Battered and Broken

How Has It Come To This?
We have posted previously on the sad case of Alan Duff  here.  Alan is an evolutionist, a disciple of Richard Dawkins, and a mocker of the Son of God.  But contradictorily he is also a moralist.  He thinks that some things are right, and some are wrong.  Definitively so.  

For some reason Alan hasn’t confronted his own inconsistency and confusion.  He has not realised that he is a walking, talking contradiction.  As the Apache would say, he speaks with a forked tongue.
Every so often Alan thinks and speaks as if there are absolute rights and wrongs.  He speaks with holy anger and passion.  No doubt tomorrow his left hand will remove what his right hand put forward today.  But that’s a function of his spiritual blindness.

Alan has written a piece declaiming Maori violence–systemic family violence–in New Zealand.  We would honour him for his plain speaking, his high morality and principled stance–in these matters.  He is responding to the horrific case where two “care-givers” systematically beat a child to death over several days.  He writes:

Real Men Don’t Beat Up Kids
Alan Duff
NZ Herald

We can’t let Moko Rangitoheriri’s death be forgotten – or be a vengeful mob storming the Taupo police cells to lynch Moko’s evil killers.

One of many marches around the country took place in Lower Hutt and there were some brave men who spoke out. I quote Anaru Moke: “I was bashed myself. Who wasn’t?” He says he’s breaking the cycle with his own 11 children. He’s a Mob member. Good on him for speaking out. Here’s Star Olsen: “I knew I had to say something that was at the pit of my stomach. The hardest word for some Maori males to say is sorry.” Including when they just helped torture and murder a child.

It’s a waste of breath to scream that vile punishments should be inflicted on Tania Shailer, 26, and David Haerewa, 46. We’d just be drawn into an endless cycle of violence begetting more violence. But we Maori have to ask why we totally dominate statistics in the killing of more than 200 infants in the past two decades. Why us? The leaders – I mean the cowardly ones staying silent and not joining any of the marches, the ones flying business class to dubious “conferences” overseas – will never do anything to help change the significant percentage of Maori at the bottom of the heap from falling further down into the abyss.

Alan Duff is made in God’s image.  He cannot help but think in categories of right or wrong.  The fact that he has also chosen to align himself with a world view which strips away any possibility of  even the concepts of righteousness or evil is testament to his particular blindness of soul, and his bitter hatred towards the Christ.  But he cannot deny being in God’s image–so, he is reacting with visceral anger against the murder of a defenceless child at the hands of adult wickedness.

Alan knows that this will not change, it will not improve until people are changed–from within.  There has to be truth, a morality, that arises out of the intellect, the emotions, and the will of men, out of their souls, in order to change.  Men have to be reborn.  Alan’s solution, to achieve this, is education.

Some Maori have no moral values because they’re not taught them. Violence is perfectly acceptable behaviour, indeed admired; whether it’s king-hitting a stranger in a pub, beating up the wife or partner, thrashing their children.

Families should be issued books on parenting. It must be instilled in everyone’s brains from a young age that certain behaviours are totally unacceptable. Love must be taught as the founding base for a successful family. Education as the way forward. Every act of violence except in self-defence must be socially outlawed, considered a shameful let-down of the entire community.

In this regard, Alan realises that the education he is proposing needs to go way beyond the current school syllabus.  It is an education that begins from the time a child is first conceived in the womb, and continues every day at the hands of parents who love, nurture, and cherish.  It is an education which socialises children into beliefs and values, into faith, love, and hope.  Sadly, Alan’s world cannot provide such families.

Being an evolutionist, he should be challenged to face up to his worldview, and say something along the lines of, “let the degenerate destroy their own children.  They are not fit to survive.  They will only reproduce their own degeneracy”.  Darwinianism teaches that the sooner they die off, the better everyone will be. Survival of the fittest and all that sort of stuff.  But he cannot bring himself to live according to his Darwinian commitments.  The image of God in which he has been made screams out for a better, a higher, principled way.  The best he can come up with is educating children in a different way, in different values–in schools that bravely try to substitute for parents and parenting.

