Our conference is coming soon! We're going to meet at East London Tabernacle on Saturday 10-4:30pm 19th November 2016. MAIN SESSIONS: I'll be doing a talk on 'Christ Centered Church' - what is it? Is it different to Gospel centred? How do we do it? Graham Miller the CEO of London City Mission will be talking about the Socially deprived. Who are they today and where are they living? Simon Smallwood from Dagenham will be talking on reaching the socially deprived in grass roots ways. All these talks are intended to help us see the way forward for reaching the socially deprived in the UK. The vision of RTU is to see ‘a movement of Christ centred churches reaching the social deprived in a grass roots way’. We will also be having worship sessions, a time for testimonies, and a panel discussion. I'll let you know as soon as booking opens. [UPDATE booking is here]
Many were shocked to hear Trump's recent comments about sexually assaulting women.
Many were then further shocked to hear people minimise his comments.
I have to say that sadly I wasn't shocked by either.
Over the years I've seen many respected people be complicit in abuse.
As a child I experienced adults ignoring the abuse I experienced.
As an adult, I've experienced adults not even caring about abuse.
Here's some of the ways I've seen this:
1. Not caring about child protection issues.
Years ago, I learned on a training course that the biggest factor for child abuse was people in power failing to ensure proper child protection policies. Since then, I witnessed many people not wanting to bother with proper procedures, and just assuming that no one who seems friendly and goes to church is a child abuser (which is totally untrue). Such attitude is so different to the biblical call to protect the vulnerable.
2. Downplaying complicity in abuse.
When it came out that Joe Paterno was complicit in his colleague Sandusky abusing little boys, many defended him. These defences often went along the lines of 'he didn't do the abuse himself, he just failed to report it properly.' One TGC article by Colin Hansen even argued that Paterno did so much good, he just made a little mistake, resulting in the court of popular opinion unfairly judging him.
Such responses shocked me. It shocked me that people would defend Paterno because of his sports achievements. It also shocked me that people thought it was fine to know of ongoing abuse and not try to stop it.
Abuse thrives where people are complicit:
Whether its a coach failing to properly report abuse to the authorities, or a pastor failing to implement child protection policies, or failing to call out Trump for harassment and assault - it's complicity. It all promotes a culture where the vulnerable are not protected.
Jesus is different:
Jesus is the good shepherd (John 10). He protects the vulnerable sheep, and carries them close to his heart (Is 40:11). He uses his rod to fight off the wolves who try to harm his sheep (Ps 32). He rebukes the watchmen who fail to blow the trumpet (Ezek 33), and the shepherds who fail to shepherd (Ezek 34). He rebukes those who call evil good.
I've just got back from a lovely family holiday. Here's some things I learned from it:
Being away from the internet can be a massive blessing.
It removed a lot of distractions and unpleasantness for me.
Being away from some of my problems, didn't mean I was away from my sinful heart.
I still had to wrestle with impatience, selfishness, and anger etc.
Making a goal of knowing God more, rather than having 'fun' days was more fruitful.
There's a pressure on holidays to make each day amazing. You've got to hit the beach as early as possible to get the best weather, best spots, and restaurant seating. But, I've found that prioritising family worship and catechism in the morning and evening led to a much more fulfilling holiday.
Making repentance a priority brought more peace and love to the holiday.
When there's six of you doing everything together 24/7, you inevitably end up hurting each other. Each day we had opportunities to confess our sin to each other and ask forgiveness. We helped one another apply the gospel to our regular sins, and grew in love and peace with each other.
Holidays make me long more for the new heavens and earth.
Firstly, seeing creation in a different part of the world helped me consider God's creative variety, and how interesting all the variety in the new world will be. Secondly, having to come back from holiday made me long more for the peaceful new world that my holiday represented.