Trolls – living like dogs

6 08 2008

Although I’m a fan of Tolkien’s work, these trolls are real, and are a potential hazard for bloggers. Have a look at the NY Times article link at the bottom of this post
I think this community define what Cynicism really means: “to live like a dog.”

They are a product, I believe, of Stoic Godlessness (or atheism if you prefer) and some of the rubbish we’ve been fed about the unavoidable demise of the planet.

You may disagree with me, but this is what I mean when I say it is dangerous to demand global behaviour based on unsubstantiated theories.
It is amazing just how easily the human mind can be reduced to a national tragedy!

If you disagree with me read page 4 and 5 about Weev who has obviously watched The Matrix one too many times and has abandoned his real identity and is basically causing havoc while he waits for 2 things: 1. the digital “messiah” to receive a calling and lead the trolls out of their caves and 2. for the world to finally spiral out of ecological control which someone as intelligent, young and connected as himself believes is imminent.

The Trolls Among Us

Is God a Bigamist?

17 07 2008

I think that Doolally’s post Is God a Bigamist? deserves a bit more consideration for one reason… it’s an excellent question.

I mean the bible is literally chock full of God Romance, isn’t it? All through the narrative in the Old Testament we see God pursuing His people like a lover pursuing a flirting, impetuous girl. In the prophets we see God’s jealousy and anger at her waywardness, so easily abandoning her covenant with Him. And Song of Songs is so sexually explicit that it should be rated.
In the New Testament it’s a little more doctrinal but the same theme carries straight on. Right up till Revelations where we find what can only be described as the consummation of a great marriage – The Wedding Feast of all wedding feasts. God, it turns out, will get married to His people.

Well then, is Doolally not right? After all there are many people, and only one God.
Yes, Doolally is right, but not in the way she describes, she stops too soon, at an observed religious devotion. Doolally is describing religious monasticism – nuns and monks, as if there was a choice between marrying a person and marrying God. As if God was jealous somehow of human sexual intimacy and only those sexually pure enough get to marry God.

I don’t blame Doolally for this view, it’s the default presentation of the church to the world (in fact I feel like I should apologise for it). But thankfully, it’s not the biblical view. And when one looks it becomes very obvious as to why forced celibacy for the clergy is the wrong approach in Christianity.
It’s not even biblical; the first four verses of 1 Timothy 4 calls it a demonic doctrine taught by “hypocritical liars”.
Celibacy itself may not be wrong for an individual, in fact I would think for some marriage would be completely wrong, but to force those serving in the church to remain single is about as unbiblical as one can get. It’s in the same league as the Crusades. And Doolally is spot on when she says: “By denying sex to priests, the church is creating its own problems.” More accurately by denying the human covenant of marriage to priests; with all the warmth, friendship, honesty and intimacy that goes with it (including sex); the church is creating its own problems.
I’ts so anti-biblical that I cannot see how such a place can even be called a church.

The answer to the accusation of Divine bigamy is, I believe, found in a little mystery we call “unity”. Another thread running through scripture from Adam & Eve through the tower of Babel right into the New Testament and on to the same Marriage Consummation. God is not marrying a multiple personality disorder, He is marrying one bride. How that will work I only have little personal glimpses.
I can see that my wife and I can sometimes be ‘one’. the way we talk and think (some people say we even look like eachother). As time goes on we get better and better at it; and it’s not all sexual ‘oneness’ I’m talking about – although that tends to be the oneness foremost in my mind… what can I say, I’m a man.
If unity exists in a Platonic sense – there must be an ultimate Unity. If there is an ultimate Unity, then the Bride of God would be it.
Why are there many of us, not just one? Why did God not leave that rib in Adam? Why go to all the trouble of taking it out, making a woman and then presenting her to him, and then calling them “one flesh”? Adam was ‘one flesh’ in the beginning, what’s the added complication all about?
It’s about Unity, it’s a reminder, the whole Adam/Eve narrative is a metaphor. Keeping Adam single would have been very pragmatic (and he would not have known the difference)… but there would have been no human relationship, no intimacy… and no sex.
Forced sexual denial by religious celibacy ultimately means absolutely nothing except perhaps confusion and frustration. Paul puts it quite well in 1 Corinthians 15:19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” More so for those who don’t even get to have sex in the hope that their religious piety will somehow give them favour with God!

