Showing posts from May, 2013

The disruptive power of the gospel

I've been travelling this week through the seven churches of Asia, now Turkey, to which John is commanded to write in the book of Revelation. This hasn't proved too arduous, fortified by Turkish fish lunches and soft wine-fuelled suppers.

It's difficult to imagine in the gentle May sunshine and under the pomegranate blossom that these early churches lived in great fear of Roman oppression - it's why John is said to have written so much of his Revelation in code, to protect his correspondents.

But I'm struck also by how little has changed since he wrote his extended letter. At Pergamon, there's a Roman amphitheatre that you reach by passing through an ancient shopping mall, just like we're offered retail therapy at the National theatre or Royal Shakespeare Company. At the ruins of the city of Aphrodisias, there is an old surviving inscription that tells people not to throw their rubbish out of the gate.

And it seems that nothing much changes in churches either.…

Poem: The only happy feel

When nights fall and the drama begins to fade,
I take time to meditate on my hearts ways,
Longing to need my lover's kiss, but she won't recognize me,
So I asked her to the prom,
She rejected whilst drunk on rum,
And I was high on gin.
Ambition to get past this melancholy feel,
So I'm staring long at her picture strong,
But I cannot cry,
Besides I tried, but she is not feeling me,
I wish someone would say they need me,
Because I am bleeding for joy, and thirsty for love,
Spent too long in my own mind,
Walking under the sky,
I am getting desperate eyes,
Weary of being alive, no community would have me,
I guess its my look, my mixed eyes with a face that hardly smiles,
Begrudging my fate,
It seems the music is full of hate, for a guy like me,
Where death is the only happy feel


Miscellanies 79: Make much of others

The truth is, I understand well one of the principles of life, namely to make much of other people as you can. Lift them up, and do surprisingly great deeds for them. If you know their fancy, if you understand that which makes them smile, do it as much as it is possible, or when the opportunity presents itself. If they are engaged in something, offer help honestly. When there is a chore, do it, so that they would not have to do it. Let them see your kindness as clear as the lover his lover's beautiful eyes. Do it as that selfless Apostle who encouraged the children of light, namely to do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility to count others more significant than themselves. Look not only for your interest, but also to the interest of others. In fact I say, search for their interest first, trace after it as that poor woman who lost her gold coin and turned her house upside down until she found it.

And what a life lived is the soul who lives this way! And in so…

Poem: It is with me

Itis with me as the poor man's plea For a change, to a hostel sleep But not as deep as Poseidon's sea Or as high as the Messiah's seat. My love is mortal at best When it rest, no jest can undo thy vest, For it sets in a heart with sinful pests, It rest amidst a fraudulent will. It is with me as any mother's child, My love for thee, is as odd as all things rare.  


Poem: If ever

A poem for Ben Saunders

If ever a gentle river had a soul, It would yours be.
If ever a stream beamed with light, It would yours display.
And if ever the sunshine smiled, It would yours discover, and rest in eternal blush.
If ever a friend I need,
Whose deeds is as innocent as rainbow's kids,
Then yours, in rush I employ, 
Along with ten thousands more.*

*By this phrase it means that not only me but a lot of other people would seek his help too.


Poem: Woman in beauty

When the sun sets beneath its shades,  Covered by mountains underneath its aims,  When clouds aloof the awesome sky Below the earth of arduous rise,  Then I am a shooting star,  A releasing arm in a lover's town,  Where once, I saw her ravened black hair,  Glimmering with life that only Cano Cristales* could live – poverty in Spirit, An enemy to villainy, Woman in beauty, a sage in learning and a Christ in holiness.

* Cano Christales is known as "the river that ran away from paradise" and it is located in northern Columbia

Miscellanies 78: Her waters emptied itself through my holed cup

In all truths as I can barely afford it, I am glad that things did not turn out this way, namely that I am not hers, for I could never afford the life fitting for her manners. I am not the adventurer, nay, never the goer but the reflective kind, to sit by springs and muse with flowers and paint with the rainbow. I have none of that beat to go anywhere where the world treads and holds in high pride. I am much too grey, too shy. I prefer much to lay among green pastures, whose delicacy, human foot have forsaken for the harsh concrete. It is therefore to be praised that her waters emptied itself through my holed cup and I drank nothing but air.  


How does one convince a nonbeliever that the Bible is the Word of God?

Before I try to answer that question directly, let me make a distinction that is important at the outset. There’s a difference between objective proof and the persuasion or conviction that follows. John Calvin argued that the Bible carries both persuasion and conviction in terms of its internal testimony—the marks of truth that could be found just by an examination of the book itself—as well as external evidences that would corroborate that substantial evidence to give solid proof for its being the Word of God. Yet the last thing people would want is a book telling them they are in desperate need of repentance and of a changed life and of bowing in humility before Christ. We don’t want that book to be the truth. Calvin claimed that there is a tremendous bias and prejudice built into the human heart that only the influence of God the Holy Spirit can overcome. Calvin distinguished between what he called the undicia—those objective evidences for the trustworthiness of Scripture—and what…

A short story: Ashes into Gold

"But Lord I do have these ashes, this filthy rubbish on my hands, and I have nowhere to put it. They are stuck to me; it is as if they are part of me. I cannot get rid of them. I loathe them as angels detest the presence of lucifer; and the devils seems to be attracted to me. O what wretched ugly ashes I hold, what degrading materials are in my hands."

