Saturday, 22 September 2012
The dinner theme of acceptable practices has risen to prominence in the Hasley’s household of dinner discussion. This, of course did not happen overnight, but is the fruit of countless discussion in the last ten days. While acceptable practices has been discussed before and explored at various other times in the history of the Hasley’s household, the volume and intensity of the current discussion became significantly heightened in the past few days. Among the issues that preoccupied the Hasley’s inquiry is the conceptual background of Mr Hasley’s awkward practices when guest were present. As this embarrassment rose to prominence it became increasingly important to understand why Mr Hasley behaved insensitively and how it related to the indignity of the entire family. It is important to understand the curve of Mr Hasley’s thoughts regarding to his unacceptable practices and what factors led to his current demeanour.
Uncle Ted acknowledges that it was Fredrick Alkman who first introduced Mr Hasley to this absurd unwanted practices at the dinner table. Uncle Ted described these practices as vulgar when he first witnessed such barbaric informality that it almost caused him to have a heart attack. Such was the shock and embarassment that at once Uncle Ted stood to apologize to poor Martha who witnessed such grotesque ludicrousness from Fredrick Alkman. Mr Hasley possessed a different view of the matter; He embraced it and welcomed it like the poor Africans who welcomed the Europeans believing that the Europeans were there to serve the prosperity of their nation. For Mr Hasley, Fredrick devilish ways was not in the first instance about the reaction it propelled on the guests but rather the personal enjoyment and satisfaction one got from it. Mr Hasley regarded this act as taking its place among the greatest act of old imparting on him such inspiration and fondness that My Hasley asserted in himself with a lively oath to imitate Fredrick’s ways.
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
When I saw her again, I rejoiced because she was no longer dressed in a beauty of her own. The makeup
which she has so lavished upon her flesh and her heart was now replaced by the beauty of Jesus Christ.
Those clothes, desires and deed once worn to please the sinful man were now worn to please God and His
Christ. I approached her with an afternoon smile, being led by the Spirit’s consecrated appetite to fellowship
with those whom Christ had touched…..
which she has so lavished upon her flesh and her heart was now replaced by the beauty of Jesus Christ.
Those clothes, desires and deed once worn to please the sinful man were now worn to please God and His
Christ. I approached her with an afternoon smile, being led by the Spirit’s consecrated appetite to fellowship
with those whom Christ had touched…..
O that we may bear from one another what Jesus daily bears from us- when He knocks, do we not often ignore the sound. We say, Jesus, we are too busy, come back another day when I have a lack of bread and I am in need of your provisions. O how wretchedly we treat our saviour when we forget that Christ wants to share in our blessings, to see what we do with his provisions and for him to help us in our activities when all is well. O what a friend Christ is that daily he comes by and knocks at our closed door when He knows that we ignore him, and being sure of our presence in the house, He is not offended by this villainy rejection but comes by the next day. He still loves us when we treat him thus. Though for good we render ill, He calls us friends still. Peter was still his friend after denial and David was still forgiven after murder.
My saints, who are those friends who treat you as to only use you? Who are those friends who are not so advance in the zeal that you have for them - who are those many friends who ignore your call and would only consider you when they are in need? Their goodness they will not share with you but their cares they are ready to cast upon you because you have the means to take it from them. These are friends that receive but have no daylight thought about the giver . These friends, yes these very friends of yours who are perhaps unworthy of such a title, you are to account them brothers and sisters as Christ still considers you a brother and in one moment Christ will descend on you with showers of grace if you would only ask him.
O for grace that our hearts be softened - teach us Lord Jesus at length to love like you that we may remember what a friend we have above and do all we can to be a friend like him.
I wonder what to make of reality
Perhaps its all absurdity
Climatically spontaneous inspiration
Deciding it all philosophically
Retire my experiences
To embrace a calamity of spacial fictionality
Rationality elevating mathematics
Nothing is real but whats real scientifically
Reason is invisible, call it a priori
Taking priority an argument demands it
Scan it - illogical is free from prison
Treason call it revolution of the beginning
I wonder what to make of reality
Jesus rose from the dead
That’s what I’m making my reality
Sunday, 16 September 2012
The time tells of an Hames, a fair Dame now a lovely frame
Still with a smile but once a spirited mortal
Famed like sands on seashores vessel.
Once, she wrestled with love, gazed with a lonesome bird
At a single hill that no man could see -
Born, just at the end of summer’s run
Lived in the time of Individual’s rule
Overlooking the tower of self obsessive pine
Hames transcended the will of her time.
Humanity, Hames cuddled not gold
Rode the frenzied depths of hatred to unfold the caterpillars shell
Freeing him from death’s canopy, to life lived under the rainbow’s guide
Little children rise, under Hames, emancipating their bottled dream.
Hames, her life my pen can only dim to tell
Before my brown aged golden eyes, her frame still remains as it was at first
Lovely and soothing, engaging my heart that only one’s existence could convey
I wish you met Hames like me, Katy, the communal rose who loved Her Christ.
Friday, 14 September 2012
Deborah Study: Judges 4-5
The Book of Judges has several recurring themes. The first is the cycle of sin, suffering, petition, deliverance, the death of the deliverer—and then the cycle begins once again with sin. This is outlined in the text above. The next is the recurring statement, “there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (see 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). Another recurring theme is that, at this time, there were two problems in Israel, and both concerned leadership: (1) Israel had no king, and (2) its leaders (judges) kept dying. The solution will become apparent in time—Israel needed a man who could be their king, and yet who would never die. This could only be fulfilled in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ.
A judge of Israel.
