Exposure to the sun

Jesolo #18

One of the things I learned on holiday was how much I enjoyed sitting in the sun… reading on my Kindle or listening to music on my iPod.

Previously I always considered myself an on-the-go person on holiday. Last year, when we went to Paris as a family I walked the legs off Olly and the we’ans. We had an all-you-can-eat Metro ticket but I had more fun walking from site to site. Part of me is glad we did… and part of me regrets it.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to me to discover actually how much I loved being on the beach or sitting by the pool.

Part of this enjoyment was feeling the sun on my skin. Don’t worry… I was decent. I’m not the type of person to walk around wearing ’budgie smugglers’… that’s not my style… but I did get a tan.

I read later of the benefits of Vitamin D and how we’ve become so scared of skin cancer that we’ve become terribly deficient in this essential building block.

That’s for another debate… and please appreciate I’m not condoning long exposure to the sun. Albeit I thoroughly enjoyed it and have benefited from the Vit D stored in my fat and muscles (more fat than muscles).

I believe I have benefited from direct exposure to the sun. I don’t believe there are health benefits to be had in exposing ourselves to tanning beds or pretending to be sun-kissed with fake tans etc… the only benefit comes from one-to-one exposure to the sun.

What’s more… I can’t gain anything from someone who has been exposed to the sun. I can’t get a tan from them… I can only get it for myself.

I used this analogy when talking to my friends Paul and Ovi on Wednesday passed. We were discussing theology and some of the awesome work Ovi is doing in Glasgow.

I made mention of my desire to help people to learn how to think. I am no longer interested in telling people what to think. My focus has moved from ’what’ to ’how’. This is especially important when it comes to theology.

Recently a ’prophetic christian’ (his definition not mine) told friends of mine not to invest in ’Harry Potter’ because it trivialised witchcraft. One friend in particular was upset by this and asked my advice. I went back to her and described the Deathly Hallows…

“for love to win, the hero must die for his friends. In doing so, he is resurrected and can defeat evil forever.”

I then said… did it sound familiar?

JK Rowling has gone on record and spoken about the Christian allegory within her series… what then is more important? The spurious claim that the books are trivialising witchcraft or the more substantial claim that her books point, in part, to the Yeshua story?

Please don’t take my word for it… but look it up for yourself. That’s my point… I desperately want people to think for themselves… to have the discernment that comes from engaging directly with Abba through prayer and study of the bible.

In short, I want to see followers of Yeshua who have tans through exposure to ’the sun’.

This exposure, as discussed above, only comes through direct exposure. Just as we can’t get a tan off of someone else… neither should we seek to gain our knowledge and experience of Abba through other people… we should seek it for ourselves.

We have the ability to have a one-to-one relationship with Abba… through Yeshua… and we would be foolish not to take it and instead ’outsource’ our thinking to ’trusted parties’… including me. Don’t take my word for it… do your own research… and think for yourself. Go with what Abba guides… not what the crowd demands.

What’s more… let’s stop pretending to have a tan and go out and get one. Fakes look awful anyway. It may be uncomfortable to start with and we may get burned but… the benefits of regular exposure are worth it in the long run.

Think about it.


Sleeping through demonstrations of Abba’s power

Jesolo #9

I was recently in a beach resort just north of Venice in Northern Italy called Lido Di Jesolo. It’s a beautiful place and my family and I had a wonderful time there.

During the second week there was a massive thunder and lightning storm… which change the weather from comfortably late 20s / early 30s with low humidity to late 30s with higher humidity. The change was noticeable.

I knew there was a storm because the family were woken at 3am to the loudest crack of thunder imaginable. We then sat up and watched an amazing show consisting of both sheet and forked lightning along with some tremendous rumbles and cracks of thunder… underpinned by the sound of torrential rain. I tried to take a photo of the lightning but failed miserably… but Olly managed to get some of the ’show’ on her videocamera. It really was something special.

The thing is… the next day at breakfast we discovered fellow holidaymakers who had slept through the whole thing. Their only clue that something had occurred was the rain and the change in conditions the following morning.

This got me thinking of all the people who miss Abba working in and around them.