Christ then replied, "O my child, who plays much in the dirt, lingering in the puddle when I have made you this bright fresh river to play in, come here and I will trade your ashes into gold."

The dirty kid then reply, "But who would pay gold for such despicable ashes?"

"I will." Christ replied standing up to embrace the boy.

"O my Lord, do not touch me for I shall stain your garment."

"Without my touch," responded Christ, "those ashes will cling to you forever. I must touch you and fear not, the opposite will happen. You shall have my golden garment and I will have your a…

Longing to change

Am I a victim of my circumstance?
Should I blame God or should I praise like Job?
Cursing deep, but that's not a saints way,
Finding my identity in my failures, but they tell me that I'm looking in the wrong place.
Loosing faith because of fear
Too many nights I tear
Leave me alone in my melancholy bed.
At the foot of the cross, here I am with my many sins
This is me uncircumcised, longing to change
To be righteous like old Miss Tucker,
A solitary nun, caring for sixty lepers.
Open my eyes, let me see the God of great wonder,
Who gave it all, crucifying his Son in great anger.
But underneath it all, it was his love, without it there's no hope for the broken in heart.
I'm feeling wilted,
The years of loneliness got me stressing,
Singleness is a grudge I'm currently begrudging.


The Joy of confession - Follow your own advice

I must say or rather confess, that I have given advise which I have not heeded to myself. I have with all of my passion given godly advises in which I myself do not apply to my own soul. I know my error and even in knowing one's wrong, yet one must apply it, and therein is the difficulty. It is one thing to believe for another, it is a wholly another substance for one to believe for their own soul. O, I would exhort the sinner, one who is downcast and feels his own worthiness that he may come any time to the throne of grace and expect a smiling face. I would say this and even declare it to my own soul, but many times I have noticed that I have not moved an inch. My lips ceased with praise and my heart dreaded that Sinai terror. Such is my way at times that only effectual grace ushers me into that divine presence which is my happiness. But I will never cease from given godly advise.


I knew a sad boy

I once knew a sad boy who could not be happy for anyone else let alone himself. Every smile on other people's faces would made him reflect on his own miseries, therefore he decided to believe that every smiling eyes was a lie. He knew not how to play nor join in with other's pleasures for such things only increased his melancholy. Even more the voices of happy people irritated him. And what made his condition doubly worse, was that he did not like to see people sad. Such was the condition of the boy that I did look upon him with great pity and had no way of consoling him except to pray for him, that perhaps God may find a way to cure this young miserable boy of his sadness. 


A short story: Conquistar - chapter 2

Samantha and Gemma laid near the comfort of the steady fire enjoying the absence of both of their parents. They were free to converse without the slightest care of their discussion entering into their Father's inflexible ears.

“I wonder what he is up to tonight?”

“Thinking of you,” Gemma replied wanting to believe her own statement. “I suppose a man like him with such gentle-man character is a first for you.”

“And I hope he is the last.”  said Samantha with a sparkle that makes a diamond appear as a common rock.

“I hope so too Samantha.”

“I shall be seeing him tomorrow."

"How exciting. Your smile does show that you are eager for it. You were never good at hiding anything away. You are too innocent and transparent."

Ignoring the veracity of the statement, Samantha replied:

"It has only been two days since I saw him and I am sentient that I have missed him forever. Is this true love?”

“Mother would be better suited to tell you if it is. I have never been in lov…

I knew a sad boy

I knew a sad boy who always thought that he was not worthy of any one's presence, so he sits alone as much as he could. And when among others, he quietens his soul and displays no social emotions as to not give anyone an invitation into his soul and company. But whilst he thought like this, he grew sad and sadder, until one day he decided to leave humanity all-together and rest under a forest tree, until his heart forgets to beat again. 


A short story: For Mr Haly. - part one

Whatever it is to do in life, Mr Haly has not found it. Long has he stared outside of his window watching all kinds of people pass by. Some on their phones, some jugging and some together, but he was always alone, without a single friend in the world. “Good day Finley,” greeted Mr Haly. shopping for his two boxes of weekly eggs. “Good day to you too,” replied Mr Finley. “Have you any business today than the usual?” “Not at all.” replied Mr Haly now paying three pounds for his purchase. A greeting was all Mr Haly received from most people except from his mother, who being very old and wrinkled now always made sure to ring her only son every Wednesday and Friday at exactly the twentieth hour of the day. Mr Haly would leave his window watch and sit by his phone to dialogue for more than a minute with the only soul who cared anything about him. But this Wednesday evening, the hour passed by without a call from his mother. “This is unusual.” he thought. “She never misses this moment …

A short story: Conquistar

Simi was well known among the girls of his college and beyond. His fame rested on his handsomeness and charm. When he was fourteen years old, he dated a girl two years his senior. Her name was Samantha, Irish by origin but English by birth. And when she found out that Simi was two years younger than her, she was embarrassed that she had fallen prey to such a lie. She cried for days, receiving letters from people she didn't even know in her school about her stupidity.

