OK, Now What?

Second Thoughts

So it’s official. Donald Trump has been elected to be US President until 2020.

One of the reasons I’ve been quiet for the last month on this Blog has been the US Election. I have some personal stuff going on as well, but my personal stuff left me with insomnia – which I have always used as a great time to write without being disturbed.

Not the last month.

I’m not a Hillary supporter. Let me get that straight from the start. Socialism and Christianity don’t blend well – just ask the First Century Jerusalem Church that tried to look after everyone and ended up being supported financially by the churches from around the ancient world. They had all things in common – which is actually a good thing. They gave to each as they had need – which is a VERY good thing.

But those who had property sold it to provide for those who didn’t have anything. The problem with that is you can only sell your house once. Then you end up being the person in need because you give away all your value from selling your property and, oops, you have nothing so now others need to provide for you.

That’s not smart.

I’m not a fan of capitalism either. Not in the way it’s been pushed in the last 40 years.

What we call “capitalism” is actually greed. It’s the worship of Mammon, plain and simple.

moneyAnd Trump is the embodiment of that ethos. The philosophy he has demonstrated is one of pure self-interest. Every time it’s looked like he might personally lose out he’s declared bankruptcy to protect his own fortune rather than let receivers come in to manage the business and protect the employees. His self-claimed “worth” of billions is debatable when you offset his assets against his debts.

No, what we call “capitalism” is not related to Christianity.

A few years ago, my wife and I were house-hunting. We drove around one area of Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs looking for houses on show, going and looking at a few. We drove down one road and found it was a cul-de-sac, leaving turning round the only option. I turned the car and as I completed the turn found there was a large dog standing in the middle of the road blocking my exit.

Normally the procedure is straightforward. You move the car around the dog, it barks at the wheels and you drive away.

This dog was different though. As I turned the car to my right to pass it, it ran to it’s left – blocking my path. So I turned to my left – yep, it ran to it’s right and blocked me again.

Then it sat there and you could see the look in it’s eyes asking itself a simple question…

“OK, I caught a car. What do I do with it now?”

After about ten minutes of dodging about it gave up and went inside it’s house. As we passed the gate it was lying down looking very dejected. Apparently catching a car wasn’t everything it had expected it to be.

Enter 2016.

First we had Brexit. For personal reasons I support the departure of my home country from the EU. But the people who were leading the exit movement are not people I would want babysitting for me. The main “leaders” of the exit movement declared victory and then ran away, leaving the actual strategy for the separation of England from the EU to be drawn up by people who didn’t want to leave in the first place.

It was a place where an electorate voted on an issue it doesn’t properly understand based on rhetoric and empty promises made by sociopaths. Frankly in 1000 years of British history it was the best example I’ve seen for returning to having the monarch have absolute power in the country – at least while Elizabeth II is still Queen.

I didn’t think anything could compare with the fallout. The racism, sexism and xenophobic hate speech spewed forth in England’s green and pleasant land in a way I’d never dreamed could happen. Trump visited Scotland and said how delighted he was that Britain had voted to leave, and I realised that while my personal concepts of why Brexit was the right thing were solid in my convictions – the ability to re-establish open trade with Commonwealth countries, strengthening both their and Britain’s economies and helping poorer agricultural societies benefit from the wealth of the industrialised ones, Britain could rebuild her manufacturing industries and export goods, while importing food and raw materials from poorer nations at a fair price and allowing them to prosper as a result.

That was my expectation. The reality is I’m nervous to go back to my home country now because my wife is a foreigner there. Of course, as a white man in South Africa today I’m nervous to stay here as well.

Then came the real movement of the US election campaign, and the terrifying realisation that the GOP candidacy wasn’t some practical joke. The idea of a presidential candidate being able to say and do what Trump has done in the last six months makes Brexit look like a welcome movement for foreigners, especially from the Middle East.

Which brings me back to the title.canadasitecrash

Now what?

The Canadian Immigration website was crashed by the sheer number of enquiries trying to logon through the night as Trump’s numbers moved towards victory. Americans are looking for ways to leave America in response to the election – even before it was finalised.

What next?

Now Christians must rise up.

Huh?