Joshua has invaded the Promised Land and the Israelites are in constant battles with the inhabitants. They are sent judges to keep them living the right way under God but constantly drift away from God and worship other Gods. God uses other nations to judge Israel but also gives them many victories to show his power.
Deborah came to be Judge after Ehud. The Israelites went away from God, so God let the Canaanites rule over them who oppressed. Israel cried to God and He called Barak to fight the Canaanites. He promised Barak victory. Deborah was a Prophetess and many people came to her to have their arguments dealt with. Barak went to Deborah for counsel, who confirms again Gods message to Barak, however he would not go without Deborah. She went with him but said God would give the glory of taking Sisera's life to a woman. They went to battle and the Israelites killed all Sisera’s men. Sisera escaped and found refuge in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. She hid him and Sisera fell asleep. Whilst he was asleep, Jael killed Sisera by hammering a tent peg through temple. Barak came to find Sisera and Jael showed him dead. The Israelites eventually conquered Canaan. Deborah and Barak sang praise to the Lord for being freed and living in peace again.
Name and Character
Deborah's name means 'Bee'.
A Bee- very focussed, produces wonderful results (honey). At the start of her ministry the Israelites were severely oppressed, at the end they enjoyed 40 years of peace under her leadership.
Deborah had a ministry of encouragement and was all for God. She was very influential and due to her closeness with God produced a strong spiritual atmosphere which attracted people and was a source of encouragement.
Confidence in God
Deborah was plain spoken and direct, honest, decisive and courageous.
Strong military leader: generating effort and commitment towards a goal/objective.
Spiritual leader: Deborah and Barak praised God after they won the battle.
Deborah is introduced as a prophetess, someone who speaks with divine authority, and as the Eshet lapidot which can be translated as 'wife of lapidoth' (NIV) but also means 'woman of torches'. The two translations originate from different possibilities. If it is translated as 'wife of' then it implies Deborah could be married and therefore have another role. However the other translation results from the translation of how the sentence is written. 'Lapidot' means torches and is written in the place where a man’s name would be, however it is strange sounding and doesn't have the standard patronymic 'son of'. Is 'lapidot' a noun or a name?
Woman of torches fits Deborah and the story in the manner of biblical names. "Torch‑Lady" provides a significant wordplay, for it is Deborah, not her husband, who is the torch that sets the general Barak (whose name means "lightning") on fire.
Moreover, in Mesopotamian mythology, the torch and the lightning (tsullat and hanish) are the heralds of the storm god. In the same way, "Torch Lady" and "Lightning" are fit agents for the God of Israel, who defeats Sisera by creating a river of mud to incapacitate his chariots.
Women in leadership
A prophetess seems to be identified in relation to a man. Do you agree with the view that when there was a woman prophetess who assumed a leadership role, it was meant to be a very clear indication of spiritual decay?
“You will be shocked and amazed! You are totally blind! They are drunk, but not because of wine, They stagger, but not because of beer. For the LORD has poured out on you a strong urge to sleep deeply. He has shut your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers)” (Isaiah 29:9-10).
Can this passage be used to prove the role of women in leadership?
Deborah's ministry is located in the book of Judges. It is in Judges that we read, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; cf. also 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). The Book of Judges is not holding forth an ideal for us to follow, but is depicting evils for us to avoid. Judges describes real people, people with very serious flaws, people that God nonetheless employs for His own purposes. But let us not make the mistake of assuming that since they are found in the Bible they are examples for us to follow in all that they did.
The story of Deborah and Barak does not advocate a general principle that women should lead men. Deborah does give Barak the word to go to war in 4:14, but she is merely repeating what she had already said. Barak should have seen that it was the time to fight on his own, based upon what God had already said. Deborah plays a crucial role in this battle. She operates behind the scenes as much as she can. Barak’s reticence to lead and his insistence that Deborah go with him are portrayed as weakness on his part, for which he is rebuked. That a woman gets the glory is to be viewed as a divine rebuke, not a compliment.
Deborah lead within limits, to promote male leadership, and thus to keep herself in a subordinate role. Deborah did not seek a prominent leadership role, and in fact she actively sought to avoid it. She made it clear that God had designated Barak as the leader, and that God was commanding him to lead.
Deborah did play a crucial leadership role in our text, but note the outcome of her leadership. From 4:23-24, we learn that this battle was a turning point in the relationship between Israel and the Canaanites, who dominated the Israelites for 20 years. In the “song of deliverance” in chapter 5 (verse 2), we see that because of Deborah’s ministry, the leaders assumed their leadership roles, and the workers followed them (not her). Deborah did not seek to overturn the way leadership was supposed to function, but affirmed it. Because of her ministry, God’s designated leaders did lead, and followers actively followed by volunteering for service. That is the way it is supposed to work. That is the way it did work when Deborah played out her role in Israel’s history.
Barak became the leader he was supposed to be, thanks in large part to the role that Deborah played. More often than not, when a man becomes the kind of leader that God wants him to be, there is a “Deborah” somewhere nearby, perhaps out of the spotlight, but very much standing behind the man, encouraging him and strengthening his faith in God. Many of the great deeds of faith performed by men find their roots in the godly actions and prayers of a woman—a wife, a mother, a daughter, a prayer warrior.
