Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A Brave New World

Okay, time to up my game. I read a lot of ready good blogs and then some thoroughly pointless and vain ones. I do not want my blog to be a big, loud "look at me, aren't I funny". I want it to mean something. It might be about me at times, but hopefully in a way that is helpful, encouraging and thought-provoking for others. Hopefully, it may even make you smile from time to time, but not in a way intended to make myself look good, or (even worse) make others look bad. I want to add a useful meaningful voice to the blogosphere. Let's see how I get on.
The future starts here....

Monday, 25 January 2010

A godly husband

I was listening to a sermon from Mars Hill's Men's Conference on Men & Marriage. The speaker said that when he was a little younger his wife was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, one of his children, a son, was 20 years old and said to him, "Dad, if mum doesn't make it through this, you could go one of two ways. You could press on in with God, trust Him and follow Him through this, or you could lose it, turn your back on God and have nothing further to do with Him. I feel like you are 50/50 at the moment and could go either way. I need more from you than that. I need to know that you are going to be okay, no matter what happens".
Aside from wondering what kind of pair of brass balls that kid must have had to speak so candidly to his father, I now wonder how I would contend with such a desparate situation. I know of a man, who I cannot claim to be close friends with, whose wife is now losing her battle with cancel. She may pass away any day and his blog is tracking their experiences as she prepares to go to be with Jesus. His most recent post ends with "I intend to escort this woman of God to the gates of glory, as best as I am able". That's how a man of God conducts himself. I am utterly in awe at his courage, faith, strength and godliness and can only pray that should I find myself walking the same path I might have a fraction of such character.
God bless you Craig Mackay.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


I think that is important to dig as deep as is warranted into the books we read, the films we watch, the music we listen to and so forth. Some of what is out there may not ultimately prove to have much artistic merit or subtextual content, however we should think critically about these things as far as possible.
There is a place for realtively mindless diversion, as we all need to switch off from time to time and simply be entertained. Watching Con Air may fall under this heading. However, focussing on films for the moment, they all present value systems and world views that we need to evaluate. It may be something like a political bias, or a negative view of a certain gender or race. It may be objectifying women, championing infidelity or undermining Biblical truth. We may filter what we watch to a sufficient degree to ensure that these values do not infiltrate our own thinking or mindset, but we must take the time to weigh these things up. What do I consider to be the message of that film? What was it trying to say? How might it influence my own thoughts or conduct?
I watched Avatar last night (I know, everyone else has already seen it at least a couple of times) and it has given me a great deal to think about. It would be easy to dismiss it as a load of trippy-hippy tree hugging nonsense with 45 minutes of bombastic fighting at the end, but in fact that is a superficial and inaccurate assessment in both respects.
The idea of a deity dwelling in creation and connecting all living things is hardly novel and I do not think James Cameron would try to suggest that it is. The respect for nature that the Na'vi demonstrate and their sense of connectedness with creation could be swatted aside as paganism, however I think that without wanting to endorse a pantheistic doctrine, there is much to be considered about our own approach to creation. Do we think of it as a possession to be taken, used and discarded at our whim? Are we stewarding the creation that God has made for us and with which he has entrusted us? We must not worship creation, however we must look after it and use it responsibly. This should have an impact on our views on intensive farming methods, strip-mining, forest conservation, short term profit making enterprises at the expense of sustainability. We share this earth with all that God has made and although he placed us in charge of it, it is no more appropriate for me to misuse that authority than it would be for me to be a domineering husband or an abusive father.
The Na'vi say that they are born twice. Once bodily and then again into the Na'vi people. How similar to our own belief that we must be born again. We are born in the flesh at birth and then when we are called by God and saved we are born again by the spirit into the family of God. In the same way as Jake was able to say that he was now one of the Na'vi and referred to the other Na'vi as his brothers and sisters, so too do we enter into the family of Christ, becoming brothers and sisters with all of those who have likewise been saved by the grace of God. God gives us the spirit of sonship and by the Spirit we cry "Father!"
Jake found it an increasing wrench to return to his own body and felt increasingly more at home as a Na'vi. Although we do not "return" to our former state after we have been saved, our new life in Christ and by the Holy Spirit so quickly becomes so natural and so familiar that our former life apart from God increasingly feels like a bad dream from which we have awoken and all we want to do is remain as we are, with God forever. Which is precisely what He has planned for us.
I could carry on about Iraq allegories, unobtanium vs oil, Dances with Wolves or Pocahontas remakes and the age old imperialist lie of bringing civilisation to the savages, while actually exploiting or persecuting them for commercial gain. These themes are addressed in detail on all manner of secular websites and blogs, so I felt it more constructive to look from the angle I have as a different approach for those interested in such things.