Monday, 28 July 2014

'This is My Design'

*Warning* - Not for the faint-hearted...

Hannibal is one of the slickest, smartest and well thought out shows around. It is certainly not for the faint-hearted providing a depth of darkness and insight into the ability of humanity to walk in darkness and violence.

Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter are fascinating characters, two sides of the same coin, symbols of a curtain that draws back and reveals truths into our common humanity that we can all too often be blind to. Will Graham exemplifies the human propensity to imitate one another. Indeed Graham reveals how such imitation leads to violence, a desire to kill or discredit another whom we see as our rival because in fact they are so similar to us.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Consumer Christ

Let's be clear, Jesus is not some self-help guru here to make our lives a living luxury. His purpose is not to straighten you out, smarten you up and propel you into heights of finally fulfilled potential, status and recognition. He has not set you goals and targets, a weight loss plan and a seven week programme to transform yourself into someone who can stand in front of the mirror and say, "I am beautiful. I am successful." Jesus did not incarnate himself into the grit and grime of this broken and beautiful cosmos simply to make you the centre of it and help you become a somebody. A life lived with the effervescent God is not to make all your troubles disappear, relieve you of all concerns, keep you safe and sound or to choose you not to die in a plane crash. As Bonhoeffer said, we  have confused peace and security, with security and success now the idols of our age.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Taking God's Name in Vain

There are times when I read Christian blogs and news stories and simply despair. I genuinely gasp in horror sometimes at the things said and done in the name of 'God'.

There is a readiness to speak the name of God over the words and actions of so many of us, willing to contend that the words I say, the actions I do are ordained and appointed by God.

Of course I am only too aware of the considerable and towering presence of people of faith throughout the world who care for the sick, provide for the poor and work tirelessly to relieve the suffering of so many. History is radiant with the colour of compassion.

So it is a paradox at times, for there is also no doubt that there are things said in 'Jesus name' that make my heart sink as well as sing.

Perhaps many of us have simply taken the name of God in vain.