Sunday, 30 November 2008

Police, Homosexuality and Faith

I came across a story about a policeman who has been sacked for sending emails around at work for suggesting that homosexuality is sinful.

From the article it seems that his behaviour was out of order and he was rightly fired.

There is a comment thread on the article which I was reading and decided to wade into.  Have a look at the comment thread and see what you think.  Has turned out to be a really interesting debate which in my case has changed from a discussion about homosexuality to a discussion about faith.

I'm not the most articulate in debates and certainly am not the most intelligent when it comes to debates, but I have enjoyed this one, even if I can't always express properly what I want to say.

Have a look.  See what you think.  

Monday, 24 November 2008

Things to Come

So I'm reading this book and it is fantastic!

I have been feeling so frustrated lately trying to figure out what to do with all the thoughts and ideas I have been having about church. This book is helping me understand what I am thinking!

It really resonates with me and so much of what I have been thinking is in this book.

I now feel I have something viable and real to grab hold of and climb my way forward.

I believe there is another way for church to be in this nation and I think this book along with conversations I am having elsewhere, is helping me to continue the process of making these thoughts a reality.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

G.A.Y and M.O.N.E.Y

At college the other week, we were talking in a lecture about church membership.

We were discussing how different churches deal in different ways with church membership and what it actually means to be a member of the Christian Church.

Our lecturer told us about a church in London who have recently accepted into membership a homosexual couple. These guys are followers of Jesus and asked to become members. The church have invited them in as members.

Now membership in Baptist churches is usually something that happens after your baptism. You're baptised and then at a later date you ask about becoming a member of the church. The church membership will be told and they then vote to accept you or not.  In my understanding membership is seen as a covenant with God and with each other, whether it is viewed like that by the membership is another story. 


I have a lot of issues with the traditional Baptist model of membership, which I won't go onto now. The thing I want to talk about is this church in London.

I might be wrong, but I don't think hardly any churches in this nation would have accepted this couple into church membership.  The reason being that they are a homosexual couple.  Would you accept them into your church?
What if a heterosexual couple who were overtly materialistic and followers of Jesus came and asked for membership in your church?  What if they spent so much of their time spending their money on things they didn't need because they loved buying stuff.  Would you accept them into your church?

I might be wrong, but I suspect we welcome without hesitation a couple into membership who were consumed by their love for money, but we would argue and fall out over the homosexual couple who asked for membership.

Out of the two, which one did Jesus speak about most?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Rise Up and Live!

I'm thinking more and more about how radically different Church could look in this nation.

I believe the Church can exist in ways which engages with and resonates with the vast majority of people who currently are in no way a part of the Christian community.

There are things that I believe do not need to happen within Church life.  I think we need to be bold and brave and stop doing some things because they hinder the calling of the Church to be light to the world.  But some of these things are so ingrained within our church culture we have no idea how to stop doing them or even do not see why we should stop doing them.  I believe we need God to open our eyes to a lot of things and change our heart and attitude to certain traditions which are of no use to the church.

I believe there are some things which are non-negotiable however.  Things which are a part of the Gospel story.  Things that we do which define us as Church.  How we do these things and what it looks like in 21st Century Britain is another thing, but keep them we must.

I know I am being very vague, but I am still working through what all this may look like and how it will exist...not exist actually, but LIVE and be fruitful.  I think in many ways we are simply existing, it is now time for the bones to rise up and live, for the branches to bear fruit, for the living water to flow!

All Change

There is a lot of change happening in the church at the moment. Big change.

I think God is sorting the church out and is leading us into a new season.

I am seeing relationships being restored and real love being expressed.  It is great to see.

People are actually making peace with each other and I sense the church is moving forwards as a result.  

'How God and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live in unity!' Psalm 133

You know how so often we can have really superficial relationships with one another in church? And when we disagree or fall out, that gloss relationship is really exposed.  I fear that too many of us have that kind of relationship with one another in church.

