Why Christianity is the MOST fair…

Religious symbols from the top nine organised ...

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I’ve heard it said a lot that Christianity is soooo narrow minded in it’s thinking.

I’m like, really? Narrow minded? Wow… that’s not something I wouldn’t attribute to being a Christian.

Why you may ask?

Here’s my thinking.

If only good people get to heaven… then what does that look like?

I mean we don’t want rapists and murderers there right?

And what about other religions?

Well lets add their thoughts to the mix too shall we just to make it ‘fair’

In his book ‘The Abolition of Man’ C.S. Lewis studied the teachings that are most common i other faiths (from American Indians and Ancient Greeks to Chinese, Jewish and Christianity). He put the common teachings in one end… and at the other end out popped these 8 common teachings.

  1. Don’t harm others
  2. Honour your parents
  3. Be kind to others (especially the elderly)
  4. Always be honest
  5. Don’t lie
  6. Don’t have sex with another persons spouse.
  7. Care for the weak
  8. Put others first
Now looking at that list your could say… “Yeah that’s setting a pretty good standard…”
But here’s the twist… these religions share the common assumption that people will fail these 8 ‘basic’ things. Someone somewhere is gonna fall of the wagon in one of the above teachings.
But like any system… all the religions have ‘get out of jail free’ cards, a way to ‘make up’ for the failures… and that’s where Christianity stands on it’s own.
The other religions work something like this:
  1. There is God(s)
  2. He/they made rules that we need to keep
  3. they’re too hard
  4. Stink… try doing good stuff and see if that works
  5. Good luck with that…
  6. We’ll get back to you and let you know if you have made it into Heaven or not
And here’s the hard reality… we all know we are screw ups.
I mean, haven’t we ALL had to say “sorry” at some point?
Haven’t well all made mistakes?
Christianity works (a little bit) like this:
  1. God is God
  2. He made rules for us to live by
  3. They were too hard
  4. We messed up
  5. God sent his son Jesus to live with us. (Fully God and Fully man)
  6. Jesus kept the rules, (something no one else could do)
  7. He kept the law… he declared Gods law good.
  8. And he took car of the problem in number 4.
We were all going “we’ve messed up what do we do now?” and Jesus did something that the rules (and rule givers) couldn’t do… he paid the price by giving a full and final sacrifice for your sins (our mess ups and sooo much more)
You see Christianity isn’t for good people… people who keep a set of rules…
Salvation is for the forgiven.
Good forgiven people…
Average forgiven people…
Not so good forgiven people…
Even a criminal on the cross who had nothing good to bargain with (line stolen by A. Stanley)
It’s the most fair:
  • EVERYONE is invited
  • EVERYONE gets in the same way
  • EVERYONE can meet the requirement…
You can’t get much fairer than THAT!
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The Great Facebook debate…

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About a week ago I made a dig on Facebook, regarding The All Blacks and the failed Telecom ‘Backing Black’ promotion… it was aimed to be a social experiment (just to see how divided people were on the topic)

What started out as just a ‘dig’ turned into some theological debate and if I was to be honest it was embarrassing day to be a Christian.

Now for the record both sides (of the debate) were correct… it was essentially about words vs actions. (I believe we need to aim somewhere in the middle).

Since the original dig was to be part of a ‘social experiment’ I decided to let it go and see where the rabbit warren was leading too…

And it wasn’t pretty…

Now I usually keep all theological stuff in blogs that way  people are just answering to me… and only me… but the debate grew on Facebook… so I let it grow.

The problem with a medium like Facebook is that when you make a comment it’s not to Me (or You) it is to the ‘Facebook Massive’

In hindsight… that was stupid.

However… it was interesting.

Yeah there was name calling (some from me… if I am to be honest) – some extra digs were also made to keep the discussion going.

All the time this debate was going on I had people (all of which weren’t Christians) texting and Private messaging me asking me who these ‘crazy Christians are?’ and someone even made the comment ‘this is why I don’t like Christianity’… and that makes me sad

In the end the debate petered out… with no real ‘winner’.

I have since deleted the post… it was embarrassing on soooo many levels.

What I found interesting is the reaction I had from Christians afterwards.

