Psalm 23 – With A Vicious Twist of Irony

The Final post of 2020. Suitably ironic.

It is a guest post by my brother David, who has written this present post, and two others ‘The Covid Creed’ here and ‘If Shakespeare Did Covid’ here, on the excellent website ‘Conservative Woman‘ – I encourage you to go here for other high quality articles and cultural commentary.

Here’s the Revised Version of Psalm 23 – Parody? Possibly. Prophetic? Certainly. Accurate? Definately.

THE Government is my Shepherd,

I shall not cough;

They lead me beside one-way systems

They restore lockdown.

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Hello China – I’ve Noticed!

Hello China, and welcome to my humble blog!

I’m afraid I’ve never visited your incredible country, but I do love your people, your food and much of your history.

I’m only writing to say I’ve noticed that everyday for two months, “China” has visited my blog, and I am very grateful. I apologise I do not know how to write Chinese and dialects thereof, I wish I did, because then it might be better for you. I suggest though, that your ability at English is probably better than mine!! Sigh.

I don’t know why there has been a China spike in blog hits. I’m very grateful though and want to say once again, you are very welcome.

I don’t think I’ve criticised the Communist State on this blog, but I do support and highlight the Persecuted Church. Maybe it is fellow Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ and if it is, you are welcome and hope you find nourishment and encouragement. And I and many others continue to pray for you.

If it’s not my brothers and sisters in Christ, then who could it be and why? I won’t write anything here that may endanger anyone, because we know the Communist State is quite cross about churches a Christians. But it must understand, when any authoritarian state is quite cross at the church, it never ends well for the state.

G. K. Chesterton, an eccentric English Journalist from the 20th century said, “Five times it looked as though the Church had gone to the dogs; and every time it was the dog that died.” Leave the Church to flourish, and You, Dear China, will flourish too.

Critical Theories Exposed

Normally, I just pop a short review on whatever websites when I’ve read a good book that should be widely read (in my view at least). Sometimes I write something about a book in more detail on this blog – normally theology or some such. ‘Cynical Theories – How Universities Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity – and Why This Harms Everybody’ is one of those books that although is not theology, is excellent at charting our cultural waters, and evaluating and assessing various trends over the decades and centuries.

Here’s a taster of what is proving to be a very important book. In articulating the morph from “original postmodern’ thought to the new Theorists, we read,

Continue reading “Critical Theories Exposed”

A [possible] Prophetic Word

What follows is a guest post prophetic word by a trusted friend and spiritual guide. The first part sets the context of prophetic ministry in a biblical pattern; and the second part, with Scriptures, is the unfolding and possible Word of God for the Church.

The Context:

Since the prophetic ministry is one of ‘turning’ God’s people from their sins – including cultural sins – back to God and back to obedience to what God commands in the covenant, then I think prophecy necessarily includes an interpretation of the times, of the present horizon, relative to revealed gospel centred criteria of evaluation. 

Continue reading “A [possible] Prophetic Word”

Jesus Christ is Still King and His Gospel is Still True

Sermon preached at a Taunton Churches Together Sunday Service on 15/11/2020.

On the evening of November 5th, my wife, pregnant daughter and her husband, and our 4 year old daughter, were in the garden having a fire-pit bonfire.

We had German sausages cooking; marshmallows warming. Sparklers, and one or two thimbles of beer. We were having a great time.

When suddenly:  my daughter’s waters broke (nearly extinguishing the bonfire)! Our younger daughter Laura, said to our older daughter:  “I sometimes have accidents too Abi!”

Five hours later, she gave birth to twins.  

And their names gave rise to what I want to share today:  Alfred & Evangelina

Continue reading “Jesus Christ is Still King and His Gospel is Still True”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in particular exacerbates these longings…

Eric Metaxas on his ten year anniversary edition of ‘Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy‘:

Bonhoeffer’s story remains so moving to me that I feel deeply humbled God allowed me the privilege of bringing it to so many readers over the years. His extraordinary life cannot help but inspire anyone who becomes familiar with it. I know because it’s changed me dramatically, and everywhere I’ve gone people who have read the book have told me the same. That’s what the lives of saints do. They reverberate through the years, shining truth and light into the future.

