Peace loving

Here are 13 examples of peace seeking initiatives within Israel and Gaza. Cross Palestinian and Israeli. There is for example one that involves former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian militants, who ‘decided to put down their weapons and fight nonviolently for peace’.

‘Theophilus’ at Dover Beach yesterday posted ‘a short video about the violent history of the Holy Land. A history that is a long orgy of violence carried out by a broad assortment of ethnic groups, often intoxicated with the belief that they are doing God’s work by killing the other. The video didn’t take any sides but merely implied by the end that it is really satan who is being served by the whole sordid mess. In response I was the recipient of some of the most ignorant and bigoted comments that I have received in the four and a half years of this blogs existence’.

We are called to pray for the kingdom to come, not sit back and suggest we are in the last days because of ‘wars and rumours of wars’; we are called to love even our enemy, not rejoice at bloodshed. Warped eschatology is damaging and anything that leaves us no longer praying for reconciliation does not seem in line with the ministry given to us. Abraham was not promised the land but the globe (Rom. 4:13). If one wishes to see a continuation of Israel’s divine right to the land so be it, and even in that situation the land was to be a place for the alien to reside in peace. There is something bigger though that Paul is going for. A Creation that is filled with peace from heaven. Surely the land of Israel carries a gift for reconciliation? After all this is the geography where a life was given to break down the wall of hostility.

As per Theophilus I am not suggesting a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ side. We know the line of good / evil never runs between us but through us all. This is about much more than theology, though a half-baked theology will not help us, it is about lives, regardless of race or faith being lost.

I do intend to get back to a few posts on pre-determination: the place of prayer, Judas and his role etc., but the current situation in Gaza is not too far removed from what we believe also about what is considered pre-determined.

Israel and moving beyond…

I understand the many posts / facebook statuses about Israel. They are a unique people (loved because of the patriarchs) and have been a persecuted people, and there are those who would wish them into oblivion. However…

In the present – and future conflicts we have to move beyond the blanket support for Israel, as if they could do no wrong. If there is a straight line from the Israel of the Bible (an imperfect theocracy) to modern day Israel (a secular state) we need to ask what would a biblical prophet be saying. Seems to me that the two critiques of the prophets were to do with protection and provision (same issue Jesus presented to his disciples). Who are you looking to protect you and who will provide for you? I also think that no Jew past – and certainly the orthodox ones today – would see a straight line. The debate was always over ‘who was Israel?’ Not all of those descended from Abraham were considered to be truly Israel: hence the disobedient were always in danger of being cut off from Israel.

My point in this blog is more in reference to the video I posted than to a theological statement. We have to get beyond the blanket support for Israel. There are those in the image of God – Jew and Palestinian who are losing their lives, and because of fire-power more Palestinians than Jews.

Please before simply saying ‘bless Israel at all costs’ consider:

Who is Israel? The appeal to the Jews of the NT era post-resurrection was:

  • And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”
  • Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
  • And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Did Paul need to respond to Christ for salvation – if not then what did he mean by ‘righteous under the law’, and yet ‘chief of sinners’?

This has nothing to do with ‘replacement theology’, as I suggest that a blanket approval of Israel is one of the most effective replacement of Jesus theologies known. Hold to a future eschatology for Israel by all means, for a fulfilment of the land promises etc., but let us not simply slip into a justification of Israel – justification is in Christ and in him alone.

The NT was clear that Jews needed the Messiah for their future, they were not so sure about where the Gentiles fitted in. The modern church has tended to reverse that position. Clear that Gentiles need Christ but unsure about the necessity of Jews to respond in that way.

So my plea is not do a simple change of theology but please do not take biblical verses in isolation, read the internal critique that is within the pages and the ongoing dialogue that the Jewish Christians were a part of. And then in the horrific situation many people face today in Gaza and beyond let our prayers be for a humanitarian (and therefore God-like) way through, with blessings on all those who are risking their lives to care for the vulnerable and wounded. This is not about ‘taking sides’ but about longing for manifestations of the New Creation realities that are in Christ.

About this site

I am the main contributor to this site, though there are guest writers from time to time. Hopefully, what is presented are perspectives not the final word!

I am currently developing a part of the site with a focus on the 'gates of society'. That section will develop more as a forum with links to other articles, so that it becomes a resource for the future. I will also be looking for other contributors into the various subject-areas.

In my spare time(!!) I enjoy putting together wordpress sites, and also coaching people to make their own - open to hearing from you on that too.

Magazine articles

Just some more blogs? No, of course not, nothing even similar... well maybe very similar indeed, but hopefully you can use them differently. At the foot of this home page you will find 10 more blogs, these ones are grouped together, they will only be replaced every few months with a new set of 10. They can be downloaded as an emagazine, or read here as blogs (click on one and read, or use the 'emagazine' link in the menu above). Here on this site you can also add your comment.

Their core focus will be toward the gates of influence in society. They will not be the final word, hopefully provocative with some practical aspects thrown in.

The first four volumes will be uploaded here in quick succession, after that a breather before the next one. You can access earlier volumes from the emagazine page using the menu at the top of this page.

So you see - nothing like a blog!!

WordPress design

I develop WordPress based web-sites specifically made for your site. This site here is based on WP and uses a theme that I have developed. It can be as simple as a set of posts and some pages, or a few additional elements can be added such as this animated set of tabs that are activated here. I also plan the sites so that they are mobile-friendly, being responsive, they adjust to the device being used to view them.

If interested in a site feel free to make contact. I also have various courses on WP theme development. If interested in taking one of them online, or indeed you would wish to contact me about presenting a course to a small group.