Christians must rise up. We – all of us, not just Americans – need to pray for America. Trump will be the de facto leader of what was once a “free” world. We need to hold him accountable. We need to hold May accountable in the UK as well.

Christianity is under fire in the West. But the ones doing the real damage are those depicted as “christians” in the media. They are the ones wearing the hoods, burning

klan-1
Nope. Not Christians…

crosses on people’s lawns. The media and “progressives” depict those who are prepared to put their homes, livelihoods, careers and families on the line for what they believe as cranks and crackpots in the West because Daesh is cutting off people’s heads in the Middle-East. They don’t recognise financial persecution as persecution. They disregard it as inconvenience. They belittle the persecuted as being the aggressors.

The reality is there are other bakers to make the cake. There are other venues to hold you ceremony. People sue because they want their rights to be “equal”, but the reality is these people want their rights to be superior. Increasingly, Christians are forced to bow to the pressure of society and accept the “progress” that is 03382-atheismbeing made. Evolution – a theory – is taught increasingly as though it were a proven absolute, while another (in scientific terms) theory – Intelligent Design – is not only dismissed with no consideration, it is actually banned from scientific consideration in a classroom. Atheistic agendas are forced on us as though they are proven absolutes and we are forced to capitulate every day.

Children as young as five or six years old are now exposed to sexuality in a way unthinkable for teens to be exposed to just half a generation ago.

I have a dear friend in her mid twenties who dropped into conversation that she had problems talking to her mum because of the “generation gap” between them. We talk freely and openly about many things including God, faith, relationships and a host of other topics as equals. Peers. We may differ on what we consider “contemporary” music and “recent” movies to be, but on really important matters we are a similar way of thought. I asked her more about her mum and to my amusement (and slight terror) discovered she is one week older than I am.

I’m a child of the seventies. I grew up before computers were a part of every home, if you were out and you needed to call home you needed a telephone booth and the internet didn’t exist yet. The web was what a spider made on the hedge, phishing was a spelling mistake and that poor guy in Nigeria had no way to contact you about getting his $28 million out of the country through your bank account. Junk mail came from Reader’s Digest, and spam was a type of processed meat.

Somehow with less technology it was easier to believe in God. It was easier to stand up for your Faith 30 years ago in the West because if you did, you didn’t get shouted at instantly by 2 billion outraged people arguing with you or posting pictures of a small red face to you, or the other 2 billion shouting in agreement and posting small yellow faces to you. The other billion people on the planet didn’t know or care what you’d said.

Today there are nearly double the number of people on the planet – fields ripe for harvest – but fewer harvesters per capita than at any time in history. “Mainstream” denominations are in decline and it’s hard to get through the static to anything with real substance. I remember the intensity of “The Terminator” when I first saw it – in 1988. I was too young in 1984/5 when it was made. T2 was more intense. Recently, Terminator: Genisys was released. There is a chilling message in it about our dependence on technology. In the thirty years since the original, we have reached the level of technology in our lives that everything is inter-connected wirelessly.

Everything except us.

So: What Now?

Perhaps we need to reflect on the events of 2016 in light of a bigger picture.

A few respected entertainers died. There are wars and rumours of wars around the world. Where only 250 years ago we looked to kings and princes who were there by birth but lived and died nonetheless, now we look to presidents and prime ministers. “Leaders” died and were born/elected. 80 years ago the rantings of a short dark-haired lunatic allowed a decent people to become whipped up into a xenophobic frenzy over the space of about 4 years. Today the rantings of a small-minded orange lunatic have whipped up a basically decent people into a xenophobic frenzy over the space of a year or less. But if we look back, about every 100 to 150 years for the last thousand there has been some – usually short – crank whipping up a people who were basically decent into a frenzy about something. Whether it was Donald this year or Napoleon, Hitler, or any of the nut-jobs before them, they appear as pebbles in a stream. This year will be no different.

A few weeks from now we will mark the end of 2016 and the start of 2017. And almost everyone will forget. They won’t say “2017 years since what?” More entertainers will die. More leaders will rise and fall.

But the Gospel has been a constant. Like the North Star, it stays fixed to guide us home.