Yet I am now beginning to see real relationships being built and begun.  Real love being expressed.

It is exciting!

I know the next few months are going to be tough though.  Big change is happening, and with such change some may not want to stay.  I hope and pray they do stay.

What next Lord?

Monday, 10 November 2008

I love Jesus

You know what?  I really love Jesus.

I do.  He has totally transformed my life, and I can never truly express how much I love him.

I wish I devoted my life to him more.  I wish I was as committed to him as he is to me.  What a beautiful thing grace is!  How he never gives up on me.  He will often correct me and deal with me when I'm getting it wrong, because that is him not giving up on me.

Sometimes I will get flashbacks to my past.  I will remember a night out I had where I drank copious amounts of vodka and then spoke and acted in ways which now make me shudder.  I can remember how I felt the next day.  Hungover and nervous.  Then I would have a drink and those feelings would start to disappear.

Then Jesus got hold of me.  He changed my life.

It wasn't like he was the constant high that I had always been looking for.  It is so much more than that.

I am a brand new person!  I have changed so much.  It is all his work in my life.  He is moulding me into the person he wants me to be.  He is changing me.

And its not just so I can go to heaven, its so heaven can come to earth.  

I still suffer, and hurt.  
I still struggle with various things.
But day by day God is changing me and making me more like Jesus.
I'm becoming a better person, not because I live a holier than thou life, but because Jesus is transforming me.

I'm beginning to understand what a full and abundant life is.

It has nothing to do with what I own or how much money I have.

It is to do with how much I love God and love other people.  And it is increasing day by day because of God pouring his love into my life.

I want to love God with all that I am.

You know what?  I really do love Jesus.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

New Zealand and Hope

Great to here from Tom and Abi yesterday via Skype. Fantastic program Skype! From their travel blog it looks like they're having a great time already. We had a good chat online, via our web cams. Be great to get out to New Zealand and see them. Maybe...

Tom has put on his blog Obama's speech. Below is it in written form. Great to look at and read for all you budding preachers out there. This is how you do it.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.
We are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.
A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Sen. McCain.
Don't Miss

Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.
I congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin for all that they've achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the new White House.
And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.

And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best -- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.
To my chief strategist David Axelrod who's been a partner with me every step of the way.
To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.
It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.
It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.
This is your victory.
And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me.
You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.
Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.
There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education.
There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.
But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.
This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.
It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.
Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.
In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.
Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.
Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.
And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.
To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.
That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing:

Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.
And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call.

This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Friday, 7 November 2008

See you when I see you

My twin bro and his wife Abi have flown to New Zealand.

Their plane left at 10pm last night, so they should get there 1am tomorrow morning.

Gonna miss them.

Gonna miss Tom.  It's a strange thing having an identical twin.  There is a connection between us which is hard to explain.  

I think they will have an amazing time.  I'm really excited for them, spending a year or more exploring New Zealand and discovering new things about themselves.  I hope it is above and beyond all they could imagine.

Have a great time guys.  See you when I see you.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

He did it too!

Great day for the USA and the world.

I think Obama is the right choice. Time will tell of course, but as I've said before, he inspires change and hope.

I believe all authority is from God, and that it is in the will of God that Obama is President of America.

I think we have a responsibility to pray for Obama and his family.

Change is upon us.

Monday, 3 November 2008

He Did it!

He did it! Skin of his teeth, but he did it!! Deserved it too because of the way he has driven over the course of the year.

Last corner, last race!

Great race! Fantastic result.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

C'mon Lewis!!!

Final race of the season. Hamilton has a 7 point lead over Massa going into this race. If Hamilton finishes fifth or higher then he's world champion.

Really hope he does it.

Must get to an F1 race soon. Sarah is desperate to go. It's great that my wife loves F1 as much as I do!!

Right, time to get a cuppa and settle down in front of the TV. Not gonna be able to see it all because I've got Causeway tonight.

C'mon Lewis!!!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

I Believe

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead

The third day He arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.