Away with the fairies?

Post tenebras lux

The fairies & the Free Church

I had a chat about fairies with a colleague the other morning. We were walking from our cars in to work and it just . . . well, came up. My job involves a lot of conversations about the ‘otherworld’, about fairies, ghosts, witches and all manner of unchancy beings. ‘What on earth does this woman do for a living?’ you may well ask, and your best guess might be somewhere between nursery school teacher and delusional holistic healer. You’d be wrong, though. I actually teach students on Gaelic degree programmes about their own heritage – I teach folklore and I teach the history of the Highlands and Islands, because these are the things that no school ever taught us, despite the fact that these are also the things which make us who we are. Or, perhaps, because these are the things which make us who…

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Why Socialism isn’t evil (once again): a response to Rick Phillips

Quick reblog. American “conservative” Christians really confuse me… very different social perspectives to Christians this side of the pond.

The Arbour

corbyn-sanders

Another day, another Christian denouncing Socialism. This time Rick Phillips offers his thoughts at the Reformation 21 blog in the piece titled Socialism is Evil. It was also linked via the Challies A La Carte feature for today. I have already discussed the nature of Socialism from a Christian point of view, in response to comments from John Piper here and John Stevens here. I will here address Phillips points directly.

Phillips offers  three reasons why he believes the Bible deems Socialism evil. They are:

  1. Socialism is a system based on stealing
  2. Socialism is an anti-work system
  3. Socialism concentrates the power to do evil

As I have noted both here and here, in response to RC Sproul Jr and John Piper respectively, Socialism is clearly not predicated on stealing. At the heart of most forms of Socialism is a high tax redistributive system. The state typically tax…

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An Emotional Decision – Reflections on the Scottish Independence Referendum

Echo.

THE BLOG OF DAVID ROBERTSON

An Emotional Decision

“I was, I think, the last speaker, and after dwelling on the encroachments made by the Court of Session, confirmed by the final judgement of the House of Lords, and on the manner in which we had been treated in Parliament, where the voices of the Scottish Members had been altogether overborne by the English majority, I said, on the spur of the moment, that such injustice was enough to justify Scotland in demanding the repeal of the Union. With that, to my surprise, and somewhat to my consternation, the meeting rose as one man, waving hats and hankerchiefs, and cheering again and again. No doubt the enthusiastic feelings of the people assisted our object, but I took care not to speak of repeal of the Union at our subsequent meetings” Annuls of the Disruption. Mr Wood of Ellie, describing his visit to the south of Dumfriesshire…

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They’re Coming to Get Your Children….!

Excellent blog post from David Robertson. State education is the latest front. Time we realised this, and got our heads out of the sand.

THE BLOG OF DAVID ROBERTSON

They’re Coming to get Your Children….!

There is a real and present danger to children in Scotland’s schools.  Thankfully Scotland’s newspapers are on hand to enlighten us and warn us about this upsetting, disturbing and dangerous threat.  The Daily Record, led the way with an incisive piece of enlightened reporting, and then The Scotsman joined in with its greater understanding and in-depth analysis.   No – we are not talking about paedophilia, drug dealers, Satanists or recruiters for the Hitler youth.  We are talking about something far more shocking – people who don’t believe in evolution and who think homosexuality is a sin.  At this moment in time, thanks to this shock revelation through our intrepid and fearless press, parents all over Scotland should be locking up their children and conducting background checks into all their acquaintances lest they too fall prey to this evil.

The story so far.   Kirktonholme Primary…

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Praying constructively for a “struggling” work

My congregation has two distinct districts in which we witness – the Sleat Peninsula (where we’re redeveloping a small very rural congregation) and the townships around Broadford (where we’ve been operating a sort of church re-plant).   Over the last few years we have witnessed significant blessing and growth in the Sleat area.   But things in Broadford have been very different.    The curious thing is that both my Presbytery, and our denomination’s Home Mission Board, allowed my original posting here specifically to re-plant the Broadford church, and their expectation hasn’t changed.   The Church clearly still believes there is a work to do, and we’ve taken that as a clear commission from the Lord.   But while the small “core team” are still enthusiastically committed, others in the congregation are unsure about the Broadford work going on.

