Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bec's blog has moved...

Bec's blog has moved to:
Please update your links!

God bless,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Something light hearted...

I was told recently that I never write anything light hearted on my blog... This post seeks to rectify that ;-)

For a long time I have thought that "Grace" was the perfect name for a girl. Its pretty, and its theologically splendiferous. So its been the the mental list for when I (at some point in the not too close future) have kids.

Apparently friends of mine also think Grace is a great name, as they named their new little miracle Grace a few weeks ago.

The other night when I was knee-deep in exegeting Romans 5 for my final assignment for my Exegesis 1 subject I came across the following words in greek:

Eirene - "peace"
Zoe - "life"

So I now think the most perfect name for a little girl would be:
Grace Irene Zoe Walker (my soon to be surname, after wedding next Saturday).

Because that means:
Grace Peace Life Walker

And who would sneeze at GIZW as initials???

My other thought that maybe if you had two daughters calling one "Grace" and the other "Irene" would be like the way Paul signs off many of his epistles:

"Grace & Peace [go to your room] in the name of the Father, and of the Lord Jesus"

Now if that doesn't float your boat, how about:


It sounds like Sara(h) which is Hebrew for princess...
But also since X in greek is pronounced "Ch" is also the greek word "Chara" which means "Joy".
Princess Joy... what girl doesn't need to hear that? And in two of the three biblical languages!

God bless,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Joy Recovered

Jim Schembri writes in today's Age about the loss of joy as we grow up. His descriptions of a child's joy are compelling:

TO SEE a child laugh is to witness joy unalloyed... And they don't need much. The simplest things can set them off. A corny hand puppet. A goofy face. A soap bubble. The way a ball bounces. The popping of a toaster. The noise a handful of crushed banana makes when they slap it into your nose while you are trying to feed them. They love it.

He further charts our attempts to reclaim that joy in hyperrealities (ala Mark Sayers):

...what would we give to recapture even a small measure of that joy? The answer is anything and everything. We devote a great part of our lives and a good portion of our money to reach that state of bliss we hear in a child's laugh. We indulge in those things that promise pleasure. Cars, carnality, big houses, pools, trophy wives, exotic foods, chemicals, herbs. We ingest them through every available sense and membrane, often to excess, all in pursuit of that elusive, exquisite feeling that will finally tell us: "This is what it is to be happy." ... Yet with each artificially induced high comes the inevitable flare-out. We realise in the hollow afterglow that something essential is missing. We don't know what, but we know it must be out there, somewhere.

He ends nowhere really, advising that we should just enjoy children being joyful. But I think there is more that can be done...

It occurs to me that there maybe a reason why as Christians we are told to be like Children (Mt 18:3-4) and also that there is such a heavy emphasis on joy in both the OT & NT.

I think that when we come into the kingdom as children, and lay down all our 'adult importance' and all our heavy burdens of life and just ACCEPT grace and love from the hand of God, the simplicity of that, the gratitude that we feel results in a childlike joy. Once again there is no complications, no chasing acceptance, nothing but finding pure joy and rest in the stopping of striving, stopping of stressing, stopping believing that we carry the world on our shoulders.

Hoping that you are experiencing the joy of your salvation today :-)

God bless,

Monday, October 6, 2008

URGENT - Please email your MLCs

As you may be aware the upper house of the Victorian Parliament is debating/voting this week on the decriminalisation of abortion. This bill will mean that a woman can have an abortion for no reason up until 24 weeks, and up to 40 weeks with 2 doctors support. This bill will also mean that doctors that have a moral objection to performing abortions MUST refer women onto doctors who they know will perform the abortion. This means that the doctor is forced by law to act against their conscience. Even if one does not object to abortion, forcing people to act against their conscience is a serious erosion of democratic freedom.

If you haven't already, could you please email the Members of the Legislative Council for your region ASAP asking them to vote against the bill. The bill will probably be voted on on WEDNESDAY, so we need to email before then. From what we heard at the rally on Sunday there are still members who are undecided. This bill is subject to a conscience vote, so each member will be voting as they desire, not necessarily along party lines. So even if they are in the liberal party which normally takes a conservative view on morality issues, they MAY NOT vote against the bill.

Please be praying that the Holy Spirit will convict the consciences of those who are unsure about whether to vote for/against this bill, that He will convict them that what this bill is doing is legalising the murder of the most vulnerable members of our society, those who do not have a voice. Please pray that those who have decided to vote against the bill will hold onto their convictions and not be swayed by the pro-choice lobby.

God bless,

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sex is NOT a toy!

The following report from the Age details some of the effects of not allowing children to have their innocence, by bringing them up in a society with views on sexualisation that are based on the perverted desires of adults rather than the good of children:

If children are not allowed time to grow up and mature before they are confronted with (a) information about sex (b) images of a sexualised/pornographied nature then it is no surprise that they become sexually aggressive and/or promiscuous. After all they are children, and if they try to force other children to give them toys by force, then why on earth wouldn't they use the same methods to procure sexual favours?????

We need to protect children from being prematurely exposed to both information about sex, and more particularly images that will form their views on what the sex act should look like. If their primary views on sex are formed by sexualised/porn images then they will likely not see sex as a loving thing (between a husband and wife-God forbid), since the images so often portray one party (usually the woman) in servitude to the other, and that's when there's only two people involved. They will also not be able to distinguish lust from love, and that lays a foundation for devastation and destruction in their lives. If we do not do something about this now, the next generation will likely never experience true intimacy which can only be experienced in the context of marriage, and many many more will fall victim to relationship breakdown and the devastation that accompanies that.

Sex is NOT a toy, a truth that adults need to model for children, rather than pandering to their own childish desires, damn the consequences.

God bless,

Monday, September 1, 2008

Dancing with the Stars needs to "put its knickers BACK on"

Last night's season opener of Dancing with the Stars was very disappointing. There was an overwhelming amount of sexualised content, and this is particularly inappropriate considering the 7:30 time slot when children may be watching.

By the end of the third dance we had:
  • Daniel McPherson touching Sonia's leg
  • Bruno saying he couldn't keep his eyes off Sonia
  • The female dancers wearing hardly anything
  • Mark arkwardly attempting to get in on the sexualisation by referring to the dancers as "sexy"
  • Todd McKenny telling a dancer to take her knickers off

And if that wasn't enough, to top it off there was that move where the Sunrise reporter ran his hand between his partner's breasts. The comments that followed about that 18 year old dancer and the sexual tension between her and her partner were unnecessary.

Dancing with the stars needs to "put its knickers back on". The objectification of women is not appropriate at 7:30 or indeed in any timeslot. The objectification of women is a form of slavery. We are not here simply for the sexual delight of men.

We may be "liberated" so that we can join the workforce but while we allow men to treat us as sexual objects that exist for the sole purpose of appeasing their sexual appetites we have gained nothing. We have simply exchanged one form of slavery (house slavery) for three others (wage slavery, debt slavery and sexual slavery). We need to be vigilant about the views on women that we allow to be part of our society. This is having, and will have an enormous effect on the next generation. Girls need freedom and space to grow up not measuring themselves by how sexually attractive men find them, but instead by discovering WHO they really are, and their value in who they are, not in their:

  • Dress size
  • Breast size
  • Blondeness
  • Use of brazillian waxing services
  • Skimpiness of clothing

Our western culture has become completely debauched. It is time that we started treating each other with respect and dignity, and the pornification of our society has robbed us of that. There is nothing glamorous about gadding about with nothing on and having men lust after you as an object. Being the trash-can for a man's excess bodily fluids is demeaning. There is no honour or respect in it. It is not a reflection of a woman's worth or place in the world. She is beautiful and she is loved, because she was MADE BY GOD to be an object of His love (with her CLOTHES ON).

