Snippets from the interweb (21st January 2018)

Vaclev Havel’s benedict option

‘Just after the fall of the Iron Curtain I was in Prague and found myself staying with a Brethren pastor and his family.  They were conservative in that central European way, and theologically conservative too. And they had a huge picture of Vaclav Havel on the back of their lounge room door, staring impassively as we sat eating far-too-stodgy food. The family house and their church meeting hall were hidden behind large walls in a side street in the central city. That was the only way they were allowed to function during the days of the communist regime. I asked why the picture. Why a Brethren family with a picture of a chain smoking, womanising atheist on the door of the pastor’s house? “Because he gave us our freedom,” was the simple reply.’

I was denied service because of a company’s values, and I’m OK with that

‘This week, I was denied a service because the company’s values are at odds with the values that Alliance Defending Freedom stands for—values I personally hold. And guess what? I’m okay with that. Allow me to explain.’ The explanation is worth reading in full – it has much to say to the issue of competing rights.

Why it’s hard for Muslims to convert

We are working in a context surrounded by many South Asian Muslim people. These three things are about right.

The lousy preacher was you

‘We were three and a half minutes into the exposition. He then looked at me and asserted, “You’re not as good as you think you are.” Now, years after the fact, I realize my former boss’ blunt analysis was some of the best preaching advice I’ve ever received.’.

Inequality, privilege and the upper middle class

‘There are all kinds of reasons why inequality persists, but most of them revolve around the fact that the people with the power to change things are also the ones with the most to lose. In absolute terms, of course, wealth creation is not a zero sum game… But in relative terms, you moving up means me moving down. Upward mobility requires downward mobility. And the upper middle class people who proscribe what everyone thinks, write the news, choose what’s on TV, own the financial capital, shape the universities, and run the country, do not want their children to experience downward mobility. Who does?’

On being thought well of by outsiders

Tim Challies offers an interesting little reflection on the eldership qualification that we need to be thought well of by outsiders. I’m still not wholly sure what I think about his comments, to be truthfully honest, but they did make me think for most the day about it, so there has to be something in that.

From the archive: Misconceptions about the missionary call matter because it takes a missionary heart to reach the unreached

‘We need to recognise that missionary call is not some mystical inner-intuition, it is something Christ has given to every single disciple. We need people who will consider coming to areas like ours not because it is full of people like them, or they love the feel of the place, but simply because there are people lost in sin who need to hear the gospel and be discipled as they come to know Christ. You may feel that you have no heart for people or places like this, but Jesus does and aren’t we all called to emulate him? No heart for it is not a ‘get out of difficult mission free’ card, it is simply another way of saying my heart is not yet like Christ’s’.