Cultural leaders should review the entire kapa haka syllabus, I believe. I’m sick of the screaming, eye-popping haka. The standard of predictable, simplistic singing should be lifted. In everyday life, my opinion is girls should be brought up like the French are: to be feminine, take a pride in how they dress, walk with dignity and grace wherever they go out in public and always keep the standards. Boys should be taught to respect females.

Every Maori should get to parenting age knowing a whole set of values on how best to raise a child. It should have been burned into their consciousness that sacrifices for your children are not only an obligation, but a sacred duty.

Yes, but which set of parents are going to inculcate these Maori children, line upon line, precept upon precept, life upon life in these values so that when the children in their turn and generation start to bear and raise children they will be able to break the cycle of violence and death?

Meanwhile, our tribal leaders trumpet their business triumphs while staying culpably silent on child abuse.  We need an outlook of always encouraging our children. Not discouraging, running the kids’ efforts down.  There would be no shame in taking a leaf out of the Chinese book where parents, family members, all work hard to push a few more up into the educated or business-owning bracket. Reading has to be an essential part of that home environment.

Pre-European Maori culture was simple and no blame is attached. But I think it is when this too basic societal model is applied in the 21st century.  Adolescent boys – and girls – who admit to violent bullying at school or after school have to be punished. Not physically, but grounded, shamed for a period out of the family group. They must have it burned into their brains that violence sucks.

The vast majority of Maori saw the movie based on my book [Once Were Warriors].  I went from zero to hero in just a few weeks. Why? Because every Maori – most of whom had not read the book – came out of the theatre in a state of shock and said, “Yeah? What’s the problem? That was our life up on the screen.” Everyone had a Jake as a father, older brother, any number of uncles. Some were women.

Why oh why are we pushing this societal model and calling it our Renaissance? It is no such thing. It is simply a perpetuation of a culture that is irrelevant to this age. We need an outlook of always encouraging our children. Not discouraging, running the kids’ efforts down. From day one at primary school, Maori children should be indoctrinated that it is not done to discourage others from having aspirations.  And someone has to point out that cultural activities do not get them a job or a mortgage.

I am going to ask our Duffy Books in Homes trustees if we can produce some books on parenting to be given out free to all 100,000 homes on our programme. It just can’t go on like this, waiting for the next headline: another child – invariably Maori – tortured and murdered.

March, Maori, march. And change your ways. Real men apologise. Real men look in the mirror and change. Real men don’t beat up kids or wives or anyone else. Real men love. And their children, wives and society advance with them.

We would add that this is not a Maori problem.  It is an underclass problem.  It’s just that many Maori are enrolled in that social segment.  But we have seen kids from so called middle and upperclass  families fall to the bottom of the social heap in months when they got hooked on drugs.  And, thereafter, they have exhibited all the behaviours and degeneracy that Alan is declaiming–and, yes, they have gone on to replicate it in the children they have subsequently brought into the world.

What is our solution, then.  Our solution is the very one Alan Duff has rejected in cynicism and mockery.  Our solution is a Person, the Messiah, Who says to our generation

Truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.  Come unto me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  [John 3:3; Matthew 11: 28–30], and

. . . How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!  See, your house is left to you desolate.  For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” [Matthew 23: 37-39].

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Letter From America (About Britain)

Britain at the Crossroads

June’s EU referendum is the most important vote in Europe since 1945.

By George Will
National Review Online

London — Sixty-five years ago, what has become the European Union was an embryo conceived in fear. It has been stealthily advanced from an economic to a political project, and it remains enveloped in a watery utopianism even as it becomes more dystopian. The EU’s economic stagnation — in some of the 28 member nations, youth unemployment approaches 50 percent — is exacerbated by its regulatory itch and the self-inflicted wound of the euro, a common currency for radically dissimilar nations. The EU is floundering amid mass migration, the greatest threat to Europe’s domestic tranquility since 1945.

