Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Unconditional. What's the Catch?

It's interesting how sometimes a particular word seems to jump out from unexpected places and stick in your head.

At the moment that word is 'Unconditional'

What's amazing is that it's people from my home town, Palmerston North, New Zealand, who have used the word in the things they've been doing.

Tim Hamilton has created a short video about Palmerston North and its surrounding region called Unconditional. There's some stunning night-time footage in the video.

Rebecca Culver, who started Palmerston Norths free store, Just Zilch, was recently interviewed on Radio New Zealands National Programme with Jim Mora. You can listen to the interview here.
One of the key philosophies behind Just Zilch is to demonstrate unconditional love.

It's interesting how unconditional love doesn't always sit well with government departments.
Just Zilch is having trouble getting recognition as acharitable organisation because they have no boundaries/conditions on who they provide food to. You can read the article about that here.

Rebecca's situation shows just how foreign 'unconditional love' is in todays society. Because unconditional love has no boundaries/conditions it looks very suspicious in todays 'Whats-the-catch?' world.

Even the church doesn't escape suspicion. Historically, this has come about through many churches (not all) taking on a mission to indoctrinate people rather than loving them.
Now, when we demonstrate genuine love through church channels there's often a suspicious 'What's the catch?' response (sometimes verbal, sometimes not).

When Jesus fed the multitudes there was no 'What's the catch?'.

When Jesus healed the sick there was no 'What's the catch?'.

When Jesus turned the water into wine there was no 'What's the catch?'.

Why? Because Jesus radiated genuine 100% unconditional love for everyone. There was no hidden agenda.

Unconditional love is so big that it destroys suspicion, doubt, hidden agendas and 'What's the Catch?'.

PS. I should also state the obvious. Demonstrating unconditional love isn't easy. We all fail. But Gods grace, forgiveness and unconditional love are the ultimate safety net to help us bounce back and try again.

Monday, April 15, 2013

What if the Bible were a Myth?

This blog post is my contribution to Aprils Synchroblog topic, 'What if the Bible were a myth?'

I'll admit I've struggled to get my head around this topic. As a Christian it's not a thought I entertain.

When I started thinking about it I found the consequences of truth becoming myth are like never ending dominoes. So what I've written here are really just a few thoughts that have found their way onto paper/computer screen.
Some of these thoughts are poetic, some are not. But all of them are written as starters for much longer conversations.

Thanks for reading them.

If the Bible is a myth we might as well pack up and go home. But there's a problem. Where's home?

If the Bible is a myth then God is a myth.
If God is a myth then love is a myth
If love is a myth....we're dead.

If the Bible is a myth then does right and wrong still exist? It could only be defined in our own eyes.
That, in turn, would cause the disintegration of community and the consolidation of lawlessness.

If the Bible is a myth
The martyrs died in vain
And all the world will forever
Live in endless pain.

If the Bible is a myth, then the cross is just two sticks pointing in four different directions but offering none.

If the Bible is a myth then Love, joy and peace are nothing more than three unreachable stars in a vacuum of darkness.

If the Bible is a myth
Then the Church is a myth
And if the Church is a myth
Then who am I?

These are the links for the Synchroblog participants this month:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sunday Quote 14 April 2013

Friendly Fire Isn't Friendly

This week seems to be one tinged with sadness with the death of Rick Warrens son.
Another blog I read, Kathy Escobars, also mentioned a similar death in their church community.

A number of blog posts I read (Tall Skinny Kiwi, Frank Viola and Mark Driscoll) concerning the death of Ricks son reflect my feelings well. ie, If your reaction to Rick and his family at this time is to blame his theology for this tradegy or to run him down because you don't agree with his books, then you need to sit down and have a good think about whether your version of 'Christianity' lines up with the Bible.

A few verses that may help...

John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

1 John 3:10 .....Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

1Peter 1:22 one another deeply, from the heart.

Col 3:12 Therefore, as Gods chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion....

Eph 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another....

There's a time and place for challenging and questioning a persons beliefs etc but right now Rick and his family need our prayer, love and compassion.

I don't even know why I'm writing this stuff. This is Christianity 101. It should go without saying.

Love your Neighbour as yourself.

Ephesians 6:16 says to take up the shield of faith which can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.

We don't need flaming arrows coming from our own side.

There's nothing friendly about friendly fire.

Monday, April 1, 2013