Undivided: Guilt & Shame or grace & forgiveness and sex & sexuality (Responding to Vicky Beeching part 2)

Two years ago I wrote and spoke quite a bit about the problem of guilt and shame and especially the Guilt Driven Life. This came to my mind when I saw the full title of Vicky Beeching’s book “Undivided: Coming Out, Being Whole and living free from shame.”

Vicky’s book is essentially about trying to escape from shame. Sadly, I believe that she turns in the wrong direction so that the story continues to be one of running and hiding rather than discovering what it means to be clothed in Christ’s righteousness and truly free from guilt and shame. This is because she has experimented with the three dangers that I argued led to guilt/shame driven lives and churches:

–        Legalism

–        Magic/Supersition

–        Licence

Let me show how she tries each of those Continue reading

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The heavy Burden (The Enigma Sermons 5)

How are we to make sense of the enigma of life? Trying to understand a messy, often unjust world is difficult, often frustrating.  Qoholet keeps comparing this to “vapour” or “chasing after the wind.” In 1:13 he tells us that:

“It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with”[1]

The ESV translates the Hebrew word ra’ as “unhappy” this is the same word that is often translated “evil.” Is the task God has given us an evil one? Bartholomew sees Qoholet’s assessment as in sharp conflict with Genesis 1 -2. Continue reading

Legacy, individualism and abortion

I’m picking up on some of the examples of finding ourselves with a legacy from the past that brings consequences today.  Last Friday, the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising abortion.

I find that result a cause of great sadness. There are three reasons to be sad. Continue reading

Talking about the Gay Lobby

On Friday I wrote about the controversy surrounding the Northern Men’s convention’s publicity. In particular these words:

“The leadership from those in authority in the denominations who should be the guardians of biblical truth has been muted to say the least and even in Bible teaching churches many appear to be wavering under the onslaught of the gay lobby. Add to this scenario the increasing problems associated with immigration, and Islam in particular and indeed many other things which push Christians further and further to the margins, there is for many a feeling of despair and even fear about standing up and speaking out.”

It is thought to be this statement that led to former Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Farron to pull out from the conference.  Continue reading

The Foreigner in your midst: Immigration, Racism and The Church

The other day, I picked up on the theme of “the foreigner in your midst.” There is a Biblical principle for how we treat, love and care for immigrants. I want to push that a little bit further because, as the campaigners for the abolition of the slave trade realised, when someone has put their trust in Jesus, they are not a foreigner in our midst, they are part of God’s people, they are part of the family. Continue reading

What the Preacher Saw (The Enigma Sermons 4)

Ecclesiastes brings us the observations of Qoholet (the preacher) who is king in Jerusalem (1:12). He sees himself as in position to do this because of his great wisdom (1:16) and so he makes the pursuit of understanding his life project (1:13, 17). Remember that we have seen already how his perception is that life is an enigma, vapour like, hard to pin down, like chasing the wind (1:2, 14. Here are some of the things he observes about this enigma as he tries to pin things down). Continue reading