Ten thousand years from now, we won’t care about the US Election of 2016. But the Gospel of Jesus will endure. The candle of True Christianity demonstrating an unchanging God who Loved us so much He took on human form and allowed His creation to hammer iron spikes through His wrists and ankles, who allowed His own bodyweight to suffocate His body and die in agony, who rose from the dead. That Gospel will endure. That candle will flicker on, sometimes dimmed, but never extinguished.

For us what’s next is getting on with this day. We are none of us promised more than this heartbeat. So as Christians, what’s next is living this heartbeat for Jesus, demonstrating His love through our actions.

Loving the unlovely.

Forgiving the repentant.

Welcoming the stranger.

Healing the sick, raising the dead.

Giving Hope to the Hopeless. Food to the hungry.

Living out our relationship with Jesus in as authentic a way as possible so when we are met with hate – and we will be – people will notice how we respond with Love. When we are met with anger – and we will be – we respond with Peace.

Where we are met with Persecution – as all who live according to Christ Jesus will be – we respond with patience, forbearance, strength, Faith, Hope and Love.

Now what?

Now we must Love.

As He Loves us.

Ask, Seek, Knock…

Craving

Deep inside all of us there is a desire for God. Our souls cry out for Him, even when we try to deny it. Most people will end up filling this void with meaningless junk and false idols. Nobody is immune.

We crave God’s presence in our lives.

For once I stayed out of an online conversation between an atheist and a Christian recently, choosing this time to watch as the argument unfolded.

Sadly, atheists are blinded to their own situation.

 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. For even though they knew God [as the Creator], they did not honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.

Romans 1:20-23 [AMP]

9a93a-wrong2band2brightPaul doesn’t pull his punches when he writes to the Roman church. The city was in a very similar place spiritually to 21st Century Western society. There were so many false gods, Apollo, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and many more, that it was inevitable that the Christians would be exposed to them. The temples often had prostitutes working in them so sex was offered as a “sacrifice” of sorts to whichever deity it happened to be. Switch to 21st Century times and in place of the Roman gods we find actors, pop stars, politicians and even televangelists being “worshipped”. The prostitution of pornography on the internet and television & movies may be less exposed, but it’s no less real. Remember Christ told us that even looking lustfully at someone was as bad as adultery to God. Porn is designed to incite lust. Satan doesn’t need to have actual prostitutes any more, the images on the screen mean tens of thousands of men and women give themselves over to his influence on an hourly basis. North Korea, by blocking contact with the outside world may be isolated in terms of technology and society, but it’s about the only place relatively unaffected by the sewage flowing from the porn industry online.

And then there’s the modern “golden calf” brigade. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Harley-Davidson, Daimler-Benz and so on. Every brand has its devotees and fans, but few conjure up an image like Harley does – and I can’t think of another company that is so worshipped that its acolytes actually have the company logo permanently tattooed onto their body!

The difference is that the “educated” atheists don’t realise they are worshipping a false god when they religiously polish the chrome or wax the paint of their chosen steed for three hours on a Sunday while the neighbour goes to Church. “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.” Today I’m sure Paul would add television and movie stars and most of the brands we “have” to own.

Now I’m not knocking the brands – don’t get me wrong. I have owned a Harley a few years ago, and I would buy another if I had the resources for it, but my reason has changed over the years. When I was a kid I liked the idea after watching “Any Which Way You Can” and “Every Which Way But Loose” with Clint Eastwood as the bare-knuckle fighter “Philo Beddoe”. I was very young, and didn’t notice the surname was spelt differently to my own – but even now I’m in my 40s I love the movies! Since then I learned to ride and ended up getting my first Harley based on a test-ride and finding it was simply the best put together machine I’d ridden. In terms of the “look” I was more drawn to the Yamaha Virago!

We look for something to fill the hole in our lives. As Christians, we know that hole is God-shaped and nothing else but Jesus will fill it. The World, however, can’t see it. It runs around trying to put a square peg into this round hole and no matter how close it seems for a while, it never quite fills the void.

Everyone worships something. At our core it’s what God designed us to do: build relationship with Him through worship. Satan corrupted this and now we look in all the wrong places. Sex, money, drugs, science, titles, “success” in the eyes of the World. All this and more are used to try to fill the gaping void.