You might of picked up that I am angry. Well I am. I am fed up with this sick and twisted culture where women are pushed into conforming to an image to please men (the porn image). Where we are told that being sexually loose is freedom although it is really slavery. We conform to this because we want to be loved. When we do conform to that porn image that feeds men's weakness and creates a culture that is just as toxic and crippling for them as it is for us. It's a cycle because as much as a women conforms to that image it doesn't make men love her, they despise her, so she continues to change herself more and more. She doesn't accept that she is made in the image of God, and that the purpose of her life is to be conformed into the image of Christ, not that of Aphrodite/Venus. And men are never happy either, as much as they pursue those women that conform to the image they desire they are never truly satisfied. If they were they wouldn't need to move on to the next girl and the next girl and the next girl.

It's time to tear down our idols. Only Christ can truly satisfy.

God bless,

Monday, August 25, 2008

I think I like Mike Guglielmucci's song Healer better now...

Danny Guglielmucci has made a statement about what led to Mike's cancer story:,22606,24233308-5006301,00.html

I think I like the song Healer better now that I know it came out of a Romans 7 type struggle with sin/addiction than when it was about cancer. Certainly speaks to my life a lot more than before :-) THIS I can COMPLETELY understand. I think this situation coming out into the open is God's first step in answering Mike's prayer for healing from his sexual addiction.

I think he will look back on this time and be grateful that this became public. I think he will never forget how much damage and pain he has caused and I think it will give him opportunity to understand a fresh the grace of God towards him. This is God discipling Mike as a son (Heb 12:5-8) which is grace in itself. This means that Mike is still God's son, which makes him our brother. As the people of God I think we should seek to be a community of healing rather than judgement in this situation.

For everyone else we need to learn/remember the following things:

  1. Deal with sin, don't hide it, God won't let it stay hidden for ever, so have a zero-tolerance policy towards sin.
  2. Our faith needs to be based in the character of God, not of our leaders because newsbreak they are all fallible and sin, only God is 100% trustworthy.
  3. Take the log out of our own eyes before we try to take the speck out of our brothers. And remember that when we think are 'standing firm, be careful that [we] don't fall!' (1 Cor 10:12)
  4. God is sovereign and He will work even things like this for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

I really feel that so much good is going to come out of this. I feel Joel 2:25-27 is a promise for those who have experienced devastation as a result of this situation. God is passionate about restoration. He is the God of resurrection, when things die/are put to death there is opportunity for God to do something unexpected and good. As a people we need to put our hope in God that He is good enough, and big enough to make something good out of this. And considering the size of the "sin impact zone", I think this could be the beginning of a big revival in the Australian church. I think this could be something that draws people away from their false idols (church leaders, prosperity doctrine, name-it-claim-it theology, prooftexting), and back into a deep and complex faith in Christ.

God bless,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Guglielmucci, Bentley & Success

It's disappointing to hear that Mike G's cancer story is a hoax. It's hard when something that looks so strong in the church is shown to be weak and sin-tainted. Similar thing happened this week with the revelations about Todd Bentley (although I have to admit no surprise on that one at all). As Christians I think we really love it when things look successful. Healer is a great song that has touched many people. Bentley's ministry looked flashy and successful. But both are now questionable.

First thing to say would be that God is entirely capable (and there is biblical evidence) for God using the ungodly for his purposes. To varying extents we are all sinful and yet God still uses us. So just because these men have been shown to be in sin does not mean that God is not at work through their ministries. I think it is illustrative that while Saul was in sin, God's anointing still rested on him as king of Israel.

Secondly, I would say that there is a problem as Christians when we love things that "look good". I think we want God to break in and establish His kingdom (and vindicate our witness) through big, flashy, undeniable displays of His power and sovereignty. I think the reason we love songs like Healer is that they do provoke deep feeling, and we think that's a sign that God is at work in a big way, and that somehow vindicates our witness. It's like evidence that supports what we've been saying. Same thing with big flashy healings. It vindicates us, brings us a bit back off the ledge, removes some of the risk of faith and witness. But I don't think that big and flashy is the way God necessarily chooses to work all the time. I think Jesus is a great example of this. He "emptied Himself and took the form of a servant", he didn't arrive as the big flashy political messiah that Israel was expecting. Instead He came and He washed His disciple's feet.

I think we should be more pleased when we see Christian leaders and the church displaying the CHARACTER of God, rather than necessarily the power of God. The power of God should be exercised in ways that are consistent with His character. I think this links in with the problems with the Church growth movement. It measures church success through numbers and tends to use marketing techniques to get people to church. I have been reflecting recently that much of what the church says to bring people to Christ sounds a lot like secular advertising. Secular advertising sets up false models of salvation. This product is going to make your life better by xyz. You are going to be bigger, better, faster, more beautiful by using product abc. This is very similar to the gospel that we sometimes preach - come to Jesus, find the purpose for your life, be happier, more at peace, God will heal all of your health issues in this life etc etc. But I don't think this is the true gospel. The true gospel is about dying, dying to self, taking up our cross and following Jesus. This is completely counter cultural, and does not look at all like the messages that we get flooded with by the world. I think the church should be functioning in ways that show this dying to self and mortifying the flesh.

The thing is that I think this is goes entirely against our ideas of success. I think our flesh loves it when we can count up church attendance and let that be a measure of what we are doing. When there are lots of people there, or lots of people buying our CD / crying during our song we see that as success, and our flesh loves it. The central point of the bible is the death of Christ--this absolutely looks like failure. The church needs to concentrate more on knowing and following Christ in His death. In the end this is all about God's glory, not the glory (success) of humans. We need to remember that His strength is made perfect in our weakness not our strength (success).

God bless,

Friday, August 8, 2008

No spine whatsoever

OK I take it back, the archbishop of Canterbury has no theological or moral spine whatsover:

The Anglican church is quite clearly on the death march to hell if it follows this mans leadership.

God bless,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Refinement through Busyness

I usually feel that God doesn't really want us to be 'busy', productive yes, busy no. I would normally say that busyness consumes us until a point that we typically can't hear God and so are spiritually cut off from our source. But I've been reflecting recently that God can actually use our busyness sometimes as a way of refining us.

This year has/is jam packed full of change and stuff to do for me. So far this year I have changed churches, been temporarily unemployed (then reemployed by same employer!), become a life group leader and gotten engaged. The rest of this year looks like this; moving this Saturday, classes resumed this week, possibly will be looking for work again in Sept when my contract ends, preparing for our wedding in December, working, studying, leading a lifegroup, other church commitments. Additionally my fiance is looking for work as he was made redundant a few weeks back.

I had thought that I would only do one subject this semester, but I got into classes this week and realised that the majority of my spiritual food actually comes out of my study not church. There is just something about getting deeper into the things of God that really really gets me spiritually amped. For some people great worship music makes them want to jump up and down, for me it exegeting Leviticus ;-)

So while I was quite prepared to cut back a bit and try to resist the encroachment of busyness I'm feeling this week much more like there is a point to my busyness at the moment. The whole year has felt like a time of refinement, and I believe God is using this crazy-busy time in that process of refining me. I am, where possible, trying to learn to say no to things that aren't essential. But I'm also learning that where my energy runs out, His energy is available to me. I felt that particularly today as I was sitting in my Exegesis class. Most students seemed a bit freaked by the prospect of Leviticus, but I felt elated, I felt that God's empowering grace is there for me to do this.

And I think that's part of what He's trying to teach me in this period of refinement, to stop relying on my own energy, my own strength, my own intelligence and startling good looks, not to mention humility LOL, but rather to rely on Him and His empowerment to do what He's called me to. And I think He's deliberately set the bar so high that I can't do it on my own.

I'm just praying that 2009 will be a year of peace and rest. I'm calling in the Deut 24:5 principle:
If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.

