Thursday, January 25, 2007

The State of the Nation (UK)

I have been watching closely the debate around the Sexual Orientation regulations and its eventual outcome as I have previously blogged. The current debate between the Catholic/Anglican Church and the government over Adoption Agencies and Gay couples is but another part of it. It is good to see the two heads of the respective churches actually voicing a common view regardless of how 'Politically Incorrect' it is perceived. The letter written to the PM by the Archbishop of Canterbury is very balanced and respectful.

However there lies the problem, the church rarely unites and stands up for a common biblical principle. Most often various denominations clash over their beliefs ranging from the liberals to more conservative evangelicals. As much a we all tend to share a common belief, usually, around Jesus Christ everything else is up for discussion. It is this inconsistency and mixed messages, coupled with the churches compromises that seems to be what has caused such anger, frustration, resentment and vitriol from those who are not Christians when the church speaks publicly on issues.

The statements below are a few I took from the BBC website on the issue of the Catholic Church and its Adoption agencies not wanting to be forced to place children with Gay couples:

If the bible is to be taken literally, then one must accept the subservient role of women, an uncritical view of slavery and the racial supremacy of Israel.

who insist on the rights of the religiously insane.

Contrary to popular belief sexuality is not a choice and that is why I consider the discrimination against gay people worse.

And society should shun a useless, irrelevant church.

the faiths have to change with the change of the in values of a new world; different to the world in which all faiths were created in some 2000 years ago.

Why are the 95% who never go to church care about what the church wants to do?

Religions should not dictate or influence the law of the land but should observe it. They have been responsible for great injustices and prejudices in this world

So we are a tolerant society are we? Some of the above quotes are so prejudiced and wildly inaccurate it is staggering, sad and not a little concerning. The lack of understanding of what scripture actually says and how it applies to Christians is huge. I can understand non Christians having little understanding of scripture but when supposed Christians misquote the bible it is very sad indeed. I find it also very sad and upsetting when people blame Christianity for things blatantly un-Christian. There has been lots done in the name of Christ by fallen, sinful people that is deeply offensive to a true bible believing follower of Christ. The blame lies with the person not the faith.

Magistrate Andrew McClintock not being allowed to pass certain cases onto his colleagues is another example of the state of British tolerance and laws. This government in its eagerness to pass laws that stipulate just about everything we are allowed to say and do, so as not to offend some minority group, has got itself into a bit of a mess. This is a good case where different laws now clash. Again this press release shows him to be balanced and fair and not some ranting anti-gay fundamental.

The church does need to present a biblically consistent message and set of values. The Bible is the word of God and is Truth as much as that flies in the face of our post-modern liberal society. The Church has to stop compromising and pandering to cultural norms. If we are not seen to live what we preach then our message is hypocritical and seems discriminatory when we do stand up. The message should not be to the world 'you must live by these rules'. It should be that Christians try to live by what the Bible teaches and shows the world that actually it is far better to live under the protection of God's way of doing things. Along with the truth of sin, judgment and redemption through Christ. It is for God to judge unbelievers, Christians are called to live lives holy and pleasing to God which means not compromising with the worlds values where the two clash, in the world but not of the world. Yes, we are called to live under the law of the land, unless it calls for us to go against a greater law. The two stories in Daniel 3 and Daniel 6 are very relevant to this issue.

However this is becoming very difficult and I believe we will see more and more that Christians and other faiths will be asked/forced to compromise their beliefs. We will be given a choice, go against the law of the land or chose to honour God. This is exactly the kind of persecution Christians are facing around the world in countries that have no illusion of free speech and are oppressive and brutal regimes, not mentioning any names like China and North Korea to name but a few, oops I did!

What is this country coming to, where are we going as a nation? With Nationalism in the headlines between Scotland, Wales and England and not forgetting Northern Ireland. The shocking idea that with all this multiculturalism we might be losing our national identity so the answer, lets teach what it means to be British to school children, 'core British values'. But what does that mean in 2007 in 'Great Britain'. Am I English, British, European? Am I middle class? What does our culture stand for. I keep hearing from the politicians that it means, fairness, tolerance, respect etc... but I don't see this.

