Friday, March 14, 2014

Great quote found in Living Justification by Jonathan Huggins.  The quote comes from Jaroslav Pelikan (how can the quote not be good with a name like that!) and goes like this:

"Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.  Tradition lives in conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that is we who have to decide.  Traditionalism supposes that nothing should ever be done for the first time, so all that is needed to solve any problem is to arrive at the supposedly unanimous testimony of this homogenized tradition."

Not bad I reckon.  What do you think?  I feel that there must be a third option out on the other side of tradition from traditionalism  that is called something like anti-tradition.  Anti-tradition supposes that nothing should ever be done again, that new is the only good thing, that the past holds us back and that we have nothing to learn from it.

Posted on Friday, March 14, 2014 by Chris Bowditch

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Last week I went to the ACL's Strong Economy, Strong Communities breakfast.  Two talks in particular are worth you taking the time to watch.

The first was by Professor Jonathan West. He spoke about how as a community we're so preoccupied by self interest that we can never take the larger view.  His story in this video about how the wine industry in Tassie opposed the expansion of the wine industry is mind boggling!

The second talk of note was that by Professor Ian Harper.  He spoke again about the need for things like trust and fairness as the basic building blocks to a strong community and also a strong economy.

They aren't long talks, but they will be stimulating!  If you want more information about the Tasmanian Election, and who to vote for, head on over to the Tas Votes website.

Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2014 by Chris Bowditch

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Friday, February 28, 2014

I've got a series coming up at church in April/May where we'll be spending time thinking about how a Christian should work.

I'm currently doing some reading and research and I was struck by this great quote by Dorothy Sayers in Tim Keller's book Every Good Endeavor (which is a truly great endeavor, and a splendid book!).  Anyhow here is the quote:

"The church's approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him to not be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours and to come to church on Sundays.  What the church should be telling him is this: the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables."

There's something more positive and compelling about the second charge than the first right?

Anyway, much of what I've heard in relation to Christians and work is simply, there is gospel work (working for the church, reading the bible with people, evangelism) and there is other implied, lesser work (i.e. everything else that the majority of the world does). Suffice to say, that's never really cut it for me.  Well this book is giving great voice to a larger view of work, of how it is integral to every person, and how we were created by a working God to work.

I've got more books to read, more thinking to do, but I'm really looking forward to what God will do through this series!  Please pray for me and for our church, that this will not only change our thinking, but it will enable us to be God's people in our places of work.

Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 by Chris Bowditch

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Friday, January 03, 2014

Well 2014 has been going strong now for three whole days.  It's a beautiful time of year. Hot, sunny, the Taste of Tasmania is on, there is hope for what 2014 may bring.

Randomly, because they are on my iPhone, I have been listening to some sermons from Louie Giglio at Passion City Church that he preached on the Lord's prayer sometime in the middle of last year.  I was really struck by a message he preached on 'give us this day our daily bread'.  To cut a long story short, his point was that basically Christians spend to much time focusing on how God will provide from them and help them out yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever.  But actually, there is something in knowing that God's promise is for today.  He promises to come through tomorrow as well, but only when tomorrow becomes today.

Anyway, as tends to happen around new years.  My eyes were firmly focused on my plans to be better this year.  I had even prayed that God would help me to do well this year and to guide me this year.  What a beautiful but subtle thing to be reminded then by listening to those sermons that my prayer, my daily prayer, is God help me today.  Help me to serve you today.  Help me to do enough today. Help me to have all I need today.

There's something kinda cool about setting yearly goals, but then knowing that you only need to worry about today.  I may want to read this many books, or that much of the bible, or be more generous or whatever.  All of those things happen with little steps today.  And I know God can provide all the grace I need today to make a few small steps in the right direction.

This has been a profound reshaping of my thinking.  Perhaps I've not articulated it well.  Please ask me in the comments if you have questions.

On a related but slightly different note, I came across this article about New Years resolutions.  Whilst I didn't love the whole article, this blog post titled kinda hit home at something I think. "New Years Resolution" is a nice way for you to say, "I repent".  There's a great truth to that.  In identifying areas where we want to do better, we are in a sense confessing that over the last year we've been lazy, or lacked self control, or whatever it is for you.  Sure my New Years Resolution of clock 50% on FIFA 14 is not a confession of my lack of PS3 gaming time, but my news years resolution to tick off year one of Tim Chester's bible reading plan is indeed a confession of my need for more constant and deliberate personal bible reading.

So I'm going to take 2014 and all my hopes and dreams and the challenges and exciting things God has for me one day at time, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can get through today, because God is always enough for today.