The EU’s British enthusiasts, who actually are notably unenthusiastic, hope fear will move voters to affirm Britain’s membership in this increasingly ramshackle and acrimonious association. A June 23 referendum will decide whether “Brexit” — Britain’s exit — occurs. Americans should pay close attention because this debate concerns matters germane to their present and future.

The EU is the linear descendant of institution-building begun by people for whom European history seemed to be less Chartres and Shakespeare than the Somme and the Holocaust. After two world wars, or a 31-year war (1914–1945), European statesmen were terrified of Europeans. Under the leadership of two Frenchmen, Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet, they created, in 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community to put essential elements of industrial war under multinational control.

This begat, in 1957, the European Economic Community, a.k.a. the Common Market. Money, said Emerson, is the prose of life. The EU is the culmination of a grand attempt to drain Europe of grandeur, to make it permanently peaceful by making it prosaic — preoccupied and tranquilized by commerce. European unity has always been a surreptitious political project couched in economic categories.

Britain’s Remain side is timid and materialistic, saying little that is inspiring about remaining but much that is supposedly scary about leaving. The Leave campaign is salted with the revolt-against-elites spirit now fermenting in nations on both sides of the Atlantic. The Remain camp relies heavily on dire predictions of economic wreckage that would follow Brexit — forecasts from the U.K. Treasury, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, etc. Although none of these, in spring 2008, foresaw the crisis of autumn 2008, they now predict, with remarkable precision, economic damage to Britain’s economy, the world’s fifth largest, if it is detached from the stagnation of the EU. For example, the U.K. Treasury projects that Brexit would cost Britain 6.2 percent of GDP by 2030. This confirms the axiom that economists prove their sense of humor by using decimal points.

Passion is disproportionately on the Leave side, which is why a low turnout will favor Brexit: Leavers are most likely to vote. Current polls show Remain slightly ahead, but Leave has a majority among persons over age 43, who also are most likely to vote.

The most conspicuous campaigner for Brexit is Boris Johnson, the two-term Conservative former mayor of London. He is an acquired taste, and some thoughtful people oppose Brexit because if it happens, Prime Minister David Cameron, who leads the Remain campaign, might be replaced by Johnson.

Johnson is frequently compared to Donald Trump. Johnson, however, is educated (Eton; an Oxford classics degree), intelligent, erudite (see his book on Roman Europe), articulate, and witty. (Johnson says the EU’s latest compromise with Britain is “the biggest stitch up since the Bayeux Tapestry.” The British locution “stitch up” denotes something prearranged clandestinely.) So, Johnson’s only real resemblance to Trump, other than an odd mop of blond hair, is a penchant for flamboyant pronouncements, as when he said that Barack Obama opposes Brexit because Obama’s Kenyan background somehow disposes him against Britain. Actually, Obama likes the European Union’s approximation of American progressives’ aspirations. These include unaccountable administrators issuing diktats, and what one EU critic calls “trickle-down postmodernism” — the erasure of national traditions and other impediments to “harmonizing” homogenized nations for the convenience of administrators.

Obama said Britain would go to “the back of the queue” regarding a U.S. trade agreement. Surely, however, reaching an agreement with one nation is easier than with 28. Perhaps Obama has forgotten U.S. diplomat George Kennan’s axiom: The unlikelihood of a negotiation reaching agreement grows by the square of the number of parties taking part.

Brexit might spread a benign infection, prompting similar reassertions of national sovereignty by other EU members. Hence June 23 is the most important European vote since 1945.

— George Will is a Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist. © 2016 The Washington Post
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Daily Devotional

Strength to Wait

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. (Colossians 1:11)

John Piper

Strength is the right word. The apostle Paul prayed for the church at Colossae, that they would be “strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11). Patience is the evidence of an inner strength.