These racism rows over Big Brother and Shipwrecked show another direction this country is going in. I have already commented on BB enough but the Shipwrecked one is a little different. There have been hundreds of complaints over what an 18 year old naive sheltered girl said to the other contestants. They all squarely condemned what she said and no one was saying she was right to think those things. It will be a tragedy if the show or channel has its knuckles wrapped over it. Not because of the show, which is total garbage, but if no one is allowed to broadcast any other view than what is deemed PC at the time then how can any debate be had. Who, on this earth, has the right to tell us what we can think or say? She blurted out a stupid, ignorant statement and got lambasted for it by the other contestants. Hopefully she will learn from it and grow up.

But please let us stop being so thin skinned that the slightest comment that we disagree with offends us so much we demand action be taken and heads to roll. A lot of the what is deemed normal behaviour in this country offends me as a Christian believer but it doesn't make me want to complain and demand that it be stopped. If I watched a program on telly where someone said 'all British people are stupid' or 'all Christians are idiots' then I would either laugh at their ignorance or make it a point to show the world that it not the case. I wouldn't demand that no one broadcast such a program. In Richard Dawkins' program 'The Root of All Evil' he basically did say all Christians are deluded. Now I could reasonably ask Channel 4 to fairly show a program that challenged that thinking but I would not demand they not show anything that is anti Christian or anti religion. However this does show the bias and hypocrisy of the UK media against Christianity. If seems to be ok in this country to poke fun, put down and be generally rude to genuine Christian believers but anyone else is seen as being too much of a hot potato.

So can we be more tolerant of other peoples views? We don't have to agree with everyone and we will certainly be offended by what some people say who have an opposite view to us. But is that so bad? It is impossible to please everyone and you certainly can't legislate to stop one group of people getting offended by another group of people just because the two disagree as long as there is mutual respect and tolerance. Who says what is offensive anyway? As a Christian I want to live my life as much as I can first and foremost by obeying God and then by the law of the land. I don't want to force others to my way of thinking and neither is that biblical. Of course I want the country to regain its Christian values and will do my part in living those out and being salt and light. However to force those values on a nation is plainly wrong, but that doesn't mean not voicing those beliefs and not fighting against laws that suppress my expression of those values.

Finally, I think, let us not be under any illusion that the media care a jot about supporting Shilpa Shetty, Gay couples or anyone else currently deemed under attack.They hype stories to sell papers and make money, period! There is no moral code of decency, only that which the law enforces.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Snow in West Sussex!

Wow, I woke up this morning and there was snow on the ground. This is a very rare event for my part of Sussex since we are not very high up from sea level relatively speaking. So I took some pictures to record the momentous event. My Cats had a fun time since it is the first time they have been out in snow of any depth. Within minutes they turned my lovely pristine white back garden into a total mess. If you thought it took kids to make a mess of newly laid snow then you were wrong!

Alas it has all melted now and that is probably it for the year. Snow is so pretty and I find falling snow especially so peaceful. I think because snow seems to deaden sound. Oh well, the price of living in Sunny Sussex!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Alister McGrath on 'The God Delusion'

Alister McGrath talk on Richard Dawkins book "The God Delusion".

A talk given in San Francisco critiquing Dawkins' Delusional book!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sushi Restaurant

Well last night, as I mentioned in my previous post, I went to a Sushi restaurant in Croydon for a friends birthday.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it might have been but I don't think I would go again. I managed to avoid anything uncooked and fish like. Main course being Teryake (or something like that) chicken with rice. It was ok but the sauce got a bit sickly after a while.

Not the speediest of service either with us sitting down at 7 and not having the order taken until gone 8. Finally getting our main course around 9:45.

All in all a good learning experience but a type of food I will not be hurrying to eat again.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Big Brother, Calivinism/Arminianism and Sushi!

Reckon you never thought you'd see those words in once sentence. Gosh my mind is awash with things!

Big Brother

So Big Brother has almost caused a Diplomatic Incident, gosh the power of reality TV. Certainly there were racial overtones used during the exchanges but I still think it was a case of total clash of personalities with Jade resorting to playground name calling as she couldn't be grown up about it. That still doesn't excuse the bullying tactics and ganging up. Though that is what people watch BB for, the bitching and back stabbing. One of my reasons for loathing the program! Well Jade will be out tonight and her reputation as a harmless dimwit seriously damaged.

There are no crowds tonight either which is interesting. What are they afraid of? Another small point I found curious was that Jade herself is mixed race. What mix that is I know not.

