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Christmas In Dark Places

It used to be summer when Christmas came round.  Underneath tall southern skies over sun scorched ground. With the backyard cricket, the barbies, the beach, and munching on mangoes to watch the Queen’s Speech. The slathering of sunscreen, the glorious glare And toasting the glow in the warm evening air. It used to be summer when I was young. A golden age in a land far flung. But there came a point, I crossed a divide, went up in the world and summer had died. December is dark now, the nights close in. So we huddle together as kith and as kin. It’s winter now when Christmas rolls round, We celebrate still though with different surrounds. We mull the wine and strike the matches, Light the fires, batten the hatches, Gather around the warming beam Of family love or a TV screen. So safe inside, no place to go, we toast marshmallows and let it snow. Our summer’s gone, if you’ve been around, you’ve felt the fall: life’s run aground. We’ve gone up in the world, seen summer die. So what’s our h
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White Fragility, A Review

Robin DiAngelo has a sermon to preach. It is in form of a short popular book called White Fragilit y. Straight off the bat she tells us not to expect balanced analysis but a forceful argument “unapologetically rooted in identity politics”.  She understands identity politics as “the [political] focus on the barriers specific groups face in their struggle for equality”. The group she wants to save is black people, whom she blankets under “people of colour”.  So what is White Fragility about?  DiAngelo is sick and tired of white racism in the western world, and specifically the USA. She believes every white person, including babies, are guilty of racism by virtue of being white. So she wants to use her “insider status” as a white American woman to challenge this white racism by getting her fellow “white progressives” to force forward her thesis. In her words, “I am white...and I am mainly writing to a white audience”. I was immediately tempted to put down the book because being black Afri

I Am Mother

I think it is true to say that the Netflix film I Am Mother is one the most disturbing movies I have watched for a long time. The film is set in a near future. Human life has been wiped out. An artificial intelligence (AI) called Mother is living inside a bunker where thousands of embroyos are stored. It selects an embryo and initiates a program to grow a baby within 24 hours. The AI then goes on to raise the child as its mother over the next few years.  After 16 years, the girl, who now goes by the name of Daughter (Clara Rugaard) is a teenager. She has never been outside because Mother has told her that the air is toxic. Her time is spend being home schooled in science and ethics so that she can become a perfect human being. The bond between Daughter and Mother is unusually strong. To our surprise there does not appear to be any mental or pyschological trauma of having a machine as her mother.  The strength of the bond between man and machine is tested when a nameless Woman (Hilary

Social Networking

Social networking (social media) is now a significant part of our lives. We spend a huge amount of time online. A social networking service is an online platform which people use to build social relationships or networks with other people who share their interests,  backgrounds or real-life connections.  Many online services have some element of “social networking” so the list of these networks is potentially quite long. As communication technologies improve and people increasingly interact online, the definition of what constitutes a social network has become elastic.  For example on the one end we have Facebook which is focused specifically on building social relationships. At the other end there is Zoom and WhatsApp whose facilities are designed to build social relationships but would probably refuse to be classed as social networks.  Tim Chester’s Will You Be My Facebook friend? is a short book that tries to help us understand how social media relates to the Gospel. Chester argues

A Faith of Contradictions

I want a faith that can fully credit contradictions, and that can prove the darkest night to be perfectly light, and the greatest of trials to be perfectly right, and to be evidences of unbounded love. Yea, I want a faith that can fully rely upon a promise with a rational prospect of the promise being fulfilled...I thirst, pant and groan, for the faith of which Christ is the Author and Finisher. WILLIAM GADSBY  William Gadsby was a 19th Century  Particular Baptist who experienced acute sufferings in his home life which exerted a heavy burden on his faith and ministry. He ministered for 25 years while nursing his wife, who suffered with acute mental illness.  Gadsby died before his wife did and before she gave most encouraging signs of not having lost the faith she embraced as a girl, the faith Gadsby had been so confident that the Lord would preserve in her.  The strain for him, though, was at times unbearable, as her illness led her to erratic and destructive behaviour, including atta

God on the Brain - A Review

A Christian understanding of human nature holds that human beings are made in the image of God. As His image bearers we are created by God with an immaterial soul that survives death. This soul comes with the capacity and moral inclination to know and relate to God. All of this means that for Christians how we regard the relationship between the soul and the brain matters because it affects the validity of the Gospel.  The good news of Jesus presupposes some fundamental things about our human nature. It assumes that we are moral beings who have fallen off an objective moral standard and in need of forgiveness. It tells us that death is not the end. We must one day give an account. Most importantly, Jesus who is fully God and fully man is our only hope for life with God.  This good news of Jesus has become increasingly challenged by a materialist worldview of the brain led by secular neuroscientists. They argue that science and faith in God are opposed to one another; religious belief e

Spiritual Leadership

J Oswald Sanders (1917-1992) was a Christian leader for seventy years.  He wrote more than forty books on the Christian life including one book I dip into often, The Incomparable Christ. He was the director of the China Inland Mission (Overseas Missionary Fellowship), where he was instrumental in beginning many new missions projects throughout East Asia.  Spiritual Leadership encourages the church to pray for and develop Spirit empowered leaders. People who are guided by and devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ. The book presents the key principles of spiritual leadership. He illustrates his points with examples from Scripture and biographies of men who have led the people of God in history.  The book has 20 chapters. I have tried to summarise the main conclusions of these chapters under five key questions. Most of the ideas presented in this article are directly from the book. But I have  communicated these ideas in my own way, except where direct quotes are given. Towards the end, I off