Monthly Archives: January 2006

Online Journalism

More online writing tips here:

Journalism.org – Journalism Tools: Writing – On Writing Well

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Quote Of The Day/Morning

Great quote I belatedly found this morning in the following article by H Dale Burke:

Even Healthy Churches Need to Change – LeadershipJournal.net

Howard Hendricks often said, “When your memories are more exciting than your dreams, you’ve begun to die.”

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History Is Written By The Winners

 If you think the above title is cynical and/or a typical postmodern take on truth and power, here’s an even more cynical take from a Czech proverb:

‘The big thieves hang the little ones.’

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Luck and Providence

I mentioned in my last post what happened to my car. This has been the latest in a whole string of things that have happened to us since we moved here five months ago. My wife had a serious ear infection, she has also had back and knee problems, her father has been very ill, and many other things that are of a personal nature and cannot be mentioned on a public medium like the web.

What has surprised me is how little many of the Christians we are in contact with here make any reference to God when talking about these things. Their language is no different from friends outside the church. We’ve had ‘bad luck’. They wish me ‘good luck’ with my car. When I say that to Debbie and me it feels as if someone doesn’t want us here they don’t get the meaning.

We’re not for seeing the devil behind every problem, but the level and range of continued problems has led us to consider that possibility very seriously.

I’m also not the kind of person whose view of divine sovereignty amounts to an idea of God writing the script and us saying the words, or God being a puppeteer pulling the strings that make us move. But I still have a deep sense of providence, of divine permission and so on. Yet when I talk of providence it seems to draw blank stares from Christians. When the car crash happened, two witnesses saw the culprit trying to escape. Not only that, a police car came along the street around that time on a regular patrol. I think providence is an acceptable way to talk about that.

And I also suspect that the ‘luck’ language isn’t accidental, even if the precise meaning may not have been thought through. We just don’t seem to be able to bring God into everyday conversation and everyday life. What is wrong? In the words of a report to last year’s Methodist Conference, it’s Time To Talk Of God.

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Miroslav Volf and the Car Crash

Little did I know when posting yesterday on Miroslav Volf and forgivenesss that I would soon have to think about his teaching. Last night my car was parked outside one of my churches while I chaired a Church Council. During the meeting a driver came at high speed and smashed into the car parked behind me, which was forced into mine. The culprit tried to escape but two witnesses prevented him. By sheer providence a police officer was driving through the village on patrol at just the right time and so he was apprehended. This morning an officer has come to take my statement and I have learned he has been charged with drink-driving. I truly believe it is possible to keep forgiveness and justice together. The problem only comes wen justice mutates into revenge.

I was pretty calm about it last night but I think I have a touch of delayed reaction this morning. So I thought  that after phoning the insurers and speaking to the garage I needed to do something relaxing – blogging will do! I’ll try to justify it along the lines of spiritual journalling!



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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Today is the last day of the Week (or, to be pedantic, Octave) of Prayer for Christian Unity. Here is the sermon I preached on the subject on Sunday.

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Miroslav Volf on Forgiveness

Here’s just one extract from the following highly worthwhile interview with Miroslav Volf:

An interview with Dr. Miroslav Volf – Jared Coleman’s Blog

Related to the question above – If God has indeed forgiven all of humanity, which you state or imply several times throughout the book, but He still punishes those who refuse this forgiveness, then can we really say that God has forgiven them? Do the scriptures bear out the distinction that you draw between forgiving and being forgiven?

Well, Christ died for all, did he not? So God gave. But we often don’t receive. The gift is stuck somewhere between the giver who has given and recipient who has not received. That seems to me a good way to keep together the unconditionality of God’s grace and the actuality of human refusal – both of which Scriptures emphasize.

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New Version of Performancing

Just downloaded the update to my latest blogging tool, Performancing for Firefox. Better Technorati integration and new del.icio.us integration, too. Very Web 2.0. Here’s the link, it’s only a 161 kB file, so if you’re using Firefox (and if not, why not?) it’s a doddle.

Mozilla Update :: Extensions — More Info:Performancing – All Releases

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New Version of Performancing

Just downloaded the update to my latest blogging tool, Performancing for Firefox. Better Technorati integration and new del.icio.us integration, too. Very Web 2.0. Here’s the link, it’s only a 161 kB file, so if you’re using Firefox (and if not, why not?) it’s a doddle.

Mozilla Update :: Extensions — More Info:Performancing – All Releases

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Karate in church

Discussion last night about the ethics of hiring the church hall out to a Karate group. I have to make a quick response about whether it is ethically OK on grounds of (a) violence and (b) a religious or philosophical base that may conflict with Christianity. This page thinks there’s nothing wrong; this page is descriptive but would leave me with some concern; this page is outright against it, if a little over the top in places.

Does anyone have any helpful thoughts?



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