Friday, December 30, 2016

Preparing lemon myrtle

A surprise Christmas Eve find of locally situated lemon myrtle occurred during a rainstorm.  The sunny days that followed Christmas Eve allowed for drying of the leaves.  Atmospheric temperatures reached a top of 34 degrees Celsius.  In the herb dryer that I use – a handmade aluminium foil-lined rectangular timber box that hangs in full sun on my clotheslines – temperatures tend to be 5 to 6 degrees more than atmospheric conditions so it is fair to say that the leaves baked at 40 degrees Celsius for some period of time. 

Authors' own home-made herb dryer
After a few days the leaves had largely lost their original green lustre.  The leaves had taken on a slightly brown colour.
Dried lemon myrtle leaves
After removing the woody stalk from the leaf, the leaves were placed in a Thermomix bowl.  Using the highest setting, the leaves were pulverised.  I ran the Thermomix for only ten seconds and left it for another ten seconds to let the dust settle at the base of the bowl.  On opening the Thermomix the lemon scent was very evident.  The crushed leave was sealed into a zip lock back for later use.  Lemon myrtle is best used sparingly with only one teaspoon needed in most dishes.  It serves as a fantastic sprinkle over yoghurts or a bowl of ice-cream.  Our household adds lemon myrtle to coconut as a topping on home-made marshmallows.  The leaves can also be added to tea to give a lemon flavour to the brew.  The uncrushed leaves can be used in stews similar to how one would use a bay leaf.  Lemon myrtle gives all the taste of lemon without any of the bitterness of lemon.
Crushed lemon myrtle
If you have access to a lemon myrtle tree approximately five leaves makes the same amount of product that you would pay $6 to $8 for commercially.  Pick leaves that are young, fully lustred and undamaged.  As immature trees usually have leaves skirted around their base it is best to pick leaves at arm’s level (to avoid any canine urine). Wash the leaves before drying to remove any dirt.

Note: links good at 30 December 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A healing without barriers

For three months I've been contemplating Biblical text that is unique to Luke.  The text; Luke 13:10-17, identifies a healing.  The healing occurs on a Sabbath, in a synagogue, and at Jesus Christ's own initiation.  It is perhaps unique amongst other healing stories for that combination of characteristics.  The healing is also special in that both voice and touch are used by Jesus.

free and unattributable

One puzzling aspect of the text had me searching for answers.

I was puzzled in that the separations of persons male/female, jew/gentile etc within the Jewish Temple were well identified in both Old Testament and new Testament.  However, such custom of separation of persons within a synagogue is not communicated within the Bible.  Indeed, the design of the Temple lent itself to separations of persons as the temple is a building that is compartmentalised.

The questions roaming around my head were:

What was the custom of separation of persons within synagogues?  What do we understand of the break in custom of the woman approaching Jesus and men who would be seated while Jesus teaches?   

The answer to those questions informs an understanding of the element of faith that the woman exhibited.  Did the woman, for instance, break custom in crossing a barrier to respond to Jesus.  By 'barrier' I was not imagining a physical one - as would exist within the Temple - but instead, a customary one.

Luke's account seems indifferent to place and time so it would possibly be quite difficult for scholars to identify exactly which synagogue Jesus was in.

A fellow dinner guest at a year-end dinner party, a highly regarded Biblical scholar at a nearby university, provided the answers.  The answers in point form are:

  • While much is known of the Temple design, and of Temple use, relatively little is known of synagogue design and use,
  • It is highly unlikely that the separation of persons, that is identified to the Temple, is identified to synagogues,
  • While it was known that some synagogues were enclosed buildings, some synagogues were perhaps in open air (or often had enclosed open air spaces such as gardens),
  • While the Temple dates to many hundred years before Christ, synagogues only date to about 300  years before Christ,
  • Teaching and worship in synagogue's probably adopted less formal structures than seen in the Temple.    The synagogue probably had a multiple number of uses throughout a week and on the Sabbath, and, 
  • While the Temple was a national building, synagogues were purpose built to serve the local community. 

Therefore, it is plausible that the woman crossed no physical or customary boundaries within the synagogue.  It is an answer that is very neat.  It is neat as it plays well with the whole of the text in that Jesus is challenged for healing on the Sabbath.  In this, the women did cross a barrier - a religious one - for a person was not to heal on the Sabbath.   The woman crossed the religious barrier in faith.  She crossed it to Lord of All.