Channel 4 are condemning any racial abuse that may have been made but on the other hand are gleefully rubbing their collective hands together at the 4.5 million viewing figures. Oh sorry is that a bit cynical!

India want the UK look into such racism in the country. All I can say to that is speck, plank and eye! This is a country that supports a caste system that seems to me very discriminatory, unless you are at the top, and does nothing to stop Hindu extremists from regularly beating and oppressing Christians in various provinces around the vast country. This is an external view of the country based on what I read and is not a comment on the population themselves.

Anyway enough about BB from me!


What? you may ask. I have been pondering this issue for quite a while and am not about to go into a big long treatise of the various arguments for and against both sides. There are many websites that can do that far better than I possibly could. I think I am beginning to understand reformed theology and Calvinism a little better and certainly lean towards that way except for one major question regarding Unconditional Election. Which is the thing that pulls me to the Arminian way of thinking which I disagree with some of as well. Ultimately I want a totally biblical view and any emotional feelings about it to be won over by scripture.

If anyone can give me a good answer on how it can be in God's nature to 'elect/predestine' certain individuals for saving and let the rest suffer His absolutely righteous justice and condemn them to the fires of hell. It is not that I object to the condemnation of sinners. I understand the doctrine of depravity etc and that we all deserve judgment. If Christ died once, for all then how come under Reformed thinking not everyone gets the opportunity for salvation since only certain people are elected?


I am going to a friends birthday meal tomorrow and it is at a sushi restaurant. Now I don't like most fish at the best of times let alone not cooked. I will be hoping that there is something cooked available that I can eat. I may blog about it more if it turns into a traumatic experience.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Iona Concert Eastbourne Live Video

This is a video of the Iona concert I went to back in October. Brilliant Stuff!

Note the irritating flag waving man as per my review of this concert in a previous article! Aaarrrggghhh!

Here is another video of quite an old song!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Racism in Big Brother?

So there is supposedly racism in the Big Brother House. I am not a 'Big Brother' fan by any stretch and only occasionally see it. Now from what I have read and seen I think what is being labeled as racism is far more total and utter ignorance on the part of the other house mates.

The three girls involved, one of them being Jade, are just showing themselves to be completely ignorant of other cultures and people groups and merely showing their own prejudices. What do you expect from Jade's mother than to call an Indian 'the Indian'. She couldn't even pronounce her name for goodness sake. Having now seen her mum is it not surprising that Jade turned out the way she did.

Why a successful Bollywood actress would want to go in the Big Brother house I have no idea. Why Ken Russell wanted to go in either is a mystery as clearly it was to him as he stayed only a few days.

All I hope is that the viewing audience get bored of this reality nonsense and go and get lives for themselves instead of investing in a cruel freak show that tries to pass itself off as entertainment. Sadly we have until 2010 to put up with BB on our TV screens.

Let us be agog and feel pity for these utterly ignorant so called 'celebrities' who some people hold up as idols and realise they are not amazing and haven't really achieved something to aspire to. Celebrity is not a career or an aspiration. (Edit 17/01) While I say feel pity for their total ignorance, that doesn't excuse any form of bullying which I think if any label should be attached it should be that. There may be a personality clash but that is no excuse for ganging up on Shilpa.

There is only one person to have ever walked this earth who is worth aspiring to and even that is worthless unless your eternal salvation is secured in and through and by what that person achieved by His death and resurrection 2000 years ago. If you 'Live the Dream' and die without ever knowing what it is to know your 'sins forgiven' through repentance before the living God then I am afraid life has all been but a passing breeze, a forgotten moment with no eternal significance at all. Don't live someone else's life through celebrity or aspire to live life as your 'idol'. Be yourself, the unique beautiful individual you can be and get some eternal perspective in your life before it is too late.

Wow from Big Brother to eternal thoughts. Who would have guessed?

Blog Colours and layout!

I have been meddling with the layout and colours of my blog over the past few days. They will probably change again. Forgive any clashes of colour as I am partially red/green colour blind so things look different to me!

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Sexual Orientation Regulations Upheld! Good or Bad? (Updated)

So the House of Lords upheld the introduction of the Sexual Orientation Regulations. Is this good or bad from a Christian perspective and will it adversely impact Christians for wanting to be true to their faith and not compromising?

