are calmly considered then the “outrage” seems somewhat misplaced. When this happens we can give ammunition to those who say that Christians are always whingeing about anything and everything.

Here would be a case in point where all kinds of statements are made expressing “outrage”. However, the reality is that the matter has been resolved and the CU will be allowed to be at future Freshers Fairs at Balliol College. And, I believe, Mr Potts has resigned.  

Let us be careful then in how we respond to the culture in which we live. Let us not be surprised that the world is demonstrating itself to be the world. The world is, and always will be, operating without reference to God and His Word. But let us be careful to be measured and thoughtful in all our responses.

Everyone Helps In A Crisis.

One of the observations from the tragedies earlier in the year in Manchester and North Kensington is that there has been an overwhelming commitment to help in the immediate aftermath of the crises. This cannot be denied and there have been real examples of people wanting to give of themselves for the benefit of others.

It strikes me as intriguing how this has been celebrated in the media. It is as if the ways people have come together is being put forward as an evidence that things are not that bad in society after all. It is as if these displays are paraded as evidence that the secular humanist agendas for our society are working.

It would be my contention though that society draws together in times of celebration and crisis. But these are inevitably only temporary. Whenever, things get to the normal maelstrom of things then all the tendencies to anger, self interest, and nastiness rear their heads pretty quickly.

Transgender Issues

Here and here are two insightful articles concerning the moral, cultural and social mayhem unfolding before our eyes as the transgender bandwagon gains frightening momentum. Where will it lead? Read the articles and ponder and pray that then Lord might yet have mercy and turn this nation from self-inflicted disaster.

Two further observations:

  • It is interesting that this is taking place when our women’s national sports teams are celebrated in hockey, football, cricket and rugby. Better make the most of it while you can because the transgender movement will be the death-knell of women’s sport as we know it.
  • An area where most of us are going to feel this hit is how we call people. What shall we do? Shall we call people according to how God crested them or according to how they have self-defined? This needs some thought I feel.

Customer Service.

Customer Service arrived as a business phenomena in the early eighties. Previous to that I do not remember hearing of it. Previous to that indeed, people used to give customer service as just part of providing a service to customers! “Customer Service” arrived though and has stayed with us.

Its actual arrival is indicative of a transformation of society. Previously when the values of our society were derived from a biblical world view the expectation was that in providing a service you were motivated to help others and that influenced how you dealt with matters. The reality now is that goods and services are provided so as that I can maximise my personal benefit. This change has happened because of the diminishing of those values historically imbued within society.

Customer service was introduced in order to seek to make sure that the new way of operating did not harm customers unnecessarily. So something that was done naturally before has had to be replaced by a contrivance as society’s values have changed.

Inevitably, though, that contrivance can so very often be lacking in terms of authenticity. People in customer services are performing a duty rather than loving to help those who come to them for help. Hence dealing with customer service can, at times be, a fraught experience.

What’s Happening to Men?

Here is a remarkable piece which furthers the argument I put forward as of last Thursday’s post (see here). The comments by Camille Paglia are fascinating. She is a liberal thinker who appears to make no profession of Christian faith.  Yet she focuses in on how the power of the transgender movement is indicative of a culture in its final throes. This obviously ties in with what I was sadly musing upon in last Thursday’s post

The thing I want to single out here though, from Ms Paglia’s comments, is the issue of the marginalization of manhood. I referred last Thursday to Brian Fitzpatrick’s article which is here. He argues, along with Paglia, that a key factor effecting the  prospering or decaying of a society is the role of men. Fitzpatrick says “Monogamous civilizations require men to choose either lifelong celibacy or the responsibilities of a husband: fidelity, breadwinning, and fatherhood. Most men choose to marry, to their good fortune, because married men tend to be healthier, happier, and more productive than bachelors.” 

So what is the role of man in society today? It is very confused. The man of fidelity, breadwinning and fatherhood is largely lost and quashed. Man as the leader-provider in families is largely diluted. When this dilution prevails then women become disenfranchised from the role in which they thrive. The woman as supporter, nurturer and carer is supplanted because they are forced into a leader provider role. As a consequence men seek identity in becoming brutes or in being effete. When the man is in his God given role of leading and providing in society then women happily take their position. Alas, when it is not so, it is not good.

All this reminds me of how we need to continue to teach and model these principles in our churches. The call of scripture still stands for men to lead and love and for women to submit and respect. Ephesians 5:22-28

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

We are not talking about suppression here; we are talking about freedom. We should resist the messages of the world which, whilst not fully androgynizing people into a totally amorphous splodge, do nevertheless neuter the God given callings of men and women. Let our churches shine out differently. Let us have godly leaders among the men of our churches. Let us encourage them, let us disciple them and let us affirm them.



Are we on the Road to Ruin?!

It is uncomfortable to say it, but I am strongly inclined that we need to increasingly face up to the uncomfortable truth that our Western society is set for collapse. We have rejected God and chosen our own way and the future is not bright. The heart of the matter is the rejection of God’s fundamental building block for stable society that of the family.

Here is a fascinating article, which if I could persuade you I feel is a vital thing to read. At the heart of the thesis of the article is the contention that when we start to construct relationships on an alternative basis to that of the one man one woman for life in marriage then society starts to collapse. When sex is engaged in as a vehicle to my personal fulfillment, and is practiced amidst a catalogue of chaotic relationship structures  then everything becomes very precarious.

I want to argue that the detail of this article parallels the details presented in Romans 1:18-32. If you fast-track through that passage you come to an end where a society is in complete collapse. The details are these:  Furthermore, just as they did not think it worth while to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practise them. (Rom. 1:28-32).

Three stages come before this state of degeneration. The first stage is the giving up on God as the centre of our focus and our joy (see Rom. 1:22-23). Having done that God gave them over to the giving of their bodies to one another in chaotic ways and in doing that they proved they had given up on God (Rom 1:24-25). Then, thirdly, God gave them over to sexual relations between those of the same-sex (see 26-27). With society insidiously deteriorating the chaos of vv28-32 ensues which manifests a society in meltdown.

What is it that characterises this society in chaos? It is lack of trust. If you read vv28-32, the one thing that over-arches everything is “no trust”. Where did all this start? It started with humans giving up on God. They stopped trusting God and God then gave them up to activities which destroyed trust between each other. This was outworked through men and women giving their bodies to one another outside marriage. When men and women are willing to do this then it leads to distrust. There is generally nothing more destructive to a marriage than for a marriage partner to give their body to another person. Trust is savaged in that act. And when you get people giving their bodies to one another indiscriminately outside of marriage then trust is a disappearing commodity.

With these things in mind we have a response to those who say: “Why are Christians so interested in what goes on inside the bedroom?” It is because the destiny of a civilisation is at stake therein. The research of Unwin proves this empirically whilst  Romans 1 proves it theologically.

O Lord have mercy.


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