And to God's glory the woman was healed.


Note: All links good at 26 December 2016

Note: The text internally has a clue to use of the synagogue.  The synagogue leader, by his rebuke, indicates that the people may come to the synagogue for healing on other days of the week (verse 14).  It is plausible that the synagogue was thus used for prayer and supplication on the non-Sabbath days.

Note: It is a true delight of the Bible that one can return to it again and again and ask questions of it.  The Bible makes for a seven course degustation meal where one may chew on every bone and suck every bit of marrow all while letting juices run down the chin!

Monday, December 26, 2016

There is a flavoursome tree in Lane Cove

There is a tree,
a flavoursome tree
Discovered by scent and flower on Christmas Eve
While running through a rainstorm, A delightful herb
Amongst shops where you'd pay to taste,
an excellent accompaniment
 to curries and

There is a tree,
a flavoursome tree
Attended with friends 6pm Christmas Eve
A delightful message of a present God gave
freely and to every person, everywhere in the world, forever after
In a manger by a teenage girl.
An excellent path
 to eternal  life


Note: all links good at 26 December 2016
Note: this continues a study of locally available plants, see this post for example.
Note: this post is a form of concrete poetry.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Brand damage?

There seems no better way  to damage the 'Sydney Anglican' brand.  

An article in the December 2016 Anglican Diocese of Sydney Southern Cross magazine identifies the historic effort of a Sydney Anglican who was in Boston in USA. The hero is identified as attending a Anglican Diocese of Sydney church yet attending a church and being a Christian are two distinct things.  Nowhere in the article is the same person identified as a Christian.  

One could read the article and deduce that Sydney Anglicans are simply good deed doers.

Earlier, the Southern Cross carried an article that spoke of Sydney Anglicans at Gallipoli. We've asked a lot of those diggers over the years - must they also be Sydney Anglicans? (the phrase Sydney Anglicans has origins in the 1950s well after Anzac).

Wouldn't it be better to identify the hero who acted quickly that day in Boston as:
               - a Christian,
                            - who is a Sydney Anglican?


Of similar theme is this post

Note: all links good as at 11 December 2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

They just don't give up

Working from home recently I took one of those pesky telephone calls. 

The caller sounded like they were in a crowded working environment with little sound insulation.  They insisted that malware had downloaded onto my computer.  The caller was eager to assist me in removing the malware. She identified herself as a representative of my Internet Service Provider - but did not name the provider.  The call was received over my landline and the operator required that I go to the computer so that she may talk me through a remedy process.

While I do not understand the full nature of the caller's game, there is irony in that in all likelihood she was endeavouring to produce harm (not remedy harm).

I've offered a paraphrased version of the later part of the call....

Caller: What is showing on your computer's screen now Sir?

Me: It is still booting.

Caller: Let me know when it has loaded.

Me: The login screen is showing.

Caller: Please login sir.


Caller: Have you now logged in Sir? What is showing on the screen?

Me: The games menu.

Caller: That is good sir, now could you please go to your internet settings.  I first need you to open your browser.

Me: What is an internet browser?

Caller: It is used when you search the internet Sir.

Me: I do not search the internet on this computer.

Caller: What do you use the computer for Sir?

Me: Retro-1980s computer games.  I wrote themselves in Fortran.  You should see the version of Space Invaders that I have!  We all gather around the computer with a few beers every Saturday afternoon and play two person games.  It is the best fun.  I hold the Galaga record.  I hope to beat Steve next week at Pacman.

Caller: But our records show that you access the internet.

Me: Exactly which Internet Service Provider are you ringing from?

Caller: If you could just open your Internet browser Sir?

Me: Goodbye, hangs up.


Note: all links good at 7 December 2016

Note: When you get a phone call like this, think of it in a positive light.  You are wealthy and blessed firstly to have a telephone.  You are wealthy and blessed to have a computer.  You are wealthy and blessed to have the knowledge to say no.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Calling homosexual concepts straightly

A review of a document......


The document Human Sexuality and the ‘Same Sex Marriage’ Debate, A report of the Sydney Diocesan Doctrine Commission, October 2014 does not make any distinction between promiscuous homosexual practice and same-sex attraction insofar as Biblical denunciation of both activities.  The document alludes to how both promiscuous homosexual practice and same-sex attraction are sinful in that they both draw on eroticism – which is seen to be played out either as physical behaviour or as lust.  The document does however make a helpful distinction between same-sex orientation and same-sex sensual activity.  The distinction turns on how one may be same-sex orientated yet same-sex sensually inactive.  This distinction arises as same-sex orientation does not have an active component from which one would draw a conclusion in sin.