Abba is moving in your place… in your space… in your time… and there are people who are asleep to His working. They may see the signs but don’t get the wondrous vision of His power at work. I think this is a real pity.

Abba is moving and the vigilant have the opportunity to get behind what He is doing… to be part of His glorious mission.

We see so much that is detrimental… all the time. The English Riots in recent days have had me glued to the BBC News. Watching people demonstrate the very worst of human behaviour… looting… thoughtless destruction… reckless violence.

If this was all that I saw, I would be utterly depressed and angry too… but it wasn’t. I saw the beneficial too: people coming together to protect their communities… people coming together to clean up after the riots and to provide refreshments for the Police and Emergency Services.

It isn’t always obvious where Abba is working… but He is working… and we need to be vigilant.

I guess that’s why I love this podcast and why it has lasting so long… people showing where Abba has worked and is working in their lives and in their places/spaces.

In the days we live in… where the detrimental always seems to get more play than the beneficial… it is refreshing to hear uplifting stories that fully articulate Abba’s love and power in action.

So let us not sleep through His working… but remain vigilant and aware… so we see His power in action and can play our parts… being the men and women who Abba wants us to be.

My sincere thanks to JD, Travis, Johnny and Stewart for keeping the momentum going. We are always looking for stories that we can tell… and new voices willing to share. Get in touch if you have something to share or think of someone we could talk with.


Guided by Scripture… rather than guiding Scripture

Reading (4/365)

Last Friday (3rd June) I read an article purporting to be from an “insider” to the “Britain’s Got Talent” / “X Factor” camp that made very strong allegations against Simon Cowell and his company. In essence, he was accused of “fixing” the talent contest… and manipulating the viewers for commercial gain.

Unfortunately I can not link to the allegations because they have been removed from the blog they were posted on… albeit copies are still available.

Anyway, the following Saturday my daughter was watching a rerun of the most recent episode and I exclaimed to Dayna that it was all nonsense and a big fix. My wife, Olly, called me out on it… saying “I wanted the article to be true”.

My wife has this wonderful ability to make me stop and take stock… and this is what I did.

I wanted these allegations to be true because of my dislike for “Britain’s Got Talent” or “X Factor”. I consider their commercialisation and commoditisation of the most beautiful of all art forms to be one of the reasons why the music industry in the UK is declining.

Music should be something that comes from the heart and not the wallet… with success coming from hardwork, a great deal of hardwork, and a desire to meet the fans’ desires. As such, it’s not something that can be predicted nor should it be something that can be guaranteed.

That said… I did want the allegations to be true because it helped me to feel vindicated in my beliefs. I saw this article as justification for my dislike… I was like “there… I told you so!”

This thought then got extended… as most of my thoughts do… to matters of faith. I had a discussion with Innes Johnston recently… where, while debating the difference between persistence and stubbornness, we came to the realisation that the Bible can and does get used to justify a wide range of things.

Take human sexuality, for example… those for LGBT acceptance and inclusion will quote their verses… and those against LGBT acceptance and inclusion will quote their verses.

We read the Bible as a means of vindicating our beliefs and justifying our stances. This is because we cannot approach the Bible in an objective manner. We read the Bible through the “glasses” of our own worldview.

I read the Bible as a mid-thirties, Scottish, white, male, heterosexual, married, father-of-two daughters, follower of Jesus… who worships at the Salvation Army… is obsessed with Apple, photography, music, Tolkien and design… and strongly believes in social democracy, egalitarianism and the common good.

As such… I read the Bible subjectively… framed by my worldview.

Objectivity is not possible and anyone who claims otherwise is, unfortunately, deluding themselves.

This does not mean I cannot take the truth from the Bible… because there is universal truth contained within Scripture that is true for all people with all worldviews.

I look to the religion scholar of Luke 10 who summed up the law, when asked…

“(…) love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and (…) love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

Love is universal: Love for God. Love for Jesus. Love for our fellow man and woman.

We may argue with our approach… with all our subjectivity… but if we hold to love of this kind… a love that is patient, kind and does not delight in evil… then surely we cannot go wrong?