Impatient people are weak, and therefore dependent on external supports — like schedules that go just right and circumstances that support their fragile hearts. Their outbursts of oaths and threats and harsh criticisms of the culprits who crossed their plans do not sound weak. But that noise is all a camouflage of weakness. Patience demands tremendous inner strength.

For the Christian, this strength comes from God. That is why Paul is praying for the Colossians. He is asking God to empower them for the patient endurance that the Christian life requires. But when he says that the strength of patience is “according to [God’s] glorious might” he doesn’t just mean that it takes divine power to make a person patient. He means that faith in this glorious might is the channel through which the power for patience comes.

Patience is indeed a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), but the Holy Spirit empowers (with all his fruit) through “hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:5). Therefore Paul is praying that God would connect us with the “glorious might” that empowers patience. And that connection is faith.
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Under Orders

Establishing Allah’s Sovereignty Upon the Earth
Consider the following quotations: 

I was ordered to fight all men until they say, “There is no god but Allah”.  [Prophet Muhammad’s farewell address, March 632.]

I shall cross the sea to their islands to pursue them until there remains no one on the face of the earth who does not acknowledge Allah.  [Saladin, January 1189.]

We will export our revolution throughout the world . . . until the calls “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” are echoed all over the world.  [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, 1979.]

I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah, and his prophet Muhammad.  [Osama bin Laden, November 2001.]

[Cited by Efraim Karsh in the opening pages of his, Islamic Imperialism: A History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), p.1.]

The religion of “peace” is actually a call to arms, to jihad.  All men are to be brought into submission to Allah by force, by compulsion, by conquest.  Whenever Islam has experienced a reformation, it has returned to bloodshed as a means of extending its dominion.  Reforming back around the fundamentals of the religion has produced imperial ambitions, bloodshed, conquest, and forced submission.

The West has a hard time acknowledging this, let alone comprehending it.
  Yet, such statements as those above have been repeated incessantly, and lived out sporadically when opportunity presented itself.  The Muslim Brotherhood has captured this reality.  The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna became influential in Egypt in the first half of the twentieth century.  The Muslim Brotherhood movement spread rapidly throughout Egypt to where it effectively began to run a state-within-a-state in Egypt.  The credo of the Brotherhood was (and remains)

Allah is our goal; the Qur’an is our constitution; the Prophet is our leader; Struggle is our way; and death in the path of Allah is our highest aspiration. [Karsh, ibid., p.214.]

The West’s take on such sentiments is that they reflect prolonged mistreatment by oppressed people at the hands of Western imperialists.  Treat the al-Banna’s of this world with politeness, respect, and an inclusive equality, and such folk will give up their angry ways and become urbane, reasonable global citizens, united around the banner of Western liberal ideology.  One could hardly conceive of a posture more condescending and paternalistic.  But there you go.

Al-Banna was succeeded by Sayyid Qutb as the Moslem Brotherhood’s most influential thinker (he was eventually executed by Egyptian authorities).  He argued that violence was a necessary part of  subduing the entire world to Allah.

“Those who have usurped Allah’s authority on earth and have enslaved His creatures will not surrender their power merely through preaching.  Had this been the case, Allah’s messengers would have far more easily achieved the task of establishing His religion across the world.  But this runs counter to the history of the prophets and this religion throughout the ages. . . . [Allah has established] only one cause for killing–where there is no other recourse–and that is striving for the sake of God (jihad)” and imposed this sacred duty on all Muslims, not as a means to convert individuals or communities to Islam, but as the foremost tool “to establish Allah’s sovereignty on earth.”  [Karsh, p.217.]

These men, whilst extremists to Western eyes, are faithful sons of Muhammad.  They are not the unintended consequences of Western imperialism.  They are the true and faithful followers of an eighth century Arab mystic. The burden of proof lies heavily upon those who would contend to the contrary.  

