Friday, 30 April 2010

West Bromwich West Election: Candidates Answer our Questions

We asked the candidates the questions shown below and have received a variety of responses which can be found here, or by clicking on the names above. 

1.What is your view of the Christian faith?

2.How do you decide if something is right or wrong?

3.What role do you think Christian values have to play in contemporary society?

4.Do you believe that marriage is for a man and a woman alone, for life?

5.Do you accept that people who believe heterosexual marriage is the only proper context for a sexual expression should be free to say so without falling foul of the law or losing their jobs?

6.Do you believe that churches should be free only to employ people whose beliefs and lifestyle are in accordance with Christian teaching?

7.Do you believe that parents should be free to exercise their responsibilities to discipline their children, physically (i.e. free to smack their children)?

8.Who should be responsible for providing children with a ‘suitable’ education? (and how do you define ‘suitable’?)

9.Do you believe that the current law on abortion is too lax, too restrictive or about right?

10.Do you think that the law on euthanasia should be changed?

11.What aspects of life in our nation or in Tipton do you think politicians have responsibility for?

12.Are there any aspects of life in our nation or in Tipton you think politicians should not take responsibility for?

13.What aspects of your character and your life do you believe qualify you for serving as an MP for West Bromwich West?

14.Why should the people of West 
Bromwich West give you their votes at this General Election?

Monday, 26 April 2010

Stranger than fiction

We've just had a wonderful holiday (involving sunshine and no planes!).
In the course of which I couldn't resist taking this photo:

To be fair to Southwark - here is the context. 

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Never never prayer

O LORD may I ...

never rely on my own convictions and resolutions,
but be strong in thee and in thy might;

never make piety a dress but a habit,
not only a habit but a nature
not only a nature but a life.

p116-117 The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A scholarly work of art

Susie painted this as part of her scholarship exam. We love it! 
But I can't remember where it is of ... (the piece of paper explaining that is now inside the frame!)

Monday, 19 April 2010


1 John 1v3
The word fellowship is an interesting one. Used in classical Greek as a favorite expression for the marriage relationship, the most intimate bond between human beings, it is particularly appropriate to describe the Christian's personal relationship with God and with his fellow believers as her and later in verse 6 and 7. But the word also meant a participation or sharing in a more general sense, for instance a business partnership or a joint tenancy. Perhaps John could look back on the distant days when he and his brother James had been shareholders in the Zebedee Fishing Company. 
p24 The Message of John's Letters: Living in the Love of God (Bible Speaks Today)

In Luke 5:10 it is used to describe the relationship between fishermen who worked together as business partners. 
In Matthew 23:30 Jesus uses it to describe how the Pharisees deny that they would have been fellow-murderers with those who killed the prophets. 

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Long View

Will your young people stand firmly for Christ long after they have left the protective environment of your youth ministry? 

Ch 2 Summary Fruit That Will Last

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Friday, 16 April 2010

Christian Institute Election Briefing

Download the Election Briefing 2010
You can download their 2010 Election Briefing from here

John on John

It is the direction in which our life is travelling which determines whether or not our Christian profession is genuine. ... 
Perhaps John Newton, the converted slave-trading sea captain, who became a minister of the gospel, expressed it most helpfully when he said,'I am not what I ought to be; but I am not what I once was. And it is by the grace of God that I am what I am.'
p43 The Message of John's Letters: Living in the Love of God (Bible Speaks Today)

Thursday, 15 April 2010

It's your duty to love

Reforming Marriage
...we tend to think that spontaneous actions are genuine while others performed from a sense of duty are stifled, artificial, and contrived. We especially think this way if we are considering questions 'of the heart.' Doing one's duty is thought to be restrictive to true love.
But the Bible defines love as a whole-hearted keeping of God's commandments. The greatest act of love was certainly the death of Christ for His people, and that act of love was not offered on an emotional high. It was a bitter grief for Christ to drink the cup of God's wrath, but that grief does not take away from His love fur us; rather, it adds to it. 
When we come to our duties gladly, it helps us to discipline our emotions. 
p43 Reforming Marriage

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The whole created order

A biblical civilization rests upon Burke's little platoons* ... God created the family, God created civil order, and God created the church. When Paul says that no authority exists except what God has established (Romans 13v1), he did not say that all the authority was located in one spot, or that all of it had been invested in one man, parked on one throne. God has more than one deacon.
The family is His Ministry of Health, Education, and Welfare. The civil order is His Ministry of Justice. The church is His Ministry of Grace and Truth. That's the basic set-up. Dislocations begin to manifest themselves when any one of these established governments get above themselves and try to usurp functions that God assigned to the others. The church did this in the middle ages, the family has done it in times of tribal wars and feuds, and the state is doing it now.
for more click here
[“To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind.” ~ Edmund Burke] 

Against the tyranny of numbers

The one question I forgot to ask .... while asking how many young people am I reaching ...

