- Session 1: The Chemical Conspiracy of Love and Desire - how God wired us for a good time.
- Session 2: Making Whoopee - how to have healthy, heavenly sex, the way God intended us to.
- Session 3: Whoopee and the Wiggles: Talking about sex to the kids.
- Session 4: Aging disgracefully: good sex for those who are - uh - more mature than the rest of us.
Saturday, 21 February 2009
Friday, 20 February 2009
Sunday, 15 February 2009
Maybe we need better management. There’s a system where bushfire alerts can be sent to mobile phones. It was available in 2005. But it wasn’t implemented because government agencies have been arguing about who should pay for it. Oops. And maybe we need bigger buffers between built-up areas and the bush.
Is that what the earth’s trying to tell us? We need to manage it better?
Maybe this is Mother Earth’s way of punishing us for global warming. Why should we think we’re the most important creatures on the planet? Why should we think we can manage the planet for our benefit? Maybe we need to admit that the earth’s really in control of us. Maybe we should treat her with more respect.
Is that what the earth’s trying to tell us?
Romans 8:19-22 says:
Something so deep, that it can only be solved by a new created order. This is what it means for the creation to be “frustrated” (verse 20). It doesn’t achieve its goal, it falls short. It knows it needs something better—it’s reaching for that something better—nearly, nearly—but no! It’s always missing.
Hmmm. That reminds me of another important verse in Romans. Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The world’s fallen-ness reflects our personal fallen-ness; our individual corruption is a microcosm of the world’s corruption. Isn’t that interesting?
This cosmic fallen-ness, this palpable universal imperfection, is no accident: it’s God’s work. Genesis ch 3 has the story of humans disobeying God. But it wasn’t just humans who suffered the consequences: the whole world was put under a curse. At first, the land produced vegetation, and sustained life. Now it produces thorns and thistles, and brings death (Gen 3:17-19). This wasn’t an accident: it was God’s judgment, in response to Adam & Eve turning their back on him.
And that’s another interesting thing about this passage. Usually, we’d think that Christians share in the blessings of the new creation – that is, that a new created order is the environment through which God blesses his people. Bible passages that take that view include 1 Corinthians 15:35-56; 1 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 3:13; and of course Revelation 21:1-4. But here, it’s the other way around: the world wants to share in the blessings that Christians enjoy.
And Christians have that future hope because of Jesus’ past historical work. Because of Jesus’ historical death and resurrection, we can be confident that the consequences of our rebellion against God have been dealt with. If we trust Jesus, we have relationship with God; we have the Holy Spirit living in us (Rom 5:1-5). We can eagerly wait for that relationship to be perfected, when we see God face-to-face.
This is the same thing that the earth is saying, in bushfires and storms and floods. It’s crying out: “come back, Jesus, come back! Perfect your people! That way I can be perfected as well!” It’s the earth’s version of Revelation 22:17: The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!”
Responding to disasters
So what does this mean for us?
First, it vindicates the grief of those who have suffered in the fires. To everyone who cries out “this is not right! Things shouldn’t be like this!” the earth itself responds “yes, I agree. I’m waiting to be redeemed, too”.
Secondly, it gives us a basis to talk about the consequences of sin. Not the usual nonsense of people suffering for their own sin. Exactly the opposite: the cosmic consequences of our historical sin in Adam. Adam, as our representative, rejected God – we all reject God – we all indiscriminately suffer God’s punishment upon Adam: the sufferings of this fallen world.
Finally, we have a message of hope for those who have suffered. We can tell them of a place where there’s no more no more death or mourning or crying or pain, where the old order of things has passed away (Revelation 21:4). For those who have lost their houses and all their belongings, we can say “Jesus knows how you feel. He didn’t have any place to lay his head either (Luke 9:58). But he went to prepare a room in father’s house for you (John 14:2).” And to those who may not have been directly involved, but are just frightened – for the world is a scary, dangerous, deadly place – we can tell them about a new heavens and a new earth, where the lion will lie down with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6; 65:25).
The earth is telling us something: it is telling us the gospel. We are helplessly captured in a world gone wrong. This wrong-ness is no accident: it is the personal, judicial act of a holy God, in response to the equally personal act of his creatures thumbing their noses at him. But this wrong-ness has an end, a goal: sharing in the perfected freedom that God will grant to those who trust in Jesus.
Listen! Can you hear what the earth is telling us?