God bless,

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

So the Archbishop of Canterbury does have a spine

It appears that the Archbishop of Canterbury does have a spine, and a moral compass!

It is a good thing that he has stopped pandering to the liberal faction of the Anglican church and has finally called a spade a spade; yes there are divisions in the Anglican church and those divisions were caused by the US & Canadian bishops who have gone against the word of God, and the beliefs and traditions of Anglicanism.

God bless,

Unborn Slaves

This is a must read:

God bless,

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Pornography Addiction amongst Muslims

It's odd the things one stumbles across on the internet, but this one is really fascinating:

It talks about muslims with porn addictions. It is interesting to read how they approach fighting the addiction, and how it is all in their own strength. So much of what they talk about in fighting the addiction is similar to what Christians would suggest in terms of praying more, doing more spiritual disciplines, drawing away from the world etc. But Jesus is missing, and the admission that they cannot change themselves is missing.

Really sadly there are many that talk about how they need to go and do extra good deeds to balance out their sins of lust. And they talk about fear of Allah being the major motivation for not continuing in this sin.

There's also testimony from a muslim wife about how she copes with her husband's problem, all without the agape of Christ in her to love her husband and support him in his struggle. She feels that fear is the only way that her husband will change and thinks that if she got in a car crash that would jolt him into changing.

I think this is very encouraging for Christians, to be reminded that we fight against sin for a God who loves us and who uses "kindness to lead us to repentence" not fear. And that it is Jesus' work in us that allows us to overcome sin, not our own striving and work. And that God does not expect or need us to balance up our sins, that it's all through His grace that we are accepted and will be rewarded in the end.

In reference to the muslim wife's comments, a Christian couple's love and support for each other in this area comes from Jesus and His strength. He empowers them. There is no way outside of Christ that a woman could deal with her husband's (or vice versa) betrayal like this, without the agape of Christ in her. It is impossible to show the required level of forgiveness and understanding towards someone who hurts you like that without understanding how great is your sin before God, and yet how gracious and forgiving He has been to you.

I think it's easy for Christians to fall into similar lines of thinking as these muslims. Reading that article for me was just a really good reminder of God's grace and that we need His grace more than oxygen, and how great and how good is Jesus Christ!!

I'd like to ask you to keep islamic sex addicts in your prayers. Perhaps in the desperation of finding themselves entirely powerless to this addiction, and completely unable to balance up their bad deeds with good deeds, they will hear Christ's call of love and forgiveness, and submit themselves to His grace.

God bless,

Sunday, June 29, 2008

And there's more...

I've been writing a lot about the sexual depravity of our society this week. I thought the series of three would be the end (although I never imagined there would be a "series"), but there is more in the paper today. I have been following with some interest over the last few days the results of the government's investigation of the sexualisation of children.

One would have hoped that the government investigation would come back with some constructive recommendations to ensure that the media and marketers targetting children would be held to some standards regarding sexual content. However instead the investigation has come back and said that the media's self regulation is working well, and that it is really just the parents responsibility to monitor what their kids are watching.

That is insanely naive and selfish. No child is under their parents' 100% supervision and control 100% of the time. Bringing up kids is something that parents need to do in partnership with society. There are regulations around swimming pool fencing, because we already as a society recognise to a certain extent that parents can't watch their kids all of the time. And so we regulate to make the environment safe, so that together with parental supervision children are kept as safe as possible.

The impact of sexualised/pornographic images on young minds is as dangerous to young minds, as drowning is to young bodies. If children see these images before their parents have been able to explain sexuality to them in ways conducive to healthy development, then they have no frame of reference for filtering and making judgements on whether what they are seeing is appropriate.

The major argument behind not doing anything about removing sexualised/pornographic images from places where children might see them seems to be the "infringement" of adults so-called "right" to self expression. There seems to be a liberal contigent that just wants to do what they want to do, no matter who it hurts. There seems to have been a shift from the "I'm not hurting anybody" argument to the "who the hell cares who I am hurting, I'm having fun" as an attitude towards so-called "adult entertainment". This is the heights of selfishness.

I recently heard a speaker say that sexual abuse for children isn't just where they have been molested, but that exposure to sexualised/pornographic images has the same kind of impact on children. Yet of course, as a society we don't think it's as bad, especially if it was an "accidental" exposure, but the impact is as devastating. Before they have the capacity to understand what good God-given, marital sexuality looks like, their attitudes and understanding of sex is twisted into the warped mindset of the porn industry and its bedfellows. The thing about sexualised images that are targetted at children is that it's more insidious than direct abuse, a much larger number of children will have been impacted by that, than by direct abuse.

As our society continues to decline into all out sexual debauchery, the problem is only going to get worse. The devastation to the post-internet generations will be epidemic. This is why we have to fight every step of the way to make our society a safe place for children to grow up, letting them be kids, and not forcing them to deal with adult issues before they are pyschologically and spiritually ready. We also need to resource and train parents on how to talk to their children about sexuality, in a way that will lead to healthy marriages in their childrens' futures.

One of the difficulties in the Australian context is that we tend to be quite politically apathetic. As Christians I think we need to start getting really good at engaging with our political system to bring a prophetic voice to bear. If we do not proclaim God's will in this kind of situation then nobody else will. I'd urge you, find out who your local MP is both federally and state, and when issues like this come up, or the abortion and euthanasia ones in Victoria at the moment, write to your MP. Each letter/email they receive they view as representing the view of 100 people. We can make an impact by engaging in our political system.

God bless,

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Slippery Slide

This seems to be the week for everyone who doesn't like monogamous heterosexual sex within marriage to come out in arms proposing their particular brand of perversion. First it was the "bad boys are more successful in relationships" thing, then it was the robot love thing, recently it was the change of laws in Calfornia to allow gay marriages, and now??

Well in what could seem like a surprising step of logic from gay marriage (which presumably is abhorent to Muslims as well as Christians), muslims in America are arguing that because of the principle behind the Calfornia ruling that the same rights should be extended to muslims who wish to have polygamous marriages.

Well I hear you say, one could expect that in America. Not only in America, today's Age reports that muslims in Australia are also pushing for the recognition of polygamous marriage. Laughably, they are arguing it on behalf of the rights of women, I could go on endlessly about the complete lunacy of the position that says muslim polygamous marriages is for the protection of women. It is quite obviously NOT about the women, but entirely about the lust of men that they refuse to take responsibility for controlling. As I said I could go on and on, but Bill Muehlenberg has done that already admirably on his blog today.

The point I would really like to make is that the minute you start relaxing the definition of marriage for one group, then you have to start relaxing it for every group. Mark my words, within 50 years there will be a strong and outspoken lobby promoting paedophilia as a "valid lifestyle" and seeking to gain legal protection for adult-child "unions". And what those that engage in bestiality? Should not their animal "partners" be accorded the same legal rights as a human partner?? Especially if they are in a long-term committed relationship! And what about necrophiles?? What legal rights should their "relationships" be accorded??

To quote Star Trek First Contact, "We've made too many compromises already; too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!"

And the line is this, sex was made, by God to be enjoyed by one man and one woman, once that man and that woman have made a lifelong covenant of unconditional love to one another, in the sight of God.

God bless,

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Robot love???

I just read an article that I wish wasn't serious - - a presumably very lonely scientist is predicting that there will be robots that humans can have relationships with within 40 years.

Given that our society already is fractured, and self-absorbed, such that real relationships are harder and harder to come by, I think this will cause many many many more problems than it will solve.

It's like the whole Wii Fit thing. In the olden days, kids used to play outside and so were healthy from getting exercise. Then we invented computer games and television, so that modern kids spend so much more time inside and thus are not getting exercise, and are getting fat. So the solution??? Let's invent an attachment for our computer game systems so that kids get exercise WHILE playing computer games. Is it just me or is the more obvious, healthy and affordable option TO SEND THEM OUTSIDE TO PLAY!!