Am I producing good fruit that will last? 

Ch 1 Summary Fruit That Will Last

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Daylight robbery

Now what do we call it if the rulers are not godly, are not free from covetousness, and are running around the country with guns, taking people's stuff? What sin is it? It is not adultery. It is not making graven images. It is not dishonoring father and mother. To remove private property from someone's possession when you have no authorization from God to do so is theft. That is what theft is.
Murder is not taking a life. Murder is taking a life contrary to the revealed will of God. Rape is not defined as sexual intercourse. Rape is sexual intercourse that is contrary to the revealed will of God in a particular way. So theft is not the government removing property from someone who doesn't want them to. That is not the definition. Theft occurs when property is transferred from an unwilling "donor" without the express authorization of Scripture.
Put another way, I don't have to show that a sixty percent tax rate is theft, just like I don't have to show that the fire-bombing of Dresden was murder. The burden of proof lies elsewhere. If we understand the nature of man and the nature of coercion, and the subtlety of the serpent, and the greasy covetousness of rulers who do not fear God, the burden of proof is on the magistrate who supports such a proposal. He has to prove to us from the Bible that his exorbitant tax rates aren't theft. He is the one that God requires to hate covetousness, as a prerequisite of holding his office in justice.
For more of this excellent article on one of the big sins of government, with a great combination of Christian thinking with a Christian attitude see here. Though it is written about the US, it is not difficult to translate across the pond. 
For something from the UK, read Pete's perceptive piece here on the three battlelines he sees drawn up during and after the election: statism, individualism and secularism. 

Response & Responsibility

Reforming MarriageAt the foundation, feminism is the handiwork of two kinds of men - destructive, overbearing men on the one hand and wimps on the other. Because of how God has made the world, men are always responsible for everything that happens in the feminine world - whether they want that responsibility or not. Consequently, feminism is not the work of dissatisfied women; it is the work of ungodly men. (Reforming Marriage p32)

Monday, 12 April 2010

Converted, always being converted

The Sociology of the Church: Essays in Reconstruction
'Conversion is a turning from sin to Christ.'

Here is the question: Does conversion happen only once during a lifetime, or does it happen many times?

Jordan suggests that there are four kinds of conversion:

1. Initial Conversion -> a person 'totally outside the faith' comes to Christ for the first time.
2. Daily Conversion -> 'Each day, and many times during the day, we have to turn from sinful tendencies, and turn back to Christ.'
3. 'Crisis Conversion' -> 'At these crisis points, the Christian needs to reaffirm his or her faith by making a major break with some problem that has crept up, and make a major turn towards Christ.
4. Growth Conversion -> There are stages of growth and maturity and at each stage in life a Christian needs to come to a fuller understanding of what it means to be a Christian.
'As a person grows, his understanding of himself, of the world, and of God will change, because he is himself changing. His understanding grows wider, and embraces more factors of life. He becomes aware of things he was not aware of before. Moreover, his understanding grows deeper, and more profound. Learning to adjust to a spouse, and then to children; learning to adjust to authorities on the job, and learning how to relate to subordinates; learning how to manage money; etc. - all of these things cause a person to deepen and widen his understanding. Hopefully, they cause a person to become more and more wise and stable.' 
And here is the cash value of Jordan's analysis. If we think there is just type 1 conversion or just type 1 and type 3 conversions [ie. we have only one conversion in our lives], then we are always going to look backwards: 
'We (will) want to recapture the simplicity of that initial warm experience of the love and acceptance of God, and this is a mistake. It freezes faith at an immature level, and prevents us from pressing on to maturity. People influenced by this way of thinking tend to want to recover the experiences of their late teen years.'
from p151-161 The Sociology of the Church: Essays in Reconstruction

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Learning with your feet

Jane, Simeon and I are enjoying this CD from Seeds Family Worship. A brilliant, foot tapping way to learn Scripture that is the absolute opposite of dry & dull.

1.   Call Me ( Jeremiah 33:3 )
2.   Do not Be Anxious ( Pillippians 4:6-7 )
3.   Ask, Seek, Knock ( Matthew 7:7-8 )
4.   Out of the Mud ( Psalm 40:1-2 )
5.   Young ( 1 Timothy 4:12 )
6.   Convinced ( Romans 8:38-39 )
7.   The Good Song ( Psalm 34:10 )
8.   Never Be Shaken ( Psalm 62:1-2 )
9.   Crushed ( Psalm 34:18 )
10. Do Everything In Love ( 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 )
11. Refuge aand Strength ( Psalm 46:1-2 )
12. Do Not Fear ( Isaiah 41:10 )
Our favourite may well be 7. But that is probably because it involves lions, and Simeon is roaring well at the moment!

