Time

[Another post from ~]

My wrestle with God is about how I find it difficult to do the one thing he asks me to do; Spend time with Him.

There are no doubt many reasons for my neglect of God but I just don’t know where one is expected to find the time. And I don’t even have kids!

My fairly limited understanding of my situation is that if I don’t attempt to involve God in my daily activities then I don’t let him get involved much with my life. The biggest problem I have with this is that God is offensive or I’m too proud.

So now I have a problem different from the one I initially started with. But let me try to get back to the issue of time. I guess I want to enjoy spending time with God. This means I would want to spend time with Him. What I find is that it is very hard to talk/love/walk with someone who does not respond in human ways. More over as I get older in my faith I find myself making more decisions without God and involving him less in my day to day life.

So is this the biblical way? Am I supposed to be given less support and more responsibility over time by the Almighty God? Where is the helpline when you want to call up and check that you are still in favour? Where do you go to find time with an invisible God? More importantly where can I find time to actually wrestle with Him?

Where do you go when things start falling apart?

[This article was emailed to me by ~]

This is my very real question.

There are times when you seek family or friends and there is time when you seek God. My question is when you have tried all known routes and still things appear not to work – where do you go then?

Is life just hard work? Am I being silly to expect that life can be fun?

What is wrong with hoping life to be full and rich?

Will you share biblical pointers or personal experiences?

The Soul Painting

There was once an Artist who believed in people. He believed that every single person who lived had within them one great masterpiece, a Soul Painting, and he devoted his life to this creed. As an in demand artist of considerable talent he could have committed himself to his work and lived in fair comfort for the rest of his days, but he forsook such things to travel, be with people and pass on the message of the Soul Painting.

One day the Artist met a woman whom no-one had ever believed in. She was enchanted by the Artist and his message of the Soul Painting. Although the wounds were still too fresh and raw for her to believe in herself, she dared to believe in his belief and began to paint. It took her many years but eventually she had finished her Soul Painting. It was strikingly beautiful, tragic and unique; one of the most amazing works of art that anyone had ever seen. During this time the woman had learned to love the Artist and his message and devoted the rest of her life to spreading the story of the Soul Painting. Wherever she went people clamoured to see her. Many were amazed by her story, many more captivated by her beautiful Soul Painting.

One of the men who heard her speak wanted more than anything to possess his own Soul Painting. He had heard her talk about the Artist and his belief in her which had led to her painting but he was too afraid and intimidated by her amazing Soul Painting to pick up a paintbrush himself. “I could never paint anything as good as her.” he told himself, torn between his desire and his doubt. One day he had an idea and, at a time when no-one was watching, he took out his camera and snapped a good photo of the woman’s Soul Painting. He took the camera home, printed out the biggest, best quality copy of the Soul Painting that he could afford and had it framed. He told his friends of the Artist and invited them to come and see his own Soul Painting. His friends visited his home and were awestruck and touched by the beautiful masterpiece on his wall. They too wanted their own Soul Painting. The man only knew of one way to pass on the magic of the Soul Painting, so he invited his friends to take their own photo of his photo and then it could be their own Soul Painting. His friends readily agreed, as it seemed an easy way to get a masterpiece.

The friends took their photos home and showed their friends, who in turn asked to take a photo of the photo of the photo. They, in turn, invited their friends to take a photo of the photo of the photo of the photo and so it went. With each layer of photos the detail and beauty of the original painting was distorted further and further until there was a crowd of individuals each clutching photos showing nothing more than an ugly splodge of random colours. The beauty had been lost a long time ago. Over time the number of people wanting to take photos declined and declined. Every now and then another person would be convinced to take a photo of one of the photos but whatever their motivation, it was now never because of the beauty of the Soul Painting.

One day the Artist will travel from town to town crying out “Bring me your Soul Paintings” and he will be crowded by a mob of people waving grubby, crumpled polaroids shouting “Master, Master, look at my Soul Painting, my beautiful Soul Painting!” and the Artist will look at them and say “Get away from me. I never knew you.”

Do you have to ask to be forgiven?

At youth group last night (sadly no longer considered young enough to be one of the youth, but still in denial about that) one question that got raised was whether you have to ask for forgiveness in order to be forgiven.

I realised as we were talking that I’d not really thought about it – and then we got side-tracked onto predestination, the trinity and other things…

Anyone have any comments?

Welcome to Wrestles with God!

Hello all! I’ve relaunched this site (which used to be called Guilty Expression), with a slightly different format, and hopefully some new energy.

I want to make it easier for people to contribute, so I’ve changed to a blog format, which allows (some) people to post directly to the front page (without getting any approval), and which encourages you to post short snippets as well as larger articles.

The name Wrestles with God comes from the name God gave to Jacob after he fought with him. The new name was Israel, which actually means Wrestles with God. As Christians, we inherit Israel’s name as adopted children, and that name encourages me that struggling and complaining are essential parts of being a Christian.

