Wednesday, August 29, 2007

PC Sports Day

Celebrated my 31st birthday this week, which I can inform you is an absolute non-event. 30 seemed special in a strange way, except that I felt more conscious that I was making ground on 40 rather than the fact that I was only 10 years away from 20. Anyway, I digress. I spent the long weekend down with my sister and two nieces as part of the 'celebrations' and came across one of the most humouring concepts while in discussion with my sister.
My oldest niece had recently had a sports day at her school (if you can call 6-8 year old girls attempting to run sports) which my sister attended. But, get this, she was not allowed to cheer my niece on. Her school runs their sports day along the lines that it is not the performance of the individual that counts in any way, but the total performance of the team. I presume this is a form of politically correct support. Now I actually find this a little mental-- maybe it is my African background, but let me assure you my little Malachi will know very clearly that his dad is screaming out support and cheering him on to kick as much @%$£ as possible as he participates as a member of a team.
How do you try impress upon your children any form of desire and passion for excellence? Is healthy competition something that we need to wean out of our children in order to produce a purer, better human race? ABSOLUTLEY NOT!!! What is going on with our culture... Help us Lord!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Porn Myth

A real quick one here. This is a brilliant blog about a feminists 'revised' view at the dreaded P word. Have a quick glance, so insightful.



“The Sovereignty of God is an expression that once was generally understood. It was a phrase commonly used in religious literature. It was a theme frequently expounded in the pulpit. It was a truth which brought comfort to many hearts, and gave virility and stability to Christian character. But, today, to make mention of God's Sovereignty is, in many quarters, to speak in an unknown tongue. Were we to announce from the average pulpit that the subject of our discourse would be the Sovereignty of God, it would sound very much as though we had borrowed a phrase from one of the dead languages. Alas! that it should be so. Alas that the doctrine which is the key to history, the interpreter of Providence, the warp and woof of Scripture, and the foundation of Christian theology should be so sadly neglected and so little understood!”
These are words written by A.W. Pink (by name, obviously not by nature on a deeper look into these words) in his book aptly titled The Sovereignty of God. He wrote this way before our time, and was prophetic in his understanding that this concept is seemingly from another world with another language.
It is a concept that the world we are immersed in and the Christian Subculture many of us find refuge in have emphatically eradicated from the Christian faith. The ironic slant to this is that it is one of the most reassuring, peace-giving, comforting truths in all of Christendom.
This truth for believers is that we are loved by a God who is in control and dominion over the movements of the sparrow and the power of the Tsunami. One who shall never be thwarted and who possesses power incomprehensible to assure that all will work out for His Glory and pleasure and the joy of the lives of those who love Him.

The problem lies in the first part of that last statement.
Many would ask, “Since when is this world about the glory of God foremost, surely God’s sole purpose is to exist to guarantee the most enjoyable life for me as a consumer?” These many therefore think that God is not sovereign. He is controlled by man (O great autonomous being that he is) who bounds all that God is able to do by insisting that man’s free will is the dominating force in all of creation.
We love a God that is sovereign over the ‘naughty little beasties’ that interrupt our comfortable little Christian journey; but how dare anyone suggest that God is able to do as He please, when He pleases, with whosoever He pleases!

Personally, my heart is most in awe of God because He alone is who He is, and His great and awesome Sovereign power is spent in securing salvation and eternal life for those whose futile power is spent in running into a life of self-absorbed (seemingly pleasurable for a season) lostness.
Are we willing to dive into the depths of this divine declaration of God’s sole supremacy over all that is? Dare you!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


An amusing episode this past Saturday… As anyone this side of the Atlantic Ocean knows, the English Football season began at 12:45. It is an event that in many ways dominates the calendar of this secular nation. An author writing for the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity about 3 years ago noted that a word mentioned more than any other (including sex, celebrity etc.) in British printed media is football. Anyway, I digress.
The amusing episode involved my driving passion for the wonderful institution known as Liverpool Football Club—the mighty ‘reds.’ By the way this is going somewhere, so read on. This team dominated European football about 20-25 years ago but since the inception of the English Premier League are yet to win this prestigious title (While many other distasteful teams (you know who you are) have done). Thus as every season begins there is extreme anticipation we may ‘win it this year’ because we are more than capable, we just don’t. Bad starts are our ‘thorn in the flesh.’
Well my boys played on Saturday having not won an opening day fixture for 5 years. Total domination of the game, one nil up with 8 minutes to go & one of our best players handballs the ball in the 18 yard box penalty given: 1-1.
No, no, no, and I am cursing my love for this team. Why? It is always the same; so many chances, so much ability only to abuse the hearts of enthralled followers. O, sorry, before I forget our captain, Steven Gerrard (incidentally the world’s best player within the context of his team) scored a mind-boggling free kick two minutes later for us to win. Hoorah! From low to high in an instant. What I am getting to is this: Why must we support a team. Why is it in the blood as something so fully a part of the DNA that there is simply no chance it could be any other way. It is as if we are the ones chosen, not those who choose.
This reflects exactly what has been the story of my Christian experience. It is like I was won over by one whom is worthy of every ounce of passion, exuberance and devotion who I could not turn away from because He holds me, He enthralls me captivates me! Now that I am on this path it seems like I was destined, chosen (not cause I am a worthy or better ‘fan’ than any other) to follow this One. Unlike the Reds though, this One never fails me. He owns the Title- Lord of Lords, King of Kings- and will never lose it to any other fake contenders.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Father's Love

