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Showing posts from December, 2015

Spiritual Gifts and Words of Knowledge

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Romans 12:6-8
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. The "spiritual gifts" are an important part of the life of any group of people seeking to live with the life of God amongst them (a church). The spiritual gifts are mentioned in the new testament three times (Romans 12 above and twice in 1 Corinthians 12). The danger is that we can treat these lists of the different ways that God is expressed through people as a definitive list of how we can express God. I've known many people feel like they couldn't be used by God because they didn't naturally seem to have any of "the gifts" - and they had been taught that as a Christian they …

Spiritual Power

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Let me tell you a secret. To be fair, it's not really a secret, more one of those "hidden in plain sight" type secrets. Spiritual power is the same thing as psychological power. It's good spiritual power if it's turned to love, which in depth and substance requires the putting away of self (selfishness) that the Christian spiritual practise teaches (the purest love is sacrificial love - it has no hidden motive, no guile, no agenda but gives of itself just because it can). God is love, so any depth in God and any knowledge of God requires a commensurate depth and strength of love. However, any strength of capacity to love is merely the same strength of mind and character found in any strong minded person. Whether that strength is turned to love, or ambition, or anything else is a choice of the heart.

So the path to greater spiritual power, to a greater capacity for love, is a stronger mind and character. Great love requires great depth and great depth requires gr…

Culture and Art

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Culture is not art, music, poetry, or dramatic works. Culture is humanity, who we are and the expression of who we are (expression and being inextricably entwined in the ancient tussle of being and doing). Culture is the unspoken rules of society, the way we think, the consensual reality we live in that shapes us and is shaped by us.

Art, in all its forms, is the symptom of a healthy culture. A culture containing beauty, that values beauty, will produce beauty. The internet, including social media, in all its glorious mess and wonderful awfulness, is the subconscious of humanity out on display for all to see. Parts are deeply moving, and parts are awful beyond belief. And most of it is trash. But that's who we are.

The church of Jesus, the kingdom of God, has a culture - and that culture is the place where Jesus is king and the only rule is the law of love. Our art, the symptom of a healthy church, is healed and transformed lives. People are our works of art, and whether we produ…

Biblical Truth and Doctrine

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The big problem with Christianity as it is typically presented, particularly "Chicago Statement" style Christianity, is that you can't believe something just because you're told to (or even because you want to).

I'm not saying you shouldn't (but you shouldn't), I'm saying you can't. You only really believe things (heart knowledge versus head knowledge to use Christian terminology) you work out and discover for yourself. Look at how a child learns, their whole existence is centred around understanding and making sense of the world. You can't teach them directly you can only help them learn.

If you believe something because you want to believe it, because you're told to believe it, then you have to twist your mind into a funny place - ignoring (and pushing aside) the normal learning process and setting your mind on something that's actually external to who you really are. That's not how you learn, how something becomes …