Some people where saying… “wow that debate kept going” or “why didn’t you end that sooner?” or “I’ve been talking to other people about the debate and we agree that it was embarrassing” – and to all these things I can’t disagree…

So here’s my question…

If we are aiming to live as Christians in a Christian community… then why did I not have one ‘Christian’ private message me and say “Dude you really need to get rid of this thing” or “hey mate this is just getting embarrassing you should stop this…” 

But NO… not even one Christian made that stand.

The ‘Christians’ that chose to make ‘a stand’ were the stand on the Facebook link – to “make a point” or to try and “focus the debate”

So just how close are we as Christians?

Are we willing to pull one another up… in private… or are we just going to continue to make a point in a public forum?

I guess it also brings up another question…

As Christians… how do we use ‘social media’ to spread the Gospel message… with out just ‘making a point’?

I mean anyone can make a point… right?

So how do we use social media to make a change?

 

Album Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘I’m With You’

Red Hot Chili Peppers "I'm With You"

Everyone has been waiting with baited breath for the release of the latest RHCP’s album… the first since the second departure of John Frusciante.

This album was always going to be a new direction for the Chili’s with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer filling in Johns shoes… Long time drummer Chad Smith said in Rolling Stone Magazine “this is a new band. Same name, but it’s a new band.”

This album seems to be to be less about the new guitarist and more about the two members of the band that hold the whole package together… the Rhythm section – Flea and Chad Smith… Anthony Kiedis just does his thing over top, while the new kid Josh makes some really tasty decisions to add to the depth of the sound.

The album starts with “Monarchy of Roses” a Helter skelter of drums and distorted guitar and fuzzy vocals… before breaking into a disillusioned disco sound a bitter sweet symphony of fun and darkness… I can’t help but think of Sound Garden.

The very next song is almost a totally different creature… a clean 80’s infused bass starts the “Factory of Faith” in fact this track can’t get anymore 80’s (it even adds some great cutting wah pedal towards the end of the song)

It’s odd listening to this album… it’s like listening to an album that sounds a bit like the Chili Peppers – there are parts that are classic Chili Peppers and then there is a dark turn that we haven’t seen in the Peppers before… almost more focused… before diving into a musical exploration of sound. A great example of this is the disco dance infused “Look Around”.

It’s refreshing to hear the band trying new sounds with a real Spanish flavour offered with “Did I let you know” complete with trumpet solo… a real foot tapper… but once again… they fool you by busting straight into a song that you would hear as the chase music on Playstation game like ‘Driver’ or ‘Grand theft Auto’.

I’m not sure all of the songs work on this album… and the band certainly are trying to push in areas that they maybe haven’t explored before… but every song has a touch of that  Hot Chili catchy-ness that makes you want to tap your foot… or just stand and dribble in awe.

If you are a big RHCP fan there is enough on this album to keep you happy… if you’re new to the band… you can get your groove on to parts of this album…

This is a new look/new sound Chili Peppers… you may want to taste before you buy because this is new ground… and it’s not all familiar.

Either way you have to feel sorry for Josh Klinghoffer he is either going to be hassled for changing the sound of the RHCP’s or hassled for not being John… lots of weight for young shoulders.

8/10

Seen and Not Heard

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“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” – St. Francis of Assisi

“You say it best when you say nothing at all” – Ronan Keating.

In this day and age it seems that it it far too easy to get Christians all fired up… and all it does is add to the media baiting.

The media puts out to the public a story that it knows will get people who have strong morals upset… and they just wait for someone to bite… they can’t help themselves.

I did a social experiment at work one time when I pinned a whole lot of pictures of meat on the ceiling… people couldn’t help but ask “why have you a whole lot of pictures of meat on the ceiling” to which I replied “They’re high steaks” … and when asked to have them taken down I replied “I can’t the steaks are too high”…

People can’t help but being part of the conversation…

So what happens is this…

The media puts a ‘shocking’ story in front of us -> we jump on it -> and we’re part of the conversation ->Or are we?

It seems more like we’re only adding to the noise and we’re only adding to keeping the story in the media longer… but WE feel good about it because we have made a stand… and we feel good about it because we’re about to chuck a couple of scriptures into the mix.

But here’s the problem (and I’ll use the lyrics of an old Petra song lyric)

“They’ve heard the stories, they’ve heard the lines

But talk is too cheap to change their minds

They want to see some vital signs.

You see we’re happy to make a stand and we’re happy to prove a point… however if we’re not doing it ALL the time, then people only see it as cheap talk.

