Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Ten Tips for Taking Criticism

1. Understand the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. You need to learn how to interpret criticism. Is it positive criticism to build you up or negative to tear you down? Someone once said that constructive criticism is when I criticise you; destructive criticism is when you criticise me.

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you can develop the ability to laugh at yourself, you will be much more relaxed when given or giving criticism. We all do some stupid and silly things. Blessed is he who can enjoy his blunders. We are approved by God; we don’t have to win the approval of others and look good in their eyes. We are not perfect people. Too many of us take ourselves too seriously and God not seriously enough.  

Monday, 15 September 2014

Taking life seriously

"Whether I do something really funny or really stupid, it is okay with me..I think that is what life is about. You can't take life itself too seriously...At the end of the day, nobody really cares. You're going to be forgotten anyway. The issues and problems that you think are like mountains that you have to deal with now, after time goes by, nobody cares...Might as well have a good time with it."
Wesley Snipes  in a recent interview after the release of Sylvester Stallone's 'The Expendables 3'. The  'Demolition Man' star is  now back on on the big screen for the first time since his release from prison after doing time for three years after failing to file income tax returns. He began his jail term in December 2010.

Friday, 12 September 2014

A Parody of Faith


There's a fascinating scene in Man of Steel when the man who would be superman, Clark Kent, turns up at a local church seeking answers. He is sitting in alone when local pastor Father Leone asks what is troubling him. Here is where we pick up the conversation :
Father Leone: What's on your mind?
Clark Kent: I don't know where to start.
Father Leone: Wherever you want.
Clark Kent: That ship that appeared last night, I'm the one they're looking for.
Father Leone: [swallows nervously] Do you know... why they want you?
Clark Kent: No, but this General Zod... even if I surrender, there's no guarantee he'll keep his word. But if there's a chance I can save Earth by turning myself in, shouldn't I take it?
Father Leone: What does your gut tell you?
Clark Kent: Zod can't be trusted. The problem is, I'm not sure the people of Earth can be either. [walks away]
Father Leone: Sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith first. The trust part comes later.
As the two are talking we can see the cross sharply in the background of Father Leone. When the camera focuses on Clark we see over his shoulder a stained-glass image of the Lord Jesus Christ kneeling in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. What are we to make of the exchange above and the imagery that accompanies it?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Confess and go free!

I recently came across a statement by Nate Larkin in I am Second that was like a breath of fresh air. One question that has troubled me is this. How do I move beyond merely being forgiven by God and actually begin to experience healing and growth in areas that afflict me? Nate's statement has been very helpful :
I don’t think I really believed the message of Jesus. I thought it was up to me to be good. I didn’t believe that God would forgive me. I begged God to forgive me. Every Sunday I cried and I cried, pleading to him for forgiveness, but I never really thought he gave it to me. Looking back, I see how wrong I was.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Why are you plotting against God?

I love conspiracy theories!I think part of the reason is that we live in a complex world with many questions and very few answers. The rise of social media has also generated unlimited opportunitirs of finding like minded individuals who share our paranoia and bizarre beliefs. A more obvious reason is one put forward by Oliver Burkeman that we believe in conspiracy theories because they infact do happen.

The Bible goes further and says we suspect conspiracies and duplicity everywhere because we ourselves are conspiratorial. It is a legacy of the fall of Adam. The Prophet Nahum was raised by God to speak against Nineveh's conspiratorial stance :
What do you plot against the Lord? He will make a complete end; trouble will not rise up a second time. For they are like entangled thorns, like drunkards as they drink; they are consumed like stubble fully dried. From you came one who plotted evil against the Lord, a worthless counselor. Thus says the Lord,"Though they are at full strength and many, they will be cut down and pass away.."(‭Nahum‬ ‭1‬:‭9-12‬ ESV)