Atheists are so blinded that they can’t even recognise the infirmity of 03382-atheismtheir own standpoint. They decry the teaching of Christianity in schools because it disagrees fundamentally with their belief that there is no God. They are so blinded by this that they then insist that evolution be taught as scientific fact. In truth, evolution is a theory. Maybe it’s a good one, but it’s still a theory with no conclusive evidence to confirm it beyond a scientific doubt: which is why it’s a theory. It’s technically a philosophy.

From a non-Christian perspective, this makes some sense. But then it begs the question “where is another theory to compare evolution with?”

Christians can point to Intelligent Design at this point. But the millisecond the concept of a creator higher than mankind on their evolutionary scale is mentioned the poor, persecuted atheist announces it can’t be because scientific proof can’t establish evidence of God’s existence. But from their perspective, Christianity is also a philosophy.

And so the argument goes on. Carbon dating to show age in millions of years, then the hard-core fundamentalists jump in and declare the planet is only 6000 years old because of Genesis.

Personally I think the Truth is lost in the argument. It doesn’t matter if the world is 6000 years old or 600 million or older than that. What matters is that God Loved us so much that He took on the form of His creation to win back the authority Man had surrendered to Satan rather than destroy everything and start again.

We devote our lives to a search for meaning. We ask what we think are deep, meaningful questions and debate them endlessly. We argue among ourselves and become divided about minutia that are irrelevant.

So what should we do?

Jesus had the answer.

Three steps that we see illustrated perfectly in Paul’s life.

  1. Ask. Ask God who He is. Trust me, He can take the question. When He knocked Paul off his donkey on the road to Damascus the first thing he says is “who are you?”
  2. Seek. Search out intimate knowledge of God through Jesus. Sit under teachers with a solid foundation and learn from them. Paul knew the Old Testament, but he went after he met the Risen Christ and learned from Ananias and the disciples in Damascus, then joined the Apostles in Jerusalem for a time before he went on his journey.
  3. Knock. Paul took every chance he had to knock on the doors of people’s hearts. It’s impossible to read Acts without seeing this in his every action. The nickname “Christians” was given by the church in Antioch. It literally meant “little Christs” or “little anointed ones”. The only way they would be given that title would be if they acted like anointed ones who had the same Spirit they spoke of in Jesus.

Ask. Seek. Knock.

It’s so simple when you think about it. And oddly, everyone does it.

Everyone asks. The nature of mankind is inquisitive. We invent new and varied ways of doing everything from hunting for food to moving around to finding shelter to heating our homes. It’s said Edison tried 10,000 combinations before he made a light bulb. He kept asking “what if”. We all do.

What if I apply for this job?

What if I ask her out?

What if we live in this town?

And we all get answers. All who ask, receive. What the real trick is, however, is asking the right questions.

Paul asked two: “Who are You?” and “What do You want me to do?”

Seek. We all seek something. What we eventually (hopefully) realise is that we are seeking Jesus. But the reason is the issue. Why do we seek Jesus?

We seek Jesus so we can find God. So Satan puts up counterfeits everywhere. The tin-pot idols of today that satisfy for a moment or two but then leave us thirsting, craving, more. Like drinking salt water, it cannot meet our need. Our being was created to run on God’s intimacy and input in our lives. I worked at a filling station for a while and one day this beautiful sports car pulled in and the attendant somehow filled the tank with diesel instead of petrol. A petrol engine can produce power from combusting diesel, but it’s not going to give the performance it was designed to. The car pulled away, coughing and spluttering with billows of smoke behind it as it burned the wrong fuel. It still moved, but it was not happy. We drained the diesel, flushed the tank and filled it with petrol. The result was immediate. With the right fuel, the engine purred as it ticked over, and screamed as the car drove away.