Spent all day with my beautiful son today. He is 8 weeks old and an absolute gem of a dude. I can glance at him repeatedly and each time be captivated by his person. I don't think it is his beauty and obviously it is not because he returns the stare with questions on the state of my soul, it is just because! This 'just because' may be father's love, I cannot really ascertain as this is my first go at this fatherhood thing, but it is all-encompassing.
I delight to rush into his bedroom every morning and wake him up to this world that is all so very new to him. Any response to my attentions causes such delight in my heart and I am sure I am just a bit goofy at times, really lost in the seeming perfection of my progeny who is a recipient of my 'nothing restrained' love. Cliches like, "I would do anything for him," or "I love him with an undying love," actually seem inappropriate as verbalisations of something that probably remains best unsaid.
A good friend (there is that word again) mentioned the relationship between me and my son on Saturday morning as we languished in the sweet, sweet sunshine sipping coffee and talking 'deep talk.' He was alluding to another relationship between father and son.
He is reading The Pleasures of God by John Piper and one of the major discussions in that book is the love of God the Father for His son Jesus Christ. What my friend was alluding to is the infinite magnitude of all that I have described for my son both in perfection and purity that God the Father must have for His son! This side of heaven I can only begin to glimpse ever so slightly into the exuberent exquisite excellencies of the love shared between two perfect beings that are perfectly related. Every time my tongue attempts to declare the beauty of such love I must be attempting language unspeakable.
The astounding thing as we muse upon such love is the immensity of sacrifice and intention there must have been behind the death of Christ so central to the Christian story of hope, redemption and meaning. Both Father and Son must have counted fully the cost of such a sovereignly 'outlandish' (humanly incomprehensible) plan.
Thus, every time I peer upon my son, there is twin delight:
Firstly, I am favoured immensely to know father's love and
Secondly, how delightful it is that I am caught up in the love of the Almighty Father's love for His Son Jesus.
Oh how I am to reflect this divine love somehow if I want to love my son somewhat acceptably!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Dash of the Poet In Me!

Turmoil arises, the soul squirms;
Tossed inwardly by a veiled winter gale.
Flowers fail to bud when scorched,
Scorched by the sun within a dark sky.
Nakedness clings like a coat of fur;
Barrenness baring fruit like spring harvest.
Lock the door opening into the grey room,
Cobwebs suspended, amidst the dust.
Eyes open only to discover blindness;
A raging battle fought by unnamed enemies.
The smog of past fires choking breath,
A deadness within more alive than death!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Lymington & Friends

Just travelled back from a delightful few days in Lymington with 2 close friends. 'Friends.' It is a word that carries immense meaning to me. I think it is because in the outworking of things in my life these people have proven to be the family members I have needed desperately to get me through this up-and-down journey.
In fact during our time in Lymington while sipping lovely local ales and munching on delightful steak we had a conversation (a word that again comes into fuller meanining when used in conjunction with the word friends-I think anyway) about family and its importance. There were varied views amongst us-true friends can have vastly varied views and still be friends- but for me I had to drive home the beauty of friendship.

As I have stated before I am a born again Christian and I would unhesitatingly admit that one thing that has kept me on this 'path of faith' has been friendship. Again and again they have come near, offered help, spoken strength, and given new hope to this weary soul and brought clear vision of the sheer beauty of this life lived in pursuit of the almighty God. One of the clearest definitions of impossible is this: Christianity without Community! Deepest community is Christian friendship. I have lived life on three separate continents now and one of the underlying foundations that has brought certainty to my existence is friendship.

In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis writes of Phileo which is the Greek word for love shared between friends. He says it is the purest because it is a love that does not need the other to live up to some unfair expectations (appearance, ability, beauty etc.). He notes that phileo is shared most strongly (and its strength is great) when a common goal or pursuit is shared by 'friends.' Well, it is marvelously clear then that friends sharing a common knowledge of and love for the great saviour Jesus will know most fully this phileo love.
One of the gospel writers, Mark, most clearly describes true christian friendship in the second chapter of the telling of Jesus' life on earth. The story is of four friends ripping off their nails and baring their knuckles in order to tear away the roof of a house TO BRING THEIR FRIEND TO JESUS! (Read it sometime)
This is friendship: living life to bring your friends closer to the one in whom they can most completely and fully live life-- Jesus.