Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Why do we rebel?

There seems to be a trait in humans, and we see it especially in kids of a certain age ( but hope they will grow out of it), that wants to rebel and kick against the very people who love them and want the best for them.
Why is this?
Whilst it may be understandable in a teenager it is both sad and tragic when it carries on through adulthood. An inability to see or realise or appreciate that somebody is actually and genuinely motivated by doing what you need rather than just what you want. A frightening ability to persuade ourselves that what we want IS what we need.
In Hosea 11 we find these words:
"When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.......... It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.

If we could hear God's voice it would be full of love and anguish, as He does what He knows is best for people, offering care and love, protection and provision, but His heart is rejected and He goes unrecognised by the people He loves. They think they know best but actually they want something that is way less than His best for them.

In the last para it seems to indicate that God often shows us His love and support through the people we are closest to or people he brings across our path - through human kindness and love - but that people simply fail to recognise the activity of God in good human relationships and actions often rejecting those who love them and the God who acts through them. And all because we know best, that what we want is really what we need, and nothing else will satisfy us. Anyone coming with a different story becomes the focus of rebellion and rejection.
Why not ask God to open our eyes to recognise not only what really is best for us, to differentiate between want and need and to value those people who have our real best interests at heart and express this through their actions?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Orthodox heretic and other impossible tales

This isn't so much a blog as a book review - or recommendation... I am reading The Orthodox Heretic by Peter Rollins who is the founder of Ikon in Belfast. Why did I buy the book? - because Michael Gungor recommended it on Twitter (twitter.com/michaelgungor) while I am on the subject (a slight diversion) Please be my strength is a great track by him....as is most of his stuff.
Anyway, The Orthodox Heretic is definitely not for those who are afraid to question some of the ways they have come to understand the faith and some of the preconceptions about what 'God's Word' really is. Without giving too much away it is about parables, or, specifically about the way parables communicate and what they communicate, which may well take some of us by surprise.
In a western Christian world where the tendency is often to preach in such a way that people are being told what to think or believe in simple bite sized chunks there are some classic and quotable sentences.
"Parables subvert this desire to make faith simple and understandable..." and a little later,
"A parable does not primarily provide information about our world. Rather, if we allow it to do its work within us, it will change our world - breaking it open to ever new possibilities."
Then there is a real killer paragraph that strikes to the heart:
" ....parables represent a mode of communicating that cannot be heard without being heeded, in which the only evidence of having 'heard' its message is in the fleshly incarnation of that message. The parable is heard only when it changes one's social standing to the current reality, not one's mere reflection of it. The parable does not create more sef-aware purveyors of irony - whereby one mocks the very behaviour that one engages in, thus enjoying the activity in the very moment of disavowing it." Ouch......!

The remainder of the book is a collection of parables - but not the one's you will be expecting - followed by some personal commentary. They will certainly cause you to stop and think. It's a difficult book, a hopeful book and something that should cause youto consider things in a slightly different light.

The Orthodox Heretic, and other impossible tales. (Canterbury Press)