Knock. We don’t do this very well. It involves being around other people much of the time. Knock to have the door opened for us. Not “push”. Knock. It allows us to be dependant on God working for us through someone else. Paul was good at it. We, generally, are not so good. Modern society praises the “self-made man”. Frankly I like it when someone describes themself as “self-made”. It means they accept responsibility for the screw-ups they’ve made. Of course, they just sit with a blank expression and wonder why I’m laughing…

I don’t like relying on other people. Growing up I played individual sports. Tennis, Squash, Badminton, Fencing. I hated team sports like rugby, soccer and cricket. I had trust issues from being “different” from everyone else. I didn’t mind being different, but it meant I walked to the beat of a different drummer, and as a result I am still not very good at the “knocking” part of the Christian life. Yet it’s vital to our maturity. Salvation is a solo path, but Church is a team sport. We don’t all have the same gifts, but to mature we need to be exposed to Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, Apostles and Prophets. Miss any of them and we don’t get the whole picture.

And our craving grows bigger.

But if we do get the right mix it grows better. We crave more of the right things. I did the Atkins Plan for a while to get healthy in my late 20s. It worked brilliantly. My body ran smoothly eating fats and protein instead of carbohydrates. My muscles were stronger and more defined and I had less brain-fog. But I went back and began eating starch again. The weight came back and the muscle tone vanished. Now in my 40s I’m trying to move back to the higher protein & fat diet I had so my body will grow right again.

Spiritually it’s the same. I’ve been in churches that were like McDonald’s. All starch and no substance and ultimately highly toxic on a Spiritual level. I’ve been in churches that were the opposite as well. Lean and fiery. And I crave that in my walk again. But when you’ve been toxic long enough it’s hard to break the habits even though you know they’re killing you. Like an alcoholic keeps drinking or a lung cancer victim keeps smoking, we sit in toxic spiritual environments because we are addicted to the junk.

But all it takes to satisfy our true craving is to Ask, Seek and Knock.

Perfection

Perfection

The “Featured Picture” here I took a couple of years ago at my home. I grow my own herbs and at the end of the season there’s always something I’ve not used all of. That year it was mint. The plant flowered, something I rarely see as I use a LOT of mint when I’m cooking, much to my wife’s annoyance (she thinks I’m trying to make dinner taste like toothpaste).

I was sitting on the stoep of the house and along floats this bee. I never antagonise them. They usually die if they sting us, so I’m not worried about a single. It calmly floats over to the mint flower and settles down, collecting nectar.

It had never occurred to me that mint could have nectar until that moment. I grabbed my camera and snapped the shot, such simple beauty. And the bee, so perfectly designed to perform the job of collecting nectar from such tiny flowers.

I looked at the mint, it was suddenly a thing of such visual beauty to me, not just another herb. The flowers in a bunch at the tip of each stem, perfectly aligned for a bee to come and collect from them.

So I began looking at other things. This sunssunset a1 2002et was taken in September 2003 at Slangkop Lighthouse near Kommetjie. The picture is a little grainy because it was taken the old-fashioned way – film not digital. I’ve been to the spot many times since, but never seen the alignment of sun and lighthouse the same way again. The timing was perfect for the photo.

We live in a world created so perfectly ordered that we can predict to the second when an eclipse will take place, when tides will be high or low, and how high they will be days, weeks in advance.

Consider the laws of nature, the constants that allow us to fly in aeroplanes: gravity, thrust, lift, stalling speed. These constants are set in stone. A scientist can predict precisely how much thrust is required at a certain wing dimension to achieve lift and therefore flight, and at what speed the airflow must continue to travel around the wing given its dimensions to maintain that flight – the stalling speed.

Frequency of light and sound. 186000 miles per second, the speed of light is a constant. 1100 feet per second in air is the speed of sound. These are constants. Certain mediums change the rates, so different gasses produce different speeds for sound and light, glass, perspex etc change the speed of light to produce filters, but this is only possible because the initial speed is a universal constant.

Mankind is now looking at ways to get humans to Mars, presumably because we need to find more landfill sites. But the trip is only plannable because we know exactly where Mars will be at any given moment.

It is known when Halley’s Comet will be round next, and when it’s been around before. It has been hypothesised that it may even have been the “star” the Magi followed to Bethlehem spoken of in the Nativity story – the exact date of Christ’s birth not being known but the time the comet was about is very exact, and fits the general timeline.

