Monday, November 23, 2009

Has the church been hijacked or at least distracted?

History is full of all sorts of fads and fashions. Flared jeans, platform shoes, Rubik cubes and many more to mention.

There is one fad that I fear that is taking over the world and importantly taking over our Churches. It is the fear of global warming. This paralysing fear was introduced to the world by an ex politician who coincidently when in power failed to do anything but contribute to this allegedly inconvenient truth.

Now adopted as a fact by politicians and celebrities right around most of the world this fear is beginning to impact the thinking the final bastion of truth - The Church. Yes it would appear that churches are now taking their eye off the ball and what they are called to do and beginning in order to try and be popular and relevant and jump on the ‘world is ending because of global warming’.

This as a Christian I find hard to reconcile. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of having tanks on houses, using solar power, better light bulbs and picking up our rubbish. I am not a fan of adopting a popularist dogma with little scientific or theological support. I’m all for making wise use of the resources God has given us but I haven’t bought into the world is ending because of what man is doing.

To buy that thinking then you must seriously accept that man completely holds the destiny of this world not God. I don’t. I believe God will end this world when He is ready not when we allegedly destroy it. Doesn’t the Bible talk about Jesus coming back to earth when every tribe and nation has heard the gospel not when the polar ice caps have melted. Also after the flood I thought God was never again going to flood the world.

For me the jury is still out. Am I sceptic? Yes I am especially when the debate is driven by politicians and celebrities – people whose success is driven by popularity not reality.

I’m not sure if we as Christians are being hijacked but at least being distracted from our real purpose on earth – to point people to a relationship with God our Creator who is the master controller of what happens to this planet irrespective of greenhouse gases and Carbon dioxide.

For more info check out Peter Janetski’s Talking Life Show podcast on 96five’s website
Also here is a link to checkout

Worth listening to and a read before Australia heads off to Copenhage

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Family rituals or the glue that keeps your family together

If I was to ask you today how to define your family; what would you say? What are the things that make your family different from any family in church or the neighbourhood?

Ritual (n): activity that is performed religiously.

As we prepare for Christmas I’m struck by the many rituals families have particularly around Christmas holidays. Rituals are the things families do consciously or even unconsciously together. They can be deliberately created traditions such as always going to the same camping ground for holidays, always going to the grandparents on Christmas Eve or Dad always tells the same stories at Christmas lunch. Sometimes they happen accidentally and seem to be always repeated like promising every year to post Christmas cards on time and every year you manage to post them on Christmas Eve.

The thing about family rituals are they are the habits that define your family and become the glue that keeps your family together. If you like they are the constants in an ever changing world. They are the behaviours that help a family stay together or even over time when the children grow up and leave actually come back. They are the constants that create memories of shared experiences.

In the Bible there is no greater example than the story of the prodigal son. When the son is in the depths of despair he remembers what his family life was like and what he is missing out on. He realizes that it wasn’t money or possessions that defined him and brought him happiness but the love of a family that he really yearned for.
Resilience (n): ability to spring or recoil back after bending or being stretched.
What family rituals or behaviours do is breed resilience into the family as a unit and as individuals. Rituals can be used as places of refuge when the things go wrong. When the family unit or even one member is under pressure returning to a ritual like the family Sunday lunch can be a way of coping or gaining support or encouragement. Positive family rituals build resilience into you and your children. It helps them bounce back from adversity. These rituals become the foundations that success in our life is built on.
As Christians one of the best rituals we can introduce into our family is how we celebrate success or failure. I have noticed particularly in Australian culture people celebrate success and failure by the volume of alcohol they consume. The mark of a family of Christians is they celebrate success or failure by spending time with God in thankfulness or seeking guidance. It is that very ritual (behaviour) that builds resilience in our life and ultimately success in living a Christian life.
What rituals does you family do? I would love to hear about them. Drop me a note. I’d love to know how those rituals define your family.