Now by extension we cannot conclude that if forced religious celibacy is wrong then animal, pheromonal sex – ‘whenever and with whomever’ sex – is logically right. An excess of Stoicism does not vindicate a lifestyle Hedonism.
I would suggest that if you are going to look for a biblical model of sexuality you are going to find sexual pleasures that are more satisfying and lasting than your wildest expectations – I suggest this because I have looked and I have found. But sex is not an end in itself. Like I said, we tend to stop too soon, we draw conclusions on other’s faith instead of finding out for ourselves.
We think that the bible is always trying to make us control our passions (especially sexual ones), because they are too strong… actually the bible is trying to open our eyes to what heights of sustained ecstasy our passions can take us under the right bridle (if you’ll excuse the pun). We tend to settle for so little when we could have so much.

I think that what the bible says about sex is that finding Mr Right starts with finding the right God, it does not work the other way round. He’s not jealous of our sexuality, actually He designed sex to remind us of a happiness and fruitfulness we have forgotten so thoroughly that we cannot even remember having forgotten it!

Google’s Thesis of Data

17 07 2008

In a well researched article Wired’s Chris Anderson tells us that the scientific process is drowning, it seems unable to ‘tread data’:
It is followed up with some excellent examples:

Sixty years ago,” he says, “digital computers made information readable. Twenty years ago, the Internet made it reachable. Ten years ago, the first search engine crawlers made it a single database. Now Google and like-minded companies are sifting through the most measured age in history, treating this massive corpus as a laboratory of the human condition.

forget Terabytes – we are now in the Petabyte age and we have the Google-geek tools to surf the waves of the data oceans, picking what we want from the bounty.
In the process the vehicle of science has been forced to install and run a hybrid engine, and it is getting much more mileage out of the ‘data’ part than it ever did out of the ‘hypothesis’ part.
By default humankind has discovered that with data and Google, no one needs a theory any more. With the right info, hardware and software engines; professorships, theories and published peer-reviewed papers are becoming obsolete.
It calls for an entirely different approach, one that requires us to lose the tether of data as something that can be visualized in its totality. It forces us to view data mathematically first and establish a context for it later.

It’s an interesting development, but it’s hard to imagine it as progress. What concerns me is that humankind is being asked… no it is being demanded of humans, that we think less than we ever have before, and that we reserve our imagining for our entertainment only.
We are handing our very selves over to untethered information, and no one is asking why and by whom it was tethered in the first place.
One can see this quite plainly one looks at the plethora of human data. We are ‘chopped and diced’ into a million pieces depending of how the machine desires to look at us: dna determined destiny subjects, poll influenced voter trendsters, brand infused identity grabbers, demograph earners, gene coded fatalists, epidemic distributors, mass trend drivers, uba-consumers, culture catchers… the list is literally endless.

You see I think that data has always had a context, indeed data without context is Frankenstein. I don’t think that there is a community on earth that should be so data addicted that we look for a context after we’ve had our fix… that’s tantamount to mass drunk driving.
We’ve been blinded by science, now science has been blinded by data. I’m holding out for the return to logic again. And my advice is this: just think it through before you swallow it.

Letter from America

17 07 2008

Does anyone remember Alistair Cooke’s weekly radio piece “Letter from America.” It should have been a blog, he was a man before his time.

I am a South African and I’ve been in the US for about 2 weeks now, and I’ll probably be here for another week or so. So I thought it would be good to write something from here for all my South African readers. Some US readers may find it interesting also.

It’s quite a change being in rural northern Kenya a month ago with the arms trade and the teams clearing out land mines in southern Sudan and the primitive life, and then being in NY and LA.
We were on the tarmac at JFK for 4 hours, waiting in a line to take off, and that on the back of a 10 hour layover. That’s the last time I use a travel agent (no offense meant it you are one).

Right now I’m in a city that rivals Cape Town for it’s beauty… Seattle.
It’s a marvelous place, water everywhere you look. Eagles, Ospreys and Deer all around you, and the biggest trees you could imagine. Apparently the early colonial prospectors, looking for anything that could be used to bolster the slave driven, European rival-economies of 400 years ago, reported that the timber here was “too large to be practically harvested”. Of course industrial milling changed all that and Tacoma – a city 100km south of Seattle – was a millers paradise.
Actually at the moment I’m staying closer to Tacoma than to Seattle, right at the end of the Puget Sound in a beautiful little place called Gig Harbor (no u’s in harbor here). Mount Ranier is visible at this time of year, it’s a perennial snow capped peak engineered over the centuries by the volcanic release of the San Andreas fault. This whole coastal region before the rockies is beautifully punctuated by these massive mountains with their heads in the clouds.