Saturday, 14 February 2009
The official death toll so far is 181. But it’s expected to reach 300, as investigators get to properly search places that are off-limits at the moment because it’s still too dangerous to go in. In Marysville, eight are confirmed dead, but it’s expected to reach 100—one fifth of the town’s population. At least 35 people died in the Kinglake fire.
At least one of the fires may have been deliberately lit. Police have a man in custody, accused of starting the Churchill fire, in south Gippsland, which wiped out almost 36,000ha and killed up to 21 people.
The Red Cross has instituted a national appeal to help bushfire victims. It has hit $100 million so far. Support has come from as far afield as Dutch music maestro Andre Rieu; the Queen and Prince Charles; cricket star Shane Warne; and golfing celebrity Greg Norman. The Indonesian government has offered a donation of $US1 million ($A1.52 million), and Papua New Guinea $A2 million.
Sadly, there have also been reports of looting and false collection of donations.
Friday, 6 February 2009
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Were there no sin, there would be no war. Were there no world sin, there would be no world war. War makes at least one contribution to human salvation—it is sin’s apocalypse. It reveals the greatness and the awfulness of evil, and corrects that light and easy conception of it which had come to mark culture and belittle redemption. This war’s revelation of human wickedness may perhaps do something to relieve us of a comely and aesthetic type of religion which is rounded, not on a salvation, but on the divine excellence of that glorious creature man, and on the facilities for his evolution. It may recall us to the estimate of him presented by the very existence of Christianity as a religion, which declares his one need to be redemption.P. T. Forsyth, The Justification of God, Adelaide: New Creation Publications, 1988 [London, Independent Press, 1917], page 19.
The demonic is absolutely essential in understanding Jesus’ interpretation of the picture of sin and of humanity’s need for the Kingdom of God. People are in bondage to a personal power stronger than themselves. At the very heart of our Lord’s mission is the need of rescuing people from bondage to the satanic kingdom and of bringing them into the sphere of God’s Kingdom. Anything less than this involves an essential reinterpretation of some of the basic facts of the gospel.G. E. Ladd, New Testament Theology, Revised Edition, Eerdmans 1993, page 50.
As we look at history, what we see is often not merely the impersonal and unmeaning but the irrational and the mad. The face that looks through at us is akin often to the insane. Certainly as Jesus looked at people, He saw them not always as rational moral units or self-contained autonomous spirits; He saw their souls as a battle-ground, an arena or theatre of tragic conflict between the opposed cosmic powers of the Holy Spirit of God and Satan.W. Manson, “Principalities and Powers”, in Jesus and the Christian (1967), quoted in G. E. Ladd, New Testament Theology, Revised Edition, Eerdmans 1993, page 50. Emphasis in original.
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
- The state or quality of being loyal to someone or something - faithfulness, fidelity;
- Conformity to fact or reality - correctness, accuracy;
- That which is real, in a deeper sense; spiritual or ‘genuine’ reality;
- Something acknowledged to be true; an axiom, or generally accepted statement.
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Oh what a tangled web we weaveNicholas Elliott, retired agent of the Secret Intelligence Service - better known as MI6. He blew Kim Philby as being a Soviet spy, causing Philby to escape to the USSR. Elliott worked under Philby in MI6, and initially defended Philby when he was under suspicion of being a Soviet double agent. Elliott's affection for Philby was matched only by his disgust when he learned the truth about his friend and mentor.
When first we practice to deceive;
But when you've practiced quite a bit,
You really get quite good at it.
Ian Fleming, You Only Live Twice (Penguin, 1964): 47.
‘My dear Commander [Bond]. You were lucky that we struck at Pearl Harbour rather than at Australia. Can you doubt that we would have occupied that country and New Zealand if we had done otherwise? These are big and important land spaces, insufficiently developed. You could not have defended them. […] Personally, I have never understood the strategy behind Pearl Harbour. Did we wish to conquer America? The supply lines were too long. But Australia and New Zealand were ripe for the plucking.’
Sunday, 1 February 2009
The huge right fist crashed into the left palm with the noise of a .45 pistol shot. The great square face of the Australian turned almost purple and the veins stood out on the grizzled temples. With controlled violence, but almost under his breath, he intoned savagely:
‘This is the great Australian insult. You can use it anyways.’ He raised his voice. ‘But in general it means a worthless pervert, ponce, scoundrel, liar, traitor and rogue—with no redeeming feature. And I hope your stewed seaweed sticks in your gullet at breakfast tomorrow when you know what I think of you.’
Ian Fleming, You Only Live Twice (Penguin, 1964): 32-33.