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The writer to the Hebrews states that it is ‘an awesome thing to fall into the hands if the living God’. (Hebrews 10:31) Rudolph Otto spoke of a similar kind of encounter in terms of experiencing what he called ‘The Numinous’. His ideas are found in his influential book Das Heilige (1917; translated into English as The Idea of the Holy, 1923). Otto says, that to have an experience of the ‘Numinous’ is to have an overwhelming sense of ‘wonder and awe’ in the presence of a Being greater than oneself. Numinous gives the feeling of the greatness of the One that is experienced and the smallness of oneself.
The author Kenneth Grahame explores a similar theme in his book, The Wind in the Willows. In Chapter 7 entitled: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Ratty and Mole have an encounter of mysterium tremendum et fascinans (fearful and fascinating mystery) when they come across a grove dedicated to the god Pan. This was Mole’s response: 'Rat!' he found breath to whisper, shaking. 'Are you afraid?'
'Afraid?' murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. 'Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet— and yet— O, Mole, I am afraid!' Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
Please read on...
In this influential book, the (late) Christopher Hitchens suggests that not only is all belief in the supernatural false but that it generally leads to bad outcomes; ignorance, hatred, evil, anti-science thinking and violence to name a few. His underlying premises include 3 significant points:
Firstly science, and in particular evolution, has disproven God. All religion is therefore simply a construct of man’s imagining and revelation cannot exist.
Secondly, he seeks to show that religion is one of the primary causes and motivations for hatred, wars and oppression. In pursuit of this task he uses a number of historical examples presented in a biased fashion.
Lastly, he extrapolates the bad things done by some proponents of these belief systems to therefore demonstrate that the beliefs themselves are inherently bad, in the process failing to distinguish between those conducting evil because their belief system engenders it and those conducting evil in opposition to their belief system.
Book review by Dr. Bruce Watts. Please read on ...
Christians suffer from depression... well, some do. It can be a very lonely time and even a very confused time for a Christian who gets a visit from 'the Black Dog'. Guilt can also be an unwelcome visitor in times of 'depression'.
Does the Bible have anything to say about depression and anxiety? Many of us know the Psalmist's questions, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?" (Psalm 43.5) but is there more in the Bible that the troubled Christian can meditate on for guidance and solace?
Dr. Bruce Watts offers some brief thoughts on some Biblical themes dealing with depression and anxiety (including an mp3 talk). Pease read on...
In his bestselling autobiography, Life and Laughing, the British comedian Michael McIntyre reveals something of his heritage. He amusingly calls himself a ‘Canary’ because his Father is from Montreal, Canada and his Mother from Hungary. I too am part Canadian, having lived and worked there for nearly twenty years, initially in Vancouver and latterly as a Senior Pastor in Calgary. Whilst serving there I fell in love with the Canadian sporting scene, especially Ice Hockey. As a spectacle this sport is fast, exciting and very combative. I loved to watch my local NHL teams, The Vancouver Canucks and The Calgary Flames. So you can imagine that a hockey analogy would particularly resonate with me. It was said of the late Steve Jobs of Apple that he, ‘could see a pass even before the puck left the stick’. In other words, Steve Jobs had the gift of seeing the direction of future marketing trends before anybody else. That is what made him the phenomena he was!
Dr Alan Palmer explores more than just discipleship .... read on!
A young man was late for church. After the service the vicar greeted him and enquired as to why he had been late for worship. With a little hesitation the young man said that he was going to go fishing until his dad told him no. Although disappointed that that the young lad would even consider going fishing instead of coming to church, the vicar affirmed his father’s wise choice. Then asked, “Where’s dad?” the young man answered quickly, “Dad said that there wasn’t enough bait for us both to go fishing – so he went alone!”
Dr Alan Palmer explains why church can be a 'man-free zone' ...
Watching a live to air Q&A (ABC TV) recently reaffirmed my growing belief that politicians should be very circumspect when commenting on religion; even more so Christian theology.
Alas, the former Premier of NSW, Kristina Keneally just couldn't help herself! Reminding us, yet again, that she has qualifications in theology; Kristina lectured the viewers on how the Bible actually could be used to support 'homosexuality'.
I just shook my head at 'Keneally's revisionist theology' but Mrs Roslyn Phillips of FamilyVoice Australia did more than that. She is willing to express her views publicly on this website. Read on ...
How many times have you heard these questions asked?
Probably many, many times no doubt and guess what? They will never stop being asked!
We need to look at the subject of God’s alleged ‘beginnings’; ponder about the validity of the actual questions and search for a solution to these age old questions.
Russell Tasker, our guest blogger, has agreed to contribute some interesting thoughts for us … read on.
You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by. (1)
Everyone waited for it for hours – the Royal kiss that marked the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Lots of attention was paid to the dress, some to the vows, and some to many other aspects of the wedding celebrations, but the kiss seized the imagination of the crowd. It stole the show.
Why? What did it mean? Perhaps it was a case of what Hupfeld wrote in another verse of his song: “the world will always welcome lovers/As times go by”. Actually, this line from his song proves that Hupfeld is both right and wrong in the verse cited above. He is right: a kiss belongs to the fundamental things, and it does apply as a permanent part of life.
Here is a hard saying: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
Well, what about these?
“Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.” (James 4:11)
“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbour?” (James 4:12)
Some people take these statements by Jesus, and with Him state unequivocally:
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged…” (Luke 6:37)
What are we to do? Should we judge or not judge? Paul Edwards looks at this thorny issue.
A caller recently rang a radio station to discuss the lessons of the Japanese earthquake, and said he knew why there had been a seismic event measuring 8.9.
It was because man was forever drilling for oil, and our planet was angry at the intrusion! Is that right? Is that what prompted the earthquake in Japan? What about the earthquake in Christchurch or the floods in Queensland, NSW & Victoria?
(Dr) Bruce Watts explains what he understands about the Bible's answer(s) to tragedy ... read on ...
Look what I found when I started really checking out Christian Faith dot com dot AU! I found: Christian Message and Statement of Faith.
Out of everything that I read in this very helpful and clear statement of faith, and all of which I believe with my whole heart, there was one thing that I have never heard explained the way this writer did.
Our guest blogger, Ali, explains what this is ...
"THE BIBLE UNPACKED" is a wonderful set of resources that Paul Mallison has developed over the past 16 years, for use in ministry or developing one’s own knowledge of scripture.
It is comprised of a number of booklets and books, which can be used independently of each other. These can be downloaded for free and used electronically or printed.
Paul shares with us his fantastic labour of love ...
One the best loved books in the Old Testament would have to be the book of Nehemiah.
It’s a great read.
It’s also an inspiring story, the way Nehemiah manages to get together a disheartened and dispirited group of people and lead them in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
Jamie Newans shares his insights into this remarkable man.
It’s amazing the T shirts you see these days states our guest blogger, Bruce Winter. Emblazoned sometimes with witty words, they send a message to the world. And they send a message as well about the person who’s brave enough (or sometimes stupid enough) to wear it.
There’s the one that says in bold letters: “He who dies with the most toys, wins!” When you see that, you know the wearer isn’t the reflective type. They don’t go to many funerals. Much better is the one that says: “He who dies with the most toys … dies.” At least that’s starkly realistic! Even Biblical.
"MENTORING". What is it and what does it mean to us? Recently, Debbie White spoke about 'mentoring' to a group of women in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia. It was warmly received, and Debbie has agreed to share her thoughts on the subject with us. Firstly, a definition:
1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
–verb (used without object)
2. to act as a mentor: She spent years mentoring younger women in her church.