One of the attractions here is a ride on a Seattle ferry, something which I insist on doing whenever I’m here (and my wife just rolls her eyes). And this afternoon is ferry ride time! These ferries take about 30-100 vehicles and a couple hundred people, maybe as much as 1000 – I don’t know; and are a little like a floating mall. And the scenery from the ferry is just gorgeous everywhere you look; the ride is about an hour and a half.
Seattle city is one of those places that just oozes culture and beauty. It’s intelligent in every way, an obvious reflection of the people and the culture, and it’s about as photogenic as a city can be.
Friday is independence day and we’ll go and hang with the patriots at a fare at Federal Way. Along with Ben & Jerry’s pink Harley ice-cream bikes; Air Force Tomcats and 2nd WW Mustangs (and a Harrier or two); and fundamentalist Christians with sandwich boards and flyers yelling “Turn or Burn!”
Now when I say ‘fare’ what I mean is about 5-10km of beachfront with stalls and shops and food (so much food) and trucks and music and games and activities… it’s a little overwhelming and impossible to do in one day.
And then the fireworks, which have to be seen to be appreciated.

But it’s pretty clear, being here, that the American lifestyle is under more pressure than ever before since the war of independence. Locals blame it on terrorism, oil prices and a myriad of other things. But the reality is that the American dream-society is crumbling from within. Somewhere an invisible line of liberality has been crossed; there has been one too many ludicrous law suits, and it seems to me that America has crossed a point of no return.
But still, it’s nice to bask a bit in the glow of a brilliant, but fading, star.

Just for fun

5 06 2008

Sometimes I think that those three words were left out of the Genesis account by a well meaning, but overly zealous scribe. “Let us create man in our image… just for fun,” seems to me to represent the character of God and the tone of scripture much better.
Of course I am only joking, that’s about as close as I can bring myself to being heretical.

Nick has asked for Tim and I to answer a question each, for no other reason than the fun of it.
How would Tim build a sacred tribe that includes me? is Tim’s question. I’m afraid that I have a problem with the concept of a tribe which I will explain further into this post, so that may make Tim’s task a little more difficult; sorry.
Mine is: How could I release Tim to minister to the flock in my care?

I really believe in Church in both it’s global and local sense. I believe that the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 and the 5 fold ministry gifts in Ephesians 4 are for one purpose – Unity. I believe that the ambition of God is unity among men, and He calls His ambition “Church”. He is building His church and I cannot see that He is doing one other thing in earth today.
I also believe that Jesus started the very first church and that He gave us the blueprint in exactly sufficient detail (and without too much detail so that there would be lots of room for a variety of expression in this ultimate unity).
I also believe that He showed us how to hand over a church to another leader so that church would always be multi-generational, despite men’s failures and mortality.

Now the pictures we have given ourselves of church today find themselves in two man-made opposites (there are always 2 man made opposites in heretical error – Baal & Astarte, Fate & Luck, Bulls & Bears… the list is long).
The man-made errors are:
1. Top-down leadership – autocratic, dangerous, evangelical, charismatic.
2. And Bottom-up leadership – democratic, frigid, denominational, traditional.
Neither of these two pictures are what I believe Jesus had in mind. Both of them center around man made systems and man made structures – they are ‘hewn’ out of the mangled machine of failed humanity.

The picture Jesus paints is very different, it is of a front-back leadership:
– Where there are no levels of leadership, where equality is a practical reality (in fact the leader is called to lay his life down for the sheep. This is the key difference between Christianity and Hinduism – no time to get into that now)
– Where momentum is essential and change is ongoing. New wine = new wineskin (without momentum the church reverts to top-down or bottom-up structure)
– Where the whole structure is relationally (not religiously) driven.

That is the way, I believe to ‘bring people through’ into leadership in the church. It is what Jesus did with Peter, and it is what Peter did with James. It’s what the Church stopped doing the moment it became political and hence ‘respectable’.
It calls into action the essential ministries of the Apostle and the Prophet, not only the Evangelist.

It’s opposite, Back-front leadership, is very clearly wrong, bordering on demonically inspired. This is essentially obvious to the western mind, but it is anti-cultural in a traditionally animist context. We can see these two opposites very clearly in Jesus’ own metaphor of the Good Shepherd:
Traditionally middle-eastern shepherds lead sheep very differently from African shepherds. African shepherds have a stick or a bunch of stones, they shout, whistle and goad from the back of the heard to get them moving. Having concern or love or relationship with the sheep is initially optional and quickly becomes unnecessary. (I believe that this mindset is at the heart of tribalism and is the same reason why it is so hard to find a political leader of character in Africa. Of course the extreme Stoic is no better, but that is not what this post is about)
The middle-eastern shepherd, on the other hand, makes it his business to get to know each sheep, he learns to love them and the sheep learn to know, recognise, love and trust the shepherd; that’s why he can lead from the front because there is a willingness to follow him.
It is at once clear that this method is much more natural than any of the man made structural methods. Although it requires a lot more effort and sacrifice from those leading, it is truly progressive, not merely developmental.