We need to approach Scripture humbly… with the discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit. We should try to leave our worldviews at the door when we seek to learn from the Bible. Yes… we’ll never approach it with true objectivity… but we do need to leave room for movement… and have the humility to acknowledge if we’ve had it wrong before.

We should seek to be guided by what scripture says… in the context it was said in… with a spirit of love… and apply it to the lives we lead and the context we are in… with the same spirit of love. Rather than looking to guide scripture to justify our lives, our context and our approach.


On criticism

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I have been thinking about criticism over the last few days… after highlighting the fact that Salvation Army’s “ISB120” festival had received it’s fair share of attacks from folk who didn’t get it.

One voice in particular has come to my attention. This voice comes from a person on twitter who goes by the handle of “[twitter]skeleton_army[/twitter]” who is being very vocal with his/her views on the Salvation Army.

Now… I can hear you shouting “don’t give them publicity, Thomas”… and “remember the Streisand Effect”… and yes… I understand by naming this individual I am giving them attention and the oxygen of publicity… but I have nothing to hide in this because I can see the value in his/her criticism and I won’t dismiss him/her nor try to ignore him/her.

In this case, what he/she has to say has value but the manner in which he/she is expressing him/herself it is reducing and diluting the effectiveness of this value.

Firstly… by posting anonymously on twitter in a passive-aggressive manner… he/she is diluting the value of the points he/she is raising. It may be easier to hide behind anonymity… and yes, their approach has gotten the attention of the Salvation Army’s twitterati… but it is not effective in the longer-term when you are seeking to out wrong and bring transformation.

Why..? by doing so and remaining anonymous he/she risks coming over as a deranged, unhinged and cowardly ranting troll who isn’t prepared to stand for what they believe. Anonymous people do not stand up, out and by what they believe, in my opinion… and I think this opinion is shared by the majority of folks on the Internet.

Secondly… by refusing dialogue with representatives of the point of criticism, he/she is again diluting the effectiveness and value of his/her message. Transformation can only come through relationship.

Why..? If you don’t engage in dialogue then you are shouting into the wind… and change will not come that way. People genuinely want to understand and this understanding only comes through conversation and engagement. Dialogue, not monologue, is what’s needed.

One thing I am mindful of is that I have been more than forthright of my criticism of the Salvation Army in the past… but believe I have the freedom and, dare I say, the right to express my views because I am part of the movement… albeit on the fringes. Effective change doesn’t come through walking away but by fighting from within for what is deemed to be right and necessary. I am part, I am a participant and I hope to continue. The Pharisees haven’t broken me yet 🙂

Thirdly… in generalising their situation and experience as being representative of “the whole” he/she risks further diluting the value of his/her message. No one has the monopoly on absolute truth… everything is seen through the lens of subjective perception. Whilst the experience expressed maybe the opinion of him/her it is only part… and we must respect this… it is not the whole story.

That said… this isn’t all one-sided. We need to consider our manner in this… and how we approach our critics is of vital importance. We need to, at the very least, be gracious to him/her. I have witnessed people, obviously riled by what they have read, attacking him/her. This is wrong for two reasons:

Firstly, this person is speaking from his/her experience… and his/her experience is of equal value to yours or mine. You may not like what he/she is saying but you shouldn’t attack him/her for saying it. The ability to freely express an opinion is what makes the West a wonderful place to live. If you take away the right of someone to express themselves, however repugnant or malicious that expression is, you become an oppressor… and oppression is not the way of Jesus.

Furthermore, we must be mindful that in responding we are putting forward our opinions and, similarly, we can not make sweeping generalisations because we too only have part of the picture.

Secondly, as followers of Jesus, we are called to love and to love with everything we have. In fact, we are to be known by our love. If we act in any way other than with kindness, patience, graciousness and self-control then we lose something of our love. Let’s not stoop to the personal attacks of our opponent but love them… after all aren’t we meant to love our enemies? This isn’t optional.

In addition… we shouldn’t be dismissive and write off the concerns expressed as being simply the musings of a troll looking for attention. I have given the points raised the prayerful and introspective consideration they deserve and every member of the Salvation Army should do so too… just as critics of Christianity should be given the respect of being heard and, more important, listened to and not dismissed outright.