Posted on Friday, January 03, 2014 by Chris Bowditch

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Friday, November 01, 2013

I think there are two mistakes we can make as Christians as we seek to be missionaries or evangelists in our world today.

The first, is to assume that if people react negatively to us it's because we're preaching the gospel faithfully.  That is we're confronting them with their sin and need to repent and sinners will obviously get angry about this.

This is a mistake because whilst that may happen, it could also be true that you're just being a bit of an arrogant jerk.  You might not be working hard enough to make sure it's actually the gospel they're reacting to and not the fact that you're yelling at them with a loudspeaker.

But the other mistake is to assume that if you walk away from the conversation and people think you're a good bloke, that you've somehow done good mission.  That you've presented an attractive message in an attractive manner.  Maybe you have, but you might also just be a good bloke and they liked your smile and the fact you seemed to care about them enough to talk to them.

What's my point.  It's almost... scratch that it just is impossible to find the perfect strategy to get out there with the good news that God has entrusted to us.  And, whilst we should make sure we aren't being barriers to the gospel, in the end the gospel is only effective by the power of God.  I think we spend too much time in seminars and conferences trying to figure out the perfect strategy and less time just doing something!

This is on my mind after a talk from John Dickson today.  I may have misunderstood him, but what I heard him say was that if we're humble then people will respond well to us as we seek to explain our faith to them.  I assume the fact that Jesus got killed (most humble guy ever) and Paul ended up in jail a lot (I assume reasonably humble guy) that humble explanations of the faith do not equal good reception of the gospel. I'm sure John was probably more nuanced than I'm giving him credit here.

Anyhow, I'd love your thoughts on this, or even better, your stories of getting out there with the good news!

Posted on Friday, November 01, 2013 by Chris Bowditch

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

My most recent sermons that I haven't posted here yet.

First one was in our series on Taboo Topics and it was on the 'Uniqueness of Christ'.  Listen in here

Second one was in our series on the four purposes of our church.  It was on Become based on Titus 1:1-16.  Listen in here

Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 by Chris Bowditch

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

It is with much shock that I read of the tabling of the Euthanasia bill before our parliament today.  Not only that but the sponsoring members are our two most senior political leaders, the Premier and the leader of the Greens.

I urge you all to vote against this bill for a number of reasons.

Firstly, whilst on the surface, the argument that I should have the choice to end my life when I want in order to avoid suffering, whilst seemingly powerful when we scratch the surface we see some dire consequences to this line of thinking.

Firstly, it dramatically changes the role of doctors who instead of being promotors of life are now expected to be involved in the ending of life.  This is a dangerous element to add into the mix, not because Doctors are not trustworthy, but because people do silly things.  People take advantages of laws that give them legal protection for killing vulnerable elderly people.  In countries where Euthanasia has been legalised we see that the elderly are often too scared to go to the doctor to get treatment because they are scared that their doctor and their families have colluded against them in order to end their life.  No one should ever fear going to the doctors.  With Euthanasia legalised we have every right to fear our doctors appointments as we get older because them killing us becomes a viable option.

Secondly, I believe that as a society we can be measured by how we treat the vulnerable.  In this case vulnerable sick and elderly people.  Euthanasia sends completely the wrong message here.  It says that as a society we're more eager to send you off to an early grave than we are to care for you, and respect your life.  It says to the elderly, you are not a blessing to our community but a burden.  This is simply not something that I want any person to feel.

Thirdly, I find it odd that as a society we find suicide such a tragedy yet some feel that we should allow Euthanasia;  which is effectively old person suicide.  We have read recently about the tragic death of a young girl in Hobart who took her own life.  This is a tragedy and it is right that we be shocked and saddened by her death.  But I wonder if by the same logic we use for Euthanasia, then in fact we should see suicide as a great blessing.  We should be happy that this young girl took the choice to end her suffering, and escape her life.  Yes it might have been mental suffering and not physical (though I believe she was physically attacked at times), but she no longer faces those things.  She is free.  We should in fact, by the same logic that leads us to support Euthanasia, be encouraging people to commit suicide if they feel life has gotten to hard.

My right to chose is a powerful argument.  But it is not the only argument that has to be considered when looking at Euthanasia.  We have to consider the effects this will have on our society.  We have to realise the dangers and we have to stand up and say as a society that we are better than this.  That we value care over killing.  That we value life over death.

I hope you vote against the bill and I ask that if you decide to vote for this bill that you could provide me with your reasoning.  I cannot vote for a person who supports the state sanctioned killing of my grandparents by doctors.  So this issue is of great importance to me.

Thank you for taking the time to read and consider this.  I am praying that you will have great wisdom and understanding as you examine the issues.

Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 by Chris Bowditch

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