To analyse the document’s consideration of the same-sex orientation and same-sex sensual activity I considered a single chapter in depth.  That chapter; “Chapter Five - Ministering to Those Who Experience Same-sex Attraction” is the final chapter of the document.  The analysis took the form of considering how both the words “orientation” and “attraction” are used within the document.  I have attempted to succinctly record the usage of “orientation” and “attraction”. The added comments are (indicated thus).  It has been helpful to group consideration of the words “desire” and “inclination” with consideration of the word “attraction”.  The document does not make any meaningful distinction between “attraction”, “desire” or “inclination”.  Nor does the document discern meaningfully between “attraction” and “lust”.

 Analysis of two words

The word “Attraction” is used thirty-four times.  The word “Orientation” is used eleven times.  By word count alone one initially concludes that the Chapter is true to its heading.  “Orientation” is considered first as its occurrence is in the minority:

 “(O)rientation”, usually as part of the phrase “same-sex orientation”, is used such:


-       That O is multi-dimensional (ergo, there is no support for an argument solely in nature or “born that way”)

-       That regardless of causation some persons nonetheless adopt a deep-seated O

-       That while it is claimed impossible and cruel for O to be influenced to change, it is not impossible for O to change

-       That there is an imperative in ministering to people to bring their conversion to Christ, and growth in Christ, regardless of O.

-       That O can unhelpfully fused with self-identity.

-       That the world (the example given is a game show) can often identify people by their O

-       It is important to challenge the view that it is wrong to encourage a same-sex attracted believer to change their O, and that it is important to challenge the belief that change is impossible.

-       O is part of the brokenness of our disordered world (it is not according to nature) so that reorientation is clearly the ideal.

-       It is vital that the church help those dealing with same-sex attraction understand that O is not the core of their self-identity

-       Churches need to work hard to rid themselves of unhelpful attitudes towards O

Accordingly, the document does not specifically identify same sex orientation as sin.  Instead, the document identifies same sex orientation as “part of the brokenness of our disordered world”.  The document leaves one questioning when same sex orientation is a factor in an act of sin – say when one integrates their orientation so deeply into their self-identity that they start to idolise the identity that they have created.  Orientation is not an active word.  It is used as one would use its synonyms such as “direction” or “alignment”.  Orientation of itself is therefore not active without some other co-joined causal measure.  That causal measure will often be same sex attraction.  One imagines that there is a progression path that an individual may experience.  That progression path traverses from same-sex orientation, to same-sex attraction to same-sex carnal activity.  That path is in staged no differently than would arise in a heterosexual individual; from opposite-sex orientation, to opposite-sex attraction to opposite-sex carnal activity.  In isolation of any co-joint agent, opposite-sex orientation is not sinful, just as same-sex orientation is not sinful.

“(A)ttraction”, usually as part of the phrase “same-sex attraction”, is used such:

-       The heading of the chapter (ergo, one is drawn to the priority of consideration of A, rather than O).

-       To recognise that A and same-sex relationships are gaining more acceptance in society.

-       To recognise the two fold challenge of standing up for the Bible’s view of sexuality and how to minister to persons who experience A.

-       To pose three questions: 1) What are the reasons some people experience A?, 2) Secondly, is it possible for someone who experiences A to change? and 3) what is appropriate to expect of someone who continues to battle with A?

-       That in light of current societal views and the complexity implied by the three questions many experience difficulties responding to those who present as experiencing A.

-       That the chapter seeks to offer some clarification about the nature of A, and in the light of that to offer suggestions as to how we as churches might seek to care for those who experience it.

-       That understanding how and why people develop A is complex.

-       That genetic, hormonal and environmental factors may all play a role in the development of same-sex desires or A in any given case. (ergo, there are two important points here i) identification of A interchangeably used with “desires”, and ii) an indication that elements other than nature may be at play).

-       That genetic disposition towards A, as attributed from one or both parents, is quite low and not typical (ergo, there is little support for an argument in nature).

-       While there is said to be a biological component to A, no clear link to a particular gene has been proven.