My brother Jay is currently reading through the book of Romans in the Bible and he reminded me of this verse.

 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

And it’s correct… we should be making a stand in society…

However we need to be careful in doing this because if we are doing this through social media… all we are OFTEN doing is fueling the fire of the debate and conforming to how the world is doing it, the sad part of this is the media then portraits Christians as people who are against everything.

A comment made on a recent debate online from someone who may be on the fringes of faith was this:

“I take it as an affront for zealots to suggest that my and everyone else’s moral compass is somehow broken if we don’t conform to the Christian ideal. Amazing how they always believe everyone else needs saved in some form. Its this attitude that drives people away from religion.”

And to a point he’s right… we as Christians seem to play the “everyone else’s moral compass” too well… and it’s far easier to make a comment or critique than it is to make a change.

So my question is… if we have this amazing story that can save people for ALL eternity… why are we so keen to be the moral police?

It seems to be that we have become the pharisee rather than the salt and light that the world is yearning for.

Lets get into our communities and get our hands dirty… so when we make comments about these things we can actually say “I’m among it changing it… what are you doing?”

Or “that’s not ok… I’m going to push forward and help change that…”

and most importantly in this media focused society… DON’T FOLLOW THE MEDIA BREADCRUMBS…

Christians don’t conform by following the media… THINK about it….

To BE part of the CHANGE… you actually need to CHANGE… the way we do things.

We need to have a voice and there is times when we will need to… but we need to be seen doing these things FIRST.

In closing: I guess the heart of it all is that Christians need to choose their battles… there are things to fight against – poverty, pornography, human rights, community etc… however when we’re just commenting on every ad campaign or dig at the church we’re only gonna look like bigots.

I’ll leave you with these question… what is a BETTER way for Christians to use the social media?

What can we do different in a world that is built around media?

 

Looking out while looking in…

World map showing location of Oceania, (green,...

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I’ve been around a lot of churches in my life… and I have spoken at at few… and I have found one thing to be true for lots of them.

They are either really good at looking after themselves… but they neglect the community…

OR…

They are all for getting out in the community and all about mission but they are really bad at looking after themselves.

Our church recently had two weeks that we called ‘Go Global’ a chance when we can look at what we are doing outside our own country and supporting mission. It was AWESOME to see some of the AMAZING work that people are doing in places like Laos, India and Indonesia.

You see we feel good when we see us lending a hand to things that we see are a need. We look at the plight of Africa with it’s  famine… we see the pictures and we think “I need to help that cause”…

We see pictures of destruction in Canterbury and we think “I should help…”

And for the most part we are really good at chipping in and helping these areas… however I wonder how good are we at looking after those who are closest to us?

The people who may seem like they have it all together… but who’s lives are slowly dying?

The people who we stand to next to at church and sing “All things are possible” when the person standing next to you feels like their life is slowly becoming impossible.

I don’t think we’re that great at looking after each other… it’s often easier for us to help those on the other side of the world because we don’t have to engage… we don’t have to stay long… we can do our part and move on.

But relationship… that’s hard.

Remember when Moses was taking the Israelite people out of Egypt into the promised land?

They spent a good 40 years in the wilderness bickering and complaining… and these were Gods chosen people.

These are the people we’re forgetting about in our society… our neighbors.

We talk about living in community… but if we really looked around we’re not that good at it… we’re only hanging with the people we LIKE, and even then I bet you couldn’t tell me the hard stuff they are currently working through i their lives.

What are you doing to get to know the people next to you, at  work? church? The bus? The plane ride?

Lets change the world…

Yes lets go to ALL Nations…

Yes lets live in slums…

But lets live in our communities… as a part of our communities. 

 

I’m Gonna Be Your Friend.

I’m part of a new Blog site called MADblogs.net (Make a Difference blogs) – Don’t worry this site isn’t going anywhere!

Every time you go to this site and blog or even just view it you are helping a good cause.

This Month it’s helping the plight in Africa.

So it seems only fitting that I link the song by Bob Marley & The Wailers’ 1973 song, ‘High Tide or Low Tide’, accompanied by footage of malnourished children.
About 3.6 million people are at risk of starvation in Somalia and 12 million people across the Horn of Africa, including in Ethiopia and Kenya, the United Nations says.

Donations or downloads of High Tide or Low Tide, for $1.29 will go to the Save the Children appeal for east Africa and used for food, water and medicine.