Troublemaker

Sarah and I went to see Avengers: Infinity War the other Saturday. You’ve really got to feel for those super heroes. The action is relentless. It’s a classic Marvel film with humour, running, shooting and fighting not to mention super powers and special affects galore.

But every time the heroes win through, every time they solve a problem, every time they win a skirmish and just when you think they deserve a reprieve, the enemy comes at them, bigger badder and stronger than before. Continue reading

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Slander without slandering

Thabite Anyabwile writes:

“…I passed along that suspicion and doubt to others in my pastoral care. I didn’t say much about you with words. I can’t recall saying anything about you as a person. But with a raised eye brow, a shrugged shoulder, a “hmmm” before a redirecting sentence, I passed along what was in my heart, the sinful attitude rooted in the very misogyny and chauvinism you describe in your post. If we communicate most in non-verbal ways, then I’m afraid I’ve “said” a lot about you, and I have slandered you. Continue reading

Two Trees

Here’s a further thought about the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve are in the Garden, they are told they can eat from any of the trees except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

There were two trees at the centre of the Garden. The other was the Tree of Life.  The first humans were not forbidden from eating from this tree. Continue reading

The Doctrine of the Fall

God made the world good. The sense we get in Genesis 1 is of “perfection.” By perfection we do not mean in the sense that it was complete but rather that it was fitting for its time. It was incomplete in the sense that humans still had the work of filling and subduing creation and of tending and caring for it.

We see here an eschatological trajectory. As a number of commentators over time have noted, the movement is from a Garden to Garden City. We look forward to a day and a place where God will dwell with all his people (see Rev 21-22). I believe that Revelation 21-22 was always the goal of Creation.

According to John Calvin, this means that sin was both a fall from where we were and a departure from where we are going. Continue reading

Sin Treats Silence as permission – the #churchtoo problem

In the light of the recent sexual harassment scandal in Hollywood, the hashtag #metoo began to trend on twitter as people began to share their own stories of experiencing unwanted attention, persistent harassment and physical abuse. 

Sadly, very quickly in the wake of this another hashtag began to trend, #churchtoo. Now it may be tempting to sit back and say “This is just people with an axe to grind jumping on the bandwagon” and maybe some are but if even just a small percentage of the stories are true then this should disturb and sadden us. It should move us to sorrowful prayer and to action. Continue reading

Sin Seeks out friends

As I said in the talk on Sunday, we are so good at finding people to support and confirm what we want to do.

I usually have a good feeling for the type of advice people will give me.  I know who will tell me just to get on with something and who will tell me to wait patiently. I know who will be over harsh and who will be maybe too gentle.  So the comments a wise friend once made resonate with me. Continue reading

Sin starts in the heart and the mind

In my talk on “Scandal” from 2 Samuel 13 I highlighted 7 reasons why sin is serious and deadly.  In our next few posts I want to pick up on a few of these in a little more detail.

First of all, we said that Sin starts in the mind and the heart.  It starts here because this is the first response to temptation. We entertain the idea. Continue reading