Thoughts and Wotnot

Not my own but very helpful and thought provoking…. See the end for credit….

 You think you know someone, but of course you don’t know them too. What might you not know about Jesus of Nazareth?

It is not the gift- and skill-sets – the intelligence and imagination, the range of reading, the elegance and wit – that separate the great theologian from the good one. The difference lies not in the brilliance but the defects. It takes a magnificent flaw to make a great theologian.

The best that I can say about me is that I am a placeholder for what I will become.

I may or may not be a “real Christian”, but a Christian who tells me I’m not is definitely not.

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Where are the Jehovah’s Witnesses in History?

I’ve recently engaged with some local Jehovah’s Witnesses. They were in the street with their stand of magazines and articles, and so I took this as my invitation to engage.

It was very friendly of course, but I did ask a question that I think cannot be answered by them, namely:

“Where are the Witnesses in 1800 years from the death of the last Apostle, to Rutherford and Russel making their discoveries that led to the modern day JW movement?”

I have never had an answer from them about this over the years. But one of them promised she would email me her response after she did some research. She thought it was a very good question.

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Place Your Bets: The probability of life evolving on even one planet in the whole universe is “less than 1 chance in 10172 (100 thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion)

Guest post by theologian Dr Robert Knowles.

Is there any proof of/against evolution? Is it possible for evolution to exist without contradicting the Bible?  i.e. Could it be that God designed us differently at the moment of creation but that he has gradually changed things, or does the Bible suggest otherwise?

As I understand the theory of evolution as it has developed “post-Darwin”, then we cannot simply accept it as its stands. What I believe we can accept is a notion of a “divinely directed creation process” that looks like “Darwinian evolution” when viewed through naturalistic spectacles.

As I understand it, the traditional evolutionary theory demands that “time and chance” causes genetic mutations to be occasionally positive, and that “natural selection” then favours positive mutations since these are better suited to the environment. All this happens “post-DNA” formation. Prior to DNA formation, certain chemical ingredients supposedly came together by “time and chance” again, and gradually DNA molecules, and ultimately cells, form.

Continue reading “Place Your Bets: The probability of life evolving on even one planet in the whole universe is “less than 1 chance in 10172 (100 thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion)”

Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)

No doubt we are all saddened and moved by the death of our Queen.  Whether a staunch Royalist or not, one cannot but be moved that the end of an era has now happened.  I remember making a flag to wave for the Queen as she swept through Weymouth and Wyke Regis in her black car in 1976.  At the time, my friend Gary stood on my foot and as I looked down in disproportionate agony, she passed by.  I’ve never quite got over that. 

Only last year my 5 year old daughter was invited to knock on the Queen’s front door at Sandringham.  Obviously she was disappointed the Queen didn’t answer the door personally and invite her in for afternoon tea; we all were – I wanted to explain why I was looking down when she came to Weymouth, and maybe even dob Gary in – I’m sure she would remember!  Anyway, we went into the marvellous house anyway, and what a treat it was. 

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BOB: ‘Brilliantly Difficult’ documentary film OUT NOW

A great documentary charting the work of political cartoonist, and cultural interpreter extraordiaire Bob Moran, former cartoonist for the Telegraph, has been made available here. It is a truly inspiring account that has helped thousands (millions?) around the world especially during the past two and a half years.

Since this is a theology blog, it would be remiss of me to fail to point out that characters like BOB and his wonderful family are the type of people God raises up “for such a time as this” – and that their courage gives courage, just as in days of old.

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Quiet

Below is a repost of a book I briefly reviewed on being an introvert in today’s world. There is a great Ted Talk at the end delivered by the author Susan Cain, but I also discovered this fascinating long-form interview by Lex Fridman with Susan Cain here.

Book Review:  ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain

A few years ago I was in a bookshop and stumbled upon this book as I was browsing.  I picked it up and was hooked immediately.  I think I read the first chapter before paying for it.  What follows is my review that I’ve recently rediscovered, and I offer it here.

The sub-title of the book reads: ‘The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’.  And although this book is secular, the author not only accesses her biblically Jewish roots, but what she says is as relevant to Christian ministry as it is to industry chiefs and educators.  

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Matchless Beauty: How the Bible Speaks to Itself

This is how the Bible speaks to itself – or the textual cross-references within it. The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible.

Books alternate between white and light gray and the length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a singular arc – the colour corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.

Photograph: Christoph Romhild and Chris Harrison

Watch a short explanatory video here

Rev Ethelstan Cheese: ‘No aim in life but to serve God’

One of my favourite stories involves an eccentric English missionary priest with an equally eccentric name, possibly the most majestic name you’ll ever hear?

The Reverend Ethelsten Cheese (b. 19/11/1877 – d. 5/6/1959)

Reverend Cheese was walking through the wilderness in the middle of no where.

A British Army soldier was passing in a car, and offered him a lift.

And it is precisely at this point that uncertainty and certainty meet.

The driver asking,

“What would you have done if I hadn’t come along?”

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How Tyrannies Come In

Rev Dr William Philip has written a great piece in Evangelicals Now about the rise of the veneration of the scientist in our day as that which uses elected figures as puppets and assumes themselves to be the source of all guidance and authority in all matters of public and private life.

I have written several posts over the years denouncing and exposing this mode that functions as science, but is in fact the illigitimate disordered version of it, namely scientism, see here for an example.

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The Daily Slaughter

550 so secret, so nifty,

Per day in the UK? Yeah I suppose, is that OK?

Never heard, never seen;

But Oh my God, those called into being but have never been.

My body, my choice;

Their body, no choice.

The human is sacred,

So why do we degrade it?

We think we’re just material and matter;

But live and let live, it doesn’t matter.

It does matter, that’s why it matters.

We fight for our rights, as we deny their lives matter.

“All men are created equal”

But that’s not true, abortion’s the sequel.

So riddle me this:

How can bacteria be life on Mars?

When a heart beat isn’t life on Earth?*

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