-       Studies into environmental factors have not be definitive in identifying causation of A

-       There is little consensus about whether A is unchangeable

-       There is a spectrum and degree to A

-       In seeking to help those who experience A, a number of factors need to be appreciated and addressed

-       Those wrestling with A within the church may do so with great shame and secrecy

-       It is important to assist those dealing with A to understand that O is not core of their self-identity.

-       That the gay movement appeals to those who experience A to ‘come out’

-       Christians who experience A need to understand that they have been washed clean and set free from guilt of their sins.

-       That Christians can ‘live out’ unwanted A, without having to deny it, or be defined by it

-       That persons who battle against A and resist homosexual behaviour need to be continually affirmed in their determination to be faithful and to suffer for the sake of the gospel.  In the context of a Wesley Hill quote that is offered in the document this is a call for suppression of homerotic desires.

-       There are a number of important steps, both attitudinal and practical, which church communities need to take in order to positively care for and effectively minister to those with A.

-       Churches ought to be especially careful not to use offensive labels for homosexual people or pejorative speech that puts down those who experience A.

-       The call to abstinence for those with A can be positioned in the wider valuing of chastity for all who are unmarried.


“(D)esire”, usually as part of the phrase “same-sex desires”, is used such:


-       D are viewed as “dishonourable passions” and homosexual behaviour regarded as both “shameless” and “contrary to nature” (Rom. 1:26). It is for this reason that it is explicitly condemned in Scripture.

-       Like immoral heterosexual desire, and indeed all other sinful yearnings, D is one of the results of the fall and a symptom of a greater disease pervading all of humanity.

-       D are not from God, and should therefore not be embraced, indulged or acted upon


“(I)nclination”, usually as part of the phrase “same-sex inclinations”, is used such:


-       I does not give permission to engage in behaviour that goes against God’s word.


Consequently, the document specifically identifies same-sex attraction as sin.  The following are all active or doing words: “Attraction”, “Inclination”, “Desire” and “Lust” (lust is used singularly in the whole document within Wesley Hill’s quotation).  In respect to same-sex; “Attraction”, “Inclination”, “Desire” and “Lust”, can be used interchangeably. 


That which one can do; which one enjoys actively, can be subject of one’s suppression.


For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” 

Romans 7:19-24, NIV


The document Human Sexuality and the ‘Same Sex Marriage’ Debate, A report of the Sydney Diocesan Doctrine Commission, October 2014 therefore does not make any distinction between promiscuous homosexual practice and same-sex attraction.  Both are Biblically denunciated.  The document does however make a distinction between both of promiscuous homosexual practice and same-sex attraction & same-sex orientation.


Note: this post is part of a series that stemmed from a talk linked here.  A response to that talk is linked here.

Nurture plays a role

Those in the church who play to the natural or 'born that way' basis of homosexuality are aiding the persistence of a moral imperative.  The moral imperative arises in giving persons who are homosexual, and their supporters, a base from which everything else must follow.  If something is set by nature then everyone has to have an answer – not just the one.  And, if it is from nature - a quirk of genes - then even the person’s biological parents perhaps think they had no control.

Yet, homosexuality is unlikely to be set by nature (or only by nature). Nurture also plays a role.  A talk I recently heard at a church can be read to imply that nature solely is at play (refer the green highlighted text on this linked post).

Many seem to wish only blissful ignorance of nurture when it comes to homosexuality.  Few parents doubt that they influenced a child’s well-being or education (‘he took up his father’s interest in cricket’, ‘we made sure she had the best tutors’), yet they seem willing to ignore their acts or omissions of influence on a child’s sexuality.  In a novel by Hugh Mackay, ‘Winter Close’, 2002, the protagonist identifies with parental acts or omissions.  The protagonist is a counsellor – a psychologist – and offers this reflection during a counselling session:

Protagonist: “I’m constantly surprised by the number of clients I see who
disapprove of their kid’s values, yet have trouble detecting their own
influence in shaping them.  No wonder their kids are confused.”

We parents reap what we sow.  We are somewhat like gardeners – applying fertiliser when necessary and weeding away undesirable elements.  The quote in part captures a notion of how people are often quick to externalise a problem rather than grasping how internal influences are to blame.