Church leaders may not get it right all the time, but I believe that we are to, as much as possible, lead this way.
What does it mean practically? Let me give a few examples. A full list would require a book:
– We don’t have a church membership, and we don’t give out certificates. Yet the edges of the church are well defined (a shepherd must know which are his sheep and which are not).
– Potential leaders are both accountable to and friends with existing leaders before they can play a role in leadership. I have young men ask me to mentor them, my usual answer is, “sure, what 2 areas in your life would be the most difficult for you to hear me speak into?
– Leaders, in Jesus’ church, do not give instruction to people in their personal lives, they give advice. I often say to people that they will get perspective from me, but not permission. But having said that someone who keeps rejecting your advice clearly does not see you as their leader. Also this does not mean that the pastor should not lead the affairs of the church, in that realm he must be giving instruction, not advice.

So we build, as Paul said, on the foundation that is already laid (he was not referring to himself, Paul was only a “master builder”, he never considered himself as the architect – Paul was referring to Jesus). Whatever we build outside of Jesus’ plan may be pragmatic, cultural even wise; but it is not Church!

I have dealt essentially in concepts in this post using a few illustrations and examples. Perhaps, instead of trying to be exhaustive (another word for verbose) it would be better to handle one instance at a time – my way of asking for a response – I may have some answers to specific problems, I’ve been in a front-back lead church for 25 years this December, and I have seen it work.
There are many ways that the traditional church, with the best intentions, has hurt those in it. (every church hurts some people – I’m sure it hurt Peter to hear “get behind me Satan.”) But none more so than its potential leaders.

I am busy with a critical look at second-in-commands in the OT, I believe that the most dangerous position in Jesus’ church is just behind the leader. There are three people I’m comparing:
1. David under Saul
2. Jonathan under Saul
3. Jaob under David
The sad conclusion is that the one who failed the most miserably (and who was lead most astray) was the one under the best leader!

The Current Tsunamis

3 05 2008

I was thinking the other day about what we occupy our thinking energy with. Most of it is very futile stuff. Stuff that will not matter even in a decade. Quite naturally and very quickly, what we occupy our thinking with becomes what we occupy our physical energy and time with.
Can I earn more money? Are humans ruining the planet? Should we arrange a national lottery? Should I have kids? Where can I get a safe abortion? Which party should I vote for? Can I look younger? Am I pregnant? Can I get thinner? How can I make my staff more productive? How do I get an advantage over my competitors? How do I get to have more sex, safely if possible? Does this make me look fat? Do I have BO? Are we there yet? I wonder what they think about me? …
These are the kinds of questions we have been trained to ask. And we ask them all day long, and most of the night too… But they are the least important questions. The really important questions we do not ask, but why? Could it be that we unconsciously avoid the real questions? I think so, and, as I have said, we have been trained to ask the frivolous questions, and to ask them only.

We humans have always been open to abuse by religion, science, popular culture, peer pressure, the media, and a myriad of other things. It did not matter so much 100 years ago because ideologies were relatively isolated. Ideas would ripple slowly across the planet, doing an equal amount of good and evil. Today they travel with the force, speed and impetus of a tsunami; an ethos tsunami. Or rather an unending series of ever shorter wavelength ethos tsunamis.
Drip feeding new ideas at the rate of generational growth can be wonderfully stimulating, but to be smashed with wave after wave of ideas is devastating. We must force ourselves awake, to think; to look up from the little questions which threaten to drown us. I’m not suggesting that little questions are invalid; little questions are equally valid, they are just secondary. And as CS Lewis pointed out “you cannot get second things by putting them first. You can only get second things by putting first things first.

