I think there are two mistakes we can make as Christians as we seek to be missionaries or evangelists in our world today.
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.
Posted on Friday, November 01, 2013 by Chris Bowditch
Saturday, September 28, 2013
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
Thursday, September 26, 2013
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
Friday, September 06, 2013
Vote for others:
"a Christian vote is a vote for others, not oneself. It is fundamental to the Christian outlook that life be devoted to the good of others before oneself..."
I get that on one level, but I find that hard to figure out on another. For example I take it what's ultimately best for all people is to hear about Jesus. I take it then, that a vote for others has to be a vote for a party that does not have a semi militant secular world-view at its heart no matter how nice their policies are in some areas.
Vote for the moral health of the community:
Basically he says, we need to figure out how our vote will reflect and shape the moral health of the community. A fair point. As an aside at this point, he argues that 1 Corinthians 5:12 "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?" means Christians have "no right to seek to impose a Christian way of life on a largely secular society." This doesn't quite wash for me. Firstly, it's hard to make Paul's statement in the context of church discipline a statement backing up how a Christian should live in a democracy. Secondly, Christians don't impose a Christian way of life on a largely secular society ever or at all. What we do is advocate for the best positions. We advocate that the best marriage is between a man and a woman, we advocate that children shouldn't be killed before they are born, we advocate that euthanasia is more complicated than simply 'individual rights'. We advocate that life is special and that people shouldn't be killed. We advocate that we should be good stewards of our environment. And on and on we go. What happens after we state these positions is the government must make a choice. It is and always has been the government that 'imposes' a way of life on those it governs. If Christians do not advocate their views, then the government will impose/allow what we believe to be poorer ways of living life. As it has done in places already. What am I saying in all this. That Christians should use their vote as part of their role as advocates for a better world. The problem is... no one has the perfect vision.
Vote for the poor and the weak:
Next up, Dickson says that,
"in voting for the ‘other’ the Christian will principally have in mind the poor and powerless. We will use our vote for those who need our vote more than we do."
But I'm in a bit of a bind here too... How do I weigh the treatment of poor people (refugees and overseas aid) against issues such abortion and euthanasia? I leave the marriage question out of this for a moment, because as I take it that these issues I've just mentioned are about the protection of people. Yes the question of abortion and euthanasia might be framed in terms of 'individual rights', but in actual fact these questions involve the protection of people who cannot speak for themselves (babies not yet born, and the elderly who may be feeling rejected by family and society). So too those overseas and fleeing who cannot vote for us to be more compassionate. I have no idea how I can weigh up these things. For me then, my vote therefore must be decided on other categories.
Vote for the gospel:
Here he says,
"Concern for the advancement of the Christian message throughout Australia, therefore, will potentially play a part in a Christian’s voting patterns. Is one party better for the gospel than another?"
That's a good question. And people will go either way on the answer. I don't think the answer to that question can be discovered through individual policies. A broader approach is needed.
Michael Tate (former Labor minister in the Hawke Government and now our neighbouring Roman Catholic parish priest) debated Andrew Wilkie at our church a few months ago around issues of church and state. His view was that in the end the role of government is primarily about the distribution of wealth. That is, the left wants to kinda level the playing field (tax the rich give back to the poor, very crude understanding I know) and the right wants to encourage incentive, some say let the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (though that's an unfair understanding also I think).
And I think this provides something of a window into how I will decide to vote tomorrow. If I'm voting along party lines then what I need to take into account is not policy but worldview. Not abortion vs refugee but which party's worldview is best. Which party has a less troubling set of guiding principles? And in part, if government is primarily about economics, then who has the best economic policy that allows us freedom as individuals to be generous, that creates work for people to do which from a Genesis 1 point of view is one of the best things we can give people. Which party ultimately will not only allow churches the freedom to speak The Gospel but also the homosexual lobby the freedom to speak their gospel.
I'm still not sure how I will vote tomorrow but one thing I do know is this. I will be praying for whoever wins and this is Dickson's final point.
"A Christian vote is a prayerful one. The Scriptures urge believers to pray for leaders and for governments. And, ultimately, believers will see this as more important even than their vote.
I couldn't say it better myself.
What principles or ideas are going to shape how you vote tomorrow?
Posted on Friday, September 06, 2013 by Chris Bowditch
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's address to Christians at the Make it Count 2013 Election Panel webcast from Australian Christian Lobby on Vimeo.
Now I don't mind if he changes his view on same-sex marriage. For me same-sex marriage is not a deal breaker, however what is a deal breaker is what happened when I saw Kevin for the second time last night. On ABC's Q&A I watched this interaction between Kevin and a local Pastor...
And here in lies my issue. In the first video he said this...
"Many in the Christian churches may be disappointed with some of the decisions I have taken as prime minister or as a person, I have also undertaken those decisions in good and prayerful conscience, even though people in equal prayerful conscience may disagree with some of those conclusions."
That's all I'm really looking for in a politician. Someone who can form views, advocate for them and respectfully disagree yet understand the other persons view.
But then when I got home, I witnessed one of the most cruel and patronising moments on TV that I've seen. Kevin Rudd unleashed an unfair, and wrong attack on this Pastor. In fact he sounded more like a member of the gay lobby than a politician who had formed a view. As he points out on Q&A in the video above, the New Testament has an ethic of showing love. What Kevin Rudd forgot was that he has to do that with people he disagrees with, even on matters that he disagrees with people on strongly.
So What's clear is Kevin doesn't respect people, let alone love those, who've come to different prayerful decisions based on conscience. And that is no quality I want in any member of parliament let alone the Prime Minister. So I'm sorry Kevin, even though I own a Kevin 07 t-shirt, and was once a member of the ALP, you lost my vote last night.
As an aside my current sitting local member, Andrew Wilkie was present last night and I wish he'd given Kevin Rudd some lessons. Wilkie is also in favour of same-sex marriage, but unlike Rudd, he actually does respect people who think differently to him and was able to put forward a balanced position that respects those who hold to the traditional view of marriage given he agrees with same-sex marriage.
Posted on Tuesday, September 03, 2013 by Chris Bowditch
Monday, August 19, 2013
Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013 by Chris Bowditch
Thursday, August 15, 2013
There was lots of good and salient stuff, and we did a whole bunch of coaching of each other to practice and learn the art, which led to many good outcomes in areas of ministry that we were struggling with so that was very helpful. But the big take home point for me was that a good coach listens. A good leader of leaders listens. And listening is hard. But a good coach has to listen and then reflect back what has been said. A good coach holds up a mirror, by listening and reflecting back what the other person is saying in order for the other person to arrive at greater clarity. But it's hard to listen.
I know I'm a terrible listener. I always want to jump in, to give my opinion (after all I've been to bible college so my opinion is like totally right pretty much all of the time). I think out loud and I like to talk. I'm extroverted in the way I process information. Listening is hard. But I'm endeavouring to get better. To be a better listener and so be a better coach, leader and pastor.
Check out this TED video about the importance of listening and some skills for becoming a better listener
How have you developed your ability to listen well?
Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 by Chris Bowditch
This Sunday just gone I had the great privilege of preaching on the story of the sinful woman anointing Jesus' feet with oil from Luke 7...
Recently I preached a sermon on doubt, based (loosely) on the story of Thomas in John 20. Listen here At the start I showed this vid...
Before you accuse me of heresy and demand I resign my post, let me first clear up that in this post I'm not talking about the actual b...