This of course is a difficult question to answer until any inevitable test case is brought before the courts. However as usual in the media there has been a lot of hype and misrepresentation on both sides and a staggering but understandable total lack of understanding of the bible and what is sais. I think there has been a lot of alarmist reaction from Christians who probably haven't looked too deeply into it and are just going along with what they have been asked to do. However what caught my attention to it being an issue was that the protest and petition to the Queen was organised by the Lawyers Christian Fellowship. If anyone should understand the implications of this law then it is surely lawyers! So there must be some truth to the claims that Christians may fall foul of the law in some situations.

There have been several situations quoted where this may be the case:
  • Christian Bed and Breakfast Owner being forced to allow a gay couple to stay there.
  • Printing Company owned by Christians being forced to print literature promoting gay events or lifestyle.
  • Church premises being forced to allow bookings from gay organisations.
  • Church ministers being forced to bless same sex unions.
Each of these presents a a slightly different ethical question.
  • The Bed and Breakfast owner is renting out their own house and surely should have every right to say who should or shouldn't be allowed to stay in their house. However as has been pointed out they must apply the same policy to unmarried heterosexual couples and certainly to anyone suspected of adultery. Be consistent and don't pick and choose biblical values.
  • For a printing company refusing to print literature deemed to promote homosexuality again consistency must be applied. Do they print other literature that clearly goes against other biblical principles. But again if they refuse to print such material surely it must be their choice and they are the ones to lose out by not gaining the business. The person requesting the business can simply go to someone who will print their stuff.
  • Church premises I think is slightly different. If a church isn't seen to uphold Christian moral principles then who is going to. By allowing premises owned by any church to be used for activities exclusive to the gay community could be interpreted as the church condoning gay sexual activity. Whether it be a gay activist group, gay 'civil partnership' reception event etc...
  • The Christian blessing of same sex unions must also be refused for the same reasons as above. If the church is seen to compromise more than it already does then any opinion on anything becomes less and less valued.
In all the above issues and any others it must come down to the way the situation is handled in the individual cases. A Christian must at all times act with love, compassion and respect for the dignity of anyone they come into contact with regardless of sexual orientation.

If a person is 'gay' then they are still a person due the dignity of any human being. Being gay may not be a thing a person feels they have a choice over but having sex is. What is condemned in the bible is homosexual sex or Sodomy, as is sex outside of marriage and specifically mentioned in the 10 commandments, Adultery. Therefore any form of social care and support etc... should be offered to people regardless of sexual orientation. But should a Christian be forced to compromise biblical values and be seen to condone what is clearly stated as Sin in the bible as long as they are consistent in applying that to the other 'Sins' as well. It is not condemning the person or saying they can't go elsewhere but it is asking that the Christians religious beliefs be respected.

Gay rights campaigners like 'Peter Tatchell' are quick to condemn anyone as homophobic if they have the audacity to disagree with him. But surely this is hypocritical since he wants equal rights, doesn't he?. ie: the right to live the way he chooses. Therefore to say someone else can't also have the right to say they disagree and say Homosexuality goes against God's original design is definitely discriminatory. I am totally for laws that protect an individuals right to not be discriminated against on grounds of race, gender, age and sexuality as long as that doesn't require me to actively do something, promote something or say something that goes against biblical values.

I cannot and could not force anyone to be a Christian and believe what I believe. But equally I surely must have the right to live according to those values as long as those values don't physically harm someone else.

I signed the petition to the Queen. Not because I want these laws necessarily stopped and neither do Christians. I signed it because I think the government needs to know that a great many people still hold to the Christian principles that this countries laws were founded on. That Christians have had enough of being side lined in shaping this country and that we have a voice and will stand up for what we believe.

How long is this going to go on. How much more is this government going to keep telling us what we can think and say. How much longer can the rights of individuals to free speech be eroded before we have no real freedom left. These heavy handed laws based on fear and political correctness are degrading peoples ability to apply common sense. I fear it won't be long before Christians will be persecuted in this country for standing up and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ because it offends someones beliefs. That was just a general rant about our meddling nanny state government and not necessarily because of this bill!

Would the real Christian Believers please stand up, please stand up!

For an alternative and very balanced Christian view on this click here!

Also click here for a more in depth discussion from the same person, very sensible stuff!