Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Human Trinity

So there I was thinking about nothing in particular when a light bulb lit up above my head! OK this is real life and not a cartoon so there was no light bulb but it was such a sudden idea that I have no idea why it decided to pop into my head.

What I realised came from Genesis 1, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness" - what does it mean to be in God's image? So, to help, here is a picture of God:

It's not an exact likeness but the important fact is clear - God is 3 persons, a trinity. So if we are in God's image that means we must be a trinity as well. That isn't as mad as it seems because we are all body, mind and soul; a trinity.

Far from being just a useless bit of speculation this should be central to the way we live out our lives as Christians and the way we treat other human beings. We must make sure that we treat each part of our being as have the same importance as the others and we must do the same for our fellow human beings. One of the great failings of the evangelical movement has been its near exclusive emphasis on the soul at the exclusion of the body and mind but it only as we hold those 3 parts in balance that we arrive at the true Gospel, that the Kingdom of God is here.

Any comments?

Friday, 28 January 2011


As an apprentice house husband I spent this afternoon cleaning the house and made an odd discovery; the only mirror that had remained clean was in what used to be my daughter's bedroom before she got married. That set me thinking, do mirrors only get dirty when we look in them?

At first that seemed to be a silly question but then I thought it a bit more, is it the way we look at the world that makes it seem evil - do we look for the bad in people and not the good? When God created he looked at it and saw that it was good; not perfect but good. Is that the way we should look at creation? Is that the way we should look at each other?

P.S. In case you wondered about my being "an apprentice house husband" - I have mastered cleaning and cooking but not washing and ironing.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Dull Grey January

It's about time I did a general update about how I am which, to put it bluntly, is a bit of a curate's egg!

Having got through the New Year's chest infection my body has stubbornly decided to not let me be well. It has also decided that I won't be ill! The result is I spend all the time being very tired and at the first sign of exertion the glands in my neck swell up; a sure sign of problems ever since I had glandular fever when I was 20. If it wasn't for the glands I would have blamed the fluoxetine for the tiredness but as it is I have to just keep going. This has made it harder for me to adjust to life in retirement as it is almost impossible for me to plan ahead at the moment. The only progress on this front has been that Friday has become 'Clean The House Day' - my one bit of routine.

Given the above I should, by all rights, be down in the dumps but I'm not. On both the spiritual and mental planes I am quietly content. This for me (Mr Pessimistic Worry Guts) is a completely new experience; being calm and contented isn't my style. That this should happen at a time when I am financially squeezed (too put it mildly) is even more remarkable. Now I know this may, to a certain extent, be down to the fluoxetine but it actually feels a lot deeper. I think God has (finally) got me to a place where I trust Him to look after me instead of trying to be bloody minded and independent. I know life can't continue like this for ever but, somehow, I know I'm in the right place at the moment just resting on God.

So for now life is being taken at a gentle pace, feeling rough and very good at the same time.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Christians and Public Morality

It has taken me a while to get my thoughts clear about the Christian couple who have lost a case about their refusal to let a gay couple have a double room. (details here: A few years ago I would have thought they were right so I do have a certain amount of sympathy for them.

But, and it is a big 'but' why did they think they had the right to impose their Christian morality on non-Christians? I suspect the answer goes back to the days of Christendom when it was assumed that the whole population was Christian and so public morality meant Christian morality. However we now live in a post-Christendom society and we have no right to impose our views even if we are right.

We are called to be light to the world not to burn others with our morality. It is important that we treat those who we meet with love and respect and not moralising or we can never show them the joy of living in The Kingdom of God.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Fallen but in God's Image

I used to think of Christianity as something that gave me absolute certainty but over the last few years I have come to realise that the centre of Christianity is actually mystery. Recently another one occurred to me and that is the mystery of how we are both in God’s image and fallen at the same time.

How we deal with this mystery does have an effect on the way we live.

If we look on ourselves and the world as fallen we can become obsessed with evil and what is wrong in the world. We then see all of God’s story in terms of sin and how evil the world is. This is a very joyless and depressing view of the world.

Conversely if we over emphasise man as in God’s image we start to look inside ourselves for all the answers. Not only is this arrogant but it also leads to us making a lot of mistakes.

Oddly we can, from my experience, do both of these at the same time! We can be depressingly focussed on sin and yet also arrogantly sure of our abilities.

Part of the mission for the church today in post-Christendom society is to keep this mystery in balance. Man is not all evil but at the same time he is not totally good. We are creative because we are made in the image of the creative God but we do not have all the answers.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Weapons and Murder

The Home Office in the UK has produced some fascinating statistics about murder rates and population which show that the murder rate per 1000 population nose dived in the 1700's when people stopped wearing weapons as a matter of course. Less and better controlled weapons means less murders, case proven.

The tragic events in Tucson have shown what happens when guns are easily available. Before anyone from the USA starts telling me it's their constitutional right to 'bear arms' here is the full text of the 2nd Amendment:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

This is the only mention of 'arms' in the USA Constitution and it clearly has nothing to do with individuals having the right to walk around with guns; it is specifically about the right to defend the State (not the individual) in the context of a "well regulated Militia".

Until this is acknowledged and acted on events like those in Tucson, Columbine etc will continue to happen. In the mean time the heart of God bleeds for those hurt and for a little girl born on September 11th 2001 - a true symbol of hope.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Asthma and the Bathroom

Last year we had our bathroom gutted and re-fitted and had the boiler changed at the same time. One side effect of this was that we no longer have open tanks in our 'loft' but the whole system is sealed and operating at mains pressure. Since then my asthma has been a lot better and I have only had 2 chest infections.

I don't think this is a coincidence as there is some evidence (although I can't find it at the moment) linking showering with asthma due to a build up of bacteria in the shower head. This would line up with my experience as my asthma started after we moved to our current house and I started showering after a run instead of having a bath. Getting rid of the header tank has, as far as I can tell, removed a source of infection.

Any comments?

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

And A Happy New Year

I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions because I know I'm unlikely to keep thembut this year I did set out to make a fresh start on some things so I told myself that I would:

  1. I'd do some exercises first thing each working day (with a possible long term aim of running again?),
  2. I'd do some guitar practice each day (it had faded out after I stopped having lessons)
  3. I'd try and keep a journal how I was physically and mentally each day.
  4. Start looking for a part-time job.

It's a good job I didn't call them resolutions because I have broken them all already! However, that isn't as bad as it sounds as today was the first working day of the year and I didn't do any exercises or start looking for a job because I have a chest infection. Last year I had 1 chest infection which on the plus side was a big decrease compared to previous years but on the down side it arrived on the morning of my daughter's wedding! Still I got through that day without A) keeling over or B) letting my daughter know so it wasn't too bad. Now if I'm down to one chest infection a year then this means I've already got my one for this year and so I should be OK for the rest of the year (I'm not 100% sure it's going to work like that.)

The guitar practice has started but only today (4 January) so I'm a bit late with that and the journal didn't start till the 3rd.

The first journal entry has got me a bit excited as it could lead to a short series of blogs. I've read, and am re-reading, a book that has got me thinking about the state of the church here in the UK now that we are a post-Christendom society and what changes have to happen to make the church relevant to the rest of the population. My ideas are still forming so I'm not yet ready to kick this off so, hopefully, it's a question of watch this space.