Sunday, 22 May 2011

Camping Cynicism

I know I am not a regular blogger but sometimes things move me to print, I guess you will never really know the man behind the moustache from these pages. Now and again however something rouses me from a blog slumber to pat a few keys into some semblance of a thought. My title is a little elusive, camping cynicism could have referred to the general expectation that it will rain anytime you erect a tent in the UK.

My Camping, is Harold Camping voice of Family Radio predictor of the Rapture that didn't occur. I am no professor of eschatology but the timing surprised me a little and I am glad we have a little more time to harvest. What surprised me more than the timing was the level of cynicism amongst Christians, including many in leadership. I didn't expect Christian Leaders to have a conference to discuss but many dismissed Mr Camping in a derisory or off hand manner. The truth is no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. (yup plagiarised from Matthew 24:36). If only the father knows then it is maybe a little arrogant to dismiss a brother in Christ or even poke fun at him.

As I have said I didn't feel any divine quickening over Mr Camping's prognostications but I was open to being wrong. I am left wondering if we missed an opportunity to say "I don't know if tomorrow is the rapture but if it is coming - I know I am going"; did we miss an opportunity to honour Harold Camping and say "You know what, I don't hear or see what he sees but he is passionate about God and about reaching the lost and I can admire that, he has been serving God in the best way he knows how with radio since 1958 and that is longer than I have lived and I want to honour that, and if he turns out to be right or wrong I will stand by him as a brother because that is what we do; whether we look foolish or smart." Could we have looked different to everyone else in how we treated this man?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The others....

I am not talking about the Nicole Kidman film but rather the concept of the others. This is related to my last post about Rob Bell and Love Wins. When discussing anything of a contentious nature within the Christian faith "The others" crop up; rarely are they referred to as the others and none of us are quite sure who they are we quite often give them vague titles as "the unchurched" "the under 18's" "the new to the faith". Our worry for "the others" would at first seem commendable but actually I think it might be disingenuous.

How big is our God? Pretty Big? Very Big? Awesomely Big? Unfathomably Big? Yet it is our concern for the others that is going to save them, if we can only discredit The Shack or Rob Bell or that Bill Johnson character then the others will be safe? Sounds kind of silly when you say it that way doesn't it? Or maybe a little arrogant, that we are so Godly that we have the absolute inside track on what is right and wrong and "the other" idiots may get fooled. I am pretty sure somewhere it says that only the Holy Spirit can keep us from deception. Perhaps if we are so worried for the others we should be teaching the beauty of a communicative relationship with the Holy Spirit.

I believe that "the others" is a tool we use to allow us to disagree with a theological stand point yet remain in relationship with someone - now that is a worthwhile aim. It says I think you are OK and I think you are probably a spirit inspired man but I am fearful of this gap you have opened between us but to keep us close I will transfer this gap to "the others". The problem with this strategy is that it doesn't build up the person the gap has occurred with; it breaks them down, it discredits them. It is time to find a positive way of staying in relationship with people we disagree with, not sidelining them or excluding them or feeling that their text, existence or whatever negates us as people. Let's concentrate on our walk with God in community and relationship and leave "the others" to retire and live in peace and be guided guarded and protected by God.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Monday's with Lloyd and the guys

Rob Bell. Love Wins. This is a book that has caused some hub bub because he may point to universalism; the idea that there are many ways to salvation rather than the one way through Christ which is a central teaching of Jesus (no man comes to the father but by me). I haven’t read the book but I probably will but I have read Sex God his other book and it’s pretty good. I am not sure I agree with everything that is written but on the whole I learned stuff. What interests me is why we focus on that which divides us? Surely there is something in Rob Bell’s writing that is good, why don’t we focus on that tell the world about that rather than our differences? I don’t have the answer, but I have the sneaky suspicion we need to stop doing it. We need to focus on our unity and community and in these places live out our beliefs guided by the spirit.