If by act or omission we nurture a particular sexuality, then that sexuality may arise. Christian parents have a powerful aide at their side in the form of modelling – modelling a sound heterosexual relationship, ensuring that their children are fostered in a church that depicts other heterosexual relationships and honouring God by identifying how marriage is itself a model of what God has eternally established for the church.  Christian parents can also monitor and guide children’s external influences – internet browsing and television viewing.


Offending the majority for sake of the minority

I've included below the full text of a talk delivered in place of a sermon at an Anglican Diocese of Sydney church on September 4th 2016. Two areas are highlighted in green by way of creating discussion in a separate post.

I have sought that the talk be taken down from the church's website.  The talk is still available for download at time of posting this blog entry.

Note: the transcript has been generated by software.  It contains some errors of translation.  As I have absolutely no concern for a part of the talk - the part about same-gender sex I've removed that section.

Thank you and thank you for those readings for clarifying the reading that was read for the first reading was correct. The Genesis reference on the screen wasn't quite correct. I think those readings were what was what I was wanting. I think it is. It is indeed good to be here this morning and thank you.
Thank you for this opportunity to mention briefly the work of Liberty and then also to think with you about this topic. What have been asked to share with you about this morning is how the Bible helps us think about homosexuality and how it relates to marriage.  And I'd like to make a three introductory comments.
The first thing to say is that homosexuality and marriage for some of us we can't see any particular connection between those two things. For others of us perhaps those of us he had by experience same sex attraction those of us who identify as gay or lesbian we might say there's a particular connection between marriage and homosexuality particularly in the context of current discussions around gay marriage. So I want to acknowledge our right up front that these are potentially personal issues potentially difficult issues for some of us perhaps all of us to think about.
A second introductory comment. I don't personally experience same sex attraction so you might feel that I'm not really qualified to speak on this topic at all. I acknowledge that many LGBT people have experienced a lot of hurt and pain. Some of you may have experienced a lot of hurt and pain perhaps as a result of what Christians and churches have said. So as we think about this complex topic I'd like to thank you in advance for being gracious and forgiving towards me for any shortcomings in what I say. As I said it can be a personal and difficult topic.
Thirdly let me comment on the word homosexuality. From now on I'm not going to use the word homosexuality. For two reasons. Firstly many LGBT people find the term offensive and some of you might find the term offensive. Secondly, and my concern with the term is it's ambiguous, what are we referring to. Are we thinking primarily of a same sex orientation. Are we thinking primarily of same gender sex. Because a sexual orientation and acting on it are of course not necessarily the same thing. For example, I have the opposite sex orientation, I’m heterosexual, straight, however you want to describe it. And I was single until I was married at the age of about 30 full. Now for those years before I got married I've never had sex. But I certainly did have an opposite sex orientation during all those years. So having a particular sexual orientation and how I may or may not act on it of course are two quite different things. This despite the obvious isn't it. So I think it's helpful to ask two separate questions to clear and specific separate questions.
First question what does the Bible say about same sex attraction or same sex orientation.  That's the first question. The second question is What does the Bible say about same gender sex. Because that is a different question. 
And now I'd like to give another attempt and a bit of an answer that question asked at the beginning and then to come back to that now because I think it's relevant at this point. That question was. How does the Bible help us understand same sex attraction or same sex orientation. Some I’m not now asking what does the Bible say about same gender sex. I'm not I'm not thinking about that. That's not the question now I'm asking. 
How does the Bible help us understand same sex attraction, same sex orientation. How would you understand the reality of same sex attraction. For example you could ask various questions. Is it a spiritual reality?. 
Is it a spiritual thing? or is it a psychological reality?. Is it sinful in and of itself?. Some Christians seem to argue that same sex attraction in and of itself is sinful is it. Or is it neutral?. Is it neutral?. 
What is it?. How do I think about it?. Theologically, what category does it belong?. 
Well I think to help us understand God's view on same sex relationships or indeed same sex marriage we need to get this as right as we can. I don't have all the answers. Actually none of us do but we need to work hard at getting it as right as we can. I want to quote from a Christian who has same sex attraction who is committed to the traditional understanding of Scripture. Wesley Hill who as I said spoke at a conference last year written the book ‘Washed and Waiting’ which I strongly recommend to you. Want to pick out a few words that from throughout the book he uses different words to describe his same sex attraction how he uses different words as he thinks about his same sex attraction. And I'll tell you the words that he uses because are his words not mine. His half Wesley Hill describes his experience. 
He talks about his bent and broken sexuality. He talks about his burden. He talks about his thorn in my flesh. He talks about disordered desires. 
Well what category did those words belong in?. 
They're not sinful words are the words of spiritual sin reality they're their words of suffering or burden or hardship or difficulty and he is a very trivial ill's example to illustrate and let me emphasize is trivial. I'm going to use the example of short sightedness because I'm very short sighted and if I take my glasses off year old it's a lovely blue. Am I going to post some questions I don't know answer them. This illustration is helpful. Did I choose to be short sighted. 
Is short sightedness naturally occurring?. 
