Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Failed Prophet?

Here's our latest Food For Thought article:

Your Kingdom Come…

Things will get better when God’s will is done on Earth as it is in Heaven. That is the promise of the Christian scriptures. Jesus message was intended to usher in a new era for humanity characterized by peace and justice. Unfortunately, two-thousand years later, the world still looks like a pretty awful place. Some people, looking at the state of the world, question whether Jesus was a failed prophet. But the real question is whether people have actually followed Jesus’ teachings of loving their neighbors as themselves, or forgiving others, or caring about their enemies? From looking at the daily news, the answer to this question must be a resounding NO. This raises another question - what if everyone did follow Jesus’ teachings? What would the world look like? Would it not be something very close to the Kingdom of God that Jesus spoke of? If so, is the problem that Jesus was a failed prophet or that we are a failed people?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Broken World

I've got a couple of ideas I'm wanting to write about, but haven't gotten around to them just yet. Until then, here's my article from the paper this week:

A Broken World

We human beings have a tendency to be selfish creatures that pursue our own agendas without considering the needs of others. This creates all manner of dysfunction and suffering in the world. As a species, our behavior is creating major problems. There is no quick fix to these problems. Politicians sitting around talking about policy won’t fix things. A rich philanthropist can’t just throw enough money into charity organizations to make the problems go away. The only way this world will ever get better is if we start the hard work of changing ourselves.

There are resources for this change in the most surprising of places. For two thousand years Jesus’ teachings have been a light to those seeking a better path in life, and yet our modern culture is in danger of losing those teachings altogether. In Australia especially, Christianity may very well become an extinct religion over the next few decades. And it’s unlikely that other religions will fill the gap due to their even smaller numbers. At that point we will have no one to guide our way other than the politicians and multi-national corporations. When that happens, do you think our problems will get better or worse?

Friday, September 2, 2011


My coworker, Jason, and I have been writing short little articles to advertise our Sunday outreach, Food for Thought. We try to share something, in 200 words or less, that will provoke some curiosity from the community. I thought I would post the last couple that we put in.

God’s Not

If God existed, what would God look like?  Perhaps none of us really knows, but at the very least we can probably guess what God would not look like.  If God is the most powerful being in the universe it seems unlikely that he/she would look like the petty gods of ancient mythology.  Such gods reflect the worst qualities in human nature -- envy, deceitfulness, etc. 

Likewise, a cold impersonal god seems an unlikely representation of God since it would mean that a house cat has more personality than the being that spun stars and made life and love possible.  Both options seem unlikely. 

If we were looking for the true God we would expect to find a being that is both personal and universal at the same time -- able to both love us and suffer with us, yet without human pettiness.

Science and Faith

Can science and Christianity enjoy each other’s company?

Imagine if Jesus and Darwin sat down to enjoy a cup of tea. If Jesus put the kettle in the refrigerator instead of on the stove, Darwin would think him strange. This is because he knows scientifically that it’s not wishful thinking that heats the water, but burning gas or electricity. And if Darwin pours the water onto Jesus’ head - to test his reaction - it won’t improve the friendship. Neither party can set traps for one another if they expect to be friends. Relationships have to be experienced through mutual trust.

Science is an amazing tool for learning about the natural world. And the Christian story gives us a lens through which we can understand spiritual realities. Without a lens or framework to explain the spiritual, we only know the mechanisms science reveals to us. We don’t know whether the universe is all about love or all about survival, all random chance or completely determined. Yet with a spiritual lens, we have both a moral vision and the motivation to live in it - to love our enemies, to admit when we’re wrong, and to forgive others.