Monday, 30 September 2013

Hellbound? - A Discussion and Reflection

In July Kevin Miller came to Newton Abbot for a screening of Hellbound? the Movie.  As you'd expect the reaction and response to the documentary was mixed with the issues raised highly contentious to some.  A few of us gathered together last week to discuss the themes and statements made in the film.

For those who are unaware, Hellbound? is a film that explores the Christian doctrine and understanding of hell and challenges the traditional belief that hell is a place of eternal conscious torment.  The film interviews various pastors, theologians and writers to present a variety of views and beliefs from across the theological spectrum.

As I watched it I was aware that what Kevin was seeking to do through the film was argue that universal reconciliation (UR) is a belief that can be held by Christians and still be deemed as sitting within orthodox Christianity.

Kevin and I were able to chat a fair amount while he was here in the UK and what he found useful about doing a screening here was to gain an understanding on this issue from a UK perspective. I hope this article will help that understanding a little more.

I think Kevin is a great guy who I've got a lot of time for. In the making of Hellbound? it seems that people are quick to judge him, condemn him and dismiss him, and that is unfair. Sarah and I were struck by his humility, gentleness and warmth. This is simply a side-note, but one that I think is needed to be heard.

So a few people gathered at my place to reflect further on Hellbound? and the issues it raised and to

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Psalm 23...

One Saturday in September 2013 we all had a go at writing our own versions of Psalm 23.  Below are some of the ways people expressed Psalm 23 in their own images and language.  Enjoy...

'The Lord is my librarian, He supplies all that I can read.
He helps me be quiet and to rest.
He leads me to the best books.
Even when I go through bad books I don't need

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Spirit of Life

'So who is this God of Jesus?  He is the healing power which Jesus brought to the poor and sick, sinners and dying.  He is the God of the crucified Jesus, who was the victim of power.  He is the liberating energy that raised Jesus from the dead and led him into eternal life. God is the one 'who raised Jesus from the dead': that is the New Testaments definition of God...God is the liberator - there from the power of one of history's tyrants, the Pharaoh, here

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Facebook Page

If you're on Facebook then you can find my page for this blog at:

Like the page and you can get updates to this blog as well as other links and reflections that pass through my muddled brain...

An Essay on Violence

‘Peace, Peace, to those far and near’[1]
An Essay on Violence

In Dostoyevsky’s The Grand Inquisitor,[2] the character Ivan recalls a poem written in a convent called ‘The Travels of the Mother of God among the Damned’.  The poem describes how the ‘Mother of God’ travels with the archangel Michael to guide her through the various levels of hell, a picture similar to Dante’s nine circles of Hell.  She witnesses the variety of torment that the different categories of sinners endure before finally witnessing those who are damned to ‘gradually sink in a burning lake of brimstone and fire…whose sins cause them to sink so low that they no longer can rise to the surface.’ The Virgin is utterly shocked and pleads with God through tears to have mercy on all in hell, forgiving and releasing them all from their torment.  God, ‘pointing to the pierced hands and feet of her Son’[3] responds by crying out ‘How can I forgive His executioners?’[4]  At this the Virgin calls all of heaven to prostrate themselves before God and implore Him to change His wrath into mercy and pour out forgiveness on them all.  A compromise is obtained whereby there is a yearly respite of tortures and the damned are heard singing,
‘Thou are right, O Lord, very right,
Thou hast condemned us justly.’[5]

It is a fascinating scene within Dostoevsky’s classic that highlights an understanding of violence and forgiveness that we can do well to listen to and

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Russell Brand and the Numbness of Compliance

Russell Brand reportedly was kicked out of the GQ Awards after party because of remarks he made during his acceptance speech of an award he was given.

*Warning* swearing

I like Russell Brand, I like what he has to say.

I watched his programme on drug addiction.  He speaks with clarity and sanity.  He was arguing that the best way to deal with our drug culture and addiction is through abstinence.  He argued that by putting people who are addicted to heroin on Methadone simply exasperates the problem, continues to hold people in poverty and addiction and further compounds the issues of health, parenting, crime and self-worth.  I recently was having a coffee with someone I know who has been in and out of prison who said that the biggest drug dealer in prison is the NHS because of their supply of Methadone. He said that people dry it out to make it into a more potent drug and then sell it inside.

Russell Brands comments at the GQ Awards are sharp and insightful. Our memories are short,