The word ‘tsunami’ is a good example. I remember about 10 years ago Leonard Sweet produced a book called ‘Soul Tsunami’. When I heard the title I had to look up the word, today very few people, who can read, need to look up the word ‘tsunami’, it has swept over the continents carried on the susceptible and fluid oceans of the world media.
Another example, with much more impact, is our liberal South African Constitution. Influenced and applauded by current ‘democratic’ super-powers. Yet lacking even the simple redemptive processes that would make it a truly democratic constitution (I wrote a post about it, if you don’t know what I mean: Cry the Beleaguered Country)

So, what are the really big questions?
Someone I asked recently said “Why me? More specifically, why am I so special? Why am I alive? What is the REASON for ME as a person to be here on this planet?
I would regard this as the fundamental question of all questions.
Steven Hawking in “A Brief History of Time” said about this question: “If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.
Hawking’s problem here is that the knowledge he is speaking of is intellectual, categoric knowledge. But scientific ‘knowing’, as we have already established, is not the only way of knowing; and answering the question “what is the reason for me?” is hopelessly outside the self-confessed reaches of the scientific method.
If you have even the slightest inkling of an answer to the question “why me?”, the other questions would just about answer themselves.

Here’s another fundamental question: “What’s the point?”
I would rate this question as number 2 on the list of important questions to answer before you die. Let me give you a reason why.
At some point someone asked “Are humans ruining the planet?” Some scientists said, “we might be,” and activists and politicians said “that’s good enough for us and here’s a bunch of rules and guidelines to stop it from happening.” And the Bureaucrats and popular TV talk shows adjusted their song sheets to the key of the new tune.
Now if, instead of getting into a frenzy of activity, someone asked, “what’s the point?” we would have a very different set of behavioural responses.
The planet is doomed anyway, what is the difference if it is now or in a million years? Someone may answer that this may be be the only planet with life. To which the answer is again, “so what?… What’s the point?
It is not a long walk to the most depressing fatalism once we start asking this question. The Stoics and the Epicureans concluded that suicide was a legitimate means of exit… their answer to the question.
Augustine argued the case against suicide using the example of Lucretia the much lauded lady of Roman fable who took her own life after being raped “There is no way out of the dilemma.” Says Augustine. “If she is an adulteress, why all the praise? If chaste, why did she kill herself?” Fatalism is not an acceptable answer to the question. “There is no point” equally cannot be the answer.
Philosophy,” said Dr Michael Eaton recently, “is just an ever increasing scepticism… Post modernism simply means that we are sure that we don’t really know anything… The more you know the more you wish you knew nothing.
The grand conclusion of philosophy is that there is no point to be found in time and space. Possessing intelligence and consciousness is not an end in itself. But this asks more questions than it answers. Why then do we feel such a desperate need to be the object of some purpose larger than ourselves? Why is in not ‘OK’ to simply say “So what, let’s use up the planet ourselves, why restrain ourselves for the sake of some future generation who we don’t even know. The whole planet may be taken out by a meteor anyway and it is going to be destroyed eventually despite our best efforts“?
It’s all in Ecclesiastes if you want to read it, thought through by Solomon 4000 years ago. “There is nothing new, nothing to be gained, no advantage, under the sun.” (“under the sun” is Solomon’s way of saying “here on earth”) and he’s quite right there is no point here on earth, absolutely none. I challenge you to find one that cannot be refuted by logic alone.
Now here’s the clincher: If there is no point at all why do we behave as if there were? As if somehow our reputation will actually matter in a million years.
What’s the Point?” I want to tell you that more people ask this question that you imagine. Now you may be thinking, “didn’t you say that people don’t ask these questions, and this is number 2 on the list.
Yes I did say that, but most people only ask, “what’s the point?” from inside the dilemma of the other questions, they have been trained not to think outside of it. “What’s the point if I can’t earn any more money?” “What’s the point if I can’t have more sex?” “What’s the point if I am fat?” “What’s the point if they think I’m an idiot?” “What’s the point of saving the planet?
People seldom ask “What’s the point of me, us, everything?” We don’t take the question far enough.

Our view of science is the key here. Our view of science will either keep us asking the little questions or force us to ask the big ones (legitimate as the little questions are).
Science claims to deal only with what is provable, or falsifiable, which is a noble pursuit. And so scientists claim to say nothing about what is not provable, or falsifiable. But science does, all the time. There is always a lot of necessary assumption in the science world because of the issues that science is dealing with. Current science has metaphysical implications and requires metaphysical assumptions; and these assumptions rub off, through the current bombardment of idea tsunamis, on absolutely everyone.
Intelligent Design may not be what is defined as ‘science’ but neither is science within it’s own definition anymore. We don’t want intelligent design in the science classroom but are happy to give science as much metaphysical jurisdiction as it wants.
Science can not show how it is that life started nor how it is that reason evolved. How then can it show when a life ends? Yet it is necessarily assumed in science that biology is the same thing as life. Science cannot show how the universe came into being nor it’s purpose. So its beginning is necessarily assumed and it is assumed to be purposeless (I’ve always wondered why having a beginning to the universe is more important than having a purpose to it). We are trained to think in terms of assumptions, to accept them without requiring evidence.

