You’re obsessed!

A fireman responds to a 999 call. The local heath has been set ablaze again, wiping out acres of heather and killing thousands of animals. It’s the 5th time this month alone, and the fireman responds yet again to save the heath.

8-apr-heath-fire

A fire on Ferndown Common (where I grew up)

He is sick of it. He is sick of seeing the damage, he is sick of the deaths, and he is sick knowing that if nothing is done there will be no heath for his future children to see. So he does something about it.

The fireman begins to look into the fires: when they start, how they start, why they spread, and so on. He discovers that the two biggest causes are campfires and smokers, and so he starts a campaign urging people not to have campfires or smoke in the heath. He buys signs that he puts up around the heath, distributes fliers and advertises on Facebook.

Soon there is a small number that join him. They see the danger and seek to spread the word further. Soon, however, he starts receiving comments of Facebook:

You’re just fire obsessed.

I like smoking in the heather, who are you to tell me what to do?!

I light campfires, but I’m responsible. You should be talking to them, not me.

You should let people do what they want, but there should be safety devices readily available.

3129246_07e21773

Fire Beaters

This went on and on. The more he urged, the more the people protested. Despite his best efforts, heath fires seemed to be on the rise, and more heath than ever was damaged. And so he and the team had a meeting, and it was decided that the next best thing to prevention was damage control, and so they installed fire safety devices across the heath, and taught people how to use it incase the worse happened.

But far from decreasing the number of fires, it increased them. People felt a false sense of security, and so lit more campfires in the heath than ever, and more people smoked in the heath. And the more people did it, the more it seemed normal, and so the more others came to do the same.

The fireman and his team urged people to stop. They urged that the safety equipment was for emergencies and not intended for regular use. The urged that the only way to be safe was not to make fires on the heath, but few listened:

You’re so out of touch with how people use the heath.

It doesn’t matter now we have modern safety equipment.angry-computer-mars-2015-305x305

Stop telling us what to do.

Eventually, other firecrews joined in the conversation, but bizarrely some of the other crew were encouraging people to make fires in the heath:

Who are we to tell people how to use the heath.

It doesn’t matter as long as no-one gets hurt.

As long as they are being safe they’ll be fine.

Meanwhile, fires still start, the heath gets damaged, and the innocent animals are killed. Little by little, more firecrews declare the heath safe for fires, and more and more people shun the fireman for his out-dated views. They say,

He’s just obsessed with fire.

 


 

I heard it again this week:

Why are Christians so obsessed with sex?

We’ll I’m not sure it’s us that is obsessed: Here Here Here Here Here Here, and so on…

Perhaps we are just trying to prevent fires and save lives!

Are you a Mac or a PC?

Do you remember these ads?

Confession: I am a PC user. I did own a mac once but it was before cross-comatibility was as good as it is now and it was a nightmare. There is still a bit of me though that buys into the Mac mantra, although the idea of joining the Apple cult makes me feel a little sick. One of the ideas these adverts rely on is that PC users are boring and old-fashioned, where as mac users are fun and work smart, not hard.

In Time Magaine, Jan 1997, Bill Gates (of Microsoft fame) is quoted as saying:

Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.

You might ask why I’m bringing up a quote for 20 years ago, but it seems to be doing the rounds on Facebook again and it caught my attention. It also speaks into that time obsession associated with serious businesses. I have no desire to belittle Bill Gates; I don’t know him, and his foundation does some amazing things. On this quote though I take issue.

There are always other things one can do, yet do we say that about sunday lunch with our family, or date night with the wife? Do we see these as a waste of time, or an important investment in relationship? Sunday church is about relationship with one another, and our relationship with God. Sure, we could use it to feed the homeless or volunteer at a youth centre, but we must not forget to build our relationship with the one who sends us to do those things. Jesus addresses a similar mindset in Mark 14: 1-11.

God is also the one that will fix things. We might feed one hungry person, or listen to one hurting person, but we can never fix the underlying issue; only God can do that. Our world is severely unjust, something I am sure will be no surprise, because we are a people marked by sin. Only God can forgive sin and sanctify us. Have a look at Revelation 21:1-8 to see what things will be like one day. That’s a future that I want to see, and a future that I want to be included in. The great news is that we are all invited to join in by God himself, all we need do is say yes.

So sorry Bill. You are wrong here.  I can’t think of a better way to allocate my time on a Sunday morning. I’d rather be like a Mac and work smart, not hard.

 

A Parable Following General Synod, July 2017

There once was a mighty ship with a good captain, which sailed the mighty waters. The ship was full of crew from around the world who had heard of the captains goodness, and so when he invited them to join the ship they joined with great glee. This meant that the crew was not made up of hardened seafarers, but of landlubbers.

sailing_ship_in_an_ocean

The Captain, being a good man who cared for his crew desired that they know the rules of the ship and of the sea, so that they might be safe and flourish onboard, and so he wrote a ‘Ship’s Book’ for each member. To begin with the crew would study the ‘Ship’s Book’ daily, and would be exited and energised by what they read. But before long, as the crew began to think they knew the ship’s book well, the daily reading turned to every other day, and then only weekly, and eventually became mixed with land-lubber rules.

One day a storm sturred in the sea, and the ship was tossed about. The crew was greatly distuturbed, and although the captain reassured them that if they followed the ‘Ship’s Book’ all would be well, some abandoned ship and returned to be land-lubbers. For those that remained, they sought to secure the ship so that it was safe; securing the barrels and crates.

An arguement broke out amongst the crew as how best to do this: some consulted the ‘Ship’s Book’ and said that they should strap down the loose objects with ropes and nets in the hold. Others remembered how they fixed down objects on land and said they needed to drive stakes into the ground. In the end, the majority agreed that they remembered from when they were on land that stakes were the best way to go, and since that is what the land-lubbers did, it made sense that they did the same.

Some of the crew protested vehemently, and insisted that they follow the ‘Ship’s Book’, but to no avail. The others went and got stakes and mallets, ready to drive them into the ships floor…

…the story is not ended. Only time will tell whether the stakes will be driven in, or whether those who follow the ‘Ship’s Book’ given by the captain with succeed in saving the ship. The captain has many other ships, of which this is only one, but can this crew be saved from drowning?

Continue reading

So, this happened…

So, I got ordained. Well, twice I suppose. First as a Deacon in 2016, and now as a Priest (or Presbter if you prefer) in 2017.

Here I am with my certificate (in case I ever have to proove I was ordained), and with many, but not all, of the people that turned up – including my incumbent, Rev. Jon ward, who seems to have fallen asleep in front of the camera.

As with all things in life, I am a product of those around me: firstly of God who made and who called me his child, and then called me to serve His church. Then to my parents who raised me. Then to those saints of have gone before me, and raised me as the man I am today, within a number of different congregations and denominations. Then to my wife and children who support and put up with me. Then, I’m sure, to many more besides.

This is not, as is sometimes thought, a way of being a professional Christian, or as a substitute for the ministry of ‘ordinary’ Christians, but rather I am called to be a servant of the church, to both encourage and challege her, a teacher of scripture, and an administer of the sacraments, as a sign of God’s presence and power amongst his people.

And so I wish to say thank you to all that have, are and will support me in my ministry, and ask that you pray for me as I seek to serve God and his church in the years to come. I am a sinner and a weak person, as we all are, but I have great hope for the future for God is a God of power, who uses our weaknesses for his glory.