In those dark days of the judges, the leaders shrunk back, and there were few who were willing to follow. The bottom line was that there seemed to be no one to fight the enemy, the Canaanites. Through the ministry of this great woman, Deborah, leaders and followers emerged, and the battle was fought and won. Today, it is very little different than in Deborah’s day. There is a great deal that needs to be done in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are Sunday School classes to be taught, new believers to be discipled, evangelism to be carried out, and on and on the needs go. And yet today there are all too few willing to step forward and assume leadership positions. And there are even fewer people who are willing to follow. In our church, as in most others, there are jobs that need to be done and not enough people willing to do them. What has God called you to do? Has He called you to serve? Then volunteer, and be a supportive follower. Do what needs to be done! Are you called to lead? Then do it, trusting in God to work through your weakness in a way that makes you strong.
LEARNING FROM DEBORAH
Our relationship to God affects those around us. If we exhibit trust in God's ability to help and promptly obey whatever he requires, others will be encouraged to follow our model.
Truly successful leaders recognize that worship and praise to God is the right response to their accomplishments. The more we see God's hand in our endeavours, the more we will want to fall before him in wonder and praise for his incomparable works and mercy.
FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE
There is no shortcut to knowing God and being able to hear his voice. Knowing him requires that we spend time speaking and listening to him. One way we can listen to him today is by reading Scripture. Try systematically reading the Bible from beginning to end. In this way you will not be tempted to concentrate only on your favourite passages but will receive a more complete picture of God's character and of the ways he has related to his people throughout the ages. Also, thank God openly and quickly for every good thing he gives his people.
By Ruth Tisdall
The highlighted words were highlighted by K.Oni
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
You can read part 1 and part 2 (just click on part 1 or part 2).
The King entered the woman’s house being very perplexed of what manner of person this woman may be. Everything inside the woman’s house was decorated with the lightest shade of each colour of the rainbow.
“Do sit down, king of the high kingdom”, said the woman
The woman looked very agreeable, a kind creature. She sat down opposite the King.
The King very briefly studied the woman’s face. The King noticed that there was no wrinkles of contempt or sadness. There was only the smoothness of light and happiness.
“King of the high kingdom”, said the woman in a enchanting tone - “Do you know who I am?”
“I do not know who you are”, replied the King.
“I know who you are”. Smiled the woman.
“Everybody knows who I am for I am the King”.
The woman smiled and then she began to tell a story. “Long, Long time ago, there lived a handsome Prince in a very big castle. On a very special occasion, I must say, the handsome Prince’ birthday, there was a woman, who was the handsome Prince’ great aunty. She gave the handsome Prince a very unusual gift, I must say again, an unusual umbrella, to which she said to the handsome Prince; “One day, a day very far away and very near, this gift will be of a great use to you. It is not an ordinary umbrella although it looks like one. It can withstand the most unusual rain. It is almost impenetrable. If you spin it long enough, it lifts you off the ground and you can fly for a little bit. Do you want to give it a go, my handsome prince?” The handsome Prince refused to give it a go but promised to keep it very safe.”
Although the King was very big, the King was also very wise. Immediately the King knew that this was his great aunty, to which the King rose from His seat and asked the woman at once.
“Are you my great aunty?” asked the King
“I am your Great Aunty my handsome prince.”
“What is all this about!” Exclaimed the King. “I mean what is all the rain about my great aunty?
How did you know that one day I would need this umbrella - How can I stop it my great aunty. Please tell me you know, please.”
The King’s great aunty could not help but smile, which she turned into a bigger smile looking caringly at the grown up King for whose sake she has travelled all this way from her far far away kingdom.
“My dear King, not so long ago there lived a queen of the nicest kind. She was so nice that she had no enemies and if she did have any enemy she always in the end made friends out of them. But there was one person she could not make a friend of - it was her horrible sister. The nice queen was called queen Bethel and her sister was called Princess Miraldi. Princess Miraldi was the older sister because she came out first from the womb and Queen Bethel came out second. Naturally the kingdom belonged to Princess Miraldi for their Father King Penuel did not have a son. As both child grew King Penuel loved Queen Bethel and disagreed very much with Princess Miraldi because of Princess Miraldi’s awkwardness and bad character. One time when Princess Miraldi was 12 years old, walking back to the palace with some of the kings officials, there was a stream in front of her and to get to the other side one has to cross a not very long bridge. The bridge was not very far away but not wanting to walk any further, Princess Miraldi commanded the kings officials to fall on their knees and hands across the stream so that she can cross to the other side by walking on their backs. Many of the kings officials disagreed very much with this with some muttering that Queen Bethel would have never done such an awful thing; but they obeyed her because it was the noble thing to do in the kingdom. Princess Miraldi laughed and looked down upon them all as she crossed to the other side on their backs and cared nothing about how wet and muddy the kings officials were.”
The king’s great aunty continued her story.
“Princess Miraldi’s many naughty actions had made her disagreeable with her Father the old and wise King and when it was time to declare who the next Queen of the Kingdom would be, He forgot about Princess Miraldi and declared the gentle and kind Princess Bethel to be the next Sovereign of the Kingdom. Upon hearing this, Princess Miraldi stormed out of the high court and wanted to change the decree according to the laws of the Kingdom which stated that the first born must be the rightful heir to the throne.
But what Princess Miraldi did not know which was pointed out to her was that in the case of twins, or triplets or quadruplets, it was the King’s or Queen’s choice to choose which among them would become the next Sovereign. Already hating her Sister, princess Miraldi hated her more and swore to make her sister’s reign as miserable as possible.”
Princess Miraldi was a sour and spiteful creature. The wrinkles of hatred could be seen on her face which made her face look like an unravelled paper. If ever a king could be justified in declaring the younger sibling to be the ruler of the Kingdom, King Penuel was justified and right to not make Princess Miraldi Queen of the kingdom.
“What has this my great aunty have to do with the rain in my kingdom?” asked the King.
