Wednesday, April 18, 2012

18th April 2012

Splish, splosh; splish splosh! Yes, the morning sunshine of Great Malvern feels like a rather distant memory this evening. My photo is of the adjacent site to this week’s, which I used to use, and kept strictly neat and tidy. Once upon a time we really enjoyed it but recently I've chosen to change club membership. Of course I'm back home now after my too short break, and I've returned to a rather damp and rainy Derby. The only bright spot was the welcome smile from my son as he arrived home from work. But that friendly smile gradually turned to a cheeky grin as he informed me that, now we’re experiencing the wettest weather for some time, Derby has officially been declared a drought zone! I'm sure the ‘numbers’ add up and he really should know as he works for the local water authority, but ‘way to go’ Severn Trent, nice timing…

I’ve had some great conversations these last few days, and one obvious subject we covered concerned the changes in society which have happened in our lifetime. It’s an age thing of course, even being able to look back at generational change. But I spent my teenage years in the 1960’s, which was a particularly radical time of change for the UK. And I have some great memories of that time, though my life was mostly lived out within the Methodist Church and I really lived for music, playing in rock groups until I married at 21. The Lord quite wonderfully kept me from the excesses of that era, as all around me close friends were using cannabis and LSD. I never touched anything like that, and had have not the remotest idea how to go get a girl-friend. Somehow they always seemed to find me! I never took my eyes off my guitar; that was all I wanted. Until I met Jane. Although I still play all the time, today my focus has very much changed to the Lord… he really is all I want now. I’ve sometimes put my guitar away for a time; once I did that for a whole ten years. I’m still working on the idea of giving up on marriage though as it feels like it’s too much a part of my identity. I’ll get there I guess…

I don’t like the way that Christian morality is continually being removed from legislation, especially in response to prejudice against certain minority groups. I feel like I’m increasingly living in an ungodly country, but I also deplore prejudice against anyone for almost anything, it’s inhuman and wrong. What right have I to judge another for their lifestyle choice? But like it or not the Bible does make quite plain that which pleases God and that which does not. And it also makes clear how we are to use the guidance we find there. I don’t believe we should ever use the Bible as a legalistic weapon, passing judgement to condemn and then pass sentence upon others for their beliefs. It’s always been a radical book, countercultural if you like, but today it is not a book of law, indeed Christ came to set us free from just that. The Old Testament has a full declaration of every law needed to please God and the New Testament makes plain the truth that not one of us can actually meet those demands. Only one ever could and his name is Jesus. And he says that we should treat others the way we should like to be treated. So today I remembered the time on a campsite, when I inadvertently drove the wrong way on a poorly signed road, whilst trying to choose a pitch after a long journey… a warden came running alongside apoplectic with rage, shouting at me and my seriously ill wife. We quickly left the site and I did not renew my Caravan Club subscription last time. In November, at the site I camped on this week, I unthinkingly washed my windscreen down with a hose at the motorhome service point… a nearby warden politely allowed me to finish and then gently explained that it was against site regulations, and it would help if I could avoid it another time. He even spoke to me some time later to make sure I was not upset with his request! So am I happy now with the Camping and Caravan Club? You bet! So then, how should I share Biblical truths with those who are not living God’s way? Surely Jesus asks us to share his Good News, not an impossible list of ‘thou shall not’s’. Yes, much as it might fit my way of thinking, I sometimes wonder about the value of enshrining Christian values in the law of the land… especially when the political tide turns and legislation changes to cut off that which the Lord would say is good.

John 3:17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.’ (NLT)

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