“I don’t know what they’re doing with their lives”

Crowd

“All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters’ wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t know what they’re doin’ with their lives
But me, I’m still on the road”

Bob Dylan: Tangled up in blue

I’ve been attending our very middle class church for more than 13 years now, and in that time we’ve seen so many people come and go.

What are they doing with their lives? Are they still on the Way?

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Signs of hope

Grass growing in a crack in the footpath

Do you ever lose hope, perhaps just for a moment?

There are plenty of things we may feel hopeless about – ourselves or our circumstances, the world, politics. One of the things I often lose hope about is the church – it just seems to be drifting, a long way from the teachings of Jesus, yet also a long way from connecting with the people around us. Keith Green once called it “asleep in the light”.

Yet there are many signs of hope. People caring for their fellow human beings and thus showing in practical ways the love God puts in our hearts, and calling those outside the kingdom to receive God’s grace and forgiveness and join us in making the world a better place.

Here are seven brief glimpses of hope.

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Three views on our acceptance with God

North Haven

North Haven on the NSW mid-north coast, from the top of Big Brother mountain. The reason for showing this photo will become apparent in the post. Photo (c) John Naylor and Google.

Christians hold three different views on who gains acceptance with God. I have looked at what the Bible says in detail at Can only christians be saved?, but here I want to think about some other aspects of the question.

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Three views on christianity and politics

Ballot box

The combination of religion and politics can be explosive. It is very easy to hold our political views with religious zeal, and I am not always an exception. And so we often think that God is on our side of politics. (Or else we think God stands in the middle between the two polarised views.)

I thought it might be interesting to take a bunch of much argued over political issues and see what Jesus, as God’s representative on earth, said about them, if he said anything at all. A sort of HWJV – How Would Jesus Vote?

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Three views on hell and judgment

reading-bible

So far I have looked at two doctrinal issues in this series – Three different views of the Bible and three different ways to read it and Three different views of social justice and the gospel – and each time I have concluded that the truth lies between the two more polarised views.

It probably won’t surprise you, then, to find that I think it is the same with the vexed subject of hell and judgment.

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Three different views of the Bible, and three different ways to read it

Differences among christians

Reading

We all know there are many, many matters on which christians hold different views. Many of them are merely matters of opinion and taste (though you would sometimes think they were highly important), but they include many important doctrines too.

For many matters, there are a range of views, though often times two opposing views paint themselves as the only alternative to the slippery slope leading to the opposing view.

Over the next few posts I want to look at some of these divergent ideas and doctrines, and see if there are “middle roads” between the extremes. I hope you may wish to constructively join the conversation.

I start with the Bible, a topic on which I have written many times before, but which merits another look.

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Giving flowers, living in the opposite spirit

Spiritual principles series

Saying sorry

Dealing with refugees is one of the most intractable problems facing governments across the western world. Not only is it difficult to control the number of people seeking asylum from crossing borders, but there is the fear that among the asylum seekers may be Taliban of DAESH fighters bent on suicide terrorism.

Governments respond in many different ways. Ultimately, public opinion may determine government policy, so what we all think matters. So what should be a christian understanding of all this?

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