Monday, 13 April 2009

How does God want us to respond to Him?

Having just celebrated Easter in the Church of England (for the first time) it has led me to thinking a great deal about the 'right' or 'most appropriate' way to worship God - IS there one?
Does God derive pleasure from priests dressing up and blowing incense about or from people jumping around and clapping their hands - or both, or neither, or from something else altogether?
Apart from saying, "this is my tradition... " how would we actually KNOW what he wants?

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Is every argument essentially the same?

Whether we are talking theology (perhaps ESPECIALLY if its theology!), football, favourite TV programmes, what food we like or just about any topic on which its possible to have more than one opinion, isn't every single argument/debate/discussion basically a rehash of the self-same concept?

This concept is that whatever we're talking about we have the same unspoken criteria in play: "this person is wrong because they don't agree with me! If they could just see everything as I do then they'd be okay and I could also then like them..."

So, another way of saying, "the best car to buy is a Ford", is, "the car I own is a Ford..." Or, more pertinently for the theologically inclined, "God is best represented via the Anglican Church", actually translates as, "I am an Anglican!"

Can we ever get beyond this myopia? Do you? How do you do it?

Friday, 27 March 2009

Why do you believe what you believe?

Wherever you're at in terms of belief, whatever your worldview, whatever ideas you adhere to - why do you do so?
I am VERY interested in why people believe the stuff they do (and indeed why they disbelieve...) and I'd welcome your contributions.
I am NOT seeking to belittle anyone or get into any arguments or attempts to 'convert' people. Instead, I would just LOVE to hear your perspectives and why you have them...

Thank you...

Friday, 20 March 2009

What purpose does the Evangelical Church serve?

Given the nature of these posts we can only speak in broad, sweeping terms and yet even this may give us some insights...
Do you consider yourself an evangelical Christian? Have you ever been to an evangelical Church, or have friends who are evangelical?
If so, what purpose do you think this 'arm' of the Church serves? Dave Tomlinson once memorably said that the evangelical Church was excellent for new believers but really poor once they had 'grown up' spiritually/theologically - then they needed to move to a 'proper' Church. Is this true?
I would love to hear your opinions - have you become an evangelical from another tradition or have you perhaps left the evangelical fold? Please tell us your story and perspective on this intriguing, beguiling, frustrating and energetic branch of Christianity...

Monday, 16 March 2009

Can we ever make the effort?

We had some new friends over last week for dinner (one Christian, their partner not...) and it turned into a fascinating evening.
Without going into detail that could prove embarrassing or the breaking of a confidence suffice to say that while facing a difficult life-situation the Christian was feeling increasingly drawn (perhaps understandably) to charismatic Christianity, especially that element that promises health, wealth and prosperity. While the non-Christian wanted to embrace a purely scientific/humantist route (again, quite understandably given their worldview).

What's my point?

Well, how can we ever get to a point where as a community of believers, we'll take the more difficult way of research and study of theology to get ourselves on a firm footing with this God we profess rather than the immediate 'satisfaction' of a I-want-results-and-feelings-NOW 'doctrine'?

I fully realise that I am rather caricaturing this dilemma, time doesn't allow the finesse of detail. The bottom line is, IMHO, that we live in an instant gratification era and so it is no real surprise that the Church has embraced this idea in the way that it views a 'relationship' with God. Is this inevitable though, or can anyone suggest ways in which we as individuals or as a Church community can take more time, care and effort over the faith we profess and not merely be at the whim of every theological offshoot of mainstream secular society?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Is theology the 'grammar of faith'...

In other words, its wholly possible to speak a language while remaining oblivious to its grammar and even its written form. Likewise (by metaphor) isn't it also possible to have a faith that is broadly unconcerned with the details and only interested in 'getting on with it'?

If this comparison works then does the following hold true as well: yes, you can speak without knowing any grammar and yet when you try to teach someone else to speak this new language (or at least to teach them WELL) don't you then have a problem because you suddenly NEED the stuff you previously thought was irrelevant?

Can you see where I am going?

Faith is, of course, essential and can be enjoyed and lived without a care for the supposed minutiae of doctrine/theology. The trouble, however, comes when you try to talk to other people about this new 'language' of faith and you suddenly realise that without a 'grammar' you are left with mere subjective feelings and perspectives...

What do you think? Is this true?

Lets get this show on the road...

Okay, lets start with some basic stuff to get us going on here:

Would you be kind enough to give your understanding of the word 'Christian', in the context of -

A Christian is a person who...