“My Handsome King it is because of Princess Miraldi’s curse on Queen Bethel’s Son”.
“What is the curse my great aunty?”
“My Handsome King, Queen Bethel had a Son named Mahalalel and when it was Prince Mahalalel sixteenth birthday Queen Bethel threw him a party. When it was time to present Prince Mahalalel to the invited guests, Queen Bethel saw that something was amiss, and began inquiring of why the Prince was late. Her officials had no answer to the mystery and so at once she ordered them to search the dungeons and every place in the palace and kingdom.
At once the Queen was relieved of her worries as one of her officials named Drogo had found the handsome Prince. The Prince was locked in the dungeon prison and to the Queens dismay there was no way to enter in or for the Prince to come out. The prison was magically shut with a wicked curse and without delay the queen knew that this was the work of her wicked sister.
Instantaneously her wicked sister Princess Miraldi appeared wearing her best gown, unhappily received by the Queen. Princess Miraldi began to laugh and the Queen ordered for the guard to seize her but none dared. She had cast another spell, a spell of fear which scared everybody but her gentle and kind sister.”
“What have you done to my young handsome prince?” asked the Queen in great fury.
“Only a curse I have placed on Him“. Retorted Princess Miraldi. “He is Locked in this dungeon forever unless..”
“Unless what my wicked sister”
“Unless in a Kingdom not too far from here there shall be born a princess to break this chain.”
“But my handsome prince will die - It is difficult for any one to come to this kingdom. And no one can enter in to the dungeon to give him food and He will grow old and die.” Sobbed the queen.
“My sister, loved by Father and everybody else. Your Son will not die nor age until He is set free. That maybe a thousand years from now or a hundred but this I know that I shall soon reign and have my kingdom.” Laughed Princess Miraldi.
Queen Bethel sighed at her unfortunate circumstance and fell down with a faint almost falling to the floor but one of her officials caught her and held her up.
Her wicked sister drew nearer to her with a witches smile and gave her a note of a despairing taste.
“My handsome King, the note giving to her I have to this day and you are to have it.”
“Why must I have it my great aunty?” asked curiously the King.
“Sixteen years from now you shall have a princess. She shall be called charley. Her destiny is to set free Queen Bethel’s Son. It is why the rain has come upon your kingdom. Destiny has chosen you and has chosen nobody else. Read the note my Handsome King and in sixteen years I shall come again.”
“What about the rain my great aunty - will it stop?”
“It will stop my handsome king as soon as I am gone it will stop and when your daughter turns sixteen it will start again and unless she breaks the curse of Queen Bethel’s Son the rain shall always pour in your kingdom.” Said seriously the king’s great aunty.
“Light of Light, by my charms do come, bless my handsome king a daughter in sixteen years to come.”
The King watched in perplexity at which nursery rhyme his great aunty was muttering but when she was done she disappeared and the King was left all on his own with the sealed note his great aunty had left him.
The rain suddenly stopped at which the King exclaimed “Praise the high heavens for their kindness - thank you my great aunty and I hope to see you again one day”.
The King returned to his palace and told the Queen all that had happened and the King sincerely apologized for lying to her and for making her worry.
The Queen kissed the King and said, “This day my King is not a day for apologies but it is a day for celebration because the rain has finally stopped. The birds can fly again, the children can laugh with nature again and we can enjoy our garden again”.
The King replied, “Yes my Queen I shall declare this week a week of celebration and feasting. I shall pay every poor man’s wages and provide free drink for the whole Kingdom.”
All week the King and Queen enjoyed their feast. The elders in the Kingdom rejoiced with great excitement and many of them exclaimed that never had they had a week as joyous and festive as this.
“Hail to our King, Hail to the Queen”. exclaimed the merry crowd.
After the merriment had faded and everything returned to normality, the King and Queen pondered a very serious matter, namely, the words that were written on the note that the King’s great aunty left him. The Queen was not a queen to believe in magic and prophecies, but after hearing the tales of her beloved King she became a believer.
The note had said that sixteen years from now the royal couple shall have a child. This child shall be a child of sorrow or joy, a child of pain or pleasure. The land that was brought into contempt shall have a light shine upon them, the people who walk in darkness shall see it and their end will finally be as the gladness of those who divide a great spoil if the child succeed in rescuing Queen Bethel’s Son from the dungeon prison.
The King and Queen did not know how to take this news but the King being very wise comforted the Queen by saying “My dear Queen, when the day arrives that our daughter is born into this world, we shall raise her up to be an excellent princess and train her for her destiny - we shall do all we can and above all we shall love her with all of our heart”.
Discuss the statement: The Bible has nothing relevant to say about the contemporary environmental situation?
As early as 1896, the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius had predicted that human activities would interfere with the way the sun interacts with the earth, resulting in global warming and climate change. His prediction has become true and climate change is now disrupting global environmental stability. The last few decades have seen many treaties, conventions, and protocols for the cause of global environmental protection.1
“Green Ideas” writes Jonathan Porritt, Director of Friends of the Earth, “have moved decisively from the fringes of society… into the mainstream”, so that now “there really is no area of social or political concern”, at least in Britain, “that hasn’t been touched in one way or another by the coming of the Greens”.2 Global warming, ozone layer depletion and loss of biodiversity all share a common characteristics, that is, it affects us all on a global scale without regard to any particular country, region, or race.
