Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Deleting the Junk – is the email address for anyone wanting to contact the church via our web site. Unfortunately this address seems to be a magnet for large amounts of junk email. Most of which have rather purile headings which I have to scan through just in case there is actually a legitmate enquiry in there. I have to confess that at one point I hadn’t checked it for several weeks only to find on opening it that over 2000 emails has accumulated. I then had the tedious and time consuming task of deleting them - 25 at a time. It took ages.

It’s amazing how relatively quickly the whole account got completely swamped and clogged up with this defiled rubbish. But it got me thinking of the daily rubbish that accumulates in my own life – both my own sin but also the defilement that external sinfulness brings to it (e.g. things seen on TV, comments overheard, other people’s bad behaviour etc). Because uncleanness in the Bible contaminates people both from internal and external sources. Unchecked that contamination can swamp us spiritually and clog up our relationship with God. Which is why we need daily cleansing or, as my old Pastor used to say, ‘to keep short accounts with God’ (i.e. don’t let sin built up in your life – cancel it out quickly and regularly). In the Old Testament such was the ‘ease’ with which you could get contaminated that sacrifices and washing rituals were readily available for quick cleansing.

Every day we need to clear out the accumulated junk in our lives by getting before God in confession and in asking 'to be every whit clean’ (Jn 13:10 AV). I’ve learnt the lesson – every day I open up that email account and delete the junk before it gets out of control.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 Jn 1:9)

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Golden Compass - Atheism for Kids

December 7th sees the release in cinemas of 'The Golden Compass' - a film aimed at children (although not yet rated) that is based on a trilogy of books by Philip Pullman. It looks set to be a holiday season blockbuster and will doubtless generate lots of publicity in the coming weeks - see a trailer here:

Once again Christians will feel the discomfort of anti-Christian atheism being slickly promoted in mainstream culture - for Philip Pullman's self-confessed desire in writing the 'Dark Materials' trilogy was do for atheism what CS Lewis' Narnia books had done for Christianity. The Golden Compass is truly atheism (of the particularly anti-Christianity type) for kids. Although set in a parallel world to ours its agenda is very clear - it is a world in which the church (or Magisterium) is a sinister body whose aim is to suppress freedom and a world in which God is a senile fading despot. It is a world that can only be saved by the 'upward fall' of humanity - to do what Eve did and reject God thus creating a Republic of Heaven. This is a mainstream Disney -type kid's film which will be in cinemas everywhere in four weeks time.

For a slightly more in-depth response to the original novels you can read my own review here: PULLMAN REVIEW

Friday, November 09, 2007

How the UK changed between 1997 & 2007

Make of these what you will...
I copied the following statistics from a special Observer Supplement on the Blair Years published earlier in the year. I came across then again recently and thought they might be of use as sermon illustrations or just general interest...

Life Expectancy
1997 - 74.8 (m) & 79.7 (f)
2007 - 76.6 (m) & 81 (f)

Households with multi-channel TV
1997 - 25.5%
2007 - 78.6%

Pupils at Private Schools
1997 - 473,000
2007 - 615,000

Average House Price
1997 - 72,382
2007 - 172,006

Number of Mobile Phones
1997 - 8m
2007 - 65m

CCTV Cameras
1997 - 100,000
2007 - 4m

Men using Viagra
1997 - 0
2007 - 900,000

Average attendance at Premiership matches
1997 - 18,463
2007 - 34,171

Prison population
1997 - 61,114
2007 - 79,380

Visits to Museums
1997 - 14.4m
2007 - 38m

Cost of flight between London & Frankfurt
1997 - £325.00
2007 - £118.90