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

Archive for the ‘The World’ Category

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.

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.

 

Why Treat Them As Christians?

So you have someone who professes to be a Christian. However, over a period of time they have either refused to be baptised or refused to become a member of a church. They have received teaching that this is the normal way for the Christian, but have refused to respond to that teaching. So my question is why should they be now treated as a Christian?

This picks up something I considered here. Where there is no evidence of being a Christian why should we allow someone the dignity of being treated as a Christian?

Let’s run at this another way. There are two realms in which people exist. There is the church and the world. The church is the place where God is honoured and His people are committed to Him. The world is the place where God is ignored and “me” reigns”. In Matthew 18:15-17 we see there how someone who refuses to repent of their ungodly behaviour is put outside the church and the church is to treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector (Matt. 18:17b). In this instance someone is placed outside the church because of their behaviour and in view of that they are to be treated as a non-Christian. In a similar way those who refuse to be baptised or become a church member are displaying that they don’t want the way of God. So upon persistent refusal to be baptised and join a church surely we should start to treat them as “a pagan and a tax collector”.

There are obviously exceptions here. Someone maybe in very restricted circumstances such as being in a closed Islamic country. Or someone maybe in a new church planting or missionary situation. But these exceptions do not take away from the persuasiveness of the general principle.

A Little Bit Crazy.

Christians should be seen as being a little bit crazy by this world. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:13 If we are ‘out of our mind,’ as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. The context of the surrounding passage is that of Paul as an ambassador of the Lord seeking to persuade men. He is persuading them about the eternal realities of how salvation has been brought from another world. As a result some are saying he is a little bit crazy.

This very much strikes a chord as regards to our present age. At this time there is something of a conspiracy of silence as regards to speaking about salvation and eternity. To break into this silence and challenge people about their lives in the light of eternity and of a Saviour coming into the world, is seen as somewhat crazy.

Behind all this and motivating Paul was the conviction that there is more to life than life in this world. He lived for another world and for another Master. Christians are people who are living for another age. Paul says this in Galatians:6:14-15: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 

Paul had finished with this world when he came to Christ at the cross. He is now living as part of the new creation. And that is crazy according to this world.

I am not countenancing here the delight of some Christians just to be odd and thereby to think that they are really living for Christ. I am rather considering those who are deemed crazy because they do not live according to the way of this world.

So would people say I am a little bit crazy.

Help! I Need Fellowship.

So easily we think we can survive on our own as Christians. No doubt the Lord can supernaturally sustain those who, through circumstances outside of their control, are disconnected from other Christians. However, it is God’s appointed order that we should dwell together in fellowship with other believers.

When we are isolated and not interacting with other believers as we should, then we lose our spiritual sharpness; we become lazy about the ways of the Lord. This is inevitable because if we are not immersing ourselves in company with those who are Christians then we will, almost inevitably, be immersed in the world. As a result the thinking of the world influences our spiritual convictions. So we:-

  • Start to think that Jesus may well not be the only way to God.
  • Lose sense that an eternal hell awaits all those who do not believe in Jesus.
  • Are inclined to conclude that our way of life is just about a lifestyle choice. We have chosen the way of trusting in Jesus. Others have chosen their ways whether they be religious or not. And this does not really matter. Their way; our way its all “much-of-a-muchness”.
  • Are no longer thrilled by the wonderful salvation that God has wrought in our life through Christ our Lord.
  • Diminished in zeal to see the ungodly reached with the gospel.

All this is through withdrawing from fellowship. Essentially our ardour for the Lord fades and we are no longer effective believers.

We need each other.

 

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