With a clear commission, but a congregation where some are starting to lose heart, how do we pray constructively for a “struggling” work?

Paul reminds us (in Philippians 4:6) that we are “not [to] be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”   Actually, we have a lot to be thankful for in relation to this work, but there is a tendency to focus on things that have not gone so well – specifically the small numbers attending, and non-existent growth over 3+ years.   But that God-ward attitude is the key to understanding and praying about hard, seemingly fruitless work that God has called us to.

Last night, in a really fruitful time of Bible study and prayer, I took my congregation through 2 Corinthians 4 as we thought about this issue.   Here are the notes we worked thorugh.

Adoration

Please read 2 Corinthians 4:1-6.

  • What does it mean (in verse 1) to have a ministry “by the mercy of God”?
  • What “ministry” has God given to us?
  • What does this tell us about God’s character in relation to the people we are called to witness to?
  • In what ways does this make our God more worthy of adoration?

Please pray, and reflect on the following points:

  • God’s character.   In the Lord’s Prayer, before Jesus taught us to pray “your kingdom come” he taught us to come to God as our heavenly (hence all powerful) Father (hence caring and receptive).
  • God’s grace and mercy.   If God has called any of his children to a particular witness and ministry it is because God himself wishes to show his grace to those being witnessed to and ministered to.   Give praise to God because in placing us in Broadford, he is showing his mercy to the people there.

Confession

Please read 2 Corinthians 4:1-6.

  • Looking at verse 3, what reasons might people have to lose heart?
  • Why is losing heart not legitimate for the Christian?   (The point here is that losing heart because of human blindness is really a deficiency in our attitude towards God’s sovereignty, if we can say, honestly, that we have not used cunning or underhanded ways to proclaim the Gospel.)
  • Thinking about context, what loss of heart might we be guilty of?   What does our loss of heart say about us, and more importantly about our God, to those who might be watching us?

Please spend a few moments privately reflecting on areas where, as Christians, we have become dispirited and lost heart in God’s service.   Please confess areas where God has been dishonoured:

  • As our treasure.   Is this lack of confidence and expectation in God worthy of him?
  • As our only hope of blessing.   If we, in our hearts, are lacking in a confidence in God, it is wrong to really expect anything other than discouragement.

Thanksgiving

Please read 2 Corinthians 4:7-12.

  • Looking at verse 7, what treasure is Paul speaking about?   Where is that treasure stored?
  • Thinking about our work in our context, what “clay jars” are holding this treasure?   How has God’s surpassing power been displayed in this?

Please give thanks for the many things that have gone well in our work in Broadford:

  • Mustard Seed Cafe.   Although labour intensive, we’ve passed council inspections, and are getting on top of paperwork issues.    The cafe is appreciated, helpful, and every week people have conversations that have been building relationships, and the seed is being sown.
  • Services.   Although attendances are small, we have double figures at a regular weekly meeting.

Supplication / Request

Please read the remainder of 2 Corinthians 4.

  • What part does God play in the advance of the Church (see verses 6,7 and 14)?
  • What part do we play in the advance of the Church (see verses 2 and 7, but particularly verse 13)?

Please pray for:

  • God’s blessing on our words.   Our words might be the Gospel (important though that is), but also in basic friendship forming too.
  • God’s Spirit in our hearts.   The promises of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 must be grasped by faith.

Paul the Apostle would not have liked a ‘Broad Church’

Praise God for Church of Scotland ministers who get the problem I was highlighting last week. Wish they were all like this, but I suspect two things: Many evangelicals tolerate the “broad church” idea; and the collision course with the Church Courts that Louis Kinsey talks about here will mean this kind of faithfulness is increasingly a rare thing.

Ravi Zacharias on Atheism

Sleat & Strath Free Church

Ravi Zacharias is a Christian philosopher and apologist.   In this interview, he analyses the mocking tendencies of New Atheists like Richard Dawkins.   He points out that the antagonism and mockery Dawkins encourages, reveals a deep-rooted hatred, and correctly points out such behaviour has no place in civil society.

Its worth remembering this lesson – ideas can be discussed, but people, even those we disagree with, should not become the butt of jokes or animosity.   Worth a watch.

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