Wednesday, October 31, 2007


If I die tonight, I will be in His arms.

If I live on, I will be His arms.

For what more is there?

Monday, October 29, 2007


The Jesus Puppet. Isn't there a Commandment against this? Something about making images...? Maybe I read that wrong...

Thanks to Yvonne for the link to that one.

Let's leave the whole icky-yukky-I-wanna-chucky christian merchandising thing alone for the moment. I believe this toy is sold in order to run puppet shows for kids and if that's the case, it's a great thing, a visual aid in education, awesome.

It's certainly nowhere near the same category as praise panties and camouflaged bibles!

But I can't help it - a picture will always become a metaphor to me ... and when I read the retailer's text "Hand enters through the bottom of the puppet", I instantly had the thought: "just like we'd like to do to God."

Don't we search for ways to control God, to make Him do what we want? Don't we rant and rave in the middle of the night expecting it to force God to back down or come to the party? Don't we look for scriptural loopholes or for a Bible verse that bends God's arm behind His back ["see God! You said it, now you have to do this for me!"]

As compassionate, as kind, as merciful, as gracious as God is - and if Jesus Himself is any indication of God's nature - he ain't no puppet!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


The Lilliputians in "Gulliver's Travels" (remember those little guys?) note that Gulliver's pocket watch is probably a god. This is because (they reason) he rarely did anything without consulting it. He called it his oracle and said it pointed the time for every action of his life.

"Travels" was written over 200 years ago. This was a comment about the then modern preoccupation with time. But has anything changed? Gulliver sure sounds like me.

Is "time" an idol to us? Or an almost-idol? A god that decrees the level of anxiety we feel, whether we are good or bad (did you get everything done today that you planned? You didn't? You naughty human!), what is possible and impossible.

Whatever happened to living in the moment? Or is that irresponsible? What did Jesus mean by "Don't worry about tomorrow"? Was he just talking about focussing on what you can do, not what you can't? Or was this also about time?

"Idols not only enslave their admirers ... they also transform people into replicas of themselves. So people (act) with a repetitive regularity which has no resemblence to the rhythmic life of a living being." (Robert Banks, The Tyranny of Time)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Occasionally I enjoy the Sunday fellowship of Bay Vineyard church here in Melbourne. The last time I joined them, Pastor John Wall asked the question:
How much of our view of God (or our understanding of God) is second-hand; as in
"you heard it from people like me in rooms like this?"

He followed this up with:
"How much have you discovered for yourself from Scripture and from experience?"

John then helped me to read Matthew chapter 8 with fresh eyes. The story that starts in verse 5 is partly about how this man perceived Jesus (or understood Jesus).

I invite you to skim the story again. As I read it again, I noticed the willingness of Jesus to heal, to help, to rescue from torment. There's no real hoops to jump through first, he doesn't have to wave his hands in the air ("C'mon people, lift God up!"), or pray a magic prayer and say it right, or sit in the front rows (where the good Christians sit).

Neither do we.

The man discovers for himself that when you appeal to God's compassion with a trust in his ability, He's there for ya!

John finished his chat with the point that we "believers" don't usually struggle with whether God can (help), but whether He will.

As you skim that chapter, there's a couple of questions that I find helpful, passed on to me through the writing of Jim Peterson:
  • Who is Jesus? What kind of person is He?
  • What is He asking me to do?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Everlasting Word

Shakespeare's words from Sonnet 6 seem to me like they're about the Bible:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this
And this gives life to thee