The first couple of chapters:

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You are Called to Greatness

Called to Greatness: Is. 40:28-31; John 6:66

It is so easy for my life to be consumed by triviality, pettiness and banality.

Do you know what I mean?

I don’t want my life to meander along in a predictable, mundane fashion.

It’s not that I’m looking for the novelty of experiential excitement:  As an end in itself.

It’s more that I know I am made for more, and I want more.

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A Psalm: The Lockdown of Covid

Psalm 137 Covid Version:

In the lockdown of Covid,

Indoors we stayed, and wept,

When we remembered friends, family, sanity and jobs.

In the churches we silenced our tongues, and muzzled our faces,

For the Government required of us fearful obeisance to the gods of bureaucratic scientism & the spin of half-truths.

Why should we so meekly comply and not sing the LORD’s song in this ‘new normal’?

If I forget you, O Christ, let me throw away my own heart upon the ash heap;

If I forget you O Church, cast me upon the rocks of ruin,

Let not my highest joy in Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

Be subordinated to whimsical diktat of conflicting authoritarian pronouncements.

Remember LORD, in previous actual plagues of old

Twas the Church that fought like lions,

And preserved the communities and society.

O Covid, destroyer of civilisations, doomed to be destroyed,

May the LORD repay those whose courage failed.

May the LORD repay those whose courage roared.

Let not the future prove to be the rocks upon which we have dashed our little ones.

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Bad ‘Woke Traits’ in the World and in the Church

One of the best cultural critics I know has once again done what great cultural analysis does best: Expose the little man behind the curtain (Wizard of Oz) pulling all the strings and presenting a certain reality (fake news) that many people absorb and assume to be the norm. What follows is a masterclass from my friend, who remains anonymous at this point because the Woke Militia are really a terrible bunch of virtue-signalers and it is my duty and joy to protect him and share it here.

“Part of the woke problem is premature self-ascription of prophetic authority by people who suppress the true prophets. I think we are allowed to point that out.”

Yes we are. And we must. Whether in the Church or in the World, a kind of prophetic mantle is presumed and then acted upon with all sorts of illegitimate authority, by the religious and the non-religious. Woke culture displays classic religious traits of cultic and cultural authoritarianism on a par with Nazism and Communism: Left and Right in an inter-play of 1984 meets the Gulag Archipelago. Any non-echo chamber YouTube search will plentifully prove my point.

“The Social Justice Warrior (SJW) movement known now as ‘Woke’ is a cultural, intellectual and theological dead-end. It is ignorance, projected self-righteousness and illegitimate rage on steroids.”

Richard Matcham

Buckle up: Here are some bad woke traits:

Continue reading “Bad ‘Woke Traits’ in the World and in the Church”

Shameful Behaviour

Sermon preached on 13th September 2020.

Luke 13:10-17 ‘Shameful Behaviour’

The last time I entered a synagogue was in Cairo, 2007.  It was a beautiful experience and nothing much happened.  In Luke’s gospel, this is the last time Jesus enters a synagogue too.  Unlike my visit, which was quite sedate; With Jesus (as usual), it all kicks off again!

I want you to notice:

  • Last week in Luke 13:11-5 18 we read people were killed by a collapsing tower.  This week in following Luke, a poor woman was bent over for 18 years.  She never asked for anything.  Jesus called out to her.

Notice too:

  • The word Sabbath is mentioned what seems like an excessive 5 times
  • The synagogue ruler tries to publicly shame Jesus by appealing to the crowds.
  • Jesus fights unholy fire with holy fire.
  • The man, behaving like a beast, treats his ox and ass better that a human being.

This story is specially tied to the one before.  This is the example, given by Luke, of a “fig tree” that is not bearing fruit (13:6-9).  It is an example of the “That’s not right!” tragedies in 13:1-5.

Think about Sabbath:  mentioned FIVE times!!    Excessive!  Why?  To get our attention!  To get our imaginative juices flowing.

FIVE.

In Judaism, numbers are extremely significant.

Most have meaning attached that are symbolic and expressive of deeper truth.

5 in Hebrew numerology is attached to:

  • The Torah
  • 2×5 = 10 Commandments

And in this way they become symbols of God’s goodness and grace.

There are 5 Great Mysteries:

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