This Robot love thing strikes me the same way. There used to be a higher rate of marriage, there used to be a higher rate of marriages THAT LASTED. Since the 60s with the so-called "free love" movement, marriage and long term relationships have suffered. We've created a world where sexual expression is about what feels good to me, regardless of the relational impact. Our desire for sexual gratification is promoted as being more important than bringing sexual fulfilment to our partners. Suddenly, sex has become all about ME. Therefore it is no wonder that it is getting harder and harder to form good lasting relationships, because we've built a view on sex and relationships that they are all about MY fulfilment. It is hard to love someone, and give yourself to someone else, when your primary objective is your own satisfaction.

An example from the article, the scientist believes that such robots could be used within human-human relationships, for instance when one partner is travelling. The other partner might say, "Take your robot, I don't want you visiting the red light district". Seriously, if the ONLY options when travelling are sex with a robot or sex with a prostitute, then there are bigger problems in that relationship than whether or not robot-sex is appropriate. There should only be one option when away from one's spouse--abstinence!

This human-robot-love solution that this scientist thinks will solve these problems is just a bandaid on the problem. An icky and disturbing bandaid, but a bandaid none the less. This idea is like that of the Wii Fit -- let's not deal with the real issue, let's let the existing problem fester under what might seem on the surface to be a solution.

God bless,

Friday, June 20, 2008

Treat 'em mean, what nonsense!!

There's an article in today's Age about a correlation between men having traits of "impulsiveness, narcissism, thrill-seeking and deceitfulness" and them having a "prolific amount of sex". It further reasons that this makes "bad boys" more "successful" in relationships, indeed the article is entitled, "Treat 'em mean: it works".

The article then goes on to define this so-called success, as being more "active in short-term mating" than nice guys.

There are a number of issues with this article, the first obviously being the underlying assumption that "short-term mating" is the goal of all men, therefore the definition of success in relationships. It is not accounting at all for a group of men (let's call them "nice guys") who actually want a long-term monogamous (god-forbid MARITAL) relationship with a woman. For that kind of man, the "nice guy", casual sex would NOT be the definition of relationship success, finding someone to settle down with WOULD. If a "nice guy" is not seeking casual sex, that would also be a contributing factor to them not having as many casual encounters. It stands to reason that if a guy isn't seeking casual sex, he won't have casual sex. It further stands to reason, that the "bad boy" who is defined as "impulsive, narcissistic, thrill-seeking and deceitful" and who IS seeking casual sex, would therefore have more casual sex. The big issue here is that they are comparing apples with oranges, both in terms of type of guy, and also in terms of each type's goal with regards to women.

The second issue with this article I think, is that it does not make any social commentary on WHY women might be attracted to bad guys. The following I think are a number of reasons a woman would find such men attractive:
  • They seem confident
  • They are the kind of guys fathers hate
  • The insistence with which they pursue women gives the impression that the woman is highly desired, which leads to woman thinking "they really love me", which is a woman's deepest emotional desire, to be loved and cherished.
  • Alternately, the woman believes she isn't worth loving, and so this is as good as it gets
  • She thinks they "need her" because they are obviously broken people (and since no one will ever "want her" she has to settle for someone who needs her if she's going to be with anyone at all)
  • She thinks she can "fix them" and they will become a nice guy

So basically, it comes out of a bunch of a woman's own issues; rebelliousness and low self-esteem being the two key ones. My point is this - the kind of women who go for this kind of man are not emotionally stable themselves.

Once you start to deal with issues of rebelliousness and self-esteem and find that you don't need to rebel against anyone to be independent/your own self, and accept yourself for who you are, those bad guys cease to be attractive.

Knowing Jesus really helps with this :-) He has a way of wooing a woman to a place where she realises she must have great value for the Son of God to die for her! Suddenly instead, it's the guy who knows his bible, who is prolific in prayer, who will make a great father, and who is gentle and considerate that is unbelievably attractive. It's the man that takes time to be friends with you and to build the basis of the relationship on a foundation of mutual respect and friendship that is the kind of guy that gets the girl.

God bless,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What should we do with Christ's descent & preaching to the dead?

The following is my Christology essay for this semester on the idea of Christ's descent and preaching to the dead:

In 1 Peter 3:19-20, 4:6 Peter makes a statement, that is pretty amazing, that Christ went to the dead and preached to the imprisoned spirits. These statements have formed the basis of much speculation in the absence of more exhaustive scriptural evidence. Over the centuries since Peter wrote these words, many theories have developed to account for these verses. The image of the dead Christ descending to hell and leading forth a triumphal procession of saved souls formed the basis of much non-canonical Christian writings and art over the centuries.

This essay will investigate how this tradition developed; with reference to the theological questions that are raised and/or answered by the descensus theory (being the idea that Christ literally descended to hell, and preached the gospel to the spirits of the dead, giving them a post-mortem opportunity for salvation). Further discussion will be had around some of the current theories. The paper will conclude by discussing the Christological and soteriological implications of the descent.

Development of the Descensus View
The story of Christ’s descent to the dead was very common in the early Church. The early church fathers preached the idea continuously from the writing of First Peter for the first few centuries (Connell, 2001:264). Although the only explicit statement of the descent was to be found in 1 Peter, the tradition came to find allusions in many passages in the bible, (Connell, 2001:263).
Oakes cites other scripture in support of the descent; Ps 68:16 “he led captives in his train”; Eph 4:7-9 “in order to fill the whole universe”; Phil 2:9-11 “every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth”; Rom 14:8-9 “that he might be the Lord both of the dead and of the living” (2007:188-9). However, the key scriptural support for the descensus view comes from 1 Pet 3:19 “…he went and preached to the spirits in prison” and 1 Pet 4:6 “…the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead…”

In the first three centuries the term used to describe Christ’s descent was “descensus ad inferos”, which meant "descent to lower places" (Connell, 2001:264). A change in terminology arose out of Rufinus’ work, he adopted the term “descensus ad inferna” which meant “descent to hell”. This lead to a shift both in terminology, but also more importantly in theology
[1]. The earlier use of the word inferos showed the extent of God’s grace, that it went beyond human limitations, even the limit of death. “...Rufinus's word inferna, ‘hell,’ would start to change the result of the descent from one of God's presence with the dead to a belief in Christ's reconciliation of sinners” (Connell, 2001:266-7).

Augustine found this view problematic. If God’s grace extends that far, then who would not be saved? Writing to Evodius he sought to dispel the idea that it would open up the possibility of an “empty hell”. He could not conceive that “…the grace of God could be so… prorsus indebitum, ‘completely undeserved’ and universal.” (Connell, 2001:270-1).

In seeking to understand how people before Christ could be saved (Jobes, 2005:241), Origen saw this doctrine as showing that Christ’s victory over death was so powerful and embracing that “nothing was excluded, that Hades itself was transformed into a paradise and that even the demons were saved” (Ryan, 1997:18). Due to the soteriological issues that the idea of God’s grace being so expansive brought up, and how happily universalists took up the descensus, the view began to decline in the Western church in the fourth century (Connell, 2001:270-1).
After this time theologians were careful in their discussion of the descent, but at the same time a number of apocryphal sources latched onto the idea and spoke of it without restraint (McNamara, 1994:n.p.). The Gospel of Nicodemus (also known as the Acts of Pilate) contains a long and involved section describing the experiences of two of the souls that Christ purportedly delivered from Hell. Of particular interest is Acts of Pilate V(XXI):3:

…And as David spake thus unto Hell, the Lord of majesty appeared in the form of a man and lightened the eternal darkness and brake the bonds that could not be loosed: and the succour of his everlasting might visited us that sat in the deep darkness of our transgressions and in the shadow of death of our sins. (James, 1924:17)

The apocryphal accounts were engaging and stimulating. It is not hard to see how people became enamoured of the literal interpretation of the descent, as the imagery alone is extremely powerful in elaborating the immensity of what Christ has done for humanity. The story of the descent until the fourth century was “…simply part of the narrative of Christ's saving work for humanity and of God's generosity in rescuing the lost” (Connell, 2001:264).

