Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Truth in Advertising

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Oh, I love the straightforward simplicity of the Bible. It has no sweeping promises, no persuasive techniques, no hucksterism. No flash; no spin.

"...after you have suffered a little while..." If we were writing that, we'd have done away with the suffering altogether. It would be "zap", "bam" or "kapow" and no more difficulty. But God is no wizard, conjuring cures. His is the careful work of the Creator and the guiding hand of the Father. In my suffering, too, there is measurement and meaning.

Is it possible that some should mistake the slick, marketed thing that passes off as Christianity these days for the gracious, practical, reasonable-ness presented with neither pomp nor apology in the Bible? The first is a caricature so grossly distorted as to seem incapable of drawing away any thinking person from the beauty of the second.

Dear, wise, and holy God who weighs out my pain - he is so un-magic.

Monday, 19 October 2009


To drift with every passion till my soul
Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play,
Is it for this that I have given away
Mine ancient wisdom, and austere control?
Methinks my life is a twice-written scroll
Scrawled over on some boyish holiday
With idle songs for pipe and virelay,
Which do but mar the secret of the whole.
Surely there was a time I might have trod
The sunlit heights, and from life's dissonance
Struck one clear chord to reach the ears of God.
Is that time dead? lo! with a little rod
I did but touch the honey of romance
And must I lose a soul's inheritance?

-Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

From the Inside Out: A Call to Peace

Who among you can say that he is wise and has been given knowledge of spiritual things? Let him prove it, then, by showing in his everyday life the good he does, and the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you have envy, bitterness, or a desire to fight in your heart, don't pretend that you are spiritual, for you are making yourself worse by becoming a liar and setting yourself against Truth.
The kind of cunning that makes a person appear spiritual when his heart harbours wrong doesn't come from God, but from corrupted human nature, the world, and the devil. For wherever there is envy and fighting, there is chaos and evil.
But the wisdom that God gives is first of all un-mixed with self-interest, and also peaceable and gentle; it makes a person approachable and easy to reason with, merciful and full of goodness, fair, and sincere. Furthermore, the person who is right with God multiplies goodness, because its seed is planted by him in the hearts of those he comes in contact with. He does this peacefully (He doesn't try to change people by fighting and arguing). Instead, it is a by-product of his work making peace with others.

(This is my own paraphrase of James 3:13-18)