Month: August 2005

What do we need to know?

Q: What do the scriptures principally teach?
A: The scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

(Question III from the Westminster Shorter Catechism)

Advance to Mayfair

A rather busy Bank Holiday Monday! Went to the church in the morning to help set up the facilities for the Holiday Bible club which is being run this week. After that task was complete, the usual suspects and myself trekked down to Osterley Park to have a picnic, kick a football around and just chill. The weather was glorious and sunny, giving us ample opportunity to enjoy the day. In the evening, we bundled into David and Tim’s house for a couple of games of Monopoly and to watch Troy on DVD. A good relaxing day.

a.m.: Psalm 127 p.m.: Nehemiah 1

There is so much in the Christian life which is dependent on God. From justification, through sanctification and glorification, if God is not behind the work we labour in vain. This doesn’t just apply to spiritual work, but also applies to the everyday mundane works in our lives. If anything this applies more to the everyday tasks of life than to the not so frequent spiritual tasks.

Not just in our own lives, but in the lives of others as we seek to care for those around us. Whether it is in the upbringing of young Christians, defending against the attacks of Satan and the world, or safeguarding the church in general. If God is not defending and safeguarding, our attempts are futile.

Yet, God will watch over his people. He will build them up and protect them. So we are not to fret, working as though it all depended on us. Yes, we are to work diligently as for God, but we are also the realise it is his work and he will do it and bring glory to his name.

Even the youngest child of God can be used by him for his glory. Godly children can be a great blessing, taking the spiritual battle to the enemy and stopping attacks before they surface.

The Island

Saw The Island this evening at the VUE cinema in Staines.

The story is classic sci-fi fayre, with an individual who questions his existence, questions the reality he is presented with and eventually discovers true reality and breaks free from the false reality. Actually I suppose this isn’t just confined to sci-fi, but is also the point of films like American Beauty as well as the more obvious The Matrix.

In this case, set in the not-so-distant future, the film opens with an individual who is part of a small band of survivors, who have found a safe abode after a global catastrophe leaves the rest of the earth uninhabitable. He begins to question his surroundings, indeed his whole existence. It turns out he is a genetic clone of a human being living in a perfectly habitable Los Angeles and has been bred for the sole purpose of spare parts.

This film raises all sorts of ethical questions about cloning. Would genetic clones be classed as human beings? What is it to be human? Would they have a soul?

The relevance of this fiction with the world around us today is stark, with cloning technology developing and raising these questions before anyone even thinks it through. Even more dismaying is that society justifies the killing of thousands of unborn human beings every year with the same arguments use to justify the killing of human beings in the film.

A film worth watching, with a good mix of explosions, crashes, guns and a spot of intelligent thought thrown in for good measure.


Lately, it seems, I’ve been talking with those around me about toleration. It always seems to be that most people think toleration is only possible with acceptance. The premise that, in terms of faith, everyone is right, and no one can say anyone is wrong. That all truth is relative. Therefore, their thinking concludes that Christians are right, Muslims are right, Buddhists are right, atheists are right etc. (I think you get the picture…hopefully).

Now, most people I converse with know I’m a Christian – whatever they think that word means. Some even know I’m an evangelical, even if they confuse the term with evangelistic (not that the two are mutually exclusive). What they do understand is that all Christians are commanded to love everyone, although the possible motivation for that love is a mystery to some and possibly misunderstood completely by others. So far so good they think, as this doesn’t appear to contradict with what they think about tolerance.

Imagine their surprise when I say that truth is absolute and that Jesus Christ is the only truth and that conversely, all other religions are fundamentally false. If the bible is true and Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, nothing else can save us from our sin. Not only have I not accepted what other religions say as truth, I have emphatically stated absolute truth. This confuses many – how can I not accept the beliefs of others as truth and still love them? How is it possible for me to have friends who are atheists, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists etc.?