I would love to see some resolution to this. I believe there is value in what [twitter]skeleton_army[/twitter] has to say and I pray there can be some form of dialogue.

In fact, if [twitter]skeleton_army[/twitter] would like to air his/her views on this podcast, then I would be more than happy to blether with him/her. I am reaching out to him/her… let’s do this right… let’s be constructive rather than destructive… and work together to build a better Salvation Army.

Your call.


Not everyone has an iPhone

my first gen iPhone (245/365)

Not everyone has an iPhone. I know this may seem like an obvious statement to make… but if you are surrounded with folks who all like the same kind of things that you like then sometimes you forget.

I need to be reminded that some people have phones that run Android… or laptops that run Ubuntu. Apples are not the only fruit… literally and metaphorically.

I also need to realise that there isn’t one way to approach God. There are many ways to worship God and there are many interpretations of what church is… (almost as many as there are theological outlooks).

I am currently a member of the Salvation Army. I don’t wear the uniform although I am still “officially” a soldier. I don’t participate in the band and I am not a member of the choir. I am on the fringes… and I am comfortable there.

Recently the Salvation Army had a big shindig in London where fans of brass band music gathered to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the founding of the premier band in the Army: the International Staff Band. As part of this celebration, staff bands from throughout the world… as far afield as Japan… came to the Albert Hall in London for a huge concert… and a public procession down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. They did other things but these were the main things they did.

I’m not a fan of brass band music… apart from when it is part of a bombastic orchestra or it has someone as awesome as Lester Bowie at the helm. It’s not my thing.

That said… just because it isn’t “my thing” doesn’t mean I don’t consider it an effective ministry and outreach channel. The best people to reach brass band fans are brass band fans. This is simply reiterating that like attracts like or “birds of a feather flock together”.

Not everyone is like me. Whilst my ego would love for everyone to be like me… it’s a hard fact I have to acknowledge. I can’t effectively reach a brass band fan with ultra post-modern worship that involves ambient soundscapes and meditative liturgy expressed as slam poetry. However much I’d love to… I can’t.

Just as brass leaves me flat… so does the stuff that gets me going leaves others flat. There is not one way of doing worship.

By now you are probably shouting at me… saying faith should be relational and transcend experience and what we like… and this is true. Relationships can and do transcend the ways we define and divide ourselves… but you do tend to enjoy the company of like-minded people… it’s only natural.

ISB120 has received criticism from folks within the Army… and bless them, I get what they are saying… but they are missing the point. There isn’t just one way of doing worship and being church… and no one way is more right than the other.

Let’s be honest for a moment… Missional isn’t a “capital M” noun kind of thing… or at least it shouldn’t be. It is and must always be considered a verb… its a doing word not a naming word. Everything we do should be missional… because everything we do and everything we are should be in tune with what the Lord wants.

Was ISB120 a “Missional” event..? No way! It was exclusively for brass band fans… and people should be honest about this. However, was it used missionally… or did it have the opportunity to be used missionally? Of course it did… because people with a heart for God’s mission ceased seized the opportunity presented. I know of one dear sister whose brother came back to God as a result of the event and, more importantly, her.

People were blessed at ISB120 and began their faith journeys there. This is awesome news and, in my humble opinion, vindicates the cost and effort involved in putting on the event.

That said… it should not be the only form of worship encouraged. All forms of expression should be given an equal footing… because they all have the opportunity to reach someone.

Consider your hand… most people have four fingers and a thumb. Think of each finger as a channel… a means of reaching someone. We need all the fingers to work in harmony. Otherwise we are not as effectual as we could be… just like someone trying to touch-type with the index fingers of both hands… we could do so much more if all the fingers were in use.

We need ALL expressions of church to work together for our reach to have the greatest effect. The first step in this is to realise that my way may not be your way… or, to use a metaphor, not everyone has an iPhone.


Serving rather than being served

I went with my wife and two daughters to see “Thor” yesterday. It’s a great film… imho… with a strong story underpinning a visual treat.

