When Warp and Weft don’t give us the Weave

17 03 2011

Today amongst all the other things I was thinking about on the bus – my general place of reflection and amusement… I was mulling over an interview I’d seen by Martin Bashir with Rob Bell about his new book, Love Wins (in which the Nooma guy nails his colours to the Universalist mast).

Martin Bashir summarises Bell’s premise as: Ultimately all people will be saved, even those who have rejected the claims of Christianity – argues people will eventually be persuaded by God’s love, post mortem in the life to come… that God’s love will eventually melt hearts…

And he points out that this necessarily implies the question (which he puts to Rob three times): Is it irrelevant and immaterial about how you respond to Christ now to determine your eternal destiny? Is that relevant or irrelevant? Does it have a bearing or does it have no bearing?

BASHIR: …in a sense you’re creating a Christian message that’s warm, kind and popular, for contemporary culture but it’s, frankly — according to this critic — unbiblical and historically unreliable. That’s true, isn’t it?

BELL: No. It’s not true.

BASHIR: What you’ve done is you’re amending the Gospel — the Christian message — so that it’s palatable to contemporary people who find, for example, the idea of hell and heaven very difficult to stomach. So here comes Rob Bell, he’s made a Christian gospel for you and it’s perfectly palatable, it’s much easy to swallow. That’s why you’ve done, isn’t it?

It’s an interesting little interaction between a man who doesn’t believe with a man who’s belief He sees doesn’t stand up. You can check out the clip here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/03/15/msnbc-martin-bashirs-interview-with-rob-bell/

But Martin Bashir starts the interview with a brief discussion of Japan – which is what had me musing on the bus today.

BASHIR: Help us with this tragedy in Japan. Which of these is true – either God is all powerful but he doesn’t care about the people of Japan and therefore their suffering or he does care about the people of Japan but he’s not all powerful?

I was thinking today of the times when I sat across from children who exhibited incredibly bizarre behaviours. That those behaviours stem from having lived in a cracked, flawed and damaged family environment was clear. How they stemmed exactly, what was the logical progression, was neither clear nor relevant. What was relevant was redeeming the family situation and healing the wounds of those children.

People can clearly see how the escaping plume of a nuclear reactor stems from the impact of human behaviour, (appropriate or not). It’s not at all clear how a tsunami fits into the picture – but all the same, they both come from living in a world cracked and flawed that ‘groans’ for it’s redemption and restoration.

In Bible study yesterday we were talking about how difficult it is sometimes not to take all the ‘pieces’ of the bible that speak to something, knit them together then iron them out into a ‘paper’ on that particular doctrine. While Systematic Theological textbooks have helped me greatly – that’s not what knowing God is about, and in the attempt to simplify one thing, another is often lost.

So I can attempt to find the edges of the tapestry: warp = God’s impotence, weft = God’s apathy… and stretch the ‘evidence’ in between and like Martin Bashir come up with a dichotomy – but it’s a false one.

That God did not prevent this does not mean he is disinterested or uninvolved. He is precisely in the middle of it working out the details according to His will that will lead to Christ being over everything to His glory and praise.

I have no idea how. All I can do is pray.

I don’t think that’s defeatest – I think that’s participating in God’s plans.

And I don’t think this because it makes the most sense to me or that’s the kind of God I ‘get’ or can follow. I think this because that’s what God tells me by His Spirit through His word about His Son.

Ephesians 1:7 -10

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.



17 03 2011

When you go into a shop, or the bank people are standing around waiting and often in no particularly obvious order. But they know. Everyone knows the person in front of them – if you don’t work it out, you’ll just get overtaken again and again and again. I was standing literally in front of the counter in a shop and someone stepped in front, and once she did, everyone followed. I literally had to put my stuff on the counter to get served. So – you ask who is last. But in Spanish it sounds a little like…”Who is the ultimate?” Oh, well that’s definitely me!

What a story!

8 03 2011

I love this – I think it’s gorgeous 🙂



Moving it all Around

5 03 2011

Last night at 12:30am when I was on my way to bed, I was hit with an attack of dissatisfaction and began to clean, and then reorder my room.

I’ve been living in the same room for 18 months (not an unusually big feat), with the furniture in the same place and the be facing the same way. I don’t think I’ve even lived in a room the same way for so long. As a kid I was aways drawing up diagrams and floor plans of how I was going to change my room (and the whole house if Mum’d just let me make a few improvements) and spending the weekend pushing around and realigning the furniture.

The other things is that this room just doesn’t fit. I have my whole life in the one 5 x 6 – and there isn’t the space. At the moment I have food stored on the bottom shelf of the bookshelf – my kitchen…my bed divides the middle of the room sectioning off a bedroom…and stashed away underneath is the library…a chair by the door serves as the lounge…the side of my cupboard doubles as a hall closet while the cupboard itself now holds only half the clothes because it turn out winter jackets are real thick and leave you no space for the rest…which ends up packed away in suitcases on top and finally…the computer and printer form my ‘study’ in the corner.

So last night, until 2 in the morning I cleaned and shifted furniture trying not to make a single sound or scrape since I live on the third floor of the building. Having said that, on finally finishing I lay down only to listen to the neighbour upstairs clomp and scrape around for the next half hour).

They say – a change is as good as a holiday!

Me doy por vencida

1 03 2011

Today I feel seriously stupid.

I bought the books to start studying for my license over 9 months ago. I started reading them 7 months ago. 5 months ago I’d worked up a fairly detailed set of notes on the rules. 3 months ago I had redone those notes. 2 months ago I recruited a friend to do the study with me, and last week he asked if I was ready to do the test yet, because he’d read the book and learnt it all. And on top of that I imagine that nearly everyone who is with me in prayer has prayed for this process.

Everyone keeps telling me, don’t learn the book, just do the practice tests – that’s ‘how it’s done’. Well I figured I’d do both to be doubly sure.

So have I progressed? Well yes – in a manner of speaking. You can get 10% wrong and pass – out of 30 questions, that’s three. I started getting about 6 out 30 wrong, now I’m up to 11 out of 30 wrong. And at this rate, in another 2 months I’ll be getting 20 out of 30 wrong.

Me doy por vencida 😦