Did God intend us originally to be short sighted?. I don't think so. If I understand Scripture rightly do I need to be ashamed of being short sighted. Well of course not and I certainly didn't enjoy being called Four Eyes at school will I'd be short sighted in heaven. If I understand Scripture rightly No I won't. And what category does short sighted us belong and will immediately we can say it doesn't belong in a spiritual sin category it is just the wrong category isn't it. 
It belongs in a suffering suffering is so much suffering but it's a burden hardship category isn't it. I think you get asked the same questions and I think I would want to as a Christian say you need to give the same answers for same sex attraction. So let's ask the questions and I'll answer them again. 
Do you choose to have same sex attraction?. Well of course not. What a silly question!
Is same sex attraction naturally occurring?. Well of course it is.
Did God intend us originally to have same sex attraction?. If I understand Scripture rightly, No, I don't think so. Do you need to be ashamed of having same sex attraction.  Of course not. Why would you. Why should you. When you have same sex attraction in heaven. If I understand Scripture rightly, No. And again you see it doesn't belong in the same spiritual category as is just it's apples and oranges. Totally the wrong category. 
In Genesis chapter 1 it says God saw all that he'd made and it was very good. But in Genesis 3 humanity seems to take a picture of how we all seen every person who born into this world seems and Genesis 3 explains it because of a scene full of illness suffering. Pain brokenness introduced into God's good creation although of course the precise link between our scene and the pain and suffering in the world is not always obvious. I'm not saying it is. I'm not suggesting that shortsightedness and same sex attraction are equally significant issues of course they are not equally significant issues. But what I am suggesting is that same sex attraction and short and a range of other things we can think of are examples of. 
Fallenness in creation. Now this can be of course quite offensive. It can be quite offensive to suggest that someone's six the reality of sexuality for those of us with same sex attraction is an example of fullness in creation. 
Minitel you would have noticed. I've noticed that the Christians who come to liberty for support the Christians men with same sex attraction who come to liberty for support. Do you really have this view. I have a similar view to Wesley Hill. They are quite comfortable with his wife thinking about same sex attraction that it rings true it's affirmed by their own experience and by Scripture. 
Which is that why did I have to be guy. I wish I could have been straight. You know get married have kids everything would be simple. It doesn't make everything simple but I understand the thinking. I understand the thinking. 
You say this to be nothing offensive in observing that they can every one of us including me has things wrong with this if I can use that term things that are examples of fall and that's are things that will not be present when God restores all things. We all struggle with different problems. We all struggle with different scenes. We all struggle with different weaknesses or struggle for example with doubt in God's promises. ROMANS expresses the reality of living in a full and well that's why I had this is a longer rating because for me I ryme insight is the most important passage in the Bible in thinking about same sex attraction even though it isn't mentioned the time. Romans 8 and up to one of two verses verses 22 and 23. We know the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. The time is 23. Not on this side but we ourselves. And who's the we ourselves that is those who have the first fruits of the Spirit. And those who had the spirit. We who are saved who are converted who are regenerated and trusted in Christ and have his sins forgiven here. Names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We who have the Spirit was the next thing he says we write. 
We who have the first word to the spirit. Ron. Inwardly. 
And if you like me outwardly and I we groan why because we are waiting for the adoption to sonship the redemption of our bodies. We are looking forward to the renewal of our minds and bodies. We will be afflicted with anything any more. Anything like short sightedness or same sex attraction or we could think of a range of different things. 
So what category does same sex attraction belong in. Is it sinful. 
Well acting on this same sex attraction in a sexual way is seen. It certainly can lead to sin. But I cannot see for the life of me that same sex attraction is a spiritual reality in and of itself. Let me give you a definition. I've come up with if it's helpful good if it's annoying put it aside but it is the best I could come up with. For me a Christian understanding of same sex attraction is that it's a naturally occurring distortion in our human sexuality which in some way is one of many expressions of fallenness in creation. It's simply one of many ways in which things are not as they were originally meant to be and represents one of many things that will not be present when God renews all things. 
Speaking of which I want to finish by reading from Revelation to 21 we have full not Paul. John speaks of our future. Revelation 21 is wonderful. Then I saw a new heavens and a new earth for the first heavens and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city the New Jerusalem coming down out of the heavens from God prepared as a broad beautifully dressed for her husband. You see there of course the imagery again of the marriage and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying look. God's dwelling place is now among the people and he will dwell with them. That will be these people and God himself will be with them and be they God. He will wipe every tear from the eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pine for the old order of things has passed away than the prior. 
Heavenly father we do thank you in date for that promise that one day the old order of things will have passed away and it will have resurrection mind and bodies free from sin and all suffering and be rejoicing in your presence with all of your redeemed people for ever. We think if a word which is perfect to complete and tells us everything we need to know for life and godliness we pray for those amongst us who are struggling with same sex attraction or who have same sex attracted family and friends. Help us to better understand these issues so that we do not compromise your truth but at the same time we show love and compassion and understanding. Help us to serve one another and I pray particularly for those of us here who are gay and lesbian Christians faithfully persevering. Help them to say that I have a unique gift and vacation to offer us a perspective that we don't share that we are all in fact ministering to one another and our practice in Jesus name Amen. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Having no lamb