The view began to decline, and whilst it still remained a part of the catechesis, it was no longer unanimously supported. Eventually it virtually disappeared from the Western tradition (Connell, 2001:265). Within the Eastern church however, the idea kept currency. As late as 787 at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, a statement was made that Christ “‘spoiled Hell and delivered the captives who were kept there from all ages’” (Cross, Arendarcikas, Cooke & Leach, 2006:n.p.)

In the writings of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century, there is somewhat of a return to the descensus view. He wrote that as the sacraments mediate God’s grace to the living, so the descent mediated God’s grace to the dead. He saw that “Both sacraments and the descent are expressions of God's generosity and love in the present aspects and conditions of human life in community.” (Connell, 2001:273)

Real difficulty for the descensus view arose out of the Reformation. The Reformers challenged theologians to base their theology on the canonical scriptures. Out of this change in emphasis from the authority of tradition to the authority of scripture, the descensus view largely died, for its paucity of scriptural support (Connell, 2001:274). So while the return to Scripture strengthened many other parts of the Christian tradition, the descent was largely lost since there is no evidence for it in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Contemporary Views
The Descensus View in the Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church is the primary part of the church that still embraces the descent of Christ. It forms a central part of their Easter liturgy. Chrysostom’s Paschal Homily from the fourth century is still used for Easter services, “He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into hades and took hades captive!” (Chrysostom, n.d., n.p.) Much orthodox artwork and iconography also reflects on the descent to Hades as its theme.

The Orthodox Church sees the descent played out not only in history but in our lives today. Their emphasis on the descent is a theological one, about what it means for our lives (Ryan, 1997:18). For the Orthodox Church the descent to hell “…is the image of our present age. The Resurrection of Christ is the sign and guarantee of the final victory” (Ryan, 1997:18).

Exegetical Issues in 1 Peter 3:19-20, 4:6
The early church interpreted 1 Peter 3:19-20 and 4:6 as teaching a doctrine of Christ’s literal descent to the dead. In contemporary theology these verses are more commonly understood to be symbolic, communicating the extent of the redemption. This however, “involves a more spiritualised hermeneutic that usually practiced by evangelicals” (Erickson, 2000:74).

Putting aside the issue of a spiritualised hermeneutic, there are valid exegetical issues in the text that need resolution if this text is to form the basis of a theology that is nowhere else explicitly stated in scripture!

In Koine Greek there are two verbs that are translated as ‘preach’. In 1 Pet 3:19 the verb used is kēryssō which can also be translated as ‘proclaim’. The term that is more broadly used to speak of preaching the good news is euangelizomai (Jobes, 2005:250). So this means that the preaching/proclamation may not have been for the purpose of bringing the spirits in 1 Pet 3:19 to repentance. Some see the verb here to be a proclamation of victory, where Jesus went and just told the spirits what he had accomplished on the cross, thus pronouncing their condemnation. However, there are instances of kēryssō being used in the context of gospel proclamation, so this is not entirely conclusive.

Another view that is taken on the preaching, is that the spirit of Christ preached to the unrepentant people of Noah’s generation through Noah’s lips (Grudem, 1988:158-9). This view is somewhat problematic, because it does not account for the ‘prison’ reference, and as we will also shortly see, is problematic due to the understanding of the word ‘spirit’.

Just as there are issues with the verb, ‘preach’ there are similar difficulties with those to whom Jesus preached, the ‘spirits’ (1 Pet 3:19). In the Greek, the term used in this verse is pneuma. Usually this word is not used in an unqualified way to refer to the spirits of people, psyche is the usual word for speaking of the spirits of the dead (Jobes, 2005:250-1). It is also worth noting that no where in scripture is the place of the dead (Sheol, Hades, Tartarus) described as ‘prison’ (Jobes, 2005:243).

Another interpretation that has been offered are that these pneumata are fallen angels, or the offspring of the angels who slept with human women before the flood (Jobes, 2005:251). In this context, ‘prison’ is understood to represent “in spatial terms God’s restraining power over [the spirits]” (Jobes, 2005:244).

A further problem exists; many people who support the descensus view connect 1 Pet 3:19 with 1 Pet 4:6. In the English translation the verb “preach” appears, and in both there is a reference to “spirits” or to “the dead” which to English speaking ears sounds connected. As discussed earlier, there are two verbs in Greek for preach, kēryssō and euangelizomai. In 1 Pet 3:19, the verb kēryssō is used, and in 4:6 euangelizomai is used. Thus the link is not as strong as it appears in the English (Jobes, 2005:271-2). To compound this, the words “spirits” (pneumata) 3:19 and “the dead” (nekrois) are not synonymous in Greek (Jobes, 2005:272).

The 1 Enoch Parallel
This leaves us with the question of what to do with these verses! Jobes suggests that a more appropriate interpretation can be made by referring to the tradition of Enoch preaching to the imprisoned spirits from the time of Noah (2005:244). The book of 1 Enoch describes a scenario where after Enoch went to be with God, he was talking to the fallen angels who requested that he intercede with God for them, and the children they had had with human women. Enoch does this, and descends to them again with a response from God, “You will have no peace”.
Jobes argues that Peter uses this story, which is well known amongst his readers from Asia Minor
[2], to encourage them of

…the sweeping scope of the efficacy of Christ’s victory in his resurrection and ascension, …that Christ’s resurrection and ascension have dealt with even the primordial evil of fallen angels in uncountable prior centuries of human history, then Christ is victorious over all evil-even the most depraved-for all time (Jobes, 2005:258).

Despite all of this, the major themes of 1 Pet 3:19 and 4:6 remain that of the efficacy of Jesus’ victory. In 1 Pet 3:19 this is over the fallen angels, in 4:6 this is over death itself. It should be understood as “the expression of the universal significance of Jesus’ vicarious death under the curse” (Pannenberg, 2002:306).

Christological Implications
Christological Heresy

Leaving aside the exegetical problems with the 1 Peter passages in sustaining this view of the descensus view, there are some Christological issues that come out. As was identified in the fourth century, it presents an interesting question on the separation of the divine/human in the process of the descent. The question arises, where was Jesus’ soul/spirit during this period? If his body was dead in the tomb, where was “the rest” of him? Added to this the difficulty of “God dying”, it contributed to the view that Jesus’ soul/spirit was divine, and so that it was just his body (the “human part”) that died (Connell, 2001:268).

As Aquinas points out though, “although when Christ died, his soul was separated from his body, neither soul nor body was separated from the person of the Son of God” (quoted in Connell, 2001:273). So this does not present too much of a problem. Just as we maintain that in life Jesus was at once human and divine, so in his death he would remain both human and divine, and the “parts” of his nature would be as any other human’s would in death. “Christ had to remain, with his soul, in Hades for as long as his body lay in the tomb” (von Balthasar, 1990:164).

Soteriological Implications
One of the most captivating implications of the descensus view is the picture it paints of the expansiveness of Christ’s saving work. From our human perspective it can be hard to understand what God does with people who lived before Christ, or have not heard the gospel before they died. After all God says that it is his will that none should perish (2 Pet 3:9). But he also says that if people do not hear the gospel, they cannot believe, and cannot be saved (Rom 10:14). If we take the descensus as giving people a post-mortem opportunity to hear the gospel, it tells us that people can be saved even if they did not live after Christ, and have an opportunity to hear the gospel.