Some scientist have prophesied a doomed future for future generations with Paul Macready the founder of AeroVironment saying “your grand children will likely find it incredible - or even sinful - that you burned up a gallon of gasoline to fetch a pack of cigarettes.”3
This careless attitude towards the environment some have blamed on the Judeo-Christian ethos arguing that Christianity is one of the root causes of environmental degradation. In a famous address to the American Society for the Advancement of Science, in December 1966, Lynn White, delivered a diagnosis of what he called the “Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis,” in which he quite clearly placed the blame on Christianity. Lynn says “Christianity bears a huge burden of guilt.” Many in the environmentalist movement today shares White’s outlook with many environmentalist laying the blame for today’s environmental problems at the Judeo-Christian teaching that man has “dominion” over creation. In assuming dominion they interpret that man has felt free to use nature solely for his own benefit without regard to the long-term effects. The environmentalist’s solution is to reject all biblical teachings.4
It is necessary for Christianity to say something in reply in its own defence about the contemporary environmental situation. In one sense writes Adrian Armstrong and et al in their essay titled Is God Green that “Lynn White was right, in recognising that our present crisis, whether it be real or imagined, whether it be the latest of many, or the unique final apocalypse, has a religious dimension. The will to deal with our environmental problems cannot be generated from anything except a religious understanding. The roots of our ecological crisis rest in the way we look at our environment, how we see our place in the scheme of this world. Lynn White may have got it wrong by setting up a simplistic caricature of Christianity, but he touched a real raw nerve when he made the link between our current state and our spiritual viewpoint.”
The rest of this essay will look at how the Bible commands Christians to view their environment.
Whatever the Bible has to say about the contemporary environmental situation and how Christians should view their environment must first begin with the Bible. We must search its pages and see if the bible has anything relevant to say or perhaps as it is generally acknowledged, that mere understanding is not enough, and that there is an ethical dimension to these problems which require fuller explanations other than the scientific dimensions of these problems which are generally understood.5 Some environmentalists have already laid the problem at the Judeo-Christian ethic of mankind’s unfettered dominion over nature. This arises from their dubious interpretation of Genesis 1:26-28 as Ian L. McHarg writes on the Genesis story, “in its insistence upon dominion and subjugation of nature, it encourages the most exploitative and destructive instincts in man rather than those that are differential and creative. Indeed, if one seeks licence for those who would increase radioactivity, create canals and harbour with atomic bombs, employ poisons without constraints, or give consent to the bulldozer mentality, there could be no better injunction than this text Genesis 1:26-28.”6
Is it true that this text encourages the most exploitative and destructive instincts in man? Or as one author explains, the ecological problem is not first a problem concerning the environment. It is a problem concerning the way we think. We have thought wrongly about this text therefore Christians are as guilty as secularist.7 Or as Dewitt argues, “it is not the Judeo-Christian scriptures which lie at the root of this crisis, rather it is what these scriptures warn against: arrogance, ignorance, and greed”.8 The problem thus may not be with what the scripture says but with not being true to what it says.
What does the bible say about how we should treat our planet?
I will answer this question by quoting a scripture and then explain it sometimes inferring from the text on what it means.
1. Gen 1:26-28 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
John Stott says that we can legitimately make three affirmations from this biblical material. First, God has given us dominion over the earth. Secondly, our dominion is a co-operative dominion and thirdly, our dominion is a delegated, and therefore a responsible dominion.9 Man is to rule over God’s creation but does this mean that man is to enslave the earth bringing it into subjection as some environmentalist have erroneous charged the bible with? No. For a careful interpretation will show that firstly, the earth does not belong to Man but to God (psalm 24:1) and that dominion is not ownership but it is the idea of stewardship. As Stott writes, “the dominion God has given us is delegated, responsible and co-operative; that it is intended to express the same sustaining care of the environment as its Creator’s; and that is far from exploiting the earth and its creatures, we are to use them in such a way as to be accountable to God and to serve others.”10
2. Gen 2:15 “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
The command to look after the environment is clear, Adam is to work in the garden to keep it. That is, Adam is not to mismanage his environment by allowing the plants to degenerate and grow wild. Adam is to love, care and sustain his environment and not to damage it and enslave it. This principle is transferred to all mankind as Adam is our representative. We are to look after our environment today - we are not to loot it to destroy it but to keep it. We are to prevent any danger which could cause it damage or at least minimize its effect. The bible thus speak considerably with a powerful force on contemporary environmental situation that we are not to have an apathetic view but to be practical in taking to the plough by keeping it. In order to keep it we are to work on maintaining it.
3. Revelations 11:18 “The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
This passage shows that man will be held accountable for his use of the earth and that the judgement of God will come on those who used up all the fields for development which leads to the long-term destruction of the planet. This passage acts as a warning for mankind, that there is a God who takes into account the earth and its environment and will judge those who destroy it, therefore the bible speaks with great ethical concerns for us to look after our environment lest we be judged for our evil.
Our task as Christians is not to counter Lynn White's arguments, but rather to show that Christianity has something real and positive to offer the environmental movement. The problem is not the Judeo-Christian scriptures which lie at the root of this crisis, rather it is what these scriptures warn against: arrogance, ignorance, and greed. As Christians we are to follow the mandate of scripture which calls us to care for our environment and to take heed that we are not among those who will be judged because they are destroyer of the earth.