I was ordered to fight all men until they say, “There is no god but Allah”.  [Prophet Muhammad’s farewell address, March 632.]

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inextricably linked

May 2016 (31)

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

1Co 15:20 Except Christ has been raised from among the dead ones now — the first to be harvested from among the sleeping ones.
1Co 15:21 Because since death originated through a man, resurrection from the dead ones will also originate through a man.
1Co 15:22 Because just as everyone in Adam is dying, in the same way everyone in Christ will be made alive.

inextricably linked

Paul had made the point that the gospel is not the gospel without the resurrection. Now he shows how inextricable the message of the resurrection is with our knowledge of Christ himself.

  • Christ is not the first to have ever died, but he is the first to be harvested — the first to ever come back from the dead permanently. All the dead have fallen asleep to await a resurrection. Only Christ has been permanently woken up from that sleep.
  • Adam made a choice to disobey in Eden, whech led to death. Christ made a choice to obey in Gethsemane, which led to life again.
  • The difference is going to be whether you are in Christ of simply in Adam. All those in Christ will be made alive when he returns.

The hope of the gospel is inextricably linked to the fact of Christ’s resurrection, and absolutely necessitates the resurrection of believers at his return.

LORD, come again, and rescue us from the sleep of death.

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Monday quote

Though true repentance is never too late, yet late repentance is seldom true.

Thomas Brooks
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Abortion Unmasked

They Supported Abortion — Until They Saw This Video

By Ericka Andersen
National Review Online

When faced with the reality of the abortion procedure, many people who are pro-choice change their minds instantly. A video put out by Live Action shows former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levantino describing and showing the process of a second-trimester (13-24 weeks of pregnancy) surgical abortion procedure. Dr. Levantino has preformed over 1,200 abortions and explains in detail how babies are ripped apart limb by limb in these procedures.

Live Action approached people on the street and asked them if they were pro-choice. To those that said yes, even up to the point of birth, they showed Dr. Levantino’s video of the procedure. After watching the video, the people who claimed to be pro-choice changed their minds on the spot. They admitted they were unaware of how developed babies are at this point in pregnancy and described the video as “inhumane.”

America’s views on life are changing for the better as science and technology reveal the fascinating stages of life babies progress through from the moment of conception. Videos like this one are helping to change the debate and show uninformed individuals what it is they actually profess to believe in when they say they support pro-choice policies.

Seeing the reality of abortion on it’s face makes people — like those in this video — oppose it outright. Exposing the brutal inhumanity of the abortion procedure may be the most powerful way to change minds and stop this tragic holocaust of children.

Here’s the abortion-procedure video the participants in the film were shown that changed their minds on the spot:

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Daily Devotional

Through Simple Faith

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.” Psalm 55:22

Charles H. Spurgeon

Care, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin.

The precept to avoid anxious care is earnestly inculcated by our Saviour, again and again; it is reiterated by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving transgression: for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into his place to do for him that which he has undertaken to do for us.

We attempt to think of that which we fancy he will forget; we labour to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if he were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to his plain precept, this unbelief in his Word, this presumption in intruding upon his province, is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin.

He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God’s hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counsellor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the “broken cistern” instead of to the “fountain;” a sin which was laid against Israel of old. Anxiety makes us doubt God’s lovingkindness, and thus our love to him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking.

Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from him; but if through simple faith in his promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon him, and are “careful for nothing” because he undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to him, and strengthen us against much temptation. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”
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Compassion enroute To Eternal Life (Luke 10:24-37)… Walking the Cross Road: Jesus jounrey to Jerusalem in Luke’s Gospel and what it has to say to us today (Part 2)

I awoke that morning to my mother in hysterics running up and down the hallway. She in turn had just been woken up by my father’s death rattle; he’d had a massive heart attack and died beside her in the bed. It was an understatement to say it was a hard day, one of the worst in my life, but one where I felt what it was like to be loved by my neighbours.

