Faithful Servants and #Churchtoo #MeToo

When I first wrote about handling the difficult Bible passages in 2 Samuel about David, Bathsheba, Amnon, Absalom and Tamar, I identified 3 types of person in the narrative. The first two are

Culprits – who are causing harm to others through their sin and carry specific guilt.

Victims – who are hurt by the sin of others often subjected to shame and a sense of defilement.

However, I don’t want us to lose sight of the third category. There are those we identified as faithful servants.  These are people seeking to be obedient to God and faithful to his word and promises even in the face of intense provocation. Continue reading

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Temptation, Power and Sin (2 Samuel 11)

Why we need to talk about Sin

We need to talk about sin. It’s the last thing we want to talk about, especially in church. Church is where we sing happy songs and talk about how God is love and we are saved by grace.  Sin encroaches on our safe space. Continue reading

Why do you follow Jesus? (John 12:12-19)

Why do we come to church?

Options

–          Escapism, get away from the terrible things in the world and the hardness of life

–          Tradition

–          A social exercise

The reason will affect/shape how we go out into daily life – does what we do here relate to work/family/community? Continue reading

The danger of “self church-discipline”

Self-discipline or self- control is a good thing and a fruit of the Spirit. Self-church discipline is something entirely different, deeply distressing and quite dangerous.

I want to suggest that most “Church Discipline” is self-administered. Remember that church discipline will often include asking people to step down from particular roles and responsibilities and eventually may include exclusion from church membership.

So, what happens when someone self-disciplines?  They start to exclude themselves from things including: Continue reading

Guilt/innocence and honour/shame revisited – more on multi-cultural church

Here are a few more jottings about the challenges and opportunities of encouraging multi-cultural church life.

When people talk about cross-cultural challenges, one of the things that comes up frequently is the difference between honour/shame v guilt/innocence societies. It is true that some cultures seem to emphasise one more than the other. However, I have noticed that: Continue reading

Why God’s Grace is always more loving than our attempts at mercy – another reminder

Thursday 27th July 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act which decriminalised homosexual behaviour. To mark the anniversary, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York released a statement.[1]

In the Statement, they made the following key points

  1. They and the majority of Anglican primates were in favour of decriminalisation
  2. It is right that the Church condemns sin and evil (they give the example of abuse against the poor and marginalised.
  3. That the church is too often seen in terms of what it is for rather than what it is against.
  4. That we all have our burdens to bear and sin is an especially heavy burden.  Jesus offers his yoke which is light.

Continue reading