Consider the mathematical odds of life. Billions to one against this rock floating around a star of sufficient size and density, far enough away that it doesn’t scorch the ground, close enough that the rays provide enough heat. All the other variables that even 0.0001% out mean life cannot exist. Yet so many choose to convince themselves God cannot be a reality.

I bet you were wondering when God would appear in this post.

The requirements to not believe in God are so much greater than the requirements to believe. To be able to be convinced that life happened here by chance takes far more faith than believing everything was created by something far bigger than we are, with a form of intelligence beyond our own. The arrogance of it is even more staggering.

To believe there is no God is staggering. Being convinced that the world and life is a chance fluke is ignorance of the highest order. I can’t explain the process an egg goes through to grow into a chicken in terms of the science behind it, but I’ve never met a scientist who could answer why life happens in that egg. We know the chemical make-up of the egg. We can mix the ingredients to the exact proportions, but if we put it in an incubator we’ll never grow a chicken. Life is not simply a chemical reaction. If it were we could replicate it.

The perfection of creation is only matched by the flaw it carries. Us.

When we rebelled against God we brought death into this universe. God responded by giving us Grace to counter it. The cells in my body replicate themselves and produce identical copies of themselves. We call this “growth” and “life”, but if the new cells are identical to the old ones, why do we age? Chemically there’s no reason for ageing I’ve yet to be told, although I’m open to comments on this post explaining it (as long as you use small words please, I’m a simple man of faith, not a brilliant scientist – I leave medicine and science to my wife, a doctor, who can’t explain it either).

An atheist is simply a man with no invisible means of support. What hope can there be in an atheistic existence? For an atheist, the purpose of life is to die. The end product is to return to being nothing more than a pile of chemicals sitting in the dust.

How depressing.

I may not be perfect, but as a Christian, my faith gives me hope. Hebrews 11 states Faith is the substance of what we hope for. It is the evidence of what we have not yet seen. How perfect that is.

God is perfect. Jesus is perfect.

We are being made perfect.

I’m a work in progress. So are you.

On a path to perfection… Enjoy the ride!

Antithetical Conundrums

Firstly, try saying the title of this post quickly after a large scotch (or your favourite drink). Yes I’m a Christian writer who likes whisky – a decent single malt – and movies some “christian” writers would avoid. I’m 41 and I don’t see a problem with either depending on the genre. I’m obviosly not referring to pronographic films or gratuitous violence, but movies such as Braveheart, Gladiator, and Lord of the Rings need the violence to reflect the story itself rather than to fill space and make it a movie not a TV episode.