1 Global Environmental concerns: http://www.em-ea.org/Guide%20Books/Book-1/1.9%20Global%20Environmental%20Concerns.pdf
2 Quote taken from Issues Facing Christians Today by John Stott pg 113
3 Quote by Paul MacCready Jr - no specific source reference of the quotation but it is attributed to Paul MacCready Jr from the article Green Living Certification. http://www.expertrating.com/courseware/GreenCourse/Green-Introduction-1.asp
5 New Dictionary of Christian Ethics & Pastoral Theology, pg 349.
6 Quote taken from Issues Facing Christians Today by John Stott pg 123
7 Quote taken from Saving the creation: Christian Environmentalism in the United States by Laurel Kearns
9 Issues Facing Christians Today by John Stott
10 Ibid.. p.124
I feel us to be like an hot air balloon - rising slowly off the ground gently into the soft air and soon to be flying
under the clear blue skies. I see us holding hands with a heart of gratitude and love, staring each other’s eye’s
with such a mountainous wonder and beauty that it became impossible to resist a warm bright kiss which sips
into the bloodstream, awakening the cells to ever new heights of excitement.
I see us as high as the stars, our love as vast as the universe and our humility as low and deep as the sea.
Monday, 10 September 2012
When I am away from Christ life has lost her colours - she has become dull, tasteless, meaningless as vanity,
passionless like empathy and grim as death. But many without Christ (unbelievers) have no such experience
of Christ as they too are currently away from him. Why is this - it is because they have never felt his
distinguishing love, they have never known his touch, they have never been in his light. If they had such an
experience then their current life, yea existence, would be but darkness. Their current enjoyments would be
but sadness; what they portray as happiness would be but despair. What they feel as worth would have no
value at all; what they treasure, that is, what they run after, seek and work for with all of their energy, they
would consider as dung, as the pig’s refuse. When I am away from Christ, life has lost her colours but when
I am with him, as near as to almost touch his chest like the beloved disciple then life is once again decorated
with all of her colours and happiness.
Perhaps God may encourage you to trust him by hearing the testimony of how it happened to C. S. Lewis, the writer of the Narnia chronicles and an Oxford Scholar.
Really, a young Atheist cannot guard his faith too carefully. Dangers lie in wait for him on every side. . . . For the first time I examined myself with a seriously practical purpose. And there I found what appalled me; a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a harem of fondled hatreds. My name was legion. . . . How could the initiative lie on my side . . . If Shakespeare and Hamlet could ever meet, it must be Shakespeare’s doing. Hamlet could initiate nothing. . . . In the Trinity term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. . . . The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? (Surprised by Joy [New York: Harcourt, Brace and World], pp. 226-229)
I pray God will bring you home and in whatever way He does it, I am sure your heart will love him and there will be thanksgiving to God and to his Christ.
Sunday, 9 September 2012
Today I visited the doctor. She was warm-hearted and optimistic when she delivered to me the despondent news that I had about a month to live. I heard the news alone in the hospital; a fitting place to receive news about one’s death. I drove home in silence, opened my door, rushed to my room and lay on the bed that I hope to die on. What shall I do now? Maybe I’ll do those things I was too scared to do. I know what I’ll do, for the next week I’ll do what I normally do then the week after perhaps the awful news about my coming death will have sunk into my dying heart.
Its 7.00 pm, the usual time I have dinner. Tonight I’ll go out and buy MacDonald. I thought I’ll treat myself and eat with other people. I normally eat alone in front of my laptop and scrutinize the news. There is nothing good in watching the news, it was always sad but watching it makes me contented. It was my way of connecting with the world.
I walked outside. The street looked stranger than usual tonight but nothing had changed. The same chicken and chips shop was across the road and the usual customers were present waiting for their food. I wonder if they ever cooked maybe they would loose some weight but who am I to judge.
I passed by the petrol station heading towards McDonald's when I glimpse something I never saw before. There was by the bus-stop a young girl with very dark hair and pale face. She sat on the floor with a basket begging for money. She looked lost when I approached her and said hello. She seemed surprised and starred at me. I smiled and reached out my hands and introduced myself.
“Hello my name is Dan”.
There was no response so I introduced myself again. Still no response so I sat down right next to her and began to talk to her.
“You know, I went to the doctors this morning and guess what she said. She said I’m going to die. I only have a month to live. She was very optimistic about it but I’m very good at reading people’s eyes. You know people eye’s betray their true feelings if you notice it quick enough. Can I look in your eyes?”
“Who are you”
“I should ask you the same question. What’s a pretty girl like you doing out here. You know this is not the safest area. There are many dogs out here and their bites are pretty nasty. I used to hang
around with some of them - I still see them sometimes but not really as friends but as acquaintances. You know. People I went to school with. You are not from around here are you - where are you from?”
“What has life taught you then ?” She asked.
“You’re quick into the deep end aren’t you. You know what”
“I’ll tell you if you promise to come with me to McDonald's. I’ll buy you dinner and you don’t have to sleep outside tonight”.
“Are you doing all this because you are dying?”
“How do you know I’m not nice. I could have been nice all my life. I’m just extending my hospitality to you.”
“You would like me to sleep with you.”
“No no no not at all. Yes you can sleep at my place but not in that way. Its not my way. I’m just being kind.”
“No thank you I think I’ll pass.”
Her face still looked pale but her voice had a liveliness about it which made me forget my up-coming death. Her dark hair and unblinking eyes and once bright clothes were worn as if it was all she had. I mean she could get no new pair of eyes but she could surely get new clothes and wash her hair.
“Why don’t you come over and have a bath and change into some new clothes? I promise I’m not that type of guy”.
She shook her head and put her face towards her chest returning to the position I had noticed her in. I got the message. She wanted me gone and I went about my business but I didn’t forget her. I brought her a Mac chicken sandwich and chips with bbq sauce and tea and placed it right next to her.
“This is for you. And here is a drink too. I got you water and a hot drink because you know its cold out here.” She looked at me and said nothing. I smiled at her and then walked home. I opened my front door, placed my food on my kitchen table, opened my laptop to Aljazeerra news and ate alone.
