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

Archive for the ‘The World’ Category

Feelings Always Win?!

I want to run to you a hypothetical scenario.

So there this man Rodney; he was brought up in a reasonably “normal” English home. His parents divorced when he was six and he was therefore mainly brought up by his Mum, But otherwise it was a steady background. Now, though, he is 25 and is in Iraq fighting with Islamic State. His journey to this position was full of mental turmoil and emotional struggles. His views on life started to change when he was nineteen. He became disenchanted with the decadence of ‘The West’. Then he started to watch propaganda videos online from Islamic idealists. He started frequenting chatrooms online. Through all this he was going through much anguish as he feared upsetting his family. He feared the reaction from his friends as he moved into the extremist version of Islam. He finally came out into the open after much heart-searching. And now he is fighting and killing in Iraq in the name of Allah.

If you have bought into the prevailing ethos in The West that feelings trump everything, then you are obligated to accept that this is a perfectly reasonable outcome for Rodney. He has been through so much, you see, to get to being an Islamic fighter and so it would be totally wrong of you to say anything against Rodney’s position.

Which all leads me to say that the next time you hear someone arguing a moral point on the basis of feelings, be concerned. Just because someone went through a lot of turmoil to get to a certain position it does not mean that they got to the right position.

Stomach Churning

As your weekend dawns sorry to dampen your spirits with some stomach churning bad and sad news.

So I write here to mention four things I noticed on the BBC website over the past couple of days:

  • Here is a man being allowed to participate in a women’s team in Australia. (Here are my previous musings on this phenomenon)
  • Here is Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black announcing the birth of their (?!) baby
  • Here is an article about a man breastfeeding his (presumably) baby.
  • Here is a lesbian couple proposing to each other.

So what can be said:

  • Yes my stomach did churn in aversion to some these happenings. I trust that is not just because of my cultural susceptibilities, but because these things are heinous to  my God.
  • It interesting how acceptable all this has become so quickly.
  • The BBC blithely records it as if we are all supposed to be onside with it all.
  • Yet it is all rejecting the Master’s plan for His creation.
    • Marriage is between a man and a woman for life.
    • Children are given to a married couple in marriage.
    • We are born male and female.
  • Behind it all are lives seeking for meaning. Yes looking in the wrong places, but still looking. We should be compassionate and point to a greater hope in Christ.
  • As churches we need to stand firm and declare that these developments are wrong before God and harmful for humanity.
  • Amidst the darkness the light should shine brighter. How are we shining as Christians and churches.
  • When our Lord comes into situation He always changes for the better.
  • My cry goes up “Even so come Lord Jesus”

Family Newsletter

Here is our family newsletter sent out earlier in the month

———————————————————————————————————————-

It is now over four years, November 2013 in fact, since we last sent out a newsletter. So for those of you who had wondered about our disappearance, we are still here and wanting to be in touch. We also apologise for our long non-contact with many of you.

Family Details

  • Philip (who blogs at https://venabling.wordpress.com/) continues to work at Feltham Evangelical Church.
  • May Lin, mainly home-based as we continue with home-schooling.
  • Michael (aged 20): completed A Levels at Strode’s College Egham in June 2015. Since October 2015 he has been studying Maths at Keble College, Oxford. He hopes to pursue a career in teaching ultimately.
  • Joshua (aged 19): completed GCSE’s in June 2015. Thereafter he studied A levels at Teddington School. Since October 2017 he has been studying Music at Jesus College Oxford. Up until July 2017 he attended the Centre for Young Musicians (CYM). Through this, and other opportunities, he has progressed in his piano and bassoon qualifications and experience.
  • Daniel (aged 16): is presently studying for GCSE’s. He also studies at CYM majoring in piano (he recently passed his Grade 8 exam). He finished his studies at Chinese School in July 2016. He also does some piano teaching. Later in the year he plans to go to sixth-form
  • Zechariah (aged 11): continues his studies at home and at Chinese School.

We are so grateful for all who have invested in the lives of the boys in so many different ways. Any list would be very long of the people who have given themselves for their good. We appreciate it very much.

As regards to the wider family a further niece was granted to us when Yu Chiet and Mei Wah received Mireya into their family in December 2015. On Philip’s side of the family further grand nephews and nieces have arrived making a total of twelve. It was great to see many of these when we visited Cheshire last month.

We still live in the same home in Feltham and are blessed with good neighbours. We have also been privileged to have many visit us in our home and church. We need to continually be aware that God works His purpose through people and we want to be in His service to bring blessing into the lives of others. Please pray for us as a couple, as a family and as a church that we will be effective in this.

Church Details

It is such a privilege to be in a church with so many caring people and many who are zealous for the Lord and His Word. Here is our website http://www.felthamevangelicalchurch.org.uk/fec/. We thank God for all His mercies in placing us in such a church. It is good to see progress in the church with Zach Mollalegn and Marc Khunan being recognized as elders and Mark Henderson as evangelist.

One thing that has grown in the church over the last year is the EveryoneMustKnow project. The desire is that through this all, especially in Feltham, will be able to encounter and know the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here are more details: http://www.felthamevangelicalchurch.org.uk/fec/everyone-must-know/.