To cut a long story short… for those of you that haven’t seen the film… Thor is banished to Earth for causing trouble and has to, in essence, get over himself… get rid of his arrogance and pride… before he can regain his position as the Son of Odin and Heir to the throne.

There are two scenes that signify this transformation:

  1. In the first one (before he “gets it”) he is in a diner and demands to be served… by smashing, as was his custom, his cup on the floor.
  2. In the second one (after he “gets it”) he is seen serving his companions breakfast… a breakfast he made himself.

The transformation is apparent… the served has become the server.

When we consider our spiritual expression… this is a prime example of someone “dying to self”. No longer are we concerned with what we can gain… we put our neighbour before ourselves and seek to serve them.

This isn’t some “pie in the sky” philosophy or political ideal… this is the life we are called to. This is the plan the God invites us to participate in.

I always remember a wee acronym I learned as a bairn in Sunday School. The secret of JOY is…

Jesus first… Yourself last… and Others in-between (and… noticeably… before you)

Ask yourself this… is serving others in the centre of all I seek to do? Or do I want my neighbours to serve me?

This is a vitally important question… it’s the difference between merely living and living a life in all it’s fulness.

So with this in mind… please share the more innovative things you are doing in your spaces and places to serve others.


Some thoughts on Rob Bell’s “Love Wins”… part 3

090511_ Love Wins

So… the big question posed in Rob Bell’s book “love wins” is…

does God get what God wants?

God is great. I affirm this in my life. I am here because of Him and I give Him the glory for all the blessings He has bestowed on me.

I believe He is greater and more powerful than I could ever dream or imagine… He is the catalyst through which all things were and are made. He’s that great.

So when it comes to the fate of billions of people… I think God is more than capable of doing something beyond great.

“God has a purpose, something He is doing in the world, something that has never changed, something that involves everybody, and God’s intention all along has been to communicate this intention clearly.” (p98)

If God has a purpose, and I believe He does, then does He get to fulfil His purpose… or does He fail?

As I read scripture and follow the verses presented by Bell, it becomes clear that God doesn’t fail… but us humans do… regularly!

God wants to bring everyone back to Him. This is the whole purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice. This is the whole purpose of grace.

Reconciliation. This is what God wants. Not just with “the chosen” but with all people. God has very big arms that open very wide… in this regard.

The problem is… and this is clearly communicated in the book… that whilst God wants everyone to come to him… not everyone will.

Freedom to choose is exactly that… the ability to decide, by ourselves, whether we are for or against something. And with this choice comes the consequences of the decision.

“God has to respect our freedom to choose to thievery end, even at the risk of the relationship itself. If at any point God overrides, co-opts, or hijacks the human heart, robbing us of our freedom to choose, then God has violated the fundamental essence of what love is.” (p103-104)

I get infuriated when I hear the phrase… “beggars can’t be choosers”. In my time working with Glasgow’s homeless… one thing I will always affirm is that THEY CAN AND MUST. When I remove choice then I become an oppressor… and the choice-less person becomes someone I oppress. The relationship changes and it becomes something contractual & forced… not loving.

God is love and as a loving God, He gives us choice… and this choice could break His heart.

God’s love is universal but He isn’t a universalist… only those who return God’s love… those who trust in His love… are the ones who will participate in His new creation… as new creations. Bell clearly affirms this in “love wins”.

“…if we want nothing to do with light, hope, love, grace, and peace, God respects that desire on our part, and we are given a life free from any of those realities.”

Peace has been made. Through Jesus’ death on the cross… peace has been made. Once. For all.

“…God has inaugurated a movement in Jesus’ resurrection to renew, restore and reconcile everything “on earth or in heaven” (Col.1), just as God intended it.” (p134)

The point then is whether we want to be renewed, restored, reconciled or redeemed back to God. The hard work has been done… all we have to do is let go and trust.

This is the crux of the Gospel and is very eloquently described by Bell.

Let’s be honest… we may not like Bell’s writing style… we may want the answers given to us rather than having to think for ourselves… and Bell does make us think rather than giving us answers to blindly follow. We may not like his style but his enthusiasm or his faith can not be questioned… and if we do… I would strongly suggest we blaspheme the Spirit in doing so.

