What does it mean for us to take evil seriously?

A few years ago, Rev Dr Stephen Cherry led a retreat on Julian of Norwich. Last week I visited Norwich and visited the cell attached to a small church from where she ministered, prayed, wrote and spoke. It was an amazing experience. In commenting on evil, Rev Cherry said the following, which I think speaks to not only evil per se, but also anxiety, a current blight for so many people in our day.

I remembered this verse from 1 Corinthians 14:20 to accompany it: “Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”

“What does it mean for us to take evil seriously?  There’s a good question! It does not mean we take it on its own terms.  Don’t let the devil determine what seriousness is.  Don’t let sin call the tune . . . we’re getting into moralism territory a little bit . . . but this is what Julian is up to; It’s the victorious – we don’t know how; it is nothing but the loving, transcending, the delight in God that should set the tone, set the agenda.  And it’s that context which makes things “laughable”.  Do we see what she is saying here?  Challenging at many levels.  I’ve always liked that line in the hymn,

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Step by Step the Frog is Boiled – OPT OUT of this United Kingdom Personal Data Grab!

United Kingdom flag

A scheme has come to my attention that I fear almost everybody does not know about, and if they did, would be horrified.  One of the values of our society is the protection of our personal data, be it medical, financial, etc.  In short, our private details are fundamental to our protections and rights in a free democratic society.

I became aware last week that GP surgeries will be automatically transferring our records to a central database for the purposes of “research” open to various unnamed third-parties, with no guarantee that this information about the public (you and me) will be deleted.

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The Church and the Virus

Rev’d Dr Edward Dowler offers an excellent theological reflection on the virus and how the Church has and should respond. The full video can be viewed here.

In the preamble, he raises four important points:

  1. Is the response from Government proportionate?
  2. Are the measures – lockdowns, distancing, masks – really effective in the ways presented?
  3. Even if the measures were effective, legislation that locked up healthy people in their homes promoting further health, economic and spiritual damage might never be morally justified.
  4. The potential for vaccine passports open up new areas of questioning and dissatisfaction.

Dr Dowler’s lecture consists of FIVE key points that need re-framing:

  1. The human face and mask wearing.
  2. The song of the Church.
  3. Theological virtues over against the threat and fear factors used by governement.
  4. The physical proximity of Christians and the Sacramental life of the Church.
  5. Our Christian hope in the face of death and a risk averse culture.

An antidote to a virtue of compliance

Here is an article from The Baptist Times by Baptist pastor Ian Stackhouse:

I confess that I have been quite vociferous in my disdain for the government’s persistent use of lockdown as a way of dealing with covid. In my opinion, the ‘collateral damage’ will be significantly greater than anything arising from the virus. I also have serious concerns about the restrictions on worship that we have endured this past year, as well as restrictions on civil liberties in general.

In stating these concerns, I have been accused of various things: recklessness, paranoia, and lack of compassion. But strangely enough the one that has irritated me the most is the charge that I am stuck in the past, unable to realise the enormous opportunities brought about by this crisis. Indeed, someone made a comment to me other day that my desire to regather Millmead in our new sanctuary might yet prove my Achilles heel, simply because the gathering of large congregations in one place is now regarded by cutting edge missiologists as something of an old wineskin.

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The Ideal Ministry 7/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

7. The Ideal Ministry: Flexibility of Thought

An Ideal ministry must not only be positive in its gospel, it must be flexible in its thought. It must be capable of preparing a new theology for the old faith. It must learn how to express the old reality in terms of the new age. It must speak the word of God in the language of the time. It must not be “stupidly good.”

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Exposing Woke Traits

Below is a guest post from a friend who has exposed the multiple traits characterised by those who have willingly or unwittingly bought into the ideology of what is now called Wokism. Woke culture is a much used term these days and for good reason. It derives from the neo-Marxist left of the political spectrum and seeks multiple ways of redress in culture and politics by force, coercian and an a-historical approach to the present. This is typified in ‘Cancel Culture’ and the power of ‘Big Tech’ to over-reach and close down chanels and platforms that do not conform to their way of seeing the world.

Buckle up!

Woke Traits

(a) the “sovereign citizen” trait – an absolutist belief in oneself as a centre of authority that should not be challenged;

(b) the “masquerading as an angel of light” trait – a projected image of “deeds before men” designed to assert that one is ‘the helper’, presupposing the drama triangle of ‘rescuers, victims, and persecutors’;

(c) the ‘poor victim’ trait – a projected image of being the one who has suffered injustice and who should as a result receive attention and respect;

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