The time was 9:30pm. I went outside to see if she was there. I took with me two of my favourite blankets to keep her warm. She was still there sitting in the same position with her legs crossed and her head pointing towards her chest.
“Here you go. These should keep you warm during the night. You know I live on number 7 of Themes street. You are more than welcome to come over at anytime and when you do I’ll have another tea ready for you. I see that you finished your chips and the bread but not the chicken. Are you vegetarian?”
“Good night stranger”.
I smiled and walked away back to my house. The kitchen lights were still on and I grabbed my laptop headed towards my room lying on the bed I wish to die on and to never wake again. I kept looking at the window worrying about this girl whom I just met. All I wanted to do was help her but I didn’t blame her for thinking that I just wanted to use her. I slept and woke up two hours later and she was still very much on my mind. I opened my door having slept in the same clothes I visited the doctors in and went to check on her. This time she was on her feet with two guys surrounding her almost harassing her and trying to touch her.
“Hey hey hey! Leave her alone.
I ran towards her and told the guys to walk away.
She looked at me with a pale expression. "I can handle myself".
“I’m not taking no for an answer this time. You are coming home with me.”
She offered no resistance and came with me. She picked up the blanket I had given her and wrapped herself in one dragging the other behind her. She walked with a swagger, limping from side to side. I thought it was cute.
“I like the way you walk you know - do you always walk like that?”
“You’re making fun of me. I thought you were the nice guy.”
She smiled at me for the first time. I returned the smile. I walked her to my house and opened the door for her.
“This is my house - not anything fancy but its ok for a guy like me. I keep it simple.”
“There’s hardly anything in this house. Does a ghost live here.”
“You’re the funny one aren’t you. A ghost will soon live here.” From her eyes, I detected she wanted no further conversation. I told her, she could sleep in the living room, and that tomorrow she could have my room for good, if she were fond of the idea. "Right now it's very dirty," I said.
“What about that tea you promised - did you forget?”
“I didn’t think you remembered.” - She glanced at my eyes quickly and went into the living room sitting like a stranger and she held my blankets around her. Her eyes surveyed the room, searching for details or clues that could reveal anything about me, this kind stranger, but there was none at all except a nice sunflower by the window sill and a big canvas picture of an Himalayan coconut tree.
“You like plants then?” She asked curiously.
“Not all of them. Flowers reminds me of the smile of nature. They remind me of you, you know. You kind of have the same smile.”
“Haha - don’t make laugh.”
“I hope I can.”
She rested on the sofa waiting for me to bring her the cup of tea.
“Sugar and milk” I shouted.
There was no response so I made it the way I like it when I drank tea.
“Here you go.”
She stared at me as if to say thank you. Yet, I noticed in her eyes that she was very tired and wanted to be left alone.
I only left her with the words that if you are to leave early please wake me up and say good bye - you don’t have to leave you know, you can stay here for a month if you like. I’ll look after you.
She stared at me again this time with a half smile and then returned to drink her tea. I watched her have the first sip and she gripped the cup to suggest she liked it. I departed from her.
I walked to my room to lie on the bed which I hope to die on. I slept this night with an unusual smile, with an unusual hope and dreamt an unusual dream. I thought for a little while before I closed my eyes how she was getting on, I wanted to check up on her but she might find it strange that I came to check on her if she was still awake. She might think me a pervert and it would only confirm all of her previous theory about me. I let her alone, besides she was old enough. How old is she, I’ll ask her tomorrow morning. She must not be much older than I am.
The church bell woke me up early at six. I find it satisfying to wake up to such a ring. My grandfather use to tell me that when he was very young he lived near a church and the bell woke him up every morning at six for prayer. I didn’t pray much but had a religious tone to my life. I did nothing out of the ordinary, nothing strange to make me a bad person. I tried to be good and nice, kind and smile but I was very much alone.
I ventured downstairs after laying my bed as I did every morning; the girl from last night still remained vivid in my mind. I avoided the living room. Surely she would still be asleep or perhaps she’s left. I made myself my morning tea, two sugars and milk and sat down with my laptop to watch the news.
It was now 8:00 am when I heard a soft spoken voice.
“Good morning stranger.”
“I see that you don’t remember my name.”
“It’s Dan, right?”
“And what is yours?”
“My name is not important, just call me stranger.”
“I like to know people by their names.”
“Then my name is stranger, ok Dan". - She said this with a smile which radiated the sunshine outside.
I’ve never felt like this towards anyone before. She makes me warm and full of love, she makes me feel like I want company and not to be alone.
“Ok stranger, since you hide your name from me, what would you like for breakfast? In fact I will cook us an English breakfast. I’m not much of a cook so you will have to excuse me for the poor quality.”
“Let me help you - I can cook.”
“You’re more friendly this morning - what has changed?”
I’ve still got the same hair, nose, and eyes. What’s change is my preconception of you. I can see that you are a genuine nice guy”. She said this with a comely smile.
“Not to feed my ego but what is it that changed your mind?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know.” - She was standing by the kitchen door leaning on the edges with my blanket still wrap around her wearing it as if it was love itself embracing her.
“You know that’s now how you fry a sausage - you don’t just throw everything in there together. When was the last time you cooked an English breakfast?” She said, after watching me fumble with the skillet".
“I’m not sure; years ago now I think. I normally just go to the Café down the street and order a take-way.”
“You are really useless in the kitchen. Before you poison me let me take over.”