Apart from the logical absurdity of the concept of all truth being relative, why should I have to accept that what other’s believe is true, especially when what they believe directly contradicts what I believe? On the flip side, why shouldn’t I love those who disagree with me? Why do people think we should all agree before we can live in peace with each other? After all, if you really think about it, people disagree on lots of things without coming to blows. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and should be free to disagree with me and be allowed to say so. This doesn’t mean I should beat anyone who disagrees with me.

So toleration of other’s beliefs is not the same as accepting their beliefs as truth. Similarly, not accepting someone else’s belief doesn’t mean I should go out and physically attack them.

After a short chat with most people, they’ve changed their ideas on tolerance and acceptance. I do wonder why they thought like that in the first place though…

The law

Q: What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A: The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.

Q: What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
A: The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience, was the moral law.

Q: Wherein is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A: The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.

Q: What is the sum of the ten commandments?
A: The sum of the ten commandments is, To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbour as ourselves.

(Questions XXXIX, XXXX, XXXXI and XXXXII from the Westminster Shorter Catechism)

Pooh personality…

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

The end of poverty?

I was looking at the literature distributed by Kisima and Worldvision concerning child sponsorship and it reminded me of my trip to Kenya, and some of the things I learnt whilst out there.

At the time, the world (well, the media anyway) was in a frenzy about Africa. The G8 were convening to discuss dropping the debts of a number of third-world countries, Bob Geldof was doing his thing with Live8 and the BBC were showing a series of programmes on Africa. It seemed like the problems Africans had to deal with every day might be solved. Well, if not everything, at least poverty.

Speaking with the average Kenyan though made me realise we need to do a whole lot different. (Well, maybe more as well, but certainly do something different to what was proposed). Yes, it’s all very well having the profile of Africa lifted, to have government debt cancelled and to receive large amounts of aid. Yes, these things are good, but if we don’t do something different, we’ll always be doing it, and poverty will always be with us – I say us, as it affects us, but it affects the Africans a bit more! Even in Kenya, which is one of the more prosperous nations on the continent, poverty was endemic.

To be blunt, most governments/administrations in Africa are corrupt. Yes, they can’t spend large amounts of money on public works as they’re saddled with huge debts, but even without the debts, would they spend it on public works? The Africans I spoke to had no idea what was happening in the developed world concerning them. When I informed them, they seemed mostly ambivalent, not really thinking it would affect them.

The Bible says “for the worker deserves his wages” Lk 10:7. The endemic poverty is largely because we in the developed world don’t trade on a level playing field. Many of the crops produced in the developing world aren’t sold in the developed world for what they’re worth, if they even make it to our local Tesco! EU trade tariffs and subsidies see to that. It’s even been known for crops produced in the developed world, under huge government subsidy and vastly overproduced, to be dumped in the developing world for almost nothing, effectively putting local producers out of business overnight.

Instead of dropping the debts of governments, would it not be better to pay a proper price for the goods we receive, produced by the people of Africa, that the money would end up in their pockets and not disappear in administration? This way the wealth gets to the people, to the employees of these farms and to their customers.

Instead of giving one off charitable donations, would it not be better to give continuously to a known cause which would “teach a man to fish”, teach a girl to become a physicist, teach a boy to become an agriculturalist, teach Africans many useful skills which they can use to improve their lot?

Will we search out fair-traded goods in the future or just sit in front of the TV with our “cheaply” produced food and say how terrible everything is?

Will we wait until the next disaster happens before we put our hands in our pockets, or will we search out long term projects to contribute to?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying what I’ve said will solve the problems of Africa overnight. Just a glimpse at Niger, Darfur, Somalia, Congo, Zimbabwe to name but a few help me to realise the problems are complex. I think the continued attitude of the developed world of aid, aid and more aid is not the answer though.

Does anything I’ve said make any sense?

a.m.: Genesis 15 p.m.: Nehemiah 1

The promises of God in his word are many. For the believer, many of these promises are a hope and comfort. For Abram, God promised he would be the seed of a great nation, even though Abram had only asked for an offspring. He did more than Abram either asked, or even imagined! God’s grace could be seen through how he gave Abram more than he deserved.