"When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”),  and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons” Luke 2:22-24 NIV

free and unattributable
I keep returning to these verses.

Mary sought to be made clean after the birth of Jesus.  Leviticus 12:8 presents the option of presenting before the priests with:

- a pair of doves, or two young pigeons, or,
- a lamb.

Leviticus 12:8 provides between the two options for those who can not afford a lamb.

The Son of God, Lord of the most high, light to the world, the one who would rise on high and be recognised unblemished as the Lamb, the one who would take his seat before God; was first bought to the temple with his mother seeking her cleanliness in poverty.  Pure humility.

free and unattributable
There is perhaps nothing more mesmerising in the whole of Luke's Gospel - that the Lamb of God came before the temple for the first time in the most humble of ways.  That Mary had no money for a lamb, yet she was nursing the Lamb!


Monday, November 7, 2016

Audaciousness in Christ

John 9, particularly verse 27, suggests that Christians need, at times, to allow audaciousness flavour their evangelism.  The world is so good at selling a story with zing - Christians need to step-up and have their own tricks.

Luther perhaps was modelling a form of audaciousness when he nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517.  Galileo  rose from his inquisitors, depicting his own audaciousness - {a continuation of the assertion that the earth moved} - saying, "e pur, si muove" -- "even so, it does move."

free and unattributable

"He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. 
Why do you want to hear it again? 
Do you want to become his disciples too?” John 9:27

Verse 27 is the fourth interchange in a dialogue.   Luke's record identified the dialogue as between the healed man and some Pharisees who are investigating the healing.  The healed man had earlier specified the answer to the Pharisees question.   In verse 27 the healed man - from irony or perhaps frustration - identifies his answer again.  He identifies the answer by reference only and with economy.  It seems that the healed man cares not to satisfy the ignorance of his counterparts.

The audaciousness of the answer in verse 27 comes from the delightful inclusion of the question in response "Do you want to become his disciples too?".  This is audacious in that the Pharisees have high esteem as religious leaders and they have yet to show any respect for the healer; Jesus.  The question in response would have been quite an affront to them.  Indeed, verse 28 follows with Luke's observation that the Pharisees hurled insults at the man.

The other contextual issue that reveals the healed man's audaciousness is that the dialogue he has with the Pharisees is very revealing.  As the man's conviction and confidence firms through the dialogue, the Pharisees' opposition increases.  So, as the Spirit stirs the healed man to boldness, the hardened hearts of the Pharisees becomes more evident.  The question "Do you want to become his disciples too?" is a direct reflection of the man's audaciousness.

Luke does not record how many Pharisees there were; however, it is fair to say that there is audaciousness in the aspect of one un-schooled man addressing many educated men.

So, in these verses is a challenge.  Christian evangelism does not need to have softness and gentleness all of the time.  Sometimes, it needs audaciousness.  At both times the Holy Spirit will guide you.


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