I read a wonderful article by John Piper recently on the folly of Men arming Women for Battle.
This kind of leads on from my reflections on that.
Barak Obama – a man I don’t agree with in entirety but I have immense respect for as a man of integrity (normally) – recently supported the placing of women in front-line combat units. It was hailed as a sign of equality in the workplace almost universally, with only a handful of dissenting voices – mine among them – who are concerned at the blurring of male and female roles in society.
There are definite roles which are gender specific. Men, on the whole, are built more heavily with higher muscle-mass and strength than the average woman. Don’t shout me down here, it’s a biological fact. I don’t often meet women taller or heavier than me, I’m 6′ tall (181cm) and weight about 100kg (+/- 220lbs – 15-16 stone) I’ve been heavier – 20stone at my heaviest and lighter – 14 stone, but I’m a bit guy. 51″ Chest and shoulders to match. 38″ waist. Suffice to say I’m big and not a lot intimidates me.
My wife is smaller. She’s strong, but I can easily hold her off when we wrestle (and yes I mean wrestle!).
Size isn’t everything and I acknowledge that. A girl I am friends with threw me six feet across a floor using judo moves I’m not trained in. She’s even smaller.
But the fact is that if I were walking her home and we were attacked I’d be horribly out of character to step back because she has a back-belt.
And so the antithesis comes in.
Women were not designed to fight. Muscular women do not show femininity. When Madonna – who I never really thought was that attractive – traded her softness for the muscle look in the 1990’s I was horrified. My muscle definition as a dancer was never that toned. Aside from obvious gender differences she looked more manly than me!
Tonight Barak Obama tweeted “I want every young man in America to know that real men don’t hurt women”.
I totally and completely agree with this statement.
But it is the antithesis of placing a woman on the front line of a combat zone.
Women are formidable warriors, don’t mistake what I’m saying. I’ve seen first-hand the power and strength of a woman protecting her children from an assailant – one who backed off when a man stepped up to help her. But the front line of a war zone is not a place they should be. No matter how they are traned, men are still men. The instinct to protect will still be there.
Women are women. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone uses the “men can’t carry babies” argument, so I’ll leave it out. But watch what games girls and boys play. Boys gravitate to physical games. Rough play is more common. I worked at a primary school some time ago and in the time I was there I didn’t have to break up a single fight between 2 girls, but every single day I had to deal with boys.
I was a quiet boy. I went to a boys school for my secondary education (11-18 years old) but my hobby was ballet. I got ridiculed and accused of homosexual leanings – the other boys had NO idea how difficult it is for a pubescent male to “control” himself in a class of 15-20 attractive girls! But I was shy. I had very little conversation with these young ladies, except one who I was very fond of as a result, and I struggled. As a musician and a dancer rather than athlete and scholar I found it hard to cope much of the time in an environment where I was operating in what that society perceived as a female-led role. Ignoring the physical rigours of ballet and the focus of music, it was a tough time.
But I was a boy. Computer games involved shooting things. I was in the gun club at school – and I was good. I still shoot today (yes I’m a Christian who has no moral objection to hunting with rifles for game like buck, boar etc. I’d never shoot a Lion or Elephant unless it was their life or mine. Deal with it.) I made a bow and arrows. It wasn’t Robin Hood, but it worked – kind of.
But the thought of putting a woman in battle instead of me? Never. My back pains, my knees are stiff and I’m seriously out of shape and I’m over 40. I’d still rather go into battle in my condition than have a healthy 25 year old lady go in for me.
I wouldn’t put her in harm’s way.
Politicians seem to miss that. There are female warriors in Scripture, but the point is made clearly – it is to the shame of the men if they insist the women go with them.
So Mr President, please be consistent. Equal but different roles.
Enough of the antithesis of “political correctness”.
Get back to basics. Equal but Different

Everything changes…

When I was at primary school – under 11 – we had assembly most days. There would be a hymn and a short talk, usually from Mr Ward, the Headmaster. One hymn that has never left my head goes like this:
“Ev’rything changes,
But God changes not;
The power never changes
That lies in His thought:
Chorus: Splendours three, from God proceeding,
May we ever love them true,
Goodness, Truth, and Beauty heeding
Ev’ry day, in all we do.
Truth never changes,
And Beauty’s her dress,
And Good never changes,
Which those two express:
Perfect together
And lovely apart,
These three cannot wither;
They spring from God’s heart:
Some things are screening
God’s glory below;
But this is the meaning
Of all that we know:”
The meaning in this little hymn is lost on many. Yet it’s based on scripture. Hebrews 13:8 to be precise.
I was reminded of it again earlier today when a friend said to me that we should remember the world is changing, and we need to change with it.
That is a lie.
We need to base ourselves on something better than the current whims of the world.
At one point in Holland, tulip bulbs were worth more than houses. Then the world changed and they weren’t any more. In the Roman empire at one point tin was the most valuable metal. Things changed. Through the whole of history only one thing has remained constant. God.
God’s values don’t ebb and flow with the tide of popular opinion. He will always hate Sin, no matter how it is dressed. Even when the world’s view is that it isn’t sin any more.
I remember reading a story of a man in his late 90’s who applied to be re-patriated to England from Australia. He had been in the country for decades, and had never left since his arrival almost 70 years previously. When asked why he now wished to go back to England, he reportedly replied that as a young man when he arrived he was informed the penalty for homosexuality was death, by the time he was 40 it was 20 years hard labour, by 60 it was a fine, and it was legalised a little while after that. When the debate about gay marriage began he decided to leave before it became compulsory…
The world changed, but God didn’t.
Sodom and Gomorrah had the opinion of the modern world regarding sexual sin. God judged them. The Greek and Roman empires both fell as they became more and more obsessed with appearances than substance. Israel fell into the trap more than once in scripture. The world’s views change constantly, like shifting sands. We build on them at our peril.