I submitted to her wishes and I sat down watching her cook with a straightforward determination and purpose to the extent I believe to please me. I was fixated on her feminine frame, faultless. There was something about her, a mystery as she moved her hands to turn the sausages and fry the egg. I wanted to help her, I wanted to be and do something for her.
“Don’t be watching me now - I get nervous when people stare at me.”
“You know stranger you don’t have to be a stranger in this house. You can stay here for as long as you want. You don’t have to go - and if you do go where would you go?”
She paused for a little while and said - “no where.”
“You have no one to go back to? - is there nobody thinking about you?”
“They're but its not nice thoughts - I'd rather be away from them.” I could sense the pain and truth deep in her voice which made me curious to know more about her past. But I refrained from asking her and said,
“I’m thinking nice things about you, you know.”
“You won’t be the first.
“Not in that way stranger.”
She caught my eye searching them for truth and honesty. She asked in real sincerity, “What are you thinking about me?”
"I don’t know - I’m thinking of a happy ending for a stranger I’ve just met. I’m thinking your life doesn’t have to be this way.”
“Shouldn’t you be thinking that about your life?”
“Its better when someone else thinks for you - it makes it more real”.
“You have no one thinking about you?” - She asked me my own question.
I replied “Are you thinking about me?”
“Maybe - I’m done - where are the plates around here. I’ll dish us up.”
“Don’t worry about that I can do that. I won’t poison you I promise. If you want to take a shower you can - I think I have everything you need upstairs.”
“Do you have some girls clothes upstairs - (she laughed) if you do that would be weird.”
“It would be weird but I do have some girl clothes for you, which will fit actually. My sister is the same height as you but not as beautiful - only joking. You are both beautiful.”
“Won't she mind me wearing them?”
“Not at all She is away at the moment - She is in France studying and she took all the clothes that she cared about. I miss her very much. She is all I have left. She is thinking about me”.
“Have you told her?”
“About my death - no not yet. She is in the middle of her exams and she finishes next week. So I’ll tell her then so that she can take her exams with ease of mind. She can worry about me after that.”
We sat down on the table and ate in silence. She no longer had the appetite to talk. I perceived this was because she didn’t know what to say so I played with the silence. I would often gaze at her.
At last she broke the silence.
“I would like a shower?”
After she finished showering she came downstairs in my sisters clothes. My immediate impression was that she is beautiful. There was a loveliness and grace about her. She saw the look of wonder in my eyes and spoke.
“Thank you stranger.”
“What for?” I knew what she was thankful for but it is better sometimes to let people say it.
“For letting me sleep, shower and to wear your sisters clothes. Not many people would be so personal with a stranger.”
“We haven’t kissed” - I laughed
“I mean let them into their house and look after them. You really are nice.”
“I see that you truly believe that now. You look as if you are ready to go somewhere. Will you come back?”
She left without saying goodbye. She said I’ll see you later.
A week has now passed. My sister has finished her exam and I told her the news. I went to see the doctor again and she said that I could die any day. The disease had spread so rapidly that I was now at its mercy. There was nothing that they could do.
I didn’t really care if I died, I only cared for my sister’s feelings knowing that it will break her heart but life goes on and sooner or later she will get over it. I still thought about her, Stranger, hoping to see her again. I told my sister all about Stranger and made my sister promise me that if she ever came back to visit the house again that she would offer her a room in the house.
I guess I loved her because I haven’t been able to forget her.
My bell suddenly rang at 2pm in the afternoon. That was unusual. I walked in curiosity to answer it and thought that perhaps it was my sister but she wasn’t arriving until 3pm. It was her, the lovely stranger that I had fallen in love with.
“Hello Stranger” - I said with a great deal of happiness and joy.
“Hey Dan”. I could see in her eyes that she felt the same way.
“I see that you couldn’t stay away”.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself, kind-boy - so, I’m I invited in?”
I smiled and said only on one condition -
“You want to sleep with me don’t you” She burst out laughing
“You’re the funny one aren’t you.”
“Ok tell me the condition - I won’t interrupt.”
“That you would stay with me until my sister arrives. She is coming in an hour or so. I told her all about you”.
“My gosh I hope you left out the part about being homeless and included your philanthropic deed, how you left £100 in my jacket - thank you .”
“I told her you were funny and beautiful, that there was something about you which makes me smile and happy like She does - and of course I couldn’t help but tell her that yes you were homeless. It was pretty integral to the story if I was to make it believable. She asked if you had a name and I said yes, that you were called Stranger.”
I welcomed her in and it was in that moment when I was suddenly struck with a shock. I fell to my knees, dying and she knew it. She panicked and wanted to call an ambulance. I told her no that I wanted to die in my house and on my bed.
I lay on my bed happy and could see the lines of apprehension on her face.
“Why are you so sad for a stranger you met a week ago? In a week’s time you will forget me.” I coughed.
“You would be sad for me if it was me dying. Don’t die Dan - have some water”.
Her eyes were wet, her tear drops were filled with warmth and care as they dropped on my skin.
“You know when I first met you, there was something about you. Isn’t it funny that I should meet you now in the last hour of my life - I I…”
“Don’t say it ken - My name is Alexandra.”
At that moment my sister came rushing in calling my name and I in an unfit position to answer, Alexandra answered for me. I saw my sister, her concerned face moved me to tears and for her I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live to watch her as she soars the sky. I wanted to see her run in the field of life. Furthermore I wanted to live for the stranger, no, for Alexandra.
The only two things I really want to hold on to, I have to let go. I whispered with my last dying breath “I love you” and both knew that it was meant for them.
The tears will not rise, not tonight. The joy will outlast the thickened dismissal of my confession. The misgiving of ...