Here are some other fundamental questions:
When I die (not if, when) is that the end of me?
Will anything I do matter in a million years?
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Why are there many, not just one?
Is there a God?
Richard Dawkins attempts an answer to this last question, he says that God is “not very likely“. It is a singularly unhelpful and small minded attempt. Dawkins attempts to answer a big question as if it were a little one. He tries to use science in the form of statistics to answer something with is neither provable nor falsifiable, and for that he wins approval?!?
Every conception is also very unlikely, life itself is highly improbable, universal order is also extremely unlikely; yet here they all are, observable and measurable. The unlikelyness of God is utterly irrelevant to the question, it does not serve as an answer and the sooner we recognise that the better.

So you think that I am trying to convince you to believe what I believe. I am not. I am asking you to ask the questions we have been trained to believe there is no answer to; and to ask them sincerely. I am also asking you to ignore the noise and the distraction of the current idea tsunamis, to lift your head out of the chicken feed and imagine again, beyond your wildest dreams.

Dr RT Kendall said recently, “God offends the mind to reach the heart.
Here is a little question: “How can a just God let people suffer?” Now if God exists only a fool would deny that He does let people suffer, even ‘good’ people; maybe especially ‘good’ people. The Greeks attempted to answer that question by humanising the gods. They imagined their gods having all these powers but subject to their own character weaknesses, these weaknesses translate to the random doses of suffering and blessing we observe.
Dr Kendall’s statement is an excellent, experiential and relational answer to the question; and, like it or not, Kendall’s right.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans (chapter eight) he quoted the Ecclesiastes theme that the whole world, indeed the universe, is subject to meaningless vanity… If you discount God.
Someone once said” “God has the key of all unknown but He will not give it to you, So you had better trust him to open all the doors.
If we leave out God – we are just animals. When we take away from the human the image of God all you have left is animal.

From His hand” is the Ecclesiastical contrast to “under the sun“.

Kendell & Eaton

21 04 2008

We are currently busy with a week’s worth of Michael Eaton and RT Kendell teaching on one topic: The gift of Teaching in the body of Christ.

So far we have had one session from each of them but they are covering topics so close to our debate that I thought I must include some quotes:

Eaton on the text :Acts 8:26-35Do you understand what you are reading?

1. “We have to go back to the 1600’s to find the last time God’s Word was used so little by God’s people.

2. “Feminism has strange repercussions. I heard the other day that ‘Jesus suggested to the Father that he come and save the world & the father consented to the idea.’ As if there was some democratic process in the Godhead. It comes from the influence of the feminist movement. If you have trouble with man being the head of women, then you have trouble with the Father being the head of Christ.

3. “Scripture is both a record of God’s revelation and, at the same time, revelation itself.

4. “The Ethiopian was a man who recognised that he had got stuck. Despite having the Word he also needed help understanding it.
1. Get help: contemporary and old.
2. Recognise that the bible is written in very simple language.
Most heresy comes from twisting language, fragmenting sentences and complicating what is there. The smallest unit of meaning is the sentence. Don’t try exegete one word alone.
3. The way to understand anything is to put it into context. Hearing the words does not enable understanding. When you see what God was saying then then you will see what He is saying now.The theme of the bible is God’s salvation offer of Jesus to those in sin. If you preach any other main theme in the bible you will go skew. It’s not about faith for money, it’s not about ‘having a good self image’.
4. read your bible in the presence of Jesus. See Jesus in it, all over it.

Kendell on the text Matthew 22:23-33 ” 29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

1. “Jesus said that the Spirit will remind you. If there is nothing to remind then what?
You have to put God’s Word into your head for the Holy Spirit to remind you of it.

2. “The Saducees were feeling smug. How many of us have the objectivity to see where we are wrong and to admit it.

3. “Gnosis = debatable knowledge, Oida = Fact.
Jesus said to the Saducees: ‘You don’t even know the facts.’

4. “‘Thank you for your word.’ is the response of those who come to hear.
‘The Spirit moved in power’ is the enthusiastic response of those who come to see.
The day will come when those who come to hear will see and those who come to see will hear. Then we will have, back in our churches, the astonishment of the New Testament.