Lowest rate since 1971

This report came out a short while back that the USA now has the lowest abortion rate since the historic date of 1971. Statistics such as this are a huge challenge to those who hold to the sanctity of human life, and how we work with how Christian legislation and redemptive legislation might not always coincide.

I am very glad that I do not have to make choices that politicians and lawmakers face. Is it possible to hold to a position personally but hold to a different position when wearing a hat within society? I think so. On the very tough issue of abortion the response to that from us believers I think is likely to differ enormously. I cannot buy into ‘it is my body and I have the right to choose’ – of course we all want to shout about the right of the unborn. But I think we also have to push far deeper. I consider that the way we can dehumanise others (war of course necessitates that) must have a direct bearing on how many can take it one step further and dehumanise the unborn.

I am not sure how I would respond with regard to having to vote on the abortion issue. An absolute ban (except in the obvious exception cases) is ‘right’ but I am not sure it is redemptive. I therefore have great sympathy with those who are against abortion when it comes to their personal decisions but have not imposed that on the wider community. Dirty hands, but I think in biblical imagery, better described as dirty feet – dirty because of the dust on the road we must travel.

Christian politicians – admiration for you as you wrestle with rights and wrongs in the context of seeking redemptive choices.

Christians in the medical field – another level all together. As a politician I might be able to come to terms with making a painful choice and taking a personally conflicting decision. So assuming for a moment I was able to make that choice. What about when I then took on a medical profession and had to sign papers for someone wanting an abortion. Could I simply refuse? Could I get round it by referring them to a colleague? If the latter does that resolve my issue?

Difficult choices, challenging pathways.

But for me today – from the luxury of blogging – I am thankful for the downturn shown by the statistics, and have to play my part in living redemptively. Seems the most major contribution I can make on that front is in humanising those I meet, and in seeing faces rather than statistics. That is an easier path than the one facing my politician or medic who is a believer. Their choices are more visible. Mine can be kept private – and for that I will have to be accountable one day.

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Predestined smoker ready for outreach?

Well a totally cheeky title, but as I have not posted for a while I am surely allowed to be a little left of field. Apparently in the Southern Baptist world there is some debate over the appropriateness of those from a Calvinist persuasion being among them or whether they should find a home among Presbyterians. (See: Scot McKnight’s post.) There are, so I read, a number of New Calvinists who have made their way in to the fraternity, prompting this response from an objector:

Some New Calvinists, even pastors, very openly smoke pipes and cigars, just as they drink beer, wine. They may even home brew the beer themselves, attempting to use it as an outreach to identify with other smokers and drinkers.
Sin is not a form of outreach.

I don’t think the comment was made humorously but it did provoke just a little laughter in our household. Now though a little more seriously…

We all try and make sense of Scripture, the traditions of the church, and maybe even the creeds, so (Old or New) Calvinists are in the same boat as I am in trying to do just that. Theirs is a tradition that I have never been able to settle in. I have always thought that regardless of how nuanced the theology is that we end up with the inevitable of only the elect can be saved. At least Spurgeon got round that one emotionally by saying he prayed ‘God save the elect then elect some more.’ If that were how it worked that would be OK, but don’t really think that is how the theology was set out to work, with everything set from ‘before the foundation of the world’.

A huge divide for me is over how we understand God. Is he defined as omnipotent, sovereign… or is s/he defined as love, with all the implications of that, and maybe even the belief that such love is uncontrolling (Thomas Oord) and indeed that God’s will could (at least in theory) remain unfulfilled. I have read, but as I do not have a copy cannot confirm with certainty, that Calvin in his commentary on 1 John on ‘God is love’ comments that love belongs not to God’s essence, but only to how the elect experience him. If this is what he writes then ‘God is not love’ at his core.

I am not writing to refute old or new C’s but am struck by the huge challenge the ‘God is love’ statement makes. It seems to me that we cannot elevate any other character element to such a level that his love is simply something that we (the elect) experience. He is love, hence we are called to love our enemy. Loads of implications… two crosses, two ways of responding to God. And too aware that I can respond to God according to my own selfishness regardless of what theology I theorise over.

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This site

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!

The main area that I focus on and continues to interest me is how we should understand and live out the gospel. I am convinced (a perspective!) that we have to understand the implications of the gospel as being that of impacting the world. Although the kingdom of heaven can never be identified with any 'earthly' kingdom we are called to pray, live and act, so that we see greater measures of heaven manifest on earth.

