Sex and power

What is power?[1]

Q asked at 21 CD youthclub last week

-Power = strength, might, force, dynamic. It’s to do with authority. It’s often linked to money.

-Power at play – Westminster, Hollywood

-Sin and power – who is in control …what kind of authority?

“God’s power is very different” – place your life within his power, authority and care.

Why? Continue reading

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Shame and Offence – Reflections on 2 Samuel 10 in the light of Westminster and Hollywood scandals

One thing about the recent sexual harassment scandals in Westminster and Hollywood that should horrify us is the way, not only that powerful men see sexual encounters as available for their enjoyment but their willingness to cause shame and offence to women.

A woman goes into a room filled with powerful men and one of them makes a joke based on double entendre. All the talk in the world about how she should toughen up and learn to play them at their game does not get us away from the fact that male politicians in this country have enjoyed the title “honourable gentleman” and I was brought up with the assumption that a gentleman would not want a lady to feel awkward, vulnerable, frightened or embarrassed in his company. 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

Politicians, Power, sex and scandal (2 Samuel and the current crisis)

We’re about to teach through a section of 2 Samuel that includes

–          The humiliation of David’s ambassadors by foreign ruler

–          David’s affair with Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah

–          David’s son Amnon raping his half-sister Tamar

–          Absalom’s coup and public taking of his father’s concubines to have sex with

A common theme throughout this story of men exercising their power through sex, controlling and harming others for their own satisfaction.  They do that with the knowledge and implicit support of others who use this knowledge for their own gain.[1]

This series has been planned for a long time, so God’s timing is perfect. Here we are with sex scandals in Hollywood and Westminster, with men standing accused of using power to exercise control over others, tales of harassment and sexual violence whilst people in the know kept their mouths shut.  Particularly in Westminster, the suspicion is that party whips, journalists and rival politicians may be tempted when scandal comes to their attention to stay silent and use the knowledge for their own advantage. Continue reading

What did the Reformation ever do for us? – Gave us better answers to life’s big questions

On Sunday Night this week we started with a game of True or false.  Why not play the game now? Here are the statements we looked at:

-Putting money into the collection is helpful -it means that I’m closer to God/a better person. True/False?

-Sometimes if God is cross at me, he will not listen to my prayers. True/False

-Sex is necessary for having children -but can distract us from God. It is better not to get distracted by it especially if you are a missionary or a vicar True/False

When Jesus died on the Cross, he gave me a second chance so that now I can try to live a holy life for him. True/False

The important thing was not just the answers we gave but how we came up with them. 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

The Grace of Church Discipline

Sometimes we talk about exercising church discipline. We’ve often talked about how the phrase sounds legalistic and harsh. Yet, if this is something that God’s Word asks us to do as churches then it would be wrong of us to assume that God’s intentions are legalistic or harsh.  Rather, as we have often discovered, God’s “Law” is always more loving and full of grace than our attempts at mercy. Continue reading