The scripture is clear that no one was declared righteous before God by obeying the Law (Rom 3:20), and that salvation comes through the gospel (Rom 1:16). Yet there were people who lived before Christ that we see in Revelation are with God. The historical problem answered by the descensus was while the Law and the prophets testify to Jesus, did they provide enough of the gospel for salvation? The descensus tells us that yes, Christ did all that was necessary for everyone, in all times and places to be saved.

While we may dismiss the descensus interpretation of 1 Pet 3:19; 4:6 as mythological, as with all myths it teaches us something important. That Christ’s death and resurrection affects “…the whole created world and our stewardship for the earth. …the Easter transformation includes the whole world.” (O’Collins, 2004:12) The Eastern Orthodox icons that depict Adam and Eve being delivered from the dead by Christ shows vividly “…that the resurrection is not only an individual victory for Christ but also the saving event for all the world.” (O’Collins, 2004:12)

Von Balthasar puts it eloquently, “Whereas the Western images of Easter always show the risen Christ alone, the East makes us see the soteriological and social aspect of the redemptive work.” (1990:180) Christ’s descent to the dead places an emphasis on the effects of Easter, it is not limited by time or space, “For through Jesus, life enters into the kingdom of death and overcomes its terrible darkness” (Ryan, 1997: 18).

Incarnational Implications
We speak of the importance of Christ’s incarnation, of the Son of God coming to be one of us. To live as we live, and to redeem us almost by having solidarity with us. It seems though that in a spiritualised understanding of the descent, we lose something of Christ’s solidarity with us, that his shared experience with us, was not only in life but also in death.

It is a scary thing for us to contemplate death. Even in Christian circles, we do not seem to know quite what to do with death. Death is closed to us, and we do not know what awaits us. It is comforting to know that we will go to be with the Lord, but still that leaves the actual process of dying.

However, we need not fear, as in Christ’s descent to the dead he “fill[ed] that realm too with the light of his resurrection into eternal life. With that, the night of death becomes the stillness heralding the dawn of the resurrection” (Moltmann, 2005:154). God is present with the dead in Christ, God is present with us through death. This is the ultimate reassurance. Without the descent, we know that He awaits us “on the other side”, but that leaves us with the journey in between (Connell, 2001:262-3). The descent gives voice to the love of God for the dead, in an expressive metaphor (Connell, 2001:267).

Community Implications
One perhaps odd implication is that the dead are no longer “dead” in the way they were before. If they have been led forth from death in the way described in the descent narrative, then we have community with them as much as with our living Christian brothers and sisters. “In effect, the distance separating the two realms is being shortened and a powerful bond being solidified between the living and the dead” (Stotnicki, 2006:94).

Perhaps this is what the writer of Hebrews was referring to when he spoke of the “cloud of witnesses” (12:1) after speaking at length of the Old Testament saints in Hebrews 11. It might also make some preliminary sense of Paul’s comments in 1 Cor. 15:29-30 about being “baptised for the dead”. Although it is an exceedingly uncomfortable idea for many Protestants, maybe this gives some credence to the Catholic practise of asking Saints to pray for us.

Perhaps this is what von Balthasar is getting at when he says, “…that a heavenly shimmer of light, of faith, love, hope, has ever illuminated the ‘abyss’- …[Christ] took, by substitution, that whole experience upon himself” (von Balthasar, 1990:168). If that is so, life and indeed death will never be the same again.

It is difficult to divorce from the descensus view its beautiful theological implications. Due to this, despite the scarcity of direct scriptural support, it is desperately difficult, heartbreaking even, to tear oneself away from its stunning imagery of the “universal offer and scope of salvation” (Jobes, 2005:250). Even if it is a myth, behind it is a truth of breathtaking beauty, that of all the powers of evil being vanquished and yielding to Christ (von Balthasar, 1990:151). Yet these are themes that also come out in the Enoch parallel interpretation. What the descent teaches us, without perhaps giving us a purely historical account, is the truth of the magnitude of Christ’s victory.

Barth, K. (1936). Credo. Aberdeen: Hodder & Stoughton.

Chrysostom, J. (n.d.). ‘Paschal Homily’ in The Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia. Available Internet: ( (8th May 2008)

Connell, M. F. (2001). Descensus Christi ad Inferos: Christ's descent to the dead. Theological Studies 62:262-282

Cross, L., Arendarcikas, B., Cooke, B. and Leach, J. (2006). 'Anastasis' icon, text, and Theological vision. In Australian EJournal of Theology 7. ( (8th May 2008)

Erickson, M. J. (2000). Did Jesus Really Descend to Hell? Christianity Today 74

Grudem, W. (1988). 1 Peter: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press.

James, M.R. (Trans). (1924). The Gospel of Nicodemus, or Acts of Pilate. Available Internet: ( (8th May 2008)

McNamara, R. F. (1994). Hell is harrowed, alleluia! America 170(16):16-17

Moltmann, J. (2005). The blessing of hope: The theology of hope and the full gospel of life. Journal of Pentecostal Theology 13(2):147-161.

Oakes, E. T. (2007). The Internal Logic of Holy Saturday in the Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. International Journal of Systematic Theology 9(2):184-199.

O’Collins, G. (2004). The Second Adam: The new Adam brings the blessings of grace and eternal life. America 10-12.

Pannenberg, W. (2002). Jesus – God and Man. London: SCM Press.

Ryan, J. (1997). The Descent into Hell: Abandonment or a victory over death? Commonweal 124(7):17-18.

Stotnicki, A. (2006). God’s prisoners: Penal confinement and the creation of purgatory. Modern Theology 22(1):85-110.

Von Balthasar, H. U. (1990). Mysterium Paschale: The Mystery of Easter. Worchester, UK: T&T Clark Ltd.


[1] It should be noted that there is a distinct difference between the Hebraic view of “Sheol” which is where everyone went after death. There was no understanding of a separate destiny after death for the righteous as opposed to the wicked. This view of Sheol was altered in Christian thinking by later Persian and Hellenistic views on the afterlife (von Balthasar, 1990:161). However it is important to understand that Hebrew thinking on Sheol was more concerned with the condition of the dead rather than their location (von Balthasar, 1990:162-3). This is important as many theologians see Hell as the state of being ‘forsaken by God’ or ‘separated from God’ (Barth, 1936:93-4).
[2] There is archaeological evidence from the Asia Minor area that shows that Peter’s readers would have been aware of the content of the stories about Noah and Enoch. There are coins showing the flood, and there are four extant versions of the flood story indigenous to the Asia Minor area (Jobes, 2005:251).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Patience and Boredom

I think my biggest problem with patience is boredom. If there is something that I am looking forward to and am emotionally engaged with, or I see that life could be better once something happens, then the biggest sense of boredom with where I am now sets in.

Someone I love often says, "It's something to look forward to". Which would have to be the complete antithesis of how I view life. I don't know, to say "it's something to look forward to" seems to suggest that there won't be anything after that to look forward to... But apart from Jesus returning, and Him wiping every tear from our eyes, there will ALWAYS be something else to look forward to.

Which leads me to my eschatological point. I think all of life is lived in this patience/boredom tension. What theologians call the "here but not yet" of the Kingdom. I think the Christian life is bound up in the "Jesus is coming back yay! BUT WHY NOT NOW???" tension.

See now impatience sounds kinda holy! I'm not impatient, I just want Jesus to come back soon!! ;-)

God bless,

Thursday, May 15, 2008

God of the Second-hand

I have recently been looking into how to sell some stuff of mine that I don't need anymore. This isn't really something I've done before, as I think I've really absorbed the 'throw it away, buy a new one' ethic of our society, which is just materialism gone nuts, and is most certainly a product of the advertising industry. After all, it is more profitable for the various companies if you buy things new, than if you buy second hand.