Previous posts

Take 3 minutes

Just take a few minutes to watch this video from Jon Snow. I appreciate for many any issue surrounding Israel throws up the issues of land, promises and eschatology. However, there are issues beyond this. The average age of someone in Gaza is 17… so many innocents (children) are dying. Young people will never have […]

What time is it?

Thanks for the comments on the TULIP post… and the advice to wrap head in cold towels. I am sure it makes a significant difference. So with many wet towels at hand I will have a short go at ‘time’, God – inside or outside of time? This is one of the big conundrums philosophically […]

Not so fast Jehan

Reformed theology has been around for a long time – since the, when was it again? Ah yes the Reformation. One of those Reformers of course was John Calvin (born: Jehan Cauvin – hence my title). It has also gained quite an impetus with the likes of John Piper, Wayne Grudem et al. Of course […]

Narcissus

I have posted before on ‘The Narcissistic complex’. An Anglican vicar with a background in psychology explained to me that this was not some form of unbalanced self-love but was more complex. Narcissus fell in love with an image of himself, and my colleague explained that this was often what drove people, and was a […]

Go and be

Nothing particularly new in this post but I am going to reflect on two phrases that are very useful handles to understand two different practices. ‘Come and see’ has been the unwritten strap line that has shaped a number of more recent church structures. ‘If we build it they will come’ was a little adventurous […]

A grateful response

I enjoyed reading the book by Frank. Some strong language but nothing gratuitous, some very insightful observations of religion in all its forms, and an overriding level of honesty that is very disarming. So, yes I like the book, would recommend it as a challenge, but (and I do not think this is my ‘conservatism’ […]

Responding ‘Christianly’

Here is the first of two posts related to Frank’s book as to issue of maintaining a ‘Christianly’ response to the issues that we face. The made up word might not be the best word. I though of ‘traditional’, ‘Christian’, ‘biblical’ and dismissed them all. The one I have used I am not happy with […]

Further Musings

Thanks for the comments… and also the science/faith comments too. This is part of why I so liked the book, it kind of demands a response and an honesty (without cynicism?). Not surprised that Franky is not a friend of the atheists or the hard-core theists. The Bible: Frank suggests when we read egalitarian and […]

Not a fan of Dawkins

Frank Schaeffer is not a fan of Dawkins and the ‘new atheism’. He objects to the dogmatism and the arrogance in it. He has said: Richard Dawkins, you are in the same boat I am in. You don’t have any revealed truth either. I wish we would all just admit that. I embrace that paradox. […]

Magazine Articles

Editorial Vol 2.1

In this issue there are a number of articles to respond to. Dyfed reviews Roger Mitchell’s thesis Church, Gospel & Empire. Roger’s book is his thesis so we should not expect it to be an easy read, however, with Dyfed’s review I think the book will be accessible for most. In a recent blog Roger […]

When is a Gate not a Gate?

It is a simple question. Should religion be treated as a gateway in the model of the city that we explore on this blog? Martin and I have both, perhaps instinctively, said no. Then Martin invited an article on the topic: then I got to thinking: then, well, you’ll see.

Ownership, stewardship & forgiveness

“So the business leaders of today are not capitalists in the sense in which Arkwright and Rockefeller were capitalists. Modern titans derive their authority and influence from their position in a hierarchy, not their ownership of capital. They have obtained these positions through their skills in organisational politics, in the traditional ways bishops and generals […]

It’s the Economy stupid!

So much talk about the economy, but what is the economy? Is it just pounds and pence? Dollars and Euros and cents? The Cambridge dictionary defines it as “the system of trade and industry by which the wealth of a country is made and used.”

W.I.L.D. voices for the poor and the powerless

For some time I have been wrestling with the issues of money, care for the poor and how our present western economic system seeks to support people in need. As a community at Antioch, Llanelli we have a focus on ‘God’s presence and the poor’ and over many years see the day to day pressures of folks who are increasingly struggling financially in these challenging times.

Church, Gospel & Empire: a review

‘How is it that the best of church experience in both traditional and radical expressions tends to relapse to hierarchical domination and control?’ This is Roger Haydon Mitchell’s chilling question in his introduction to his newly published PhD thesis, Church, Gospel & Empire.

Art shaping culture

It has been received wisdom for a while now that economic power is shifting from the old world to the new world. Continental Europe is faced with tremendous headwinds to do with spiraling social costs and an ageing population that means growth over the next 100 years will be hard to come by. In the developing world on the other hand very low wage rates and high worker motivation are combining to create a compelling long term argument for excess growth rates and wealth creation for those markets.

Values: unelectability

I watched a film recently ‘Ides of March’. A film looking at people on the campaign trail. The governor has sex with the intern (definitely a big ‘no’ in the film)… However, the areas that were far more challenging though were to do with the ethics of winning votes. One example were meetings with fellow politicians to gain their endorsement. Making a deal so that votes could be guaranteed – in return a position in the forthcoming government.

Wealth: redefinitions

Definitions of course have their limitations, but I was provoked and challenged when sitting listening to a Zimbabwean speak. His question to us was to consider what are we were investing into. To help us he used the two phrases of ‘artificial’ and ‘creational’ wealth. One he said was how the (industrialised) West defines wealth, but is illusionary. This he, therefore, termed ‘artificial’.

Come back Christian nation

Abortion, gay marriage, Sunday trading (sorry, strike that one off, as we like that now)… All evidence that we are losing it. The ‘look, once we could see Cathedrals and church spires on the landscape, now Mosques are where churches once stood’ type of statement are all laments about what is disappearing.