BONUS: The Dragon EXPOSED in The System

The previous four posts have attempted to articulate the what and how of the principalities and powers – those often unseen but felt realities that play out behind the things and events and experiences of human history – and I have enjoyed the chattering behind the scenes with those from all over the world who have been engaged and written in. The insights and dialogue have been amazing.

It is a happy day when a tuned in member of the pop-culture world can articulate what is so complicated to say in polite society. Having said that, the video by Tom MacDonald is very powerful as are the lyrics, but even at this point it must be pointed out that MacDonald is an outsider to the music and entertainment establishment. And yet, he has stuck it to the Man by becoming a massive star in his own right, and on his own terms. Like Bob Dylan in the ’60’s, he is becoming a poet of his generation, writing what is called the poetry of our age, and Oh! BTW – all the Old Testament Prophets were poets…. and were rejected to their great cost and the cost of those to whom they spoke, therefore: LISTEN TO THE POETS.

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The King Fisher

I’m sure that at some point in your life you have experienced the flashing brilliance of a Kingfisher. I had my third experience recently and was once again left utterly amazed at the sheer beauty of this momentary experience.

There are so many ways we can experience something that takes our breath away. A moment in time and space that transcends both. A moment of glory or beauty or some other unexpected event, can be quite moving…no, that’s not quite right, how about exhilarating, or goose-bumpily amazing?

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The World Has Already Decided Its Own Fate

In his ‘Theo-Drama: Theological Dramatic Theory, Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) reflects on Revelation 18:1-24, and writes,

“In Revelation, Babylon is not overthrown in the battle with the Logos, although the Lamb and his followers make war against the kings subject to Babylon: it is destroyed and burned by its own adherents, who turn against it in hatred.

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Advent ‘Greetings’ or “Hey, Boo!”

“Greetings” is the first word of the Christmas story. Today, it has come to mean a pleasant way to say hello to someone, but often, no more than this. Yet, in the Christmas story, the word “greetings” (Gk. χαίρω) is remarkably rich in meaning.

Mary’s role in the coming of Jesus Christ into the world is utterly unique (Luke 1). So the words had to carry deep meaning. ‘Greetings’ was a word related to rejoicing and a free gift of grace. Over the past 20 months, there has not been much reason to rejoice, and we’ve all needed extra grace to get through.

And yet, the simple word “greetings” carries deeper meaning. Linked to rejoicing and grace, but also the idea of being favourably disposed. We love it when people like us, when they are favourably disposed towards us. It might make us rejoice; or make us aware that this kindness is indeed a grace.

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Going Back to God

The actuality of the Gospel call to repentence is very simple to understand, yet it is often only understood simplistically. There’s a lot to say about it as a fact, but that fact has several elements to it, so here’s the first one, as I make the distinction between do-ing and being. It is the difference between doing it ourselves by our own strength, making tough decisions to change, pulling up our “boot-straps” – so to speak. That may be part of it, but this leans heavily towards a works based righteousness that the New Testament condemns. Here, I look at not the do-ing, but the being, our very ontology. It is this that needs the overhaul that leads to newness of life in Christ.

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Touching the Hem

A short devotional reading of Mark 6:53-56

They landed in Gennesaret – on the NW side of Sea of Galilee, just south of Capernaum.

This is the historic land allocation of the Tribe of Naphtali.

In Deuteronomy (33:23), the blessing of Moses to this tribe reads:

“And of Naphtali he said, ‘O Naphtali, sated/abounding with favour, and full of the blessing of the Lord, possess the lake/west and the south.

With this immense blessing, it is no wonder Gennesaret means:  Garden of the Prince.

The Garden recalls the fullness of Eden, sated with favour, full of blessing.

The Prince calls for the Messiah, the Saviour, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

This is a place where the King rules in fullness of majesty, possessing the earth in fullness of blessing.

So Jesus goes to Gennesaret.

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The Nuremberg Code is a Direct Consequence of the Judeo-Christian Worldview

At the 1947 Nuremberg Trials after WW2, the Nazi Doctors responsible for horrific medical experiments were held to account. They were, in essence, charged with violating the moral laws of the universe.

Since then, the Nuremberg Code insisted and without exception, on voluntary consent to any medical procedure.

“This means that the person involved should have the legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him/her to make an understanding an enlightening decision.”

This is an ethic that directly springs from the Judeo-Christian worldview.

It is an example, albeit in non-religious language, of the Gospel coming to bear on a situation.

The Bible knows nothing of enforced Nazi medical experiments.

But it does know all about the human heart and our capacity for evil.

It does know, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in the brilliant Gulag Archipelago:

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained”

This is a comment that has been informed, shaped and spoken by a Whole Gospel.

A Gospel that tells us the truth of things.

Propaganda

Two farmers were leaning against a fence staring intensely at the horizon of a field where you could just make out the sheep, and there seemed to be a problem, but they couldn’t quite see it, so one famer said to the other, “I’m going to go over there and ‘ave a proper ganda!”

A “proper ganda” in this South West England meaning is to have a closer look, to begin to see what is really going on. Propaganda, on the other hand, is precisely the opposite. It is designed to obscure, to blur and hide. And we humans are surrounded by propaganda all the time, not least in the heated culture wars of the West where Critical Theories have played their hand for decades and are now calling in the chips of chaos and disorder.

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Held by Love

A few years ago when I visited Cambodia with a team from church, I read Mike Higton’s excellent but demanding little book called ‘Difficult Gospel – the theology of Rowan Williams’. It really is full of profound insights and commentary and hightly recommended. I re-read a bit of it today (pg. 17-18) and share it here – wonderful stuff:


“We are all of us precarious creatures.  We live in environments we cannot control, and are hedged about by limits we cannot overcome.  We face frustrations, we face competition for scarce resources, and we are jostled in a confined space by the egos of others

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