Thursday, November 23, 2006

As it is in Heaven revisited

I received an excellent comment on this film from a Swedish Pastor. You can read it for yourself. But I think be missed my point. This love stuff is not new, or even new age. Athanasius centred his whole theology on the infinite and transforming love of God that is so clearly seen in the crucifixion. This was not described theologically as any kind of punishment until after 1000. It was God's loving action to remind us of our creation in the Image of God, so that we would be drawn back into that love, and be that image. St. Augustine too in De Trinities is much more focussed on God's action in the incarnation and crucifixion as an act of enormous love, that was to renew our minds, reminding us of our being created in the image of God. St. Francis of Assisi was overwhelmed by the infinite love of God revealed in God’s willingness to accept absolute poverty in becoming human, and dying naked and alone on the cross. This was an act of love, not punishment or anger.

That is what this film portrays. The amazing transformative power of love! How much more will God's love transform?? All creation, if we have faith. This is not a whimpy action, or an evil God, but a God of such great love for all God has recreated that He will stop at nothing to transform that creation as it was created to be. That is the God I worship, the God who takes the hard route of bringing all back to Godself, rather than the much easier way of simply punishing and obliterating all that is evil. That is a petulant God. How can one trust such a god?

One last comment. I was reprimanded about one of the scenes where the wife is trying to free her husband to really love her, in a sexual way. Her husband, the pastor cannot. This is evil for him. So who is right here? The wife wanting a whole person loving relationship with her husband, or the husband who sees this as wrong, and sex only for procreation?

I'm with the wife on this one. And, so my Swedish friend, if you are with the Pastor, then you are living up to the stereotype you so detest!!!

Peace and all goodness

Defeated by Youth Groups

I was at a meeting with a bunch of bishops about 2 months ago (where did those 2 months go) One of the bishops talked about hwo hard it is to get critical mass when working with small groups of young people. It made me realise again how often we are defeated we are by the models we use. If we see groups as the only way fo working with young people then yes, it is hard. But what about one on one. what about mentoring, having chats over coffee, encouraging and enabling the young people you have. Getting them excited about the faith! Yes groups are good. But they are not the only way, and even if you have them, you still need the one on one. so don't be defeated before you start. Find other ways. Be creative. Be bold. Ask the young people you have what they would want and go from there.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Young People are such villians!

The other day I read an article from the Christchurch Press. Basically it described the teenagers on the Christchurch strip at 4am on a Sunday morning. The point was to portray these young people, and by association, all young people as drunk, out of control, a nuisance or problem that needed fixing. I guess it was also a swipe at the politicians who did not allow the Bill to raise the drinking age to go back up. To read this article you would think only under 20's were out.

Yet in reality a large chunk of the punters would have been over 20, and just as boozed as the young people. In fact my limited experience of being out in Wellington at this time is that it is mainly over 20's, and some of them are way drunk, and not behaving well. Again, our media vilifies young people for ratings, and fails to describe the real issues.

On Monday night the Mount College had its Academic Prize Giving for Senior Students. Proud dad moment. Kate sang a Billy Joel song, and was magnificent! She also picked up prizes for Outstanding Contribution to the Social life of the school, and for Visionary Leadership! As I looked up at this bunch of 7th Formers (sorry year 13) I was struck by how fast they grew up from being little 13 year olds. Where did those hairy males come from, and those shapely young women. But I also thought, yes they drink, sometimes too much, but what a great bunch of young people they are. Talented, caring, and slightly crazy. So different from the picture in the Christchurch Press.

The sad thing is our media is creating a mood of fear of young people, which stops many in our churches and in our society having anything to do with them. The older people loose out, and so do the young people. We need to have much more positive images of young people, and we as church should be leading the way!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

drinking age

I applaud the defeat of the bill to raise the drinking age. I also applaud the governments decision to review the current act and in particular how those under 18 seem to have such free access to alcohol.
I opposed the Bill as it was based on a whole lot of myths. The first was that there is a crisis across all teenagers binge drinking and being out of control. It is just another saga on the ongoing vilification of young people. We see it all the time. It sells newspapers and TV programmes. It creates an adult population that is scared of young people. And it leads to bad legislation.
Binge drinking is a societal issue, not just a youth issue. Young people mirror what they see in the adult population to claim their own status as adults. When we see shocking things in young people we should first look to ourselves as adults and ask what it is they see in us they are mirroring back to us, and what do we need to change. Then we can look to them and address the issues as manifesting themselves in their behavior
So I hope the review will address adult drinking behaviour as well as youth. Then we might address the real issues and do something that will work.