We need to ask questions. We need to question that which we are too close to. We shouldn’t accept things without first challenging it. We have the gift of discernment and we need to use it or we’ll lose it.

I enjoyed “love wins” and have taken a great deal from it. I haven’t mentioned everything in it… because I want you to read the book for yourself.

I hope and pray that love does and will win in the end.


Some thoughts on Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” … part 2

230311_ Love wins

I’ve decided to bring some of my theological musings to the podcast’s website because I think this is a suitable place to bring more focussed thinking… and I’m eager to hear from you, the Something Beautiful community.

The follow post contains some thoughts I’ve had after reading Rob Bell’s latest book… “love wins”. The first part is available (here) and I would recommend you read that first, if you haven’t already. It sets the scene, so to speak, and speaks of this series of posts on the book being in two parts. I’ve decided to expand it further… into at least three parts.

If you want to comment then please do… we (JD, Travis, Stewart, Johnny & myself) will try to respond… but be nice & constructive. If your comment is anonymous and/or destructive, it will be deleted. My life is too short to pander to trolls.



“First, heaven. Now, hell.”

This is how Rob Bell starts his chapter on hell.

Hell is a deeply contentious issue for me. I am like my iPad and want to change “hell” for “he’ll”… because I want there to be more to it than “turn or burn”… I hope He would intervene.

In my personal experience I have met some wonderful people who are good, peaceful, inclusive, loving, caring, kind, compassionate and generous… who weren’t interested in Jesus; and I have had the misfortune to stumble across people who proclaimed the name of Jesus and yet were divisive, exclusive, malicious, deceptive, angry, and hate-filled.

I have always considered it deeply unfair that, due to a moment in time, these Christians have the arrogance to think they are not only going to Heaven but that they also could prescribe and predict those who weren’t.

Into this mindset, I welcomed “Love Wins”… where Bell talks about the literal hells of now and the hell of later:

“There are individual hells, and communal, society-wide hells, and Jesus teaches us to take both seriously. There is hell now, and there is hell later, and Jesus teaches us to take both seriously.” (p79)

We are in hell when we reject all that is good and true in the here and now.

We are in hell when we choose that which is wrong for us… and become trapped in addiction… becoming obsessed with things that bring us death rather than life.

We are in hell when we are oppressed. We are in hell when we are the oppressor.

Hell, as Bell points out, is literal… especially to those caught up in the conflict in Rwanda… or in the former Yugoslavia… or in Manhattan on that terrible day in September, 2001;

Bell then goes on to talk about hell in the context of judgement and punishment… and this is where I struggle… as I mentioned above.

I believe in justice… or, should I say, I believe in the concept where someone who commits a crime is punished with a punishment that is appropriate for that crime.

But I also believe in second chances.

True justice is when wrongdoing is punished then the wrongdoer is restored. Idealistic? Yes… but then I look at what has happened in South Africa under the watchful eye of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and know it can happen.

This is the point Bell makes about hell… and backs it up with the words of the Prophets:

“People are not cast off by the Lord forever, though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.” (p86 – taken from Lamentations 3)

As a parent I have had to punish my children for their wrongdoing… which usually included being “sent to their bed” for a period of time with privileges removed… but this punishment is followed, after a given period, by restoration to the family and of their privileges.

I don’t want to punish my children… I just want to love them and ensure they have the very best… but sometimes I need to correct them… I need to ensure they are brought back into line.

But for how long? They are not punished for the rest of their lives for the wrongdoing they have committed… but for an appropriate period of time.

Which brings up my initial heartbreak… I have always considered it deeply unfair that, due to a moment in time, “bad” believers can arrogantly look to Heaven and “good” non-believers are condemned for ever and ever and ever and… well, you get my point.

Bell considers the words used for this ever and ever and ever.

Now, I am not a student of Hebrew or Greek, but i do know that meaning can and does get “lost in translation”.

But to think the phrase “aion of kolazo” can be translated as either “a period of pruning” or “eternal punishment” is scary.