Immediate neighbours…About mid-morning, our next door neighbours actually whipped over with their lawn mowers and mowed our lawn; my father had taken great pride in keeping the garden very neat and tidy. He was an ex air force officer, so it had to be military style short. They wanted to honour him by doing that.

And the kind of neighbours that Jesus talked of in the parable of the Good Samaritan… Not only was it the day my dad died but it was also the day I left my job at the BNZ Queen Street, so in the afternoon, feeling very fragile and sad, I went in to say farewell to everyone. I took my car, a beaten up old triumph 2000…and as I was heading home again…up the steep part of Wellesley Street back to the western motorway on ramp… The car decided it was going to break down…break down on that steep hill…break down in the outside lane… break down in rush hour traffic…

There were businessmen on their way home, they obviously knew what was going on in my life because as they passed they waved fists at me and tooted, maybe to tell me to stay strong. Many of them pointed towards heaven with one figure hopefully to encourage me to put my faith in God… I’m trying to be nice here. But none stopped to help.

I’d broken down right outside the old hotel that used to be on Wellesley Street, where that bungee swing is now… and a bus load of tourist stopped and got out and looked around. They had obviously not seen a car like mine before because they took photos, but no one came to help…

Then over the noise of traffic and those ever increasing encouraging toots, I heard the sound of rap music and a group of young pacific island guys dressed in their street gear came down with a ghetto blaster at full volume. People gave them the once over then that look of disapproval. But they saw me in the middle of the road. They strode out into the traffic and said… ‘do you need a hand bro”… they stopped the traffic and they pushed my car over to the side of the road. I thanked them and they said no problems and headed off.

A friend had to come all the way in from Titirangi to tow me, and when they arrived, wouldn’t you know it, my car simply bust into life again… it was a vapour lock or something in the fuel system…it really was one of those days… But I knew the love of neighbours. I knew the kindness that Jesus beautiful articulated in the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan.’

We are working our way through Luke’s account of Jesus journey to Jerusalem. In Luke 9 verse 51 it says that Jesus knew his time was coming and so he resolutely set out for Jerusalem. It just so happens that that journey makes up the central third of the gospel and focuses on Jesus teaching on what it means for us to follow him walking the cross road… the road of discipleship. Last week, when he sent out the seventy two, we saw it was a missional road of going and telling people of Jesus and his Kingdom. This week we see it is a compassionate route when Jesus tells us to go and do likewise, to go and love our neighbour in a lavish radical over the top way that reflects God’s love for us in Jesus own life death and resurrection.

Often when I’ve preached on this passage, I ask people to tell each other the parable of the Good Samaritan and then to listen to it being read. Then I ask them to talk to the person they had told the parable to and see what they got right and what they missed out. In all those times there are three things that always come up.

 The first is that people miss the context. The parable is so powerful and memorable that they forget that it is told in response to some questions by an expert in the law. ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ It’s a good question it’s the salvation question… isn’t it. And Jesus asks the expert to tell him what the law says “how do you read It?” and the lawyer gives a great answer ‘to love the lord your god with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”, and “love your neighbour as yourself”.  That first part is the core of what Jews call the ‘shema yisrael’ from Deuteronomy 4:6-8. It is the focal point of the law and covenant in the Old Testament: that the Lord our God is one and they should love the Lord their God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’. It was to be nailed to their door posts, in a mezuzah, so every time they came in and went out they were to remember it. “Love they neighbour’ from Leviticus also captured the essence of the law, how being a people in right relationship with God is to be lived out in how treat each other. First and foremost that relationship with God needs to be addressed for us to have eternal and full life. Of Course Jesus came and lived and died and rose again so that we might be put right with God and though that be reconciled with each other.