I am very grateful that I have been deeply influenced by a charismatic theology, an anabaptist understanding of hermeneutics, a long-term involvement in the various intercessory / spiritual warfare, and the (more-recent) work associated with 'kenarchy'. backgrounds. They all influence me enormously and it will not take too much discernment to read those influences in these pages.

Why Spain

Why Spain

spain-mapGayle and I have lived in Spain since 2009 (Jan. 1 - start the year as one intends to carry on?) and although Spain was not a place that was on either of our radar, the continent of Europe certainly has been. In that sense we have a focus on Europe and live in Spain, however as we have dug into the history of Spain something has got under our skin.

Spain has only a recent history of democracy (1975-1977 being years of transition to democracy, post Franco), and has been subject to a two-party domination in politics, until the end of 2015 when that was broken. Although our hope is not placed in a political party we see incredible connections between the shift of the 'powers' and the time in history that has been unlocked through prayer.

Our own focus has been on the history of the land and we have had a strong focus on the Civil War (1936-39) and its aftermath.

We plan to be based in Spain long-term and increasingly look to connect with those who are embedded in the wider European context and are seeking to live out the implications of their faith in that setting.

WordPress design

WordPress design

wordpress_logo20I began developing sites for my personal use many years ago and settled on WordPress soon after it moving from being simply a blogging platform. I find it incredibly flexible and can empower virtually any style of site. My skills are in working with clients who wish something custom made for their use.

This site here is based on WP and uses a theme that I have developed. A site can be as simple as a set of posts and some pages, or any number of elements can be added such as this animated set of tabs that are activated when clicking the tabs above. All the sites are designed to be 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 developed 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.

This site
Why Spain
WordPress design

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!

The main area that I focus on and continues to interest me is how we should understand and live out the gospel. I am convinced (a perspective!) that we have to understand the implications of the gospel as being that of impacting the world. Although the kingdom of heaven can never be identified with any 'earthly' kingdom we are called to pray, live and act, so that we see greater measures of heaven manifest on earth.

I am very grateful that I have been deeply influenced by a charismatic theology, an anabaptist understanding of hermeneutics, a long-term involvement in the various intercessory / spiritual warfare, and the (more-recent) work associated with 'kenarchy'. backgrounds. They all influence me enormously and it will not take too much discernment to read those influences in these pages.

Why Spain

spain-mapGayle and I have lived in Spain since 2009 (Jan. 1 - start the year as one intends to carry on?) and although Spain was not a place that was on either of our radar, the continent of Europe certainly has been. In that sense we have a focus on Europe and live in Spain, however as we have dug into the history of Spain something has got under our skin.

Spain has only a recent history of democracy (1975-1977 being years of transition to democracy, post Franco), and has been subject to a two-party domination in politics, until the end of 2015 when that was broken. Although our hope is not placed in a political party we see incredible connections between the shift of the 'powers' and the time in history that has been unlocked through prayer.

Our own focus has been on the history of the land and we have had a strong focus on the Civil War (1936-39) and its aftermath.

We plan to be based in Spain long-term and increasingly look to connect with those who are embedded in the wider European context and are seeking to live out the implications of their faith in that setting.

WordPress design

wordpress_logo20I began developing sites for my personal use many years ago and settled on WordPress soon after it moving from being simply a blogging platform. I find it incredibly flexible and can empower virtually any style of site. My skills are in working with clients who wish something custom made for their use.

This site here is based on WP and uses a theme that I have developed. A site can be as simple as a set of posts and some pages, or any number of elements can be added such as this animated set of tabs that are activated when clicking the tabs above. All the sites are designed to be 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 developed 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.

There and back

1450kms (900 miles) in total through the most wonderful scenery there and back. En route eventually snow-capped mountains, a final long tunnel and across the border to France. Two fully packed days to catch up with each other and then to pray and seek to make intelligent declarations for the continent of Europe. What a […]

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A new book

Being high on the tradionalist scale, Gayle and I are continuing with a very profitable tradition of reading a book together. The one for now – and for a while into the future! – is Tom Wright’s new book, The Day the Revolution Began on the atonement. We look forward to getting into this enormously, […]

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