Holidays

We have been able to enjoy holidays over the period with a trip to Malaysia/Singapore over Christmas and New Year 2014/5. We have also had family holidays here in the UK in Torquay, Bournemouth and Central Devon. The end of 2017 gave the opportunity for time in Malaysia. Michael, Josh and Daniel were there in September and May Lin and Zech were there in November/December. Thanks to all those who helped to make their time special.

The older boys have continued to benefit from their involvement in Christian Camps in Wales. Annual visits as a family to the Word Alive holiday have been very valuable as well.

May Lin’s Mum has also been able to visit us in 2016 with Darlene, May Lin’s niece, and that was a particularly special time for us.

Health

We have generally kept well over this period. May Lin has just one kidney and by God’s grace she keeps well.

Sadness

  • Casting a shadow over all this time has been the loss of Fabio (de Campos) on 24th October 2015 at the young age of 17. In so many ways we felt him a part of us as a family. We feel his loss deeply.
  • There have been many other struggles and difficulties over this period. And many sadnesses indeed. There are those who have turned away from God and His ways and that brings great grief. There are those who have turned from us and that has been painful. The pain is intensified so very much when people will not talk.
  • But our God abides faithful. We seek to move forward in Him and for Him. Do we regret taking our stand with our Lord Jesus? Never, never never. How could we ever think that way when we have so many blessings in Him.

A Dark World

So we seek to move forward. We see much darkness around us and live in a country where, so often, good is called bad and bad good. The philosophies which have been devised without reference to God and His Word seem to dominate and hold sway. And yet in all the movement away from God, are people any happier? The statistics seem to prove otherwise and the interaction with people proves otherwise.

This all brings home to us that people are in deep need of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only hope. He is the only One who offers us life. And that life is not just for now, but forever. So we seek to go forward making Him known, although we feel so weak and failing in this.

A Distracted World

The proliferation of computer technology has brought so many blessings. Many of you will have received this letter at the click of a button. However, this technology which has brought in its train social media and online interaction has provided so many ways to so easily distract us. But beyond this realm there seems a multitude of ways to distract and amuse ourselves. Two implications of this are that:

  1. We waste so much time. Recreation, rest and relaxation are obviously vital to our well-being, but so easily we are taken into an online search or a pursuit of trivia and so easily time has gone. I (Philip) for example notice that I seem to do less reading than I use too. So the computer that should save time ends up wasting time.
  2. We avoid the big issues of life. In fact, there are so many distractions to stop us thinking about the the very biggest of issues, that of death. We spend our time preoccupied with inconsequential stuff that really does not matter in the end. Does the size/value of my car matter? Does the showy display of my home/attire matter. And what about that referees or umpires decision that went against my team? Does it all really matter? And, amidst all this, so little thought given to the big question; what is going to happen when I die? That is not a hopeless question because Jesus Christ came to bring life and hope in the face of death. There is a salvation in Christ Jesus which stands secure. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. This is what the Bible says about the future hope for those who believe in Jesus based on the grace of God.

And Finally

Thanks to those who have taken an interest in us, prayed for us and encouraged us.

Yours with best wishes

Philip and May Lin

 

Standing Firm.

This, about Jordan Peterson must be worth a read. He gives a commentary on the culture wars in which we are involved. It tells of a man who put his head above the parapet, and not only survived, but prospered. Perhaps more of us should follow his lead.

It tells of a generation, particularly, young men, crying out for foundations and meaning. Moreover, it draws us back into the Christian gospel about where meaning and stability is found.

Not mentioned, but, I suggest, a reasonable deduction from it is the reason many turn to Islam. They see a morally unstable West and a church which has no message and so they look to Islam as a place where morals are strongly defined.

The article stirs me as regards to the verity of the Christian message. It stirs me to stand firm in the great bulwark to our souls, namely the gospel of our Lord Jesus. But I am left warning myself that moralism which embraces decent standards as the way of salvation will never win the day. What we need is the life-transforming gospel of our Lord Jesus which will lead us into these solid foundations and to stability.

Sad Sad World

It’s a sad, sad world and it does not seem to be getting any better! I was struck recently when Paul Fountain reported to us, at Feltham Evangelical Church, about Sri Lanka of the sinful pursuits of many connected with the Sri Lankan situation. Here are some of the things he referred to

  • Workers left impoverished by plantation owners. When the harvest was poor; the workers were left to struggle.
  • Lady workers offered “a better life” and much money to be maids and home helps in the Middle East, but in the end they are simply exploited.
  • Men expecting those ladies employed in their household to supply sexual favors.
  • Blatant lies from a man to facilitate vengeful activity against those who had previously helped him.
  • Children in a Hindu care home left to fend for themselves at a young age.

Truly this is a world in sin and a world full of sinners. And it does not get better. Oh Lord you alone are our hope.

Moreover, we thank the Lord that the Lanka Fellowship of Evangelical Churches and Care Sri Lanka are doing so much to alleviate suffering and bring spiritual and eternal blessing.

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.

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.

Tag Cloud