But the lawyer wants to definitely know ‘who is my neighbour?’  There is a sense here that likes all lawyers they want to dot the I’s and cross the t’s. Define neighbour Jesus? Was it just the physical neighbour that lived next door? Is it just the people like us, our friends or our family or people in the church…? and Jesus really challenges that by saying it is the person who we come across who is in need. He bangs it home for the lawyer by making the hero in the story a despised Samaritan, those people of mixed race that the Jews looked down their noses at. He is the one who shows love to his neighbour. The lawyer may have wanted to quantify it, box it up, and put a limited to whom he should love but Jesus blows that apart for him and for us…

The second thing that people say they didn’t remember is the extent to which the Samaritan goes in showing love for the man, beaten and robbed by the side of the road. He goes out of his busy way as a merchant to help him, he takes him to an inn and tends his wounds and feeds him and pays for him to stay till he can recover, and he offers the inn keeper to cover any debt the man might incur beyond what the Samaritan has paid him. I wonder if it like someone in today’s society paying the bill for a homeless family staying in a motel…and then giving them the deposit they need to get a flat and the furniture they need to live. To love with a Christ like love calls us to give and love sacrificially. Who knows where it will lead.

Granville sharp is an ancestor of mine on my Mother’s side.  When we saw a photo of a plaque with his face on it we knew it was rue because of the sharp nose… and high cheek bones (I’m adopted so I don’t have the family nose). Granville is known as the father of the movement for the abolition of slavery in England. He was the son of a bishop in the Church of England, and was a shipping clerk, one day he went to visit his brother who was a doctor and on the way he found a salve Jonathan Strong, who had been beaten by his master and left for dead on the street. Granville and his brother tended his wounds, got him a place in a prestigious hospital, paid for his four month stay there, that gives you a sense of the injuries he had sustained, when he was better they found him a job. When his master came looking for him again Granville Sharp engaged a lawyer to fight his being sold and shipped off to the plantations in the Caribbean. Granville Sharp spent two years teaching himself the law so he could argue in court that it was illegal for one person in England to own another, that when a slave stepped foot in England they were free.  The law lords at the time feared him because of the rightness of his cause. He published the first pamphlet against slavery. It wasn’t till a generation later, with new leaders like William Wilberforce, that the slave trade was stamped out. Random acts of kindness can lead to systemic changes and justice. It is the power of love for our neighbour, world changing.

The last thing that people forgot was the punch line… or application… ‘Go and do likewise’. Jesus asked the lawyer who was the man’s neighbour? and the lawyer rightly responds the one who helped him and Jesus says go and do likewise… Go and do likewise… It’s interesting but the two people you’d think would be the heroes in Jesus story, the Levite and the priest, were religious people, kept the letter of the law were doing good things in terms of religious observance. But it isn’t religiosity or ritual cleanliness, both important issues for the Jews that God was looking for it was love and mercy… It was kindness.

The passage calls us as followers of Jesus to go and do likewise, that our love for God is shown in our love for others, our reaction to the race and the mercy and the kindness of God is to show that to others around us. 

I found myself looking for something fresh in this parable today, and the thing that struck me was the way that he love shown by the Samaritan mirrored Jesus own love for us. We know what love is because God first loved us. He found us in our brokenness,

