1 Kings 18: 20-21 (22-29) 30-39

One of the commonest allegations which critiques of religious belief level against religion is that it is the primary cause of warfare and conflict in human history[1].  This claim is based on the assertion that religion automatically establishes an “us” versus “them” paradigm, inasmuch as anyone who thinks or believes differently from “us”, or who holds a different worldview, is immediately condemned as a heretic, a blasphemer, or an infidel – a person whose status as one of “them” entitles “us” to deal with accordingly, frequently through violence. Continue reading “1 Kings 18: 20-21 (22-29) 30-39”

Proverbs 8: 1-4, 22-31

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to you about the Holy Spirit, and how the word in Greek for Spirit is pneuma – a word, which, like it’s Hebrew equivalent, ruach, means both “spirit” and “breath”.  And I told you that because, as this word in Greek is in the feminine case, it would be quite appropriate to speak of the Spirit in feminine terms; to pray, for example, that the Spirit remake us in her own image, rather than in “his” image.  And in today’s reading from The Book of Proverbs, we have another word – Wisdom – which, in Greek, is also rendered in the feminine form as Sophia. Continue reading “Proverbs 8: 1-4, 22-31”

Does God Have A “Plan” For Me? No; Because It’s Complicated.

As a Christian minister, I have been asked more than once (and usually in a context of suffering or anxiety) “What’s God’s plan for me?”, or “How do I uncover what God has planned for me?” The question itself is instructive, not least because it suggests the questioner is feeling assailed by a sense of loss, separation, or confusion. Loss of God’s presence in their life; a feeling of separation from God; a sense of confusion about what they ought to do – the all-too-familiar WWJD syndrome. Continue reading “Does God Have A “Plan” For Me? No; Because It’s Complicated.”

Acts 16: 16-24

In 1909, the then Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Australia gave a speech to that Assembly entitled The Economic Value of the Gospels. In this speech, he declared unequivocally that the Gospel stands against every system of capital or economic organisation which reduced human beings to nothing more than a means to the end of wealth creation, or which crippled workers’ bodies and minds for the sake of an improved return on investment.[1]  Continue reading “Acts 16: 16-24”