Eventually, as history unfolds, God’s promise is shown to be trustworthy and true, as the Israelite nation is founded and God’s plan of salvation is revealed.

God can also be seen to be unchanging and good. As such, we can trust God at his word, his promises, and know that he will, and has (effectively!), fulfilled them.

One or two dice?

Another evening playing a board game, although at Ally’s this time! Risk was the flavour of the day and, to be honest, one of my favourite board games. Brimming with smugness after yesterday’s victory, and a subsequent 5-1 frame victory over David H at snooker this afternoon, I proceeded to occupy Australasia, only to be ousted by David H who had placed a vast army in Siam. The eventual outcome was slightly surprising to me, with Ally and Miriam becoming the architects of world domination. I say surprising, as usually, being girls, they aren’t so aggressive and have an unfortunate leaning towards mercy, allowing the boys to regain a foothold. So all credit to them for sticking to their guns. Ah well, my early exit gave me a chance to watch As Good As It Gets on the telly.

Go back to Old Kent Road

Spent a rather enjoyable evening playing Monopoly round Dave’s with some of the usual suspects. After rather a shakey start, with all the properties in each set being split amongst different players, the game picked up pace when a few deals were made and sets completed. Eventually, with a little shrewdness and a drop of good fortune, I slowly mopped up each player’s assets, despite Ally’s attempts to shore them up with her curiously accumulated wealth. I must admit it’s been a while since I’ve played Monopoly, and even longer since I last won, so a general smugness was in order I think. 🙂

Big headed… Moi?

More Scientific
You have:
The graph on the right represents your place in Intuition 2-Space. As you can see, you scored above average on emotional intuition and well above average on scientific intuition.Your scientific intuition is stronger than your emotional intuition.

Your Emotional Intuition
score is a measure of how well you understand people, especially their
unspoken needs and sympathies. A high score score usually indicates
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at Quake.Your Scientific Intuition
score tells you how in tune you are with the world around you; how well
you understand your physical and intellectual environment. People with
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My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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Link: The 2-Variable Intuition Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

You think you know who you are?

Just saw Crash at Feltham. After reading short snippets about it, I had hopes that it would be a challenging film. By the end of it, I was pleased I had seen it.

As a peek into the human condition, it fulfilled its role. There was a good sense of reality, as each of the characters stumbled through life trying to do what was right, sometimes even managing to do what was right, yet falling unceremoniously when you least expected it. (Or in some cases when you most expected it).

It reminds me that all people are complex and have baggage of all sorts to deal with. It’s so easy to judge a situation with only a casual knowledge of it, rather than spending time looking at it and evaluating it with the time it deserves.

It also reminds me that rascism is not restricted to one group of people, but that anyone can be rascist, although how it manifests itself might be different in each person.

And yes, this film had profanity, lewdness and occassional nudity, but if you took those away, you’d lose the reality.

Do we know who we are?


the Wit
(66% dark, 19% spontaneous, 21% vulgar)
your humor style:
You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you’re
probably an intellectual, but don’t take that to mean pretentious. You
realize ‘dumb’ can be witty–after all isn’t that the Simpsons’
philosophy?–but rudeness for its own sake, ‘gross-out’ humor and most
other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it’s also the best, in my opinion.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart – Woody Allen – Ricky Gervais

AND FINALLY — after you rate my test with a sweet, sweet ‘5’ — you must take this test next: The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Test. It’s not mine, but it rocks.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 0% on spontaneous
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You scored higher than 9% on vulgar

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Dodgy ankle?

Back on the football pitch after almost two months away for one reason or another! I was wondering how I’d get on with a slightly dodgy ankle, even though I sprained it ages ago… Whilst I wasn’t running around as much as I usually do – which isn’t much to be honest, I managed to cover quite a distance and even score a few goals. By the end of the game, my ankle hurt a little, but I think I probably did it more good than harm.