Thursday, September 20, 2007


Life has been crazy this side of the world! So this is just a short post. At our church we are watching David Pawson presenting his 'Unlocking the Bible' series on DVD. We've got two groups running. One started a few months ago and is now busy with Judges and Ruth. The other group has just started and is doing Genesis. The groups get together afterwards and share questions and insights. Our minister, John Bailie, has done a great job in getting people interested in taking the Bible seriously.
The Genesis group has been talking about creation. I have no problem with integrating the Bible and Science - I see them both as God revealing himself to us. But the question was asked, "Why did God create the dinosaurs?" That is an interesting one. Presumably not just to create a confusing puzzle and make people question the biblical account of creation.
The best answer I can think of is that they were needed to do something to assist in the process of forming the earth to be a place fit for human habitation.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Real Caution Replaces Road Signs

A Reuters report from Berlin in The Star newspaper yesterday.

A town in Germany has decided that the best way to improve road safety is to remove all traffic lights and stop signs.

From tomorrow, all traffic controls will disappear from the centre of the town of Bohmte to try to reduce accidents.

In an area used by 13 500 cars every day, drivers and pedestrians will enjoy equal right of way.

The idea of removing road signs to improve road safety, called "shared space", was developed by Dutch traffic specialist Hans Monderman, and is supported by the European Union.

His ideas have already been implemented in the town of Drachten in the north of the Netherlands, where accidents have been reduced significantly.

I suppose that is what the church is asking. Do we need road signs? Do we need rules? Maybe Jesus just said "Remember God and try not to hurt each other" as a paraphrase of the Great Commandment!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Story Time

Goldilocks Story
I suppose that 'story' and 'narrative' are two of the most well-known features of post-modern thinking. But they still give me a lot to think about. The excerpt below comes from John Piper's 'Desiring God' blog. From a fairly conservative theologian it is interesting to see such a post-modern concept.
"One of the less obvious ways that our artistic utilitarianism shows itself is the impulse to reduce art to propositions about art. This is the only way that many people know how to interact with art—or at least the only way they trust. If we can say what a story means, for instance, and we've summed up this meaning in a statement about truth that we agree with, then we think it's a good story—good art. And if a story resists summary or does not distill into a statement we believe, then we have no use for it—it's bad art." Click here for the whole article.

I know that I need to get the hang of letting a story speak for itself, but I nearly always end up with 'what it means'. It's partly my training, I guess. Yet I know for 100% sure that a story speaks to people far more forcefully than any argument. And I encourage myself by saying that I could argue or explain the same point logically and in fact will have done in my preparation. It makes me scared that people will trust me. That they will hear what I say without needing to be convinced rationally.

Sometimes post-modernism takes it (in my mind) too far. If I understand 'deconstruction' correctly, neither the story-teller, nor the story communicates truth, but rather the hearer discerns his own truth in the story. The Piper article appeals to me in that the story cannot be reduced to morals, but nor is it just a vehicle for the hearers' preconceived ideas. There is truth in the story, to be discovered by those who listen. And hopefully the Holy Spirit, in the Christian context, is also involved in interpreting the story to the needs of the listener.

This got a bit more complicated than I intended! Sorry for over-simplifying some of the positions!


I am sitting in the secretary's office at church playing 'secretary, secretary' while we wait for the new lady to work her notice and join us at the beginning of October. I have nearly done a whole week.

I was curious to see how I coped, because although I can do admin I generally don't enjoy it. But this is a good experience and opens windows onto how a church really works. It also gives me an opportunity to ask myself whether I am really called into ordained ministry or if I just want to be in on the nitty-gritty of church life.

I suppose it is like anything, you have to give it a chance. But I am finding it far more frustrating than I anticipated. Mostly because it takes time- time away from things I would rather be doing - like updating my blog. I've got something I want to blog, but I can't focus on thinking about it. I feel dislocated.

But I probably need to learn something in there as well. The ability to switch focus without losing my place as it were. So this is going to be a challenging month. There are also good things. The people I meet and talk to. The sense that I can be useful (I think . . .) And I'm already more on top of things so that next week will be better. And although this is a funny sort of challenge, I always enjoy a challenge.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Peace and Activism

eagles wings peace
I want to write something challenging. Something that makes a statement. But I feel that I sometimes I want to push myself and perhaps others beyond what God really wants. Maybe we should have more sabbaths in the week in today's world.
But here are two links to what I'd really like to say. Perhaps to where I'd really like to be. I wish more people read my blog so that I could point them there. They are peaceful, refreshing bits of writing. David (who is in Pietermaritzburg) and Denise who is in the far away USA.