Monthly Archives: July 2012

Church Sign of the Week 9

CHURCH IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT

Far too many people think that church is something that happens on Sunday. To a lot of people church is:

Go in
Say hello to friends
Sit down
Bow head and pray (or count to 11 while pretending to pray (Tip for newbies 11 is far more convincing than 10, “…It’s like 1 higher” as Nigel Tuffnel put it.))
Sing hymns
Enjoy the children’s talk
Listen to nice Bible story
Bow head and pray (see above)
Let mind drift (or listen to sermon as some call it)
Get coffee
Go home

That’s not church – that’s “going to church”.

Church is a community, a feeling, a doing of things. It is something that you get involved with. Church should do things – be active in the area, help the needy, give support to those who want it. “Laugh with those who laugh and weep with those who weep” as the good book says.

Church is not all about sitting around feeling pious as the world crumbles around us – church is getting. Out there and doing stuff. Mother Teresa – she understood what church was; those guys taking medical aid and food into Africa they are church; our friends in the God’s Squad Christian motor cycle club going out to witness to the biker community – that’s church!

Church is not a spectator sport, it is getting involved and doing something to help others. It is a movement that changes the world for the better in the name of Jesus.

Get out there, get your hands dirty, help others and watch your heart grow. Don’t be a spectator in a church be player in what the church does.

CHURCH: IT’S NOT ABOUT SITTING AROUND SINGING HYMNS

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Church Sign of the Week 8

God Particles welcomed en masse.

The boffins have found the God particle. (As an aside Leon Lederman, who coined the term wanted to call it ‘the Goddamn Particle’ because it was so elusive but the publishers wouldn’t let him, so he called it the God Particle.) They are 99.999% sure they have found it. And if they have found it then it is what makes up all the matter in the universe, it gives us all mass. If that is the case then you and I and that man that just walked past and his dog and the computer you are reading this blog on and everything else has God particles in them. We are full of God Particles, we are God particles en masse.

And large collections of God Particles made up into people are welcome in our church. Bring along all your God particles, bring everything that makes you who you are, your joys and your sorrows, your triumphs and disasters, your victories and your scars. Come as you are, all of what you are, God particles and all. You are welcome, en masse at God’s place.

Please note –
Physics is not a strength of mine, I got 26% in my mock O level exam, I am seriously that good. After reading this blog if you wish to tell me that I don’t understand ANYTHING about the Higgs-boson particle, please don’t. I already know I don’t understand it and as long as Mr. Higgs and Mr. Boson and their friends with big brains and white coats in Switzerland do then I don’t need to.

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You’re going to Hell!

These were the words of a gentleman (and I use the term loosely) who came to church last week. He didn’t say it straight away of course. Oh no, the man (let’s called him Roger – I have no idea what his name was but I can’t just keep calling him “The man”), stopped me outside church and asked me if I was the minister, I said that I was one of them and asked if I could help him. It was at this point that I was informed that (and I quote), “I’ve read your blog and you’re going to Hell, you faggot loving liberal. You and all your friends are going to burn in the fires of Hell.” And he laughed, manically. He seemed quite pleased with the idea. He had known me for less than a minute and was delighted with the prospect that we wouldn’t be spending eternity together, frankly, so was I.

I found this statement quite interesting though. Among my ‘friends’ are quite a few pastors, some archbishops, a bishop or two and many ministers, some of whom would share Roger’s view that I am a Hell bound liberal but are too polite to say it. I must inform them of their eventual and ultimate destination because of their close ties to me.

I digress (it’s a fault of mine), so according to Roger I and all my friends are going to Hell. Wishing to clarify the situation I inquired of Roger where he was bound and was told, in no uncertain terms after he had finished laughing, that he was bound for Heaven because God loves him and all he stands for (and presumably all he stands against as well – e.g. faggot loving liberals such as myself.) I was then informed, “I do not wish to pollute myself any more. I have done what God told me to do and condemned you to Hell.” At which point he walked off.

I waved but he didn’t look back. I think I’ll miss him, we had such a nice conversation. A life long friendship was merely seconds away.

But this chance and random encounter got me thinking, not about if I’m going to Hell or not but about his God and my God. They seem to be very different. Roger and I have vastly differing views on the Almighty, in fact we seem to have vastly different Almightys.

I was told by Roger that he reads the blog so if he wishes to add any comments or corrections to the next part he is free to and I will not delete or edit them.

Let me list a few things about Roger’s God that I gleaned from my short conversation with the anointed Roger;

1) Roger’s God hates faggot loving liberals (and I’m sure lots of other members of society as well – I doubt women would rate highly on Roger’s God’s priority list) and he sends Roger to tell them, with much glee, that they are Hell bound.

2) R.G. (that’s Roger’s God in shorthand, no doubt another burning offence, but since I’m Hell bound anyway I don’t care anymore) seems to take great delight in the fact that some of his creation (most of it if Roger has his way) are lost and will be sent to the burning fires of the Pit. Roger seemed ecstatic at the prospect.

3) R.G. seems to offer no way back from my Inferno bound trek. May be there isn’t one and I (and all my friends) are beyond all hope of salvation anyway.

4) R.G. and Roger seems to have forgotten about that little passage in the Bible we call the New Testament and that bit part figure who appears once or twice named Jesus.

The big difference between R.G. and my God is that R.G. hates me and all I stand for, whereas my God loves Roger, even if I think he is somewhat misguided.

R.G. will take great delight in watching me toast for all eternity; my God will mourn the loss of a sparrow let alone Roger.

R.G. will condem me; my God will reach out to all the Rogers’ of the world with a hand with nail marks in it.

I don’t want to follow a God that hates: I don’t like Roger’s God anymore than he seems to like me. The God I serve is a God of love, and that love is not just for the loveable people of the world but for everyone, without exception – yes even faggot loving liberals like me.

And that is what I take from this encounter with R.G. and Roger – my God is bigger than his.

My God has a love that knows no bounds – not of race or class nor of belief or sexual orientation.

God loves you whoever you are and that includes all the Rogers of this world.

Like it or not my God (or just God as he should be called) has a place in his heart for you, has love for you, has hope for you far more than I do Roger, but that is why HE IS GOD and I’m just child that he loves.

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Picture found on the internet.

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Church Sign of the week 7

Our hedonistic and comfort loving admin assistant couldn’t be bothered to change the sign today. It’s raining in Melbourne and yesterday was one of the coldest July days on record (according to the radio, but who believes them?).

So we get this….

Too cold and wet to change the sign. Message inside.

He is of course partially right. The message is inside, Sunday 11am, 2pm and 5pm. But there is far more than that to our message.

I like crime novels (stick with me here, it goes somewhere). Murders where clever detectives take 230 pages to figure out who done it, it’s usually the one that you didn’t suspect so I always suspect him or her on page 17 and am usually wrong!. I digress, one of my favourite authors is Michael Connelly who has a deceive named after a famous painter – Hieronymus Bosch. Bosch has a quote that I think is brilliant and as meaningful for a minister as a policeman.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

In God’s eyes and in this church EVERYBODY counts.

That’s our message – if you come in out of the cold and wet or if you walk past and smile at our silly sign we would like you to remember that God loves you – it doesn’t matter where you come from, what language you speak, what the colour of your skin is, how much money you have or don’t have, who you date or anything else – you count!

Remember that!

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