Have fun, and get in touch if you have any problems with the new format. Also let me know if you see any spam, or any of the stories from the old site are missing or corrupted.

If you had a login on guiltyexpression, the same username and password will log you in to this site.

I’m hoping we can get some discussion going in the new format, and one way I’m trying to help with that is by not creating a message board (forum) or Wiki. By limiting us to the blog and comments, I hope we will all bump into each other, instead of being too spread out. However, I’ve been looking though the discussions and Wiki pages from guiltyexpression, and there is some amazing stuff in there, so I am open to suggestions about what to do – I could certainly create a forum or Wiki, or I could just make the archive of the old stuff available, or something else. Let me know what you think. I may even edit some of the old Wiki pages and make them into articles.

One cool feature of the new system is the live chat room on the right-hand side. It tells you who’s logged in, so you can chat live, but it also preserves the last thing someone said, so you can use it a bit like a message board. More like a fridge, really. Feel free to chat frivolously there!

Andy

Site going static for a while

Hi everyone. Being utterly sick of my web space provider, and currently investigating other options, I’m going to move this site very soon to some static web space while I get myself sorted. Let me know if you see any problems, and sorry if the transition loses anything – let me know if so.

What is Jesus view on martial arts?

Hi-ya! Ever since I was eight years old after seeing how practical it can be, I always wanted to take up some form of martial arts. At the time I probably knew the names of about six disciplines or so. That is how interested I was. Sadly, for some reason or other it didn’t really lift of. And what if the reason turned out to be Jesus? (Matt 5:39)

Would participating in any “art” -I may have considered- any art which put one in the position to defend oneself against another be undoing the command; “to turn the other cheek”? And hence be against God’s will for we who believe in His Son? Thus were the thoughts that I started to develop as the time for me to join any martial art lingered, and I was taking Biblical standpoints more seriously. (I have found that here is no sitting on the fence waiting to see what happens with one’s life). In the end the furthest I got to attend anything of the sort was an opening day for Wing-Chun at some Greenwich community centre six years ago.

Up until now this may sound like a simple polarised argument that perhaps paints the picture for or against marital arts/ self defence in black and white, but consider this; in martial arts training the student is made to practise moves that anticipate violent attacks. The student is made to practise moves that can save his life or take another’s. And from practise will come reliance, and what did the Bible say of relying on one’s strength of their own arm (physical force)?

Just look to the A-Z of martial art dojo’s available nowadays if you live in an England city, and you listen to all the spectacular moves your peers can execute knowing you can afford to do the same, and ask; What would Jesus do?

Regards

Lk

Season of the Moses

As we endure Lenten or fasting season and hold to our vows – hopefully more to be followed than this year’s resolutions – I am reminded of God’s commandments for his chosen ones as depicted in Exodus. How to act, how to worship, what to eat, what to wear, what not to eat, how not to worship, and so on. (See Exodus 20:1 onwards)

In short the legacy of Moses or Mosaic Law.

I know that we are not literally governed by these absolute Commandments anymore as in the Bible days, but aren’t they spiritually incorporated into our Christian lives still?

I feel there is something in the practicality of the original commandments that made things such as one’s faith and worship clear to the world. A worship that was obvious in a world of different cultures, and faiths as it is now. Who we associate with, what we do, wear, speak.

I wonder if this is what mostly confuses unbelievers about the Christian faith; it’s apparentness, its clarity. That it does not rely on concrete commandments but faithful or personal spiritual worship. Is Christian worship relative in this sense? In that practical worship is up to the individual’s judgement?
Lk

Fair Trade and Middle Class values

Although I think Fair Trade is a good idea I am convinced it often does little more than making middle class people feel good about being rich!

Can you afford to buy Fair Trade? I can and often try to. It makes me feel good as if I am making the world a better place! The problem, as I see it , is that I can do this because I have a middle class job that is paid a good middle class wage.

Have you ever thought about how ‘fair’ some Fair Trade products are? Have a look at one of the Fair Trade museli bars, often there is less than 30% that is actually Fair Trade. Having gained the logo the product can then be sold at a much higher price attracting those who have money to buy and feel good about themselves. I often wonder as I pay the cashier at the supermarket for my ethically sound products, how ethically sound it is that she or he is getting paid so poorly?

I believe in Fair Trade, in one sense, but as long as some have wealth and others don’t we will continue to pretend we are making a difference. What we really need is a stronger political will to make equality a reality. That would mean I have less and others more. It doesn’t mean I have more to make the choice to pretend I am making poverty history.

Oh and by the way before everyone starts going on about some commune in India benefitting from Fair Trade. Think about what you are saying. Do you think they are being helped enough to have an equal standard of living as ourselves or that they can eat a decent meal or send their kids to school. We fool ourselves!