Click on this link to listen to extracts and to get mp3 downloads: 
Seeds of Courage

Friday, 9 April 2010

Should this be a pigeon post?

[Notes on Ch 7 The Curse of Machinery

The belief that machines cause unemployment, when held with any logical consistency, leads to preposterous conclusions. Not only must we be causing unemployment with every technological improvement we make today, but primitive man must have started causing it with the first efforts he made to save himself from needless toil and sweat. 
Economics in One Lesson: 50th Anniversary EditionIf it were indeed true that the introduction of labor-saving machinery is a cause of constantly mounting unemployment and misery, the logical conclusions to be drawn would be revolutionary, not only in the technical field but for  our whole concept of civilization. Not only should we have to regard all further technical progress as a calamity; we should have to regard all past technical progress with equal horror. Every day each of us in his own activity is engaged in trying to reduce the effort it requires to accomplish a given result. Each of us is trying to save his own labour, to economize the means required to achieve his ends. Every employer, small as well as large, seeks constantly to gain his results more economically and efficiently - that is, by saving labor. Every intelligent workman tries to cut down the effort necessary to accomplish his assigned job. The most ambitious of us try tirelessly to increase the results we can achieve in a given number of hours. The technophobes, if they were logical and consistent, would have to dismiss all this progress and ingenuity as not only useless but viscous. 
Case Study:
A clothing manufacturer gets a machine that makes coats at half the price. Half the labour force are let go as this machine is bought.
Now, this machine didn't drop from the sky. So offsetting this loss of labour at the clothing factory is employment in the machine manufacturing industry.
But after the machine has produced the economies expected and has offset its cost, the manufacturer has profits. And with that three things can be done:
a) an expansion of operations (buying more machines to make more coats)
b) investing in some other industry
c) spending on consuming something [being a 'fat cat' if you like!!]
So, every pound of the profit that this machine brings that the manufacturer did not have before and that he is not paying to coat makers, goes in indirect wages to the new machine makers, or workers in other capital using industries, or the builders of the new house, or the jewelers or the chefs or the car industry or whatever!
But more than this ... if these machines do generate profit, others coat makers will copy and soon the price of coats will drop as competition hots up between manufacturers. So there will be savings for consumers too. And this means more money in a household budget for other things... benefiting other industries. It may also mean that more people can afford a coat, such that more overcoats are made than before ... even allowing the expansion of that industry and the employment  over time of many more workers than there were originally.

The real result of the machine is to increase production, to raise the standard of living, to increase economic welfare. 

Economics in One Lesson (p 49-60)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Green and very pleasant ... just not England!

View Larger Map
We went to see a man about some dogs today. Here, just outside Welshpool. Simeon walked up and down this lane, visiting the farm down the road on the right and then seeing new born lambs in the field up the road on the left. Pub lunch and home for our Next Steps group. Perfect! 

Moon biking

I am fairly sure my Mum should not watch this driving.  After seeing this I am still not entirely sure what side of the road they drive on in China!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Striding forth

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions [VALLEY OF -OS DUE/039]O God of my Exodus, 
Great was the joy of Israel's sons, 
when Egypt died upon the shore,
Far greater the joy
when the Redeemer's foe lay crushed 
in the dust.
Jesus strides forth as the victor,
conqueror of death, hell, and all opposing might; 
He bursts the bands of death, 
tramples the powers of darkness down, 
and lives for ever. 
He, my gracious surety,
apprehended for payment of my debt, 
comes forth from the prison house of the grave
free, and triumphant over sin, Satan and death. 
Show me herein the proof that his vicarious offering is accepted,
that the claims of justice are satisfied,
that the devil's sceptre is shivered,
that his wrongful throne is levelled.
Give me the assurance that in Christ I died,
in him I rose,
in his life I live, in his victory I triumph,
in his ascension I shall be glorified.
Adorable Redeemer, 
who was lifted up upon a cross
and are ascended to highest heaven,
who as Man of Sorrows was crowned with thorns,
are now as Lord of life wreathed with glory. 
Once, no shame more deep than yours, no agony more bitter, no death more cruel. 
Now, no exaltation more high, no life more glorious, no advocate more effective.
You are in the triumph car leading captive your enemies behind you. What more could be done that you have done! 
Your death is my life, your resurrection my peace, your ascension my hope, your prayers my comfort. 
( The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions p86-87)

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Friday, 2 April 2010

Wiping it clean

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One."  36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar  37 and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."  38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.  39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"   (Luke 23:35-39)