 'How desperate were you?' wrote one letter. With no strength to reply and with a soul full of shame, she decided to move school and was never seen again by Simi until one rainy day in late October.
Simi was walking on the pavement that led to his house when across the road he saw a blonde beauty, five feet tall struggling to cover her head from the rain.

'I need to help her', he thought.

The day did not lend itself as the perfect day to hunt a fox, that was what he saw his mission has. Every girl was…

Explaining the Universal Phenomenon of Religion

Have you ever wondered why there’s a universal phenomenon of religion? You can go anywhere on the globe and you’ll find evidence of cultic practices of sacrifice. Why is that? I suggest that it is because the original program and prescription for the worship of the living God was sacrifice. Adam told it to Cain, Abel, and Seth. Seth told it to Enoch, and he told it to his sons and they to their sons and so on. It was taught to Abraham. It was taught to Isaac. It was taught to Jacob. It was taught to Joseph. It was taught to Moses. It was also taught to Ishmael and to Esau, and so the idea of the requirement of sacrifice in faith pervaded the whole human race. But today the need for sacrifices to be made in faith is forgotten—we hear that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. In fact, the basic requirement of sacrifice is unknown—it doesn’t matter what your religious practices are. It doesn’t matter what you worship. It only matters that you do worship. It’s sa…

Miscellanies 77: Precious is that blood

How precious is that blood that washes away all of my sins. It is my only hope of a happy life. It is my only consolation of approaching the throne of grace. How happy I am with that blood and with the man who's blood it is. I am forever grateful and glad that it covers all of my awful sins. Sins I commit willingly and sins in ignorance. They are all covered by his precious blood.

As it was commanded in Genesis 9:4 that, 'you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood,' yet we are commanded in the New Testament to drink the blood of Christ because it is life to our souls. Let my drink constantly be the blood of Christ for in it is contained all the nutrients I need to keep me healthy for the rest of my days. O, it is precious!

In Leviticus 17:14 we read that 'for the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.' O what a life given, wha…

A short story: Scarlet Rachel

On his penultimate evening in Bristol he broke three promises – one that he would walk to London with his cousin from Bath, two that he would visit his father's grave, and the third, a fresher promise made to the girl he loved. When he and Rachel had discussed, months before to light up their love for one another, the best they could do was come to a mutual agreement of cold separation. 'No texting,' she said when they came to this agreement, 'no facebook, no phone calls, no nothing.' His voice had always weakened her, his appearance intensifying her zeal to kiss him, and his eyes luring her into what she knew was bad for her. 'I don't want to know anything about your condition, any changes or whatever, I don't want to know.' As he walked out of the coffee scented room, he witnessed her eyes fall to the ground, having a feel of utter resolution at the decision made. Her look of utter resolution lingered late in his mind this evening as he watched f…

Miscellanies 76: Your worth is not in men

Let worry no longer clothe you, earthly desires no longer control you. Linger not on the devil's accusations that woe is you for you are not good enough, not perfect enough, not beauty enough, not righteous enough, not worthy enough. Have you forgotten that your Father has traded your ashes for incorruptible gold, your sins for the outstanding worthiness of Christ's righteousness. Have you forgotten that the Father has given you an eternal reminder of his love, namely the cross and Resurrection of Christ. Cease from swimming in such dark puddles and come and bath in the blue-white waterfall of his freedom.

Linger much on that unchanging character, namely God. Men are men, mortal, their opinions change. Your worth is not in them but it is in God. It is him who does not change, and what a consolation this is for your soul. If he has loved you before you were born, yea elected you unto salvation, shall he now hate you after sending his son to die for you? I can only believe that…

Making poverty personal

Dhaka, food banks and development

Poverty cast a shadow over this week's news, locally and globally. Demand for food banks hit a record high, with 125,000 children among those receiving food aid last year. A trial of the Universal Credit began – perhaps the most ambitious and bold welfare reform in 70 years. Horrific pictures reached us from Dhaka, where more than 500 people were killed when their workplace collapsed around them.

They should do something. When we encounter poverty and suffering, who do we call on first? Often we call on government, the biggest they of all. Bishops encourage the coalition to think again on welfare reform. The Trussell Trust asked politicians to “create fresh policies” to address the growing demand for food banks. This week, in response to the Dhaka tragedy, many of us called on Primark to insist on higher safety standards from suppliers, and the Bangladeshi government to enforce them.

Laws matter, democratic structures are available and asking governm…