robbed and beaten, as we red in the psalm we used as a call to worship ‘he healed up the broken-hearted and  bound up our wounds’, he took us to a place where we could find wholeness and he paid the price for us to be made new again. And so Jesus calls us to go and do likewise. Be it simply acts of kindness and again in the parable of the sheep and the goats Jesus talks of simple acts of kindness like giving a glass of water, going and visiting the sick, the infirmed, the prisoner, clothing and housing those who are poor. Isn’t that a challenge that we find increasingly at our door. Juan Carols Ortiz a south American Pentecostal who lived in the kind of land of extreme wealth and poverty we sadly are finding ourselves in summed up love your neighbour as yourself as saying that if we have three meals a day and our neighbour has only one e should settle for two so they can have two, if we have two coats and they have nothing to keep the cold out we should give them one of ours.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the profound movie ‘Pay it forward’. It tells the story of a teacher who challenges his class of young people to come up with an idea that will change the world. One young boy comes up with the idea of doing three acts of kindness for people who have no way of doing something for themselves. He them says that instead of paying him back he was going to ask them to pay it forwards, by doing three acts of kindness for other people and only asking in return for them to pay it forwards, it had to be a costly act and one that the person couldn’t do for themselves. The boy is tragically killed in the movie and as his mother and teacher are comforting each other a great crowd of people gather, those who have been affected and shown kindness and love as part of this pay it forwards movement. Of course I’m sure as the parable of the Good Samaritan show us there is no limiting of showing the great love we have received in Christ.  We have received great love in Jesus Christ, the restoration of our relationship with God, that we can know God as our heavenly Father; let us pass it forwards by loving our neighbour.  Let’s open our eyes as we travel down the roads we live in and travel along and allow the spirit of God to show us where the robbed and beaten in our community and city are and allow the spirit to cause us to go and show love and kindness. The cross road following Jesus is the compassionate way that leads to eternal life.  

So I’m going to finish today by refereeing back to our light bulbs and asking you to continue to be that light … and ask today that we commit ourselves to three simple acts of kindness this week. Ask God to lead you to three people that you can show God’s grace and love to. Maybe they are on the list of people you are praying for from last week maybe just totally out of the blue.


Let’s pray. 

We pray you would fill us a fresh with your spirit

Help us to love our neighbour and our enemy
To show them the love we have received from you
Open our eyes to see them and their needs
Open our hearts with the compassion of Christ
Open our lives and our wallets to share what we have
Empower our words and our deeds to embody you in the world
May we love because you first loved us
May we show kindness because you have shown us your kindness
May we show grace and forgiveness because we are graciously forgiven
May we offer  the wholeness and healing we know that you bring
May people know Christ because they see your great love in us.

Amen

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The Great Petard

Try Harder

It turns out that Clint Eastwood is a profound cosmologist.  The best of the best, one may say.

The real question of the ages for the materialists and secularists is, Why does the universe exist at all?  For the Unbelieving cosmolgist it is a question inside a riddle, wrapped in an enigma.

David Berlinski rings the changes:

Oxford’s Peter Atkins has attempted to address this issue.  “If we are to be honest,” he argues, “then we have to accept that science will be able to claim success only if it achieves what many might think impossible: accounting for the emergence of everything from absolutely nothing.”  Atkins does not seem to recognize that when the human mind encounters the thesis that something has emerged from nothing, it is not encountering a question to which any coherent answer exists.  [The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions (New York: Basic Books, 2009), p.95f.]  

How have the materialist cosmologists fared?  About as expected.  The problem is sufficiently complex that the problem itself defies a simple description.  But we will put our materialist hat on and advance one anyway.  Since we know that all being is some sort of combination of time and space and matter and energy and since we know there is nothing else, how did these come into existence out of nothing?

Berlinski points out that physicist Victor Stenger has had a crack at the problem.

Proposing to show how something might emerge from nothing, he introduces “another universe [that existed prior to ours that tunneled through . . . to become our universe.  Critics will argue that we have no way of observing such an earlier universe, and so this is not very scientific” [Ibid., p.97.  Italics, Berlinski].

Away with the smirks and the giggles.  This is serious stuff.  These secularist cosmologists are the apostles and prophets of our age.  Have some respect.  More time please.

Berlinski administers a kind coup de grace:

Critics . . . will certainly observe that Stenger has completely misunderstood the terms of the problem that he has set himself, and that far from showing how something can arise from nothing, he has shown only that something might arise from something else.  That is not an observation that has ever evoked a firestorm of controversy.

A man must really know his own limits, as Clint Eastwood observed. [Ibid.]

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