I've decided this is really rather sad, because the items that I am wanting to sell are not without value. There is an iMate which has hardly been used, and some jewellery, which to replace would cost $1800. However, when I got a quote from a jeweller they advised me that they only pay 10% of market value.

Anyways, this has all lead me to think about how God is really the God of the second-hand. As Christians we come to Him second-hand. The world's owned us for a while, banged us up good and proper, we're worse for wear, and in severe need of a clean up. And yet God looks at us, and instead of saying, "meh, I think I'll just toss it and buy a new one" He has paid the ultimate price for us, through Christ. Not only has He made that investment in us, He is not content to just own us in the state that we come to Him, but He fixes us up and makes us all pretty (by which of course I mean He conforms us to Christ's image).

Another example of getting outside this throw away culture in my life, was that I recently had some repairs done on a blue topaz ring I own. I bought it after reading Liza Bevere's book "Fight Like a Girl". In there she uses blue topaz as an illustration for the refining process that we go through in adversity. Apparently when topaz is dug up out of the ground it is a murky brown colour, its only when it is thrown in the fire that it turns blue and pretty. When I read that it was about a month before my divorce went through and I really really needed to know that God was using that situation in my life to bring about something good. I think I would have died of the pain otherwise. I've worn it ever since as a reminder and a testimony of God's faithfulness.

About six weeks ago one of the claws on it broke off. Now in the past that probably would have been the end of it. It would have gone in the drawer, never to be seen again. But this time, because someone I knew had previously recommended a jeweller who was good at repairs and alterations I thought why not have a crack at this restoration bizo.

I got the ring back yesterday. The repair was about $12. And as well as fixing the broken claw, the jeweller had polished the ring up so much that it looks better than when I first bought it. Life has been / is quite tough at the moment. Lots of good things happening, but unemployment is causing a certain level of stress. Given that historically this ring has symbolised for me God refining me, having it broken and then fixed, and coming out looking better than it started, I found a reassuring reminder of God's faithfulness.

This has been a bit rambling. I guess I really have two points. We have a throw away culture, we even throw away people. God isn't like that. He buys second-hand, and then He is in the continual business of restoration. Not just once, but He maintains His investment and continues to restore us as we get a little bit broken again.

God bless,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Why is practicality optional for women's clothing???


I study in Ringwood, where it is jolly freezing. It's like Ringwood has its own weather system, at least 10 degrees colder than the rest of Melbourne. The heating at college is inadequate (and I'm being nice by not picking a stronger adjective there), so much so I end up wearing my winter coat and scarf inside the classroom to keep warm. The place is so cold that we are gaining our own penguin colony. Well, maybe not quite, but you get the idea.

I have made suggestions to the SRC that this should now be top of the priority list since they have sorted out the abysmal coffee situation in the last few weeks by installing a Lavazza coffee machine (Mmmm!). But I'm resigned to the fact that this will probably only happen when I graduate in 2012.

But bearing in mind how chilly it's going to get, and is already getting, I set off yesterday to buy some warm clothing so that I do not come down with hypothermia mid-Christology lecture. Now my wonderful boyfriend has these really warm Bonds hoodies, and knowing that Bonds makes hoodies for chicks as well, I thought awesome, that'll do the trick.

So I set off to Kmart to check 'em out, only to discover that the men's ones have nice polar fleece lining (thus their warmth) but the ladies ones DON'T!!

This to me is beyond illogical. Firstly, blokes have a larger muscle mass than women which means that doing absolutely NOTHING they burn more calories, thus producing more body heat. So they start out with a biological advantage. Secondly, then you add the Bonds polar fleeced hoodie and they are all set. Compared to us ladies who start out with the disadvantage of producing less body heat and THEN add a thin and flimsy Bonds ladies' hoodie that does NOTHING to keep us warm.

Oh, but that's alright, because they had a women's "Vintage Style" hoodie which was a bit longer. Vintage style my left foot!!

What I want to know is this, why is practicality optional in women's clothing??????

Ah yes, because of fashion, because we want to look "good". Personally, I don't think I look particularly "good" rolling on the floor in the foetal position trying to warm up my torso so that blood returns to my extremities so that I regain feeling in my hands and feet, even if I am wearing the latest must-have.

I think it's all a ploy. The reason we are taught that we would want to look "good" is so that men will be attracted to us. But then when they get their hands on us, they just want the clothes off anyway. So here's my conspiracy theory, it's all part of a ploy to get us to the point that we think, "hey these clothes are so impractical, we may as well forget wearing them all together, afterall we'll be just as warm in the nude." Grrrrr... It's all an attempt to get to a place where practicality isn't optional for women's clothing, but that women's clothing IS optional!!!!

Which is all cos of the fashion industry being in bed with the porn industry that has turned women into sexual objects. Men be warned, this whole "metro-sexual" thingy that seems to be happening will result in the same thing for you. Say goodbye to clothes that are practical, that actually cover the things that should be covered, and keep warm/cool the bits that need it. You'll be wearing lace knickers before you know it!

Ah for the days when men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri!

God bless,


Friday, May 9, 2008

The Glory of God

Next week I have to present a five minute topical sermon in my Public Communications class at college. So I thought I’d practise my content on you first! I will be speaking about “The Glory of God”, and yes I know what you are thinking, that’s a big topic to chew off in five minutes. But ya know, never let it be said that I’m shy of a challenge!!

We use the term “glory of God” a lot in Christian circles. It’s a bit of a holy catch-all that we throw around when we need to feel spiritual. We talk about doing things “for the Glory of God” and if we are of the Pentecostal persuasion then we may talk about “the gllllorrry in the saaanncctuaaary”! Even in the bible the term sometimes seems to be used a bit lightly. For example when Jude is signing off his letter, he includes the following comment, “…to the only God our Saviour be GLORY, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord… Amen” (1:25) which in context just seems to be a holy way of saying “Bye, catch ya later”.

So yes, it’s a bit of an abstract and esoteric term. And we do tend to use it quite lightly. Interestingly, however, in Hebrew the word for glory (kabowd) actually means “HEAVINESS of honour, splendour, dignity” so this is perhaps something we should not take lightly!! I want to take a quick Trinitarian look at the glory of God and then look at how it is relevant to the way we live our lives.

#1 – The Glory of the Father
One of the first revelations of God’s glory recorded in the bible was to Moses in Exodus 33:18-20; 34:5-7:

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

It is interesting that when Moses requests that God would show him His glory, that what Moses gets in response is primarily a revelation of God’s character. God reveals Himself as merciful, kind, slow to anger, loving, faithful, forgiving and just.

This pattern of a display of God's glory being coupled with a revelation of His character is repeated throughout the bible. For example, in 2 Chron 7 at the dedication of the Temple, the glory manifested, and there was a statement of God's character in the praises of the people, that He is "good and his love endures forever". Similarly, when Isaiah sees the Lord in Isaiah 6, the statement of God's character is in the praises of the angels, who sang, "Holy, holy, holy".

So I think we can say that, the Glory of God is the Revelation of His character.

#2 - Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God's glory
Jesus is of course the ultimate revelation of God's glory. In Jn 1:14 it says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” And in this verse we see again the coupling of the glory of God with His character -- in this case being full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 1:3 further expands this idea when it says that Christ is, “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being”. In this we see that Christ is the pinnacle of God's glory, and that that is by exactly representing God's being, His person, His character. And so in Jesus we see a life that is truly glorifying to God, through being a REVELATION OF GOD'S BEING (CHARACTER).

