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Does God Get Angry? 2 July 2, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Bible.
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A colleague of mine lent me a book called ‘Show Them No Mercy’ Which is a great title (It was published by Zondervan in 2003) . It’s a series of articles about the Canaanite Genocide and how we respond to the passages in the Bible that attribute this genocide to God. It’s not always comfortable (or easy) reading. But I’ll quote for you a story one of the writers recounts:
‘A former student shared with me the sad story of his father, a dedicated lay leader of an evangelical church, who in mid-life set out to read the Bible through for the first time. He was first surprised, then shocked, and finally outraged by the frequency and ferocity of divinely initiated and sanctioned violence in the Olt Testament. About half way through the book of Job, he shut his Bible never to read it again and has not set foot inside a church since’.

Now I kind of want to scream ‘ What do you mean he was only just reading it for the first time? He was a lay leader!’ But how many times do we read or wrestle with these passages? do we try to hide them or skip over them so that young people we work with won’t be put off.

They’re not easy but they are there, and if we want to avoid future leaders who are in our care having a similar experience to the one described above, I suspect we’ll need to think through how we help them engage with these texts rather than ignore them.

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What are we aiming for? June 7, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people, Youth Work.
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As a child I was a regular member of Miss Kerr’s Bible Class. Miss Jean Kerr was a faithful and godly woman who ran the Bible class at St. Richard’s church for many years. Each week we had all the usual stuff – Bible stories illustrated in glorious flannelgraph, CSSM choruses, a promise box, sword drill (it was to do with the Bible – I’m not THAT old) and stories of missionaries from round the world. If any of those things mean nothing to you then

a) you are probably under 40
b) go check them out to see what cutting edge childen’s work looked like in the 1970’s.

However, I’m very grateful to Miss Kerr for at least 3 things

a) She instilled in me a discipline of Bible study
b) She encouraged us in small acts of leadership that engaged us and stretched us
c) She would constantly say things like, ‘And perhaps one day you too will travel the world telling people of Jesus’.

Miss Kerr brought us up with high expectations of what God might want us to do. Becoming archbishop or translating the Bible into previously unwritten langauges seemed only a step away. I might not have achieved those – yet. But I’m regularly reminded of her words, and her expectation that God would use us for great things.

What are our expectations for what God will do with the young people we work with? How often do we sew the seeds of ideas of achieving great things for God?

Thanks Miss Kerr.

Christian Lad Culture June 5, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Youth Work.
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I’ve just got back from the SU Conference and was struck by something one of the speakers said. He commented that he is noticing a trend of laddishness and laddetteness amonst some Christians. In their attempt to be genuinely human they were neglecting the challenge to ‘Be Holy’. It’s a trend that I’ve noticed and find quite concerning. Perhaps it’s a sign of old age that I disaprove of what young people (in their 20’s) are doing, or perhaps it’s a warning from one generation to the next.

Being Human June 1, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people.
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In case you were wondering the quote about being spritiual beings (see below) was from the man showing us round the Hindu temple.

Being Human May 21, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Youth Work.
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‘We are not human beings having a spiritual moment but spiritual beings having a human moment’

Someone said that to a group of youth workers I was working with today. I’ll tell you later who said it – it might colour your response to the sentiment.

I’d be interested to know what you think about it.

Human or Spiritual?

Human or Spiritual?

Keeping Going May 8, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Youth Work.
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Not long ago I was wandering through the Byzantium Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Along with all the icons and artefacts was a painting depiciting Monks on a ladder to heaven. They walked up a precarious ladder towards God whilst small devils tried to drag them off with long hooks.

The obvious message was the challenge to avoid temptation and keep on to the end of the journey. But was fascinated me was that some of the devils were succesful in pulling monks off the ladder, but not just the ones at the bottom starting out, but some at the top who were so near.

It was a really honest reflection on the challenge of keeping going in the Christian life and it’s just as easy to fall away due to temptation as an old timer as a fresh faced young enthusiast.

This theme came up again at a recent Scripture Union Conference when we looked at the life of Gideon, and the challenge was given to ‘End Well’.

We’re often good at starting and think about the middle of the journey, but it got me to thinking what is it I’m doing now to make sure I end well (hopefully not for may years).