It’s scary because you have, in one hand, a limited period of repair and, in the other, an unlimited period of repair. Both are periods of correction but one is seasonal and limited… whereas the other is unending. If you are a gardener you will know that you only prune when necessary and for a brief spell… if you keep cutting back then you will end up with nothing left… and, as discussed above, restoration can only happen if there is something left to restore!

Bell then discusses the term “olam” which means “to the vanishing point” or “in the far distance”. It comes close to “forever” when it is used to consider the nature of God (psalm 90 for example) but when it is used to describe the period of time Jonah is in the belly of the fish it’s different… 3 days may feel like forever… but it isn’t.

So when we read “eternal” are we putting our spin on the phrase… reading into it things that aren’t there? Maybe Jesus’ eternal isn’t the same as what we’ve come to think of it being?

Which brings me to a very pertinent question posed by Bell… “does God get what He wants?”

I think there are those within the Christian church who are more concerned with getting what they want… than what God wants. We have been divided for so long that sectarian rhetoric has become the norm… the phraseology of exclusion… where if you do not believe exactly as they do then you are “out”.

Exclusion has become the norm. In or out. Us or them. With us or against us. Friend or foe. Saved or lost.

Into this we place the idea of a hell… where those who are “in” are saved and those who are “out” are lost… and there are those folks out there that are really quite comfortable with this.

Let me just repeat that… some people are quite happy and content with the thought that their enemies are condemned to hell.

But wait, aren’t we meant to love our enemies? How is this loving?

The simple answer is… it’s not!

“External punishment” works if we want our enemies to suffer… whereas if we love our enemies and live lives of love then we should seek justice, restoration and “a period of pruning”.

As such, are our subjective prejudices clouding how we interpret scripture..? This is why we must consider what God actually wants!

More on that later.


a musical interlude :: 3.47

alight here 0006
alight here 0006

just in time for a new year, it’s another something beautiful musical interlude! our mix this week is from thomas who puts out some pretty sweet mixes of his own from time to time over on his nanolog.

from Thomas:

In preparation for a new year… I give you the sixth instalment in the alight here mixcast series. 2010 was a great year for music and, as such, it is my intention to highlight some new material that has really captured my attention as well as more familiar tracks that have sustained my interest and really grown on me.

All the artists featured are independent musicians… please support them by checking out their music, buying where appropriate, and spreading the word.

Oh and this mixcast is brought to you in conjunction with the something beautiful podcast – we have a “musical interlude” every-so-often and it was my turn… so it made sense to bring the two together.

Enjoy… and please support the artists featured.

music ::

The Breaker Anointing by Shekinah taken from The Wind Lost Its Breath And The Sea Became As Smooth As Glass
Angle Of Incidence by The Echelon Effect taken from Fracture And Fragments
Like A Firefly (Love) by Lowercase Noises taken from Carry Us All Away
Summit by Emmalee Crane taken from Formantine
Light Of Those Whose Dreary Dwelling by The Opiate Mass taken from Volume 2: Albatross (direct download)
Golden Contrails by Cousin Silas taken from Complex Silence 9 – Fresh Landscapes (netlabel release)
Meeting at the utility pole by edPorth taken from Saying vamos and thinking let’s go
Big Sky by Matt Stevens taken from Ghost
Count Your Blessings by The Lower Lights taken from The Lower Lights – A Hymn Revival
Redemption Today by United Harvest Workers Union taken from their self-titled release
Falling Off Trees by Uniform Motion taken from Pictures (netlabel release)
I Will be Silent by Over the Ocean taken from Paper House

(all tracks from bandcamp releases unless otherwise highlighted)

thomas mathie :: 3.21.1 (special bonus episode)

Thomas Mathie - THE headphonaught

as a follow-up to Friday’s podcast, we’re sharing some of Thomas’ thoughts that he shared with his tribe on Sunday, June 13, 2010.

we hope you enjoy what Thomas has to say as he shares his heart with his local tribe, as well as the entire sbpodcast tribe.

related ::
hear thomas’ story on the podcast
thomas’ blog
thomas on twitter
thomas on facebook
thomas on flickr
hint of bergamot
thomas on tumblr

music ::
medium – christian