#3 – Our partnership with the Spirit for God’s Glory
As I promised, this is a bit of a trinitarian look at God's glory, and so having discussed the glory of God in light of the Father and the Son, let's look at the Holy Spirit. In 2 Cor 3 there is an extended section on the glory of the ministry of the Spirit, over that of the Law (verses 7-9; 18):

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

And so we see that the ministry of the Spirit is glorious because He is transforming us into His image, that is so that God's character (in this case His righteousness) is REVEALED IN US. So that is to say that we are a revelation of God's glory to the degree that we reveal God's character -- and this is done in partnership with and dependence on the Spirit.

So the question is how are we transformed so that we reveal God's character, and bring Him glory? This is picked up in 2 Cor 3:18, it is by contemplating (or in some translations beholding) the glory of the Lord -- through this we are transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory.

So that's pretty cool huh? So now when we talk about doing things "for the Glory of God" we have a firm frame of reference for what we are talking about. What we mean is that we are doing that thing in a way that reveals God's character. I personally think that's pretty exciting. First of all because it's so simple! But also because it seems so worthwhile, what could be more meaningful than glorifying God by being a means by which He reveals His character? How much more pleasant a way to be transformed so that we can do this, than by beholding His glory, His character? And then how gracious is He that He not only calls us to glorify Him, but through His Spirit actually enables us to do it??

So I want to leave you with a few questions:
  • What have you learnt about God's character by beholding His glory?
  • How can you bring God glory by reflecting those characteristics of His?
  • What are some situations where you specifically want to bring glory to God?
  • Who are some people to whom you want to show the glory of God?
  • What are some areas in your life that do not display the glory of God?
  • How can you, by working with the Holy Spirit, display God's character in these situations, to those people, in those areas of your life?

God bless,

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Purity, Celibacy, Chastity

Interestingly, I've noticed that the times I get the most hits on my blog is when I discuss adultery. I mentioned this to my Dad the other day, and he was like, "You are probably getting the porno traffic"... Hmmm... Somehow I think this discussion of purity, celibacy and chastity isn't going to register so high on the types of words people search for on google... ;-)

I read this earlier today and have been thinking about David's question about what purity is... I think in Christian circles the word 'purity' has become a synonym for 'celibacy'. The majority of its usage seems to be in discussing with particularly teenagers why they should save themselves for marriage. And in all honesty this discussion is probably surrounded with a fair amount of panic for those on the receiving end, it's the "ahh, man... that's like so harsh! what if I never marry, will I like die a VIRGIN". And that's even if it's not said.

However, I think maybe 'chastity' (monogamous sexual expression with our spouse (i.e. person of the opposite gender to whom we are married)) is a better synonym for purity. I think it's a lot more useful as a definition because it applies to unmarried and married people.

For unmarried people doesn't have the total "you can NEVER have sex, you will most probably die a virgin" connotations that celibacy has. It has lovely promise of future godly possibilities ala Song of Songs (why does nobody preach on SoS??? It'd kill the theology of anyone who reckons God made sex just for procreation or that God thinks sex is dirty etc).

For married people it's a reminder that marriage isn't a get-out-of-jail-free-card for lust. On the Stuff Christians Like blog I remember Jon mentioning with disgust the idea in the book "Every man's battle" that men should use their wives like methadone. His comment being, "if we're supposed to love our wives like Christ loved the church, did Christ ever get a 'fix' off the church?"

In defining chasity earlier, I used the term 'sexual expression' for want of a better phrase, to cover a multitude of thoughts/behaviours. (Much as the NT uses the greek 'porneia' to cover a multitude of sexual sins!) According to the sermon on the mount, the kind of faithfulness in regard to our sexuality that God calls us to in marriage, is that we do not even have lustful thoughts about people to whom we aren't married. So purity--chastity therefore, is total sexual faithfulness to our spouse; thought, word & deed.

WIthin the confines of marriage, have fun with each other, read Song of Songs in The Message if you need some hints... Yup it really does say that IN THE BIBLE...

God bless,

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Child Sacrifice

I was reading Psalm 106 this morning. It's a record of God's faithfulness to Israel inspite of their unfaithfulness to Him. There are a couple of verses (37-38) that caught my attention in the middle:
They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.

Child sacrifice is really a low-light of the Old Testament. The nations surrounding Israel and Judah practised it (see for example 2 Kings 3:27 where the King of Moab sacrificed his son), and many of the corrupt Kings of Israel and Judah also practised child sacrifice to various idols (see for example Ahaz in 2 Kings 16 and Manasseh in 2 Kings 21).

I think it is really easy for us to shake our heads and wonder how could they do this to their own children. I think it is really easy for us to think that we are better than they were, that we are a more civilised people and that we would never ever do anything like this.

But I think we have to stop and look at some of our modern practises and look at whether we too practise child sacrifice. The gods we sacrifice to may not have interesting Canaanite names like Baal or Asherah, but I think we do still have gods that we sacrifice our children to. They are called "convenience" or "a woman's right to choose", "no consequence casual sex" etc etc.

Abortion is the most obvious modern day example of child sacrifice within particularly the western world. We have made up excuses for why it's ok, but an unborn child is still just that-- an unborn child. In the first 10-12 weeks after conception, while they still weigh between 4 and 14 grams:
  • The child's eyes have developed their colour
  • Nearly all their organs have formed and are functioning
  • Their fingers and toes have developed
  • Their hair and nails have started to grow
  • Their genitals are distinctively male/female
  • The muscles in their intestinal walls have started to practise the contractions that will allow them to digest food
  • Their vocal chords have begun to form
  • Their liver starts to function
  • The pancreas starts to produce insulin

There is some non-disturbing photos here and some rather disturbing ones here of murdered (aborted) children. Both show how early you can see that they really are human, they are not just "fetuses" or "lumps of tissue".

Abortion is modern day western child sacrifice. But I don't think it stops there. Forms of contraception that are potentially abortive also amount to child sacrifice. Barrier methods that prevent conception are ok, but those that act also in the event of conception to stop the child from implanting in the uterine wall amount to the same as abortion. This means the pill. The normal everyday pill as well as the so-called morning after pill. The normal pill works in two stages, it firstly tries to prevent conception by preventing ovulation. If this fails it uses a secondary method to prevent pregnancy -- and this is where the issue is. The secondary method is to thicken the mucus of the uterine wall so that the child cannot implant. This means that if a child is conceived they die. The morning after pill uses only the second method to prevent pregnancy.

In all of this, I do not mean to point fingers. I have in the past used the pill not knowing, or perhaps not wanting to know, the truth about it. My purpose in discussing this is just to draw attention to behaviours where we might hold one view when it's someone else doing it (i.e. condemning those in the bible who practised child sacrifice) and yet permit the same behaviour under another name, with some more modern reasons (excuses) behind it. I also want to draw attention to the fact that there are also parallels in the motivation. Whenever we do something outside of the will of God, that we think will make our lives better in some way, we are committing idolatry. We are saying that whatever it is that we are doing, will better serve our needs than God. We are placing (in this case) convenience, so-called women's "right to choose", "no consequence casual sex" in the place of Jesus, and sacrificing our children to those gods. When the Israelites practised child sacrifice it was to placate Baal or Asherah, we still sacrifice our children to idols-- the idols just have different names.

Let's return to Psalm 106. In all of this, despite our rebellion and sinfulness, God is still faithful. God still loves us, and there is forgiveness for those who repent. Jesus' death on the cross even deals with this sin of child sacrifice. There is real and total forgiveness, the bible says in Psalm 103:12, "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." This is not about condemnation, this is about renewing our minds, and seeing this from God's perspective. It's only when we do that that we have a chance to change our behaviour and our choices. Truth can be hard, and frankly I had a bit of an argument with God about writing this post because it is heavy and rather uncomfortable. But in Jesus truth comes hand-in-hand with GRACE.

God bless,